Gun Review: SIG 1911 TacPac

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By Blake Hiatt

I recently purchased a SIG 1911 TacPac sans rail. I’ve long owned a RIA GI model, which I dearly love to shoot, but thought it was time to move up in the 1911 world. The SIG TacPac, with 3 extra magazines, adjustable trigger, (Allen wrench included) holster and loader looked like a great purchase. I picked up the TacPac on a Friday evening, quickly getting down to disassembling, cleaning and checking out the differences between the SIG and the humbler RIA . . .

My RIA has a stainless barrel, new grips and a commander hammer that I installed (I got tired of hammer bite). I noticed the frame on the SIG is longer and its recoil spring is flat. There’s also a firing pin block, the mechanism for which makes for slow reassembly. The tolerances on the SIG are noticeably tighter than the RIA, no surprise there. Of course, the Rock Island has had a few thousand rounds through it.

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I immediately liked the SIG’s 3-dot sights and the way the gun felt in my hand. The grips are very interesting, approximating the epoxy sand coating used on concrete. The grips are excellent without being overly aggressive. However, the front strap checkering is very aggressive, but more on that later.

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The next morning, I headed to the local indoor range to shoot the ever-loving snot out of the SIG and compare it to my RIA. It took maybe 30 rounds before I put the RIA down and shot the SIG exclusively.

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I ran 100+ rounds through the SIG during my initial session with the gun, and it functioned flawlessly. I ran a mixed bag of CCI Blazer, American Eagle, Remington UMC and PMC Bronze through the new gun. After 100 rounds, the gun was filthy, yet running like the proverbial Timex. The sites were off a tad to the left, which I corrected when I got home.

The SIG ran so well, in fact, that I decided to use it in my first USPSA match. Yeah, a brand new gun, only 100 rounds through it and I’m going to shoot my first match with it. What could possibly go wrong? I had planned to shoot the RIA because I’m very comfortable with it, but with the way the SIG ran and shot, I thought I should at least give it a whirl.

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First, a brief outline of USPSA, at least as practiced by the club I belong to, 5 Dogs Action Shooters. USPSA allows for some extreme modifications of handguns, such as oversize mag-wells, slide cut outs, etc. The course is timed, from first shot to last. (In my case, a sundial instead of a digital timer would have been more appropriate.) Targets can be engaged in any order, but if you fail to engage, you can’t turn and shoot back at the target. Rather, you need to retrace your steps and engage the target while pointing the gun down range. There’s a 180 degree rule in these matches — shooting at a target more than a 180 degrees from the centerline of where you’re standing, facing downrange, is dangerous and an automatic DQ.

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When I went into the match, I had three goals: not shooting someone, not shooting myself and shooting accurately. I completely ignored how much time I took moving through each stage. Fortunately, no one died of old age during any of my runs.

The first stage I shot was the toughest, designed by a person who, I think, may be a distant cousin to the Marguis de Sade. There was a spinning Texas star, a target that swung out from behind a barrier and a no-shoot target on a spring that flipped down, revealing the shoot target and then flipped back up. During the perhaps 1 second the shoot target was revealed, the shooter was expected to double tap it. I got off one shot, center mass, but no more. Among all this, there were clay pigeons to shoot (two of them, not moving fortunately) steel poppers, etc. I went through about 6 8-round magazines during this stage. The rest of the stages were somewhat anti-climactic.

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During the match, I went through a little over 200 rounds of ammo. The only failure I had was operator error. I short stroked the trigger, thought I had a misfire and wound up with a stove pipe when I tried to clear the bad round.The Sig was unbelievable out of the box. It ran flawlessly. I shot the same mixed bag of ammunition during the match that I shot at the range the day before. That aggressive front strap checkering on the SIG meant my fingers were a bit raw after the match, but the checkering definitely made a difference in how well the pistol remained on target.

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I can’t say enough good things about how the gun shoots and highly recommend the SIG TacPac. But even more, I recommend shooting USPSA or IDPA. Static paper targets are all well and good initially, but I strongly encourage getting used to the idea of moving and shooting at various targets. Don’t worry about how well the people in your squad shoot. Just get out there and enjoy yourself. A final note: I came in fourth in the match…fourth from the bottom.

Specifications:

Caliber: 45 acp
Frame: Steel
Sights: 3-dot contrast
Barrel Length: 5.00″
Length: 8.7″
Weight: 41.6 oz (with magazine)
Capacity: 8+1
MSRP: $999

Ratings (0ut of five stars):

Style * * * *
I’m a purist and the external extractor detracts from style points.

Ergonomics (firing) * * * * *
The gun has a natural point of aim and feels great in the hand.

Reliability * * * * *
One issue, user related.

Customize This * * * * *
Even though built to SIG’s specs, there are always after market parts for 1911′s.

Overall * * * * *
Outstanding gun. I ran it through its paces and the gun has performed flawlessly.

34 Responses to Gun Review: SIG 1911 TacPac

  1. avatarAlphaGeek says:

    OK, now I understand why you sold off the RIA. Good choice.

    Any thoughts on what you’re going to do about the front-strap checkering?

    • avatarThomas Paine says:

      grab an axe. go outside. cut down a few trees. callous up your girl hands. The front strap checkering will be fine. :-)

      • avatarAlphaGeek says:

        Heh. I have surprisingly callused hands from the stuff I do to maintain fitness (definitely not from work) yet I found the very aggressive back strap on my USP downright painful past 100 rounds. I put a Hogue sleeve on mine, but just couldn’t see anyone doing that on a 1911, hence the question.

        • avatarBlake says:

          Alpha, what I should have said is: “After dealing with hammer bite, rawness from the front strap checkering is worth noting, but that’s about it.”

          I don’t know if beating up your hands can be avoided after going through 300+ rounds of 45 acp in two days. For that matter, I would expect that would hold true for any round above 38 special +P.

    • avatarBlake says:

      Sorry for the delayed response, I’ve been gone all day. Anyway, I’m leaving the front strap checkering alone. The rawness wasn’t noticable the next day.

  2. avatarDrama Llama says:

    I like how this author writes. Fun to read! Great review.

  3. avatarGyufygy says:

    Interesting to hear of a SIG 1911 running well. Keep hearing horror stories about them.

  4. avatarRoadrunner says:

    Got to shoot a Sig 1911 Scorpion Carry not long ago. Awesome pistol. Very accurate, easy to aim and hold (probably that front strap checkering), and more pleasant to shoot than some 9mm pistols. Also notable was the straight (not curved) trigger. It appeared odd at first, but didn’t interfere with shooting in the least. Couldn’t buy one at the moment without affecting domestic tranquility, but it’s on the list of guns to have.

    • avatarneiowa says:

      Anyone know the country of origin for major components. Barrel, Frame Slide?

      I’m becoming annoy by the qty of such in while perhaps are great parts in great firearms are made overseas. I could not care less where shoes, Ipods, toothbrush, lawnmower engine is made but if we can forge our own frames/etc we go a problem.

      • avatarRoadrunner says:

        Can’t say for sure, but it seems like most Sigs say Exeter, NH on them, meaning the good ol’ USA. The other possibility would be Germany, where some still come from. As far as quality, I can’t say enough good about the Sigs I’ve used. They’re at the top of my list.

  5. avatarBlake says:

    The picture where I’m kneeling, shooting through an opening, I had 4 targets to engage, at somewhere between 7 and 10 yards. Two steel, two clay pigeons. The steel was about 36″ off the ground, while the clay pigeons were maybe 18″ off the ground.

  6. Do you have a review up anywhere of your RIA ?

    I would like to hear some details on that guns.

    • avatarBlake says:

      Pocono, I can shoot you an email about the gun, if you like. My RIA is my CCW weapon, if that tells you anything.

      I can ask the powers that be if they want a review of the RIA, but it’s entirely up to TTAG management.

      • I would appreciate any feedback on your RIA. I currently use a Taurus 1911 and I am thinking of getting an RIA as a secondary 1911. I do a high volume of shooting with cheap, dirty ammo. The Taurus has held up well, requiring very little maintenance.

        Does the RIA take standard 1911 mags?

        I am also wondering if the Sig Tac Pac takes standard 1911 mags.

        Thanks

        • avatarBlake says:

          I’ll get you an email about the RIA in the am. As for magazines, I use Sig and KimPro Tacs interchangeably between the RIA and the Sig. Truth be told, the factory original magazines for the RIA are good for about a year, but that’s about it. Factory RIA mags are ideal to abuse on the range and are okay from a reliability standpoint. The Kimber and Sig magazines are far superior.

        • avatarLongBeach says:

          I too have an RIA, and it has been nothing short of excellent. No jams or problems to speak of. I’d liken it to my 95 F250: it ain’t purdy, and it ain’t the fastest, but it will more than get the job done. This Sig to me resembles a new Harley Davidson edition F250… Shiny and good-looking and runs well, so if you can afford it, go for it. But the RIA ain’t a slouch, not by a long shot. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

  7. avatarcdemps says:

    I love Sig stuff! Got a P226 and a P239. Been wanting one of their 1911s. Your review tripped the lever (but mine will have the rail).

    Charlie

  8. avatarbill says:

    2nd on the review of the RIA, I have a RIA Tactical and it runs like a champ.

  9. avatarHighvoltage says:

    I have the 5″, railed TacOps. It has been flawless through 2k rounds, including over 300 Ranger t-series loaded +p. Fit and finish on this gun is great, slide to frame fit has zero play, barrel lockup is perfect. My trigger pull is nice, and breaks right at 4 lbs.

    The only alterations I’ve made is swapping out the stock grips (they felt too plastic-y) for a pair of VZ Carbon “Slants”. The front strap checkering isn’t that bad. It provides great purchase, especially if you are sweating. Unless you have delicate skin, it shouldn’t bother you. It feels about the same as the checkering on my buddy’s TRP, and Nighthawk.

    I carry mine in a VMII from Milt Sparks, it conceals under a t-shirt, and with a good belt, the weight of the all steel gun isn’t an issue.

    At the $900 I paid for my pistol, with four mags, I think it is about the best deal out there on a 1911. Especially when you consider it is made in the US. Even some of Springfield’s guns are imports. The only negative I’ve heard concerning it is the external extractor, and aside from the fact it isn’t a Browning designed part, haven’t heard a good reason why it’s a bad thing. Just about every one of my guns from Glock to HK to Springfield to Sig have an external extractor, and they like this 1911 seem to work just fine.

  10. avatarHighvoltage says:

    Read some the earlier comments….Yes, Sig 1911′s (the Tac Pac is just a package deal that comes with the TacOps 1911) take standard 1911 mags. Mine has been great with the factory, as well as Wilson, and Chip McCormick magazines, including 10 round power mags from the latter.

  11. avatarAndo says:

    What is “short stroking” of the trigger?

  12. avatartdiinva says:

    Whoa there, “After 100 rounds, the gun was filthy, yet running like the proverbial Timex.” Did you expect anything different from a quality gun? When I first got my Springfield Milspec I ran 100 rounds though it, swabbed the barrel and cleaned out the chamber and then the next time I ran 150 through. Didn’t even clean the barrel again until 500 rounds. Then I field stripped it for a cleaning for the 500 rounds or so. It shot fine and never missed a beat. I am not bad mouthing the SiG I just wonder if your expectations were formed from the performance of the RIA? You can fire hundreds of rounds though a modern automatic with no more cleaning that a quick barrel swab and a cursory cleaning of the chamber after a range session before the gun requires a full cleaning session. I have run 1100 rounds through my SiG 1911-22 fed on Golden Bullets without a major cleaning without any malfunctions.

    • avatarBlake says:

      See here:

      http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2012/12/foghorn/gun-review-sig-sauer-1911-nitron/

      Pretty much the only difference between the Nitron reviewed by Nick and the Sig I purchased are the grips.

      • avatarHighvoltage says:

        I wonder if he received another gun that worked? Everyone I know that has a newer Sig 1911 has had zero issues. I know that Texas DPS has purchased the TacOps (same as your gun but with rail/magwell)

        I did handle quite a few different examples of the same gun before I bought mine. I noticed that there was quite a bit of variance in slide to frame and trigger fit between guns. From a loose fit like on my P220 to the tight fit on the gun I purchased. I’d recommend anyone interested check them out in person first.

  13. avatarJoatmon2 says:

    I had a Sig XO 1911 and a 1911F Carry and both of them were excellent. Accuracy was outstanding and overall feeling in my hand was great. I really don’t think there’s to many 1911′s other than the real high end ones that are better than a Sig.

  14. avatarimiss freedom says:

    I’ve bought a tac-pac a couple years ago. Paid $750 for it back then. I have not had a single problem with mine. I let a friend shoot it that has many many 1911′s and also shot competition when he was younger, he ended up getting a 1911 scorpion. That’s the 1911 he shoots now when we go out.

  15. avatarCarry.45 says:

    How did your sig do with hollow points? I have a 1911 scorpion carry that doesn’t seem to like them. Meaning they bind it up tight every shot. I don’t know if its a feeding or ejecting issue.

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  17. avatarDavid Canales says:

    I loved this review, i own a tacpac and have never had a problem. I am a big SIG fan.

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  20. avatarBill says:

    Just wanted to say I just purchased the Sig 1911 TacPac. Went to the range, disassembled/cleaned the gun. then shot 250 rounds with only 2 failure to feeds. the failure to feed was on Federal and TulAmmo. I shot 50 each of Winchester, Federal, Remingonton, Armscor, and TulAmmo. All in all I’m very pleased with this gun. I read a few bad reviews and was worried but not after my day at the range.

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