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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Caliber: 45 acp
Sights: 3-dot contrast
Barrel Length: 5.00″
Weight: 41.6 oz (with magazine)
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.