Sometimes life leads us to a tool or person we never thought we would have cared for. For many years I’ve carried a 1911 pistol, beginning with the Colt, custom upgrades to the Colt, and later Springfield, Wilson Combat, Dan Wesson and others. The commander-size SIG 1911 Fastback Emperor Scorpion Carry (there’s a government size Emperor Scorpion, too) is about as far from the original 1911 design as you can get and still be considered a 1911.
I have owned several SIG 1911 handguns. Among my favorite carry guns have been the SIG Fastback Nightmare Carry and an original GSR Carry Stainless. The blocky slide of the GSR was designed to resemble the SIG P series guns. While distinctive, the original design demands a specific holster. SIG now offers a traditional slide that slips comfortably into standard 1911 holsters.
The subject of this review is a stainless steel commander size pistol with a flat dark earth PVD finish. The color appears to be a mix of brown and green. The black G10 grips and black controls make for a pleasing contrast. But it isn’t all about looks. The pistol features both forward and rear cocking serrations.
The 1911 Fastback Emperor Scorpion Carry features an ambidextrous frame safety. The grip safety is well designed to funnel the hand into a comfortable, high grip. The grip safety releases its hold on the trigger about half way into its travel. This is the proper set-up for a quality 1911 carry pistol.
The mainspring housing is checkered for a firm grip, as is the front strap. Once you have experienced properly done front strap checkering it’s difficult go without. Trigger compression is a sharp 5.2 pounds. As you’d expect with a good 1911, the trigger action is clean and reset rapid. The controls, the slide lock and magazine catch…all function properly.
The pistol features an external extractor, a departure from the original 1911. The SIGLITE sights are an excellent design for carry and feature tritium vials in a classic three-dot pattern.
Acquiring this pistol is the result of a bit of house cleaning. I had obtained a new Government Model .45 and elected to let another go. I ended up trading for the SIG which is how it usually goes. The SIG came in a hard case with a Wilson Combat compensator and a spare .40 caliber barrel.
Yes, the SIG was a .357 SIG, a rarity in my part of the world in the 1911 format. The .40 S&W barrel is a bull barrel and the fellow who traded it in to the shop failed to supply the full-length guide rod needed to make the .40 barrel work.
Not that it mattered. I have no need for the .40 barrel. Even in the middle of the present ammunition shortage .357 SIG ammo isn’t difficult to obtain. Two Wilson Combat bumper pad magazines, marked .40 S&W were also supplied with the pistol. I didn’t know what to expect, but I figured it wouldn’t be boring.
I had zero rounds of ammunition for the .357 SIG on hand, but managed to pick up a fifty-round box of SIG Sauer FMJ and a twenty round box of Hornady 147 grain XTP. At the range I was surprised and pleased. After lightly lubricating the barrel hood, bushing, and the slide rails, I loaded the magazines and began at seven yards. The .357 SIG rounds have a bit of flash and a roar, but recoil wasn’t unpleasant.
The SIG’s recoil spring is properly regulated to control the Emperor Scorpion’s recoil impulse. The pistol put a full magazine into the X ring. I backed up to ten yards and then fifteen. The pistol is remarkably easy to get hits with. I settled into a solid braced position across the bed of the truck and fired five shots at 15 yards. All were centered and in a pleasing two-inch group.
The SIG 125 grain FMJ clocks in at 1390 fps and strikes the point of aim. The Hornady 147 grain XTP, at 1245 fps, strikes just below the point of aim for me. Later I was able to obtain a supply of the SIG Sauer 125 grain JHP which averaged 1342 fps and is as accurate as any .357 SIG load I’ve tried so far.
I was surprised at the easy accuracy. The pistol is fast handling, fast to an accurate first shot, and very controllable in rapid fire. Absolute accuracy is good. As a carry gun the Emperor Scorpion has much merit.
I carried the pistol in the EZ Carry from Jeffrey Custom Leather. While the spring steel belt clip is secure, it’s easy on and off as well. It may be carried inside the waistband or between the belt and the trousers in a body-hugging fit. I like this holster a great deal it seems a perfect fit for concealed carry with a commander 1911. It doesn’t collapse on the draw and there is a built-in sight rail.
The bobtail treatment on the Emperor Scorpion’s grip makes concealment easier, at least if you don’t use a huge base pad on the magazine. I like the nine-round magazine, but flush fit might be better for everyday carry purposes. The rounded grip also tends to fit most hands better.
The SIG 1911 Fastback Emperor Scorpion Carry is light enough (for a 1911) at about 36 ounces loaded. The pistol uses a barrel bushing and disassembles in the standard 1911 manner. The ramped barrel is well fitted to the bushing and the barrel lugs are tight in the slide.
I have been reluctant to adopt a 1911 in any caliber other than .45 ACP. The .357 SIG is now an exception. I still have plenty of bark left but the 10mm is a bit rough on my wrists and I don’t trust the 9mm’s wound potential. The SIG Fastback Emperor Scorpion seems to be among the best pistols if its size for concealed carry and I have no qualms with the .357 SIG for personal defense. The pistol isn’t cheap but it’s well worth its price.
Specifications: SIG Sauer 1911 Fastback Emperor Scorpion Carry
Caliber: .357 SIG (you can get it in .45 ACP, too)
Capacity: 9+1 rounds
Overall Length: 7.7 in.
Width: 1.4 in.
Height: 5.5 in.
Sights: 3 dot SIGLITE tritium night sights
Price: about $1150 retail
Ratings (out of five stars):
Reliability * * * * *
Faultless, with no failures to feed, chamber, fire or eject. While the author has only fired 320 rounds, total, in this pistol coupled with the SIG 1911’s reputation for reliability this is a pistol you may reasonably bet your life on.
Accuracy: * * * * *
In combat accuracy the pistol is excellent with good control and fast follow up shots are easily controlled. In absolute accuracy the pistol is more accurate than most Commander type 1911 handguns.
Handling and Ergonomics * * * * *
Even for a 1911 this pistol excels. The controls are an improvement over the original and the current crop of 1911s as well.
Concealed Carry * * * * *
Not many pistols carry and conceal as well as a 1911. The commander size Emperor Scorpion with it’s bobbed grip is ideal.
Overal * * * * *
There isn’t much to fault here. SIG Sauer’s made this commander-size 1911 one of the best, most concealable EDC pistols you can buy. It just does everything right.