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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.

9 The 147 grain XTP, left, offers deep penetration. The SIG JHP, right, 125 grains, offers rapid expansion

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.



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  1. Good review. But, I don’t care for the “bobtail” look and don’t really understand how it really helps with concealment. I only recently began shooting Sig pistols, but the vintage DA/SA versions. A couple of P220s and a P226. The thing I found most interesting about the article is the author’s mention of being able to find .357 Sig ammo. I’ve always been of the mindset that all of my firearms are in popular calibers. No problem to find ammo. Until now. Maybe an effective, but not so popular, caliber isn’t a bad idea.

  2. That’s a sharp looking firearm, in .357 too, wowie.
    At this time though all extra cash buys ammunition
    Hopefully the future gets brighter on that…. ( what is that saying? “Wish in one hand, sht in the other.”)

  3. 5.2 lb trigger to me seems on the heavy side for a single action, I’d rather see it between 3.5-4.0 lbs.

  4. Too bad they stopped making these. Sig discontinued almost all of their 357 Sig guns so they could crank out 50 different versions on their P320 in 9mm. The market demands the wonder 9.

    • Not sure they stopped making them.. Mine is mfg dated July 9 2020 it is The Emperor Scorpion Carry 357 Sig. W/ 2 Wilson mags.

  5. Sig used to refer to the standard 1911 slide as a 1911 traditional. I see they’ve dropped that nomenclature now. I don’t want any of their models with the proprietary slide, not sure what their purpose was with the wide slide models. 357 sig is a neat caliber, especially since most firearms convert to 40. Having a couple extra caliber choices would be handy right now and I’ve seen 357 sig and 40 on shelves recently.

    • Which is the great thing about all those agency turn in .40 Glocks. Drop a couple hundred bucks at Lone Wolf or wherever and you have a 3 caliber handgun.

  6. I avoid 1911s with external extractors. Internal you can change in the field and it’s not proprietary. Good write up.

  7. My Hi Point JHP 45acp goes bang when I want it to. It has a 9+1 capacity also. And it was only $145. But because I believe in freedom, you can spend $1150 or more for a hand gun. If you want to.
    I would not EDC any gun with only a 9 round capacity.

  8. Chris, you get what you pay for. Glad you’re having good luck with your Hi Point. If the day comes I hope my adversary has one. Or, a Tech-9.

    • My $2000+ AR-15 from Daniel Defense is on “loaded stand” by in the house. That was a great investment.

    • “If the day comes” in a self defense situation, I hope my adversary can’t shoot straight, because any of those weapons can still put one or more holes in me from which I may not recover. “If the day comes” in a shooting war, I hope my adversary is unarmed, because I’m a sneaky little bastard who doesn’t believe in fair play.

      • Eh, a tech 9 is a pretty horrible weapon. Alternatively they can be armed with a nambu, or chauchet, or maybe a gyro jet.

        Speaking of those, I think an article dedicated to the worst firearms in history would be entertaining.

        • Horrible weapons can still do horrible things to human tissue.

          There is an old adage, often repeated here, about whether or not folks who berate inferior calibers for their lack of stopping power would want to be shot with one. I think that holds true for supposedly inferior weapons as well. Only the first round has to be reliable, if it finds it’s mark. Tis always better to be behind the sights rather than in front of the muzzle.

      • All of this hope about adversaries reminds me of the story of Uncle Henry and the mountain lion.

        It used to be a family tradition that when a boy reached the age of 13, he was given the family rifle, and told not to come back without a mountain lion. Uncle Henry never really liked hunting or even shooting, but he reluctantly took the rifle and went out on his own in search of a mountain lion. It was a very windy, dark, cold, and cloudy evening. Henry was about to give up and go back home when the clouds parted, and the moonlight revealed the biggest mountain lion Henry had ever laid eyes on.

        At that moment, all of Henry’s training went out the door, and he tossed the rifle and took off running down the hill. He glanced behind him, and saw the mountain lion gaining on him. Henry knew he would never be able to outrun the mountain lion, so he dropped to his knees and cried out, “Dear Lord, PLEASE let this be a Christian mountain lion!” Suddenly the mountain lion stopped, bowed his head, and said, “Dear Lord, please bless this food to the nourishment of my body.”

  9. I like it. That’s a good looking gat.
    I like the commander size too. Same as my current Ruger.

  10. All full of MIM and cast parts in the absolute wrong places, external extractor. Nope. If you plan to buy a 1911 buy one worth having not a clown shoes tacticool tan LARPing pistol. Nighthawk is the way to go right now for semi custom builds or having a gun rebuilt right. If the 1911 you buy is intended for carry or duty use and the budget doesn’t allow for 3000+ dollars, it’s tough for me to honestly recommend buying one at all. Particularly if you don’t like or have the skill to tinker, troubleshoot and fix your own firearms. Good magazines start at bare minimum 30 bucks each, a lot of problems in 1911s are from subpar magazines. You have to be diligent and rotate out your magazines. All proper 1911 builds should pass a basic 1911 extractor test (specifics of this test can be found online; Hilton Yam has a good breakdown) I would consider Springfield’s highest end lineup as the minimum for serious use. 1911s chambered in anything other than 45 Auto often offer additional mixed bag of problems. Most people are better off with a Glock, Hk or something along those lines. The 1911 requires a high degree of end user dedication to run right and be reliable. That tends to be a tall order for the modern gun owner.

      • If you can snag a Valor, that would be my pick from Dan Wesson. Les Baer normally makes a solid 1911s but a few years ago they started building their Commanders wrong. They have built Commanders with Gov’t model frames and just shortened the dust cover. Without getting too deep into it, Commander frames are different spec in other places, but Les Baer was half-assing it so they only have to buy Gov’t frames from the forge they use (Remsport in South Korea). What this results in, is that you can not slingshot a slide to chamber a round on the Commander models, you have to always use the slidestop. This can be fixed by a good machinist, but it should not be a problem to begin with. I am unsure if they ever changed this, they were getting a lot of complaints that they would just brush off “it’s a feature”. Very disappointing.

    • This is a great pistol. Only change for me was the Nighthawk “drop-in trigger pack” (LOL) that dropped trigger pull down to about 3.7lbs. Nearing 1000 rounds of .45 ACP with nary a hiccup and fantastic accuracy for a “smaller” 1911.

  11. Beautiful pistol, though I actually prefer the earlier, P226-ish slides on their 1911’s.

    (I know, I’m weird)

  12. “I don’t trust the 9mm’s wounding potential.”
    “I carry a 1911 in a holster with a spring steel clip most of the time”
    “Pleasant 5.4 lb trigger on a 1911”

    I smell a Fudd amongst us…

  13. I’ve owned three Sig 1911s.
    All of them had a Series 80 trigger.
    I sold each of them because the Series 80 trigger is god awful to shoot, and an extra pain in the ass for detail stripping.

    The series 80 trigger solves a problem that doesn’t exist – an intertia discharge when the hammer is down on a live round. You should be carrying with the hammer back, manual safety on.

    • The series 80 firing pin block was designed to prevent an inertial discharge if a 1911 was dropped (even carried cocked and locked) If a 1911 has an old weak firing pin spring, a drop directly on the muzzle has been known to potentially actuate the firing pin with sufficient force to detonate the primer on a chambered round. This risk has been mitigated by most companies in “series 70” type 1911s by using only .38 super/9mm firing pins in all of their 1911s regardless of caliber. By forgoing the larger .45 Auto firing pin this pretty much did away with the need for additional drop safeties like the Swartz (as seen in Kimber II series) or series 80. Also, a series 80 can be made to have a good trigger. Cylinder and Slide has a good series 80 trigger pull kit that cleans it up really nicely. The series 80 is the better setup if you have to have a firing pin block. It works like most other modern semi autos in that it is a trigger actuated block.

      • The Nighthawk “drop-in” trigger kit turned my Scorpion Fastback Carry into a real thoroughbred. Not a custom 1911 but it will do!

  14. After disliking the Scorpion Carry .45ACP I was reluctant to get another Sig with the name. Then I found a Fastback Emperor Scorpion Carry (FESC) 357Sig. I have used the 357Sig since its introduction in the U.S. The Sig P229/357Sig became *my* gun. I was only happier when Sig produced the P239/357Sig. I was one of many who petitioned Sig to make a P226/357Sig, but retired before they were introduced.
    One of our children is a LEO and brought home his S&W M&P 357Sig. I was sold! Something, however, told me a 1911-pattern gun would be ideal for the caliber.
    As said above, I disliked the Scorpion Carry .45ACP ( “1911R, 45, CARRY, FDE, SLITE, SAO, SCORPION.). The checkering on the forestrap and mainspring housing, combined with the custom Hogue Magwell Grip Set to grind my hands raw. The points on the rail are so sharp they gouge holsters. The bottom rear of the grip left my hand red and sore. It also has the “Sig-profile” slide. You’ll have to hunt for holsters, or, as I did, have one custom made.
    BUT, I greatly appreciate the 357Sig and so decided to get the FESC/357. The combo seems to transform the gun. As I see it, the 1911-pattern gun is perfect for the cartridge. I don’t care one way or the other how “attractive” a gun appears. I don’t frame them and mount them above the mantle. I carry and shoot them. Bobtail? I don’t care. The best I can say: it doesn’t gouge my palm.
    I ditto everything Mr. Caldwell said. With Sig ammo it is “minute of fruit fly” accurate. While the muzzle blast will get attention, the FESC is not at all difficult to control for double taps, etc. I had it less than a month before deciding I wanted another one. I found it half-way across the country. Funny thing, it is TWO serial numbers away from the first one!
    More good news, it will fit any holster made for a Commander-size 1911.
    I really like them. If you don’t, I’ll buy it!

  15. I have this (just picked it up a couple weeks ago) in my opinion it is a nice looking pistol and i never owned a sig so i got it. Nice looking is where it ends for me, this thing hits ya in the face with brass on a consistent basis, ive read someone else having the same problem and sig doing nothing about it, also tried to have trijicon sights installed at my local gun smith( these guys are good and know what thier doing) and they said the way sig designed the cut on the slide that they could not be installed.. the night sights included SUCK plus the rear sight drifted after only 3 mags through it. Also cannot find any other grips except the black ones that came on it. Idk maybe cause its so new no one makes anything yet? Paid 1275 for this thing and the way used guns sell id doubt id even get 1k for it bieng barley used. I have a kimber shadow ghost wich is the cheapest 1911 45acp i have and it blows away this sig in every way. Guess ill just keep it tucked away somewhere where i dont have to look at it. What a wate of money.. and permit bieng that iam in communist new jersey.

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