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SIG Sauer 1911 .45: Finally a SIG Pistol I Really, Really Like

Sig Sauer 1911 Emperor .45 ACP. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
Sig Sauer 1911 Emperor .45 ACP. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Please stop me if you’ve heard this one before: I objectively recognize that SIG Sauer is a top-honored manufacturer of high-quality semiautomatic handguns that are accurate and reliable. But they have left me underwhelmed. They’ve never given me the “Yeah, buddy” feeling that I get from competing autopistols by Beretta, CZ, Glock, and Heckler & Koch (HK) leave.

Well, stop the presses — I’ve finally discovered a SIG product that I really, really like: the SIG 1911. I reckon it stands to reason that it would take an M1911 — the second autopistol design I truly fell in love with, after the Beretta 92F — to finally cause a SIG to give me that wow factor.

SIG Sauer 1911 Early History and Specifications

SIG Sauer, which traces its German-Swiss roots all the way back to 1853, finally tossed its hat into the 1911 pistol ring in 2004. 

As the manufacturer’s official info page states, “The classic 1911, with its legendary ergonomics and accuracy, has been engineered with modern refinements and SIG reliability. We have given history’s most revered pistol 21st Century updates, providing the features that meet the demands of modern shooters. Thanks to their all-metal frames, rugged construction and protective coatings, SIG SAUER 1911s are built to age just as well as Browning’s original design.” 

The four variants are dubbed the Emperor Scorpion Full-Size, STX Full-Size, Fastback Emperor Scorpion Carry, and Fastback Nightmare Carry.

Barrel length for the Full-Size Scorpion is 5 inches, overall length 8.7”, height is 5.5”, and weight is 41.6 ounces (2.6 ounces more than the no-frills mil-spec 1911 as originally designed by the late great John Moses Browning).

A Shooting Buddy’s Impressions

My old high school buddy Misfit, one of my earliest range pupils, is a big-time SIG fanboy — hell, he owns a .45 ACP SIG P220 — who gives me good-natured grief at every available opportunity about my love for Beretta and Glock. Here’s his opinion on the SIG 1911: “I’ve shot a SIG 1911 many times and always enjoyed it…If I had the extra cash to throw around, I’d buy the SIG 1911 Platinum Elite in a heartbeat.”

Personal Shooting Impressions/Range Report

Okay then, on to the fun part, dear readers. For that, I went to the ever-popular Cindy’s Hot Shots in Glen Burnie, Maryland, where the super-friendly staff hooked me up with their rental SIG 1911 Emperor Scorpion .45 ACP.

Ammo used was 50 rounds of PMC Bronze 230-grain full metal jacket, AKA “hardball.” Test-fire was divvied into 25 rounds of head shots at 7 yards and 25 rounds of center-torso shots at 25 yards, all delivered from the Classic Weaver Stance. Target used was the Pink-Fire Defender from Thompson Target, since my preferred ICE-QT paper target wasn’t available.

The trigger was delightfully crisp, the sight picture was easy to acquire and maintain even for my aging eyes, ergonomics were comfy as heck thanks to the beavertail grip safety, and though some old-school 1911 buffs like the late great Chuck Taylor and Lt. Col. (USMC. Ret.) Jeff Cooper decried extended slide stops, having that particular feature on the SIG makes thumb activation a cinch. The finish was sheer aesthetic beauty. But what about accuracy?

At 7 yards, all of my shots were perfectly centered, absolutely chewing out the center of the target’s head and leaving a satisfyingly gaping hole. At 25 yards, some of the rounds did start straying leftward. Interestingly they veered low-left, not high-left as my friend and fellow firearms instructor Lou Chiodo says is common for cross-eye-dominant shooters like myself. Nonetheless, all of the hits were quite satisfying and would have been solid torso impacts in the vitals of a real-life bad guy. I landed four impacts in the 10-ring, one in the 9-ring, five in the 8-ring, 10 in the 7-ring, four in the 6-ring, and one in the 5-ring. That may sound unimpressive at first, but if you look at the way the Pink-Fire Defender target is designed, all of the hits would have equated to a full 5 points on the ICE-QT or old-school B-27 silhouette target

Want Your Own?

True Gun Value states that “A SIG 1911 pistol is currently worth an average price of $1,148.54 new and $954.33 used. The 12-month average price is $1,110.54 new and $945.14 used.” Omaha Outdoors has three pages’ worth of SIG 1911 variants, at a price range of $879.99 to $1,599.99. Meanwhile, Sportsman’s Outdoor Superstore has two pages’ worth, at a price range of $829.99 to $1,999.99. 

Christian D. Orr has 33 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and the Nevada Police & Fires Games (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011. 

Written By

Christian D. Orr is a former Air Force officer, Federal law enforcement officer, and private military contractor (with assignments worked in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kosovo, Japan, Germany, and the Pentagon).