There is no more recognizable handgun than the 1911 .45. This iconic handgun has set the pace for combat excellence for over 100 years. Reliability, practical accuracy, fast handling, and knock down power are coupled with excellent human engineering. There are now many variants in size and caliber but the original Government Model steel-frame handgun with a 5-inch barrel is arguably the most reliable and the best suited to combat use. The SIG TACOPS (Tactical Operations) handgun is a result of the intense development of the original design. This handgun features famous SIG attention to detail and manufacture. Designed for law enforcement and military use and intended to meet a high standard of reliability makes the pistol an ideal 1911 for the rest us as well.
SIG delivers the pistol in a lockable black box along with a total of four magazines. You are off and running with the minimum number of magazines for long-term service without having to order spares. This is a nice touch. The pistol differs from most 1911 handguns in key details. The slide is machined with raised flat serrations providing an appearance similar to the SIG P series handguns. This makes for a distinctive trademark look. The finish is flat black. There are no forward cocking serrations, only well shaped rear cocking grooves. The sights are ideal for all-around use. Novak sights are the standard by which all others are judged. These sights include three dot tritium inserts. This SIG breaks almost 42 ounces making it a little heavier than most Government Model 1911 handguns. This makes for better recoil control and this all black rail gun features excellent balance.
Ergo grips make for excellent abrasion and adhesions when firing. A checkered front strap adds to the non-slip surface of the handgun. The rear strap or mainspring housing is also nicely checkered. The pistol features a modern beavertail grip safety that helps funnel the hand into the firing grip. Those using the thumbs forward grip sometimes allow the palm to rise off the beavertail safety, activating the safety and locking the trigger. This beavertail grip safety helps prevent that error. The slide lock safety levers are ambidextrous. The left-hand lever is a speed safety type while the right-hand lever, for left-hand use, is slightly smaller. The pistol features a well fitted solid barrel bushing. While tight it is only finger tight, allowing field stripping the pistol without tools. The TACOPS features a relatively smooth 7-pound trigger compression. The extractor is the external type. In modern manufacture, this type of extractor may be superior to the original 1911 internal extractor. The pistol also incorporates an integral light rail for mounting lights or lasers, something important to many shooters. I tested my example with the TruGlo combat light with excellent results. This light features the option of using either bright white light, a red laser, or both in conjunction. This is a solid tactical light and one of the best deals on the market. The pistol features a magazine well or funnel. A word to the wise, be certain the magazines have bumper pads. Otherwise, you will have difficulty rapidly inserting them.
The pistol was lubricated along its long bearing surfaces and taken to the range with an assortment of ammunition. The primary loading used in this evaluation was the Winchester 230-grain FMJ loading. This is the traditional hardball loading. Winchester offers this load in the USA line in 100-round boxes. The 230-grain FMJ burns clean and offers good utility for practice. I loaded the magazines, as well as spare MecGar units, and began grooving into man-size targets at the 5-, 7- and 10-yard line. This handgun is easy to control. The 1911’s low bore axis limits muzzle flip along with the TACOPS pistol’s weight, and the modest push of the .45 ACP cartridge. Simply put, I destroyed the X-ring of the targets in rapid fire. Rapid magazine changes are easy to carry out. The magazine release is tight as needed, the magazines fall free readily, and the magazine funnel aids in rapidly replenishing the ammunition supply. This is clearly a credible combat handgun.
I added several respected personal defense and service loadings. The Winchester 185-grain Silvertip is a light recoiling number with plenty of velocity to ensure bullet expansion. This load offers light for the caliber recoil and good accuracy. I fired a 20-round box and executed headshots on demand at 10 yards. This is a good option for personal defense. Moving to the heavier 230-grain PDX Defender, I fired the same drills and found the TACOPS sights well-regulated for the 230-grain PDX load. Accuracy is good. Firing from a solid bench rest and using the Bullshooters pistol rest, I fired two 5-shot groups at 20-yards each with the 230-grain FMJ loading and the 230-grain PDX loading. The PDX had the advantage with a 2-inch average, the FMJ grouped slightly larger. The TACOPS pistol exhibits good reliability and by any standard is good enough to ride with.
Packing the TACOPS 1911
My demands for a quality 1911 holster include premium steerhide and excellent fit. It isn’t easy to find a 1911 railgun holster that also offers good concealment. The GALCO N3 inside the waistband holster offers an offset belt loop that cinches the holster in tightly against the body for excellent concealment. There is a sweat guard to help protect the handgun and the body. A reinforced holstering welt makes for easy holsters and prevents the holster from collapsing once the handgun is drawn. You can pay more for a holster, but it doesn’t get any better than the N3. I have also used the Ironhide holster. This is a very rugged holster. For range and field use it is very useful. I like the security of the holster, and when taking long hikes and climbs I do not have to worry about the handgun. It would serve for carry under a vest as well. Good kit, well worth the price.
What do you look for in a 1911? Tell us in the comment section.
Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice, and is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooter’s Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills, and others. He is a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications also. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.