Gun Review: Sig Sauer 1911 Compact Nickel

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Although many handgun manufacturers have begun to drift away from the venerable 1911 platform (and right about the time of its centennial, too), Sig Sauer has decided to produce a wide selection of 1911 handguns. It isn’t just a matter of just one or two models, as just a pro forma acknowledgement of this great American gun, either: Sig Sauer is now producing more than two dozen different 1911 handgun models, each variation offering to fulfill a specific niche.

This Sig Sauer 1911 Compact Nickel gun review singles out the features of one of the most recent of their offerings, although some of the observations apply across the spectrum of the maker’s 1911 family. For one thing, Sig is making a very big point about the quality of their 1911s – and well they should. While many American shooters have been willing to make allowances for some war production-era sidearms of marginal quality – that’s why we have gunsmiths and parts suppliers, after all – in recent decades, some domestic manufacturers were just making some 1911s that just weren’t up to standard. By contrast, Sig has made a commitment to provide the best materials and fitting for their series.

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As a compact (4.2” barrel) model, it is designed for a carry pistol, offering the standard 1911 platform with some well-considered design details and robust materials. With an overall 7.7” length, a height of 5.5” and a slim 1.4” width, plus a weight (with unloaded magazine) of 38.8 ounces, it can obviously be comfortably carried concealed throughout the day. This is, however, more than just a “chopped down” version of the full-size pistol: the Sig Sauer designers have taken obvious care to balance the frame, allow for the requirements of a shorter movement of the slide and the ratio of the overall length of the pistol to the size of the grip.

The low profile night sights, laminated custom wood grips, steel magazine well and shortened stainless steel slide all point to the pistol’s intended service as a combat firearm, not just a range pistol. This is also emphasized by other features: the match-grade barrel, hammer/sear set and trigger and the hand-filing production stage to ensure a smooth action.

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For a sure grip, the front strap is checkered with 25 lines per inch and the mainspring housing with 20 lpi. We won’t go so far as to say that this is an out-of-the-box custom pistol (only a custom pistol is a custom pistol), but there has obviously been more than usual care taken in the details and finish.

The stainless steel frame and slide have also been treated with Sig Sauer’s Nitron® nickel finish. Used by the company on several model pistols over the past few years, this finish was developed by a company called IONBond under the name DLC (Diamond Like Coating), and is applied as a vapor that bonds with the metal. It is described as being durable and corrosion resistant and, from reports on Internet gun discussion boards, it lives up to those claims.

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As with any other handgun, the individual performance at the range depends on a number of factors. The specific ammunition used, right down to the brand and components, can make all the difference. Aside from the break-in period any handgun has to go through, there’s also the time in which a shooter needs to become familiar with a specific gun. In other words, what you can get out of this model depends on what you are willing to put into it. Sig has put enough effort into the quality of its components that a shooter is given a good out-of-the-box pistol from which to work.

It is worth noting that the fact that Sig Sauer is supporting the 1911 .45ACP platform so enthusiastically is a good sign for supporters of that tradition. Best of all – and it bears repeating – this isn’t just one more 1911 among many. Sig apparently believes enough in the pistol to not only make it, but to put enough effort into the details to make it to the highest standards they can achieve.

Buy Sig Sauer 1911 Compact Nickel