Sometimes you just get excited no matter how long you have been at this game, and no matter how many air guns you have handled and evaluated. The right one can still strike a happy chord. The Spartan 1911-type airgun is among the most distinctive airguns I have ever handled. It is modeled, like many others, after the real thing, SIG’s 1911 .45 caliber Spartan.
The pistol is very similar in appearance to the centerfire pistol. A few years ago, SIG Sauer introduced the Spartan 1911 to its growing line of 1911 handguns. The 1911 is my favorite handgun, so this got my attention. I have written three books on the 1911 and carried the pistol professionally, so I know my way around the type. I am not happy with cheap imitations. The Spartan airgun isn’t a cheap imitation. Instead, it is a good example of an air powered 1911.
The safety, slide lock, grip sight, sights, grips and other features of the Spartan airgun are identical to the centerfire handgun. The heft isn’t the same, but the Spartan isn’t a lightweight either at 32 ounces. Manipulation of controls, sight picture, and trigger press are similar enough to the original that the Spartan may be used as an effective trainer.
As a stand-alone airgun, it is also really cool and a joy to use and fire—even if you do not own a 1911 pistol. The olive drab finish is offset by Gold inlay Molon Labe emblems. The close translation of the Spartan Credo is ‘Come and Take It,’ sometimes translated as ‘Come and Get It,’ and has become a watchword and symbol of gun rights.
The grips are emblazoned with a gold Spartan helmet. The pistol cannot be faulted on looks and bling appeal. The slide is cut exactly like the SIG 1911 .45. The SIG features a rather square cut. This cut is more angular than the original 1911 and is intended to give the SIG Sauer 1911s a distinctive look that is similar to the SIG P series guns such as the SIG P226 and SIG P220. The appearance is businesslike.
The pistol features generous cocking grooves on the slide and small forward cocking serrations. The forward cocking serrations are useful for those with limited hand strength and offer good leverage. The slide isn’t difficult to rack at all. The sights are Novak Lo Mount. These are the premier combat sights in the world and they offer a precise and very clear sight picture.
The ejection port reveals the barrel and air chamber. The slide lock functions to lock the slide to the rear for loading. The frame features a true working integral light rail for mounting combat lights or lasers. I mounted a TruGlo laser/light combination with excellent results. While I like the TruGlo, it is affordable and a good match for the Spartan.
The magazine release operates in the conventional manner to drop the magazine. The BB magazines use standard steel 4.5mm BBs. The magazine holds 16 BBs. To load the Spartan, I first locked the slide to the rear. Next, I removed the magazine and loaded it with 16 SIG Sauer brand BBs.
I lifted the magazine mainspring slightly and angled it to the rear. Then, I removed the left hand grip panel and insert a gas cylinder into the grip. With the gas cylinder secure, I levered the mainspring housing in place, piercing the gas cylinder. I replaced the grip. I was good to go.
I dropped the slide by actuating the slide lock and placed the Spartan on safe. Like the real Spartan, the Spartan airgun had dual safety levers but only one actually operates. The other is simply molded into the frame. The safety lever is pressed up for safe and down for fire.
The safety differs significantly from other handguns in that a tiny button in the safety must be pressed in order to move the safety to the fire position. This isn’t difficult once you are aware of the procedure. The pistol sits well in the hand. The front strap is nicely serrated and the effect is the feel of a custom grade 1911.
I set a test target at 5 yards. The pistol is pleasant to fire and the slide reciprocates in the same manner as a cartridge firing gun. The sights are a great aid in centering the shots. This is a pistol that invites fast shooting. I was able to keep small targets rolling and home in on the X-ring as well—the mark of a versatile airgun.
The SIG Sauer press release states the pistol is rated at ‘up to 410 fps.’ This depends upon the gas used, temperature and height above sea level, but the Spartan averaged 355 fps with a new gas canister. I cannot find anything to fault with this airgun. It is powerful enough for practice and use with reaction targets and certainly has real eye appeal. SIG Sauer has a winner in the Spartan.
Have you used an airgun for practice at a discounted cost? How would the SIG Sauer Spartan rank on your personal list? Do you have a youngster or new shooter who would absolutely love on of these quality airguns? Share your answers 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. Bob 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 Shooters Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also 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. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.
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