Range Report: SIG TACOPS .45

SIG Sauer TACOPS pistol right side

Some say John Moses Browning was born with an angel whispering in his ear. The man had great status not only as a designer and inventor but as a man of great honesty. Perhaps his most important contribution to firearms development was the Browning machine gun, particularly in the fast firing version for aircraft use. But he is remembered best among the shooting public for the 1911 handgun. The machine gun is a weapon of war while the handgun is personal.

black SIG TACOPS pistol
The SIG TACOPS is a first class all around 1911 .45.

We are able to own and use the handgun, but few of us will own a Browning machine gun. I am a fan, and a student, of the 1911. There are modern pistols that share the operation and manual of arms of the original but not the metallurgy and material. The Tokyo Bullet Train and the 19th Century Old Faithful are both trains but that is about the extent of the resemblance. So it is with the SIG TACOPS and the earlier 1911 pistols. The modern SIG TACOPS are arguably among the finest service grade 1911 handguns ever built.

The TACOPS shares the basic geometry of the 1911. The low-bore centerline, straight to the rear trigger compression, and ideally shaped grip are parts of the golden ratio that shooters appreciate. Trigger compression is smooth and breaks at a crisp five pounds. The slide lock safety allows a very fast and accurate first shot while making certain the slide doesn’t move when holstering the handgun. The grip safety locks the trigger until depressed about half way into its travel.

Both the slide lock safety and grip safety fall under the hand readily on drawing the handgun. Neither limits speed in deployment. The SIG is manufactured in America. The slide features a subtle restyling to give the pistol a SIG-like appearance in the field of 1911 handguns.The grips are the proven Ergo grips. A note of caution: be careful when choosing a holster; it’s always safest to order the SIG specific holster.

SIG Sauer TACOPS pistol with Destroy the Undead target
Firing rapidly at 7 to 20 yards the TACOPS delivered life saving accuracy.

My affinity for this all black tactical pistol came about in an unusual fashion. An assignment to test the SIG against a top quality 1911 was an eye opener. I owned a rather expensive and by any standard great shooting 1911. The borrowed SIG TACOPS simply did the business better—in my opinion. I reluctantly sent the SIG back but when the opportunity presented itself, I cheerfully became the proud owner of my own SIG TACOPS.

As a writer and professional reviewer, I test many handguns during the course of a year. I confirm reliability first and then consider accuracy. There are subjective features. Most of the handguns are ordinary but good enough for the intended purpose. Only a few are dogs. Very few impress as this handgun has. When a pistol reaches a certain price point you do not forget the effort involved in obtaining the piece. The TACOPS was well worth its price.

The finish is a workmanlike black phosphate. The combination of black grips and black finish is 100% tactical. All controls exhibited a positive indent. The Novak sights give the trained shooter every advantage to hit the target. If you want a rail gun, the SIG offers a first quality 1911 with a heritage of excellence behind it. Overall, there is little to nothing to fault in this handgun.

The rail adds weight to an already heavy handgun. If you want a lighter handgun, get the SIG Scorpion. If you want a service grade .45 with a light rail the TACOPS is the ticket. I have used the rail gun with a variety of lights with excellent results, however, the SIG rail seems a bit larger than some, requiring some adjustment. At present the Viridian light fits my needs.

SIG Sauer TACOPS pistol with four boxes of ammunition
The pistol was test fired with several loads. All gave good results.

When beginning any review, I first field strip and examine the pistol, then lubricate it according to specifications. Since this is a personal handgun geared toward personal defense, and destined to fit the bill as a go anywhere do anything handgun, I wished it function well with my favorite defense loads. The pistol also had to perform well with handloads or I would not be doing a lot of practice.

A standard handload using the Hornady 185-grain XTP over enough WW 231 powder for 1,000 fps gave excellent results. This pistol has proven fast from leather, tractable, with good transverse between targets, and due to the weight, grip, and low bore axis, the pistol simply hangs on target and delivers. During these drills, I used the supplied range holster. It isn’t service grade but works satisfactorily for non-critical use. Switching to factory loads, I fired the Winchester M1911 230-grain JHP. Offered in 50-round boxes for economy, this load offers rapid expansion. The Winchester PDX 230-grain JHP is a bonded core load with a balance of expansion and penetration favoring penetration.

I also fired a magazine each of the Hornady American Gunner 185-grain XTP and the Hornady 200-grain XTP. This is a good all around loading breaking 975 fps from the TACOPS. The 200-grain XTP is respected for its penetration and accuracy, and this load also exhibited good function. Firing from the benchrest for accuracy and to properly set the sights, the pistol exhibited 5-shot groups of less than 2-inches at 15 yards. The SIG TACOPS is good enough to ride with.

Are you a SIG fan? 1911 fan? How does the SIG TACOPS rank on your list? Share your opinion in the comment section.


About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (22)

  1. I have been the proud owner of a Sig 1911 TacOps since Feb 2014 when Sig was running the AWESOME promotion of buy a 45 acp 1911 and get a free 22LR 1911. I have put about 1200 rds of ammo without a single issue. I have to give Kudos to SIg for putting together a very nice 1911 with features usually associated with Custom or Semi Custom 1911. The TacOps is very accurate and I have been able to get 3/4 inch groups at 25yds with Military Grade 230gr FMJs. I have put FMJs, JHPs and Frangible ammo as well.

  2. I own both a Sig Tacops and Springfield 1911. I bought the Sig after friend of mine went out to shoot with an operator (retired seal) with his $3300.00 Wison Combat 45. He was excited to show off the his skills with the WC. I was waiting to speak with him about the outing, by the look on his face I knew what the results were. I saved $2300.00 and at the time Sig included a Sig 22 cal copy of the Tacop. I have nothing but great things to say about the 45 and the 22! As the owner for over 3 years I shoot the Sig more than my Springfield, Kimber or Safari Arms 45 (last gun shows my age)…

  3. The 45ACP Glock of a Garland Police officer, penetrated the body armor of two assault rifle attackers and stopped them both in 15seconds. Thus the the caliber debate rages. If penetration is all one is after, my 357 Sig does better than my 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45ACP. Of coarse the ammunition used makes all the difference (ball in the 45 vs hollow point in the 9 etc). All this ballistic gelatin testing seems to only provide a point of comparison, rather than determining what works best in each in different senerios. The 357 Sig can be a problem because of over penetration and is likely a bad choice for home protection.
    Was somebody wearing that steel helmet when it was hit? Wow, that would really ring your bell !!

    1. Even a Level IIA vest (the lowest classification under NIJ guidelines) is likely to stop a 45 ACP bullet. Additionally, Level II and IIIA vests (which will definitely stop 45 ACP bullets) are commonly available for comparable cost to a IIA vest.

      Either media reports that the attackers in Garland, TX were wearing body armor were incorrect (load-bearing “tactical” vests are often confused with body armor in media reports), or the police officer shot them in the head. Either way, the officer’s marksmanship mattered far more than the caliber he was using.

  4. The picture is wrong, as well as the text “… delivering life saving accuracy…” because a 45ACP does NOT penetrate a German steel helmet! I know first hand as a former German soldier.

    1. LOL
      That is actually a paper target, and a zombie at that. Thanks for the comment. I am certain that if a 230 grain FMJ bullet hit a helmet at close range the brains would be scrambled a bit.

  5. @Bob Campbell, yep, Springfield makes a great set of guns. I’ve even fired ancient WWII Springfield M1911’s to great effect.
    They’re sticking with quality over quantity and it shows in reliability.

    I tend to not trust “race guns” and highly customized models in combat, as the looser tolerances that prevent jamming are removed and hence, are not optimal for battlefield conditions.
    Still, what matters is if one can terminate the target and what one can hold comfortably and engage accurately should be the determinating factor, not what someone who isn’t firing decides.

  6. I enjoy all my guns for what they are and my FNX 45 Tactical is a great 45 for what it is (15 + 1 if anybody cares). However I shoot in a couple of leagues and have seen the pro & cons of the 1911s that a number of the competitors use. The only thing a that has held me back, is the concern that a 1911 is a tuners gun and one must have a good relationship with one’s gunsmith. I am a bit surprised by the 5lb trigger, as I am used to a bit lighter, though I am sure it breaks perfectly. None the less the Sig goes on my list of ones I want to try out, along with the S&W e-series, and STI. I rented a couple of Kimbers and Springfield Armory 1911s, OK but alas no love affair. Unfortunately, as the price goes up, the harder they are to find for rental and I don’t have any spare 1000 dollar bills to spend on a gun that I may or may not really like.
    Thanks for the article,

    1. Thanks for reading!

      Good comments. As you said when you find the right gun it will arrest you on the spot, and rentals are a good way to go.

      Bob Campbell

  7. Got 1911 tacops for Christmas haven’t shot it yet but loved the feel of it. Will be home soon and at the range. Nice to hear good stuff about it. This is my 8th SigSauer not a bad one in the bunch.

  8. I own a Sig 1911 Tacops and absolutely LOVE IT! As said above it is a service ready 1911. I run 8 round wilson combat mags and a few chip mccormick 10 round mags and it is a tac driver! Whem compared with my friends 1400 kimber it makes the Sig a true bargain, it shoots easily as good if not better and the overall fit/finish is top notch Sig.

  9. So SIG has brought out a 1911 look a like. Unfortunately, Mr Campbell fails to give any particulars about the weapon; i.e. is it single or double stack? Since it is a Sig, I’ll wager that it is a single stack. Barrel length? Again, because it a SIG, probably 3. 9 inches since SIG can’t seem to make a longer barrel on any of it’s handguns. The price is $999. Ho hum. I shot a RIA 1911 A2 which is just as accurate and currently sells for $499. And it holds 15 rounds with one in the tube. The only thing lacking is a rail.

    1. I own a RIA 1911 A2. Mine might be a different configuration. Mine is double stack 14 + 1 rds, fiber optic front sight and a pic rail. Roughly 2 inch groups at 25 yards out of the box off a rest, which is quite impressive. Trigger is very good but not a match trigger but can be easily improved. In any case, half the price of the Sig.

    2. All true 1911s are single stack. SIG TACOPS is a Government Model with a five inch barrel. Inexperienced shooters may indeed find that an entry level handguns such as the RIA shoots about as well as the TACOPS. Experienced shooters will disagree. Those able to discern quality will immediate find the SIG offers considerable advantages over entry level handguns and features, fit and finish comparable to worth competitors such as the Colt, Kimber and Springfield. SIG handguns have been proven in extensive institutional tests that separate the wheat from the chaff. A 15 shot RIA must be a 9mm. The 9mm isnt in the same class a .45 in wound potential- despite what junk scientists say.

    1. I still will stick with my Springfield GI M1911. I can drag it through a cesspool and it’ll still fire.
      Even if I don’t enjoy the aftereffects.

    2. Sir,
      I own a Springfield LW Loaded Model with 20,000 rounds on the frame without a single malfunction. A steel frame Springfield has now made it to 5,000 rounds without a problem. My son is a Captain in the Guard and favors a Novak custom Springfield, my other son carries a Loaded Model Target. You faith in Springfield is not misplaced. Just the same the TACOPS is a great 1911. The Springfield line is certainly a great choice!

  10. I love my Sig 1911 C3 with CT laser. The 3 tone combination just does it for me. Light alloy small frame only holds 7 rounds but it has the deep magwell extension that hides the 8 round mag with bumper perfectly. It looks vey much like the tacops apart from the color and rail. Of course mine is the 4.25 length barrel too. Perfect balance, great in the hand, and… Well, you get it…

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