Review: SIG Sauer Emperor Scorpion 1911 Commander

SIG Sauer Emperor Scorpion 1911 handgun

I’d venture to say most of us who are collectors have one or two favorite guns. These are the guns that would be the last to go if we found ourselves having to sell our collection. I’m not sure what my number two would be, but my number one is a SIG Sauer Emperor Scorpion 1911 fastback .45 ACP. You can tell by the opening picture, that its appearance is unique and eye-catching. To be honest, that’s what drew me to the gun. But that’s not what has made this gun a lasting friend.

Show-Stopping Shots

My first time shooting the Emperor Scorpion was after conducting the range portion of a License to Carry class. With the class over and students gone, I hung a range target and ran it out to 21 feet. I loaded 9 rounds of Inceptor ARX .45 ACP ammo and started shooting.

SIG Emperor Scorpion in a pistol case with a plastic wrapped magazine
This is the gun that caught my eye when I first opened the box. Equipped with the original G10 grips, it looks are stunning!

I was already infatuated with the pistol, but when the first two rounds went into the same hole, I began to think I had something really special. That could have been a fluke, but when the third round made little difference in the size of the hole, I called over one of my fellow instructors who was sweeping brass nearby and handed him my iPhone. He took a picture of the target with a 3-round hole and another picture after each shot.

At the end of 9 rounds, you could have covered the resulting hole with a quarter. I loaded up another magazine and fired eight more rounds. Now it would take a 50-cent piece to cover the single hole made by 17 rounds fired freehand.

The iPhone photos didn’t turn out very well because of the dim lighting on the range, and I wasn’t smart enough to bring the target in and save it after those first two magazines. I have the iPhone picture after 17 rounds and even though it’s a little fuzzy, you can see the size of the hole.

What endears this gun to me other than the fact that it’s 100% reliable, easy to shoot, and it’s the most accurate .45 I’ve ever owned. It not only makes me look good, but it’s also downright pretty. SIG built the gun with a stainless-steel body and a stainless-steel slide coated with a finish called PVD.

Quartering away view of the SIG Emperor Scorpion 1911 .45 ACP
Dressed in Cool Hand Luke Coyote Tan round butt grips with mega magazine release scoop, the Series 80 safety and external extractor are not only apparent but accented in black.

SIG Emperor Scorpion Features

Physical vapor deposition is a process used to create a very durable corrosion and tarnish-resistant finish. SIG calls the resulting color FDE, but to me, it looks like copper. There was nothing wrong with the black grips it came with, but while cruising the website for grips for another gun, I saw one made by Cool Hand that was Coyote Tan with a sunburst pattern — perfect to go with my copper-tanned Emperor.

The bobtail really does make carrying a 1911 Commander in an IWB holster easier. The texture on my replacement grips is different than the original. However, either set of grips allows for a good hand purchase.

I have 1911s with checkered front straps and ones without it. I like with better with the serrations and the SIG has those. The mainspring housing is curved to go with the rounded butt, and the grip safety has a pronounced memory bump. The extended beavertail offers good thumb protection. The sights are easy to see in any light, the ambidextrous safety clicks positively, on or off, and the trigger pull averaged 5.5 pounds. Fully loaded, the Emperor weighs 36 ounces.

base plate on a Colt 8-round .45 ACP magazine in a SIG Emperor Scorpion 1911 fastback handgun
A 1911 magazine doesn’t have to extend below the grip frame to hold 8 rounds of .45 ACP. These Colt mags have a small lip in front that makes snatching the magazine out a piece of cake.

It’s easy to strip the emperor down to the basics for cleaning and lubrication. It responds to standard 1911 takedown and reassembly — made easier because it doesn’t have a full-length guide rod. For 1911 shooters who care about such things, the Emperor has a series 80 trigger system and an external extractor. Some like these and others hate them. To me, it doesn’t make one whit of difference in how the gun handles or shoots.

The gun came with two 8-round magazines. The magazine extends below the grip. I like having 9 rounds on board, but I don’t like having an extended magazine. My solution is Colt’s 8-round magazine that doesn’t have an extended pad. I bought a bunch of these a few years ago and have tried them with every 1911 I could put my hands on, and they’ve always worked.

Field stripped SIG Emperor Scorpion 1911 .45 ACP pistol
Easy takedown and easy cleaning keep the SIG Sauer Emperor Scorpion happy.

Lately, I’ve been seeing “out of stock” wherever these magazines were sold online, including Colt, but the Chip McCormick magazine appears almost identical to me. My point is that a 1911 magazine doesn’t have to extend below the grip frame to hold 8 rounds of .45 ACP. These mags have a small lip in front of the base plate that makes snatching the magazine out a piece of cake, when needed.


SIG has the gun that’s the subject of this review in its catalog. If you want a gun that will last for years, shoot as accurately as you can, carry well, and look good doing it, consider the SIG Sauer Emperor Scorpion Carry Commander.

Which gun or guns would you hold on to the longest if you were forced to sell your collection? Which SIG gun is your favorite? Share your answers in the comment section.

  • D.M. Bullard IWB leather holster with SIG Emperor Scorpion Carry Commander
  • Field stripped SIG Emperor Scorpion 1911 .45 ACP pistol
  • SIG Sauer Emperor Scorpion 1911 handgun
  • Quartering away view of the SIG Emperor Scorpion 1911 .45 ACP
  • shooting target at an indoor range
  • SIG Emperor Scorpion with pvd coating, right, profile
  • SIG Emperor Scorpion in a pistol case with a plastic wrapped magazine
  • base plate on a Colt 8-round .45 ACP magazine in a SIG Emperor Scorpion 1911 fastback handgun

About the Author:

David Freeman

David is an NRA Instructor in pistol, rifle and shotgun, a Chief Range Safety Officer and is certified by the State of Texas to teach the Texas License to Carry Course and the Hunter Education Course. He has also owned and operated a gun store. David's passion is to pass along knowledge and information to help shooters of all ages and experience levels enjoy shooting sports and have the confidence to protect their homes and persons. He flew medevac helicopters in Vietnam and worked for many years as a corporate pilot before becoming actively involved in the firearm industry.
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 (12)

  1. I was not able to find the Cool Hand grip panels but found a very nice set of starburst in brown and black from Stoner CNC

  2. I wasn’t sure if I wanted a 1911 in my arsenal. Then I shot a co-worker’s 1911 Springfield. Loved it. So I started looking at Sig 1911’s ( self proclaimed Sig-a-Holic). Love the looks of the Nightmare, but unavailable. So I look d at this and and loved it. Got it and is now my EDC.

    PS. Found a Nightmare and now am VERY satisfied.

  3. i have sig p220 very confident in the accuracy 25 to 50 yards with 180 gr hollow points coming out of the pipe at 1150fps it feels great in the hands and a fun gun to shoot

  4. Can you please give the source of the grips in more detail? Include vendor name and part number please.


  5. Love it. Great look. I have 3 1911s, one 45 ACP and one 9mm from Rock Island and one older Remington 45 ACP. As far as the Colt mags, I did have a failure just this past weekend with one of my 10 round original Colt mag. Carrier hung about three and half rounds down jamming the feed. I got the rounds out but haven’t yet figured how to strip the mag down sense the base plate is welded.

  6. Nice gun, very pretty BUT too heavy to carry all day. Ive got a Kimber Pro Carry 2 with an aluminum frame and 8+1 rounds is 34oz / empty its 26oz. If an all steel commander weights 35 oz. empty with 8+1 will weigh 43oz. Ugh.

  7. My last gun to go would be either my Wilson Combat EDC X9 or 1911 in.45.
    I have a Sig 1911 and comes close. Next would be my Legion P320

  8. “Fully loaded, the Emperor weighs 36 ounces.” According to the Sig website, the pistol weighs 35 ounces empty. What is the actual weight when fully loaded?

  9. I always prefer to leave in my collection a 1911 models. Whatever make it is as long as cal.45 only. The firepower is my most admired performance of this remarkable handgun. Nothing else can change my mind.

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