SIG’s Racy Fastback

Modified SIG Fastback, barrel pointed to the left on a white background

The term fastback was once applied to the 1963 Ford and later the Mustang Fastback. The SIG Fastback is racy, attractive and offers excellent performance. By the same token, the Fastback is not for everyone.

Brown gripped SIG Fastback, barrel pointed to the right on a white background
Attractive, reliable and powerful, the SIG Fastback is a distinctive handgun.

What counts is not the latest black tactical handgun or accessories; it is solid performance. Barrel fitting, slide-to-frame fit and trigger compression all add up to an excellent handgun. The ability to place the shots on target, quickly, with a high degree of accuracy is inherent in this design.

Advantages of the Fastback

The SIG 1911 Fastback offers every advantage when you are a trained shooter. Tactics are simply the application of skills to gain advantage. Along with intelligent choices, those skills can be lifesavers. A decision to be responsible for your own safety should be accompanied by training and study.

You should learn to use, and use well, this formidable handgun. Very few shooters are truly well trained, although many are competent enough to safely handle the firearm. Good gear does not make you a shooter any more than an airline ticket makes a pilot. While workouts are important so is cutting the junk intake, most of what is important in a handgun fight is mental.

A handgun such as the SIG 1911 complements a trained shooter and the Fastback is much like any other SIG 1911. The primary difference between the SIG 1911 and other 1911s is the slide design.

The SIG is machined to resemble the SIG P-series handguns, giving it a distinctive appearance, which appeals to SIG fans as well as the rest of the shooting public. I do not know if the slide design is stronger, although it is more difficult to machine.

A consideration is that the slide design prevents holstering in a tightly molded custom holster. Be certain you order a holster for the SIG 1911. The pistol illustrated fits my Don Hume 721 thumbbreak perfectly. The first night I went on patrol as a peace officer, I wore a Don Hume Leathergoods holster, and little has changed since.

SIG Fastback with Strap Checkering
A combination of excellent front strap checkering and good design of the checkered wooden grips makes for good abrasion and adhesion.

The Fastback is a good 1911 that stands on its own merits without comparison to any other handgun.

  • The pistol’s sights are particularly good.
  • The Novak-type sights with tritium inserts give you a self-luminous, 24-hour option. I like the thought of this miniature nuclear furnace leading me through the night.
  • The sight picture is clear and sharp.
  • The handgun features good fit and finish.
  • There is little lateral play between the slide and frame.

The slide-lock safety is positive in action, snapping neatly into place with each actuation. The indent is positive. The grip safety releases its hold on the trigger about halfway into travel, which is ideal for personal defense. Trigger compression is smooth, with no creep or backlash at 5 pounds. The primary difference between the Fastback and other 1911s is the rounded mainspring housing. That design is intended to facilitate concealed carry.

The 1911 is concealable with a bit of careful holster selection even though the grip frame is the single, most difficult part to conceal. The bobtail design is not a hand-fit choice; it is a concealed-carry choice. Unlike choosing a flat or arched mainspring housing for personal preference, the bobtail is a genuine improvement without resorting to a short Officer’s Model. The Bobtail makes a difference in concealed carry and is the product of considerable testing, evaluation and research.

SIG gave up much of the advantage of the bobtail by supplying the pistol with extended-base pad magazines. I changed to flush-fit Chip McCormick magazines to cure that oversight.

There was some discussion among my family and friends who fired the handgun. The flat mainspring housing is generally regarded as best for target shooting, while the arched mainspring housing is praised for rapid-fire combat shooting, along with the long trigger. Those with small hands praised the bobtail mainspring housing, which did not seem to limit anyone else.

It may cause some shooters to fire high, and so does the flat mainspring housing. The bobtail is different; some like it more than others. The firing hand may be attained quickly on the draw. It may be learned and learned well. The 1911 Fastback proved a capable handgun on the firing line. And let us not forget where a 1911 .45 excels—personal protection and self defense.

SIG Fastback Bobtail Grip
The primary advantage of the Fastback (left) is the bobtail grip design.

Violent crime is a specter in the community’s mind, which is the reason we are armed. Most violent criminals are pathetic cowards who have chosen a sad path when other avenues are open. When they engage in robbery, rape and other depravity, they do not count on the victims being armed.

When engaging in a violent attack, a criminal recognizes three possible outcomes: they will not be caught, they will be caught, or they will go out in a blaze of shooting. Killing another human being to escape is not necessarily the goal although is a possible solution to the problem of being caught.

Make no mistake, a predator is on a different intellectual track than you and I. That outlook is diametrically opposite of ours. They view their victims with contempt, not with hate. When facing a violent criminal, the only reliable predictor of survival is prior training. Your mindset must be intact. Psychological preventive maintenance is important.

Selecting Your Handgun

SIG Fastback with focus on external extractor
The SIG external extractor has proven trouble free and positive in operation.

Handgun selection is important; it must must be completely trustworthy and reliable. The SIG Fastback meets those criteria.

It must be fast on the presentation. The SIG Fastback is fast from a properly designed holster. The full firing grip goes a long way in that regard. The handgun should be as powerful as you can control and, at the same time, I stress control. A 1911 .45 in steel frame is controllable. There is a huge difference between controlling a handgun on the range and when your hands are sweaty or cold numbed.

Absolute familiarity with the piece is important. The SIG is controllable, and the custom-grade checkering of the front strap affords excellent adhesion.

A handgun should also be accurate enough for personal defense. While that has been the subject of debate, practical accuracy at speed is what matters. It is something of a stunt to produce long-range accuracy with a hard-kicking, short-barrel handgun. Accuracy comes easier with a service-grade pistol.

The U.S. Army demanded 5 inches at 25 yards with the original 1911, and the SIG Fastback is much more accurate than that standard. While the accuracy demonstrated is not strictly necessary in a combat handgun, the SIG Fastback encourages practice.

SIG Fastback and Don Hume Thumb Break
The author found the SIG 1911 Fastback and Don Hume thumb break an excellent combination of high-quality gear.

With every 1911, I begin a drill by firing quality 230-grain ball ammunition. In some cases, a quality 1911 requires a modest break-in period of 50 to 100 rounds. The SIG Fastback came out of the box shooting; no problems there.

  • I used the Fiocchi 230-grain, full-metal-jacketed loading for initial firing. Results were good. The Fiocchi load burns clean with little unburned powder ash and good accuracy.
  • I also used the 230-grain JHP, my favored Fiocchi load for personal defense, and the 230-grain EXTREMA, which uses the XTP hollow point. There were no failures to feed, chamber, fire or eject.
  • Later, I proofed the SIG Fastback further with the new Win1911 loads, both full-metal-jacketed JHP loads. Function was good.
  • Finally, I fired the Winchester 230-grain PDX load. That is a powerful load using a bonded-core bullet. A favorite of law enforcement, the PDX gave excellent all-around accuracy.

For the past 20 years, I have used a standard, heavy handload of a heavy charge of Unique powder topped by a Hornady XTP bullet. At just more than 920 fps, it is an accurate handload. I use once-fired brass, load to 1.250 inches and enjoy excellent accuracy.

When all is said and done, the SIG Fastback 1911 .45 stands tall among good handguns. It is a choice that will not let you down.


15 yards, 5-shot groups

Load Group
 Winchester USA 230-Grain FMJ  2.0 inches
 Winchester 230-Grain PDX 1.25 inches
Fiocchi 230-Grain JHP 2.1 inches
Fiocchi 230-Grain EXTREMA 1.4 inches


Manufacturer Load Group
 200-Grain SWC/Magnus Bullets 1,000 fps  1.8 inches
 230-Grain Hornady XTP 925 fps  1.5 inches

So, you ready to get your own SIG Fastback after reading the details? Tell us about it in the comments 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 (8)

  1. After many years carrying, using and handling a 1911, I went on to other handguns. Then Sig came out with this pistol. I have the fastback nightmare, well done pistol, made in the U.S. And out of the box, hit the red spot in the 10 ring, 2.5 inch group first 7. 100 rounds day one NO issues. After 1000 rounds no problems at all, even with the military mags from the 70’s.
    The external extractor bothers some, why is unknown.
    One comment about an ill informed person, that at the start of WW2 Rock island was a sub contractor on 1911’s till Japan over ran them, check serial number listing for colt and Springfield.
    You could compete in stock events with the gun and do well. The author of the review is spot on, and this gun is my new carry, especially in large international cities.
    A well placed round from this gun will stop the adversary, no issues. I have in real life used a 1911 to do just that.
    This is a must have gun for any shooter with experience.

  2. naturally like your web-site but you need to check the spelling on quite
    a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I to
    find it very troublesome to inform the truth then again I will certainly come back again.

  3. The first applied usage of the word “Fastback”, applies to the, 1933 Packard 1106 Twelve Aero Sport Coupe. The first application of the word “Fastback” goes to the Czechoslovak automobile manufacturer of the, 1950 Tatra T87 automobile. And the first defined usage of the word “Fastback”, entered the Merriam-Webster Dictionary Lexicon in 1954.

  4. @ Stephen.

    It’s call SARCASM, Sir. There probably not one country on the face of the Earth, that doesn’t make a COPY or a SUB-VARIATION of the John Browning’s M1911 Automatic/Semi-Automatic Pistol. Weather it is a Licensed Produced Copy, and/or a Counterfeit Produced Copy.

    1. 1911 market already full of Pilipino and Brazilian manufactured guns. (Armscor/Rock Island and Taurus) Sig does do some manufacturing in New Hampshire.

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