Sig TacOps 1911 – Range Report

After taking a detailed look inside the Sig TacOps 1911, it was time to hit the range and see how all those nice looking parts did together.

Running some mixed ball and JHP through the gun yielded nothing of note, as it fed reliably and functioned with a variety of magazines.  What was of interest was that the ejection pattern was fairly wide and somewhat erratic, with empties flying over my head on some shots.  When running the extractor function test, a test protocol in which the gun must be able to extract and eject without a magazine in place, the Sig was unable to finish it without a failure.  The photo below shows a typical result from the test.

Before you jump up and down, I would ask you to please read the linked article about the extractor function test.  I will note that the Sig did function during normal firing, but to my trained eye, it was apparent that the ejection pattern was not optimal.  The reason for this failure is that the Sig’s external extractor, essentially the same as the Caspian design from which their slides originated, has the claw placed a little bit too high relative to the breech face.  This causes the case rim to be pulled off the claw when the barrel links down, leaving very little for the claw to hold until the case head hits the ejector.  There is not much fixing this, and you are pretty much stuck with it.  I detailed the advantages and disadvantages of the external extractor in a 1911 in several earlier blog posts:

So what does this mean?  So you say your Sig 1911 works great and you have never had an issue?  Cool.  But shoot it again and have someone else watch the ejection pattern and tell me what you see.  Run the extractor test and see what you get.  Folks are constantly arguing that they’d never fire their 1911 without the magazine, so who cares about what the test shows?  The test is just that – a test, and not a drill.  Through our experience, we have seen that it is a very solid metric for predicting extractor function in a 1911.  A 1911 that passes that test will typically have a long service cycle with proper extraction and ejection.  A 1911 that fails the test may or may not function well when fired normally, but pretty much every gun that fails to properly extract and eject during normal firing also fails the extractor test.  You figure it out.

WIth the above sidebar out of the way, here are my final thoughts on the Sig TacOps:

  • Great build and small parts quality at the price point, which is around $1000-1100.
  • Feeds and fires well during normal range use.
  • Sub-optimal extractor design will require diligent monitoring of all related parts to favor its function – keep the chamber and breech face clean and smooth, make sure the claw is clean and intact, replace the extractor and spring if ejection pattern deteriorates further.
  • Use convex follower magazines like the Wilson 7rd, which will reduce the likelihood that a spent case will be dragged through the feed lips should the extractor slip off the rim.

Due solely to the less than optimal extractor design and its accompanying functional issues, I do not recommend the Sig for service applications.  There is no easy fix for the extractor setup, and users will be better served choosing a different 1911 for duty use.


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About Hilton Yam

Hilton Yam is the founder of 10-8 Performance, LLC. He is a full time law enforcement officer in Florida with extensive experience working robbery and violent fugitives. He is currently assigned to firearms training and SWAT. He is a team leader as well as the lead instructor for his team, responsible for providing training in firearms, CQB, rappelling, defensive tactics, and team tactics. Hilton is also responsible for RDT&E of equipment. He has carried a 1911 extensively on duty, and has spent a great deal of time examining what makes the guns succeed and fail.

13 thoughts on “Sig TacOps 1911 – Range Report

  1. Actually there is an easy fix, assuming that it’s still available-Several years ago, Bruce Gray of GrayGuns designed a carbon steel replacement extractor specifically for the SIG 1911. Although the OEM extractor on my “Gen 2” GSR XO had been performing without incident, Bruce used mine as a voluntary “beta tester” for his new extractor. Interestingly, when he removed the OEM SIG extractor, he discovered that approximately 30% of the extractor hook had chipped away through use. The GrayGuns extractor he installed on mine has performed absolutely flawlessly for the last several years. SIG also has modified their OEM extractor, both materially and geometrically-apparently they discovered (as did Beretta previously with their 92 Inox guns) that stainless steel isn’t necessarily the ideal material for extractors, and reverted to carbon steel (although Hlton’s test results indicate that the geometry still needs additional tweaking).

    Magazine-wise, my GSR is run exclusively with a combination of Check-Mate and/or CerTac magazines (I do feel compelled to make the obligatory disclosure that Check-Mate is my sponsor, but I genuinely believe in the magazines {and the company}). My initial carry magazine is a welded baseplate, hybrid feedlip magazine, either 7- or 8-round; reload magazines are either Check-Mate 8 round hybrid feedlip Extended Tubes, CerTac 8 round extended tubes, or Check-Mate 7 or 8 round welded baseplate hybrid feedlip magazines with low-profile screw-on polymer basepads to help ensure reloads in stressful situations.

    Best, Jon

    • Jon:
      I’ve known Bruce since the early ’90’s, and we’ve conversed often about the failings of the Sig 1911 extractor. While his extractor does apparently provide a significant boost to the function of the Sig 1911, we agreed that it was at best a band-aid for the design flaw rather than a true “fix.” I stand by my comments above, in that the Sig’s slide design allows only for a sub-optimal extractor placement.

      • Hilton, if you’d like to have access to my “Gen 2” GSR XO with the Bruce Gray extractor while your in Bellevue WA in March for some hands-on T&E of the extractor, I’m sure we can arrainge something.

        Best, Jon Stein

  2. Hello Jon,
    I believe Gray is out of those extractors. Do you have any photos of that carbon steel extractor that I might duplicate in my shop? TIA, Todd

  3. Todd, let me touch bases with Bruce. When I agreed to be one of his “beta testers” he was very clear that it was a proprietary design, and while that was several years ago, I want to be careful that I’m not violating his trust and/or intellectual property rights first.

    Best, Jon Stein

    • Todd, Jon:
      The GrayGuns Sig 1911 extractor, which is currently out of production, is a proprietary design. If you want to come up with one for yourself, by all means have at it. If you want one of the extractors, contact Gray Guns to see about another production run rather than just copying his work.

  4. Makes perfect sense to me-I concur with what Hilton suggests, Todd.

    Best, Jon

  5. Hilton I respect your expertise and experience. That said I have a Tacops which was produced on the 7th of September of 2012 which seems to eject perfectly both with a magazine in place and without it in place. Maybe it would be more fair on your part to sample more of these pistols before writing them off. I’m not questioning your ability or test protocols. I am questioning your review based on one pistol. It is neither scientific or fair. If you can somehow procure 10 or more of these pistols from open market sources which are of recent production and then these things happen it will be meaningful. Other wise it is simply one review of one gun and nothing more can fairly be said.

    • Dave:
      Thanks for your feedback and the info on your pistol. In fairness, the data has been gathered over many years through first hand experience with Sig 1911s in our training classes, analysis of the design, testing of over 23,000 rounds and about 10 different extractor designs on a Caspian slide of identical format to the Sig OEM, and consultation with other industry experts. So while you see only one gun here, there is quite a bit more research that went into this. Similarly, you are also condemning my “sample of one” with your own sample of one. I am pleased for you that your pistol is working great. By all means enjoy it and drive on.

  6. I know this article is a few months old but like Dave, I too have a 2012 production (3/12/12) Sig Tacops albeit with the squared Sig style slide profile. After reading this article, I wanted to test it with the above extraction test. I ran and completed the extraction test three times during my range session today. All three times were perfect. I ran the test at the very beginning, halfway through and as a wrap up at the end. All told I ran 250 rounds through it today without incident. Maybe I just got a good one, but so far, I have nothing to complain about and mine did pass the extraction test both clean and dirty.

  7. Finally found the time to do just the extractor test with my SIG TO Traditional slide, March 12th, ’12 production as well. Pistol passed like a champ. Only mods are a TLR and rear sight. Gray did not get back to me, but I guess it doesn’t need the “new and Improved” extractor anyway. Way to go SIG!

  8. Is there a difference in the extractor geometry between the standard Sig slide and the traditional slide?

    • As far as I have seen, the extractors are the same geometry and location. However, there have been many different generations of the extractors.

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