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Review: SIG 1911 Fastback Nightmare Carry

SIG yet to be in the 1911 game for 20 years, but it has made a big impression on the market. It originally introduced a quality 1911 with good sights, custom-grade controls, an internal extractor, and SIG quality. The result was a competitive pistol with good features. A trademark of the SIG 1911 is the slide, which is designed to be similar in appearance to the P-series pistols. This gives the SIG a distinctive appearance but requires a specific holster for its 1911 handguns. There are also Classic Sig 1911s with the conventional slide.

SIG Sauer Fastback 1911 pistol right profile

The SIG 1911 .45 is attractive, reliable, and accurate.

If there is any drawback to the 1911 Government Model, it is that it is large and heavy. While some of us have carried the Government Model .45 with careful choices in concealed carry holsters, the advantages of the type are sometimes weighed down by the heaviness of the piece. SIG developed a shorter 1911 for concealed carry. While not a new invention, SIG arguably has produced one of the best Commander .45s.

The Commander-size 1911 is a handgun with the slide and barrel shortened ¾-inch compared with the Government Model. The full-size firing grip is retained. A 1911 shortened in this manner is fast from leather and gives up little in handling and accuracy to the Government Model. The Government Model may be long and heavy, but it is narrow. Compared with the Glock or a Beretta 92, the Government Model is practically svelte. A shortened 1911 is a thin and easily concealed handgun. I like the balance of the 1911 Commander-type handgun. It is easily concealed and may be and carried for many hours in comfort due to its balance and thin profile.

A problem with the 1911’s handle is the square profile of the mainspring housing. This isn’t any problem in uniformed carry or under a covering garment, but the mainspring housing may impede concealment under a sport shirt when worn in an inside-the-waistband holster. If the mainspring housing has sharp edges, concealed carry is even more difficult. SIG has modified the mainspring housing in what they call the Fastback grip. The area of the mainspring housing is reduced, and the result is a rounded grip that is less likely to snag on clothing or print unnecessarily on outer clothing.

Mec-Gar 1911 Second Amendment magazine

The Mec-Gar 1911 Second Amendment magazine is a nice feature.

The shorter slide and barrel of the SIG 1911 earn it the Carry designation. The Fastback grip treatment is part of the appeal of the gun, and Nightmare is the black nitride finish contrasted with stainless controls. The pistol features the SIG external extractor, lowered ejection port, distinctive finish and stainless controls, excellent sights, and SIG hammer and trigger design. The sights feature SIGlite radioactive tritium inserts. The sight design offers an excellent sight picture day or night. There is practically no lateral play in the slide. The barrel bushing is tight, but the pistol may be fieldstripped without any tools. The SIG 1911 isn’t difficult to handle well. The controls are positive in operation and operate as designed.

This pistol exhibits attention to detail. The triggerguard is undercut for a better grip, and the frontstrap is treated to 30-lpi checkering. This checkered frontstrap, coupled with the checkered grips, makes for excellent adhesion and abrasion. The slide lock, magazine release, and slide lock safety are extended compared with a standard 1911 but not so much that they may be operated inadvertently. A match-type trigger makes for good control, and the hammer is a lightweight version designed to speed lock time.

Fastback or bobtail mainspring housing on the SIG 1911 pistol

The Fastback or bobtail mainspring housing aids in concealed carry. The flush-fit magazine is a plus.

The custom-grade beavertail grip safety funnels the hand into the grip. Some shooters allow the palm to come off the grip safety when using the fingers forward grip. This beavertail safety goes a long way toward eliminating that problem. This grip safety properly releases its hold on the trigger about halfway into compression. The SIG Fastback is also supplied with a nicely pebbled locking hard case. Two 8-round magazines are included.

The SIG Fastback 1911 is chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge. The .45 ACP is an efficient cartridge that does its work at low operating pressure. The .45 ACP demonstrates excellent efficiency. There is limited muzzle flash and little unburned power. The .45 ACP does its damage by frontal diameter and weight. Expansion is good to have, but .45 ACP jacketed ammunition enjoys an excellent reputation for wound potential and reliability.

I lubricated the pistol along the long bearing surfaces, barrel hood, barrel bushing, and locking lugs. I supplemented the issue magazines with a good supply of Mec-Gar magazines including the new Second Amendment edition. I have proofed the pistol with handloads, but here I used SIG Elite 230-grain FMJ ammunition.

I began firing at man-size targets at 5, 7, and 10 yards. I alternated between hammers, double taps, and controlled pairs. Results were excellent. A combination of a smooth 5-pound trigger compression and a well-shaped grip aided in obtaining good results. Frontstrap checkering, nicely checkered wood grips, and the beavertail grip safety add up to excellent control. The pistol never failed to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. The initial 50 rounds were pleasant. The 230-grain loads call for the 6 o’clock hold.

Checkered front strap on the SIG 1911 Fastback model

The front strap checkering is a welcome custom-grade feature.

I also fired SIG Elite loads using the V Crown bullet, an advanced design that offers a good balance of expansion, penetration, and reliable performance. I fired the 185-, 200-, and 230-grain V-Crown JHP loads. Accuracy potential is good with these personal defense loads. Firing from a solid benchrest firing position at 20 yards, the SIG exhibited a 2-inch five-shot group with the 200-grain V-Crown, which is excellent by any standard. The 185-grain load is intended to offer a lower-recoil loading with good expansion properties. This is a comfortable load to fire. The 230-grain load, perhaps, offers the best wound potential. I would use the bullet weight most accurate and comfortable to fire in the individual handgun. The average group was 2.5 inches with all loads. Clearly, the SIG Fastback Nightmare Carry is an excellent all-around carry gun.

The moderately extended controls on the Fastback allowed positive manipulation every time. The magazine well is beveled, and this is an aid in rapid ammunition supply replenishment. While the eight-round magazines with basepad aided these rapid reloads, the basepad extends about a half-inch below the grip frame and makes concealment more difficult. I will carry the pistol with the flush-fit MecGar magazine as the duty magazine. The spare magazine will be the easy-loading SIG with basepad.

After a thorough evaluation, the SIG Fastback proved to be a credible, even exceptional handgun and a gun combination well suited to concealed carry. It would be difficult to be better armed than with the SIG Fastback Nightmare Carry. This SIG pistol is reliable, powerful, accurate, and among the best personal defense handguns available.

“It would be difficult to be better armed than with the SIG Fastback Nightmare Carry.” Have you shot the SIG Fastback 1911? Do you agree with the author? Share your answers in the comment section.

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