SIG Sauer 1911 Traditional Match Elite Review

sig_sauer_1911_traditional_match_elite_FI put an order in three years ago to get this SIG SAUER 1911 Traditional Match Elite in .40 S&W, and it was definitely worth the wait.


My new Traditional Match Elite 1911 has a stainless-steel, match-grade, 5.0-inch, ramped barrel, and the standard-style barrel bushing is also stainless steel. The barrel's diameter at the muzzle is 0.581 inch, and it's precision crowned.

The stainless-steel slide has grasping grooves at the rear and at the front. The ejection port is lowered and flared. It has a fully adjustable, target-style rear sight that is similar in style to the classic Bo-Mar target sight except the corners of the rear blade have been rounded off and the blade's face has two white dots and horizontal serrations three-quarters of the way up. The entire rear sight has been recessed into the top of the slide. The front sight is a post that's dovetailed into the slide. It has one white dot on its face. The front post is 0.204 inch tall and 0.139 inch thick, and the notch in the rear sight is 0.139 inch wide. Sight radius is 6.5 inches.

The slide measures 0.92 inch wide just below the rear sight, and the pistol measures 1.33 inches thick at its widest point, outside the ambidextrous thumb safety. Grip circumference is 5.25 inches. This model comes with a standard-style recoil spring guide rod, recoil spring, and recoil spring guide plug. The overall length is 8.7 inches, and the height is 5.5 inches. Unloaded, the pistol weighs 41.6 ounces.

The frontstrap of the grip frame is checkered 25 lines per inch, and the flat mainspring housing is checkered, too (20 lines per inch). It also has a built-in, flush-fitted lanyard loop. The bottom of the grip frame is beveled, and the grip safety is a beavertail style with a smooth memory bump.

This model has a slightly extended slide lock, a serrated speed-type trigger with overtravel adjustment screw, and a modified Commander-style skeletonized hammer. The black laminated wood grips are checkered, and both panels bear the SIG SAUER name. Capacity of the single-stack magazines is eight rounds, and the gun comes with two stainless-steel magazines. They have bumper pads installed on their baseplates. The pistol's finish is natural stainless.

The fit and finish of this pistol are very good. This is no surprise. SIG SAUER guns are well known for being put together right, and they tend to be reliable and accurate. The trigger pull averaged 5.0 pounds exactly, with just 2 ounces of variation for the 10 times I measured it with my RCBS trigger-pull scale. There's a small bit of takeup, which is to be expected, but letoff is crisp and consistent. I could detect just the slightest amount of side-to-side play with the slide-to-frame fit when it was in battery, but the barrel didn't move at all when I pushed down on its hood.


I fired the pistol with factory loads, ranging in bullet weight from 135 to 180 grains. All of those loads produced five-shot group averages less than 2.75 inches at 25 yards with the gun fired from a Ransom Rest. That's for three, five-shot groups with each load. The tightest group average was 1.92 inches, and it came with the new 165-grain V-Crown ammunition from SIG. That load produced an average velocity of 1,104 fps, with a standard deviation of 8 fps and an extreme spread of 19 fps.

Firing on my 6-inch-wide swinging steel plate at self-defense distances of 7 and 15 yards, I was able to make multiple hits in rapid succession with the Traditional Match Elite. I don't care what anyone else says: The .40 S&W cartridge is noticeably softer on recoil and easier for me to shoot than the .45 ACP. Don't get me wrong, I do like the .45 ACP and will never be without a 1911 in that caliber, but this .40 S&W 1911 is great fun to shoot.

The .40 S&W cartridge was developed in the early 1990s for law enforcement personnel using autoloading pistols. It was designed to give substantial knock-down power without a lot of punishing recoil. It's been a favorite of mine in other types of semiautomatic pistols since I first encountered it in 1993. I've never had a Model 1911 chambered for it until now, but I think it is a great fit. It's perfect for defensive situations, and it's capable of very good accuracy in a good gun. The SIG SAUER Traditional Match Elite is such a gun. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's a great gun.

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