Comparison: SIG Sauer 1911 Match Elite and Colt Government M 1911

Many of today's 1911 models are produced for the civilian market: one of these sports guns is the SIG Sauer 1911 Match Elite in 9mm Luger. Even as a stainless steel version, it has the classic barrel bushing and has two locking lugs as well.

1911 pistols
The Model 1911 Traditional Match Elite Stainless pistol

Most designers add numerous elements to the 1911 models mainly for reasons of nostalgia. Reason enough to compare the SIG Sauer Match Elite with an original Colt Government M 1911 from 1918.


The left magazine button and the lines on the SIG Sauer frame are still close to the original. The slide delights with a design based on the original, which combines straight flanks with half-rounded lines in front of the dust cover.

The SIG Sauer also presents additional traditional elements on its frame: a simple hammer spring housing and wooden grip panels with a double diamond pattern. The hammer spring housing uses the straight design of the original 1911s and not the curved variant of the later M 1911 A 1. The SIG Sauer has a good grip here thanks to the cross-chequering.

SIG Sauer 1911 Match Elite and Colt Government M 1911
The SIG Sauer 1911 Match Elite semiautomatic pistol compared with an original First World War era Colt Government M 1911 (above) in .45 ACP.

An ergonomically improved double-sided thumb safety is used to make the SIG Sauer ready to fire. The Colt Government only has a thumb safety on the left side. Additional improvements were also made to the backstrap safety: the hammer of the Match Elite falls into the hollow of a beavertail high grip when cocked. 

SIG Sauer's 1911 Match Elite vs. Colt Government: adjustable match sight against fixed sights

The grip has a memory groove. All of these aspects are improvements on the Colt M 1911. Other new features in the Match Elite include the Commander hammer and the skeleton trigger. The sights and the crosshatching of the finger grooves on the SIG Sauer also differ from the classic design.

Manufacturing tolerances: a classic Colt rattles. According to military standards, it also needs to work when grains of sand find their way between the slide and the frame. In the Match Elite, the fit is extremely tight and precisely machined. Overall, a successful pistol based on traditional designs and a sporty set of features.

The SIG Sauer 1911 Match Elite in detail

SIG Sauer offers its 1911 models in a black, lockable plastic case and with a spare magazine. The magazines are extremely similar to those of the .45 versions. The frame, spring, and follower are made of metal, and the floor plate of the magazine is plastic. The magazines accommodate up to ten rounds and show beautiful workmanship.

beaver tail
More differences, between the SIG Sauer and the Government 1911: the extended beaver tail and the checkering of the main spring housing. All details which still did not exist in the Government.
Locks and barrels of 1911 pistols
The SIG Sauer 1911 also has front slide serrations, to reflect new weapon manipulation and chambering techniques which were not available in the 1920's

In this version, the Match Elite offers a rear match sight whose elevation and windage can be adjusted, a front sight that can be drifted laterally, a skeleton trigger, and additional finger grooves at the front of the slide.

rear sight
SIG Sauer 1911 Match Elite is really tight: if the round is chambered "riding the slide" and not letting it go, the slide will not lock
The single stack magazines: from left to right, the stainless steel magazine of the SIG Sauer with plastic base, and the welded Colt magazine

SIG Sauer 1911 Match Elite at the range

Except for the UMC rounds (115 grain), the Match Elite had no problems shooting all loads. The UMC caused feed problems on the test gun multiple times. This is probably due to the shape of the bullet, as the UMC uses flat jacketed hollow point bullets, and this was the only type of round that did not always chamber properly.


At 38 to 60 mm, the five-shot groups at a distance of 25 metres were all located very close to each other. There were no outliers worth mentioning. The Prvi Partizan ammunition provided the best hit pattern by a wide margin. 

The 123 grain Fiocchi came second at just under 50 mm. With a group size of 52 mm, the UMC ammunition still managed to achieve a decent result. The average of the group sizes measured was 50.2 mm. These results show that the Match Elite has an excellent hit pattern among large-calibre pistols. Naturally, the recoil of the SIG Sauer 1911 Match Elite in 9mm Luger is perceptibly weaker than a .45 ACP calibre Colt M 1911. When cycling, the sharp-edged rear sight cut into the cycling hand somewhat.

rear sight
The SIG Sauer features an adjustable rear sight and an extended automatic grip safety as well as an ambidextrous -and also extended - thumb safety.

The skeleton aluminium trigger has only minimum creep up to a clear discharge, after which it pulls back a few millimetres. 

The trigger pull was measured at around 2,400 grams, and did not have any noticeably negative effect during the firing test. The balance and hand position of the gun were also good.

SIG Sauer 1911 Match Elite - Verdict and price

If you are looking for a high-quality sports pistol with a classic Colt M 1911 design, you should definitely take a look at the SIG Sauer 1911 Match Elite. Apart from a number of glitches with the jacketed hollow point rounds from UMC, there was nothing negative to report about the SIG Sauer test. The group sizes of the shot were among the best for 9 mm pistols, and the trigger behaviour and sights matched the test weapon well.

The workmanship on this pistol is very good. Extremely tight fits, high-quality materials and a clean finish are testimonies to its maker’s superb standards of manufacturing expertise.

SIG Sauer 1911 Match Elite
Technically, the SIG Sauer is closely based on the venerable Colt 1911.

More information of SIG Sauer 1911 you'll find on SIG Sauer website

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