The Traditional Match Elite in 9 mm Luger in stainless steel, recently released by its prestigious manufacturer, has an unquestionable dashing look. The precision machined surfaces of the frame and slide shows a quite cleanly executed, bead-blasted finish. The front and rear of the frame show accurately cut, machined checkering that offers a firm purchase, especially with damp hands. The slender grips in lightly distressed brown wood are a good match.
The tolerances between the frame and slide gave no cause for criticism, but in our view the barrel would have benefited from a slightly tighter fit, as it only took a little thumb pressure on the chamber situated in the exposed ejection port to push the barrel down onto the slide release lever. The barrel bushing, fastened using a bayonet mount in the muzzle section of the slide, was so loose that it could be disassembled by hand without requiring any particular tools.
There is a traditionally short spring-guided rod with front receiver and modern flat wire recoil spring below the 5″/127 mm barrel. Like all 1911 models made by SIG Sauer, the Elite Match also comes with the typical trademark in the form of a spring-loaded extractor on the side instead of the originally internal, self-tensioned version. There is a drop safety on the inside of the rear slide, which was probably added as a concession to Californian law.
The single action trigger system with light metal skeleton trigger and trigger stop breaks cleanly and crisply from the release point after an average pull of 2,100 grams, whereby the relatively high weight is likely prompted by product liability concerns in the US. Less would have been more in this case, but as everyone knows it only takes slight, simple modifications to reduce trigger weight. Delivering an extremely respectable target picture are the fully adjustable micrometer sights mounted in the dovetail at the end of the slide, a broad rear sight blade with lengthwise serrations and a ramped front sight with a white, three-dot target lead system. The all-steel pistol is rounded of with a high grip beavertail for an elevated hand position, a beavertail safety lever with short thumb rest, and fast rack serrations at the front and back of the slide for any kind of firearm manipulation.
The SIG Sauer 1911 Traditional Match Elite in Practice
Ten different types of ammunition – nine factory loads and one hand load – with a bullet weight range of 95 to 147 grains were used in the test. A pleasing, top group size of 26 millimeters (ransom rest, 10 shot, 25 meters) was recorded with the high velocity, soft point, truncated cone Sellier & Bellot factory cartridges in 100 grains, despite the slightly wobbly barrel fit. This result was followed by the GECO 124 grains Hexagon and the factory ammunition by the same company with full-metal jacket in the same weight, which came second and third with 36 and 37 millimeters, respectively.
Summing up the SIG Sauer 1911 Traditional Match Elite
The features are preconfigured out of the box, provided the shooter is happy with the trigger pull. A minor tuning of the trigger would certainly be helpful in order to adjust the handgun’s undoubtedly excellent shooting potential for freehand target shooting.
The pistol can hold its own with some ammunition types in 25-meter precision disciplines, and its use in dynamic shooting sport disciplines such as the IPSC Classic Division is predestined anyway. Delivered in a hard shell case with spare magazine, the SIG Sauer 1911 Traditional Match Elite in 9 mm Luger changes hands for €1,599.00. A fair deal.