What could make a sunny spring day in Northern Ireland even better? A trip to the range of course and what was waiting for me was a nice surprise. Anyone that knows me can tell you I love a 1911 and always have, it’s a classic design and I find it feels comfortable in the hand. The downside of a .45 ACP is the price of shooting one, for example at the time of writing this the last rounds I bought worked out around 52 pence each. Now take into account a days shooting and I’m sure you can see that if you are refilling your magazines for a few hours it is expensive to shoot.
So when I picked up this particular 1911 sitting in my lane I instantly noticed 2 things. Firstly how light it was and secondly the big 1911 – 22 written on the slide. It felt exactly the same in the hand as the .45 I usually shoot but to the trained eye there were subtle differences.
This model was manufactured by a company called GSG (German Sport Guns) under license from Sig Sauer, they were given strict instructions by Sig on how the gun should be made and finished and the quality does appear to be high for the price range, as make no mistake this is a budget pistol but then that is one of its major selling points.
Out of the box the pistol comes equipped with its own case (a little flimsy but who really cares), one 10 round magazine, a spare set of adjustable sights, cleaning brush, tool kit and rather surprisingly a lock. The finish on the pistol looked good however I have heard reports that it can cause issues further down the line due to wear so I would recommend taking it apart and lightly sanding it off where metal rubs on metal in normal operation. The 1911 features an ambidextrous safety as well as a grip safety which must be depressed in order to fire, which I must say isn’t a feature that I dislike however this particular model also had a magazine safety which means a magazine must be in the gun for it to operate. Now while it is not recommended to dry fire a rimfire gun I do feel this was overkill on the part of GSG and if I owned one I would probably disable this myself. The sights included are low profile 3 dot sights which I didn’t need to adjust at all so I was impressed, it features a lightweight metal frame and slide due to the physics of designing a 22LR semi auto handgun- or in other words you don’t have as much kick from a 22 as you would from a 45 in order to cycle a heavy slide, so it was taken into account for the design of this pistol.
One thing I wasn’t keen on aesthetically speaking was the extended “beaver tail” hammer guard at the rear as I feel this spoils the classic 1911 look, however as this is a small gripe I will reserve judgement until I shoot it. I also feel one 10 round magazine wasn’t enough and there should be 2 as standard. 10 rounds just seems stingy when it comes to a 22……but on to firing it.
The recoil was virtually non existent as was expected but what impressed me was its accuracy. The sights were spot on and easy to use, the trigger pull was light and responsive with a very acceptable 2.2 average and it didn’t feel vague but crisp with a very acceptable reset. The 10 round capacity is a let down for me but this seems to be the norm for 22 pistols, ideally I would of liked 2 or 3 mags ready to go but you can purchase these easily from the manufacturer. I fired 500 rounds through this particular gun and had only 2 failures to feed and one stove pipe which for a rimfire really isn’t that bad however I’ve been told an upgrade kit is available which eliminates this problem. CCI mini mag coupled with SK target rounds were my ammo of choice for the shoot and I would recommend these to anyone using this pistol.
It showed tight grouping at 25 meters and as it was so inexpensive to shoot I can see it’s appeal for the avid shooter that wants a days fun for little investment. The fact that it was so accurate with no adjustment would put it on my list of possible purchases in the near future, it would also be a very useful training tool for new shooters wanting to get a 1911 as it is virtually identical to the full caliber just at a fraction of the operating costs.
So would I recommend one? Yes and no, it’s a fun pistol, it’s relatively cheap (I’ve seen second hand ones for £200) and with the cost of decent 22LR rounds being around £5 for 50 it won’t break the bank feeding it. It’s easy to strip and clean, has countless accessories available and you can even get a ridiculous looking UK legal one on the mainland if you don’t mind the extended barrel and grip extension. However you will pay between £500 to £600 for the privilege unfortunately, the one in the picture below is £620…………I know. 🙄 However you can pick one up stateside for around $350 so it may be worth considering importing one if you are allowed standard pistols.
While the model I reviewed was a licensed Sig I believe they are now manufactured as GSG branded models and they have a fantastic range of colours and grip styles including a very tasty olive green combo that caught my eye. GSG although a relative newcomer appear to be making a name for themselves in the gun industry and have many fans both here and stateside so I look forward to seeing what they bring out next. For me the 1911 is a fun pistol and one I can see picking up in the near future to put in my own safe. However I am curious to try the Beretta M9.22 before I would invest in one of these just yet.
Caliber .22 lr HV
Overall length 218 mm
Overall height 140 mm
Overall width 36,5 mm
Weight 975 g
Barrel length 127 mm
Rifling length 406 mm
Number of grooves 6
Sight length 136 mm
Trigger pool. 1.900 – 2.500 g / 19 – 25 N
Magazine Capacity 10