The Sig Sauer Traditional Compact .45 features the right combination of solid tradition and innovation in a combative application handgun. Steve Woods Photo

Sig Sauer has introduced a series of 1911 pistols that they call traditional, and from what I can see, Sig understands the concept. Except for being made from stainless steel (some upgrades are worthwhile!) Sig has worked hard to deliver a Series 70 pistol (no plunger safety) that even the most hardcore fan of John Browning’s masterpiece could enjoy. I chose to review their Compact model as I think it is a nice compromise between a carry/duty pistol and a gun to be carried concealed. The Compact uses the short grip frame of the Officer’s Model and combines it with the short slide of a Commander, resulting in a gun that is “big enough but small enough” for most combative applications. The Compact would be right at home in the thigh holster of a S.W.A.T. cop or the concealed scabbard of a detective.

Perfect Hybrid
When it comes to features, Sig has made the Traditional Compact just right, in my humble opinion. The new Sig Sauer Traditional Series is made up of four models that feature the recognizable “round-top” 1911 slide profile, forward cocking serrations and a lightweight, three-hole adjustable trigger. Standard on all models are a match-grade barrel, flat-checkered mainspring housing and speed bump grip safety. This feature is more important than many realize. During the pandemonium and stress of armed conflict, a perfect grip is oftentimes lacking when deploying a fighting pistol. The high shoulder of the speed bump on the bottom of the grip safety helps keep the gun in the fight even if a perfect grip is not achieved. The front straps have 25LPI checking and the mainspring housing has 20LPI for optimum grip and user comfort. The 1911 Traditional Reverse Two-Tone is a full-size 1911 featuring a brushed stainless steel frame and a black Nitron-coated stainless slide. Black control levers, low profile SIGLITE night sights that are very Novak-like in configuration, and Hogue black Diamondwood checkered grips make this pistol a full-size gun worth having.

While the rear serrations can be used for chamber checking, the author does not like how the fingers get in each other’s way.

The 1911 Traditional Match Elite is the first Sig Sauer 1911 to be offered in a caliber other than .45 ACP. While some may think this distracts from the “traditional” theme, it would be wise to consider that Sig builds guns to make a profit and alternate calibers are necessary in a gun that is intended for the competition market. Besides, what could be more “traditionally American” than making a profit? Another full-size 1911, the Match Elite chambered in .45 ACP, is available as a two-tone with a matte stainless frame and a black Nitron-coated slide. The 9mm and .40S&W Match Elite models are also full-size guns, but feature a matte stainless slide and frame, matte stainless controls and fully adjustable target sights. The Match Elites come equipped with Hogue custom wood checkered grips, which offer a solid hold even in inclement weather.

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July 2011

The Sig Sauer Traditional Compact .45 features the right combination of solid tradition and…