SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB Pistol Test Review
Testers: Doug Wall, Stephen Archer
Caliber: .177 BB
Test Date: 1 November 2016
Serial Numbers: 16E00002
Source of Supply: Supplied by SIG SAUER.
Condition: Pre-production test sample.
Strong blowback operation.
We Don't Like
No adjustable sights.
Our sample shot a little high.
Not much else!
- Value for Money 100%
- Comparison to Makers Claims:100%
- Consistency 100%
- Appearance and Finish 100%
- Buying and Owning 100%
- Realism, Look & Feel 100%
- Realism, Trigger Action 95%
- Accuracy & Point of Aim 80%
- Shot Count 75%
- Muzzle Velocity 70%
- Muzzle Velocity 70%
HARD AIR MAGAZINE TEST CONCLUSIONS
SIG SAUER is positioning the SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol squarely as a useful training tool for shooters at all levels. HAM feels it succeeds at this. It also stands squarely as a fun plinker and BB pistol.
The price is outstanding for an air pistol of this quality. SIG SAUER has clearly raised the price/performance/realism/fun equation by a step factor with this new introduction.
The centerfire firearm version of this pistol has an MSRP of $1713.00. The SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol is a cool $1602.01 cheaper and yet – apart from the ammunition – it’s really tough to tell the difference!
This 1911 wins a coveted HAM Gold Award with the highest score awarded to date. It’s a definite buy!
VALUE FOR MONEY
The SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol is a brand new product. The HAM team considers it outstanding value at its $110.99 MSRP and expects it to sell strongly at that price, with no need for discounting. We’re guessing that, eventually, the Street Price could fall to the $99.99 level, but we certainly would not wait for a price decline before buying this air pistol. Get one – or possibly two – now. It’s that good!
HAM tester Doug Wall said it best in his review notes. “This is a great gun for any 1911 owner to have as a practice/training gun. It’s also a fun gun for anyone who appreciates the 1911. The price is very good for a pistol of this quality”.
|HAM Test Rating||93%|
|Value For Money||At $1,602.01 LESS than the firearm version, it's a steal!|
|Firearm it Copies||SIG SAUER 1911 Max|
|Best BB Tested||Hornady Black Diamond|
|Street Price at Time of Test||$110.99.|
|Ammo Type||.177 caliber steel BBs.|
|Power Source||1 x 12 Gram CO2 cartridge.|
|Useful Shots per Fill||About 70.|
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SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB Pistol
REALISM – LOOKS AND FEEL
The SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol is a very realistic version of the 1911 Max firearm. The full metal frame and slide give a very realistic feel and heft to the pistol. The size, shape and balance likewise is an excellent match for the centerfire 1911.
As commented elsewhere in this review, the BB pistol is a few ounces lighter than the firearm version. And the grips are certainly not genuine Hogue Chainlink G-10 material – but they’re a pretty good replica and feel good in the hand. Overall, this BB pistol has great looks and feel.
Previous SIG SAUER air pistols have suffered from non-functioning minor controls, such as slide releases etc. On the SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol, all the minor controls function properly – well almost! – and this is another great contribution towards realistic looks and feel.
The magazine release and slide release both function correctly on the SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol. And so – most impressively – does the grip safety. The pistol will not fire without the grip safety being depressed – just as on the firearm original – even if the manual safety is “off”.
Note that some black metal parts – notably the rear sight, grip safety and safety lever on the gun tested by HAM showed some signs of wear – as you can see in this photo. The HAM team believes this to be due to the nature of this specific gun, which has clearly been used as a pre-production test sample. It’s not likely to be present on new , production manufactured guns.
Actually the manual safety is the only minor control that’s not completely functional. The firearm version has an ambidextrous safety. On the BB pistol, the “safety” on the right side is non-functional. So the safety is operational on the left side only.
Note. don’t forget to depress the small locking knob at the top to operate this safety! Once you know – and remember – this, it’s very natural to depress with the thumb when taking the safety off. But if not, you’ll spend some minutes wondering why the safety is stuck. Yip, been there, done that…
There’s only one obvious visible difference between the SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol and the 1911 Max centerfire version. It is this. The BB pistol features a short Weaver/picatinny rail ahead of the trigger guard. The 1911 Max does not have this feature.
ACCURACY AND POINT OF IMPACT
The SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol tested by HAM showed very good accuracy with all the standard HAM BB types. Accuracy was “minute of soda can” or better with all the pellets st 6 yards. Even at 10 yards, most of the BBs still hit the soda can.
That being said, the Max Michel BB pistol tested by HAM tended to shoot somewhat high and a little to the right. HAM tester Doug Wall commented: “Generally good accuracy but shoots quite high. Groups were at the top of the bull, even with a ‘ 6 o’clock hold’ on the bull.”
As this 1911 pistol has fixed sights – with no adjustment for elevation or windage – there’s little the shooter can do about this except aim a little low.
SIG SAUER also included some of their own brand BBs with the test gun. Although these are not a standard HAM test BB, Doug Wall also shot these BBs as an extra target. The good news is that the SIG SAUER BBs gave good accuracy, together with a good average muzzle velocity of 366 FPS. The target below shows this performance.
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COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
The main claim for the SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol is that it is modeled after the 1911 Max centerfire pistol designed by World Speed Shooting Champion and Team SIG Captain, Max Michel, Jr. Note that SIG SAUER does not describe the SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol as an exact replica of the centerfire firearm. But it’s close, for everything except the price, as the following table shows:
|1911 Max Centerfire||1911 Max Michel BB Pistol|
|Caliber||.45ACP, .40S&W||.177 BB|
|Capacity||8 + 1 Rounds||16 BBs|
|Trigger Pull||5 Lbs||6 Lbs|
|Overall Length||8.7 Inches||8.7 Inches|
|Overall Height||5.5 Inches||5.5 Inches|
|Weight With Magazine||41.6 Oz||38 Oz|
|Sights||Fiber Optic Adjustable.||Fixed, No Fiber Optics|
Given that the centerfire 1911 Max is nearly 16x – yes that’s SIXTEEN TIMES – the price of the SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol, the HAM team feels safe in saying that the gun definitely qualifies as a very close copy of the firearm.
Muzzle velocity for the SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol is given as “up to 410 fps”. The HAM team is clear that this is a realistic claim. The maximum average muzzle velocity recorded in HAM testing was 363 FPS, with most starting shots of a string recording numbers in the 385 – 395 fps range. As the tests were performed in a cool, 64 degrees F, range and as muzzle velocity will increase with temperature, it’s obvious that the SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol tested by HAM will achieve the manufacturer’s muzzle velocity claims.
The SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol tested by HAM demonstrated generally good consistency.
Average muzzle velocity was between 346 and 351 fps with four out of five standard HAM test BBs. Only the Avanti Ground Shot traveled a little slower. The SIG SAUER BBs shot somewhat faster at an average of 366 fps.
Standard Deviation – the measure of shot-to-shot variability in the string was consistently in the 11 – 16 fps range: again excepting the Avanti Shot. This means that the SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol shoots slower and slower throughout the string. This is, however, not unusual among CO2-powered BB pistols, particularly one with a strong blowback action such as this. And the slowing of successive shots is fairly predictable.
The trigger pull weight was also very consistent. It varied only a maximum of plus or minus 3 Ounces around the average pull weight of 6 Lbs. In practice, the HAM testers could not detect this level of variation in pull weight.
REALISM – TRIGGER AND ACTION
Blowback is the most immediately realistic aspect to the SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol. This blowback effect is very marked – especially with a new CO2 cartridge. This strong blowback gives a very good simulation of the recoiling slide of the firearm. Obviously a CO2-powered BB gun is never going to give the full recoiling effect of a .45 ACP! But HAM tester Doug Wall was very impressed and felt that the blowback felt similar to that from a .22 LR firearm.
Another realistic feature is the straight-bladed trigger. This has a solid feel to its single stage that’s well suited to rapid fire.
The semiautomatic action holds open well and consistently after the last BB is fired from the magazine. This is not one of those BB pistols that lets you keep firing blanks and wasting gas, however hard you try!
The bobbed hammer moves realistically, too, hitting the firing pin with authority. Again, just like the “real thing”.
Only one factor prevents a “full house” score. Unlike some replica BB pistols, the SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol does not partially field-strip. We’ve only dinged the gun a little for this, however.
With this level of strong blowback from a heavy metal slide, the SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol is never likely to have a very high shot count. (Nothing’s for free, after all).
But the shot count turned-out to be better than the HAM team was expecting. HAM tester Doug Wall recorded 70 shots at 64 degrees F before the muzzle velocity dropped to 234 fps – which he considered a minimum. It’s fair to remark, however, that this was achieved at a “slow fire” pace. Below, BBs are loaded using the thin “stick” magazine.
The shot count will be expected to rise with higher ambient temperature and fall with more rapid fire. In this respect, the SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol is similar to every other CO2-powered airgun.
Of course, muzzle velocity is not a very significant feature for any BB pistol. However, that doesn’t seem to stop everyone from needing to know that magic number!
The SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol tested by HAM gave the best average muzzle velocity of 349 fps using Hornady Black Diamond BBs. At least that’s from among the standard suite of test BBs. The actual highest fps was achieved by the SIG SAUER BBs that were supplied with the test gun. These clocked an average of 366 fps across the Chrony.
|BBs||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|Crosman Copperhead 5.13 Grain||348 FPS||1.38 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|Umarex Steel 5.29 Grain||351 FPS||1.45 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|ASG Blaster 5.32 Grain||346 FPS||1.41 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|Hornady Black Diamond 5.36 Grain||349 FPS||1.45 Ft/Lbs||Excellent. Best Tested.|
|Daisy Avanti 5.44 Grain||332 FPS||1.33 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
This is a great-looking BB pistol!
Overall appearance and finish are exceptionally realistic. Even in the hand, it’s difficult not to believe that the SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol is not a centerfire firearm. Even the obligatory “WARNING: Not a toy, etc…” legal markings on the slide are muted and not an obvious blemish on the appearance – as they can be with some other replica pistols.
Yes, this pistol has a molded frame and a molded slide, not the machined stainless steel of the centerfire version, but it’s really not that obvious at at range of more than about two feet. In the opinion of the HAM team, no-one will be dissatisfied with the appearance and finish of the SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol.
BUYING AND OWNING
This product is being reviewed before it actually goes on sale. So it’s difficult to say definitively how easy it will be to buy the SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol. However, HAM understands that it will be available in volume for Black Friday 2106 sales and that Pyramyd Air, Airgun Depot and other major retailers will be sure to carry this model.
There’s comfort behind the 12 month warranty offered by SIG SAUER on this BB pistol. This duration is about average for the market, but the SIG SAUER name standing behind it will inspire confidence in many purchasers.
Operationally, the HAM team found it very easy to load BBs into this pistol’s magazine. This 16-round magazine is a plastic molding and much smaller than most metal BB magazines. But don’t be put off by that! It certainly seems robust enough and the ease of loading puts many other BB magazines to shame.
At the time of writing, it’s not clear if additional magazines will be available. But we’re sure that SIG SAUER will sell a ton of them if they were to do so! Having multiple magazines pre-loaded with BBs before you start firing just makes so much sense and adds to the fun.
The 12 Gram CO2 cartridge loads into the pistol grip of the SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol, as expected. SIG SAUER’s patented cam-lever loading system works well, but does need a firm push on the lever. A huge benefit of this system is that there’s no external locking screw mechanism or separate Allen (hex) key required to install the CO2 cartridges. It makes for fast CO2 cartridge loading and ultra-realistic external appearance. Photo below.
The pre-production Owner’s Manual for the SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol reviewed by HAM was clearly written and illustrated. It gave clear, concise and easy-to-follow instructions. It also avoided the pictogram “no words required, but equally difficult to understand for all” approach adopted by some manufacturers. The version we had was in English only.
One point to note from the owner’s manual is that SIG SAUER specifically warns against using lead BBs. It says that these can cause jams in the SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB pistol. The HAM team believes this as the top BB in the magazine at any time is held in place by a magnet. Clearly this will not hold the BB correctly in place unless steel BBs are used. Once again, it pays to RTFM!
One thing not mentioned in the Owners Manual supplied with our test gun is how to remove a 12 Gram CO2 cartridge after it is used. This seems impossible at first. But the answer is simple. Pull down the CO2 cartridge lever and the cartridge is free to fall out of the gun. Photo below.
SAFETY FIRST. As with all BB-firing airguns, it’s necessary to wear shooting glasses when firing this airgun. Also do not shoot at hard surfaces or water. BBs tend to bounce off these surfaces and may hit you, or something other than what you intended. If in doubt, don’t pull the trigger! Due to the realistic appearance of this product, handle it as you would a firearm. Do not display it in public or in any place where it could be mistaken for a cartridge firearm.
6 YARD TEST TARGETS
10 YARD TEST TARGET
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SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel BB Pistol
This entire article including scoring, test targets etc is Copyright Hard Air Magazine and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the publisher.