By Darby Darrow
Many companies these days are producing their own versions of the venerable 1911. The question then becomes: How to choose one suitable for my needs? First you will need to identify your needs, as a gun for plinking, USPSA competition, daily carry, home defense may need different features. In this case, we were looking for a gun for daily carry.
One of our considerations in the purchase of any firearm is the reputation of the manufacturer. Reputable manufacturers have a good quality control program which will reduce the likelihood of receiving a “lemon”, and they are likely to stay in business to be able to honor their warranty, should it ever be needed.
Sig Sauer is a Swiss firearms company that produces many models of semi-automatic handguns and rifles and has been producing firearms since 1854. Sig is known for their workmanship and reliability. The Sig Sauer Emperor Scorpion Fastback that we tested is consistent with their stable of handguns for both workmanship and reliability.
Sig Sauer has over 40 models of 1911 to choose from. If you already have a holster(s) for a 1911 you may want to consider purchasing one of their traditional models which will fit into your existing holster(s). If you are starting from scratch you can choose either the traditional model or from one of their many Sig profiles since you will be purchasing a new holster anyway. Since we have a drawer full of holsters for traditional models of the 1911 we wanted something from Sig’s traditional profile line of guns.
Meet the Fastback
The Emperor Scorpion Fastback
With so many models from Sig Sauer to choose from, we decided to go with an Emperor Scorpion Fastback model (MSRP is $1,174). This model is the same size as the Colt Commander. It has the same grip length as the full sized Government model but a shorter barrel at 4.25 inches. The shorter barrel length reduces the weight to make carrying more comfortable without reducing the reliability, which we sometimes see in the subcompact models. Having a full sized grip allows the shooter full contact with the weapon, especially if the shooter has large hands. The Fastback portion of the name refers to the rounded back strap. This rounding is slightly more comfortable to carry as there is one less sharp edge next to your body, but more importantly, the rounded contour provides less “printing” when carrying concealed. Depending on the size of your hand, the weapon may sit in your hand differently, but we didn’t notice any difference when shooting.
The weapon comes in a Custom Flat Dark Earth with a PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) finish. The skeletonized trigger and hammer, as well as the safeties, sites and external extractor are in a contrasting black. The FDE color is an interesting departure from the normal blued or stainless steel look. With some normal use in leather and Kydex holsters the gun started to show some holster wear. This wear is minor and in our view gives a daily carried gun some character. The beavertail grip safety comes with a substantial memory bump which is a very desirable feature if you use the high thumb grip. The weapon has an ambidextrous safety and low profile night sights. The slide comes with both front and rear cocking serrations. The weapon has an 80 series firing pin block.
The slide to frame fit was great. With the recoil, spring removed the slide moved freely on the frame rails and there was very little vertical/lateral movement. The trigger arrived with a very crisp 4.5 lb pull. The Fastback comes with a set of Custom Hogue G-10 grips and mainspring housing. The texture on the grips are aggressive enough to provide ample traction, but will not shred your hand. The front strap has a very nice 25 lines per in checkering adding to the control of the weapon. The mag well is beveled to assist in smooth reloads. The gun ships with two Checkmate 8 round magazines, which have the hybrid style of feed lips, metal dimpled follower and an extended base plate. The extended base plates provide a nice lip if you ever have to manually strip the magazine from the weapon should it fail to drop free, but if you want a shorter profile for concealability you may want to go with a magazine with a flat base.
The Emperor Scorpion Fastback comes in a hardshell plastic case that can be locked with padlocks making it compliant with TSA check luggage rules for airline flights. Sig also provides
Sig Provided a box of 50 of their Elite Performance 230-grain Full Metal Jacket rounds and a box of 50 of their Elite Performance 200 grain Jacketed Hollow Point rounds. Using the supplied magazines the ammo fed reliably. For this test, we shot 200 rounds of ball and JHP ammo without a failure.
The Sig Emperor Scorpion Fastback is a fine looking weapon with an interesting color scheme and nice fit and finish. The fastback/bobtail makes for a more comfortable concealed carry while at the same time reducing the printing under the cover garment. The crisp single action trigger provides consistent accuracy as long as you do your part!
Like all Sigs, the Emperor Scorpion Fastback comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Our final answer? Shut up and take my money!