2006 Vintage "Generation 2" SIGARMS GSR XO

Discussion in 'Range Reports & Reviews' started by JonInWA, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. JonInWA

    JonInWA New Member

    Sep 15, 2011
    This is one of the first of the XOs, basically the value-leader/entry-level SIG 1911. It's a "Gen 2," meaning that while SIG produced the slide, frame, barrel, and probably some other components in-house, it still retained the very high-quality external-vendored small parts components as specified by Matt McLearn. Obviously I'm prejudiced, but I think that these early "Gen 2" guns represent the proverbial "sweet spot" of SIG 1911 production, having the ultra high-quality components, plus through harsh previous experience SIG had upped their comittment to the 1911 production guns in terms of superior quality in-house produced frames, barrels, and slides, as well as upping the quality and quantity of the workforce dedicated to the 1911 line.

    At this point in production, the XOs were basically the rail-less gun with some operationally insignificant external flaws (mine has some minor marring/divots in the lower forward portion of the slide {the "bulletnose" area}), and a less expensive finish-SIG called it their "XO Black" finish; it by all appearences is a spray-on, bake in teflon based finish over the GSR standard stainless steel. When I purchased mine in 2006, I directly compared it to an identical matte silver GSR XO, and considered that the black finish provided superior lubricosity, and a far better appearance-the silver XO's featured a very mottled and uneven matte sandblast finish. Additional cost-savings measures on the XO were the rear sight (a Champion .125 notch 2-dot model with odd convex dots instead of the true Novak tritium night sights offered on the more expensive guns)-(the front sight remained a Novak concave white dot (instead of the Novak tritium night sight), dovetailed and pinned model), a set of excellent Falcon Industries black polymer Ergo Extreme grips, and a grooved (as opposed to checkered/lanyard looped) mainspring housing. My understanding is that at the time, the black GSRs were provided with aluminum MSH to slightly lower overall weight. Otherwise, all components and fitting were to the same standards of the more expensive GSRs. My gun came with 2 of the nickle-plated Novak/ACT 8-round Extended Tube magazines, and I subsequently obtained 3 more from SIG. Two of them almost immediately (within 100 rounds) suffered the proverbial ACT rear right feedlip cracking (caused by improper over-hardening by ACT); all these Novak/ACT magazines have subsequently been relegated to being props for my indoor cardboard dryfire targets...

    My rear sight was eventually changed out to a genuine Novak .140 Wide Notch sight, with a plain black rear. This provides me with a quicker sight acquisition, using the white front sight dot and the larger light bars via the wider rear sight notch, with no rear sight white dot distractions.

    Mine has always been exceptionally accurate, but at the onset, there were several glitches: The trigger reset was flawed, and the grip safety would catch on the mainspring hammer strut when compressing. Up to around the 300 round point, there were several failures to chamber, but that problem totally went away after some 300 rounds had gone through the gun to break it in. Triggerpull was somewhat heavy, measuring at 5.14-5.19 lbs. At SIG's recommendation, after a 500-600 round break-in period, the gun was sent back to them, with them providing me a pre-paid shipping label, for them to thoroughly go through the gun. The disconnector and grip safety were replaced, and a superb 4 lb triggerpull weight was provided, as well as a complimentary action job, and I was also comped with a set of black Diamondwood grips and my final of 5 Novak/ACT magazine. While SIG was willing to replace the slide due to the cosmetic flaws, due to the exceptional slide-to-frame fit, smoothness and accuracy of the existing set-up, I decided to remain with the original slide-that was what the senior gunsmith at SIG recommended, and he and I have shared a long friendship regarding my other SIGs over the years, and I trusted his judgement implicitly. The flaws are minor and relatively unnoticable anyhow, and I've not regretted this decision. I now had a superbly performing 1911, with an exceptional action and feel.

    After experimenting with several holster options, I settled on a kydex Blade-Tech IWB. Operationally, it's been an excellent holster, but repeated draws and re-holsterings have chipped through the black finish at several wear points. That is not a major concern to me-I figure that the gun now has "character" acquired by use. It's my understanding that all black-finished SIG 1911s for the previous several years have been finished with and ion-bond/DLC finish, even the XOs and the other less expensive 1911s in the SIG line-up, so this is presumably a non-issue on current production black guns.

    Several years into use, at approximately the 1,000 round point, my plunger tube lost its staking at the rear, making it impossible to normally off-safe the gun. This occurred despite the GSR plunger tube being installed in a milled trough specifically designed to preclude such loosening...SIG immediately sent me a pre-paid shipping label, and not only replaced the errant plunger tube, but the head of the 1911 Assembly/Custom Shop personally performed the work and thorougly went through my GSR, also replacing the recoil spring guide rod,and performing another complimentary action job and adjusting the trigger group. This was all done in less than a week; I am exceptionally pleased by the efforts and the results.

    My particular GSR is being used as a long-term test bed for Bruce Gray's Grayguns carbon steel redesigned extractor; while I personally had no extractor issues, the OEM SIG extractor has been somewhat problematic. The initial OEM extractor was stainless steel, and SIG, like Beretta previously on the 92 Inox, discovered that stainless steel is not necessarily the best material for an extractor; the SIG component was noted for hook chipping and breakage. Despite never having experienced any extraction issues, on installation of his extractor, Bruce Gray discovered that my OEM SIG unit had suffered a roughly 30% loss in the hook surface due to chipping...The Bruce Gray extractor has performed flawlessly for the past several years. In fairness to SIG, they subsequently redesigned the extractor, and issues/complaints have seemingly faded away with the adoption of this new extractor.

    Additionally, as I'm sponsored by Check-Mate Industries, I exclusively have used their magazines with my GSR. Primarily, I'm using one of their extended tube varients that they produce for P3LLC/Cerberus, as employed by the Connecticut State Police SWAT organization. These magazines suffered from some polymer basepad internal attachment rail issues, but current production polymer baseplates have been excellent. My initial carry magazine is one of Check-Mate's welded baseplate, 8-round stainless steel magazines, with a hybrid feed lip configuration and a fully skirted, dimpled metal follower, and an extra-power spring. The flush baseplate provides a slightly lower carry profile, whait the spare magazines carried in a Wilderness Double Ugly pouch have extended basepads (inherently with the Check-Mate Extended Tube design, or by addition of a low-profile polymer screw-on basepad with the welded baseplate magazines) to ensure secure magazine reloads under stress.

    At approximately the 600 round point, the extended nose of the ejector literally broke off the ejector body. This caused no operational issues; the ejector assumed a near-perfect milspec ejector profile, and was merely lightely filed and dressed, and used as such, until SIG provided a courtesy replacement concurrently to the plunger tube replacement.

    While I've continued with the OEM Wolff recoil spring weight of 18.5 lbs, I will probably move to a 16 lb spring, as I shoot and carry standard-pressure ammunition with this gun.

    All in all, I am very satisfied with my XO. My only hesitation in recommending them is that it's my understanding (and there are conflicting reports) that several components from high-end manufacturers that were previously one of the hallmarks of the SIG 1911 have been replaced with less expensive and/or MIM composition components on post 2007 and current production SIG 1911s-and I'm uncertain as to the specific parts and the specific quality of the new parts involved. I am certain that at a minimum currently the slide stop and disconnector are MIM, and have been pretty much since around 2007. However, I have not heard of any recent significant user issues/complaints with recent/current production SIG-Sauer 1911s, so this may be of no operational consequence. Suffice it to say that I'm exceptionally pleased with mine.

    Best, Jon



    Last edited: Sep 24, 2011
  2. Sir Guy

    Sir Guy Sharpening Ockham's Razor Supporting Addict

    Aug 20, 2011
    Good review, with some technical discussion that's usually left out of such write-ups.

    I'm a fan of the newer "CerTac" Checkmate-produced magazines as well. :smilie:


  3. Bender

    Bender Supporting Addict Supporting Addict

    Aug 15, 2011
    Great "man hole cover" Sig!

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