Review: Tisas 1911 GI .45 ACP


I have had many experiences I am not terribly anxious to relive.

Some of those revolve around the 1911 .45 and man’s capacity to injure his fellow man.

Thankfully, with discipline concentric to skill-building, I have avoided an early benediction.

When you study the many engagements the 1911 .45 has been involved in and the lives it has saved, you will realize that the great majority of these actions were fought with a plain old GI .45.

1911 GI History

The U.S. military issued the GI .45 for over 70 years, and many are still in inventory.

So are seriously updated versions, serving primarily with special teams. Many are in use by special units in the United States.

I would be surprised if a GI .45 remains in a police holster, but then, some old hand like myself just may be clinging to a trusted pistol that has given good service.

There are many reasons the 1911 is most copied and cloned pistol of all time.

For some makers, the goal was to improve the 1911 and provide a superior product.

Others seek a way to make a cheaper gun to sell at a certain price point. The 1911 can be a target gun, but the GI .45 is a fighting pistol.

It is designed with tolerances tight enough for decent accuracy, but loose enough for steady reliability.

Some 1911 handguns are a work of art, not beautiful like a frond, but with a certain sensuous look for those who appreciate steel.

While high-end pistols are interesting and certainly effective, the GI .45 issued to troops and used in places like the trenches of France, the caves of Iwo Jima and the Mekong Delta have great appeal.

GI 1911 Sights
GI sights are small, but they are precise when lined up properly.

Features and Specs

The latest pistol tested in this line is the Tisas 1911A1.

All 1911 pistols manufactured today are 1911A1 variants, although we simply call them 1911s.

The pistol features a parkerized finish, properly designed checkered plastic grips, an arched mainspring housing, and the original spur hammer.

The sights are also the original small GI type. The slide lock, slide-lock safety, magazine release, grip safety and trigger are all GI.

The slide is marked “Model 1911A1 U.S. Army.” The pistol is also marked “ZIG Tisas Turkey” in small letters.

GI sights are small, but work ok in most lighting conditions.

In this case, it would not be a bad idea to paint the sights white, red, yellow or green in contrast. I have owned many GI 1911s.

Back in the day, we cut up and modified a number of guns that would be pretty valuable today!

The pistol is straight-up GI as far as I am able to determine. The arched mainspring housing and short trigger feel good in the hand.

While the pistol is a GI type and the controls are smaller than many modern 1911 pistols, this doesn’t mean they are difficult to quickly manipulate.

There is little to snag on clothing or holsters, and the safety isn’t difficult to quickly manipulate as the pistol is drawn.

Properly carried cocked and locked, the Tisas 1911 .45 is brilliantly fast to an accurate first shot.

The fit of the slide-lock safety is excellent, moving to the safe position with an audible click.

The grip safety properly releases its hold on the trigger halfway into compression.

The GI .45 sometimes bites the hand as the hammer spur meets the web of the hand in recoil. The Tisas 1911 is free of this problem in my hands.

The pistol uses the conventional barrel bushing and guide rod. The barrel bushing is snug, but not too tight.

When you consider the GI .45, the first advantage is reliability. The Tisas 1911 has proven to exhibit good reliability.

The feed ramp is properly fitted with the requisite 1/32-inch gap between the two halves of the feed ramp.

The pistol fed both the Federal 230-grain Hydra Shok and the Hornady 185-grain XTP without issues.

Tisas 1911 on table with ammo
A number of magazines, including Wilson Combat, were used.  Reliability was excellent.

Feel and Performance

The pistol comes on target quickly and is pleasant to fire.

I supplemented the single supplied GI-type magazine with a brace of Wilson Combat ETM magazines.

The pistol was loaded with a mix of Federal American Eagle 230-grain FMJ and Federal Syntech 230-grain. The pistol comes on target quickly.

Firing at man-sized targets at five, seve and 10 yards, the pistol supplied X-ring hits. There have been no failures to feed, chamber, fire or eject.

The original GI .45 was designed to meet accuracy standards of a five-inch, five-shot group at 25 yards and a 10-inch group at 50 yards.

The sights are regulated for the six o’clock hold at 25 yards and a dead-on hold at 50 yards. The Tisas sight picture is similar.

The Tisas is as accurate as most GI guns. The usual GI gun is more accurate than the standard they were designed to meet.

The Tisas was fired from a standing braced barricade at a long 25 yards.

Federal American Eagle turned in a 3.5-inch, five-shot group and a four-inch group for the Syntech load.

1911 Magazines
This pistol proved reliable with both full metal jacket and hollow point ammunition.

Conclusion: Tisas 1911 GI .45

The Tisas is an all-steel — forged, not cast — pistol with the outline and performance of a traditional GI pistol.

Some folks feel that the GI .45 is the best fighting .45, as it is a simple firearm with little to go wrong. Many of these folks are very experienced.

The Tisas is affordable and seems reliable. It is a good combination of economy and performance. 

What is your favorite 1911 pistol? Let us know in the comments section below!

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