The Sig Sauer 1911GSR hit the market in 2004 became an instant success with civilian shooters, police agencies and action pistol competitors. In late 2014, we witnessed the addition of the Sig Sauer 1911 Max. This gun was designed with the input of professional shooter Max Michel, Jr., who worked with Sig Sauer’s engineers to build a pistol with all the features that a world-class shooter requires.


sig sauer 1911 max slide
The slide houses a precisely fitted 5-inch barrel and short recoil spring guide rod—like John Browning intended. Also note the fiber-optic front sight.

Built by Sig’s Custom Shop, the Sig Sauer 1911 Max is a stainless steel, single-stack pistol with a uniquely styled flat-top, slab-sided slide with a fiber-optic front sight and a fully adjustable rear sight as well as square-cut grasping grooves at the front and rear. The external extractor will remove even the most recalcitrant cases from the chamber, while the lowered and flared ejection port ensures they will get out of the way reliably. The recoil system is set up just the way that John Browning designed it with a short guide rod. I mean, why mess with success?

On the 1911 Max, an ambidextrous thumb safety and beavertail grip safety are standard. The skeletonized Koenig Speed Hammer shortens the lock time, while Sig Sauer’s flat-faced trigger enhances trigger control. All of the internals, including an EGW sear and firing pin, are hand-fitted to each pistol.

sig sauer 1911 max gun
The undercut triggerguard and Hogue Chain-Link G10 grip panels provide a comfortable, secure hold on the pistol.

Metal removed from under the triggerguard allows for a high grip on the pistol, while sharply cut 26-lpi checkering on the frontstrap and mainspring housing combine with the Hogue Chain-Link G10 grips to provide a secure purchase on the pistol, even with wet or oily hands. An extended magazine release permits positive magazine ejection, while the gaping Dawson Ice Magwell ensures fumble-free reloads.


sig sauer 1911 max holster
To compete in a local action pistol match, the author ran the Sig 1911 Max with a holster and mag carriers from Dara Holsters.

The .40-caliber Sig Sauer 1911 Max I received for testing felt solid in hand, and the quality of the fit, finish and assembly was immediately evident. Test firing was conducted from an MTM K-Zone rest at 25 yards. The trigger broke crisply with 4.1 pounds of pressure, and the sights provided a sharp, clear picture, the results of which can be seen in the included chart.

The weekend after my first range session, I used the 1911 Max to compete in an action pistol match at a local club using a holster and magazine carriers from Dara Holsters as well as several 10-round Wilson Combat magazines. The match included USPSA-type scenarios with multiple cardboard targets requiring movement and was followed by a steel plate match.

The 1911 Max exceeded all of my expectations at this match. First of all, despite being quite dirty from my earlier test-firing session, the pistol ran at 100 percent during the 100-plus-round match.

The gun’s ergonomics came to the fore during competition, allowing me to shoot quickly and accurately, perform speed reloads smoothly and engage multiple targets quickly.

All in all, I was very impressed with the 1911 Max’s performance. Other shooters at the match who examined it had nothing but positive comments, but, as is my SOP, I do want to mention two features that I did not care for.

First of all, the rear sight has two large white dots. I don’t care for these on a pistol used for competition, preferring instead a plain black rear sight mated to a fiber-optic front sight.

But a judicious application of a black marker pen gave me the sighting arrangement I prefer.

Secondly, when I shoot quickly with a 1911 equipped with a flat mainspring housing, I always tend to shoot low. This is why all of my personal 1911s have arched mainspring housings. I would like to see Sig Sauer offer an arched housing as an option in the future.

Apart from these two small caveats—which are driven by personal preference—I believe that anyone looking for a quality 1911-style handgun to get serious in action pistol shooting need look no further than the Sig Sauer 1911 Max. It’s a winner from the buzzer.

For more information, visit or call 603-610-3000.

This article was originally published in ‘Handguns Buyer’s Guide’ 2017. For information on how to subscribe, please email or call 1-800-284-5668.

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