We've been putting the new Commander-length Tisas Tanker from SDS Imports through its paces and have some feedback on how the budget .45 performs.
An upgraded version of the standard M1911A1 Army marketed by the company, the Tanker is shorter by about 0.75 inches, shipping with a 4.25-inch hammer-forged barrel on a full-size frame. This shortens the slide and overall length while cutting a couple of ounces in weight and retaining the standard Government-profile magazine and grip.
The Tanker has a series of tweaks in the interest of increasing the functionality of the design. The slide has a flared and lowered ejection port to help curb FTEs and stovepipes. The chrome-lined barrel has a polished feed ramp and lip. Meanwhile, the mag well is beveled to help with those mag exchanges.
Going to work with the above with a gun right out of the box with no additional lube or prep other than a field strip to inspect and a function check, the Tanker went 346 out of 350. Two of these were likely due to a weak magazine spring on an old GI mag failing to chamber the bottom round – They worked fine when loaded in another mag – while the third was a failure to eject on a dirty chamber with PMC. The fourth failure was a misfire likely due to a hard/bad primer as the round in question failed to go off when struck a second time.
How about those Hollow Points?
While testing thus far, we tried a decent array of hollow-pointed self-defense ammo, accounting for about one-third of the rounds downrange. This spanned loads from several different manufacturers, including Federal, Hornady, Remington, and Winchester to give it a chance to digest a variety of bullet designs. We even ran some old (purchased ~15 years ago) El Dorado Starfire – a truncated cone 230-grain JHP with a similar profile to the famed Black Talon – and sampled from an even older box of Winchester Silvertips.
The verdict? The Tanker runs hollow points in our experience. We found the most accurate of the personal protection rounds to be Federal's Punch .45, which was able to run three-shot groups at 7 yards that could be easily covered by a quarter.
The Tisas Tanker is not a match gun but proved more than accurate for practical work. The pistol has a really good trigger and is a 70 Series gun without the mush that Colt decided to add when they wedged in an internal safety plunger to the design. The single-action trigger is very traditional, mimicking the WWII-era checkered-faced designs. We found our test gun to break fairly clean between 5.25 and 5.5 pounds with a short take up.
Check out that trigger:
The slide-to-frame fitment is particularly good and, far from being a rattle trap, the only noise I can hear when I shake the Tanker vigorously is my wrist clicking. Lesson: never wrestle a running Hobart dough mixer as a 17-year-old in a pizzeria. Meanwhile, the fixed GI sights are functional. While slow fire with quality defense ammo cut holes, three-shot groups with bulk pack 230-grain ball were more in the 2-3 inch range.
Carry and use?
We updated the Tanker's black plastic GI style panels with a simple set of Magpul MOE 1911 grips, which are both aesthetically pleasing when contrasted against the pistol's black Cerakote finish while upping the ergos a little.
There is also no shortage of Commander-sized holsters out there.
If versed in 1911, the Tanker can clock in for carry use all day, with the main detractors being the GI-style fixed sights and shallow (also GI style) straight slide serrations. Luckily, SDS also imports a more EDC-oriented offering in its Carry B45/SS45 series, which is fundamentally the Tanker with front and rear slide serrations, better sights, and enlarged surface controls to include an ambi safety.
Still, the Tanker just has a sort of panache to it, and just flat out looks good. After 500 rounds, we only had four issues, with two of those being magazine related and one that can be chalked up to the ammo. For a gun that runs about $500, that's not bad at all.
Stay tuned for more on the Tanker as we continue to head to the range this winter.