Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, SDS Imports introduced a Commander-length M1911A1 late last year, the Tanker, and we have been taking one of these updated .45s for a spin. 

SDS specializes in importing quality pistols, shotguns, and accessories. In the past few years, they have partnered with Tisas in Turkey to supply well-made M1911-style handguns to the U.S. market that have built a following through a combination of good reviews and affordable pricing. The Tanker, quietly debuted last October, is set to continue that trend. 

While the "Tanker" moniker is typically applied to shortened T26 M1 Garands and similar chopped-down rifles in the same vein, the SDS version is an upgraded M1911A1 Government with a full-sized frame and Commander-length – or 4.25-inch rather than the traditional 5-inch – barrel, and corresponding slide. 
 

SDS Imports Tisas Tanker M1911A1 .45ACP pistol
This gives the pistol an overall length of 7.75-inches rather than the more commonly seen 8.5-inch span of a full-sized M1911. The Tanker, left, seen compared to the author's GI Colt of 1943 vintage. (All photos: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

 

SDS Imports Tisas Tanker M1911A1 .45ACP pistol
Using a hammer-forged frame and slide, rather than cast, the Tanker sports a flat mainspring housing and a very GI profile. 

 

SDS Imports Tisas Tanker M1911A1 .45ACP pistol
Weight on our T&E model was 36.5-ounces, unloaded, with the magazine inserted. Lots of steel there, with the only plastic being in the grip panels. 

 

SDS Imports Tisas Tanker M1911A1 .45ACP pistol
When field stripped, the Tanker shows 70 Series internals without the oft-detested trigger safety mush of 80 Series guns. 

 

SDS Imports Tisas Tanker M1911A1 .45ACP pistol
It has a 4.25-inch chrome-plated and lined barrel, as well as a mirror-polished feed ramp and lip to aid in reliability.

 

SDS Imports Tisas Tanker M1911A1 .45ACP pistol
Note the lowered and flared ejection port, when compared to the standard Government model. 

 

SDS Imports Tisas Tanker M1911A1 .45ACP pistol
It utilizes a frame-mounted commercial-style thumb safety as well as John Browning's beavertail grip safety, both throwbacks to the original 1911. 

 

SDS Imports Tisas Tanker M1911A1 .45ACP pistol
Rollmarks are subtle, with "1911A1 Tanker" on the left side of the slide over "ZIG M45 Tisas-Turkey" on the frame. 

 

SDS Imports Tisas Tanker M1911A1 .45ACP pistol
The right side slide is clean other than the rear serrations while the frame has SDS's import marks. The Tanker ships with a flat black Cerakote finish that was evenly applied and without the mottled look often seen on such guns. 

 

SDS Imports Tisas Tanker M1911A1 .45ACP pistol
The Tanker has a beveled magazine well and, with the 8-shot Italian-made Mec Gar steel mag inserted, has a short scallop that allows stuck mags to be stripped away. 

 

SDS Imports Tisas Tanker M1911A1 .45ACP pistol
The sights are "old school" 1911, with a partridge front sight and fixed rear. 

 

SDS Imports Tisas Tanker M1911A1 .45ACP pistol
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. 

 

SDS Imports Tisas Tanker M1911A1 .45ACP pistol
So far, we have put about 200 rounds through the gun on the range, using a variety of factory loads and a selection of different magazines, and have found the Tanker to be reliable. 

 

SDS Imports Tisas Tanker M1911A1 .45ACP pistol
Stay tuned for a more extensive review once we reach the 500-round mark, but so far, this Commander-length M1911 handles like a proverbial tank, chewing through everything in its path. 


The asking price on the SDS Imports Tisas Tanker M1911A1 is typically well under $500 and includes one 8-shot magazine and cleaning kit. 

 

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