Turkish firearms manufacturer Tisas has been cranking out budget-friendly 1911s for several years, but perhaps none comes as close to the classic U.S. military service pistol as the company’s affordable Model 1911 A1 U.S. Army

Imported to the states under the SDS Imports banner, this GI-style 1911 hosts only the most basic of sights while still sporting Series 70 internals and nicely textured grip panels made from Turkish walnut. It’s a close – though not perfect – clone of John Moses Browning’s ingenious design. That design served as the U.S. military’s go-to sidearm through two world wars and beyond, eventually exiting service in 1985. So, I’m actually ashamed to say I have never personally owned one.

Tisas’ all-steel gun has the classic looks, but can a budget-priced clone really fill the 1911-sized hole in my safe? I snagged one to run it through some extended range testing and find out. 


Table of Contents

Tisas 1911 Background
Specs & Features
Range Testing
Pros & Cons
Final Thoughts

Tisas 1911 Background
 

Tisas 1911 A1 U.S. Army
First impressions are that the Tisas Model 1911 A1 U.S. Army is a close clone of the original. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


Tisas was founded in 1993 and kicked off its gun-making operations with the 7.65mm Fatih 13 the following year. In 1998, the company moved on to manufacture 9mm pistols in the form of the Kanuni and Zigana series of guns.

Seizing on market demands for affordable 1911s, Tisas and SDS partnered to bring an extensive line of budget-friendly 1911-style pistols into the states for eager American shooters. That line has grown considerably and ranges from the more refined Night Stalker to the classic Model 1911 A1 U.S. Army and the shortened commander-length Tanker


Related: 500 Rounds With the SDS Tisas Tanker .45
 

Tisas 1911 A1 U.S. Army
To its credit, Tisas does send the gun with a decent amount of nice extras, which include a bushing tool, cleaning gear, lock, chamber flag, and two magazines inside a lockable case. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


Offerings come in both .45 ACP and 9mm, though I opted to test the more classic .45 ACP chambering for this review. One of the defining features of Tisas’ entire lineup is low cost, which includes budget-minded price points on even the more tricked-out models such as the Night Stalker. Personally, I was more interested in the basic GI version.
 

Specs & Features
 

Tisas 1911 A1 U.S. Army
The gun breaks down like your classic 1911, and I found disassembly easy, even without the included tools. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


Tisas’ Model 1911 A1 U.S. Army is, for all intents and purposes, a copy of the now-vintage M1911A1 adopted in 1926 and used by the U.S. military for most of the 20th century. It’s a single-action, recoil-operated, semi-automatic pistol chambered for .45 ACP. The barrel drops downward with the aid of a link to unlock the breech and rises back up during the reloading cycle to lock the barrel and breech.

In some ways, the gun represents the pinnacle of Browning’s pure design genius. But I think it’s fair to note that he planted seeds that still impact handgun designs today, and notably, the 1911 wasn’t his “last” great military pistol. I believe that honor rightly goes to the double-stack 9mm Hi-Power, which was finished after Browning’s death and served allied militaries well after the 1911 left most U.S. armories.


Related: Ugly Guns Welcome – The FEG Hi-Power Just Won't Quit


Not everything about this clone lines up with the WWII-era designs. The gun is not Parkerized and instead hosts a gray Cerakote finish that mimics but doesn’t perfectly replicate the original, which was often noted for having a greenish hue. Its wooden grip is aesthetically pleasing, though many M1911A1s began wearing plastic panels. I personally prefer the wood, but you can snag those old military-surplus panels for a song online these days. I actually had a set before I even had a 1911.
 

Tisas 1911 A1 U.S. Army
This classic takes a host of aftermarket and surplus grip panels. Starting on the left, you can see the original Turkish walnut grip, a surplus plastic GI grip, and a newer Magpul option. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


The ejection port is also cut deeper into the slide, and the hammer has a larger gnarled spur than guns like the WWII-era Remington Rands. I have seen some mil-surp 1911s with similarly enlarged hammers. The trigger also has moderately different texturing than the WWII M1911A1s I’ve handled, but I find most of these differences to be cosmetic or at least somewhat improvements to the overall function of the gun.

Here are some general specs:

Weight: 2.4 pounds (unloaded)
Length: 8.5 inches
Barrel Length: 4.85 inches
Height: 5.75 inches
Width: 1.29 inches
Trigger Pull: 2.69 pounds (10-pull average)
Capacity: 7+1 .45 ACP 

Tisas includes an appreciated two magazines with this 1911. One of the bigger issues with the platform is finding magazines that run well in any particular 1911, and these proved to be quite reliable.
 

Tisas 1911 A1 U.S. Army
Markings are fairly humble, and they don’t interfere much with the historic aesthetic. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


The sights are basic, as are the rear cocking serrations that run perfectly horizontal. In a nice nod to its military roots, the gun hosts a lanyard loop at the base of the pistol grip. Tisas also kept the markings on the frame to a minimum, which is also much appreciated.
 

Range Testing

 

Tisas 1911 A1 U.S. Army
The sights are as basic as the day the 1911 entered service. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


This review has been too long in the works. Or, more accurately, I have put off buying a 1911 for my personal collection for far too long. I think that somewhat shows in my accuracy testing. I can blame some of that on windy days at the range, but some is also just due to the fact I do not shoot 1911s often enough.

To date, I have run 450 rounds through the Tisas 1911 A1 with no malfunctions to speak of and no cleaning. That included 200 rounds of Sellier & Belott 230-grain FMJ brass ammunition and 200 rounds of aluminum-cased 230-grain FMJ Blazer. To round that out, I also ran a box of 230-grain Winchester brass-cased hollow-point ammo for self-defense testing.
 

.45 ACP Ammo
The gun has eaten everything I have fed it so far, including hollow-point Winchester and budget-friendly Sellier & Belott and Blazer ammo. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


The gun ate everything without issue, but the crude A1-style sights definitely impacted overall accuracy. There’s just not a whole lot to work with on these military-style irons, and I did find it somewhat difficult to maintain a predictable sight picture.

Occasionally, I would follow a nice string of shots with a wide-flying round at 25 feet. Still, from a practical perspective, the gun shot reliably in the black at 25 feet, even if my groups widened a bit to 3-4 inches at that distance.
 

On the left I have a target shot in a bit of wind at 25 feet, and the right is a two-magazine target shot at the same distance. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)
Tisas 1911 A1 U.S. Army
Note the milled and bowed mainspring housing on the left. On the right, you can see the texture and space added to the hammer and the textured magazine release. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


Overall, the trigger was also quite nice for a clone of a basic service pistol, and I definitely liked the added texture to the grip, hammer, and magazine release. Magazines fit a bit snug in the magazine well, but they eject positively. I do have to adjust my hands slightly due to the placement of the mag release and the size of the grip. 
 

Tisas 1911 A1 U.S. Army
The trigger and hammer are a bit different from some of the original M1911A1s I’ve handled, and you’ll note the thinner hammer and dotted texture on the trigger for these two examples from Remington Rand and Union Switch. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)
Tisas 1911 A1 U.S. Army
Here’s a wider shot of the grip. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


Speaking of grips, the gun uses your standard 1911-style panels. That makes it easy to swap out the wood panels for more original plastic ones or more contoured modern grip panels. I did occasionally find myself readjusting my grip to accommodate the beavertail safety. That’s more of a training issue than a complaint about the gun, but I should clearly spend a bit less time with Glock-ish firearms. The thumb safety is positive and intuitive to use, and the same can be said for the slide stop/release.
 

Tisas 1911 A1 U.S. Army
The beavertail safety is a slight learning curve that differs from many of the polymer 9mm pistols I normally shoot. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)
Tisas 1911 A1 U.S. Army
The hammer has a wider pancake-like spur that is easier to use. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)
Tisas 1911 A1 U.S. Army
Slide serrations are 90 degrees but work well enough. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


Finally, but hardly least importantly, the gun is a pleasure to shoot. At 2.4 pounds, the recoil with .45 ACP is controllable but still hearty enough to remind you of the practical power behind the rounds. It proved to be a fun range companion, even if it lacks the target sights that might really let it shine in the accuracy department. 
 

Tisas 1911 A1 U.S. Army
And, as a clone of the military version, there is a lanyard loop on the base of the grip. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)
Tisas 1911 A1 U.S. Army
Magazines host just seven rounds and are a bit different from the originals. But they run well. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)
Those magazines also eject with some positive force. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


Pros & Cons

Here’s my list of pros and cons, keeping in mind that this is on the lower side of affordable 1911s:

Pros:

  • Affordable 1911 option
  • Close to original looks and feel
  • Very reliable even with cheap target ammo
  • Soft-recoiling for a .45 ACP
  • Good trigger
  • Nice textured wooden grips
  • Comes with two magazines
  • Magazines eject positively
  • Improved ejection port for reliability
  • Series 70 internals
  • Comes with extra tools and hard case

Cons:

  • Heavy for a 7+1 .45 ACP handgun
  • Crude sights
  • Not a 100-percent accurate clone of the original
     

Final Thoughts
 

Tisas 1911 A1 U.S. Army
For the price, it’s pretty hard to shake your head at these M1911A1 clones. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


Are there better M1911A1-style clones out there? Yeah, but not anywhere close to this price point and with the reliability Tisas offers. That’s at least true from my recent experiences. There are also a lot of original M1911A1s still floating around, but you can expect to pay a premium for the real deal.

For my money – yes, I spent my money on this – the Tisas-made Model 1911 A1 U.S. Army is a pretty hard gun to beat if your main goal is to add to your collection a classic-looking 1911 that you have zero issues taking to the range for regular shooting. I’m personally quite pleased, and I’m kicking myself a bit for taking so long to hop on the 1911 train.

Like cool old firearms like this?
Check out our Military Classics and Collector's Corner for more.

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