SIG Sauer Ultra Compact W1911U-45-BSS 45 ACP

The UC features a flared and extended ejection port, an extended ejector, and a lightweight alloy trigger that is part of a very nice trigger pull.


Gun Tests grade: A (Our pick)


A number of years ago, we saw SIG Sauer jump into the 1911 market in a big way. Numerous models were offered and proceeded to earn quite a reputation. We have recently seen them pare down the list of pistols in current production, and our sample is one of those recently discontinued. It is still available if you search just a bit. Our Ultra Compact version is obviously of SIG origin, with its stepped flats on the side of the slide, the beveled nose and the wider contour to the top of the slide. That also means the shooter needs to be careful when ordering a holster for a SIG — be warned that standard 1911 holsters may not fit this muzzle profile.

Action TypeSemi-auto, hammer fired
Overall Length6.9 in.
Overall Height5.2 in.
Maximum Width1.39 in.
Weight Unloaded1.6 lbs.
Weight Loaded (8 rounds 185 grain)2.1 lbs.
Slide MaterialStainless steel
Slide Retraction Effort19.9 lbs.
Receiver MaterialAluminum
Front Strap Height2.3 in.
Back Strap Height2.8 in.
Barrel Length3.0 in.
Grip Thickness (Maximum)1.29 in.
Grip Circumference5.3 in.
MagazineTwo 7 round
Rear SightSIG night sight, Novak style, drift adjustable
Front SightSIG night sight in dovetail
Sight Radius4.8 in.
Trigger Pull Weight3.9 lbs.
Trigger Span3.1 in.
Safety80 Series-style firing pin, grip, manual thumb
WarrantyLimited lifetime, non-transferrable
Telephone(603) 610-3000
Made InUSA, New Hampshire
The Sig Ultra Compact brings slightly extended control surfaces on the thumb safety as well as the slide release.

The Ultra Compact follows standard SIG format in many ways. The slide is stainless steel with a Nitron (matte-black wear-resistant) finish. The extractor is an external, pivoting piece. The sights are Novak style with SIG tritium lamps inside. The sight picture didn’t provide quite as much light on the sides as we prefer, and we measured the front sight at 0.142 inch, a good bit wider than the Colt’s. No big deal — just personal preference. The slide release and the strong-side-only thumb safety are both slightly extended. The beavertail grip safety is fitted high and has a good memory pad to help ensure disengagement. The frame is cut up high and tight behind the trigger guard, and the mag well is beveled. SIG uses a very dark wood for the grip panels, which show the smooth diamond checkering pattern and sport the SIG logo.

The Sig Ultra Compact, Blade-Tech holster, Comp-Tac mag pouch, Benchmade knife, Wilson mag and Black Hills HoneyBadger ammo make for outstanding everyday carry gear set up.

We found the SIG grip panels to be thicker than the others tested. While only about 0.15 inch difference, it was noticeable. For those with slightly larger paws, these on the SIG might be preferable. This SIG UC then adds 30-lines-per-inch checkering on the alloy mainspring housing as well as the front strap of the frame. While reasonably sharp (checkering is supposed to be), we didn’t find it to be a problem while carrying concealed using a Blade-Tech OWB Total Eclipse holster ($49, Please note that Blade-Tech does not make a holster specifically for the 3-inch-barreled 1911s, but they do make one for the 5-inch Government Model, and we have a Dremel tool that we are not afraid to use.

The extension on the bottom of the SIG’s grip safety (arrow), also known as a “memory pad,” helps smaller hands deactivate the grip safety reliably.

The top end uses the same heavy barrel profile the other pistols in this test employed. Once again, this is an advantage of mature engineering. Folks have figured out how to make things work. The short barrel is the fully ramped version we prefer. We just have a problem with the concept of a hard bullet nose repeatedly having to bounce off the soft metal of an aluminum frame as it feeds into the chamber. The UC uses a full-length recoil-spring guide rod and a single, flat-wire spring. The UC also features a flared and extended ejection port, an extended ejector, and a lightweight alloy trigger that is part of a very nice trigger pull.

The SIG Ultra Compact showed the best overall accuracy and came in first or very close to first in each of the speed drills. The checkering really helped our hands stay locked in on the grip, though we do think that same checkering could be a bit rough worn concealed and next to the skin. Function was perfect with all ammo tested. The SIG UC’s favorite load was the SIG 185-grain V-Crown — imagine that.

Our Team Said: The SIG displayed the best accuracy, with groups a half inch or smaller than its competitors, and did very well on the speed drills. We also liked the checkering and the night sights.


We tested at American Shooting Centers ( in west Houston. Muzzle velocities were determined via a LabRadar chronograph (, $559). All shots for group were fired at 15 yards from a well-sandbagged Caldwell Pistol Rest from MidwayUSA ( and aided by a mini-DRC Fortune Cookie bag from We used a Total Eclipse holster from for offhand speed drills. We modified it a bit to fit the smaller pistols.

Black Hills Factory New 135-grain HoneyBadgerColt DefenderS&W SW1911Sig Sauer Ultra CompactRuger SR1911
Average Velocity1126 fps1070 fps1108 fps1149 fps
Muzzle Energy380 ft.-lbs.344 ft.-lbs.368 ft.-lbs.396 ft.-lbs.
Best Group1.72 in.1.69 in.1.88 in.2.01 in.
Average Group2.31 in.1.93 in.1.94 in.2.70 in.
Hornady Critical Defense 185-grain FTX 90900Colt DefenderS&W SW1911Sig Sauer Ultra CompactRuger SR1911
Average Velocity901 fps887 fps906 fps936 fps
Muzzle Energy334 ft.-lbs.323 ft.-lbs.338 ft.-lbs.360 ft.-lbs.
Best Group1.58 in.1.31 in.1.19 in.1.68 in.
Average Group1.85 in.2.10 in.1.71 in.2.47 in.
SIG Sauer V-Crown 185-grain JHPColt DefenderS&W SW1911Sig Sauer Ultra CompactRuger SR1911
Average Velocity876 fps868 fps873 fps893 fps
Muzzle Energy316 ft.-lbs.309 ft.-lbs.313 ft.-lbs.328 ft.-lbs.
Best Group2.12 in.1.83 in.0.65 in.1.87 in.
Average Group2.95 in.2.24 in.1.41 in.2.24 in.
Federal Personal Defense 230-grain HST JHPColt DefenderS&W SW1911Sig Sauer Ultra CompactRuger SR1911
Average Velocity799 fps792 fps813 fps830 fps
Muzzle Energy326 ft.-lbs.320 ft.-lbs.337 ft.-lbs.352 ft.-lbs.
Best Group1.56 in.1.81 in.1.68 in.1.51 in.
Average Group1.96 in.2.22 in.2.36 in.2.17 in.

Drill Data

DRILL #1 Data
PistolTime to First Shot (seconds)Split Average (seconds)Total Time (seconds)
Colt Defender1.5270.2382.477
S&W SW19111.5130.2342.45
SIG Sauer Ultra Compact1.570.2252.47
Ruger SR19111.5370.2362.48
DRILL #2 Data (5x5x5)
PistolTime to First Shot (seconds)Split Average (seconds)Total Time (seconds)
Colt Defender1.460.2542.477
S&W SW19111.5370.2522.543
SIG Sauer Ultra Compact1.530.2352.47
Ruger SR19111.640.3382.99
DRILL #3 Data (FTS)
PistolTime to First Shot (seconds)Split Average (seconds)Total Time (seconds)
Colt Defender1.420.3352.09
S&W SW19111.440.2231.79
SIG Sauer Ultra Compact1.390.261.91
Ruger SR19111.5950.2882.17


  1. I own two Sig 1911s and one Colt 1911. All guns tested were 100% reliable out of the case and a pure pleasure to shoot. My 5″ Sig has nite sites and is a pure pleasure to shoot. The Colt Commander is your basic model and the 4.25″ barrel and with stock (3 dot) sites holds its own against the Sig. My other Sig has a Commander upper, and officer model on the bottom. It hasn’t been to the range yet. Right now Glocks are my EDC choice, but I can foresee the Sig with nite sites taking over protection at home. The Sig has me intrigued because it’s the size I’m looking for.


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