Review: Tisas 1911 A1 ASF

posted on April 11, 2024
Tisas 1911A1 Asf Disassembled Fitch
Images courtesy of author.

Tisas is a three-decades-old Turkish company known for making firearms like the Zigana or Fatih pistols. But in the United States, the company has partnered with SDS Imports and started producing single-stack or double-stack pistols available in all manner of trims, from tactical to historical. Although Tisas already sells M1911A1-pattern handguns, it recently took things to the next level with its new, faithful reproduction of a 1943 Remington-Rand M1911A1 USGI pistol. The company's new take on an American military wartime classic was officially shown to the public early at this year’s SHOT Show, and Tisas is calling it the 1911 A1 ASF (Armed Services Family).

Tisas 1911A1 ASF pistol left-side view on white hammer cocked parkerized finish double diamond stocks on white background

Wartime Fighting Iron
This new pistol is specifically modeled after wartime pistols manufactured by Remington-Rand from 1943 to the war’s conclusion in 1945. This upstate New York typewriter company took a government contract during the war and went on to produce nearly a million M1911A1s. Everything about Tisas’ modern reproduction takes after the original Remington-Rand pistols, down to the checkering on small parts, the specific shape of the hammer or the mainspring housing. Similarly, the gun has the correct phosphated (Parkerized) finish on all major parts including the barrel. The slide’s ejection port has the original taller cut that is faithful to every M1911 of the era. Frames even include the historic “US PROPERTY” roll-marks on the right side. Just about the only missing from the pistols are the U.S. Ordnance “Bomb” and inspector’s markings.

UNITED STATES PROPERTY M 1911 A1 U.S. ARMY rollmark stamp metal gun frame

John Moses Browning’s .45-cal. M1911 single-stack pistol made its original debut in March 1911, and by 1924, it saw several external and cosmetic modifications resulting in the “A1” model. By World War II, four other companies in addition to Colt took on contracts to make M1911A1s for the U.S. Government: Ithaca Gun Co., Union Switch & Signal, Singer and Remington-Rand. Of the five, Remington-Rand accounted for the highest production figures during the war after fully ramping up by May 1943. It is these models that Tisas focused on in order to develop and bring its 1911 A1 ASF to market.

tisas 1911a1 asf parts closeup

Tisas 1911 A1 ASF Overview
Prior to shooting, I stripped down this pistol to inspect and lubricate it. Tisas did an excellent job with the fit and finish, as there aren’t any visible tool marks. And major parts are correctly installed without dragging or binding. The frame-to-slide fit on this particular pistol is very good for a USGI-style pistol, with only a little bit of play between parts. After measuring the trigger pull 10 times with a digital trigger-pull scale, the gun’s trigger broke at 4 lbs., 9 ozs. on average, so approximately 4.5 lbs.

Tisas 1911A1 ASF left-side closeup safety hammer sight gun

It comes as no surprise that the classic styled low-profile sights leave a lot to be desired in terms of utility, but it’s hard to complain when historical-correctness is the premise. The only actual downside to the Tisas 1911A1 ASF is that the “beak” of the grip-safety is profile in such a way that it can burrow into the meaty part of the hand between the thumb and index finger. I’ve never had a problem with USGI-style guns “biting” my hand across makes models and generations (including a 1913-made Colt M1911).

Unfortunately the 1911 A1 ASF bites. If that grip-safety protrusion were less pointed, it could make a subtle difference. Depending on one’s hand shape, this very well may affect the merriment of shooting this gun on a regular basis. Because the 1911 A1 ASF has the original style of ejection port, empty cases tend to eject vertically and fly overhead. Depending on one’s stance, the occasional errant spent casing may strike one’s forehead. This isn’t as much of a nuisance as the grip-safety burrowing into the back of the hand, but such is life with a handgun based on a century-old pattern.

Tiasas 1911A1 stocks grip mainspring lanyard loop magazine

Only two minor details stood out as not being fully historically accurate: the magazine and the firing pin. The included Italian-made Mec-Gar magazines have a matching phosphate Parkerized finish and are made to match the style of the 1911 A1 ASF. However, these use an upgraded follower and have six witness holes in a slightly different pattern as opposed to the classic five-hole arrangement of the original M1911-pattern magazine. Tisas substitutes the original style steel firing pin with a more modern titanium pin. Being that the 1911 A1 ASF is a fully functioning replica meant to be shot and enjoyed proactively, I can hardly fault Tisas for using a modern and inherently safer component. Other than these two elements, the gun looks and feels identical to one that left the factory in Syracuse, N.Y., (or other American factories) to fight in Europe or the Pacific.

At The Range
I fired 166 total rounds of both factory and handloaded .45 ACP cartridges. Factory loads included Federal’s Train + Protect 230-grain JHPs, Sierra’s Sport Master 185-grain JHPs and Fiocchi Training Dynamics 230-grain FMJ. I put 50 rounds of my handloads consisting of the tried-and-true classic sporting combination of a 200-grain LSWC over 4.3 grains of Clays powder. Two-thirds of the rounds fired for review consisted of these handloads along with the 230-grain Fiocchi FMJ rounds. At 10 yards, both of these cartridges shot precisely to the top of the front sight. At 25 yards, I had no problem making hits on the A-zone of an IPSC cardboard target either.

Tisas 1911 barrel muzzle slide frame dustcover U.S. Army stamp

Military-style M1911 sights are regulated for 230-grain ammo. Felt recoil, though subjective, feels typical for a military single-stack pistol with a standard 16-lb. recoil spring. This review was also the gun’s maiden voyage, and during this 166-round session, I only experienced two stoppages, both failures to feed with the 230-grain Fiocchi ball ammo. I don’t suspect the ammo has anything to do with the malfunctions; I think it's the case of a new sub-$500 M1911 that needs a bit of a break-in.

The first round stoppage was round No. 58, and the second was somewhere around the low 100s. In any respect, I did most of my shooting with the supplied Mec-Gar magazine. In addition to slow fire and accuracy testing, I also did several Bill Drills from the belt using a Raven Concealment Phantom holster. While a plain-Jane .45-cal. M1911 isn’t the easiest gun to shoot clean Bill Drills with, most of my splits were around 0.21 seconds with my best overall time being 2.49 seconds from the holster. I won’t impress anyone with my Bill Drills, but at least it made for a good chance to subject the Tisas 1911 A1 ASF to some rapid fire.

It was during this part of the evaluation when I had my first stoppage; the second was during slow-fire for accuracy testing. Mechanical accuracy is probably better than advertised, with the limiting factor for any human shooter being the sights. This pistol did seem to have an affinity for the Sierra Sports Master 185-grain JHP load, but the 200- and 230-grain rounds were all acceptable.

Accuracy table specifications

The Takeaway
These days, genuine military-issued M1911A1 pistols are not only extremely collectible but also expensive; the cheaper ones cost north of $2,500, and prices only climb from there. While the CMP offers another conduit for surplus government pistols, these are only sold in batches through a lottery process and cost more than double the price of the Tisas 1911 A1 ASF, which has an MSRP of $479. Furthermore, even CMP M1911s in good shape may be re-built from a mix of newer and older parts (par for the course for any military firearm), which means that there’s no guarantee that a CMP M1911 is going to be “correct” for the Second World War.

tisas 1911a1 asf pistol on its side

In spite of the burrowing beavertail digging into my hand, I think the 1911 A1 ASF shows tremendous value given that it retails for $479 in 2024. The machining and assembly leave nothing to be desired, the consistency of the trigger impressed me, and I wouldn’t hesitate to say that the 1911A1 ASF is probably the best of Tisas’ basic M1911s.

This isn’t the only M1911A1 USGI .45-cal. single-stack in the company's catalog, and even casting aside the historical component of this specific model, I think the fact that it’s Parkerized not only adds to the classic user experience of the military M1911 pistol, but also aids in reliability in terms of surface finish thicknesses and original military-specified dimensions. Though single-stack .45-cal. 1911s are no longer in vogue like they were 25 years ago, I kept thinking about how this would be a great base gun to send to a smith to customize as many shooters did with basic guns yesteryear.

Selfishly, I’d love to see Tisas build more Parkerized (not Cerakoted) M1911s and start offering something along the lines of a MEU(SOC) replica as well. Ultimately, the Tisas 1911 A1 ASF represents an affordable and straightforward way to shoot and enjoy the service pistol borne by most American warfighters during that terrible global conflict.

Tisas 1911 A1 ASF Specifications
Importer: SDS Imports
Chambering: .45 ACP
Action: single-action, semi-automatic, centerfire pistol
Barrel: 5"
Frame: carbon steel
Slide: carbon steel
Finish: parkerized
Magazine: seven-round detachable box
Sights: standard U.S.G.I low-profile
Stocks: checkered double-diamond hardwood stocks
Weight: 37 ozs.
Width: 1.3"
Height: 5.5"
Overall Length: 8.6"
MSRP: $479


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