by Wiley Clapp - Thursday, October 28, 2010
Since SIG Sauer (formerly SIGARMs) jumped into the M1911 business, its line has expanded considerably. The company started with American produced M1911s with single-stack magazines and 5-inch slides. In both stainless and carbon steel, those Granite Series Rail (GSR) pistols were—and are—high-quality handguns at very competitive prices. But Sig has discovered what most other M1911 makers also know; there is considerable demand for compact M1911s.
Intended for concealed carry and close defensive use, the Revolution C3 is the smallest variant of its M1911-style pistols. With an aluminum-alloy receiver, it is also the lightest gun in the line. Comparisons are inevitable, so the C3 can be described as a pistol with a barrel and slide the length of the popular Commander, mounted on a receiver that's the height of an Officer's ACP.
Stacked up against the full-size pistols in the company's line, the C3 is just about 3⁄4 inch smaller in both vectors. For concealment, the shorter butt is arguably the more valuable feature, because it tends to print less noticeably through outer garments. The slide could have been shortened a little more, but that would shorten the sight radius, reduce velocity and hamper reliability. In a proper holster, a 4 1/4 inch barrel conceals easily.
The C3 uses the familiar M911-style Browning-designed tilting barrel system of breech locking and the reliable single-column magazine, shortened in this case to take six instead of seven rounds. Most of the lines and contours of the C3 are familiar, with a couple of notable exceptions. The C3's beavertail-style grip safety uses a rounded rib that runs vertically upward from the bottom edge. This rib helps the shooter ensure that the grip safety is fully depressed.
The C3 slide follows the styling of all other M1911s in its line, but it has several subtle changes that give it a distinctive "SIG" look. For example, the step at the lower front corner of the slide is angled upward just slightly. Also, there are stylish panels machined into the slide flats of all current SIG Sauer semi-automatic pistols, so the company incorporated them on its M1911s, including the C3. Finally, the slide's side flats extend upward a little more than usual. This gives the little pistol a distinctive look, and slightly increases the weight of the slide as well.
The C3 comes with a number of practical and cosmetic touches that handgunners often spend extra money to install. Its mainspring housing is checkered in a 20-lpi pattern. On the front of the aluminum receiver, there is more checkering, this section done in a finer 30-lpi style. The aluminum trigger is of the preferred long style.
The C3 comes with top-of-the-line Novak sights, complete with tritium inserts for low-light shooting. Cosmetic and practical touches on the gun include a relief cut under the trigger guard and a pronounced bevel on the lower edge of the slide. Exotically figured rosewood stocks sport a laser-cut checkering pattern and the SIG Sauer logo. Finally, the C3 uses mostly stainless steel in a brushed or matte finish. This is true of the slide, hammer, grip safety, mainspring housing and all of the various levers, controls and visible pins. The contrast between the flat black aluminum receiver and the brushed stainless slide makes for an appealingly handsome gun.
A range session with the C3 proved that appearances are only part of the appeal. The pistol cycled several hundred rounds without any form of malfunction. It's a light gun, so there was a fair amount of perceived recoil, and the relatively short butt increases the handling difficulties. However, with proper combat-shooting technique—strong grip, locked wrist and Weaver stance—a handgunner can get good results with the C3.
It was in the accuracy department that the good results became excellent. Mounted in a Ransom Rest, the gun went through a series of five consecutive five-shot groups with three different loads. All three produced groups that averaged well under 2 inches each, and the average for the Black Hills 230-grain JHP load was 1 1/2 inches. The overall average group size for the three loads was 1.63 inches. This little pistol is capable of X-ring accuracy.
In view of the fine level of accuracy, demonstrable reliability and good handling, the C3 would seem to be a top choice for a handgunner seeking a high-quality, good-looking M1911-style pistol for concealed carry.
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