Review of the GSG-1911 .22 Pistol

gsg_22_1-tm-tfb1

[ This guest post was written by Chris Baker of Bull City Defense. ]

Devoted followers of the 1911 design will tell you that a pistol in any caliber other than .45 can’t be a “real” 1911. Well, maybe they’re right, but ammo prices being what they are, there is no shame in embracing a 1911 chambered for a round that won’t break the bank. I personally have a fondness for the 9mm variety 1911s (which, despite what some of the so-called “purists” may imply, have been around since the 1950’s), but for cheap plinking on a 1911 platform, you can’t be a .22.

For owners of centerfire 1911s who want to maximize their trigger time for training purposes, a conversion kit is probably the ideal route. With a .22 conversion, the grip and trigger pull are not altered by swapping out the slide and barrel. But they tend to be pricey (for only half a gun, anyway), and hit or miss in terms of reliability. It’s also not always convenient to swap out a barrel and slide in the middle of a practice session on the range. For the practically-minded, budget-conscious shooter, one of the .22 caliber 1911 clones is probably a better bet. There are a few options in this category, but the one that caught my attention when it was released in the US last year is the GSG-1911. You may remember GSG, or German Sport Guns, for their MP5 and AK-47 patterend rifles, also chambered in .22. The initial press for the GSG-1911 really set it apart from similar pistols, boasting 80% parts compatibility with standard centerfire 1911s at an attractive price point.

I don’t know much about GSG’s history abroad, but they don’t have a ton of name recognition with the American market, so for many, the GSG-1911 is a bit of a toss-up. It’s priced right around $300-375, depending on the model and retailer. The one I purchased came with the cheap black rubber grips, but for a few bucks extra it can be had with more handsome wood grips. There’s also a model with a tactical rail and a fake suppressor. All versions seem to be widely available at a number of retailers online, and several of my local shops have had them in stock consistently since they were released. Extra magazines are about $35 each, which is close to what you’d pay for most centerfire pistol magazines, and you’ll want to pick up a couple since the pistol only comes with one. At first glance, the GSG-1911 looks well-made, has a decent looking finish, and has close to the same “heft” as a real 1911 style pistol, though it’s a few ounces lighter.  But does it deserve to be in the same class as the more established rimfire legends that can be had in the same price range like the Ruger MKIII or the Browning Buckmark? Or is it even passable as a training substitute for a .45 1911? A few months back, I took the plunge and put down my $325 to find out.

First Impressions

After handling the GSG a bit, one of the first things I noticed was the tension in the grip safety. It sticks out quite a bit, and takes more force to activate than most other 1911 pistols I’ve handled. Besides being slightly uncomfortable, this won’t be a big deal for most people, unless you happen to have small hands. But more on that later. The other thing I noticed was that the thumb safety isn’t even slightly radiused, so that there’s a very sharp corner on it that digs into your thumb if you place it on top of the safety while firing. It’s an ambidextrous safety, but the right side lever has a much lower profile, so lefties may not have the same trouble that I did. Besides these two small gripes, I was, and remain very pleased with the overall build quality of the GSG-1911. Even the magazines seem very sturdy and I have no qualms about letting them drop free to the ground when performing reloads.

The trigger is nothing to write home about, but is still very usable. The overall weight of the trigger pull seemed to lessen a bit after shooting several hundred rounds, but there is still a “squishy” quality in it that might bother some people. However, I would imagine this will vary from one gun to the next. The sights on the GSG are a three dot style with yellow plastic “bumps” for the dots. They look pretty cheap, but might be a step up from the “convex hole with white paint” style sights that many pistols come with from the factory. The GSG ships with three front sights of different heights, so you can swap them out to get the point of aim that works best for your gun. The front sight sits in a loose dovetail, secured with a small hex screw, so to swap sights, you just remove the screw and slide the sight out. I tried all three different sights, and the only one that kept the shots even remotely on target at ranges from 5-25 yards was the medium height one. Again, your mileage may vary.

Ergonomics

Since buying the GSG, I’ve used it to introduce a few new shooters to the basics of handgun shooting. One aspect that some have appreciated, especially the women, is how easy it is to rack the slide. Racking the slide seems like such a simple thing to most experienced shooters, but to small-statured people who are unfamiliar with firearms, it can be both difficult and intimidating. The GSG’s slide is so easy to rack on my particular pistol that I can show people the proper technique and they don’t feel like there’s a huge risk of a heavy slide under great spring tension ready to snap their fingers off. The problem is that the people who appreciate the easy-to-rack slide the most are the same people who have trouble with the grip safety. For those with small hands, the grip safety can often barely be activated with the strong-hand thumb on top of the thumb safety. The grip they have to assume in order to activate the safety is awkward, to say the least, and for most of these shooters, I’ve just gone back to the Buckmark (which has a far less friendly slide). Part of the problem is most likely the curved mainspring housing. I have recently replaced it with a flat mainspring housing and hope to see a difference in the ease of use for shooters with smaller than average hands.

Surprise Safety “Feature”

Swapping out the mainspring housing also took care of another minor gripe I had with the pistol. Unlike any other 1911 patter pistol I’ve encountered, I was surprised to find that the GSG-1911 comes equipped with a magazine-disconnect safety. A small mechanism in the side of the factory mainspring housing prevents the trigger from engaging when there is no magazine inserted. This may have been done to make the pistol compliant with certain states’ laws, but aside from that, I find it completely unnecessary. Fortunately, one does not have to completely replace the mainspring housing in order to deactivate the safety. By simply removing the extraneous parts from the cavity in the side of the factory MSH, the safety will no longer pose a problem. Normally, I would not publically advocate disabling a factory safety mechanism in a firearm, but since millions of 1911 pistols are handled safely every day without such a safety, I feel confident in promoting the removal of the magazine safety on the GSG-1911.

Reliability

After firing a couple of thousand rounds of varying brands, I would rate the GSG-1911’s reliability as perfectly adequate. With the spotty reliability of .22 ammo, it’s sometimes hard to know whether the ammo or the gun is causing the problem, but with quality ammo, the GSG functions quite well. I fired a box of Remington “Golden Bullet Value Pack”, a box of Federal “AutoMatch Bulk Pack”, some standard velocity CCI, a few boxes of CCI “Mini-Mags”, and a few boxes of Remington “Thunderbolt”. I had the most reliability problems using the Remington “Golden Bullet”, and the Federal “AutoMatch”, with several ignition failures and a few failures to eject (stovepipes) with both brands. Reliability was not flawless with the other brands, but seemed very consistent as long as the gun was well lubricated before use. I noticed very early on that in order to ensure proper feeding, it’s very important to make sure all the rounds are seated as far back in the magazine as they can go. The top round, especially, must be pointed up at an angle and not nose diving down into the mag before it is loaded. I’ve found the best way to do this is to use the thumb stud on the magazine spring to relieve tension on the mag after loading, and tilt the whole magazine backwards so the rounds fall all the way to the rear of the magazine. This only takes a second after loading each mag and results in much better performance.

Accuracy

While I wouldn’t consider the GSG-1911 to be a dedicated “target” pistol, it’s certainly accurate enough to fill the role of a training pistol for centerfire 1911s. I did a quick bench rest test at 15 yards using CCI mini-mags and got decent results, with most five shot groups coming in around 1.5 inches. Not particularly impressive when held against many other .22 pistols in the same price range, but certainly “combat accurate”.

For me, what holds the gun back in the practical accuracy department is the sights. At first, I thought the rear notch seemed abnormally narrow, making it difficult to quickly acquire a sight picture. However, when I measured the width of the notch compared to another 1911, they were the same, as well as the width of the front sight. It was when doing that comparison that I realized the shape of the rear sight on the GSG slopes inward on the sides, which seems to trick my eyes into seeing the notch as narrow. Without understanding the exact physiology behind it, I have to assume that there is a reason most rear sights are not shaped this way. All that said, both the front and rear sights are secured into standard dovetail cuts in the slide, so users can swap the sights out for whatever replacements they wish.

Additional Features

Fortunately, many of the complaints I’ve had with this pistol are easily fixed by replacing small parts with other standard 1911 parts. I don’t know if GSG’s claim of 80% parts compatibility is accurate, but as far as I can tell, most of the parts I would like to see changed are standard. It’s annoying to buy a pistol with features on it that I don’t like, but it really does make economic sense both for GSG and for the consumer. By using cheaper parts, GSG is able to keep the price for this pistol extremely competitive. Many users will not notice or care about the cheap parts, and those that do can easily swap them for their favorite standard 1911 parts. It may take a little doing, but the majority of customers should be able to simply spend a few bucks on parts (maybe some fitting here and there) to get the GSG set up similar to their favorite centerfire 1911. Some missing features, of course, will require the intervention of a skilled gunsmith, such as the lack of any texturing on the front strap, or the absence of forward cocking serrations.

Also similar to the traditional 1911 is the GSG’s field stripping procedure, with the exception of a little twist. After removing the slide stop, you must also remove an additional pin that’s underneath the slide stop, and a small hex screw that’s just forward of the slide stop. After that, the slide comes right off, and the rest of the disassembly is fairly straightforward. It’s a tad annoying to have to use a tool for breakdown, but really only an issue if you happen to need to tear down the pistol somewhere away from your normal workbench.

As I mentioned earlier, one version of the GSG comes equipped with a fake suppressor. GSG may have been at least partially motivated to create this version just so they could highlight a unique feature of the GSG; the inclusion of a factory threaded barrel. All versions of the GSG come with a threaded barrel, and include a small wrench to remove the thread protector. The threads accept the same adapter as the Walther P22, so silencer fans have one less step to set up a super-cool, super-quiet 1911. If you don’t care to attach a suppressor, then no problem. The thread protector is secured very firmly to the barrel and you can completely ignore it if you wish.

Usability Comparison

If the GSG-1911 is to be used as a practice stand-in for a centerfire 1911, then they have to function and feel similar the range. Of course, as Todd Green points out in this excellent article, a .22 is only a good training substitute for a defensive handgun in certain disciplines. Any skills that require fast follow-up shots or recoil management can only be improved by using the “real thing”. However, skills like drawing from the holster, speed reloading, and to some extent, shooting on the move, can benefit greatly from training with a .22. With that in mind, I have been using my GSG-1911 to warm up at the range before transitioning to my current centerfire 1911 of choice; a 9mm STI Trojan.

While there are some definite ergonomic differences between the two pistols, I don’t notice them a great deal while shooting unless I am going for a more lengthy practice session. The most notable difference between the two pistols when shooting is the sights, but as I mentioned earlier, that can be easily remedied. I believe I’ve gotten the biggest benefit out of using the GSG to practice my draw stroke. Since the GSG has a standard 1911 profile, it fits perfectly into my Blackhawk CQC holster. My 1911 mag holders work fine for the GSG magazines as well. When switching from the GSG to the STI for draw practice, I do notice that the STI feels much heavier out of the holster. Those ounces of difference in the weight feel a lot more like pounds when trying to get the pistol on target quickly. However, I timed myself several times drawing from the holster and putting a single shot on target at 7 yards and the average was only .03 seconds slower with the STI. So while the all-steel STI “feels” heavier and slower out of the holster, it doesn’t seem to make much difference practically, and adding extra rounds to my draw practice with the GSG over the last few months has definitely improved my overall average times.

Overall Value

When compared to other .22 handguns in the $300-400 range, it’s hard to say that the GSG-1911 comes out on top in any specific category. If a new shooter were to ask for a recommendation at that price point, I would almost certainly point them toward something like a Ruger 22/45, which comes in several varieties, some of them significantly less expensive than the GSG. However, though there are more accurate, more durable .22s out there, there are few available in that price range that have the same feel and controls as serious defensive handguns. This makes the GSG better not just for training, but in my opinion, also makes it a really fun gun to shoot. The fact that I can use the same holster, the same mag holders, and run the gun in the same drills I use for my “real” 1911 makes it a blast to have out on the range. When I look at the rapidly degrading finish and the cheap sights on my GSG, it’s hard to love it. But then I look at the ammo boxes on the table and wonder how they got empty so quicky, and I realize that I’ve gotten more than my money’s worth.




Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


Advertisement

  • Seraph

    The GSG 1911 Tactical looks awesome. Too bad threaded barrels are illegal in CA.

    • moarinfo

      They make a “California” version.

      • raygunraven

        Yay!

  • Hrachya Hayrapetyan

    Like driving a Shelby Mustang with a scooter engine…

  • Matthew Carberry

    I’m pretty sure I’ve voided the warranty on mine making it a better match for my other 1911’s. =)

    I filed the left-side of the safety lever to remove that annoying corner and change the profile to match the left side.

    I used files and stones to undercut the trigger guard, to allow for a higher hold on the front strap (all my carry guns have this).

    I removed the magazine disconnect, not having a spare flat mainspring housing handy, as soon as I do I’ll change out the arched.

    Finally, I put on a spare set of thin grips I had laying around.

    Accuracy and reliability have been good with mine and I find it is a good companion piece to my .45s.

    I have heard they changed the guide rod cross-section in later production guns and there have been some issues but the factory is aware and dealing with the problem. Might be worth looking into prior to purchasing.

    • John

      You can buy a stainless steel guid rod from CWAccessories.com. I never even put a round through the gun with the original fearing damage to the gun if the original broke. Works flawlessly

  • Sean

    Good review. A shooting buddy of mine has one of these, and everything you wrote seems to mirror his opinion of the gun. Basically, it is “good enough” for what it is. I had bought the Kimber .22 conversion a few months before these came out. I kinda wish I had waited for this gun.

  • Lance

    Like there MP-5 copy looks like a fun toy to plink with just not worth such high prices for though.

  • Adam

    I purchased one right after they came out to train my girlfriend on the manual of arms of my Springfield Lightweight Champion Operator. She is new to shooting and recoil and noise adverse, so the much milder report and recoil is a huge plus. All I want her to be able to do now is to pick up my 1911 in a defense situation and be able to fire 1-2 rounds if necessary.

    My only complaint is with my “first generation” pistol is that the recoil spring is -very- easy to install incorrectly, and will bind up hard. Also I’m about 2000 rounds into the life of the gun and I’m experiencing frequent light strikes on the primers. Also after a particullarly intense range trip heat warped something in the slide, and I’m no longer able to remove the slide without removing the barrel in a fashion non dissimilar to a Glock. Fortunately American Tactical Imports (the US distributor for GSG) has an excellent warranty department, I just don’t want to be without it for too long, haha.

  • “gunner”

    a good review, very detailed and useful. if i were to buy one i’d want to replace that “beavertail” grip safety with a standard m1911a1 part, same for the hammer, going to a m1911 “wide spur” and thumb safety, if those are part of the “80% interchangeable” list. and see if they used the same three leaf spring for the grip safety and adjust the pressure if i found the same problem as the reviewer.

  • http://RenderRanch.com Zermoid

    Very good review, as far as the mag disconnect “safety” I remove them on any gun I buy, if I want or need to fire the gun without the mag I want it to go bang.

    I wholeheartedly endorse the removal of these stupid things on all guns.

    I also remove the “you have to crush the lever shut to get the gun to fire” thing on Marlins and Winchesters I own. GD idiot proofing for the lawyers is all it is.

    Second thing (after removing the mag disconnect) I’d do is take the dremel to that safety lever! Good Lord, it looks like it could really slash your thumb if there was any real recoil.

    Interesting thought, have you tried swapping a 1911 slide, springs and barrel onto it? Sort of going the other way, buy a 22 and convert it to a 45!

    • SHANKSTER

      ZERMOID:
      HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT REMOVE THE MAGAZINE SAFETY ON THE GSG 1911. I PURCHASED ONE AND I FEEL THAT IT IS MORE OF A HINDERENCE AND I WOULD PREFER TO DO WITHOUT IT.
      THANKS

  • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Steve (The Firearm Blog)

    Great review Chris, thanks for writing it.

  • Scott

    I purchased the Sig 1911-22 which is a rebranded GSG. I own several 1911 pistols. You review was dead on. I plan on getting the wife up and running using this pistol after I start her on an airsoft 1911 that has all the functionality of my 1911s also.

    If you are a 1911 owner get one of these to practice with your wallet will thank you.

  • zeonxavier

    I’d consider one of these, as my XD-45 operates in a similar manner to a 1911, and finding a holster will be very easy.

    It might help my wife gain confidence in her ability to shoot the XD as well, which would be nice.

  • Riceball

    @Zermoid I’m no firearms expert but I’d imaging that there would be issues with firing a .45 out of a .22 even assuming that a .45 1911 slide is compatible with the lower of a SGS-1911. I rather doubt that the lower frame would handle the stress from the recoil of a .45 for very well or very long, chances are it’s only strong enough to handle .22 rounds and anything more would do bad things to the frame.

  • matthew carberry

    @ zeromoid

    Aluminum alloy is aluminum alloy, I don’t think it’d catastrophically fail (as opposed to stretch) but the frame won’t have room for the round to feed.

    I checked. :)

  • Riceball

    @ zermoid Thinking about it further it might take more than simply replacing the slide to convert the GSG-1911 to a .45. Even if a .45 slide would fit and the frame could stand the firing a .45 there’s still the issue of the magazine. Can the grip in the GSG-1911 accommodate a magazine from .45 1911? That might not be part of the compatible 85%.

  • http://gunsandweapons2.blogspot.com Wolvereams

    Their MP5 .22 rifle works awesome and its one of my favorite guns, so iexpect this to maintain that same quality, although their weapons are usually pretty picky with ammo.

  • JonathanMill

    I just made this compensator for the GSG. It is similar to the one on punisher.

    http://i1125.photobucket.com/albums/l595/jonathanmill/327694_2058428017883_1160103241_3069944_1779985179_o.jpg

    • Larry

      Just looked at your compensator and wanted to know if you would consider making another and selling it to me. Ive changed a few parts already and am not done with it yet. Thanks. Larry

      • Adam

        I actually had that exact compensator made for me by ZR Tactical Solutions. Here is their website: http://www.zrtacticalsolutions.com On their website it talks about how they like to make custom accessories, so I just sent them an email about it. They were really great to work with and have great customer service.

  • Ron

    I did consider the GSG prior to purchasing my Ruger 22/45 Mrk III. Two things that swayed me was price of the pistol and most that made me buy the Ruger was price of the mags. $30-$35 for a .22 mag is crazy. Mag prices always figure into the overall cost of ownership. I like to have at least 6-8 mags per gun and @ $35 per mag that sure adds up. My ruger mags are $16.00-$18.00 that’s half the price of the GSG.

    I have over 1800 rounds through the ruger and the only hiccup was because of the Remington Golden bullets about 10 FTF. I never even cleaned the gun…it ran like a swiss watch. I have to say I have had a blast shooting this pistol and even my kids love it. I may even buy another so they have something to shoot at the same time.

    I also purchased the a item called the “ultimate clip loader” I know it’s a mag. It speed loads the magazines in no time which is a big plus. The only downside is you load the mags so fast there is no down time between shooting and reloading of mags so you end up sending a lot of lead down range.

    Get me a speed loader and drop the price of those mags and I would buy it.

  • RandyL

    I have owned one of these for 4 months and have shot about 800 rounds through it. It will shoot 1.5 inch groups at 10 meters and if I use Federal bulk target ammo, it will put bullet on bullet. I have had no issues with any ammo. This pistol has taught me how to rank ammo: CCI, Federal bulk target, Golden Bullets and Wildcat 22. The following is worse: Federal lightening, and any Winchester. It is a blast to shoot. At 200 rounds it broke the return spring guide rod. It took about 6 weeks to receive one from warranty. This pot metal piece broke at the base just at the time I was trying to kill a possum. I think that putting the guide spring in backwards one time contributed to the guide rod’s demise. I made a replacement to use until mine came back. I have no complaints with this pistol. All my friends like it. I would buy another and find it to be competent. The finish is starting to change colors. That is the slide is slightly different than the lower frame, and the slide release has turned a third shade. This was all the exact same color when I got the pistol. I put a piece of clear packing tape inside the lower half to keep the front edges of the lower half from wearing the paint off the slide at the barrel. Finally, I use a combination of white grease and automatic transmission fluid as slide oil. I fire this pistol fairly wet.

  • Vahagn

    Just holding and the feel of the GSG 1911 is really good. I read many good reviews, so I bought one.
    I have few 22 pistols, the GSG 1911 is the coolest, but functionality wise not much. In a scale of 1 to 10 (10 the highest), in best case it may score 5.
    After some 400-500 rounds (Second visit to the range) the recoil spring guide rod broke. Few weeks ago I called ATI, nice people, verified the serial number, the gun is under warranty and they will send me replacement part as soon as they RECIVE it.
    Apparently they have so many defective parts that ATI can not supply them fast enough. The worst part is that they know the parts go bad frequently, but still can’t get enough. The little screw that holds the barrel to the slide is made of such soft material that after few cleaning the head is worn out and I had to order that too. The barrel bushing is rubbing against the barrel and eventually needs to be replaced.
    Anyone who wants to use a 22 pistol for training and/or fun plinking should go with a Ruger 22/45.
    Disappointed very much.

  • Danny Turbyfill

    i saw this pistol at a local shooting range one day, and being a 1911 fan ,i rented it,shot 300 rds cci mini mags 0 malfunctions. i purchased 1 a few days later and since then have put over 1000 rds thru it, i have had 1 malfunction a FTE, that can happen to any dirty pistol. yes it is a .22 yes the slide is made from zinc alloy, yes the finish will wear quickly but… i look at a firearm as a tool. i am a veteran of oif and anyone can tell you that almost any finish will wear off given enviorment use and cleaning. in my opionion for the price of the pistol and the ammo its a lot of fun for the money, the negative is the cost of sig magazines, gsg mags look the same and are 10.00 bucks cheaper. i like mine, and would reccomend this to anyone who likes 1911s but dosen’t
    shoot them enough due to noise,ammo cost etc. i like mine and am planning to buy another to have a spare if this one breaks.

  • Davit

    Few weeks ago I got my GSG 1911. It is a cool gun and feels really good in the hand.

    Few hundred rounds at the range, the recoil guide rod snapped, making the gun useless. Called ATI, they were very nice and already knew about the problem. But apparently they have so many problems with this gun and particularly with this part that they have trouble getting enough replacement part. Had to wait about five weeks to get it. Next was the little flat head allen screw to go bad (Soft material). Now I see too much of wear and tear at the barrel tip that rubs against the barrel bushing.

    A cool gun that brakes all the time and parts are not available, makes a good looking paper weight.

    Bottom-line, if you want a good 22 cal training gun just buy the Ruger 22/45.

  • http://firearmblog.com bob bieber

    hello;more on the gsg 1911 22 cal,i had a problem with the grip safety ,ati sent it back to the factory they up dated the gun with two parts but did nothing to the grip safety test fired the gun 10 shots got it back in two weeks had my gunsmith take some tension off the grip safety spring,and it also gave me a lot better trigger pull,some one said the mags from germany are steel i have one from ati and one that came with the gun and they arenot steel i think they are the same material as the gun ,mighty fine gun and its not for sale,bob bieber

  • Matthew Carberry

    Bob,

    What were the updated parts?

    That’s kinda key info for a post about quality and such. ;)

  • http://firearmblog.com bob bieber

    hello;when i sent my gsg back to the factory they updated to a steel brl bushing and a steel guide rod also bob bieber

    • http://firearmblog.com bob bieber

      FROM BOB BIEBER;i also had a problem with the grip safety i had the spring tension reworked and it took care of the problem other than that its a keeper

  • Matthew Carberry

    Thanks Bob.

    I’ll have to get in touch with them myself.

  • David Agar

    It is disappointing that you should even have to have a comment policy for you really provide quite a service. Perhaps you do such a great job that the more volitile feel that they can vent against the manufacturer, via you etc …sorry about that.

    Today I just had my recoil spring guide break; and the spring and the plastic pin to the rear of the slide stop fly out and disappear. I was quite depressed just after it happened…..$300+ gone!!! Finding your site enabled me to realize that I am not alone and repair solutions are possible.

    Before finding your site in an effort to retrieve the situation I tried my three GSG mags in my .22-45 Ceiner conversion unit mounted on a DCM M1911 and my Kimber Rimfire .22 pistol. I was elated to see that they fit both so all is not lost regardless of the final outcome.

    Thanks again and well done to you and your contributors,

    David

    • Dave Brunswick

      CW Accessories makes an all aluminum full length machined guide rod of excellent quality $19.95 plus $4 shipping. They don’t rape you on the shipping. They don’t have the recoil spring plug though which has a hole in the end for the guide rod (full length) to go through. I had the same prob with my Sig 1911-22 and sent it back and it was taken care of no questions asked. It shows that it pays to spend a little more to get the Sig name behind the gun.

      • David Agar

        Thank you Dave for the information which may be very useful. Right now I am waiting to see where GSG goes to solve my problem. Several years ago I had a one sucessful for two purchased with the Sig Mosquito .22 so I am now a bit doubtful about German manufactured .22s. However my Sig P226 9m to 22cal conversion unit was faultless. Perhaps the Browning 1911-22 might be the best albeit more costly solution.

    • Adam

      I would recommend checking out ZR Tactical Solutions. Here is their website: http://www.zrtacticalsolutions.com I bought a full length guide rod from them when they made my custom Punisher compensator. If you are still needing a recoil spring plug, I guarantee these guys would be able to make you for a reasonable price. I have talked to them on the phone, and they are into making custom parts for people. It is definitely worth contacting them.

  • Toby Breon

    Just experienced a broken recoil spring guide breaking over the weekend with my GSG 1911. I was shooting with a friend that introduced me to the GSG and he owns an earlier manufactured gun. In comparing the same parts, the earlier gun had a solid steel rod and head on the recoil spring guide. The quality of the new guide is noticeably inferior to the earlier guns. Have contacted American Tactical via email and will now hold-my breath to see what responses I get in terms of Warranty Service! The gun is only 8 months from the date of purchase.

    I franly LOVE the gun. Accurate, smooth and very few mis-fires. I have cleaned it regularly and all is functioning well except for this boken part. For the money, it is a great gun to plink around with but I am dissappointed in the broken part, obviously.

    Will keep you all posted on developments of the Warranty.

    • Toby Breon

      Just a follow-up to my pevious posting (Jan 30th) about my recoil guide post breaking.

      I notified American Tactical immediately of the broken part and received an immediate response indicating that my order has been placed for a replacement guide rod and this was a warranted part. However, they could not and can not advise me when I can expect a replacement guide rod as they are out of stock and they have not received any shippments from the manufacturer in Germany. The conceded and admitted the “2nd Generation” of GSG-1911 were manufactured with an inferior guide rod.

      I have placed subsequent email inquiries and each time received a polite and timely response from American Tactical that the part has not arrived and they have no indication as to when they would be expected as they suspect that parts may be held up “by Customs” and “setting on the docks”. (have not idea why that can’t confirm where replacement parts actually are…sometimes I feel I am getting the ole “run-a-round”)

      Obviously, I am now questionning what good a two-year warranty is on the GSG if the manufacturer cannot provide replacement parts?? I have been comtemplating buying an “after-market” replacement part, but American Tactical tells me if I do, the gun will no longer be warranted. I guess I understand that from their perspective, but it reinforces my concerns about buying a foreign manufactured weapon.

      Here it is 2 months later with the weather getting warm and shooting activity picking up and I have nothing but a hunk of metal setting in the safe waiting on “Customs” to realease the parts!!

      Frustrated!!!!!

      • Toby Breon

        Well…11 weeks and 4 days later, American Tactical Imports FINALLY sent me a replacement recoil spring guide. Much to my amazement, they sent the IDENTICAL PART that everyone knows is defective, poorly designed and manufactured. Needless to say, I am NOT a happy GSG gun owner. I am not and cannot blame ATI, as they are simply the Distributor for GSG, which is in Germany. HOWEVER, I would expect and I highly suspect, ATI plays a major role in the branding and sales of the GSG’s in this country and their input should hold much weight with the manufacturer. WHY would they knowingly replace a broken, defective part with an identical part?

        I have put my gun back together and it is functioning fine. However…it will soon be sold and replaced with a more reputable and responsibly manufactured weapon. The GSG may be a reasonably priced gun but I have always learned…you get what you pay for. This weapon is full of poorly designed and manufactured parts and the manufacturer clearly has no intention of improving on the compenents even when they know they have a problem. The two year warranty is the ONLY saving grace on this weapon and unfortunately, it is NOT long enough because clearly this weapon is not intended to be used for any length of time.

        GSG and I will be parting ways. I always judge a manufacturer by HOW THEY RESPOND when they know they have a problem. I anticipate new designs and products are going to have some degree of problems but if the manufacturer responds, acknowledges and FIXES the problems, it is good for everyone. GSG obviously has no intention of improving their product. Save your money and look at a manufacturer that appreciates its customer base and wants to improve on its short-comings.

        Too bad…because I really could shoot this weapon accurately!

      • Gsg1911fanatic

        ZRTS ruined two of my 1911 gag and finally replaced it with a new factory unmodified gun. Wasted time and alot of heartache. I know have about every cw accessorie offered and love them. Quality parts and great customer service. I think zrts is just ripping of cw acc designs anyway!!

      • Cyrus Hutchings

        I bought one couple months ago & had some problems with it not ejecting & hammer not always hitting to bullet hard enough to fire it. Concern is it going to go off while ejecting it which didn’t happen.

        Finally a part broke so it could not fire. Since it was only a week old & the cost to return for repair was $80, my wife barked on spending the money so we took it back to dealer & she had a little discussion with them. We left with a new gun, with the fake silencer at no charge. They even put my wood grips on in place of the black plastic ones. I was really surprised but I think they could tell they better make her happy & they did.

        I don’t have to first one to do a comparison but I think this gun is different then the first one. It works great even when I fire dirty ammo it has not failed to cycle. My conclusion is this one was built after they fixed all the problems. It’s fun to shoot a gun that works like it should.

        Not shooting tight groups so I coronagraphed some of the shots & see greater then 100fps variation in shots & the light ones have a weake cycle time

  • David Agar

    Many thanks to all fellow GSG owners who are contributing their experiences. Misery loves company so I don’t feel alone with my out of service for parts pistol.

    In my last comment I mentioned potential magazine interchangeability. Thus far I have extensively fired my 22-45 Ceiner and Wilson conversion units on a 1918 made M1911 pistol bottom end without any GSG magazine problems. This is better than with the original factory magazines. In the next several weeks I will also fire them with my Colt 22-45 conversion unit and my Kimber Rimfire .22 (another M1911 lookalike). They (the 3 GSG magazines) fit but I haven’t fired them yet. So my experience isn’t all bad and I am able to experiment and learn something new while waiting for the parts!

  • Dave Brunswick

    I went with the SIG version and they have been great on the above problems. and they have the parts. Got the gun back with my new fullength guide rod in a couple of weeks. Pay a little extra, get the SIG name behind the gun and get nice grips along with it.

  • David Agar

    In my previous comments I mentioned potential magazine interchangeability.

    I have now extensively fired my 22-45 Ceiner, Wilson and Colt 22-45 conversion units using the GSG magazines on a 1918 made M1911 pistol bottom end without any problems. This is better than with the original factory conversion unit magazines. I have also fired them with my Kimber Rimfire .22 (another M1911 lookalike). There have been some failures to chamber but nothing excessive.

    So my GSG experience isn’t all bad and I am able to use my GSG magazines with other conversion units and at least one M1911 lookalike! Hopefully I will soon receive the new parts needed for my GSG pistol.

  • Mr. Khan

    This review and the comments have been very helpful. After handling the GSG 1911 .22 in a gun shop, I was seriously considering purchasing one. I’ll wait to hear that user feedback has been acknowledged and acted upon by the manufacturer. If I could fix it, they should fix it.

  • Phil Jarrett

    I shot my buddy’s GSG 1911 22 and really liked it, waiting on my own in a few more days. I have read a lot on the internet on these guns and did experience the same ammo issues as others have and will probably go with CCI mini mags. I will be ordering an extra guide rod and spring before I have a problem so if it happens, im ready. I would of liked a little less tension on the trigger but hopefully and few hundred pulls might soften it a bit? I’m sure with good maitnaience I will put plenty rounds through it! cause my Kimber 45 is getting a bit pricey to shoot!

  • MICHAEL HOOP

    JUST GOT BACK FROM THE RANGE WITH MY WIFE AND HER GSG 1911.THIS WAS UNFIRED AND SHE RIPPED THROUGH 10 MAGS. WITH NO ISSUES. THEN HAMMER STUCK BACK AND WOULD NOT RELEASE. AFTER THE RANGE MASTER AND MYSELF DISASSEMBLED THE GUN,WE FOUND THE TRIGGER AND GRIP SAFTY WERE IS SHAMBLES. ANY COMMENT OR RETURN POLICY INFO WILL HELP. TY MIKE

  • http://Illini DaveIllinois

    I just fired my GSG 1911 .22 at the gun range for the first time after purchasing it two weeks ago. It came with a metal spring guide rod, so maybe the factory has solved the problems mentioned by past customers. I shot 100 rounds in no time with no jams or misfires. I love shooting cheaper ammo (I normally shoot 9mm), and it is a great gun to introduce shooting to my wife, since the .22 longs have minimal kick and noise. I did take the advice of previous writers by buying CCI mini mags. For $300, I think this is a great range gun. I hope I still feel that way a year from now!

  • http://none Strega

    My GSG 1911 is a version two – as marked on the slide and base of the mag. Seems to me like many of the camplaints above have been addressed. It is a really fun gun to shoot, few failures, and is more accurate than I expected for the price.

    As a precaution, I purchased the Performance Enhancer package from CW accessories – new spring and plug, sturdy guiderod. Replacement of these parts was simple and improved accuracy even more. Good deal and gets rid of the barrel screw.

    Does any one know if the ATI warranty covers the finish on the slide? That light paint job that GSG put on wears very easily and makes the gun look old even after 500 rounds and light, careful handling. GSG should have anodized the slide to make the finish look a lot better for a longer period. Anybody have info on the finish warranty? Thanx

  • Joe

    I own a GSG 1911-22 and love it. The trigger pull is about 3 lbs, Thumb safety is totally comfortable, the grip safety is not, I repeat not overspringed. It compresses nicely. My wife and neighbor both shot the GSG and had no problems. The magazine safety was easily defeated by
    removing the slide and spring from the Main spring housing. I did not have to replace the housing. If it is annoying to buy pistols with features that you do not like, then do not buy the pistol. As for the finish, don’t toss the gun in the trunk or glove box of the car or truck. keep it in a
    case. Any gun, handled roughly will soon look grungy.
    BTW, the mags from the GSG 1911-22 have worked on every conversion I
    have tried them on, kimber, Ceiner etc.
    Have not been able to obtain a GSG 1911-22 conversion kit, they seem
    to have a problem in Germany getting them out. I have a Llama Mini-Max I would love to put it on, and use the top of the Llama for a fishing weight!
    Now, I feel better!

  • Bob Baker

    I own a Sig Sauer 1911-22. Loading the mags is very hard on my hands. I would appreciate any response as to where I can purchase a speed loader that fits the mag. I’ve tried a couple and they do not fit over the mag. It’s a shame that GSG doesn’t provide one with the purchase price of the gun.

  • Bob Baker

    Help me locate a speed loader for a sig 1911-22 clip.

  • Bob Baker

    Help me locate a speed loader that fits a sig 1911-22

    • Jonathan Keel

      Check out CW accessories they have some stuff you might like!!

  • Mark

    I purchased mine in February 2012 and so far I have run just over 1200 rounds (mostly CCI HV but some Wally World bulk as well). I love this thing as it has allowed me to practice exponentially more with .22lr than, of course, would be the case with the $20 per box .45acp. For 1911 work, I now use the GSG 80% of the time and it really keeps my .45 1911 skills current. I highly recommend it for those looking for a 1911 platform.

    If not, I have rented the Sr22 and the M&P 22 and they are nice as well (I just preferred the 1911 model).

    -Cheers

  • RG

    I recently purchased a gsg 1911 22 cal and after a short time the barrel at the shell entry point became worn at the bottom. It was sent back to the distributor ATI by the company i purchased it from. After about 6 months of use of the replaced GSG 1911, i noticed it was very picky of the type ammo i used. After trying several manufacturers i finally found that the remington golden bullet (round nose) seemed to work the best.
    My uncle and myself both own the same kind of Gsg 1911 handguns.
    His has had the same problems mine has had. During the 1st week of November 2012, (this month) my handgun was loaded with this round of ammunition and i was target shooting when 1 round of the ammunition seemed to be a light load or misfired. After clearing that round, i fired a couple more flawlessly then the left side of the slide expolded sending schrapnel back into my face and neck. I wasn’t injured other than a sting from the powder and schrapnel that simultanously hit me. After this incident i thought it best to ask if anyone else has had the same or similar problem? I thought if nothing else, maybe i could save someone serious injury or loss of life by writting this. I have given the handgun and a box of the ammo to the place of purchase and they are writing the ammunition manufacturer as well as the distributor. If anyone has this particular handgun please be extremely careful. I may be getting another one but it will be traded for some other handgun manufacturers model possibly the colt 1911.

  • Tim Saboski

    I recently purchased this GSG 1911. I love it and the way it shoots. put hogue grip on it, now it is like my SR1911 from Ruger. Wanted to customize it so I contacted ZTSR, it now shoots wonderful. I wondered if another company might work better? Then daughter got one do to the liking of mine sooo much, she also fell in love with the looks of the fancy slide offered from other seller. Long story short.. not as accurate and now shoots three inches high at 15yds, with their slide and kit and is very ammo picky(one stovepipe/FTL in 20 with CCI mini mag, much more as you move down price scale). She still loves it, but after dealing with both.. if you want a great gun better… after 3000 + rds …ZRTS has my vote. It shoots everything reliably and holds a 1/2-3/4 group at 15 yards. yes I am holding with forearm supported.Even in stock from this firearm is fun. A must have for plinking

  • mike

    I love my gsg 1911-22 but it is finicky on ammo it shoots cci mini mags and cci ar tactical 22s perfect. I love the fell and look and it is very accurate.

    • mike

      feel

  • Aramis7

    Bought GSG 1911 22LR last May. Impressed with how it looks. Good in my hand. Almost feels like my .45 Colt. Cleaned and lubed it real good. Took it to my local range and shot 100 rounds CCI minimag with no issue whatsoever. The next 100 rounds was Remington “golden bullets”, 2 Failed to load and 2 FTE. I think its probably the ammo. Polished the slide rails as recommended by other reviewer from you tube. Took it to the range and shot 200 CCI minimag HV… faultless. Minimag is hard to get in our area and if avail in the net it’s ridiculously expensive. I’d been shooting any ammo from walmart (when I can get it) and the fault is very minimal, like average of 3 for every 100. Just keep it clean and lube and it is fun to shoot. I had put at least 1,000 rounds through it. Love this gun!