GSG-1911: 1911 Review On A Great .22 Pistol


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The GSG-1911 is manufactured by German Sport Guns and imported by American Tactical Imports.
The GSG-1911 is manufactured by German Sport Guns and imported by American Tactical Imports.

It seems the latest trend these days for firearms manufacturers, licensee manufacturers, or sometimes totally independent entities is to provide realistic replicas of modern combat/tactical firearms in .22LR versions, especially since centerfire ammunition has been in short supply or so expensive that actually shooting any of it is cost prohibitive.  Therefore shooters have been turning to the modern wave of “understudy” firearms to be able to have something they can actually shoot, in a realistic replica version of the gun they would really like to be shooting.

This has resulted in the introduction of some outstanding firearms that at first glance can’t be distinguished from their full power siblings.  I can’t really say full size, as these are full size weapons, mimicking the weight, balance, ergonomics and handling of their full power relatives. And usually, not only is the ammunition for them much less expensive, but so are the guns themselves, being rimfire, blowback versions of the “real” thing.

Now, this has been a great thing, especially for those of us who remember the first of the .22LR “replica” (boy was that term a stretch) AR-15s from companies like ERMA.  Their gun had about as much in common with a real AR-15 as the toy Mattel M16 rifle from 1969 did.  This new generation of replica guns is outstanding and long overdue.  But one of the best of this new breed isn’t an AR-15 or MP-5 replica. It’s a 1911, one very nicely done by German Sport Guns in (you guessed it) Germany, and imported by American Tactical Imports: the GSG-1911.

The GSG-1911 is accurate! It points like a 1911 and hits where you look.
The GSG-1911 is accurate! It points like a 1911 and hits where you look.

To put it mildly, this is a great pistol for anyone seeking a .22 for whatever reason.  It is a 1911 after all (albeit with a few design modifications). As such it has so much more to offer over standard .22 pistols that look like, well, standard .22 pistols, especially considering its price.  Even the Ruger .22/45 — which has a grip frame designed to feel like a 1911 — isn’t a 1911.

It still clearly looks and handles like a .22 target type pistol, its grip only feels a bit like a 1911, but it certainly doesn’t look like one.  The GSG-1911 IS a 1911, and as such it offers the shooters all the shooting advantages of its full power relatives without the recoil.  And believe me, although they won’t admit it, there are plenty of folks out there that would like to shoot a 1911 without the noise and recoil of the .45 ACP round. So let me detail what those advantages are, particularly in terms of this particular 1911.

GSG-1911 Construction

In terms of construction, the GSG-1911 does exhibit some differences as compared to a true 1911.  First, the slide of the GSG-1911 is aluminum and the frame/receiver body of the pistol is cast Zinc #Z410 (Zamak), which gives it a heft that totally absorbs the miniscule recoil of either standard or high-velocity .22LR rounds, making it an ideal gun for new shooters.  While some of you may be put off by a 1911 frame that is constructed of zinc as opposed to aluminum or steel, you won’t know it is zinc by the appearance, which is a pleasant matte gray.  It took me awhile to figure out what the frame was made out of. I finally emailed the factory.  You won’t recognize it as Zamak, at least externally. Where you will notice the Zamak construction — if you are a 1911 aficionado — is in terms of weight distribution.

The GSG is grip heavy, enhanced by the light weight of the aluminum slide.  Here’s the thing though — because of the materials used in its construction, you can purchase this pistol for about $339 retail.  Sure, they could make the frame out of steel, but that would shoot the cost up by at least $200 a copy.  Considering the low pressures involved with the .22LR cartridge, there shouldn’t be any significant wear and tear on the frame.  The slide is marked .22LRHV but the owner’s manual advises that the gun is set to work with either standard or high-velocity rounds.  For what I envision the uses of this pistol are, I would stick with HV loads when running it.  The grips are nicely checkered walnut colored wood of the traditional Colt style “Double Diamond” pattern.  They are held in place by flathead screws.


  1. It looks good made just like and feel of a 1911. It was costly ($370.00) but do not buy one in my opinion it junk. I took it out the 1st time and cleaned it (used Hoppes No.9) and oiled the gun and the finish is coming off (using Hoppes oil). Called customer service (total of 4 times) and was told it not covered because it’s ware and tare. 2nd time out, the magazine catch fell out. 3rd time out one problem after another (jammed,not feed and not shot 500 rounds through it) Bad service, badly made and cost way too much. Just plane junk. I email the company over a week ago and have not heard a thing from them. I going to send a letter to the company and file a complaint with the, Better Business Bureau.

  2. I bought a used GSG 1911, I do love the feel of the gun, The first time I shot the gun it performed great, the 2nd time the gun jamed, and would not open, I did not know if I had a live shell in it or a fired one. The gun range put a straw from a WD40 can in the barrel to see how deep it went , the bullet had fired , they could not get it open . When I got home I was able to turn the barrel bushing enough to get the barrel loose, eventually I got the bullet out .The recoil spring guide was stuck in the recoil spring plug. I tapped it with a soft hammer to loosen it . I took it shooting a 3rd time & it jammed again. It is still jammed a month later as I ordered recoil spring parts & spring parts but the are on back order. Maybey new parts will help this gun.

    • I had the same problem, turned out I put the recoil spring in backwards. When you look at the spring you will see that it’s tapered like a tornado. The larger coils go towards the Barrel Bushing. The new Springs supplied by ATI are not tapered but have the same diameter coils thoughout.

  3. I love the 1911-22. I had gotten a Chiappa and used it for practice. The barrel is mounted to the frame. Couldn’t figure out why but I got better with the 45, but the 22 groups stayed the same. Well after some thinking, I mounted a red-dot with a nice rt-grip replacement type.
    Holly S*&^%! Because the sights are on the slide, and there is no locking between the slide and barrel, the sights can actually point anywhere! With the frame mount red-dot my groups are looking like air-rifle days.
    Oh Joy, Oh Rapture!

  4. I bought one of these at a gun show last month and it is the nicest shooting 22 I have ever owned and I have owned the Ruger 10/22, S&W 22A, the Walther P22 and both the Beretta Neos and Bobcat. They don’t compare to this gun. I have the version with the fake silencer which makes it look cool also. The gun is extremely accurate, has almost no recoil and is smooth as silk to shoot. This gun is definitely a keeper!

  5. I have one of these pistols and I love it. The gun has the feel of the 1911 minus the weight. The magazines are impressive both in feel and appearance. Everyone who has handled the pistol has been impressed with it. It does not feel like a cheap made 22. I was surprized to see that Sig Saurer is having these guns built by GSG and having their name on them. If its good enough for Sig then that says alot.
    I changed out the front sight on mind just like the article said and it shoots dead on now. I was impressed that it came with the extra sights and the tools needed to make the change.
    I am seriously thinking of buying a 2nd one so that when we go out to the country I’ll have one to share. I saw one at a show that had a dummy surpressor, I think that would be fun. All in all, a great pistol for the money.

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