Smith & Wesson Model SW1911 Sub Compact – Pro Series Pistol

Smith and Wesson SW1911 subcompact

Smith and Wesson has brought a new subcompact 1911 in .45 ACP to the market in their SW1911 line.  The SW1911 Sub Compact Pro Series is a tiny 1911 with an obvious eye on the concealed carry market.

The SW1911 features a Scandium frame, carbon steel slide, and stainless steel barrel, which all weighs in at only 24 ounces unloaded.  The gun is offered in matte black.

The gun loads 7+1 of the venerable .45 ACP and launches the rounds through a 3″ barrel.  Sights are typical three-dot.

Due to the reliability problems sometimes encountered with shrinking the 1911 platform, S&W installed an oversized external extractor to ensure positive extraction.  Smith and Wesson also equipped with subcompact 1911 with a three-hole trigger and a full-length guide rod.  I personally do not care for the skeletonized-type triggers, but your mileage may vary.

Smith Wesson SW1911 subcompact

Specifications

  • caliber: .45 ACP
  • standard magazine capacity:  seven rounds
  • barrel length:  3″
  • overall length:  6 7/8″
  • weight (unloaded):  24 ounces
  • frame:  scandium alloy
  • slide:  carbon steel
  • barrel:  stainless steel
  • full length guide rod
  • oversized external extractor
  • sights:  three dot

List price on the SW1911 Sub Compact Pro Series is $1264.

Smith & Wesson 1911 Subcompact

2013 SW1911 Update

This SW1911 pistol, introduced at the 2009 SHOT Show, is still in the Smith & Wesson catalog.  The MSRP has dropped to $1,159.  While not “cheap” by many people’s understanding of the term, the price is lower than the introductory price of $1,264.

The gun has gained a lot of respect from even the most traditional of 1911 enthusiasts. These guns look good and run great. For the price, they are actually a very good deal. Sure, more than $1k for a handgun is a little over the top for many people, but for a real 1911 fan the price is not bad at all.

I’ve had a chance to shoot these guns on the range, but I have not had one in my possession long enough for a complete review. If this changes, I will update this article with my observations.

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About Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, police trainer and really bad joke teller. Check out his other writing in Combat Handguns, Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement, on The Firearm Blog and at BlueSheepdog.

Comments

  1. Im buying this for my son-in-law for Xmas.

  2. Tony Ellis says:

    Good Day!

    I am selling my Beretta 92F .9mm and Walther PPK .380 to purchase a compact 1911, for concealed carry.

    I want a .45 caliber and have been looking for the Kimber Ultra Carry II (blue), but so far I haven’t found one.

    So, could anyone provide some comparisons between the S&W and the Kimber? (Or any other choices in that size range)

    Thanks in advance

    Tony Ellis
    1975 USN 1988

  3. Sherry Bennett says:

    I own a full sized S&W 1911 and I absolutely love it. It has very little recoil. You can fire it over and over without hurting your hands. I am very impressed with the engineering behind the 1911 and I trust the S&W brand so it was only natural that I would buy their version of this historical firearm. My next purchase is going to be their sub compact 1911 for concealed carry. I own a S&W Model 442 revolver that uses .38 and .38 +P. Given the small size and the large bullet, it is just too painful for my hands to fire it repeatedly.

  4. I would like to see some real reviews on this piece.
    Can’t find much on the forums and I don’t trust the gun rags.

  5. Talk about hype! Talk about fanfare!!! Here it is, almost a year later, and the much touted piece STILL hasn’t hit the streets! Maybe we should all become gunzine writers to try one out? Sorry, S&W, I got tired of waiting & went out & bought a Nighthawk lightweight 4″ Officers model instead.

  6. Bought one about a month ago. Three range sessions so far; fired 300 rounds with only malfunction an ftf. I’ve shot only 230g. fmj factory loads to date. Ergonomics perfect for my hand; its a great fit. I shoot ambidexterously so I had an ambidexterous safety installed; that’s the only modification. Pistol very accurate; I have been consistently shooting 1.5-2″ inch groups from 10 yards. Recoil noticable but manageable; double taps easy enough. Muzzle flip more noticable than 5″ Gold Cup I shoot and I’m glad the grip and frontstrap is generously stipled to assist in the grip. Quality control and finish on the pistol is excellent. I think it’s a excellent CCW service caliber weapon which is exactly what I purchased it for.

  7. Pat, just one ftf out of 300 rounds? Did the bullet not seat in the chamber all the way or did the bullet jam nose up in the slide? I had a kimber ultra that jamed on feed like a stove-pipe but on a feed cycle. I just purchased the sw1911 3″ today and have not been to the range yet. I have the 5″ sw1911 stainless and love it. I hope the 3″ is as good…

  8. Purchased S&W and have put over three hundred (300) rounds through it. It works well, has suffered two (2) feed failures. One (1) with factory magazines, and one (1) with after market magazine(ProMag). It appears to be related to the extractor. Assisting slide forward put the weapon into battery and was able to fire. Will get back to you after one thousand (1000) rounds.

  9. Just purchased the S&W sub compact 1911 ‘Pro Series’.
    I thought my Colt ‘New Agent’ series 90 was the finest
    .45 CC made, until this S&W came along. In one word, SMOOTH!
    It’s now my new CC pistol. What a fine weapon!

  10. Great gun–replaced my Glock 27 (in my opinion Glock not as safe–like the grip safety of a 1911). Shot over 600 rounds, couple of FTF at the beginning–use Gold-Dots (dept issue)–I also like the fact that 230 grain .45 hardball can be effective, the only auto-pistol round that can claim that (WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam can testify to that fact). Recoil easy to manage–still don’t understand why the 1911 platform is so expensive–oh well.

  11. I saw the Pro compact .45 at a recent gun show. I was curious and picked it up to heft it. This was an epiphany. This gun felt like it was custom made for my hand. Keep in mind I have an S&W M59 9mm that is a pleasure to shoot, and I carry a Kel-Tec P11 9mm, simply because I can carry it as a pocket gun.
    I expect that firing the .45 with an alloy frame and 3″ barrel shouldn’t be any worse than firing my Kel-Tec with hot ammo. Anyway, after handling that .45, I WANT ONE!!!

  12. I have owned this weapon for 5 months now…about 4500 rounds down the tube with 0 problems. The frame is fine, extractor works perfectly, and cheap-o mags still function. Great deal for 1000.00 gun.

  13. Today at a Gun Show I was looking for a Springfield EMP 40 cal. but to my luck that didn’t have one, so I kept looking. I found this SW1911 Sub Compact Pro Series and loved how it felt, looked,asked a ton of questions, and it was exactly what I was looking for in a daily carry. I paid 900, took it home and cleaned it, and was off to the range.

    I wasn’t sure how a baby 1911 would be but after 200 rounds I loved it. Shot well in 2inch gaps and had no problems. Plan on doing another 300 tomorrow so we’ll see how it is at 500.

    Make sure to lube up this baby 1911 it will get dry.

    Very happy this gun so far.

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