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1911 2011 AF1911-S15 Alpha Foxtrot Bul Armory review SAS II Ultralight video

Comparison Review of the SAS II UL vs AF1911-S15

My review notes:

Initial thoughts

  • S15 is well-built
    • Has tight tolerances
      • No slide-to-frame gaps
      • No slide-to-frame wiggle
      • Nice barrel lock-up
      • Nice trigger – not laterally loose and has no creep.
        • Trigger does have some vertical play
    • Has great finish
    • Has very nice control surfaces
      • Front and rear strap checkering is very aggressive, which offers great controllability.
    • Has great shooting traits
      • For me, it offers low recoil impulse
        • Slide is heavier than my SAS II UL, which soaks up recoil
  • Sights are OK – not the best but can be worse
    • Even with irons, I can shoot this gun just as well as the SAS II UL
      • I was shooting 7 and 10 yard groups just as well with this gun as the SAS II UL.
      • Caveat – my SAS II UL has an optic, so I’m not going to be able to match it’s quick follow-on shots, especially at distance.
  • Cons of the S15
    • $1500 guns need to have at LEAST two mags
      • WTF – the cost of a second Shield Arms mag is a drop in the bucket
    • Fat beavertail is somewhat uncomfortable – it is very wide at the top, which isn’t the norm for 1911s/2011s
      • I hear that the beavertail on the previous version was wider than how it is now
        • Apparently this was a common complaint, so Alpha Foxtrot made an effort to lessen the width of this area.
          • It is still wide and can be problematic for some folks.
      • If you normally shoot a 1911 with the thumb of your strong side hand over the thumb safety, you might have an issue with the beavertail beating up the knuckle bone at the base of your thumb
      • I noticed that this may be an issue and also noticed that the thumb safety is super-stiff in actuation, so I shot the S15 without having a thumb over the safety – I had no issues with recoil making it back to that knuckle.
    • I ran into an issue when field stripping the gun after I picked it up from the FFL. I field stripped it once without issue. The second time I field stripped it, I cleaned it, lubed it, and then attempted to put the gun back together. I couldn’t. This is my 6th 1911/2011, so I’m aware of how to take down these guns and put them back together, but I was having issues getting the takedown pin back into the hole. The pin wouldn’t go into the hole of the frame. I tried it after putting the side and barrel aside – it wouldn’t go in. I noticed that the front rail module slides into the frame and saw that it was out of alignment with the frame – I had to use a screwdriver to lever it back into alignment. After doing that, I tried putting the takedown pin into the hole and it slid in. I then tried to do it with the slide and barrel and failed – the rail module had moved again, so I again used a screwdriver to push it back into alignment with the frame. I tried again to put the gun back together and was successful, but that is a concern for an out-of-the-box $1500 gun.
      • I’ll be reaching out to Alpha Foxtrot about that soon. Even with that issue, the gun still shot 150 rounds without a problem, but I don’t want to have to deal with this issue every time I have to clean the gun.
  • Comparison to the SAS II UL
    • Fitment and finisih
      • Between the two handguns, the AF has slightly better fitment
      • The AF has far better finish
        • DLC coating has that $$money$$ feel
    • Grip
      • Grip feels (and is) smaller on the AF
      • Grip texturing and checkering is MUCH better on the AF
    • Sights
      • While I’ve moved to an optic on the SAS II, I did shoot it quite a bit with irons
        • Irons on the SAS II are better
          • They can be adjusted for windage as well as elevation; the AF sights can only be drifted for windage (but have elevation adjustability)
    • Shooting
      • This is a tough one
        • SAS II UL:
          • For me, the SAS II UL talks a bit (not large) effort and/or some training to get used to it’s lightness.  It might feel snappy to folks that are used to heavy 1911s.  For how light and short it is, it should be much snappier than it is.  What snap it has can be easily managed.
          • Grip – the immediate impression for me was that the SAS II UL’s grip was not grippy.  I thought it would be a problem, but it’s not (I shoot indoors, so I’m not sure if sweaty hands will compromise grip with this gun.
          • The trigger on the SAS II is light, and may be too light for some folks to carry.  I don’t consider it a HUGE issue but I DID have two instances of premature detonation when at the range.  The first time it occurred was during the first range visit.  I’ve been trying to train with the gun to get used to it’s trigger, but at the last (and 4th) range visit, it happened again.
            • I may consider getting a sear spring adjustment done on this gun.
        • AF S15:
          • In my hands, I shot the S15 better than I did the SAS II (when considering both first range visits).
          • Grip – I immediately noticed the checkering of the front strap of the grip and thought that this is going to give me an edge, and it did.  The gun doesn’t move in my hand at all.  The SAS II moves in my hand and I’ve to constantly re-adjust my grip to short it up.
          • Trigger – the trigger on the S15 is a bit heavier but probably better for carrying.  The trigger has no creep, which probably helps with accuracy, but it’s actually noticeably heavier than the SAS II’s trigger – that’s just an observation, though, not a con.

They both shoot VERY well but are different in ways that require a decent amount of elaboration — there’s no quick way to discuss the differences.

I’m happy with carrying the SAS II for now, but that might change as get more trigger time wit the S15.