Tisas 1911: Turkiye to Tennessee to your Holster

Various 1911 model pistols from Trabzon Silah Sanayi AŞ.

Tisas (more properly TİSAŞ) is a Turkish firearm company. They’re located on the south coast of the Black Sea, just east of the city of Trabzon. They are probably best known for the TISAS 1911 lineup, but do manufacture many other weapons, including some long guns.

TISAS 1911 Overview

TİSAŞ handguns are imported into the United States by SDS Imports of Knoxville, TN. In their catalog are a series of striker-fired, polymer-frame pistols (the Tisas PX9) and a Beretta 84 clone line: TISAS FATiH pistols. Plus, as you may have surmised, a whole slew of 1911 models.

A whole, great big slew of 1911 models.

The Tisas Tank Commander is all steel. It's available in both 9mm and 45ACP and uses enhanced GI sights. Although not based on any specific historical model of M1911, it was designed to combine the look and feel of the WWII classic in a small, rugged form suitable for carry.
The Tisas Tank Commander is all steel. It’s available in both 9mm and 45ACP and uses enhanced GI sights. It not based on any specific historical model of M1911. However it was designed to combine the look and feel of the WWII classic in a small, rugged form suitable for carry.

Trabzon Silah Sanayi AŞ

Most of the company’s 1911s are either 4.25 in. barrel (Commander) or 5 in. barrel (Government) versions. Most are available in a variety of ammo flavors. They’ve recently added some 9mm doublestack depth to their bench with the Carry, Duty, and Tisas Night Stalker SF Double Stack models.

A 1911 Tisas in 10mm; other available calibers include 38 Super, 45 ACP, and 7,65mm; the Desperado model (see below) is referred to as 9/38 because you can switch barrels out depending on which caliber you prefer.

“This pistol won’t win a beauty contest, but it’ll save your life.”

Richard Mann, reviewing the Tanker model for a Gun Digest TISAS 1911 review.

The Tisas Desperado and Tisas Regulator 1911 models. These particular pistols have a polished finish and both 9mm and 38 Super barrels.
The Tisas Desperado and Tisas Regulator 1911 models. These particular pistols have a polished finish and both 9mm and 38 Super barrels. Tisas 1911 handguns use their “Forged Foundation Construction” with a forged frame and slide.

Tisas 1911 for Sale

The Tisas Raiders, Tank Commander, Night Stalker, Stingray, and other handguns (including the TISAS PX 9 and TISAS FATiH pistols in .380) are available in several places, including:

The STINGRAY 1911 in 9mm. Hammer forged barrel, forged steel slide, and a lightweight aluminum frame. A great choice for EDC or just some relaxing range time.
The Stingray 1911, chambered in 9mm. Hammer forged barrel, forged steel slide, and a lightweight aluminum frame. This particular TISAS 1911 is a great choice for EDC or just some relaxing range time.

“[T]here were absolutely no malfunctions whatsoever. Every round of all factory ammunition cycled and fired. In addition to the three factory loads tested for velocity and accuracy, I used some leftover ammo from previous projects to engage 8-inch falling plates at 50 yards. Shooting at the steel plates was offhand, and again, the gun performed with 100-percent reliability. I’m not claiming I hit a plate with every shot but, by the end of the session, all 10 plates were down.”

Tisas 1911 review (U.S. Army 45 model) by Dick Williams, Shooting Illustrated

Tisas, which is technically an acronym for Trabzon Silah Sanayi AŞ, has been building firearms in their facility on the Black Sea coast since 1994. Their firearms are exported to some 40 countries all over the world, including some in North and South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia.

“With the completion of this evaluation of the Tisas Stingray Carry 1911 pistol, I have to say that I understand why my fellow gun reviewer recommended the guns this company has to offer. To be clear, this $600 pistol does not provide the same levels of refinement as one gets with $1,200 to $1,500 factory custom 1911s. However, what customers receive for their money is impressive.

The Stingray exhibits proper fit and finish throughout, with smooth controls and a rich feature set. The custom features alone, including the fish scale slide serrations and bobbed grip frame, have this gun punching above its price point. This pistol proved to be utterly reliable, and I enjoyed working with it. In short, this first-time Tisas product evaluation was a positive experience that I hope won’t be my last.”

From a Tisas Stingray review by B. Gil Homran in American Rifleman TISAS 1911 review.

9×19 or 45 ACP pistol? “The smooth shooting M1911 A1 US Army in 9MM is as rugged as it is good looking. We know the 9MM vs 45 ACP debate always a hot one, but we enjoy both calibers and offer these iconic pistols in both options.” TISAS USA via social
TISAS 1911 A1 US Army style
TISAS 1911 A1 US Army style.

TISAS 1911 Review

Looking for a candid TISAS 1911 review? This is a lengthy video but well worth watching. (Also check for the TISAS review excerpts we’ve interspersed here from various publications.)

SDS Imports

SDS Imports is the Tennessee end of things. In addition to TISAS USA, they deal with Tokarev USA, Spandau Arms, and Military Armament Corp.

An official description of SDS goes something like this:

The founding partners of SDS have decades of combined experience in importation, manufacturing, and engineering from various industries from firearms to large scale distribution. This allows SDS to work closely with their partners around the globe, ensuring a successful entry into the US market. SDS offers technical staff to various manufacturers to assist with engineering initiatives, compliance expertise and marketing efforts that bolster the success of industry partners as they navigate the diverse US firearms market. Strong relationships within the industry afford new brands the opportunity to enter established sales and distribution channels, as well as reaching new customers with targeted marketing, and unparalleled customer support. 

To give that a little more Everyday Joe clarity, let’s look at those founding partners. There were 4 of them, all with extensive experience in manufacturing and import.

  • Scott Huff: a USMA (West Point) graduate and engineer
  • Tim Mulverhill: the former head of Kimber product development
  • Gaines Davis: an engineer, competitive shooter, and firearms instructor
  • Dave Biggers: a former US Army officer and seasoned sales/marketer

In the early years of their partnership with TISAS, SDS engineers Huff and Davis traveled back and forth between Knoxville and Trabzon. This cross-Atlantic (and Mediterranean) coordination was to ensure the firearms were faithful to the guns they were modeled on but also to ensure local/Turkish quality control was up to SDS standards.

In February of 2024 TISAS announced it would be partnering with the Civilian Marksmanship Program to build a museum grade replica of a mid-WWII M1911A1 for the CMP. The CMP will add a signature Tisas USA 1911 pistol to their catalog in 2024, which will include a limited CMP imprint.

“My time at the range did not reveal any surprises. The Night Stalker was very accurate and completely reliable with ball and several types of hollowpoints. Recoil was stout, but controllable.

Turkish guns are known for being inexpensive. In the past, they were also known for less quality. Times have changed. The TISAS 1911s are more accurate than they have any right to be. With TISAS, you get more features for the same price.”

James Tarr in a TISAS 1911 Night Stalker review for Guns & Ammo.

TISAS hammer forged barrel buffet on display. Barrel length varies from model to model; some are available in threaded versions. SDS brings in a semi-auto pistol for every possible end-user, from the LEO needing a carry handgun, the person in competitive shooting, to the one interested in concealed carry.
TISAS Duty 43R in stainless steel. This is one handsome semi-auto pistol.

Given news about SDS involvement with the CMP, Agency Arms, and other notables in the industry, it will be interesting to see where the company takes us…or perhaps more accurately, what they’re going to bring us.

A1 Service and Tanker model.
A1 Service and Tanker model.

Additional Reading

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