In January 2017, the American company SIG Sauer Inc. (formerly known as SIG Arms) won a competition, which was announced in 2015, for a new gun to be used by the US armed forces. Thus, one of the first and most famous 9mm pistols, the Beretta M9, was retired. Not much later, first airsoft replicas of the new pistol appeared on the market and a small scandal concerning the license and rights to the project broke out shortly thereafter. As a result, Cybergun replicas officially disappeared from the market, and SIG Sauer began to manage the airsoft segment itself, creating a department concerned with pneumatic guns. Currently, the SIG Sauer branded SIG AIR PROFORCE M17 pistol is available on the market, as well as the F17 AEG (Asia Electric Gun), which is very similar from the outside, and can also found with marking of the WE company. Both guns are very similar to each other, yet they are completely different and incompatible designs.
The SIG PROFORCE M17 can be purchased with a green gas or a CO2 magazine. Technically, the gun is the same. According to the manufacturer's assurances, GG/CO2 magazines can be used interchangeably without the risk of damaging the replica
Basic technical parameters:
- overall length: 216mm;
- weight (with an empty magazine): 745g;
- magazine capacity: 21 + 1;
- muzzle velocity: 320fps (green gas) / 410fps (CO2)
The M17 is a pistol with a polymer frame. Interestingly, in the original, the frame is not an "essential part of the weapon" this is why to adjust the size of the grip to the size of the hand, in the SIG one does not replace the back of the grip but the entire frame. There are 3 sizes of frames in 3 colors and they can be purchased as an interchangeable accessory. The replica is available only in one size.
The numbered, so-called "essential part of the weapon" in the M17, is the complete, closed trigger module. Of course, the number must be visible from the outside, and that is why on the right side of the M17, a port was made in the frame through which the number is visible. In the airsoft version of the gun, this detail is exactly the same, although the trigger mechanism is, of course , of a completely different design.
The 4.5mm airgun version, which we had also reviewed, looks much worse in this respect.
Next to the port with the number, there is the slide stop lever. Even further there is a thumb-operated safety switch. Of course, in line with modern trends, both manipulators are double-sided i.e. located on both sides of the gun.
It is worth paying some attention to the ejection port. The fact that the dummy extractor is a separate element and not a part of the slide does not come as a shock. But SIG has also reproduced the indicator showing if there is a round present in the firing chamber. This little "thing" is movable and moves with the movement of the slide.
The front and back of the slide are typically serrations to facilitate reloading. The rear plate and the screw holding the parts of the extractor were also properly reproduced and were also missing in the mentioned 4.5mm version.
The sights are fixed (non-adjustable) front sight and rear sight, typical for military weapons. Contrasting white dots were painted on them to facilitate aiming in poor visibility conditions. However, this is just plain white paint and the dots do not glow in the dark.
In the original, the black plate on the upper part of the side can be replaced with the base for a micro-collimator. In the replica, the plate can also be removed (along with the rear sight), but there is no proper and stable positioning of the base. And so far we have not found information about the availability of a collimator base for the airsoft version of the pistol.
On the left side of the slide, apart from the doubled safety switch and slide stop, there is also a rotary locking lever. This lever is, of course, used to disassemble the slide but luckily, and here we would like to thank the replica's designers, the slide needs to be removed only for maintenance.
This is because the Hop-Up is adjusted from the outside using the dedicated wrench included in the set. It is much more convenient than the classic solution with the adjustment knob located on the Hop-Up chamber with access from the bottom. And here we would to point out the misplacing/losing the wrench does not qualify the replica to be thrown away as the adjustment can be made with using fingers, although it is a bit uncomfortable. To adjust the Hop-Up, one needs to slightly pull back the slide and put the wrench on the guide rod that comes out of the slide. Turning it clockwise one increases the Hop-Up, turning it counterclockwise lessens the Hop-Up. The same can be done by turning the rod with one's fingers.
How is it designed? Well, the guide rod ends with a toothed wheel that cooperates with another one, already placed in the Hop-Up chamber. And that's it. The Hop-Up adjustment from the outside is nothing new as replicas with this functionality have been available for years and are implemented in various ways. However, we mention it because it is still not widely used most probably for economic reasons.
The frame of the gun is, of course, shaped in the front part in the shape of a short Picatinny rail used for attaching flashlight other accessories.
The magazine catch is located on the left side of the grip and nowhere have we found any information about the possibility of transferring it to the other side. It turned out, however, that it can actually be done in just a few or so seconds. No specialized tools, knowledge and experience is needed for this. A narrow flat screwdriver or anything similar in shape is enough.
We start by pressing the catch on the left as much as possible.
Than the tool has to be inserted into a cut in the button on the other side and a small "pin" has to be pried out.
Than the main part has to be taken out from the left side of the replica, paying attention to the spring.
Installation on the other side is done in reversed order: we insert the catch with the spring from the right side and push it to the maximum depth, then we insert the clip on the left side and its done.
The reviewed replica came equipped with one magazine powered by 12g CO2 capsules. To get to the pressure screw, the magazine floor plate has to be slid off. The screw is tightened with an Allen wrench provided with the replica.
The magazine can be loaded with BBs using a speedloader with an adapter for pistol magazines or without an adapter, directly into the channel leading the follower. The channel in the lower part is sufficiently wide. As the follower does not have a blockage, when loading the magazine using this method, the follower should be held pulled down as much as possible. The magazine holds 21 BBs.
We noticed 4 things during the target shooting tests. First of all, the replica, which is equipped with a standard frame (with a standard-size grip), has a grip that feels large. Although it is slender than, for example, in the P226, people with small hands may have trouble with it. And unlike the original, we won't find accessories on the market to help with this problem. Secondly, as expected, the way of adjusting the Hop-Up with the return spring rod is very comfortable and precise. Thirdly, the replica has a strong blowback. It is fast and dynamic. There is a noticeable recoil, although to the extent of the energy of the projectiles fired (not lead ones...) Fourthly, the gun has a very characteristic trigger mechanism. In the reviewed unit, the idle trigger pull was very short. Moreover, the mechanism requires little force to operate. As a result, the trigger in the replica was quick and smooth, but somehow different. Also, the reset was clearly less noticeable than it is in other replicas.
Target shooting test and muzzle velocity test
0.2g Open Blaster BBs, XCORTECH X3500 chronograph.
Average: 417.9fps – a few more than the replica specs. Spread: 8.40fps.
On one CO2 capsule at room temperature, 88 BBs were fired, 82 of them at a muzzle velocity greater than 400fps.
The last 6 BBs had the following muzzle velocity:
Target shooting test
The range was set in the open air, in a shallow ravine. Distance to the target was 12 meters. Ambient temperature of around 16 degrees Celsius. Standing posture, weapons held with both hands, without any support. G&G 0.25g BBs were used. Hop-Up was adjusted. First shots after replacing the CO2 capsule.
The SIG AIR PROFORCE M17 is a very carefully and faithfully reproduced pistol. For many people, an incentive to buy will certainly be the fact that the original weapons were adopted by the US Army, US Air Force, US Navy, the Marines and many police units. The airsoft replica looks almost identical on the outside. From the utility side, it also has serious advantages: very reasonable gas (CO2) consumption, without a significant decrease in muzzle velocity (and consequently also in accuracy) and very convenient and precise Hop-Up adjustment. The downside is the simplification that complicates mounting of the base for a collimator.