Elite Force Full Metal 1911 Review – KWC’s Most OEMed Airsoft Pistol

For the longest time, the best airsoft pistols were all green gas based. However, Elite Force (KWC) came onboard and really flipped the GBB pistol market on its head.

One of our writers has been using this co2 gas blowback pistol for years and has probably put over 2,000 rounds through it. He’s taken it to both indoor fields for CQB action and outdoor fields as a backup weapon. 

Most famously, Jet the “Desert Fox” has used this pistol in quite a few of his videos. So, we’re about to take this aging pistol through the paces to see just how well it shoots. Does it stack up to the best airsoft pistols of all time? We’ll testing the following things:

  • General Accuracy
  • FPS Consistency
  • Gas Consumption Efficiency
Best co2 pistol elite force 1911 tac oemed by KWC header image

The History of the Elite Force 1911

So, the first thing to remember about any product that is sold by Elite Force / Umarex is that they don’t actually make their own airsoft guns

They usually contract out a current airsoft manufacturer and then place their branding over it along with a warranty. In this case, the Elite Force 1911 is manufactured by KWC. So, to truly know where this 1911 got its start, we need to look into KWC. 

kwc airsoft logo - OEM

KWC (Kien Well Toy Industrial Company) had its start in 1978 in Taiwan. The first set of products they made were actually matchbox cars. In 1989 they changed their business model to airsoft guns while partnering up with a Japanese airsoft company. 

In 1992 their first 1911 spring pistol made it big in the Japan market, and from there they diversified the types of airsoft guns they made, eventually moving into Co2 replicas by the 2000’s. 

In 2010 they started building full metal co2 1911’s which were a HUGE hit. Then, comes Elite Force. 

Elite Force & Umarex (they’re effectively the same company) contracted out to KWC to create the full metal 1911 tac – the current co2 pistol on the market. This is one well marketed pistol, as there were tons of youtube videos with airsoft influencers reviewing it constantly. At the price point it initially came in (around $120) it was heavily compared to the WE-Tech and KJW 1911’s. 

It ultimately stacked rather well against those two green gas blowback pistols. The advantage it had was that it was Co2 powered – so the slide was VERY snappy when you discharged it. 

Fast forward to the late 2010’s and you find the Elite Force 1911’s everywhere. The hype train was REAL.

Features & Benefits

So the unique value proposition is that KWC / Elite Force has provided a well made Co2 1911 pistol that can stack up to standard green gas pistols. Let’s review the general features (and how they benefit you as an airsoft player) to determine if they’ve reached that mark. 

1911 Elite Force Tac Co2 powered gas blow back pistol

Material & Construction

This airsoft pistol has a full metal frame & slide. Similar to other green gas 1911’s like the KWA PTP / KJW / WE-Tech, it features the real steel’s safety features of a beavertail grip safety and lever thumb safeties (often ambidextrous). The hammer safety is spotty, however, but that isn’t too big a deal since the hammer safeties on airsoft 1911’s are basically non-functional.

External

Externally, there are some major differences between the Elite Force 1911’s and their Tokyo Marui replica / WE-Tech counterparts. Firstly, you’ll see that the rear sights are actually screwed in, as opposed to the dovetail slide the others use. The finish does seem to be more durable than the KJW / WE-Tech slides, as on our test model the scuffs aren’t quite as noticeable. 

frame of elite force kwc 1911 gas blow back pistol

The slide itself fits rather well on the frame and doesn’t wiggle or jiggle the way WE-Tech 1911’s are famous for. It definitely FEELS tougher than the comparable green gas 1911’s. 

The front accessory rail is compatible with any tactical components that use the standard picatinny rail system.

*Edit* A common complaint we’ve seen is that the hammer is poorly made, and of all the external parts, that is the one that will snap or break with frequent use. However, the hammer is also mostly for aesthetics, so that isn’t so bad. 

Internal

Internally, the gun is VERY different from the other 1911’s on the market. KWC parts are clearly NOT going to be compatible with Tokyo Marui or WE-Tech 1911 parts. Additionally, the magazines for each type will also be incompatible with each other. 

You’ll find that KWC also OEMs for Cybergun and ASG, so you’ll find that many other fully licensed 1911’s will have magazine and parts compatibility with the Elite Force model.

The hop up and bucking are also proprietary – although luckily the adjustable hop up is not bad at all stock. You’ll see the shooting performance soon. I wouldn’t say it’s KWA or TM levels of accuracy, but it gets the job done. 

hop up unit and adjustment wheel of this co2 gas blow back airsoft pistol

Adjusting the hop up is unfortunately a bit of a pain. You actually have to disassemble the slide from the frame in order to get to the adjustment wheel. This is common with KWC / WE-Tech / and Tokyo Marui designed airsoft 1911’s, so it’s nothing new, but it’s worth noting anyway. KWA 1911’s will use a tool in order to adjust the hop up – but you don’t need to dissemble to do so. 

explosion of 1911 parts disassembled

There is a regulator located in the piston housing – so the FPS on the airsoft gun is limited. This means that the Co2 canister cannot be “cooked” (this is when you intentionally overheat the compressed gas in order to increase the FPS). 

In general you’re going to find that if you need replacement parts you are stuck with KWC proprietary parts. Luckily, it seems they’re not too expensive. 

Magazine Construction

The magazine utilizes a standard 12g co2 cartridge (you’ll basically need 1 cartridge per spare magazine you carry). Since KWC is the OEM for ASG, Cybergun, Umarex / Elite Force, Dan Wesson, and other “wild card brands” (check out our article on the various airsoft brands) you’ll find that they’re basically all compatible with each other. 

Co2 magazine for gas blow back airsoft pistol

The follower is surprisingly durable (despite being plastic) and survived a few bad spills. We had one magazine follower, however, break after 2 days of hard use.

Broken magazine followers usually aren’t too big a deal, however. 

The magazine capacity of 16 rounds is about average for your single stack mags, easily similar to the WE-Tech 1911’s. Each Co2 canister is worth a few magazine’s worth of BB’s, however (you’ll see in our testing coming up). 

Technical Specs

Here’s a quick breakdown of the technical specs of this airsoft pistol:

SpecsElite Force 1911 Tac
ManufacturerKWC OEM
Magazine Capacity16 Rounds
Ammo Type6mm BBs
FPS340 – 350
Gas SystemCo2 Proprietary – 12 gram cartridges
Sight System3 Dot
Firing ModesSemi Automatic
Hop UpFully Adjustable – KWC Proprietary System
Dimension11 inches long / 6 inches tall
Weight2.5 Lbs
BlowbackFully Blowback
Barrel:Brass

Features

In terms of features – these are the top standouts with the main benefits:

  • Co2 Gas System – gives this pistol STRONG blowback
  • 3 Dot Front & Rear Sights – quick acquisition of targets
  • Functional 1911 safeties  – grip safety + ambidextrous thumb safety
  • Front Tactical Rail – easily attach tactical accessories
  • 1911 Style Takedown – easy disassembly for maintenance
  • Fits in 1911 Holsters – compatible with your training tools
  • Skeleton hammer & trigger – looks cool!
kwc gas blow back pistol from right

Performance Testing

How about we show some actual performance data for this pistol? Here’s the parameters of our test:

  • Completely stock Elite Force 1911 Tac bought in 2017 with ~2,000+ rounds put through it.
  • Maintenance performed included cleaning of the slide, frame, inner barrel and seals with silicone oil & grease where needed.
  • We adjusted the hop up as close as we could to point of aim, point of impact at 30 feet.
  • 85 degrees temperature
  • Outside range with very little wind
  • 0.25g BBs were used (Elite Force Brand)
  • Fresh Co2 used (Crosman Brand)
  • Bench Rest used for accuracy testing – and my own hands for live testing
  • Each test we fired 10 rounds
  • We fired one shot every 3-5 seconds

Accuracy at Combat Distances

For this test we wanted to see the overall accuracy of the Elite Force 1911 Tac at various distances for combat shooting. We chose 15, 40, and 75 feet for our tests. To determine the grouping we measured the furthest distance between two shots as we could. See our results below.

Click to see the Chart & Results

15 Feet Test – grouping measured in inches

Test 1Test 2Test 3Average
Bench Rest0.5”0.6”0.8”0.63”
Combat Shooting1.1”1.0”1.7”1.26”

40 Feet Test – grouping measured in inches 

Test 1Test 2Test 3Average
Bench Rest1.8”1.5”1.7”1.67”
Combat Shooting3.1”3.4”3.9”3.46”

70 Feet Test – grouping measured in inches (slight wind) 

Test 1Test 2Test 3Average
Bench Rest3.7”5.1”4.3”4.37”
Combat Shooting11.7”10.5”9.7”10.63”

There was slight wind during our last test which might’ve explained the variance in the bench rest test. But, these are respectable numbers and a pretty decent level of accuracy at standard combat distances. You should almost certainly hit a man-sized target out to probably 90 feet even as long as the wind isn’t too strong with 0.25g.


FPS Consistency

Next we’re testing the consistency of the FPS. Having variance in the FPS will affect the overall range & accuracy of your BB’s since it affects the speed of the backspin. As you know, any major variance at the source means big differences by the time you get out to 50 – 100 feet. 

This will be interesting as this is the first muzzle velocity test we’ve ever done on a Co2 GBB pistol.

For this test we used the following parameters:

  • Stock Elite Force 1911 Tac with the same setup as the accuracy test
  • 0.20g BB’s were used (Elite Force Brand) <- Variance will show up better on lighter BBs
  • Fresh Co2 was used (Crosman Brand)
  • Matrix X3400 Chrono
  • 87 degrees temperature
  • 1 shot every 3-5 seconds in test 1
  • 5 shot bursts with a 10 second pause in test 2
  • 20 shots in total for each test

Click to see the Chart & Results


ShotFPS – Test 1FPS – Test 2 (5 shot bursts)
1349.6350.4
2351.2341.4
3339.0340.8
4342.4328.0
5350.6321.8
6344.8349.2
7334.2338.8
8338.2321.4
9340.0320.0
10345.2319.4
11328.0340.2
12329.4337.6
13349.0339.0
14351.4326.8
15350.4320.6
16341.0339.2
17335.4334.2
18338.8331.6
19339.0326.0
20343.6319.8
Highest FPS351.2350.4
Lowest FPS328.0319.4
Average FPS342.06332.31
Max Difference23.231.0

We’re surprised, and a bit disappointed here. The variance between shots is rather high and more inconsistent than we’d like. The Elite Force 1911 Tac saw some major variance with the difference between fps being as high as 31 while burst firing (which is the more realistic way people fire pistols).

All things considering, however, at least it didn’t affect the overall combat accuracy of the pistol. 


Gas Consumption & Efficiency

For our final test, we’re going to check out just how gas efficient a single Co2 cartridge is. We want to see how many BB’s you can fire from a single Co2 canister as well as if the blowback is strong enough to engage the slide lock as the gas reservoir gets empty.

The parameters here are:

  • Stock Elite Force 1911 Tac with the same setup as the accuracy test
  • 0.20g BB’s were used (Elite Force Brand)
  • Fresh Co2 was used (Crosman Brand)
  • We used a separate magazine for each test.
  • 89 degrees temperature
  • 1 shot every 3-5 seconds

The goal here is to drain the magazines of Co2. We had 5 different mags to work with so we rotated them evenly during the test. We fired BB’s until Co2 cartridge went empty and paid attention to whether the slide locked back every time on an empty magazine.

Click to see the Chart & Results


Magazine Fill Total Number of Shots Fired Did the slide lock back every time?
154No
250Yes
356No
457No
553No
Average54No on Average

So, we’re averaging around 54 shots per Co2 fill. That’s approximately 3.37 full magazines per cartridge – which isn’t too bad. 

Each canister costs around $1 so that’s approximately 1.8 cents per shot. What we noticed was that the ability for the slide to lock back was really hit and miss on the last 2 fills. It reliably locked back for the first 32 shots, and then after that it was VERY spotty. 

The overall blowback was definitely stronger than your typical green gas, however. The big tradeoff here is that you can’t top off on gas the way you can with green gas magazines. You’ll need to empty the Co2 cartridge before putting another fresh one in. 


By the numbers: Pros & Cons

8.3Expert Score
Elite Force 1911 Tac Co2 Pistol

Shooting Performance
8.5
Reliability
8.0
Build Quality
8.0
Value
8.5
PROS
  • Very Strong Blowback.
  • Full metal construction with very little slide wiggle.
  • Co2 Shoots hard with FPS between 340 and 350 on average.
  • Decent combat accuracy.
  • Durable - our model has lasted 2,000+ rounds with routine maintenance (we did have to replace a few parts).
  • 1911 safety features.
  • Accessory rail allow for weapon mounted flashlights or lasers.
CONS
  • Hop up is a pain to adjust.
  • Higher than average variance in FPS.
  • Incompatible parts with other 1911 models - hard to upgrade.
  • Can’t top off on gas the way you can with green gas models.

Should you buy this pistol?

Of all the airsoft Co2 pistols available – this is the one that sets the bar for how good they should be. This pistol is comparable to the green gas gbb pistol counterparts in many ways – and it delivers on the hype that the blowback is strong. It’s definitely really fun to shoot.

However, when you pick this up you’ll need to keep in mind that you’re going to be stuck using KWC only parts – as it is incompatible with all the awesome Tokyo Marui / KJW upgrades that currently exist. 

Coming in at around $130 (at the time of writing) – it’s one of the better value 1911’s on the market. At the same price you can also consider the KWA ATP – another airsoft pistol with great performance for the value. We wrote an exhausted KWA ATP review here.

We hope this review of the Elite Force 1911 Tac was useful. Check out our link below if you’re looking to purchase. *Edit* We recently made an article on the best airsoft 1911 – check out where the Elite Force Co2 pistol lands.

Looking for an inexpensive pistol? Check out our article on the best cheap airsoft pistols under $100 here.

Timothy Hackett

Tim has been playing airsoft since 1994. With over a thousand (no lie) airsoft games under his belt he has spent countless hours testing various airsoft guns and tactical gear. He's gotten hundreds (still no lie) of people into the airsoft hobby and is more than willing to spread the love of slinging 6mm plastic to any new player.

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