The first thing that probably pops into most of our heads when STI is mentioned is the image of the innovative, high-capacity 2011 platform pioneered by the men who started STI, and later, SVI. While the excellent modular frame born of competitive shooting did indeed launch the Texas company, they have long since expanded to produce pistols and parts for competition, duty, and self-defense, including a number of single-stack pistols. The line has come to include everything from compensated, full-tilt 2011 competition pistols to the non-1911 GP series and their reliable subcompact 1911s.
Released in 1999, the 9mm LS, the smallest pistol in the line, is not only 7 inches long overall, but its slide is only 0.75 inches wide and the grip is only 1.07 inches wide, including the slim rosewood grip panels. It weighs only 26.6 ounces and sports a 3.4-inch-long barrel. Ergonomic enhancements include an undercut triggerguard, “STIppling” on the frontstrap, and a narrowing cut to the grip safety tang, which I feel helps the pistol sit lower in the hand. Other features proprietary to most of the STI pistols are the patented trigger assembly (using a lightweight nylon trigger shoe, a lightened and narrowed trigger stirrup, and bendable tabs to adjust take-up) and RecoilMaster Guide rod. Like all of the subcompacts of the line, the grip is reduced. The LS has a blued matte finish. The front sight is integral with the slide, and the rear is a Heinie Low Mount sight. Both sights have a super-low profile.
Created for and by ladies, the Elektra combines tote-able qualities with stylish looks. When the Shadow was created, it was well-received, and the ladies of STI wanted a similar pistol tailored to the needs and preferences of women. This lightweight pistol is the embodiment of their input and feedback. What STI ended up with is an easily carried and concealed pistol that has a bit more flair.
Weighing only 22.92 ounces in the .45 ACP version and 23.79 ounces in the 9mm, the Elektra features a 3.24-inch ramped, fully supported bull barrel and a forged aluminum Officers frame with a “STIppled” frontstrap, undercut triggerguard and the standard narrow-cut grip safety tang. The Elektra features recessed two-dot tritium combat sights with an integral sight channel and saber-tooth rear cocking serrations. It’s finished with KG Coat and given pearlescent grips. The Elektra may be had in black, pink, red, blue and purple color themes, with matching grips and similarly embossed roll marks.
Designed as an affordable alternative in the subcompact line, the Spartan III retails at a very reasonable $705.83. The 3.24-inch, non-ramped-bull-barreled Spartan features an Officers steel frame, smooth frontstrap, fixed combat sights, solid guide rod, patented trigger system, narrow-cut grip safety tang and a Parkerized finish. It is available in 9mm and .45 ACP, and weighs in at 32.7 ounces in the smaller bore.
The other mini in the STI line is the Total Eclipse. If you’re a fan of high-capacity 1911s, this is your choice for the smallest double-stack pistol. Built on the revolutionary 2011 polymer frame, the Total Eclipse was built with feedback from undercover LEOs. The slide has rear cocking serrations, recessed two-dot tritium sights with an integral sight channel, and it houses a 3.24-inch ramped and fully supported bull barrel. STI’s RecoilMaster Guide rod and the patented trigger assembly are standard.
STI’s pistols are made with tighter tolerances and superior materials, and have a lifetime warranty. The company is employee-owned, so there is no better motivation to take pride in their work. In fact, all their custom-grade parts—too many to list here—are hand-fitted by STI smiths.
I’ve been impressed enough with the 2011 guns to carry one exclusively on-duty as a full-time police officer, and the majority of the time off-duty. On the range, I’ve found these guns to be of top-shelf quality and materials, reliable, and quite accurate. The RecoilMaster Guide rod improves shooting performance during rapid fire. Again, I’m a fan of high-capacity 1911s, and have tried and own a number of them from STI and other makers. The STI frame is the slimmest, most ergonomic and comfortable of them all. For more information, visit stiguns.com or call 512-819-0656. PP