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Not the traditional 1911

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/03/2015 at 11:41
Rancid Coolaid View Drop Down
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Those that have been around know I am a 1911 fan, it is a reliable platform (when well built and properly maintained) and shoots exceedingly well for many.

Couple that with the huge advances made in bullet design over the past few years, and the increased capacity of a smaller round, and - no cries of "heretic", please - a 9mm 1911 was in my future.

So, in shopping the concept, I fell upon a solution I consider optimal - and awesomely so!

A few weeks ago, I pulled the proverbial trigger on an STI Tactical Lite 4.0 in 9mm.  It is a polymer-grip, double-stack 1911 with a full length dust cover, aluminum frame,  and a 4" bull barrel.  It had a tactical mag well ("had") and the flush-mount magazines (mag well removed) holds 17 rounds.  My version has no night sights (which, how a company can call it "tactical" and not put night sights on every one, I do not understand) and came with 1 magazine: 2 marks against the setup and it hasn't even been to the range yet.  First impressions were that it is quite nice.  Slide-to-frame fit, very important in 45ACP 1911s, is tight but not binding.  There are no visible tool marks, the finish (cerakote) is even and smooth, so fit and finish get high marks.  It came with 1 magazine, which I thought cheap.  The only frame of reference in which I can call this "acceptable" is that they offer so many options in magazine fitment (126mm, 140mm, 170mm, various base pads, etc), maybe they figure the decision is too personal to make it for me. And, lastly, the trigger, ahh the trigger. Though STI does not specify a trigger weight range, most reviews I saw said the triggers were about 3-4.5 lbs out of the box, mine is 6 lbs easy.

On to dis-assembly.  This is my first recoil-master gun, so it requires a tool to disassemble: some might see that as strike 3, I am not happy about it, but haven't written the gun off just yet.  Gun disassembled, I am still impressed with the workmanship.  With everything properly lubed, reassembled, and packed for the range, I am off to send rounds.

Best news first: with about 300 rounds down the pipe, everything from white box FMJ to flying ashtray +Ps and the gun performed without a hiccup or stoppage. That makes me happy, "happier" at least.  All magazines worked flawlessly, gun handled as I thought it should, and the polymer frame made 9mm recoil - little that it is - even more pleasant.

Not best news:  at the outset, the thing wouldn't group to save my life, literally.  I'd load 5 rounds, the first would be dead on at 15 yards, the next would be 2 inches low and 2 inches left, the next would be stacked on the first shot, the next would be 2 inches low and 1 inch right.  I was concentrating on volume of fire rather than precision, so I slowed my shooting, thought about basics, and tried again.  No immediate improvement.

I've had many, many 1911s over the years, some high end, some not so much - but all quality guns.  I have watched groups tighten as the gun breaks in, but NEVER anything like this.

After about 100 rounds, groups tightened dramatically.  DRAMATICALLY!  I went from 4-5 inch groups at 15 yards to easily sub-2 inch groups, off hand unsupported, at 15 yards.  Supported, sub-2 at 25 was not a problem.  And, with the gentle recoil, very accurate follow-up shots were a breeze.  

Back at home, gun disassembled, there are 2 spots on the frame that have been smoothed out, finish gone, almost look polished. I have seen a few guns bind when heated due to frame-to-slide contact, never have I seen a gun run smoothly and accuracy change so much.

I looked at the barrel hood, it too had some smoothing, more than I have seen in a 45 (this is my first 9mm, not sure how it should go), but barrel lockup is still good.  Gun assembled and in battery, downward pressure on the chamber doesn't budge the lockup, that is a good sign.

All in all, the concept of the gun is awesome, the break-in had a few challenges, and I am back to mostly happy with the gun.  A few hundred more rounds will tell the tale in full.

And night sights are coming shortly.

I am still on the fence about the trigger.  It breaks clean, but 6 lbs is a bit much for a 1911.  I have come to love my Browning High Power, that trigger is about 9 lbs - and it too breaks like glass.  A heavy trigger is good insurance when fine motor skills go away, and this is definitely going to be a carried gun. 

More to follow, and maybe some pictures.

Anyone with 9mm 1911 experience, feel free to explain anything on which I am fuzzy.  (Like why the hell did accuracy change so much in 100 rounds, and is the wear on the barrel hood an okay thing or will it continue at the same rate?)


Edited by Rancid Coolaid - July/06/2015 at 09:50
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/03/2015 at 11:53
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Good write up. 

Perhaps the bore was "rough" and the rounds cleaned it up? I've never had a 1911 group better after sending several rounds down range, but then again, I've only had 2 of the rascals and I defer to your experience. 
Mine both shot well out of the box. (A Wilson Combat KZ 45 and a .45 ACP Kimber Tac. Custom ll.) 

What magazines are you using now? 

What night sites will be using? 

Thank you. 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/03/2015 at 12:05
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I've broken in at least 12 or 13 personal 1911s, never had one shoot like that out of the box (accuracy, that is.)  Then gain, all have been 45, I do not know if that matters or not. I thought it was ammo, it wasn't ammo; I swapped mags around, I changed ammo, I did everything to try to figure out the issue.  In the end, it just tightened up, and I am happy it did.  If it falls back to that terrible accuracy again, it'll be going back to STI for some problem-solving, then probably up for sale.

That said, I think it is broken in now and should be smooth sailing from here on.  I did let the gun cool quite a bit (while I shot my HK P7, which I absolutely love, great trigger, amazing recoil control, points better than any gun I have ever used) and went back to it later, still cycled great, grouped well when cool too.

The gun shipped with a 140mm, I had another 140 ship as well.  With mag well installed, the magazine protrudes about 0.75 inched below the mag well.  I don't like the mag well, I removed it, now the 140s are at least an inch.  I bought a few 126s with small base pads, they fit close to flush, and the gun has a flare at the well anyway, so mag changes aren't appreciably slower.  I will carry the 140s as backup.  The 126 are 17 rounds, the 140 are 20 rounds: that is lots of rounds to send, meaning lots of opportunities to miss my intended target and hit something else.  I am still not a fan of "field of fire" pistols, but I also understand that mag changes are dangerous in a life-n-death situation.

Sites will be the adjustable snag-free, straight-eight configuration.  Most of my guns wear Heinie straight-eights and I like them allot in low light.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/03/2015 at 15:21
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Nice write up.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/03/2015 at 15:22
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I have often wanted a 9mm 1911.  I think a .38 super would be fun to own as well.

Thanks for sharing
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/03/2015 at 21:40
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Not being able to find an affordable .38 Super 1911 I liked I bought a 5" Springfield Armory Range Officer in 9mm that shot like a champ out of the box.  Trigger was crisp with no malfunctions of any type in the first couple hundred rounds which I automatically do with any new or new to me 1911 to test reliability of the gun and magazines (more if recommended by the maker such as with my Les Baer).  By feel I estimated trigger pull weight in the 4.5# range and absolutely crisp.  It shot about 2" off a bag butt rest at 25 yards and those groupings did not change over about 600 rounds.  As it turned out I located a .38 Super I wanted and traded the Range Officer, a hard decision because of how the RO perfomed. Ultimately I want an STI 2011 Edge or a Les Baer Premier II in .38 Super.  However, 9mm in 1911 is very sweet shooting and for self defense with modern carry ammo there is no material statistical difference in performance between 9mm, .40 and .45.

 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/04/2015 at 11:02
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Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:

It is a polymer-frame, double-stack 1911 with a full length dust cover, aluminum frame,  and a 4" bull barrel.  

?

I thought the "Lite" version had an aluminum frame.

Polymer grips perhaps?

Nice review! It's not at all uncommon to both see the polishing of mating parts and the tightening groups during break-in on a custom pistol. STI hand fits the parts to tight tolerances and the parts wear in and seat together during break-in. When new, there is a slight "drag" as parts move against the slight tool marks on mating surfaces. During use, those slight tool marks in the surface finish are honed down, eliminating the very slight "drag" and making the pistol function more consistently. Perfectly normal, and intended.

On the disassembly hassle issue, like most design decisions, there are tradeoffs involved. On the plus side of "Recoil Master," the 2 spring design smoothens out recoil, reduces muzzle flip & dive, and extends recoil spring life, because they are able to use 2 lighter springs, each of which have separate roles during the cycle, instead of 1 heavy spring.

Did STI discontinue the Tac Lite?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/04/2015 at 13:28
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1. Yes, sorry, polymer grip, aluminum frame. I actually forgot to add the aluminum part initially and went back and added it, thus the stutter on that. Good catch.

2. I have seen slide and frame wear on break-in and thereafter, just not this much this fast. My concern is more the rate than the thing itself. I have several 1911s and many have comparable wear, but they have a few thousand rounds through this one, this has similar wear with an order of magnitude fewer rounds.

3. On break-in function, my confusion was speed of wear (the gun has been perfect for me so far, so function has never been an issue) and the degree to which accuracy improved - and the absurd level of accuracy out of the box.

4. I get the recoil master, I have a few dual spring design recoil systems, but am not a fan of needing a tool to field strip my pistol. It is a minor gripe, the system is very effective, I like it, just don't like needing a non-standard tool. In a pinch, I could probably rig something.

This is a Lite, they are not discontinued. They did change the naming convention, but I cannot tell that the discontinued anything. If they happen to be reading this, the website sucks. STI's site, that is. For clarity.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/04/2015 at 14:23
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Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:



2. I have seen slide and frame wear on break-in and thereafter, just not this much this fast. My concern is more the rate than the thing itself. I have several 1911s and many have comparable wear, but they have a few thousand rounds through this one, this has similar wear with an order of magnitude fewer rounds.

A lot of that has to do with how tightly the mating parts fit together and how much surface contact is actually occurring during operation. If moving parts have greater clearance and less actual surface contact (keeping in mind that "parallel" or "concentric" surfaces on mating parts often aren't perfectly parallel, concentric, flat, and geometrically true), you will actually see less initial wear. If you're seeing different rates of "wear" on different pistols, that can be due to variances in part clearance between the different pistols. Tightly fitted parts show more initial wear, and that is both known and planned for by the manufacturer. Also keep in mind that if the manufacturer used quality materials (which I'm pretty certain is the case here), the "wear" you're seeing is only superficial, at the surface finish level (polishing), and you aren't likely getting any dimensional changes that affect service longevity. Tightly fitted parts are intended to slick up as they break-in, and part of that involves finishes being removed on mating surfaces and unfinished metal surfaces polishing/honing together during use. Once that initial break-in occurs and sliding surfaces seat together, wear becomes MUCH more gradual from that point on. It's not a linear thing that continues at the same rate in perpetuity.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/05/2015 at 00:16
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That is my genuine hope! I agree, it is probably nothing, but did note it on breakdown, so wanted to mention it in the write up.

Another report will follow shortly, back to the range next week for another 200-300 rounds.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/05/2015 at 09:29
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I have an Sti spartan 4 in 9mm. Shoots like a dream, plastic trigger is still weird though. For a low end one I like it, and I as well love 1911s. Going Dan wesson for the next one, but buddy has an Sti trojan I'm waiting to try out maybe will change my mind.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/05/2015 at 11:49
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JLud, based on my experience I think you will be pleased with a Dan Wesson.  My daily carry is a DW ECO (or Baer Comanche when weight is not an issue), nightstand gun that also sees range time and an ocassional club match is a DW Speciailist.  I had a Guardian but just could not get used to the look or feel of the Bobtail.  However, I still want to try one of the STI 2011s.  I gave up on current generation Kimbers after both sides of the MIM manual safety levers broke on my last one, a CDP Pro.
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I will have to give STI another look now that they are cerakoting at least some of their guns. In the past I was just not a fan of the bluing they used.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/06/2015 at 20:48
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I am a 1911 fan and a 9mm fan.  My wife and I have many 1911's, and seven of them are 9mm.  Four are Springfield, two are Kimber, and one is Rock Island.  Three are full size, one is a commander, and three are officer model.

All have functioned well, and the only real function problems were caused by some Remington UMC FMJ bulk ammo with very hard primers.  That ammo had many failures to fire.  After break in accuracy may have improved on a couple, but not drastically, and most did not change at all.

My favorite is my Springfield PX9505L ultra compact.  You don't see many of them.  It is a great shooter, very dependable, and a nice carry gun.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/06/2015 at 20:54
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I honestly didn't notice the trigger shoe was plastic, thanks for that, dammit. I can't have a plastic trigger shoe! First I remove the mag well, now I am breaking in new mags, new sights are on the way, now a new trigger?

This is turning into the project that never ends.


I should'a bought a Glock 19 and called it good.

Guns suck.

Gun control now!
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Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:



Guns suck.

Gun control now!

EASY HOSS!!!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/06/2015 at 21:14
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Yea, maybe got ahead of myself there.

Thanks for settling me down.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2015 at 11:44
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Still no failures of any kind. Another 200 rounds, Gun still doesn't group as I would hope.

Call to STI soon.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/23/2015 at 07:13
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time to change out that plastic trigger?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/23/2015 at 07:46
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Get an AR… you'll be much happier…

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/23/2015 at 08:51
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I can't believe he just said that!!!!  Wink
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/23/2015 at 09:19
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Originally posted by Kickboxer Kickboxer wrote:

Get an AR… you'll be much happier…



Just who are you and how did you get KB's password?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/01/2016 at 17:18
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Sent back to STI in mid November, they said 4 weeks.  We are now in February, they haven't responded to the last few emails, nothing about the gun, nothing about the issues.

I sent a McMillan stock back 2 weeks ago, they said 2-3 weeks. Email from them today said in the mail back to me by Friday.

I never understand why companies over-promise then under-deliver, that seems completely backwards to me.  Had STI told me 3 months, it still would have gone in for service, and I wouldn't be looking at the calendar right now thinking, "Did UPS mis-deliver or is something really messed up with that gun?"
Under-promise, over-deliver = happy customer.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/01/2016 at 17:22
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Re-read initial email, they said "4-6 weeks."  That was 10 weeks ago.  The holidays were in there, I know, but...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/01/2016 at 20:27
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Sounds not good!  You definitely have grounds to gripe!
 
Good luck with it!
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