The basic STI (if there is such a thing) is a hi-cap gun devoted to competition
The basic STI (if there is such a thing) is a hi-cap gun devoted to competition

STI is known for hi-caps and competition guns, However, that wasn’t always the case. A few years ago STI bought a local (Texas) company that was doing good work in making single-stack 1911s. And after that, STI went for the basic-gun market with another program. (More in just a bit.)

The basic STI hi-cap is the unchanged (except for even better quality) metal/polymer hybrid back in the early 1990s that we’ve already discussed. Dave Skinner and his wife have worked hard to promote the practical shooting sports and provide top-notch pistols for those competitors. Like other modern and savvy entrepreneurs, he is more than willing to take a chance on a particular model or set of features that looks promising. That, combined with the nearly genetically-based need to modify and experiment with gear, means that it can sometimes be difficult to find a “standard” STI at a match or on the range. Between Dave’s changes and the owner’s mods, what you’re looking at may be entirely different than the previous STI you just looked at.

The STI single stacks made here in the USA comprise most of the lineup. The Lawman, Sentry, Targetmaster and Rangemaster are just some of them, and they all feature forged steel frames, machined here in the USA (Texas, to be precise) and assembled with STI components. In addition to slides and frames, STI makes their own barrels, internals, grip safeties, etc. The basic gun by STI, the Spartan (and you have to figure, with Dave’s sense of humor, that the name is not an accident) is a no-nonsense gun at the lowest cost at which STI can deliver their quality.

It has a Philippines-made slide, frame and barrel that is assembled and fitted in the US by STI, using STI internals. You get a super-tough gun at a reasonable price, with STI quality. You do, however, give up some things: choices. You can have it the way it is, no extras, no options, no add-ons.

Unless, of course, you go to the STI custom shop, where they will build whatever you want, the way you want it, on an STI gun. NEXT PAGE

This article is an excerpt from 1911: the First 100 Years.  To order your copy of this fascinating look at the 1911 click here.

Click here to learn more about STI International 1911s