Steyr’s L-A1 Coming to America

Steyr’s L-A1 Coming to America
After a popular reception in Europe, Steyr's L-A1 is hitting the American Market.

After a popular reception in Europe, Steyr's L-A1 is hitting the American Market.
After a popular reception in Europe, Steyr's L-A1 is hitting the American Market.
Steyr Arms L-A1 has been making the rounds in Europe for around a year. Now, the full-sized version of the company's popular striker-fired pistol is hitting the American market.

The Austrian firearms manufacturer introduced the latest model of its service pistol at the 2012 IWA Outdoor Classics Show in Nuremburg, Germany. And it began shipping limited numbers of the handgun to America this year.

For those familiar with Steyr’s A1s, the latest version of the pistol won’t hold many surprises – it is nearly a carbon copy of the line's original model, the M-A1. The main variance between the models is barrel length. The M-A1 has a 4-inch barrel, compared to the L-A1’s 4.53-inch barrel.

The increased barrel length makes the full-sized pistol ideal for target shooting or competition. But it is still reasonably enough sized for concealed carry, though its length and double-stack magazine make it more practical for an outside the waistband holster.

The L-A1 has a few new design tweaks, as well. The pistol boasts a loaded-chamber indicator that rises on the rear of the slide when a round is chambered. It also has an ambidextrous magazine release.

Like its predecessors, the L-A1 is available in 9mm Luger, .40 S&W and .357 SIG. It also has a number of design features common to the line.

The A1 has the unique trapezoidal sight configuration and a Picatinny rail on the front of the frame. It has an integrated trigger safety, keyed safety lock and aggressive cocking serrations. And it has a low-bore axis and steep grip angle of the previous models.

The A1 design has been around for more than a decade, the brainchild of Steyr designer Wilhelm Bubits. Bubits had no formal training as a gun designer, instead formulated his ideas on handguns as an Austrian customs official. He then applied his practical knowledge at Glock, before moving to Steyr in 1997.

The L-A1 comes at a reasonable price, with an MSRP of $560. Affordable and incorporating the notable features of the line puts the pistol in consideration with the other full-sized polymers on the market.

Steyr L-A1 Specifications

Operation: Semiautomatic
Caliber: 9x19mm Luger, .40 S&W, .357 SIG
Slide Material: Steel
Magazine Type/Capacity: Double-stack steel box/17 rounds (9mm), 12 rounds (.40, .357)
Barrel: 4.53-inch cold-hammer-forged
Rifling: Conventional, 6 grooves, RH twist
Sights: Drift-adjustable trapezoidal
Finish: Mannox
Trigger Type: Reset Action System (DAO with integrated safety)
Pull Weight: 5.5 pounds
Frame Material: Reinforced polymer
Weight Empty: 28.8 ounces (29.6 ounces L40-A1)
Overall Length: 7.9 inches
Height: 5.1 inches
Width: 1.2 inches
Included Accessories: Owners manual, lockable box, extra magazine
MSRP: $560

Recommended Handgun Resources

Gun Digest Shooter's Guide to HandgunsGun Digest Shooter's Guide to Handguns by Grant Cunningham

Learn More

Previous article The Case for Direct Impingement AR-15s
Next article Gun Digest the Magazine, January 27, 2014
Elwood Shelton is the Digital Editor for Gun Digest. He lives in Colorado and has provided coverage on a vast spectrum of topics for GD for more than a decade. Before that, he was an award-winning sports and outdoors reporter for a number of newspapers across the Rocky Mountains. His experience has consisted of covering the spread of chronic wasting disease into the Western Slope of Colorado to the state’s ranching for wildlife programs. His passion for shooting began at a young age, fostered on pheasant hunts with his father. Since then, he has become an accomplished handloader, long-range shooter and avid hunter—particularly mule deer and any low-down, dirty varmint that comes into his crosshairs. He is a regular contributor to Gun Digest Magazine and has contributed to various books on guns and shooting, most recently Lever-Actions: A Tribute to the All-American Rifle.


  1. Disappointing review. Mr Shelton should have put in a little more time and effort into the article, instead of gleaming an advertisement. Clearly the new L model is NOT a carbon copy of the M model. The previous poster mentioned a couple. If you can’t commit to doing a thorough job, have someone else do it who is more motivated.

  2. I liked the pistol more in its original configuration as it was a better and safer carry gun. The original version had a manual safety which made it way more safer not only to carry but especially when handling the gun. The new version has no manual safety and the gun can accidentally go off just like the Glock many times does if one is not extremely careful when handling the gun or for that matter holstering it either.

    The gun has also been severely criticized for having no passive firing pin safety and this is especially important in a gun that is striker fired because if there is frame damage or wear between the slide and frame which could let the slide lift up and cause the striker to slip and fire the gun. This is why some of the very much older striker fired guns had such stiff trigger pulls as the engagement was left very deep so that if the slide did wear there was still enough engagement on the striker to prevent it from firing but these older pistols had frames made of steel not flexible and soft plasticky material.

    Its weird trapezoidal sights have not won very many devoted followers either. Its on and off again availability has made a lot of buyers wary about buying one as well. I should have bought one when the manual safety version was available but since it does not have a manual safety anymore most people like myself are saying why buy just another Glock lookalike.

    • bhp0 do you even have the first clue what you’re talking about?

      The gun has a option manual safe, the video shot right there had it circled for crying out loud. Also, your phrase “the gun can accidentally go off” scares the hell out of me. No gun just accidentally goes off. There are negligible discharges, where the operator has mishandled their firearm and fires it. But there is no gun ever made that “accidentally goes off” without an irresponsible person behind the trigger.

      Next, A-1’s have had a passive firing pin safety since their earliest models. It was only the very first model that came without such a safety, since Bubltiz did not believe his design would fire inadvertently even if dropped. The firing pin safety was added through the numerous requests of law-enforcement agencies… most likely to make insurance companies happy. Also, I would challenge you to come up with one instance where slide wear has caused a polymer-frame pistol to fire.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.