STI’s genesis was in competition shooting. The Texas gun maker hasn’t strayed far from these roots, but it has occasionally branched out some over the years.
STI's catalog is still brimming with a dizzying array of souped-up competition 1911s, ready to put rounds on targets and shave seconds off the clock. But, the company has also focused its manufacturing prowess on producing variations of the classic pistol design tailor-made for service and concealed carry holsters.
Each of STI’s focuses — competition and self-defense — is well represented in the company’s new offerings for 2016. And as always, no matter their intended purpose, the company’s new 1911s are some pretty dazzling examples of the timeless handgun.
HEX Tactical Pistols
STI touts its new line as being a jack-of-all-trades, perfect for home defense, competition and plinking. But the HEX Tactical line definitely has a tactical flare; one need not look further than the slide to see why. The HEX line features aggressive slide sculpting, with hexagonal cocking serrations both fore and aft. The feature is meant to offer a more positive grip, making the slide easier to manipulate, even with gloves. STI has further enhanced the effectiveness of the serrations by beveling the top of the slide, thus allowing a firmer grip. The pistol also features VZ grips and a Picatinny rail beneath the barrel, for the quick addition of an accessory. The new line is available in STI’s traditional single stack 1911 model and its double stack 2011 model. In both cases, 4- and 5-inch barrel models are available. All models feature rear ledge sights, fiber optic front, black Cerakote finish and a 4- to 5-pound trigger pull. The HEX line is available in 9mm and .45ACP. The MSRP on the HEX 2011 models is $2,599, and the 1911 is $2,099.
Best Starter Kit for Concealed Carry:
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Guardian 2011 Pistol
Some shy away from traditional 1911s as a concealed-carry option due to capacity constraints. STI should dash those concerns with the expansion of its popular, compact Guardian line. The gun maker has introduced a 2011 model of the pistol, giving shooters a double-stack choice of the 3.9-inch barreled handgun. The new 9mm doubles the original Guardian’s capacity with the 2011 able to hold 15+1 rounds. STI has kept the pistol a manageable carry option, lightening the gun’s weight (25 ounces unloaded) through the use of an aluminum frame. The Guardian 2011 features a two-dot rear sight and fiber-optic front, which should provide a clear sight picture that can be quickly acquired. STI has equipped it with its shorter VIP grip, which should make the Guardian more concealable, even under light cover. It also has a striking appearance. The gun is two-tone, with a stainless-steel slide and a black Cerakote frame and grips. Presently, the MSRP on the Guardian is $1,899.
Two New DVC Competition Models
Just like a Formula 1 race car, one glimpse at the STI’s DVC pistols and it’s pretty obvious what they were designed for: winning. The company has expanded its hot-rod line with two new purpose-build models: the DVC classic and DVC 3-Gun. As its name implies, the Classic is more of a traditional 1911, tailored for single-stack division competition. The pistol should be a manageable shooter, boasting a 5.4-inch barrel. The Classic also features fully adjustable rear sights and a fiber-optic front. It is available in 9mm, .40S&W and .45ACP and has a MSRP of $2,799. Similar to the other new DVC model, the 3-Gun doesn't hide its intentions. The pistol has been outfitted with a 5.4-inch barrel, which should make it more controllable. But STI has attempted to mitigate the 3-Gun’s overall heft by building it on an aluminum frame and by porting the slide. The pistol features a tactical magwell, flared at the mouth to facilitate faster reloads. The pistol has a hand-stippled grip by Extreme Shooters of Arizona, which wraps around the entirety of the grip. And it has a fully adjustable rear sight and fiber optic front. The new 9mm has a MSRP of $2,999.