Stoeger shocked SHOT with the release of the 9mm STR-9. Does the pistol have what it takes to survive the demanding striker-fired market?
How the STR-9 measures up against other striker-fired pistols:
- Extremely affordable with $329 MSRP.
- Aggressive cocking serrations running the better part of the slide.
- Ergonomic grip with finger grooves and assertive texturing.
- Ample barrel length (4.17 inches) to make it a manageable shooter.
- At 24 ounces unloaded, shouldn't be an overburdening carry pistol.
The fact a new striker-fired, polymer-framed pistol hit the market isn’t a surprise. It’s who’s churning out the latest addition to the swollen and ever-growing corner of the handgun world. Stoeger. Yes, you heard right, the company with those easy-on-the pocketbook shotguns.
There was no lack of clucking at the 2019 SHOT Show in Las Vegas over the surprise move by the Beretta subsidiary. More than anything, simply because the STR-9 came so abruptly out of right field. Who would have expected a company that’s earned its daily bread arming waterfowlers and wingshooters to go 9mm, striker-fired and polymer-framed? On the other hand, at this point, if Daisy added the style of handgun next to its Red Ryder it most likely wouldn’t drop many jaws.
So, given the utter profusion of polymer guns on the market today, has Stoeger made a wise move with the STR-9? Or is it simply another face in a vast crowd? Given a few assets — including an incredible price — the smoothbore specialists seem to have a pistol that should hold its own in the STR-9.
If the emanate catcher and baseball manager Yogi Berra wrote a gun column, he might quip the STR-9 is “déjà vu all over again.” Certainly, most modern pistols for nearly 40 years now are, almost all echoes of a certain Austrian gunmaker’s creations. But the STR-9 seems an echo of an echo. While not a dead ringer for Beretta’s striker-fired APX by any means, the Stoeger 9mm brings it to mind.
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The semblance is particularly pronounced on the STR-9’s aggressive cocking serration running the majority of the slide. The geometry is different, but the amplitude is similar. Along with that, the STR-9 boasts a similar grip rake, texturing and ergonomics. When it comes to the pistol’s handle the finger grooves, texture and checkering on the backstrap all seem to mimic the APX. Though, the checkering on the STR-9 isn’t as refined as the Beretta, teetering on almost too assertive. Of course, an interchangeable back-strap system is also part of the mix on both. But that’s standard fare for most polymer-framed pistols nowadays.
On the other side of the coin, the Stoeger pistol has a more Glock-like takedown system, a full curved trigger, shorter barrel (4.17 inches) and is slightly lighter (24 ounces). The STR-9 is also a couple rounds shy of the APX, with a 15+1 capacity. It also doesn’t boast a striker deactivator like the Beretta, nor is it modular.
Other notables, the STR-9 is outfitted with steel three-dot sights, reversible magazine release and an ample accessory rail.
Aside from what, on the surface, appears a fairly solid package, the STR-9 got the rabble roused with its price tag. An opening MSRP of $329, the 9mm is among the most affordable in its class. That probably translates to right around $300 on a store’s shelf. Pretty dang wild.
Though there are some caveats, chiefly the starting price gets you a very stripped-down package — 1 magazine and one backstrap (medium). To obtain what many would consider a complete setup — 3 magazines and 3 backstraps (small, medium and large) – the MSRP jumps to $389. Tritium night sights kick the MSRP up to $449. Still, it’s difficult to complain — it’s still less than nearly anything comparable.
Impressions Of The STR-9
Unfortunately, I cannot report how the STR-9 shoots. If Stoeger had the 9mm at SHOT Range Day, I plum missed it. So, grain of salt territory ahead.
Handling the gun at SHOT Show proper, it seemed an impressive pistol for its price.
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Given the profusion and assertiveness of its cocking serrations, it is a simple pistol to manipulate — which is never a bad thing. Whether a press check or a reload, there is plenty of real estate to get the pistol into play.
The STR-9 also felt comfortable in the hand. Yes, the backstrap is aggressive, but it’s difficult to tell if that’s an issue without live fire.
Finally, there was no play in the trigger, it had a crisp break and short reset. Off of strictly looky-loo fiddling at the Stoeger booth, I’d guess a 6- or 7-pound pull, which should make it familiar to most striker-fired fans.
The STR-9 is hardly Stoeger’s first foray into handguns. The company had such models as the DA/SA Cougar 8000 (based on the Beretta pistol of the same name) and the rather slick American Eagle Luger to its name. But what seems a lifetime since the release of the Cougar — the newer of the two pistols — handguns seemed almost an afterthought, if that, at Stoeger.
That’s no longer the case. On price alone, the Stoeger has given shooters plenty to consider with the STR-9, even more with its full gamut of features.
Barrel Length: 4.17″
Weight Unloaded: 24 oz.
Type of Sights: Quick read 3-dot sight
Overall Length: 7.44″
Action: Striker fired
Magazine: Includes 1 magazine
Backstrap: Includes medium backstrap