Posted By admin on October 13, 2010
2011 .40 S&W and 1911 .45 ACP
By Travis Gibson
Anyone who has picked up a recent copy of a Front Site magazine has probably seen the ads for STI’s signature series USPSA limited division guns. If you haven’t, you should check it out. This is a sharp looking unit.
Right: Travis Gibson holding the STI Signature Series USPSA .40 S&W.
Below: Right side of STI 2011 .40 S&W Signature Series USPSA factory pistol with slide locked back.
FIT AND FEEL
The STI signature series USPSA model is all stainless and comes with a fiber optic front site and adjustable rear sight. Some of the other upgrades are a custom STI trigger and ambidextrous safeties. I’d guess the trigger to be about 3.5 lbs with a very crisp reset. This thing just screams SPEED!
Right: Close up of right side of grip, safety, trigger, and magwell.
I have to be honest. The gun I use for USPSA competition is a custom SV Infinity, but it took me about two rounds out of the STI .40 to know it wasn’t going to be hard to get used to! Just because I don’t shoot a lot of single stack, it took a minute to get used to the grip diameter of the .45 1911, but it was very easy to get used to.
Most of the time when I pick up an unfamiliar gun, there is something about it that just doesn’t seem to fit. It might be the fact that the trigger guard wears a hole in my middle finger on my strong hand. Or the safety accidently gets put BACK ON after the draw as I am pushing the gun out to the target because of my fat hands, or…the list goes on and on. I never had any of these problems with either of these guns.
Above: Left side of STI 2011 .40 S&W Signature Series USPSA factory pistol with slide locked back. Shown with box of Sheep Dog Ammo.
The grip was great and there wasn’t any place that felt uncomfortable. The safety on the strong side seemed to be a bit thinner than the weak side which kept me from accidentally putting it back on. All around these were very comfortable guns.
1. Replace the red fiber optic front site with green.
2. Grip tape on the both sides of the grip.
Above: Bottom of magwell of STI Signature Series USPSA .40 S&W.
3. 5 -round Magazine extensions for three of the magazines. Grams Engineering base pads will get them up to 20 round capacity.
As you can see, the list is pretty short, and two of the three are simply personal preference. Putting two hundred rounds down range one weekend and winning a match the next wouldn’t be hard to do.
Right: Wolf 180 grain FMJ .40 S&W taken at 15 yards offhand – 1.00 inches!
We tested about five different types of ammunition with the .40 which I have listed below. All of the shots were fired from 15 yards offhand. I know what you are thinking. “How accurate of a test could they do if they weren’t firing from a bench?” I thought the same thing too, but then I said to myself, “How often do I shoot from a bench in USPSA?” The answer was pretty simple…NEVER! That is why we chose to shoot offhand.
I was once told by an old long range shooter that shooting groups of five doesn’t really give you a true reading of what the gun is capable of. He said 7-10 rounds really show how things work. So with that in mind we shot groups of 10. As you can see, some were better than others, and I had at least two self induced “flyers” with every type of ammo we tested out of the .40.
Left: Federal 150-grain Hydrashock JHP 1.00 inches for best five shots.
Black Hills 180-grain Hollow Point: 1.375 Inches
Federal 150-grain Hydrashock JHP: 1.000 Inches
Sheep Dog 180-grain FMJ FP: 1.250 Inches
Wolf 180- grain FMJ: 1.000 Inches
Tite Group 5.1-grains: 1.000 Inches Montana Gold 180-grain
As you can see, the groups ranged from 1.000”-1.375”. As far as I’m concerned at 15 yards, that isn’t half bad…plenty good enough to hit an A zone or a popper at 50 yards if you had to.
During our testing and the one match that I shot with the .40, I only had one malfunction. I don’t know if I’d call it a “stove pipe” as it was more of a failure to feed. I have no reason to believe this was caused by the gun. It was probably more likely due to the fact that I hadn’t cleaned or oiled the gun…ever!
Because we shot the .40 offhand and were really happy with the results, we decided to “stretch the legs” of the .45 so we did shoot it off a bench. With the quality STI is putting out on these guns, we didn’t think the accuracy was going to get any worse with the .45. We shot the same 10-shot groups with this gun and here is what we came up with.
Above: Sheep Dog Ammo FMJ .45 acp with STI .45 taken at 15 yards offhand.
Sheep Dog 230 FMJ: 1.250 Inches
Winchester 230 FMJ: 2.000 inches
Wolf 230 FMJ: 0.500 Inches
Not too shabby!
Right: Winchester 230 grain FMJ at 15 yards. 2.0 inches
All in all, this was a great test, and I was tickled to do it. The guns ran great, and for the price, this is a great value. If you are getting serious about your shooting and are ready to advance to the next level, this gun will take you as far as you want to go.
We also had one of Junior Shooters junior testers try it out. Dallin Hixson (16) says, “The STI 2011 USPSA .40 S&W is one of the best guns I have ever used. It is lightweight, yet it still has a bulky, powerful look to it. It has a really great grip, perfect for all types of shooting sports. It is an overall awesome competition gun, great for USPSA. When I first shot this gun I was surprised at how little recoil there was, but it is still very powerful. It is also extremely accurate. This gun is perfect for all competitors involved in USPSA or Steel Challenge shooting. Its lightweight, easy to maneuver design, will help you to achieve an overall better time, and allow you to get more points in your USPSA match or Steel Challenge Match. STI makes an outstanding firearm, and I would recommend this gun to all who are serious about the shooting sport.”
Editor’s Note: Travis Gibson is an outstanding USPSA, Steel Challenge, and 3-Gun competitor with a wealth of knowledge. He is also one of the main principles of MGM Targets & the Match Director for the MGM Ironman 3-Gun event in Parma, Idaho.