New STI 1911 - for under $600!


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Preacherman
November 28, 2006, 11:15 PM
STI has introduced the "Spartan" 1911 (http://www.stiguns.com/guns/Spartan/Spartan.html) at a suggested retail price of $635 - and Dawson Precision has them for about $50 less! (Well, they had them - I may have bought the last one! :D ). Looks like pretty good value for the money, and the salesperson at Dawson said they rate them as better quality than the average Kimber, Springfield or S&W 1911. Looks most interesting!


http://www.stiguns.com/guns/Spartan/images/Spartan06-Main_800w.jpg

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D-Man
November 28, 2006, 11:21 PM
Can't wait to hear what people think once they get these in their hands and shoot them. If they can keep the STI name and reputation at this low of a pricepoint, they will do very well.

I admit to not caring that much for the rollmark, but for $600, I could easily live with it!

daysleeprx
November 29, 2006, 12:05 AM
The sights aren't my cup of tea either...but it looks like a good competitor for the Taurus and Springfield Loaded models.

daysleeprx
November 29, 2006, 12:12 AM
Oh, and shouldn't Correia be getting a shipment in soon? I'd love to hear what he thinks about em.

kir_kenix
November 29, 2006, 12:17 AM
i would consider getting one, but i really hate the SPARTAN etched on the slide. also not a fan of fiber optics, but hey maybe i dont know what im missing. ill let some other people buy 'em first and report back on here before i decide either way.

mosttoyswins
November 29, 2006, 12:22 AM
Nice gun, but IMHO that Spartan roll mark is AWFUL.

Other than that, looks good.

sm
November 29, 2006, 12:31 AM
Preacherman,

I await your review and range report. I am interested in the internals, specs and metallurgy.

NO MIM will mean this gun, will be akin to the OLD Kimber, and Kimber series I ( Perhaps).

Personally, I prefer the Original Gov't Model. I do have a early early Stainless Kimber Series I Target Model. First thing I did was take out FLGR and replace with GI Plug.

Preacherman
November 29, 2006, 12:46 AM
I do have a early early Stainless Kimber Series I Target Model. First thing I did was take out FLGR and replace with GI Plug.

Totally agree, Steve. That's the first thing that I'll do to mine when it arrives, even before the first range session!

Cocked & Locked
November 29, 2006, 01:26 AM
The STI Spartan pistols are made for STI by Armscor...as in Rock Island Armory fame.

...bet everybody knew that though ;)

bigsarg99
November 29, 2006, 01:44 AM
Is this the only model of the Spartan available at this time? Id love to have this maybe with Novaks and maybe a light rail. A commander or officer model wouldnt be bad either.

swingset
November 29, 2006, 02:30 AM
My $600 Smith and Wesson isn't a rebadged, foreign built gun. You can keep the faux STI.

:neener:

jlh26oo
November 29, 2006, 03:08 AM
STI is foreign built? Or just this particluar model?

at-home-daddy
November 29, 2006, 03:16 AM
Just this model, as I understand it.

sm
November 29, 2006, 04:26 AM
I understand this is foreign built - the website linked above -
http://www.stiguns.com/guns/Spartan/Spartan.html

Spartan

Crafted with classic 1911 design, the STI International Spartan is a traditional 1911 pistol with high-end standards at an affordable price.

The Spartan is built on a steel, government length, standard width frame. The grip includes a checkered mainspring housing to provide a sure grip. The controls are an STI International single sided thumb safety and high-rise beavertail grip safety. The slide features traditional 1911 styling with front and rear cocking serrations, and the barrel is 5.0" with a match grade fitted bushing. This excellent firearm comes standard with an STI Commander style hammer, patented STI trigger system, and STI sear and disconnector for smooth, reliable function.

The Spartan has a Parkerized finish and is available in .45 ACP

Bold is mine. Note that STI uses quality parts in trigger, sear, disconnector, and other internals.

My questions are : Is this gun made to USGI Specs? ( all the holes and dimensions true or "clone specs ?")
Are all the internals and such STI quality in this gun? I am not thinking STI is going to use a lesser quality part, or MIM when they have the reputation they do.

Here is the deal, Norinco's have good steel, sometime the internals are fine, need smoothing, sometime best to replace internals - but the specs are there.

Some basic guns are fine on the spec dept, just the insides are MIM.

I am happiest with a bone stock Gov't model of 1911 without curb feelers, hammers with holes, duckbutts, fuzzy dice and billboards for roll marks. Gimme a USGI/ Colt 7 rd mag, with dimple follower, hardball and good to go. FWIW I never had a problem feeding Flying Ashtrays or any other JHP in a bone stock Gov't model.

What I am trying to find out / await. if this Spartan affords a good value for the money with its metallurgy and innards.

I do not care what an item is discounted to, on sale, rebate...
I do not care about "with the features"...

To get a REAL Gun, as JMB designed it - or as close as can in Function How much is this thing gonna cost bottom line?

One "can" live with cosmetic changes - darn gun better function as JMB designed it for ME and MY use.

I hate the new Kimbers [way to much line extension] with incorrect extractors, Swartz system, MIM, and other stuff.

Now the Colt, not much tweaking, and I was impressed with out of box Springfield - Plain old Gov't models - like Tuner has shared.

Spartan being in spec, good metal, STI internals - hey some can use some help with sights, or be fine with duck butt. Function for Money.

Trick gun? Gimme a 1911 style in 9x23 .

Bone stock Gov't Model of 1911 in .45ACP is my favored 1911 style.

Will Fennell
November 29, 2006, 08:49 AM
sm[Steve],
I hate to tell you, but those beloved Series 1 Kimbers are chock full of MIM parts. I know, I've currently got 3 of them.......and they are now MIM free:)

If you are worried about such things, keep in mind that the SPARTAN from STI is built on a cast frame, and I believe a cast slide.

I do think that the SPARTAN sounds VERY interesting, and will probally make a great gun for the $$$$$ , assuming that they function out of the box.

45auto
November 29, 2006, 09:14 AM
From what I "read", the Spartan has a STI thumb safety, beavertail, hammer, sear, disconnector and trigger.

Frame is cast and the slide is "extruded", the same as all RIA 1911s now.

The Trojan has a "barstock" slide, ramped STI barrel, grip "texture", flat top slide. Perhaps, the "fit" is better...don't know. The Trojans run in the $950 range so there's going to be a $300-$400 difference between the two.

If the Spartans work, they should sell lot's!

Preacherman
November 29, 2006, 10:24 AM
From STI's Web site (http://www.stiguns.com/SkinnErgrams/SGRAM-88.html):

May 25, 2006 SkinnErgram #88

<snip>

A "lower end" (in price) 1911 built with many high quality STI parts, but assembled "off shore". It'll be .45ACP (what else?) only, unramped bushing barrel, full length guide rod, single sided thumb safety, and Parkerized. It's name is to be the "Spartan". (Russell Nichols from our Slide Dept. takes the cash for this suggestion.) We should have been "on the street" with this one already but I think we confused the U.S. State Department and Homeland Security (Customs) with our desire to "take ‘em out and bring ‘em back". If you order now, your lead time should be about our normal quoted period but this one is subject to slippage due to the "powers that be" in Washington . We'll keep you posted.

</snip>


From the description, seems to be a normal 1911A1 design but with a bunch of STI parts added to it. I have no problem with this at all, for three reasons:

1. If STI are going to put their name on it, it has to be of good quality, or they'll be shooting themselves in the foot. There's no way they'll put the STI brand on an inferior pistol.

2. The cost of the STI parts involved (and the gunsmithing charges to put them on) is significant, compared to OEM parts. This adds value to the gun.

3. They're charging a very reasonable price for the gun, certainly about $200 lower than Kimber, Springfield or S&W in my part of the world.

If the quality is there (and I'll know soon), then I'm happy.

Correia
November 29, 2006, 11:15 AM
I've got a bunch that are supposed to be coming in here shortly.

Preacherman, you bought from Dawson instead of me? :D Ouch, man.

GunNut
November 29, 2006, 12:02 PM
Change the sights to Novaks and i think the gun would be a real nice entry level 1911.

I may try one, but am really planning on saving up for a Trojan instead. I like some kind of checkering or stippling on the frontstrap, but might try skate board tape.

I look forward to Preacherman's range report.

Steve

ugaarguy
November 29, 2006, 12:31 PM
NO MIM will mean this gun, will be akin to the OLD Kimber, and Kimber series I ( Perhaps).

Steve, also hate to break it to you, but even the top of the line STIs use MIM. I e-mailed and asked about it, and they wanted to know why I was concerned about MIM internals in a 1911 :confused: . They also wouldn't tell me which internals are or are not MIM. Seems like everyone is using MIM now :( , except for SIG and the custom makers, so I can't really hold it against STI.

MIM aside the Spartan looks like a great deal for all the reasons Preacherman lists. I'm interested in a range report as well. My current SA GI, and the SIG GSR I ordered (Thanks Correia :D ) have fixed sights. The Spartan just might make a good adjustable sights range gun. I wonder if a Commander size gun with that slick STI adjustable Novak style combat rear sight will be offered if the current Spartan sells well and they expand the lineup.

sm
November 29, 2006, 12:45 PM
Will,

Yes I know the Kimbers have MIM, still something unique about this one. Recall the OLD Kimbers, back before popular? This Target Model Series I and and The Steel regular model gotten later "differ". We laid them out, gun buddy is checking and it seems the Target got the "old parts" ( not MIM) and the regular the new MIM. We think Lady Luck smiled on me.

Reg one someone really really wanted it, and it has the good internals and all now, and used as a Carry Gun .

Target is my Bargaining Tool. I just have to be patient. One fellow was wanting to make a deal with me for this one : http://www.stiguns.com/guns/Trojan5/Trojan5.html

I am waiting for him, or some others to let go of some old Colts. Gov't Model of 1911 , Commander, and I am playing hard to get for a Steel Combat Commander like I bought myself for a HS grad gift in '73.

I dangle the carrot (Target I) I even let them shoot it from time to time. I have come real close...just I have to let marinate, keep dangling, and be patient. :)

I gotta chance, one wife really really wants my Target I. Being the Southern Gentleman I am, I let her shoot it as much as she wants.

My gun buddy is aware of all these, actually he gets a kick out of us. Husband knows she wants the TI , and his wife and I are alike in being cool, sneaky, playing it down. We all know each other, husband knows he is not going to win.

Has to do with me letting his wife not only handle, but shoot a 28 ga shotgun, even gave her shells to shoot, even let her take it home.
This only days after she got her Model 64 3" RB HB she had to have because I had let her shoot one, and let her take that one home.
And about 2 weeks before we found a Beretta 303 in 20ga. and let her shoot, and take home:D

"You let the wife bring that Target I home I am in big trouble and I forgot how to change the combo on the safe where she cannot get into it".

I reminded him that safe was her safe. Wife is standing there, being cute, cuddly, smiling...
Gun buddy is choking on his tea.

I am not bad - just consistent.

Hawk
November 30, 2006, 04:09 PM
Steve, also hate to break it to you, but even the top of the line STIs use MIM. I e-mailed and asked about it, and they wanted to know why I was concerned about MIM internals in a 1911.

I read this somewhere as well. Speaking for myself only, I really don't care. MIM is just another process to be done right or not depending on who is doing it.

Kinda like the "It's not the arrow, it's the indian" philosophy.

I'm one of the rare ones that personally had a Kimber MIM part go south, so my 2 Kimbers have been de-MIMed. However, I've never had, nor have I heard much about, problems with S&W MIM or STI MIM. In the specific case of certain of STI's 2011s, they're race guns, fer cryin' out loud - if MIM works for that crowd, I've got no issues.

I suppose it's possible that S&W, STI and Kimber all get their MIM from the same jobber and apply the same QC, but based solely on comparing my STIs to my Kimbers my informal bet is that this is not the case. Stress not on MIM, friend SM.

I'll be making a trip to Dawson in January and will try to check out one of the Spartans at that time - assuming they haven't turned up locally by then.

Preacherman
November 30, 2006, 09:13 PM
Well, here's an initial report (not yet a shooting report, I'm afraid).

The gun arrived today. On first inspection, it's very impressive indeed. The finish isn't great - standard parkerized - but adequate. Sights are excellent, adjustable target rear and fiber-optic front. I'd prefer a wider rear notch, but for range use, the existing narrower notch works fine. The trigger is absolutely outstanding, probably the best I've ever felt on a sub-$1,000 1911 out of the box. My gun dealer and his gunsmith both tried the trigger and asked the same question immediately - "Who did the trigger job on this gun?" Needless to say, it was right out of the box like that - superb work! The slide fits the frame very tightly, the barrel locks up like a bank vault, and generally I'm very impressed indeed. For about $600, I've not seen a better 1911 - I'd certainly rate this Spartan as better than the entry-level Kimbers or Springfields.

I'll get it to the range sometime soon and let you know how it shoots, but frankly I'm not expecting any problems. With a tight fit and lock-up like this one has, I'll be very surprised if it's not capable of sub-2" groups at 25 yards from a rested position. I don't see anything not to like.

Browns Fan
November 30, 2006, 10:16 PM
Preacherman, are the frame and slide cast?

D-Man
November 30, 2006, 10:33 PM
Preacherman - look forward to the range report.

Before then, any chance you can add pictures?

daysleeprx
November 30, 2006, 10:41 PM
Here are some images "borrowed" from a gunbroker auction:

http://nas4.atlanta.gbhinc.com/GB/061296000/61296217/pix209622845.jpg

http://nas4.atlanta.gbhinc.com/GB/061296000/61296217/pix209622720.jpg

http://nas4.atlanta.gbhinc.com/GB/061296000/61296217/pix209622908.jpg

USBP379
January 10, 2007, 07:21 PM
No additional posts in over a month?

Well, I guess I'll contribute:

I bought a Spartan from Thunder Mountain last week. I visited with Mike at the SAR show and was going to get a Spartan while there but got tied up with other things (other purchases) and couldn't make it back to his table before the show closed. Anyway, I looked at three guns that he had there at the show and all three looked identical with regard to overall fit and finish. That's something right there, as many "cheap" 1911's will vary quite a bit from pistol to pistol.

The gun I bought is tight. It takes just a little "pop" to get the gun open and there's virtually no play between the frame and slide. The trigger's a little heavy but certainly crisp and smooth. I've only had time to fire 100 rounds through the gun but that 100 rounds consisted of ball, LSWC and flat points. I used the Novak mag that came with the gun and a couple Wilson 8-rounders. As expected, the gun fired each time the trigger was pulled and I had no issues with slide lock or the like. The sights were set slightly to the left from the factory but a couple clicks with a screwdriver fixed that.

Upon disassembly, I found that the ignition parts are all STI. The magazine release, firing pin and slide stop look to be Armscor parts, as are no doubt some of the other little parts. The bushing is very tight and the barrel and FLGR are chromed. When the frame and slide are put together without any other parts in the gun, there's a little more wiggle between the frame and slide but both parts still mate very well. The barrel is throated and the feed ramp is very well polished. The frame is missing the little bowtie cut on the vertical impact surface for the bottom barrel lugs.

Overall, probably the best 1911 for the money currently available. Yeah, it's made of imported parts but it's backed by STI!

I guess I should get some pictures up to add to my review. But my gun looks just like the one pictured above.

orionengnr
January 10, 2007, 08:29 PM
Change the sights to Novaks and i think the gun would be a real nice entry level 1911.

$635, plus sights, and we're talking entry level?

Hmmm...I've bought three Kimbers, two Colts and four Paras. The most expensive one just barely broken that price ceiling.

They have come and gone (I always find something I want more) and yeah, I buy used.

My "entry-level" 1911 was a $300 Charles Daly. Bought it just over a year ago. Yes, they are still out there...

Shipwreck
January 10, 2007, 10:49 PM
Thanks for the review on the gun! :) Interesting....

combatantr2
January 11, 2007, 11:41 AM
From what I know on the spartan model - SLIDE is from armscor, frame is by STI. Assembled by ARMSCOR, and yes frame and slide are cast.

But of course all is backed-up by the STI company.

Correia
January 22, 2007, 12:14 PM
We got 6 of the first 60 in the country, and I've got to say, they impressed the heck out of me. This gun is a Springfield/Kimber killer.

I've reserved 20 out of the 200 coming in February if anybody wants one.

Texfire
January 22, 2007, 12:45 PM
Any variants with an ambi-safety for us southpaws? Inquiring minds want to know.

Correia
January 22, 2007, 01:08 PM
Nope, the Spartan is one flavor only so far. No announced plans to do anything different yet.

Phil DeGraves
January 22, 2007, 02:08 PM
Looks a lot like the Taurus.

HKCowboy
January 24, 2007, 12:06 AM
We got 6 of the first 60 in the country, and I've got to say, they impressed the heck out of me. This gun is a Springfield/Kimber killer.

How so that it will be a Kimber killer? This pistol is made in the same country as the "famous" Charles Daly, RIA and Armscor. Very few of the successful competitors from that country use firearms that are made in their own backyard (that tells you about the quality of their products). I would wait and see before I'll call it Springfield/Kimber killer.

Zundfolge
January 24, 2007, 12:27 AM
This pistol is made in the same country as the "famous" Charles Daly, RIA and Armscor.
The slide and frame are made by Armscor but the internals and most imporantly the assembly are pure STI.

Euclidean
January 24, 2007, 12:35 AM
Okay let's play the devil's advocate.

I have a parkerized Springfield Loaded that works just fine. Why should I want a Spartan if I'm already happy with that?

daysleeprx
January 24, 2007, 12:40 AM
Because 1911s are like Lay's...you can't have just one :D

Zundfolge
January 24, 2007, 01:01 AM
I have a parkerized Springfield Loaded that works just fine. Why should I want a Spartan if I'm already happy with that?
You're already taken care of so this ain't about you.

I have no 1911s and am not going to be able to spend a grand on any gun for quite some time ... I buy a gun or two a year and they are usually in the $500-$600 range.

I'll get a Spartan over a Springfield Loaded any day (also a brand new in box Springer Loaded is going to cost about $750 or more).

Monkeybear
January 24, 2007, 01:20 AM
I have a parkerized Springfield Loaded that works just fine. Why should I want a Spartan if I'm already happy with that?

No one said "Sell you Springer and buy a Spartan!"

All that was said was that if you are looking for a 1911, the new Spartan is a solid pistol and a good deal. Apparently you are not looking to buy a 1911 so any recommendation on a good 1911 to buy dose not apply to you.

Correia
January 24, 2007, 10:51 AM
I would wait and see before I'll call it Springfield/Kimber killer.

I sell guns for a living. I've sold plenty of Springfields and Kimbers, and have owned a bunch of each. So I know a little bit about them.

After getting a couple of the first Spartans, I just ordered 20 more. :)

Just my personal opinion, but that's where I'm putting my money.

If you've already got a 1911 that you like, great. I don't see why some folks in the gun community get this weird brand loyalty thing, where if you hapen to like a competitor's gun, it is some sort of personal insult. Most of my first time customers don't have a 1911 at all, and for $600 bucks, this thing is awesome.

I'm not really a big Kimber fan anymore, and I type that as I have one on my hip. The prices have continued to rise, and the number of problem guns that I've seen brought back has continued to go up. Once again, not a personal slam on Kimber on anyone who owns one.

I'm not a Taurus 1911 fan either. Just haven't used one much, and haven't really been gee-whized about them one way or the other.

For the money, and for the features, I think this is a great 1911.

45auto
January 24, 2007, 10:57 AM
It looks like their biggest problem will be supplying the demand, keeping the quality up to standards because of the "volume", and without raising the price! No doubt the prices will "creep" up.

If I'm correct, it looks like it's about $200-$250 retail cheaper than a similiar Kimber or Springfield??

steelhead
January 24, 2007, 11:01 AM
Just because it doesn't come with an ambi, for us southpaws, doesn't mean we can't add one. I only wish I could have done that to their LS9.

Interesting.....

Bart Noir
January 24, 2007, 03:42 PM
From STI's website (thanks to Preacherman): I think we confused the U.S. State Department and Homeland Security (Customs) with our desire to "take ‘em out and bring ‘em back"

From combatantr2: frame is by STI

The frames are the serial numbered this-is-a-gun part. So I am thinking that those who say that the frames are made by Armscor, are in error.

Bart Noir
Who maybe will watch that new movie 300 in a couple of months, and then rush to buy a Spartan.

Euclidean
January 25, 2007, 08:23 PM
I phrased that badly, let me restate the question. I apologize, when I read that again it sounded too antagonistic and I didn't mean it like that.

What is so great about this product that it's going to kill the Springfield and Kimber models? I'm genuinely curious. What I was looking for was someone to say "Look I have both and this is specifically why it is better..."

It looks cool, but I am curious why it stacks up so well against the lower end models of other makers. Is it just a better value relative to its cost, is it just a niche that hasn't been addressed yet, or is it the same thing that's just as good for less money? The only post in the thread that seems to address the question is Preacherman's post in #23.

Lloyd Smale
January 25, 2007, 09:04 PM
heres my take on it. One from an owner of a trojan. They claim all the internals are the same in both guns and are fitted with the same care. If so its the best bargin on the market in a 1911 hands down. My trojan is fit as well as 1500 dollar guns and is the most accurate 9mm 1911 ive ever shot and that includes a les baer and even a 952 smith I had for about a year. I just wish theyd make them in 40 as ive got enough 1911s in 45 and have never had a .40 in a 1911 and would like to play with one. I own and have owned many kimbers and springfields and in the under 1200 dollar price range id take a trojan hands down over any of them.

Euclidean
January 25, 2007, 09:17 PM
Thank you Lloyd Smale, that's what I was wanting to know, stuff like that. There's a lot of posts in the thread that says "This thing is great! STI is great!" etc. and I'm sure it's true, but I'm dumb and don't understand why unless someone points it out to me why it is so.:D

Lloyd Smale
January 26, 2007, 08:05 AM
just the facts. IVe got few predudices because like i said you look in my safe and youll find kimbers springfields colts dectonics and stis and i shoot the crap out of all of them. Theres not a 1911 in the safe that has under 20000 rounds through it with the possible exception of the dectonics and its over 10000. IVe gone through alot of 1911s if they dont run there out the door. Ive had good and bad from all the manufactures and have some clue as to what makes a good one. My sti is one of them and so is every other sti ive seen.

jazor
January 26, 2007, 09:03 AM
go over to the M1911 form and they have a review of one they got in.

Sounds pretty good.

http://ezine.m1911.org/STISpartan_frame.htm

HKCowboy
February 22, 2007, 11:33 PM
I sell guns for a living. I've sold plenty of Springfields and Kimbers, and have owned a bunch of each. So I know a little bit about them.

After getting a couple of the first Spartans, I just ordered 20 more.

Just my personal opinion, but that's where I'm putting my money.

If you've already got a 1911 that you like, great. I don't see why some folks in the gun community get this weird brand loyalty thing, where if you hapen to like a competitor's gun, it is some sort of personal insult. Most of my first time customers don't have a 1911 at all, and for $600 bucks, this thing is awesome.

I'm not really a big Kimber fan anymore, and I type that as I have one on my hip. The prices have continued to rise, and the number of problem guns that I've seen brought back has continued to go up. Once again, not a personal slam on Kimber on anyone who owns one.

I'm not a Taurus 1911 fan either. Just haven't used one much, and haven't really been gee-whized about them one way or the other.

For the money, and for the features, I think this is a great 1911. I still remember when the Valtro first came out, it was also dubbed as "Kimber and Springfield" killer. Bottom line, Kimbers and Springfields are still alive and well even after the Valtros "invaded" the U.S. If I'm not mistaken Valtros are made in Italy, and, IMHO, are heck a lot better than Spartans which are made in a country where the locals would rather patronize pistols made by CHICOM than the ones made locally in their own backyard.

I see where you're coming from though. You sell guns for a living and will build up whichever give you the most return. I guess your profit margin is higher selling Spartans than Kimbers and Springfields.

Correia
February 23, 2007, 11:12 AM
Nope, at the group buy price, I actually make more off of a Springfield or a Kimber. Sorry.

Honestly? I think Kimber is drastically overrated, and overpriced for what you get. I think that they bring out a new model about once a month, where they change the checkering or stick a new grip on it, call it something fancy, and raise the price another 15%. It still has the same parts, and shoots about the same.

And I'm saying that, as I wear an original Kimber right now.

I think Springfield is okay, but nothing to get geewhized about either way.

So heres a gun that I'm selling for $575 bucks, that all indications thus far show that it shoots as well or better than a loaded Springfield or the $700 range Kimbers. You do the math with me.

Plus I can sell Sprinfields and Kimbers easier, because of the name recognition. Even then, I'm stocking up on these instead.

I was a big fan of the Valtro. If you've played with one, then you know what I'm talking about. However, you don't see anybody with Valtros, ever. No name recognition, and not a real deep supply chain.

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