Steyr M9A1 review


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Gun Wielding Maniac
March 15, 2007, 04:24 PM
A couple of weeks ago I stopped by my local shooting range to sight in an M39 with a new batch of ammo. While I was there, I noticed one of the new Steyr M9A1 pistols, built to the new NATO spec, in the case. I pulled the pistol out and looked it over, admired the obvious signs of craftmanship: the fine trigger pull (crisper and lighter then a Glock or XD), short trigger reset, the many proof marks on the slide designating this pistol as being rated for +P ammo, the weird trapezoidal sights, and lastly, the unconventional grip angle. However, I ended up putting the gun back away when I noticed the price tag... Over 470 dollars, before taxes. I'd have to sell a lot gun parts and stuff to afford that! Reluctantly, I went back outside and finished sighting in the Mosin.

A week later, I was perusing the new CDNN catalogue (available for download at their website, www.cdnninvestments.com), when I noticed the same very pistol that I'd seen in the rack for under 350 dollars! With case, trigger lock, and 2 spare 15 round mags! Seeing a deal, I quickly sold off an old Yugo AK kit and receiver to finance the deal and called CDNN. Only four days later, the gun had arrived at my FFL and I arrived merrily to pick it up.

If anything, it was in better shape then the pistol I'd seen at the shop... brand new in the case, still covered in light cosmoline (apparently, they feed the cosmoline cows more heavily in Yugoslavia then in Austria). Of course, I was playing with the pistol the rest of the day, getting a feel for the trigger, sights, and magazine release. Overall, the gun is very similiar to the XD or the Glock in terms of the barrel to slide lock up, as well as the striker mechanism. A slight differance is that the magazine release is NOT ambidextrous, as with the XD. Both the front and rear sights are dovetailed, in case you need to adjust for gross windage and or replace the sights. Both the sights are steel, unlike the Glock, and are profiled to prevent snagging on clothing, unlike the XD. The safety mechanism is the same as the glock, however, it lacks the backstrap safety of the XD. The mainspring rod is made of plastic, as with most guns of this type, but steel ones are available if that is your preference.
http://www.gunsnet.net/album/data//500/medium/000_0522.jpg

http://www.gunsnet.net/album/data//500/medium/000_0527.jpg
Notice the "Big Taco" triangular front sight.
http://www.gunsnet.net/album/data//500/medium/000_0524.jpg
http://www.gunsnet.net/album/data//500/medium/000_0526.jpg

Today, I finally got a chance to take her out. First, a little background... I was shooting at 15 yards, with a 4 inch bullseye target, using ADCOM 124 grain ammo as well as Winchester White Box 115 grain value pack ammo. I fired all groups from standing offhand, in the two handed grip you see below.
http://www.gunsnet.net/album/data//500/medium/000b0550.jpg

I started to shooting at a few golf balls at the 25 yard line to get warmed up. I managed to send several of the balls flying after a couple of shots. Then I started into the bullseye. My first few shots were slightly off to the left. I attribute this to my grip shifting between my first shot and my last. Most hits were in the 8 ring. I lined up on the last shot and pressed the trigger.... to my dismay hearing a "CLICK" rather then a bang. I did a tap-rap-bang and immediately discovered that the chamber was empty.

Apparently, my thumb had slid on top of the slide stop and prevented the slide from locking back on the last shot. This is a predictable problem for people who are used to guns with slide stops that are difficult to activate or which are further forward, like with my CZ-75. Thinking I'd solved the problem, I shifted my thumb over on top of the shelf of my left hand thumb.

I fired another five shot group, this time much closer in on the bullseye. I discovered that the gun is very sensitive to a lack of pressure from the sides and to tightness in the elbows. You need to grip tightly from side to side or you'll throw your shots out one side or the other.

To my consternation, the slide still failed to lock back on the last shot! Now I was concered... perhaps it was a problem with the pistol? I fired 3 rounds out of the magazine one handed and discovered that it did indeed lock open on the last shot, as designed, as long as my right thumb was nowhere near the slide stop.

Frustrated, I put the gun down in order to shoot the mauser for a little while. While I was shooting the Mauser, I thought back on the previous groups. I wondered if it might have been possible that at the last instant, I was changing my grip without knowing it and allowing my thumb to squeeze inward on the frame, as I'm accustomed too on other pistols. I went back to the Steyr and tried again, this time with this grip:
http://www.gunsnet.net/album/data//500/medium/000_0530.jpg

Keeping my thumb straight up and away from the slide stop entirely. I fired several magazines in this fashion and had no more slide lock failures! Excellent.

The only other problem I had with the Steyr was when I handed the gun to a friend to shoot a few rounds through. This friend of mine is a big revolver shooter and has a rather unconvential grip for shooting autos... On the first shot, he had a double feed. I looked the gun over and couldnt find anything obviously wrong... I fired a few shots and had no problems. After I changed his grip, he had no more problems with double-feeds. Oh, and empty brass was shooting straight up and hitting me in the melon. This happened less as I was shooting though... I can surmise it will eventually go away.

As a whole, I can say that I really like the Steyr. It has a few quirks that take some getting used too... But the innovations make up for it. The big front sight seems to go to my target like a laser beam and fast follow up shots did in fact seem easier then with my CZ-75; I can only surmise this was due to the differant grip angle and the fact that the axis of the bore was slightly lower, closer to the center of mass of my hands-elbows-trigger finger. Mean group size at 15 yards was about 3 inches... I dont have pictures because unfortunately my target melted in the rain that decided to hammer down at the end of my practice. In any case, it shoots as well as a CZ-75 or a BHP for accuracy from standing.

The only thing I could wish were changed would be the placement of the slide stop... or at least to make the spring a little stiffer! That and perhaps night sights that maintain the triangle profile. It's a deal! Buy em up before CDNN runs out.

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10-Ring
March 15, 2007, 09:47 PM
Congrats! I had been playing w/ one at the range not too long ago & was quite impressed w/ the accuracy & the trigger. IMO, the only week point are those sights :rolleyes: Anyway....congrats ;)

phantomak47
March 15, 2007, 11:13 PM
Great gun, hopefully they will be made again after the whole lot was sold to Cdnn investments. Parts might be iffy in the future.

whitebb
March 16, 2007, 09:41 AM
Having shot these in the past I agree they are great pistols. Question: If you have a problem, who will warranty it? Not that they have problems, but it can occur. I figure you might know since the pistol came with papers.

Gun Wielding Maniac
March 16, 2007, 10:58 AM
Steyr warranties the gun.

whitebb
March 16, 2007, 02:56 PM
Excuse my ignorance, but didn't Steyr close up? Thats why I ask who warranties them in th US.

Gun Wielding Maniac
March 16, 2007, 05:34 PM
No, Steyr didn't close up.

hrgrisso
March 16, 2007, 05:49 PM
Gun Weilding I was hoping you'd say you hated this gun and that it was the most worthless piece of garbage that you'd ever spent money on...

I just passed on the opportunity to go in on a group buy two weeks ago from CDNN and my buddies got theirs for about 330 a piece!

I passed due to constant ogling of the SigP229 Elite but DANGIT!

BTW: I do really like the trapezoid sights...

Shipwreck
March 16, 2007, 10:36 PM
Hey, thanks for that interesting review!

Gun Wielding Maniac
March 16, 2007, 10:58 PM
Gun Weilding I was hoping you'd say you hated this gun and that it was the most worthless piece of garbage that you'd ever spent money on...

I just passed on the opportunity to go in on a group buy two weeks ago from CDNN and my buddies got theirs for about 330 a piece!

I'm here to help ;) Admit it though... you like to have nice toys to save up for.:evil:

Shadan7
March 16, 2007, 11:33 PM
I've got one of the older series S9 models - same as the M9, but a half inch shorter in the barrel and grip, making for a slightly better concealed-carry piece. The A1 series made some improvements over my model - and I have to say that the Steyr is one of the most underappreciated pistols on the market in the US today. I find the grip angle, lower bore axis than just about anything else out there, and the trapazoidal sights to make for a fine, intuitive shooting package. I love mine, and wish I had the extra cash to get one of these M9A1s.

7

Nikon777
March 24, 2008, 05:02 PM
Nice review, thanks. Any more pics?

Isn't Steyr made up of ex Glock employees?

nalioth
March 24, 2008, 05:50 PM
Isn't Steyr made up of ex Glock employees? The head designer of the M and M-A1 pistols was a protégé of Gaston Glock for decades.


To the OP: http://www.steyrclub.com has lots of really good info on these pistols.

Zundfolge
March 24, 2008, 05:57 PM
Excuse my ignorance, but didn't Steyr close up? Thats why I ask who warranties them in th US.
www.steyrarms.com

They're in Cummings GA ... good bunch of folk to deal with.

SsevenN
March 24, 2008, 06:09 PM
The M9-A1 is my absolute favorite handgun to shoot. Anyone who hasn't given it a chance should. Specially glock fans....

Nikon777
March 24, 2008, 06:18 PM
Does it have a traditional grip angle, or is more Glock-like? Forgive me if this was already answered.

Conqueror
March 24, 2008, 10:29 PM
It is more glock-like. It's not like a 1911. I had an M40A1 and I regret selling it.

Storm
March 25, 2008, 06:34 PM
They're in Cummings GA ... good bunch of folk to deal with.

That's for sure. SAI is a top notch group and stands behind their guns with outstanding customer service. Steyr is under new ownership and has made assurances that they will be strengthening their presence in the US market.

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