Range Report: STI Trojan Long Slide 9mm...


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Stephen A. Camp
January 10, 2003, 06:54 PM
Hello. I bought this 1911-style pistol a while back and have shot it enough now to make some hopefully competent statements and observations. I'll tell you up front that I really like this pistol. I'll also mention that I really hate the forward serrations.

The Pistol: The STI Trojan Long Slide 9mm is 9.5" long, weights 38 oz. empty, and comes from the factory with thin grips/short bushings, a low-mounted Bomar-like adjustable rear sight and a thin post front sight which is 0.11" wide at the rear and dovetailed in place. The barrel is button-rifled and made of 416 Rifle Grade Stainless Steel with a 1:16" twist and has been air-gauged to insure critical tolerances and then vacuum heat-treated and tempered to 40RC. The bushing is also of stainless steel and is solid. The gun comes with an extended single-sided thumb safety, a humped beavertail grip safety, and an A-6 Tool Steel hammer that's wire EDM cut and goes 52-54RC.

This 9mm has a fully-supported ramped bbl as well as "STIppling" on the gun's front gripstrap. The mainspring housing is a plastic checkered thing.
As is common now, it has rear and forward slide serrations and has a 10lb conventional recoil spring on a two-piece FLGR. The trigger is the lightweight STI polymer long trigger.

It is interesting to note that the spring cap, open to allow passage of the FLGR, consists of 2 "Commander" length caps such that replacement springs can be those for standard 5" 1911s.

The gun's available only in blue steel, unless you go the custom shop route, and has an evenly applied matte blue to the forged slide and cast frame. The bbl/bushing are finely bead blasted for an almost "soft" appearance.

Changes Made to this Pistol: These were done simply because I preferred them.

1. Regular length grip screw bushings and regular thickness grips

2. Replaced the plastic M/S housing w/checkered one of SS.

3. Stainless steel grip screws

4. Added a polymer shock buffer

Here's the STI 9mm Long Slide ready to be fired and in the "changed" configuration mentioned above. Recoil is truly nothing!
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid46/p07ab4c23dd26788a2176eeb10c0a8992/fccc5712.jpg

The post front sight from above showing its shape. The sight is not serrated. It is dovetailed and pinned via rollpin.
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid46/p7593f3853afda3d56323a44226232af1/fccc567f.jpg

...and from the side. You can also see the FLGR, heavy stainless bbl, and solid bushing.
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid46/p0a0fc15d97c7ba3ccffdf4604bf414f2/fccc5681.jpg

The STI lightweight trigger, short magazine release button, STIppling, and extended thumbsafety are shown in this picture as is the relief cut under the trigger guard.
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid46/p1f91f92d13dc5fbb57d2ecf7900bbba1/fccc5683.jpg

The low-mounted adjustable rear sight as well as the hammer described above are clearly visible here.
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid46/p8bc6c0c23284a0e053d080e2734a1f0b/fccc570f.jpg

I did not have a trigger-scale, but estimate the clean, crisp trigger at just shy of 4lbs. STI rates them at 5lbs, but this one is lighter w/zero creep.

Slide-to-frame fit is very good with very, very little lateral/vertical movement and NO perceptible movement at all in the bbl-to-slide fit.

Ammunition Used:

Factory:

Winchester USA 115 gr FMJ
Magtech 115 gr FMJ
Federal 115 gr JHP (std pressure "9BP")

Handloads:

Hornady 124 gr XTP
New IMI cases
6.0 gr Unique
Federal SP Primer
LOA: 1.11"

Speer 124 gr Gold Dot Hollow Point
Same as above
LOA: 1.12"

I've not chronographed from this pistol, but from a 6" Browning Competition, velocity for both loads exceeds 1300 ft/sec.

Shooting: Since most buying this pistol are interested in accuracy, ALL shooting today was done from seated position w/2-hand hold and wrists supported on sandbags.

15 Yards: Slowfire and five-shot groups....

http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid46/pa72824ff2beecbc8d881140a939528d5/fccc57f7.jpg

25 Yards: Same method of firing, but the group consists of ten shots.

http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid46/p42b6dc70782c4edfbcd097457f7b9bea/fccc57f5.jpg

50 Yards: Also fired from a seated, supported position. The group consists of one magazine-full + 5 more or 14 shots.

http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid46/p4e7820dae6aced2c9490037a5ffc85a3/fccc57f4.jpg

There were no rapid-fire or defensive-type shooting groups done with this pistol as few would consider it an appropriate arm for such. More on that later.

Continued....

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Stephen A. Camp
January 10, 2003, 06:55 PM
Conclusion:

Observations:

There were NO failures to feed or extract at all; I was not surprised as such has been the case since I bought the pistol and fired with a myriad of ammo types. "Qualified" malfunctions consisted of a few failures to lock the slide back on the last shot with standard pressure ammunition. It almost makes it and going to an 8 or 9lb recoil spring would do the trick, but I prefer to leave this one at 10lbs as I primarily shoot warmer loads. The standard pressure hulls dropped nearly at my feet, approx. 2' to the right, with the handloaded rounds' hulls going about 6' farther to the right.

Firing pin hits were well-centered and plenty heavy.

Some opine that the one-piece ramp hurts reliability in the 1911 and perhaps this is true, but in this gun, such has emphatically NOT been the case. Approaching 2K rounds fired with zero failures to feed or extract! The case is well-supported and lends itself to use with hot 9mm should one so desire. I "so desire" so this is a plus in my case.

http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid46/p24db1a58299549067f62e6f811a1999c/fccc57f2.jpg

This pistol has very, very light recoil with even the hottest 9mm loads, no doubt due to the extra slide mass out front. The bbl is heavy as well as can be seen from this photo from the muzzle showing the flat crown.

http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid46/pdbb24cc02a34d9d42a3ab06c4a4d3daf/fccc5711.jpg

Note that the edges of the bushing are nicely radiused.

Some will see little use for this pistol in 9x19mm; I like it lots as 9mm is my favorite all-round auto caliber and factory ammo can be had pretty cheaply and one can definitely run the "hot" stuff through this pistol w/o the concerns that might be present in other guns. If 9mm's not for you, the pistol is available in .38 Super, .40 S&W, as well as in .45 ACP in standard trim and can be had in other calibers (9x23?) by special order to the factory. The .45 ACP version does NOT use the ramped bbl, but the standard frame/bbl system common to the majority of 1911s.

Not at the top of my list for concealed carry at all, the pistol could be used most-effectively in a home defense situation should the need arise. With +P ammo recoiling about like a wadcutter .38 from an N-frame revolver, this pistol would allow for extremely accurate, quick hits. Just for grins, I tried it in a Fobus paddle holster and it worked fine. The post front sight did NOT hang up at all and the MecGar magazine supplied with the pistol worked fine in the Fobus paddle magazine carrier.

http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid46/p1e18a8a91f2224c89ef9d7f84cd5971b/fccc5717.jpg

Lest we forget, here are the "scientific" mud expansion "tests." Again, they prove little if anything, but some seem to like them.

Left to Right: Federal 115 gr JHP, Speer 124 gr GDHP handload, and Hornady 124 gr XTP handload...
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid46/pd263b2e072ab9281abe10a4fb7c84fd6/fccc5718.jpg

Note that the older designed Federal JHP started to come apart while the Gold Dot and XTP did not. All had jacket petals folded back behind what's visible in the mushrooms indicating a larger diameter at some point in their penetration of the mud.

While I don't recommend 9mm for hunting animals larger than coyotes and such, it can be done IF one takes only "perfect" shots when he or she "knows" the shot can be made.

This Texas whitetail doe was cleanly taken and decked w/1-shot @ 40 yards using the Trojan and the XTP handload mentioned above. Penetration was complete on the broadside shoulder shot. The blood around the head is from a coup de grace as the animal was still breathing when I got to it a moment later.
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid40/p17aecd1a45494d121f63990d81c21170/fd0422ec.jpg

She weighed 130lbs and is a decent doe for this part of the state. Yes, the meat was put in the freezer and the tenderloins and backstrap already eatten up.

Not shown as some might find it gruesome, the exit wound pictured above doesn't come closed to showing the damage on the inside of that same shoulder as the bullet's entering from the body. I've shot lots of animals from fox to javelina and so forth with this load, but I've never seen a wound as large as the one on the inside of that shoulder. Perhaps a fluke? I cannot say.

I highly recommend this pistol for anyone wanting to shoot accurately at a distance with a reliable 1911 pistol. STI lists MSRP @ $1232.50, but they can be had for less. I paid around a thousand for this one and don't regret it one penny's worth. This pistol gives my favored Browning HPs a real run for the money in terms of being THE favorite 9mm pistol I own. I much prefer it to my SIG P210 and strongly suspect it'll group right along with it. I cannot shoot well enough to prove a difference.

It's a keeper.

Best.

Al Thompson
January 10, 2003, 07:35 PM
Yet another class act !

45auto
January 10, 2003, 07:54 PM
Great review,
Nice to read about a reliable and accurate 9mm in the 1911 format. I might have to buy one of those some day.
Did you pick the 6" bbl for a reason or just because...?
Thanks

Dave R
January 10, 2003, 08:10 PM
Well done! A joy to read and drool over.

Stephen A. Camp
January 10, 2003, 08:27 PM
Hello and thank you all for the kind words.

45 Auto: I bought the thing initially with the intention of having it converted to 9x23mm as the extra bbl length would give a bit more velocity, but after shooting it in 9x19mm, it's just performing too good to mess with!

I also find that the extra inch of sight radius makes a bigger than expected difference for me.

Best.

dairycreek
January 10, 2003, 08:57 PM
As usual a superlative job. Good shooting:)

Stephen A. Camp
January 10, 2003, 09:09 PM
Hello, sir, and thanks.

Best.

BigG
January 10, 2003, 09:23 PM
Superlative job, as usual Mr. Camp. Have you sent any of your articles to the zines? They could use some quality reviews such as you have produced. Thanks!

Stephen A. Camp
January 10, 2003, 10:12 PM
Hello, Big G. No, I've not done that.

Best.

denfoote
January 11, 2003, 01:02 AM
Stephen,
How would you say this pistol compares to your beloved BHPs???
More accurate, less??? More durable???

Litlman
January 11, 2003, 01:21 AM
Stephen, great report. Thanks.

Stephen A. Camp
January 11, 2003, 01:38 AM
Hello, Litlman, and thank you.

denfoote: In a torture test to see which would go the largest number of rounds, I believe that the STI would outlast the BHP simply because there's more steel in the larger 1911 than the Hi Power. That said, I've not yet worn out any HP including my two oldest ones I bought new in '71. I do recommend the use of Wolff's slightly stronger 18.5lb recoil spring in the 9mm HPs and I personally use the buffer sold by www.buffertech.com as I think it prevents battering and has had zero effect on reliability of any HP I've used it in.

I believe that the STI Trojan is more intrinsically accurate than is the HP. This is no real surprise as the STI's a considerably more expensive pistol, but I believe it will shoot tighter groups than will my BHPs and will rival the SIG P210, which is high praise indeed.

That does NOT mean that the HP is inaccurate. Sold as a service type pistol, it is not expected to group quite so well as the match-type Trojan. The target version of the Hi Power, the Competition Model, does pretty darned well. This 15 yard group was fired off-hand with one.

http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid28/p638066e2d01828904a03250317ca5318/fd6c83e6.jpg

...and this one from twenty-five yards with the same pistol...

http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid30/pe136695719d068df4dab67d580bd4631/fd5610b5.jpg

This 25 yard group was fired from a rest (if I remember correctly; I don't shoot the same every day.) using my first and oldest HP. The gun's been customized a bit and fitted with a Barsto bbl.

http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid22/pe4ac56dfb2b0fa07d033d9d950c1b1e2/fda6d3e4.jpg

But, what of standard bbls in current HPs?

These groups were fired at 15 yards, but off-hand. They MIGHT have been a bit tighter from a rest, but I was just "on" that day.
The gun was a MkIII with the factory bbl.

http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid34/pec23f7eab4776d225854cdae6f19f84c/fd341fec.jpg

This 50 yard group was fired with a MkIII 9mm. It IS a larger group than fired with the STI, but there's also a bit shorter sight radius and a little bit heavier trigger pull to factor in. Still, the STI did group a bit tighter.

http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid27/pcf9b1a91897e89ce1067b344335ce689/fd78857a.jpg

The same MkIII fired at 25 yards....

http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid27/p44d32ba3a616eafed5444f75346bb92b/fd78857e.jpg

This group was fired from a rest at 25 yards showing overlapping groups, a "composite," of 3 different loads with the same MkIII using a factory bbl. Plenty accurate for most shooting except formal competition...

http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid34/p37c1565883f6b5fe277ecafc1ccabfa0/fd3420f5.jpg

So, while the HPs are capable of very good accuracy in my opinion, and are very fine pistols, the STI 1911 Trojan is likely both stronger and more intrinsically accurate. At least that's the way I see it.

Best.

New_comer
January 11, 2003, 05:59 AM
Excellent reviews, Stephen! Thanks for sharing...

Now that there are two guns reviewed in this thread, I think it's about time the title be changed to also add the BHP report.

I do hope you find the opportunity to test an HK USP, my favorite. :D

Stephen A. Camp
January 11, 2003, 09:13 PM
Hello, sir, and thank you. I did a MkIII report on another site, but don't remember if I posted it here or not. I'll be doing a more "practical" one in the future.

Unfortunately, I don't own any HKs right now except for an old P7.

In the past, I did do some work with a USP in both 9mm and .45 ACP. The gun's worked fine and grouped well, but just were not for me. Not saying anything to "dis" the pistol as I think they're tough as nails and do what they're supposed to do, but they just don't trip my trigger, so to speak.

Best.

Kahr carrier
January 12, 2003, 12:05 PM
Those are both GREAT range reports. Good reading. Hope to see more of them. I might have to cancel my magazine subscriptions.:D

hansolo
January 12, 2003, 03:11 PM
Mr. Camp,

I don't think I've read better reviews in the Gun Mags! Great photos and pertinent, easy to follow objective reports w/o rambling.

Please, keep 'em coming!

Another Stephen.........Pirosh!

Stephen A. Camp
January 12, 2003, 11:14 PM
Hello and thanks. There will be more along the way.

Best.

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