STI Ranger II - review


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G27RR
February 16, 2011, 11:21 PM
A Texas Ranger

The STI Ranger II is a single stack 1911 with a commander* length slide and a government sized frame. It is available in .45ACP as you'd expect, and also in .40 S&W and 9x19mm. I have one in .45ACP and another in 9x19mm, which I purchased for cheaper practice and to have one 1911 in 9mm.

The Ranger II frame is steel and made in house by STI in Georgetown, TX, along with the rest of the pistol. According to STI, the only parts they don't make in house are pins and springs. I guess that makes this pistol a "Texas Ranger."

The front strap has STI's "STIppling" treatment, which I really like. It resembles chain link and gives a solid grip without being overly rough. The frame has a high cut trigger guard to facilitate taking a higher grip on the pistol, which can help with recoil control and accuracy. The mainspring housing is a flat style checkered polymer. The grip safety is of the beavertail variety with knuckle relief, and the thumb safety is a single-sided extended lever.

The steel slide has a flat top cut, rear cocking serrations that are a bit wide visually but provide good grip, and a chamfered forend for easier holstering if you carry it (if I didn't like my Shadow so much, I would install night sights and carry this pistol every day).

The bull barrel is fully supported and ramped, which some feel can make for more reliable feeding. I've yet to have a feeding problem in either of my Ranger IIs. Since it uses a bull barrel, there is no barrel bushing. The slide has an oversized ejection port to further aid in reliable cycling.

Rather than a traditional guide rod and spring, STI uses their RecoilMaster system in this pistol. STI's website says the RecoilMaster can have 10x the life of a "normal" setup. In my experience this is likely to be true. I haven't reached 10K rounds yet, but my Shadow has over 2K on the original RecoilMaster and 3" 1911s are known to wear out springs faster than full sized models. The RecoilMaster is made up of a couple of springs captured on a guide rod. It does require a plastic collar tool for takedown (two were included with each of my STI pistols).

The Ranger II hammer is STI's take on the commander style. The standard sights are STI's front and low mount rear sights. These sights have small horizontal grooves cut into them to reduce glare or reflections that could otherwise make it difficult to get a good sight picture. Night sights are available as an option.

STI pistols generally come with nicely checkered cocobolo grips with an STI logo on them. While these are very nice factory grips, I swapped mine out for Larry Davidson's Horned Lizard grips. These are made of G10 and have even more bite to them. I happen to like the look, too.

The Ranger II is a very good shooter, and both of mine have fed both FMJ and JHP ammo from a variety of manufacturers without problems. I did not need a "break-in period" with any of my STI pistols, and as far as I know STI doesn't claim you should need one (unlike some manufacturers).

The Ranger II is at home on the range, and it's equally adept as a concealed carry pistol. Although it is steel and weighs 33 ounces, a good belt and holster such as Tucker Gunleather's "Texas Heritage" make it pretty easy to carry comfortably. The extra weight vs. a polymer or aluminum frame will dampen felt recoil and allow for faster follow up shots. Sometimes a full sized pistol will be long enough to poke the chair depending upon the person wearing it. The shorter slide on the Ranger II helps avoid any discomfort while seated.

If you're looking for a reliable, well fit, made in the United States, commander-sized 1911, you may want to get a Texas Ranger of your own.

*technically, the slide is 4.15" vs the traditional 4.25" Colt Commander and it has a bull barrel.


STI Ranger II

Caliber: .45ACP (.40S&W, 9x19mm optional)

Frame: full size steel frame
STIppled front strap
high rise trigger guard
oversized ejection port

Slide: steel commander length 4.15"
flat top
rear cocking serrations
chamfered forend

Barrel: 4.15" fully supported and ramped bull barrel

Mainspring Housing: flat checkered polymer

External Safety: single sided STI extended thumb safety

Grip Safety: knuckle relief beavertail

Sights: STI front and low mount rear

Guide rod: STI RecoilMaster system

Hammer: commander style

Other: STI long curved trigger with stainless bow
Thin cocobolo checkered grips

Finish: blued matte

Length: 7.75"

Weight: 33.0oz

Website: http://www.stiguns.com

MSRP: $1100

Options: Hard chrome $300
Tritium night sights $65
Single stack magwell with steel MSH $74

(prices above were current as of late 2010)

Ranger II .45ACP
http://s1143.photobucket.com/albums/n634/G27RR/STI%20Ranger%20II/STIRangerII45ACP.jpg

Ranger II 9x19mm
http://s1143.photobucket.com/albums/n634/G27RR/STI%20Ranger%20II/STIRangerII14.jpg

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G27RR
February 16, 2011, 11:40 PM
http://i1143.photobucket.com/albums/n634/G27RR/STI%20Ranger%20II/STIRangerII4.jpg

http://i1143.photobucket.com/albums/n634/G27RR/STI%20Ranger%20II/STIRangerII3.jpg

Tucker Texas Heritage
http://i1143.photobucket.com/albums/n634/G27RR/Holsters/TuckerTexasHeritagewRangerII2.jpg

Tucker "Cover Up"
http://i1143.photobucket.com/albums/n634/G27RR/Holsters/TuckerCoverUpwSTIRangerII.jpg

Greg528iT
February 17, 2011, 12:41 AM
Nice write up. Thanks.

Jed Carter
February 17, 2011, 06:15 AM
Nice right up, if it shoots half as good as it looks. STI, best trigger right out of the box I have seen so far.

G27RR
February 17, 2011, 02:36 PM
Nice right up, if it shoots half as good as it looks. STI, best trigger right out of the box I have seen so far.
It's not much to look at, but functionally it is a very nice trigger straight from the box. I do like the rest of its looks, though.

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