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STI Ranger II - review

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by G27RR, Feb 16, 2011.

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  1. G27RR

    G27RR Member

    Oct 27, 2009
    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

    Ranger II 9x19mm
  2. G27RR

    G27RR Member

    Oct 27, 2009


    Tucker Texas Heritage

    Tucker "Cover Up"
  3. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

    Mar 10, 2010
    Nice write up. Thanks.
  4. Jed Carter

    Jed Carter Member

    Oct 19, 2008
    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.
  5. G27RR

    G27RR Member

    Oct 27, 2009
    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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