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Playing the Long Game with STI’s Staccato C

STI’s Staccato C Stretches the Limits of the Subcompact 1911

Photos by Niccole Elizabeth

We’re going to warn the purists. This 1911 breaks almost every rule of 1911s. It’s a polymer frame. It’s chambered in 9mm. It doesn’t conform to the “standard” size profiles established by Colt’s 1911 lineup. It doesn’t use a traditional recoil spring system. And it’s not confined by any preconceived notions of what a gun this size should be able to do.

The name STI is one well-known to competition shooters. They came on the scene decades ago with an idea to take the things shooters loved about the 1911 platform, its grip angle and short, crisp trigger, and add the most-desired features — namely an increased capacity and caliber options. This idea birthed its flagship product, the 2011 frame: a double-stack polymer frame built in the form of Saint Moses Browning’s most iconic contribution to human history.

This elevator-pitch of product history is largely irrelevant to dedicated concealed carriers, as the 2011 frame presents significant challenges to concealability and low-profile employment. But STI recently executed a significant corporate pivot in moving from purpose-built gaming guns to hard-use weapons built to be used in more trying times by citizens and professionals alike. Its new Staccato line, comprised of “P” (Professional) and “C” (Compact) models, signifies a new energy STI is sinking into pistols meant for life-or-death use. Look for more info on the full-size P model in RECOIL. In the meantime, we’ve been running the smaller Staccato C. The results of our evaluation? This thing’s impressive.

What is It?

The Staccato C is STI’s only production single stack, as well as its least expensive pistol: coming in at $1,499 with two 8-round mags. Both said magazines have hard plastic base pads already attached. This small inclusion comes as a huge relief. Anybody who has swapped 1911 mags under stress without some sort of base pad is likely walking around with a stigmata-like scar on their support-side palm from having it repeatedly gouged out on full-speed reloads.

The Staccato C sports an aluminum frame that includes a Picatinny rail for weapon lights. The grip profile is what they call their carry grip. It features a wraparound tread pattern that uses small versions of STI’s star logo to impart a texture that’s both less aggressive and more refined than their standard 2011 texture pattern. It provides a plenty-firm grip without abrading the skin. There are deep, smoothly molded grooves for both the trigger and middle fingers, and the trigger guard comes double undercut from the factory. These features, combined with a swooping beavertail grip safety, drop the Staccato C deep into your hand when gripped properly.

The steel slide is finished in black DLC and houses a 3.9-inch stainless steel bushing-less bull barrel. This is a particularly interesting barrel length. Conventional wisdom puts an Officer-size 1911 at 3.5 inches, and a commander at 4.25 inches. The other significant difference between the two profiles is the frame. True Commander-size 1911s use a full-size Government frame with a trimmed-down upper half. The Officer model takes advantage of a shortened grip frame to minimize overall footprint. Over the years, this led some gunsmiths (and eventually some manufacturers) to produce a hybrid colloquially known as the CCO, or “Concealed Carry Officer.” The CCO essentially took the longer, Commander-size upper and mated it to the more discreet Officer-size frame.


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