I’ve been on a quest for a “most accurate 9mm.” Something I can take to the range and shoot as well as my revolvers. In perusing the currently available options, I considered many platforms including the Sig P210, EAA Witness Match, some form of custom shop CZ, and the 1911. Based on a fair amount of research, reviewing input from others, and the fact that I didn’t want to mortgage a family pet or vehicle for this purchase, I chose the STI Spartan 9mm.
The STI Spartan is, as you can tell, a 1911 with many “enhanced” features. Beavertail grip safety, trigger adjustable for overtravel, large safety lever, forward and rear cocking serrations, lowered and flared ejection port, and fully adjustable LPA rear sight and fiber optic front are all standard. STI is not well known in relation to other major manufacturers and their distribution channels can be described as more “custom shop” than others. However, STI is known as an American company that produces well made firearms and stands behind them with old-fashioned customer service. Bottom line: if you have a problem with one of their products, you can talk to a real person and they’ll fix your gun. The Spartan is unique in that it is not made in the US like other STI products. It is made and assembled in the Philippines by people trained by STI to use a combination of Armscor and STI parts. Armscor makes the slide and frame and some other parts, and STI supplies parts such as the trigger, sear, hammer, and some other small parts of the fire mechanism. Spartans are then shipped to the US where they undergo final inspection before sale. They are, as well, warranted and treated the same by STI as all other products.
The Spartan and I went to the range today for the first time. The session was short, only 30 minutes in length. In that time I managed to squeeze out 85 rounds at distances of 10 yards, 50 ft, and 25 yards. Ammunition was 115 gr. Sellier & Bellot FMJ and 115 gr. Winchester SXZ flat point “training” ammunition (Bass Pro exclusive ammo). The Spartan digested all without a hitch through its supplied nine-round Metalform magazine. I’ve head reports of some 9mm Spartans having problems feeding flat points, but mine worked fine. The Spartan has a non-ramped barrel whereas many 1911s in 9mm have ramped barrels.
Trigger pull measures 4 lbs, 10 oz. Not the lightest in the world but it’s a clean break without overtravel. My Kimber, an older Classic Custom Target, breaks at just below 3 lbs. In hand, the gun feels like any quality 1911: wonderful. The slide to frame movement is smooth. Safety switches on and off with a nice, positive “click.” All controls are crisp; nothing feels mushy.
At the range, it was easy to get the sights dialed in as they are quality adjustable LPA units. The fiber optic front is nice as well; it serves as a strong reference point out front.
Let me cut to the chase: this is one accurate pistol. Maybe my most accurate 9mm, and that’s saying a lot (I have a number of other quality “9’s” including the Walter PPQ, Beretta 92fs, Beretta PX4 Storm, Sig P226, Browning Hi Power, CZ-75b, Walther P1, and Sig SP2022). Here’s some examples:
10 yards, 5 shots, unsupported Weaver stance. Yes, it’s a 1/2″ group:
Here’s a full magazine of 9 shots from 10 yards, unsupported Weaver stance. Not my best shooting but still nothing I’m ashamed of:
I shot two 5 shot groups at 25 yards, unsupported Weaver stance. Here’s one of the two: this measures 5″, with 4 out of 5 in a 2 1/2″ area:
Keep in mind, I’m not the greatest shot in the world, but this pistol is amazing. The trigger could be a little lighter and if I can get it down to around 3.5 lbs. I think I’ll see outstanding results.
I couldn’t be more pleased with the Spartan. Yes, I’ve only fired 85 rounds which is nothing close to a reliability test. But many of those were flat points and I’m glad to see the Spartan digested all. And, the gun initially seems very accurate. All in a package that came in less than $600? I call that a winner! Between this and my new PPQ, I have a great combination of rugged service auto meets classic target pistol.
Some more random photos of the Spartan. I love the commander style hammer and the logo grips the newer Spartans are shipping with. The Spartan is available in .45 ACP as well.