Last year, I reviewed the new STR-9, a 9MM semi-automatic pistol from Stoeger Industries of Istanbul, Turkey, for this very digital platform. Best known for its workhorse shotguns, Stoeger launched itself into self-defense handguns with the STR-9—and it did a workman-like job.
As I noted in my original review, “the striker-fired STR-9, is an affordable and accurate carry pistol. After several different range sessions, and carrying the pistol concealed for a week, I’d tell anyone looking at an affordable and accurate carry handgun to take a serious look at the STR-9. It’s not flashy and it doesn’t have all the features found on more expensive handguns. No optics-ready milling here, no barrel threaded for a suppressor, and no safety. Plus, it has the ‘Glocky’ look of dozens of the other poly, striker-fired pistols on the market today.”
I added, “But it functioned fine in my time shooting it without a single malfunction, was very accurate, and carried nicely. For $300 or less? I don’t think you could go wrong buying a STR-9.”
More recently, Stoeger released essentially its “NextGen” version of the pistol, the STR-9S Combat, very much an upgraded model compared to the original. Like the original, the STR-9S Combat is a striker-fired 9mm complete with an integrated rail, internal safety, reversible magazine release, and optimized slide serrations.
Plus, this model also sports a suppressor-ready threaded barrel, higher sights to accommodate that suppressor, and two additional interchangeable backstraps for a more individualized fit for the shooter. At just a shade over 4.5-inches, the barrel on the STR-9S Combat is approximately one-half-inch longer than the standard STR-9 barrel. The Combat’s slide is steel, and the frame is polymer.
Want an optic on the pistol? The STR-9S Combat comes complete with a removable optics plate and four (4) mounting plates to fit most of the smaller pistol red dots on the market today. It also comes with three 20-round magazines.
Given the first-rate accuracy I experienced shooting the original STR-9 I expected nothing less from the Combat model—and was not disappointed.
At my outdoor range, I ran the STR-9S Combat at ranges of five to ten yards shooting offhand and 20 yards from a rest using three brands of 9MM ammunition: relative newcomer to the US ammunition market, SAR-USA firing a 124-grain full-metal jacket (FMJ) bullet; Sig Sauer Elite Performance range ammunition also launching a 124-grain FMJ round; and Winchester Train and Defend loaded with a 147-grain hollow point.
Accuracy was first-rate. My best five shot groups included a .50-inch cluster of the Sig 9mm shot offhand at seven yards, a 1.2-inch group at the same distance using the SAR 9MM, and five shots of the Winchester Train and Defend at 10 yards, offhand, that clocked in at 1.3-inches.
At 20 yards and firing from a sandbagged rest, I was able to put all three brands of ammunition into five-shot groups of 2.5-inches or slightly less.
For accuracy and the STR-9S Combat, my conclusion was: if you shoot a five-shot group at ten yards and under, offhand, and it doesn’t score at least 1.5-inches? It’s you, not the pistol. Actually, one should be able to get close to a one-inch group nearly every time.
My Lyman Digital Trigger Pull Gauge measured the STR-9S Combat’s trigger pull at just a shade under three pounds, on average. And that trigger, by the way, reset quickly and positively even when trying my best to mag dump ahead of the reset. The trigger itself is also the flattest, most straight up-and-down trigger face I’ve ever used, and it made me rethink my feelings about such triggers.
I’m not a Fudd (I hope!), but I’ve always assumed a trigger should have some curve to it. Yet, the flatness of the STR-9S Combat trigger plus the tactile serrations provided maybe the best interface between trigger and finger pad I’ve experienced, allowing me to pull straight back like I’ve never been able to before, greatly reducing any wiggle or shake I might have had in the past with other triggers.
The high, fiber optic sights on the pistol are very impressive, too. They really popped before my eyes and put me on target fast. Of course, they are adjustable, too, and were easy to get lined up on target. Frankly, for home and self-defense purposes? I wouldn’t replace the sights with an optic. The sights are that good, and I don’t know what one would gain with an optic that these sights don’t already accomplish.
The pistol’s back strap checkering, and stippling along the sides of the grips kept me on the gun even when shooting barehanded in temperatures in the mid-20’s. The flared magazine well made for fast mag changes, too.
Concealed carry, home defense and some of the most fun mag dumps ever—the STR-9S Combat has a shooter covered plus some. Stoeger lists the suggested retail at $549.00, and various websites I searched offered the pistol at that price down to $500. If you can actually get one with the 20 round magazines? I’d buy it. It’s a solid pistol and at half a grand it’s a solid deal, and one that our current Commander in Chief will only make more valuable given his anti-Second Amendment proclivities.
|Specifications: Stoeger Industries STR-9S Combat Pistol
Item Number: 31376
Trigger: Striker fired
Sights: Quick read, 3-dot fiber optic sights
Overall Length: 7.94 in.
Barrel: 4.67 in., threaded for a suppressor
Finish: Black Nitride
Weight: 28.8 oz.
Magazines: Includes three 20-round magazines (available with 10 round magazines, too.)
Optics Mounting: Receiver drilled and tapped; includes 4 mounting plates and cover
MISC: Includes three interchangeable backstraps (S, M, L) for a custom fit
writes about hunting and firearms, people and places, for a variety of publications including American Hunter, Shooting Illustrated, and SHOT Business. He loves hog hunting, 1911’s chambered in 10MM and .45 ACP, and the Chicago Bears.