Test: STI 2011 Marauder and 1911 Nitro semi-automatic pistols

STI 2011 Marauder in 9 mm Luger

The term "marauder" does not exactly applies to somebody who would "sit on the fence" during an argument; not by chance, it is also the name given to the latest entry in the pistols line offered by STI International Ltd., out of Georgetown, Texas (USA).

The new STI 2011 Marauder comes with a two-part (steel/polymer) frame and accepts double-stack high-capacity magazines. Unlike other STI's bestsellers – such as the 2011 model "Edge" – the grame does not extends all the way down to the barrel bushing.

STI International 2011 "Marauder" 9x19mm semi-automatic pistol
The STI 2011 Marauder pistol, hereby field-stripped

The combination of a short frame and a well-machined slide provides the STI 2011 Marauder pistol with an overall sleek, elegant appearance, matched with a standard barrel bushing.

The dust cover of the frame comes with a discreetly milled, short tactical rail providing a quick attachment point for tactical lasers, gunlights, or combination modules.

The STI 2011 Marauder pistol comes with the Company's own slender TAS (Tactical Adjustable Sight), adjustable for windage and elevation, installed on the slide in lieu of an otherwise standard broad, micrometric rear sight, and with a pinned, fixed front sight with a fiber-optic insert.

The large jet-funnel magazine well features striking, curved notches on both sides, while the supplied extended, polymer-padded stainless steel magazine provides an overall capacity of 21 rounds of 9x19mm ammunition.

STI International 2011 "Marauder" 9x19mm semi-automatic pistol
The 140mm-long magazine was designed to suit the USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association) specifications, holds up to 21 rounds of 9mm ammunition

The magazine has been designed following the rulebook of the USPSA USPSA (United States Shooting Association) − the entity that oversees competitive practical shooting in the United States of America, and their national counterpart to IPSC.

In Europe, dimensions of an IPSC-approved handguns are set using a box as the benchmark: in order to be compliant, a pistol with its magazine in and the hammer cocked must fit a 225mm(l)x150mm(h)x45mm(w) box.

USPSA rules instead define the magazine capacity by mandating a magazine lenght of 140 millimetres.

Shooters will be able to retrofit these magazines to accept one additional round by using an aftermarket follower and shortened springs, and compete on USPSA-rulebook competitions with 22+1 mahazines; or, they may ask the importer to provide them with IPSC-compliant magazines in lieu of the factory-issue USPSA-compliant magazines.

A long, steel-made recoil spring guide rod, rotary thumb safeties on both sides and a high beavertail grip safety are among the other features included in the STI 2011 Marauder; all its main metal components are also hard-coated. The price announced by the German importer tops €2990.

STI International 1911 "Nitro" 10mm-Auto semi-automatic pistol
The 10mm-Auto STI International 1911 Nitro pistol, stripped in its main components

A punchy classic: 1911 Nitro by STI in 10 mm Auto

STI had already released a pistol for the once-sensational 10mm-Auto caliber: the Perfect 10, back in 2011.

Today, taking the 1980s vintage Colt Delta Elite as a sort of "role model", the company launched a more classic 10mm 1911 variant, using slim, single-stack stainless steel magazines.

The "Nitro" nickname perfectly matches with the high punch that the 10mm Auto caliber delivers.

This fully matte black 1911 variant comes with eye-catchingly broad slide serrations, providing a striking appearance.

An additional touch to the special look is provided by the cocobolo wood – a.k.a. "Rio rosewood" – grip panels, although we recognize that they may be over-dimensioned, given the "generous" caliber, and that they may not fit all hands just as perfectly.

STI International 1911 "Nitro" 10mm-Auto semi-automatic pistol
The name says it all: given the punch it packs, the 10 mm Auto cartridge comes with the right name in this single stack 1911

The STI 1911 Nitro semi-automatic pistol certainly requires shooters to put a little bit of extra energy in some otherwise ordinary operations, such as racking the slide; the high energy levels of the 10mm-Auto round required a 20lbs recoil spring, after all.

The grip, machined from a single forged blank, comes with longitudinal front gripping cuts in lieu of the standard checkered texture. 

The bull barrel fitted to the slide requires no bushing, making the weapon a little bit front-heavy – a welcome feature given the high-performance (and high-kicking) calibre. The fixed front sight and the dovetailed rear sight adjustable for windage are not as sophisticated as the ones found on the STI 2011 Marauder, and the manual frame-mounted safety is located only on the left side.

STI International 1911 "Nitro" 10mm-Auto semi-automatic pistol
The Commander-style hammer ring on the 10mm-caliber STI 1911 "Nitro" pistol

The factory single action trigger setting was good enough, as confirmed by our trigger pull scale that measured an average of 1106 grams for the STI 2011 Marauder trigger and 1177 grams for the STI 1911 Nitro trigger.

The differences between the minimal and maximum values in trigger weight measured in the two guns ranges between the 44 grams of the STI 2011 Marauder and the mere 25 grams of the STI 1911 Nitro. Experience has shown that frequent use alone is sufficient to make the triggers even lighter. 

STI International 1911 "Nitro" and 2011 "Marauder" pistols
Texas mix: STI International from Georgetown, Texas, is adding these two striking models to its already extended pistols line: the 9mm caliber Model 2011 "Marauder" is on the left, the 10mm-Auto Model 1911 "Nitro" is on the right
STI International 1911 "Nitro" and 2011 "Marauder" pistols
A matter of taste: the STI programme includes pistols with standard barrels and matching bushing in the slide, also with funnel-shaped bull barrels that render any bushing in the slide superfluous

The STI 1911 Nitro is on sale in Europe for about €1820. 

STI International already offers an extremely wide range of 1911/2011 handguns with single-stack or double-stack magazine wells.

Nevertheless, the company extends its range every year to include always newer, interesting models, and always with amazing results.

This article is also available in this language: