STI spartan starts at 650 give or take.
while it is their "cheapest" pistol, it is not the lowest end you are going to find.
it is a match grade barrel, with beavertail, adjustible rear sights and fiber optic front sight.
It is cheap because it is mostly sourced from overseas.
same price gets you the GI version of the springfield, which has none of the extra features.
can't buy a kimber or colt for that price.
That being said, at 1500, I would look at Dan Wesson pistols, or colt as a gift gun honestly.
but nothing wrong with the STI at all.
they have higher priced versions and all are good.