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Old January 4, 2011, 01:59 PM   #1
shanzlik
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Tale of the Shadow (1911 review)

The tale of the Shadow

This is a tale about my absolute favorite concealed carry pistol. I first came across the STI Shadow in a local gun shop. I saw it sitting there in the case next to the other 1911s, but this one looked different, subtle even, and didn't really jump out at me at first. After a while though, the Shadow really caught my eye. It looked dark, shadowy even, with its matte black KG coating and the "STI Shadow" rollmark upon the slide. I flipped it over, and there, on the other side of the slide, was the outline of the great state of Texas. Not just made in the USA, made in Texas. What red-blooded Texan can resist that little touch?

Easy now, I said to myself, check it over really well before you do anything. You already have a Colt Defender. Do you really need a second officer model 1911? Of course you do shouted the voice over my shoulder!!! The Colt is great, it's reliable, I said. But it's shiny and stands out! It doesn't have night sights! It doesn't have a checkered front strap! Without the Hogue wraparound grips, it's a bit slippery! Grip tape is ugly, and, well, you just don't carry the Colt like you thought you would, said the voice over my shoulder. Easy now, I said to myself again.

Sufficiently calmed down and more objective now, I proceeded to give the Shadow a good inspection. After handling the Shadow in the store for a while, I knew it was the pistol I had to have for CCW. It fit my hand extremely well, and the G10 mycarta grips, stippled front strap, and checkered MSH provided a very sure grip without discomfort. The Heinie two dot tritium night sights, recessed into a grooved sight channel on the top of the slide, sealed the deal. Full size sights in a snag-free setup? Perfect. BUY IT!!! screamed the voice. Now convinced, I laid down the cash and was on my way.

My Shadow, chambered in .45ACP, came home with me that day and got a good cleaning. Knowing the perhaps overblown reputation small 1911s have for unreliability, I immediately ran 250 rounds of 230 grain FMJ PMC through it at the range the next day. Zero malfunctions. This was looking good, I thought. Next, I ran 100 rounds of Winchester 230 grain JHP through it. Zero malfunctions. Oh boy, this was looking REALLY good.

After going through 350 rounds that day, I took it home and gave it a good cleaning. I went back to the range several more times over a couple weeks, and after 750 rounds of various 230 grain FMJ and 250 rounds of various 230 grain JHP, including my chosen carry ammo, this pistol became my new daily carry.

Since that time, my Shadow goes with me everywhere it can. It usually travels in a Tucker Gunleather "Cover Up" IWB holster. I ordered mine from Tucker rough side out to assist the single kydex belt clip with keeping it in place. It's a great pair. Easy to put on, and easy to take off if necessary. Reholstering is a snap.

The Shadow has a bit of wear now, mostly holster wear and some wear on the front strap from carrying and shooting it as much as possible. I have yet to have a malfunction with either the factory magazine or the black low profile Wilson magazines I bought to carry with it. I did have a few malfunctions using the magazine that came with my Colt Defender, but those were clearly attributed to that magazine and I no longer use it with the Shadow.

How's the accuracy, you may be wondering? The two dot Straight 8 style sights are very quick to acquire, and though they may give up a bit of accuracy to a more target oriented sight, it is by a very slim margin. I don't particularly shoot for group size with handguns, and I never shoot them from a rest, but here's my take on the Shadow. Fifty round rapid fire groups offhand at 7 yards make one baseball sized hole. At 25 yards slow fire, I can keep things to a golfball if I'm not having a bad day. It's a very accurate pistol.

In the realm of CCW officer model 1911s, I highly recommend this pistol if you're looking for one in the +/- $1200 range. More expensive than the Colt Defender? Sure, but you get night sights, extended safety, stippled front strap, etc. for just $300 or so more. Hope you enjoyed the review and thanks for looking.



STI Shadow Specifications

Calibers: .45ACP (.40S&W, 9x19mm optional)

Frame: forged aluminum officer length
STIppled front strap
undercut trigger guard
oversized ejection port

Slide: carbon steel round top
integral sight channel
rear cocking serrations

Barrel: 3" fully supported and ramped bull barrel

Mainspring Housing: flat checkered polymer

External Safety: single sided STI extended thumb safety

Grip Safety: bobbed high rise knuckle relief beavertail

Sights: 2 dot tritium night sights
recessed into the slide
(Heinie Straight 8)

Guide rod: STI RecoilMaster system

Hammer: commander style

Other: Beveled Magwell
STI long curved trigger with stainless bow
G10 mycarta grips

Finish: KG black

Length: 7.0"

Weight: 22.8oz

Website: http://www.stiguns.com

MSRP: $1370
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Old January 4, 2011, 06:17 PM   #2
rigby06
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nice weapon

Your post's of the little voice screaming at you BUY ME!!!, made me laugh .
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Old January 4, 2011, 07:34 PM   #3
shanzlik
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Thanks. Thought I'd mix up the standard review a little bit.
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Old January 9, 2011, 11:52 AM   #4
shanzlik
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Some more pictures.







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Old January 9, 2011, 12:24 PM   #5
cougar gt-e
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Dude, when guns start talking sexy you know you need to get out more!
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Old January 9, 2011, 01:38 PM   #6
Thirtyeightspecial
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Beautiful pistol, seems like really fine workmanship all around.
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Old January 9, 2011, 05:50 PM   #7
VTRich
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I have a Shadow also and love it. The only thing I don't like is the finish. I swear it rubs off in your hands. Some day I will have it refinished in something more durable.

BTW, I also have a Defender! Only I had the Shadow first. I found a like new Defender at a great price I just had to bring home!
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Old January 9, 2011, 06:02 PM   #8
tommyboy
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nice looknig gun and great review
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Old January 9, 2011, 06:24 PM   #9
shanzlik
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Thanks everyone.

I agree the finish could be more durable. My understanding is that STI will refinish it under warranty but I haven't felt the need yet. If the steel slide had the same wear as the alloy frame I'd send it in. Makes me wonder if KG sticks to steel better than aluminum alloy?

STI's blued finish on the Ranger II has held up great, and so far the Escort has been good, even though it has a KG frame, too. Maybe there was a poor run on the Shadow?
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Old February 5, 2011, 10:56 PM   #10
orionengnr
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Thanks for the good review.
Might have to grab one of those Texas-built 3" STIs as part of my civic duty.
Do they build one in stainless?
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Old February 5, 2011, 11:24 PM   #11
Lefty Shotlow
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Great review. Better than the review of the Shadow that I saw in a magazine awhile back. Thanks. Appreciated the comments on the Tucker holster also.
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Old February 6, 2011, 12:25 AM   #12
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Nice review. Maybe sometime later this year, I'll get one or an Escort.
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Old February 6, 2011, 04:39 PM   #13
shanzlik
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I don't think they offer the Shadow in other finishes. STI does offer a chrome option on many of their other pistols.
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Old February 6, 2011, 04:44 PM   #14
shanzlik
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Here's a few more pictures, and a better view of the sight channel on top of the slide.







Here it is broken down after 2,000 rounds. Pretty even wear on the slide and frame surfaces.

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Old February 6, 2011, 09:38 PM   #15
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That's a nice looking gun. That's a good review too. Congrats.
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Old February 6, 2011, 10:28 PM   #16
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Very purty!
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