Author Topic: STI Heavy 10 Range Report. WARNING: LONG  (Read 698 times)

ron556

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STI Heavy 10 Range Report. WARNING: LONG
« on: March 14, 2017, 11:32:58 AM »
Hello folks,

So I finally got to the range to play with my new [to me] STI Heavy 10. The original owner said that he may have put 1200 rounds through the gun while he had it for the past two years. I can't refute that, as the gun itself was in good order: no dings, scratches, holster wear, etc. It wasn't a carry piece for him; it was more of a range toy.

Word on the street is that STI had a small number of leftover linked barrels [24, I believe] in 10mm a few years back and wanted to use them up, so they did a small production run and created the “Heavy 10.” So I guess in some ways, this is limited edition. Most STI dealers bought the guns and kept them for themselves as collector samples. According the original owner, he contacted STI to corroborate the dealer’s story on the gun and it checked out. There will be no more guns like these made with the same spec and with the Heavy 10 moniker. That, in and of itself, is not of really high value to me, as I am more of a shooter versus a collector. However, this little bit of trivia does make for an interesting piece of conversation, so that’s kind of cool.

Let me also state for the record that I am a bit different re: 1911s as a fighting platform. Including the Heavy 10, I own only one other 1911: a Springfield Custom I had built a few years ago. I like 1911s: I’ve owned my fair share, from Colts, to Kimbers, to Smith & Wessons, to Dan Wessons, and so on. The 1911 design is classic and it is still a very relevant design. That being said, I also recognize the limitations of the 1911 platform. It is an old design, it has its shortcomings and it requires diligent maintenance and upkeep. As Pat Rogers would say: “If you treat your gun like a lawnmower, buy a Glock.” ;D

Initial Details
:: Finish is a matte black Cerakote. Nothing fancy, but well done and evenly finished.

:: Heine “Ledge” sights. I like these ledge-type sights, as they are de rigeur nowadays with the “tactical” crowd. Front and rear sights are black on black. Since I’m a front night sight kind of guy, this is probably one of my few gripes with the gun, but it’s not that big of a deal. I’ll replace the front sight with a night sight soon enough.

:: The gun has bold cocking slanted serrations on the front and rear of the slide. I rather like the look, as I’m not a big fan of the “ol’ slabsides” original vertical serrations. Nothing wrong with the original, but just not my cup of tea on a modern interpretation of the original JMB design.

:: 5” Government length, full-length dustcover and square trigger guard. These are design features that I also like, if for nothing else, aesthetic reasons. My Springfield Custom has the “full rail” operator frame, so I am drawn to that look. The square trigger guard is a nice touch and it’s a 5” 1911. That pretty much sums it up.

:: Full-length guide rod. Not my first choice for a 1911 operating system, but then again, it’s chambered for 10mm, so we’re not talking a “classic” 1911 caliber. It does require you to fabricate a tool [from say, a paper clip] for disassembly, but that’s not that big of a deal. Just an extra step for field stripping.

:: Grips are STI-branded wood grips with a coarse checkered pattern [a la VZ “frag” pattern] and a black finish on them. Functional and adequate, but I will be replacing those with some VZs, perhaps in the Operator II or Slant pattern.

Overall, the fit and finish is what you would expect from an STI product in this price range (I believe the retail price was around $1500.00). The slide-to-frame fit was very tight and there were no rattles at all. The single-sided safety engaged/disengaged with a satisfying “click.” The matte finish gives the gun an understated AFB [All F*cking Business] appearance. It’s a big honking piece of steel and it feels like a serious 1911 should: solid. It has just enough of the classic 1911 lines indigenous to the iconic Government shape, with modern “custom” touches like the extended beaver tail grip safety, squared trigger guard, competition-style hammer, etc.

Racking the slide required a very deliberate effort, so the gun is definitely not lightly sprung. Not to be terribly sexist, but this is a Man’s Gun, and it should be handled as such. Folks without a lot of arm/hand strength or weak constitutions need not apply. Just saying. However, the slide action was slick and really felt like it was riding on the proverbial set of ball bearings. It was smooth, precise and instilled confidence.

Shooting Impressions
I finally got to the range this past weekend, just to try and put the Heavy through its paces. I was not tooled up to do any kind of bench accuracy testing, but that was not my priority. While the idea of inherent mechanical accuracy is interesting, I didn’t buy it for academic accuracy. I bought it as a self-defense tool. Thusly, all shooting was done off-hand and from the holster in close quarters [5-7 meters]. I would have liked to stretch it out to at least 15 meters, but my range time was limited so I elected to just do some “quick and dirty” close-in drills.

I had a collection of different loads that I wanted to run through the Heavy: Underwood 135 grain JHP, [my typical carry load], HPR 180 grain JHP, and Privi Partizan 180 grain FMJ [my practice load]. Being a 1911, I also had an assortment of magazines from which to choose: Tripp Research Cobras [extended 10 round], Mec-Gar eight rounders, and one eight-round STI factory. All magazines [with the exception of the STI] were brand new from the factory.

Initially, I had an issue with one of the Tripps. It didn’t want to feed the initial two or three rounds of the HPR. That was a bit disheartening, as they are rather pricey and highly regarded. However, I decided to press on and loaded the “problem” mag back up. After that initial hiccup, it ran flawlessly, as did the rest of the Tripps in all loadings.

At this point, I had to don my tac gloves, as the web of my hand really started to complain. I reckon I’ve gotten soft in my old age, but I figured… what the hell. I was having fun shooting it, so I wanted to extend the joy. The gloves made a huge difference and I continued to run the gun the rest of the afternoon.

The Mec-Gars performed well, too. No failures to feed or anything like that. However, one of the Mec-Gars and the STI mag didn’t lock the slide open a few time. I was curious, as there was no pattern to it. Sometimes they would lock open, sometimes not. I wasn’t sure what was happening, so I simply continued to shoot, noting which mags exhibited the issue.

Glove-wearing Epiphany
After pointing out several “failure to lock open” incidents with the Mec-Gar and STI mag(s) to one of my buddies, he noted to “check my thumbs.” The light bulb went off and the rest of the day I was more cognizant of my shooting hand thumb. I grip a pistol with a “thumbs forward” grip. This can inadvertently actuate the slide stop on my HK pistols and 1911s, which tend to have “oversized” slide stops. Wearing gloves can exacerbate this occurrence, as you lose a bit of tactile feel. I wear gloves when I’m running a carbine [due to ninja rolls and all things tacticool, of course :P]. Once I started paying a little more attention during the rest of the shooting session, each of the magazines performed without a hiccup. I can say with reasonable probability that it was operator error that was the causing the failures to lock open after the last shot. Mystery solved.

A Word About Recoil
This being my first 10mm 1911, I would say that recoil on this gun was, ahem, robust. One of my buddies was out there and I got to shoot his Springfield Range Officer side-by-side. With 230 ball, the .45 is an absolute pussycat compared to the fire-breathing 10mm. If I wasn’t already, I’m convinced that the 10mm is the primary cause of global warming :D. Many have heard the old adage that the recoil impulse from a .45 is like a “heavy push,” whereas the .40 or 10mm is “much sharper.” Sharp is an understatement. The only other 10mm 1911 I’ve shot was a Wilson-built 2011 Widebody that had a polymer frame and with the wider grip, it didn’t feel quite as sharp as this little monster.

To be fair, most all of my 10mm shooting is done with my Gen4 Glock 20, which is my primary EDC gun. That has spoiled me. It handles even the heaviest factory loads I’ve run [up to Underwood 200 grain] with aplomb and makes you feel like the 10mm “ain’t that bad.” Factory target loads out of the G20 feel like 9mm loadings. Not so with the Heavy 10. Recoil from the even milder loads was authoritative and definitely gave the shooter the business. My soft, pixie-like hands received a sound and proper beating from the STI. There was no flexing polymer frame to absorb recoil… it is a narrow, single stack frame transferring all that fun straight to your hands with the subtlety of whacking a sledgehammer against an I beam.

The Heavy performed as expected. It was accurate, handled well and digested each of the loads flawlessly [after the initial Tripp issue]. The trigger was quite nice. It was crisp and broke very cleanly. For comparison, when I took delivery of my Springfield, I put it on the shop trigger scale and it broke right around 3.5-3.6 lbs. consistently. When I specified that build I requested the trigger break at no less than 3.5 lbs. I don’t currently have a trigger pull gauge, but the next time I’m at the LGS, I will put the STI on the gauge and test it. From a completely unscientific and amateur “feel” standpoint, I would wager that the Heavy 10’s trigger is perhaps 0.5 lbs. lighter than the Springfield. IMHO, a “fighting” 1911 trigger should be no lighter than 3.5 lbs., but that’s just me. That being said, it didn’t worry me too much. I’m also a big believer in proper training and trigger discipline, especially when it comes to carrying a 1911 [or any firearm, for that matter] for social purposes.

I ran the gun slow fire and at speed; it did not disappoint. If I did my part, the gun was a frigging laser. It was a gas to shoot. It handled well, was well-balanced and put the bullets where I wanted them. Working from the holster held no surprises. I’m looking forward to running some more proper drills with my shot timer and from my EDC concealment rig on the next trip.

All in all, I have no complaints about my purchase. The STI Heavy 10 is a well-built, accurate firearm and I would have no qualms about it being a serious self-defense tool or even hunting tool. The 10mm is not for everyone, especially in the 1911 platform, but it is certainly a powerhouse that has earned its reputation. After all, 10 millimeter is best millimeter!  :)

ron556






The_Shadow

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Re: STI Heavy 10 Range Report. WARNING: LONG
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2017, 01:40:04 PM »
ron556, very nice range report for your pistol!  While I'm not the biggest fan of the 1911's, they do appeal to many people.
The 10mm can be used from mild to wild so being a handloader, I can experience some or all of the ballistic potential from my own guns.  The 10mm has been my favorite cartridge since its inception, but truly have enjoyed it since early 1990 from the S&W1006.

Once again thanks for the detailed report.
The "10mm" I'm Packin', Has The Bullets Wackin', Smakin' & The Slide is Rackin' & Jackin'!
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ron556

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Re: STI Heavy 10 Range Report. WARNING: LONG
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2017, 05:15:08 PM »
Thanks, Shadow!

While I do like the 1911 to a certain degree, I shoot, train with and carry a Glock. To me, the 1911 is an enthusiast's gun: it has endless degrees of customization, but it requires dedicated maintenance and knowledge to be used as a serious "fighting" platform... just my opinion.

Modern polymer-framed guns have come of age and are now the standard in the industry. The Gen4 G20 made me really love the 10mm and has made it accessible to me as a primary SD cartridge, however "soulless" the gun may be, lol.

Thanks again... I'm enjoying this forum. Great info, good people!

dred

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Re: STI Heavy 10 Range Report. WARNING: LONG
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2017, 05:53:39 PM »
Ron,

Embrace your hate of all things 1911.  It is ok to hate.  I can help.  When you are overwhelmed with self loathing and cleansing is your option ... send her to me.  I will hide them away in my 1911 Refugee Camp.  Then you can ridicule me for being ... one-of-them.

Thanks for the write-up.  Being unfamiliar with the Heavy 10, I had guessed it was a double stack.  And, seriously, if you can't find a way to love this pistol ... let me help.

JaguarGolf

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Re: STI Heavy 10 Range Report. WARNING: LONG
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2017, 06:14:14 PM »
 Congratulations on your Heavy 10. I have an STI Nitro 10 and I love it. I changed out the FMSH for an arched MSH with the lanyard ring because that's how I like my full size 1911's. 500 rounds through it, I keep it clean and lubed, Triip Research Mags, HP', XTPs hard cast and jacketed flat point cones, no malfunctions.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 06:17:29 PM by JaguarGolf »

ron556

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Re: STI Heavy 10 Range Report. WARNING: LONG
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2017, 09:13:45 AM »
Ron,

Embrace your hate of all things 1911.  It is ok to hate.  I can help.  When you are overwhelmed with self loathing and cleansing is your option ... send her to me.  I will hide them away in my 1911 Refugee Camp.  Then you can ridicule me for being ... one-of-them.

Thanks for the write-up.  Being unfamiliar with the Heavy 10, I had guessed it was a double stack.  And, seriously, if you can't find a way to love this pistol ... let me help.

 :)) :)) :)) I'll keep that in mind, dred! How magnanimous of you, lol.

PCFlorida

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Re: STI Heavy 10 Range Report. WARNING: LONG
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2017, 04:03:15 PM »
Nice write up. I am going to have to look for one of the Heavy 10mm's, sounds like a great addition to my collection :)
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