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  #1  
Old 02-26-2011, 07:49 PM
G27RR G27RR is offline
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STI Shadow 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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  #2  
Old 02-26-2011, 07:53 PM
G27RR G27RR is offline
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I wrote that review a while back, but before I joined this forum so I posted it here. The Shadow is past 2,000 rounds now and has 1 failure to feed, which I am fairly certain was a limp wrist on my part towards the end of a long range session.

Here's how the internals looked at 2K rounds. The original RecoilMaster is still going strong.

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  #3  
Old 02-26-2011, 10:12 PM
rsxr22 rsxr22 is offline
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you definitely have some good taste in 1911's sir
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  #4  
Old 02-26-2011, 10:17 PM
TheDragonslayer TheDragonslayer is offline
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Well you had me all the way til you got to the State of Texas part!


Nice looking pistol that shoots GREAT! Dosnt get any better then that!
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  #5  
Old 02-26-2011, 10:31 PM
G27RR G27RR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDragonslayer View Post
Well you had me all the way til you got to the State of Texas part!


Nice looking pistol that shoots GREAT! Dosnt get any better then that!
I knew the Texas thing would get some people, but I couldn't resist, sorry.

I still don't know what it is exactly, but this Shadow feels like it was setup just for me rather than a standard model.
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  #6  
Old 02-26-2011, 10:32 PM
G27RR G27RR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsxr22 View Post
you definitely have some good taste in 1911's sir
Thanks.
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  #7  
Old 02-27-2011, 07:04 PM
dperezo dperezo is offline
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Wow...an Escort and a Shadow! congrats!

This gun is in the top of my list for a .45 officer ccw. I just wish STI can hire somebody that can come up with better rollmarks They need to learn that sometimes, lesser is better.
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  #8  
Old 02-27-2011, 08:30 PM
G27RR G27RR is offline
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They do love the large rollmark at STI, no doubt about that.

My local dealer had them refinish his personal Shadow without any rollmarks. Not sure what it cost, but it sure looked nice that way, too.

A Duty One or Lawman are on my short list.
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  #9  
Old 02-27-2011, 09:39 PM
rsxr22 rsxr22 is offline
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You should probably just get both!

STI makes a hell of a production gun, how bout going with a custom though? You could definitely have a Baer or Ed Brown for the price of the Lawman and Duty One and most like a GRP from NH or CQB, just a thought!
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  #10  
Old 02-27-2011, 10:30 PM
G27RR G27RR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsxr22 View Post
You should probably just get both!

STI makes a hell of a production gun, how bout going with a custom though? You could definitely have a Baer or Ed Brown for the price of the Lawman and Duty One and most like a GRP from NH or CQB, just a thought!
I may do that. Part of staying with STI so much is that they always work, they are pretty much always a good value, and I like supporting a local company (one town over from me).

I like some of the Ed Brown bobtails, not a big Baer fan (just a style thing for me, I'm sure they are great), but I really like some of the Wilsons.

Probably have to sell some off to get a Wilson any time soon though. I am actually strongly considering just that. I have a few things I don't shoot and don't expect to any time in the foreseeable future.
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  #11  
Old 03-23-2011, 09:40 AM
rman rman is offline
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That is one sweet Officer's Model! I'm afraid mine pale in comparison. I've got a PARA USA OPS .45, a Springfield EMP .40 and a Kimber Ultra Carry II in 9mm. All nice guns, all shoot well, but they ain't that purty!
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:07 AM
G27RR G27RR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rman View Post
That is one sweet Officer's Model! I'm afraid mine pale in comparison. I've got a PARA USA OPS .45, a Springfield EMP .40 and a Kimber Ultra Carry II in 9mm. All nice guns, all shoot well, but they ain't that purty!
Thanks. I want an EMP, too, at some point.
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  #13  
Old 03-24-2011, 04:04 PM
Doc18d Doc18d is offline
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Thanks for the great review,
I cannot wait to save enough for my Shadow.
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  #14  
Old 03-24-2011, 11:58 PM
Chad TC Chad TC is offline
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Great review!
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