My home state of Texas is famous for many outstanding features—beautiful and varied countryside, a bold history, a can-do attitude that won’t stop, and a number of firearm-related companies. Among the latter is STI, which began its life during the ’80s as a result of the upsurge of IPSC competition and flourished to manufacture outstanding 1911s in its Georgetown factory, right outside of Austin. The company’s flagship guns are built on double-stack modular steel frames with replaceable polymer grips, but single-stack metal-framed pistols abound in their catalog, as well. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a number of STI pistols during the last two decades and have always found them exceptional performers, offering top features at reasonable prices.
Even though its roots are in competition handguns, STI offers a number of single- and double-column pistols that fit perfectly into the world of defensive use/concealed carry. These pistols use many of the match winning features STI has perfected, to provide fight-winning weapons for 1911 fans. Double-column or single-column, supersized by adding a 6-inch barrel, full-size, compact, or sub-compact, STI has a pistol for just about everyone.
One of STI’s defensive 1911 beauties is their Guardian, built in the style of my favorite carry pistol—an Officers’ size frame topped by a compact slide and barrel (3.9 inches, in this case). Until someone bobs a full-size pistol’s frame down to Officers’ size and leaves the slide at 5 inches, pistols sized like the Guardian will be the best combination of concealability and effectiveness for me.