STI’s ROOTS lie with competition shooting. The free market dictates that shooters will seek manufacturers of high performance firearms, and the competition world has proven to be an environment in which the Texas company has flourished. While gaming may have been the genesis behind the company’s pistols, the experience and design knowledge gleaned from such a background primed the firm for making the jump to production of high-quality defensive and tactical pistols. Particularly in the case of the high-capacity guns, STI’s tactical pistols gained significant benefit from the engineering that went into the race guns.
The AR15 pattern rifles are the dominant choice among military and law enforcement, as well as civilian enthusiasts or for gun games such as three-gun competitions. It only makes sense that STI would begin manufacturing its own version of these rifles, and that time has come with the STI Sporting Rifle and Tactical model.
As one who carries an STI pistol daily both on patrol and off-duty, I’ve come to
have a great appreciation and trust for their products. Hence, when I learned that they’d be producing their own AR15 style rifles, my interest was piqued. Thanks to STI’s Director of Marketing and Sales, Rabbit Boyett, both a Tactical Sporting Rifle and the Sentinel Premier 1911 showed up at my FFL holder’s establishment.
Sentinel Premier Details
Weighing in at 36.7 ounces, the Sentinel Premier arrived in a padded polymer hard case with a single magazine. At first glance, the pistol was conservative in appearance, its blue steel finish offset by the bare metal of the hammer, barrel, trigger and barrel bushing. Its frame and slide are machined from 4140 carbon steel forgings, mated with a barrel made from a 416R rifle-grade stainless steel billet forging. A 45-degree crown is cut into the barrel and rifling is button broached with a 1-in-16-inch twist and 6 lands and grooves. Barrels are vacuum heat-treated and vacuum tempered to 40 Rc, then machined to exact specifications. We couldn’t budge the slide and frame, nor could we manage any movement of the barrel with the gun in battery.
The slide itself has deeply cut cocking serrations fore and aft, and a flattop with nicely done serrations. Ejection port is oversized and flared. The finish is blued with the flats being brushed almost to a