Goldilocks Gun? Steyr Arms C9-A1 Handgun

Other than anti-Glockism, why would a gun buyer opt for a Steyr over a Glock? After shooting the Steyr Arms C9-A1 at the Shot Show’s desert demo grounds, I reckon the Steyr has a slight edge on the Glock in terms of combat-style shootability. The Steyr’s lower bore axis makes follow up shots a little bit quicker—although neither gun is what I’d call unruly in the muzzle flip department. The Steyr’s point-of-aim is more natural—although once you get used to the Glock, that’s natural too. The Steyr’s trapezoidal sights are a damn sight better for rapid target acquisition at close quarters than the standard Glock’s—although most people prefer three-dots and you can now order your Steyr so equipped. But it’s Steyr’s new Reset Action System trigger mechanism that makes all the difference. OK, evens the score . . .

It’s not that the go-pedal on Steyr’s M or S series pistols was horrible. But it was nowhere near as crisp, clean and predictable as the show time button on Gaston’s Glocks. Now, it is. Without a side-by-side test, I can’te quite put my finger on the exact difference (so to speak). Suffice it to say, there’s no longer anything in it. Both guns distinguish themselves with a sharp trigger with an extremely quick reset.

And now Steyr Arms is shipping their “Where Have You Been All My Life?” trigger inside the C9-A1. From today’s press release:

The German bridges the gap between a compact carry and full-sized shootability. With its concealable-length slide and barrel of the S-series Steyr pistol, and the hand-filling frame and high capacity of the M-series, the C9-A1 provides the best of both worlds.

In other words, it’s a ‘tweener: big enough to shoot well and hold 17 rounds, small enough to, uh, shoot well and hold 17 rounds. Kidding. Small enough to conceal. Provided you think a gun with a 3.6″ barrel and a big honking handle is concealable. (I’m looking at you Springfield XD-M 3.8 Compact owners. Of which I’m one. So yes, I do.) Oh, and the Steyr’s barrel is cold hammer forged. Take that Glock fans! Oh wait . . .

Anyway, I wouldn’t give you a bum Steyr. And the chances of you buying one are minimal. The Steyr Arms C9-A1 Glocks-in—I mean clocks-in at $649.

Steyr Arms Pistol Specifications

  • Model: C9-A1
  • Purpose: Self-defense
  • Manufacturer: Steyr Mannlicher GmbH Kleinraming, Austria
  • Importer: Steyr Arms, Inc.
  • Operation: Semiautomatic
  • Caliber: 9x19mm Luger
  • Slide material: Steel
  • Magazine type/capacity: Double-stack steel box/17 rounds
  • Barrel: 3.6-inch cold-hammer-forged
  • Rifling: Conventional, 6 grooves, RH twist
  • Sights: Drift-adjustable three-dot configuration
  • Finish: Mannox
  • Trigger type: Reset Action System (DAO with integrated safety)
  • Pull weight: 5 pounds
  • Frame material: Reinforced polymer
  • Checkering: Anti-slip stippled texture
  • Weight, empty: 1.6 pounds
  • Overall length: 6.7 inches
  • Height: 5.1 inches
  • Width: 1.2 inches
  • Included accessories: Owners manual, lockable box, extra magazine

 

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

19 Responses to Goldilocks Gun? Steyr Arms C9-A1 Handgun

  1. avatar2yellowdogs says:

    Goldilocks gun? Does that mean it’s not too big, not too small, but just right?

    Hard to believe that gun has a 17 round mag and is still easily concealable.

  2. avatar2yellowdogs says:

    “Hand-filling frame”? With 17 in the magazine, that thing must be as big around as my…well, it must be big. Not exactly what I consider a good concealed carry gun. Then again, I have small hands. Not that that’s indicative of anything else.

    • avatarTTACer says:

      I don’t know why they bother with the short barrel if the grip is so fat. It is much easier to conceal a piece of paper (large in two dimensions) than a rubiks cube (large in three). If you can’t c0nceal it anyway it might as well have a long barrel to get your MVs up.

  3. avatarxstang says:

    Steyr is German? Could’ve sworn they were Austrian also…

    Anyways, it was the funky sights and the complete lack of aftermarket parts that turned me away from the m9/m40 semiautos when I first went shopping back in ’09. I loved the almost Luger-like grip angle and the cz75-ish slide profile, but there was just enough weird there to make me get a USP45 instead. An overly big, chunky, gritty triggered USP45, but I digress…

    Just another thing-$650? It was a lot less not too long ago. I remember CDNN selling these for under $400 all day long before their stocks ran out when Steyr pulled them a year or two ago.

  4. avatarPatrick Carrube says:

    “Provided you think a gun with a 3.6″ barrel and a big honking handle is concealable. (I’m looking at you Springfield XD-M Compact owners”… actually, the XDm 3.8 Compact is quite easy… I think you’re referring to the XDm 3.8 (and not the 3.8 Compact)… which, as I said before, is a pretty silly gun.

  5. avatarRalph says:

    Wow! A plastic Nine! What will they think of next?

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  6. avatarWill Marshall says:

    ■Manufacturer: Steyr Mannlicher GmbH Kleinraming, Austria

  7. avatarFederale says:

    I heard that previously they had reliability problems.

  8. avatarCARY STARKE says:

    I see a very close resemblance to the CARACAL “F”…Any relation?

  9. avatarCaligula says:

    I could always use another black, plastic gun.

  10. avatarRon says:

    They’re today at Cabela’s for $499.99. Get ‘em while they’re hot!!!!!!

    • avatarRon says:

      The salesman said Cabela’s is “loaded” with them. So, what are you waiting for???????? RUN!!!!!!!!!!

  11. avatarJohn Marke says:

    I saw the Steyr C9-1A in a local gun shop a couple of weeks ago and it said “buy me.” Nice weight, quality workmanship, great angle for point shooting (looking for around 110 degrees grip to slide) and 14 round magazines. Best of all the trapezoidal sights…love them. It is a little hefty for concealed carry, but if I’m going into a high risk area I’ll slip it into a remora IWB holster and wear a jacket. Otherwise I carry a Kahr P380 in a DeSantis pocket holster…invisible like a ghost.

    I just sold an FNX-9 that was perfect, meeting all my criteria (albeit CCW wasn’t on the list) but I never could warm up to that gun. I promised myself I’d never go back to a mid-sized military style automatic again…then I saw the C9-1A. Sometimes you just gotta go with your gut feelings.

  12. avatarJohn M. says:

    I saw the Steyr C9-1A in a local gun shop a couple of weeks ago and it said “buy me.” Nice weight, quality workmanship, great angle for point shooting (looking for around 111 degrees grip to slide) and 14 round magazines. Best of all the trigger….just outstanding. It is a little hefty for concealed carry, but if I’m going into a high risk area I’ll slip it into a remora IWB holster and wear a jacket. For half the year you need a jacket or parka where I live anyway. Otherwise I carry a Kahr P380 in a DeSantis pocket holster that makes it invisible.

    I just sold an FNX-9 that was perfect, meeting all my criteria (albeit CCW wasn’t on the list) but I never could warm up to that gun. I promised myself I’d never go back to a mid-sized military style automatic again…then I saw the C9-1A. Sometimes you just gotta go with your gut feelings.

  13. avatarStvan says:

    I need one of these! I really like the feel of the Steyr A1 guns. My M40-a1 is one of my favorite carry guns. Maybe someday I’ll find one to fondle before I buy one.

  14. avatarKephra says:

    I like the S variant. I don’t really understand the C model, barrel length isn’t that important for concealability, it’s the grip. The S is very concealable, and just big enough to get a nice grip without totally having your pinky hanging off the grip (all my fingers fit on the grip, but fatter fingers will have a third of the pinky hanging off the magazine baseplate, still better than no pinky contact at all in terms of shootability. My nephew’s glock 26 is just as difficult to notice as my S9-A1)

    When I compare the steyr side by side with my nephew’s glock, it has a better grip, better sights and far better trigger as a well as better recoil taming design and faster follow up shots. There’s no “spongy” feel in the Steyr that I associate with glocks. I paid about 500 for mine, so for roughly the same price you might as well get slightly better performance. No failures so far with the gun.

    Although if you’re metrosexual and want to accessorize glock wins that one for miles.

  15. avatarMike_N says:

    I own both the C9-A1 and the C40-A1. These are great weapons. I was skeptical about the polymer grip but these feel natural in the shooters hand. They are very ergonomic, heavy to the nose so muzzle climb isn’t an issue. These weapons are well built and solid. The trapizoidal sights were quite easy to get used to. These weapons aren’t “pocket pistols” but they work great for concealed carry. I would recomend Stery handguns. They are pretty awesome.

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