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(This is a reader-submitted review as part of our gun review contest. See details here.)

By Matt M.

It worked. It just worked. She pointed right and her sights worked like magic, putting a little black dot at their sharp tip every single time. My hand fell into place with every draw, my wrist locking just under the slide like Swiss clockwork. Austrian, actually. The gun seemed like an extension of my body, made just for me at the factory. Don’t you love that feeling?

So much of the tacticrap deposited on forums would hold some weight given a little perspective. GLOCKs are the best gun for everyone… with large enough paws and a Grip Force Adapter for those perforating the ceiling. 1911s point naturally in all hands… depending on your grips and mainspring housing. Revolvers are vastly superior to autos… provided a modicum of taste.

So let’s get something straight from the get-go: if your hands feel like SICs point high and GLOCKs are of the devil, Steyr’s pistols are not for you. If, on the other hand, you dream of shooting double-stack Lugers with Fr. Gaston in fields of M1911A1s, listen up: these babies deserve serious consideration.

THE GUN’S ORIGINS

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We members of the GLOCK clan are a weary bunch. We love our Tupperware and it treats us well, but there’s always something missing. Even if we end up keeping the stock configuration, all of us have been seriously tempted to mess with the trigger, swap out parts, and otherwise customize our guns in a way that HK groupies aren’t. It only took three generations of perfection to get a rail, four to get adjustable backstraps, and five for Gaston to lop off the hated finger grooves (even then, only at the pleading of the constabulary waffles at our FBI). We love the one true wondernine and trust it like no other, but a GLOCK will always have the panache of a tool set that’s served a garage for three generations.

Wilhelm Bubits felt our pain when he left GLOCK for Austria’s “other” arms manufacturer, Steyr-Mannlicher, in 1997. His brainchild was to be the perfection of Perfection™, everything the GLOCK was with everything it lacked. Unfortunately, our great hope was entrusted to a company with abysmal marketing when exchange rates killed exports to the US.

No one bought it or spread the word. No one put it to the test like Gaston’s guns and technical difficulties took a long time to iron out. The sights were cool but otherwise no one really cared. The gun languished for a decade.

But Steyr kept at it for seventeen years, with the (C)ompact, (M)edium, and (L)arge frame models now well-tuned in their second generation. They can also be had brand new for less than $450, a price that my friend Harry couldn’t resist. For your pleasure, I won him over to let me take it for a spin…

THE GUN ITSELF

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If you take the Tupperware out of GLOCK, your only alternative is some sort of ray-gun. Seriously: SIGs, Springfields, Sigmas… Tupperware; M&Ps, CZs, Rugers… ray guns. While the L9-A1 has lost the loony-laser-look of its first iteration, the Steyrs have always had an angular space-age appeal. Thanks to the big rail on the dustcover, a confused cop once came up to my lane asking if I was preparing a Taser for my cardboard companion! The Steyr is a GLOCK adorned with geometrical intrigue exuding a futuristic power. Put differently, it makes the GLOCK elegant by comparison. When you hold the L9, you know it is best understood as “machine”.

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You guessed it: she’s chunky, but it’s not as bad as it seems on paper. Consider the GLOCK, which widens from a 1” snout to a 1.18” bulge over the trigger guard… you know, right at the beltline when carrying IWB. The L-A1 series is only two hundredths of an inch wider than that bulge, the width evenly distributed over the full length of the gun. Believe it or not, Hickok45, the Steyr is closer in size to a 9mm GLOCK than their mammoth .45, the GLOCKs are just a little easier to re-holster.

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What blew me away was the slide, the secret to Steyr’s legendary recoil management. The “low bore axis” I’ve fallen in love with has little to do with the bore, which rides about as low here as in my trusty G17: it’s the low center of mass. A full ounce lighter and close to .2” shorter than it’s Austrian parent, Steyr slides hang tight and soft like a clawed cat sleeping on your arm.

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You don’t realize how far this pistol was ahead of its time until you get inside. Unlike most plastic fantastics, Steyr has been rockin’ full-length milled slide rails since 1999; this ain’t no stinkin’ stamped chassy. The pistol seems to be tightly fit between factory tolerances and I imagine the angled rails also contribute to the fantastic accuracy we’ve experienced. Look at the slides, GLOCKsters: one of these recoil spring retainers won’t be bending when you drop it nose-first and it ain’t the one with the $600 price tag.

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Trigger time. Note well how the action is a little different here. The sear is angled, gently sliding off the striker in a crisp 4.5lb trigger pull with lightning-fast .1” reset. The go-pedal itself is broad with a generous and smooth trigger-safety. If you’re familiar with Ruger’s American Pistol, it has the same mechanism, break, and feel with the comfort and speed someone forgot to throw in the pot; anything else would be un-palatable!

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In fact, with a trigger this good, I had to take this loaner gun out to the range. Multiple times. I swear I’ll get it back to you Harry! For your enjoyment, I gathered together half-a-dozen species of 9mm ammo and headed off to the range with a young Air Force reservist, a middle-aged gun-guy, and an arthritic grandpa eagerly looking forward to hand surgery.

THE GUN IN ACTION

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The first thing that hit us on the range was how easy the gun was to disassemble… after we read the manual. Using a key or your finger, depress the circular safety enough to slide the lever down, pull the trigger, and catch the slide; no sore fingertips. Oil the usual suspects, rack the slide, and everything resets. Our two fathers were impressed by the little lock as well, activated by a hard push and ninety degree turn to the right which all of us agree should never activate by accident.

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Of course, the sights were different, but all of us eventually warmed up to them. Think of the speed of an XS Big-Dot blended with the precision of traditional target sights. Unlike the Trijicon HDs on my G17, our eyes didn’t have to choose between using the big orange dot for SHTF salutations or the black post-and-notch for reaching out to touch someone. Focus on the target and bring that sharp white tip to your desired point of incision. Have your subconscious confirm that said triangle is more or less within the white outline. Pull trigger. Trying to swat mosquitos at 100 yards? Focus on the three sharp points just as you would a 3-dot system.

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Unfortunately, nothing comes for free. Forgive my accuracy—the range was 94 degrees—but notice the pattern: my shots spread right to left. None of us had problems with horizontal strings, but lateral precision was difficult. Unlike XS Big Dots, Jean Doe won’t have much difficulty shooting accurately, slowly or at speed, but unlike Trijicon HDs’, Jean can expect similar performance at any pace. Here’s a pretty typical ten-round target from twenty feet going about ninety rounds a minute; compare it to my 20@20’ slow-fire, again, in that still, humid, 94 degree indoor range.

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That said, precision wasn’t impossible. Our wounded grandfather went to town at a cooler range. While I lost a few of his targets, here are some of his first shots at six yards:

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So, how did she handle? Everyone was impressed by the low recoil and immediate shot-to-shot recovery. The Luger-like grip angle locked everyone’s wrist high and tight, just under the bore. Our eldest thought it was as light-recoiling as any 9mm built around the .40 S&W (namely the M&P Pro), while my middle-aged friend thought it was remarkably softer than the average wondernine. Air Force was just happy to be shootin’ guns. It was a fun pistol easy to shoot well fast, arthritis didn’t rear its ugly head, and we gradually fell in love with the sights.

On the flipside, we did not like the size of the grip. Scroll up to that picture of the original Steyr pistol. Notice the contour where the grip meets the slide? Pretty thin. Look at the pictures of our L9. Notice that contour? What contour? You mean the contour of a two-inch diameter pipe? Exactly.

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For all the oblong humpiness of the GLOCK, its texture digs into the palm forcing the muzzle up and out. For those blessed with long hands, the large backstrap on Gen4 guns offer lateral control via the blade effect with horizontal control via grip angle. Such was the old Steyr, but the A1s have an aesthetically pleasing texture tacked onto the sides of a porky grip, the front and back straps frustratingly smooth but for an obnoxious seam smack in the middle. Why on earth didn’t Steyr keep the old width? They were ahead of their time… why no adjustable backstraps? What the heck, guys? While a mountain bike inner tube pleased everyone’s mitts, the gun’s superior ergonomics could have been just perfect with a little more thought back at corporate.

THE GUN RECONSIDERED

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I’m not there yet, but I’ve almost becoming as much of a Steyr guy as a GLOCK afficianado. Harry has fallen head over heels for this all-business 21st century fräulein. The pistol is perfect for IWB carry if you’re ready with a good holster and willing to make the proper adjustments. Pay close attention to the pistol’s dimensions above: with the short fifteen round magazine, the grip is barely higher than a GLOCK 19 while a full-size combat handgun waits at your side. This is a setup begging for concealed carry if you’re into double-stack service pistols.

Long term, I’m frustrated with two things. First, while I’ve heard good things about their customer service, Steyr lacks the overwhelming aftermarket support available for GLOCKs and major American manufacturers. What do you do when your pistol finally breaks after many thousands of rounds? Will recoil springs and extractors be hard to come by? Thankfully, a full Steyr repair kit can be had for only $450.

Second, while reliability was 100%, shadows lurk on the horizon. Once or twice, our improperly sized lead reloads kept the slide from locking up that last 1%. While I can’t blame the gun for reload problems, it was disconcerting that the gun would either still fire slightly out of lockup (to no ill effect… for now) or require the slightest nudge to return to battery. Harry has dealt with this more in his L40-A1, although this is less upsetting given his choices in ammunition and the difficulties of leveraging a larger caliber into the same space. That said, we suspect the loaded chamber indicators are to blame in both guns and the problem should subside once they’ve been broken in.

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Offsetting our concerns here, we were very impressed by the safety features on the gun. Normally, I hate handgun LCIs, manual safeties, and integrated locks as the garish, dangerous, and generally worthless concessions to California politicians that they are. Steyr, however, did the job right. The LCI is tasteful but effective, both visually and tactilely, everything a loaded chamber indicator should be. The lock is foolproof and confidence inspiring; both fathers were very pleased. The trigger safety was similarly perfect: no lever, no ridge, just a bar that seamlessly slides into place. I can’t believe I’m writing this, but the safeties were a big plus for an already fabulous gun.

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THE END OF THE MATTER

The Steyr L9-A1 is a formidable handgun and will remain one of the best values on the market until shooters wake up to smell the bacon. It’s not a small gun, but it’s everything a full-sized handgun should be. It’s perfect for home defense, better for the range, and a great option for carry. Would Harry buy this again? He did, in .40. Will I? I’m headed in that direction. This gun may not be for you if you don’t know how to order a holster online, want aftermarket parts to help a prosecutor demonize you, or hate the sights (Trijicon three-dots are my only known alternative). However, if you’re interested in what I described above, you need to give this pistol a very hard look.

 

Specifications: Steyr L9-A1

CALIBER: 9mm
CAPACITY: 15 flush, 17 “plus”.
MATERIALS: Polymer, Steel w. salt-bath nitride
WEIGHT UNLOADED: 28oz
WEIGHT LOADED: 35.25oz (Fed. 9BPLE)
OVERALL LENGTH: 7.5”
OVERALL HEIGHT: 5.3
WIDTH: 1.2” (controls), 1.15” (frame)
SLIDE: .685” high, 11.75oz
SIGHTS: Trapezoidal, drift adjustable
SIGHT RADIUS: 6.7”
GRIPS: Polymer, lightly stippled
TRIGGER PULL: 4.5 lbs
ACTION: Striker fired
PRICE: $438

Ratings (out of five stars):

Aesthetics: * * * * *
Chunky, but as good as your going to get for a no-frills polymer duty-gun.

Accuracy: * * * *
Accuracy potential is huge but lateral precision hampered by sights. Thinning the grip would have helped.

Ergonomics-Handling: * * * * *
As a GLOCK guy with big hands, I found the Steyr to be a revelation; knock stars for those with smaller or Sig-destined hands.

Ergonomics-Firing: * * * * *
This gun is a joy to shoot for enthusiast, newbie, and the arthritic alike. One wonders if Steyr could do any better with a dual-recoil-spring assembly.

Customization: * * * *
You can customize Steyrs where it counts. The only real bummers are lack of spare parts, sights, and gunleather available at your local gun shop, but Steyr owners typically know what they’re getting in to.

Overall: * * * * *
Given that this gun originated nearly two decades ago, this gun deserves a perfect score. I will be disappointed if the grip isn’t modular by 2020, however, and a reintroduction of the original manual safety in front of the trigger would be a cool option for some.

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47 Responses to Gun Review: Steyr L9-A1 9mm Pistol

  1. So. The contest entry deadline was 23 days ago. And yet the author knows/knew that Glock’s 5th Gen (M) was sans finger grooves despite the fact that information only came to light 6 or 7 days ago (for us mere mortals). So, is TTAG accepting late submissions or are we reading the works of an inside man…?

    • Yeah, were I only an inside man, Glock would be getting a piece of my mind for re-making the wheel for minimal improvements on the blasted 17m. I’ll spare you the rant lest I break the internet with a torrent of terrible truths.

  2. I’ve had a Steyr M9-A1 for several years now (same gun, just a shorter barrel & slide). It’s fantastic and I would definitely recommend it over a Glock any day.

  3. Great review, but heavily packed with gun writing stock phrases and cliches!

    There’s gotta be a better synonym for trigger than “go pedal.”

      • I guess, but if you search TTAG for the words “bang switch” or “booger hook” it will find damn near every single gun review ever published on the site.

        Likewise “go pedal,” or “minute of bad guy.”

        • Forgive me father, for I have written submissions with Robert Farago’s Legion review open in one window and the TTAG style guide in another. Desperate times, desperate measures…

          Also: I’m a wordy son of a gun, but I do shoot better when mad at myself.

        • Hehe. I can forgive RF because he is the OG of TTAG. Your review is great, I just can’t un-see those cliches no matter how hard I try.

          That’s probably the reason I use words like “cromulent” when I write about guns.

  4. As a proud owner of a Steyr M40A1 running a 357 Sig barrel, I can attest to the quality, craftsmanship and accuracy of Steyr’s handgun line. Hands down the best stock trigger on the market for every handgun I have ever shot, which is quite a few.

    For those turned off by the sights you should know that I too had issue with them initially. Same as the author, lots of lateral movement. So much so that, at one point, I replaced the factory sights with aftermarket 3 dot sights.

    Prior to doing so however, I had taken the M40/M357 to the range for some speed drills. After changing the sights and returning to the range I noticed that while my accuracy while shooting at paper targets (standing still) was improved my speed drills on steel and on the move suffered, a lot. To be sure, I put the factory sights back on and headed out to the range to test my findings. Lo and behold my times were faster! Considering shot recovery is a big concern of mine with a 40/357 I am all about the added speed. The factory sights have remained on as a result. Eventually, after drilling over and over again with the triangular sights my aim improved considerably. Food for thought should any of you consider picking one up.

    • Where did you get the .357 Sig barrel? I know Steyr made them for a while, but they don’t sell them directly anymore.

      • I was lucky enough to purchase one from the factory directly while they did. Mine is truly a rare breed since they don’t make a M357 anymore and there don’t appear to be any new barrels being sold any longer. I am sure you could find one if you searched hard enough but it won’t be easy.

        It’s worth it though. The lower recoil due to the ergonomics makes the 357 sig round ideal for this gun.

  5. Very good review EXCEPT why compare? Let it stand alone. It sounds very impressive. Impressive enough to try and find one at my local gun shops(never seen one)…

    • I compared it to answer “why not Glock”. These really are incredible firearms, not to mention their current price-point. If Steyr would just give 150 guns to US ranges conditional on their use as rental guns, sales could go way up. They should have done this ten years ago. Seriously… why by the Ruger American when it’s been on the market with better machining for nearly two decades? The only downside is the width and angle, which you can only assess in person.

      Thanks for the head’s up: I’ll include more solo shots next time!

  6. I’ve had a first generation M40-A1 for about a decade and added a late-model M357-A1 last year despite the availability of interchangeable barrels. Two guns is better than one, right? The accuracy potential out of these firearms is phenomenal. The grip frame and related ergonomics make recoil superbly manageable. You either love or hate the sights, I found them intuitive after about one box. Personally I get my best accuracy out of a service pistol with the Steyr stock trapezoid sights.

    The M40-A1 was bought used with a claim of roughly 500 rounds through it. It has seen considerable use at the range and in a handful of pistol matches over the last decade. ‘She’ has had approximately 6500 rounds down the pipe and just keeps going. I’ve had two stovepipes running reloads (while developing rounds), one failure to extract and one that wouldn’t go into battery (reload) in the duration of my ownership.

    • Sarsilmaz ST10, reviewed here by yours truly a few weeks ago: look ‘er up: fabulous buy for those who prefer Sigs, Smiths, and Berettas.

  7. Not a fan of tactical Tupperware nines, but I would like to add one of these to my collection for the soul purpose of “it’s funny lookin’.”

  8. damnit damnit damnit, i reviewed the s9 version but this is alot better than mine. i didn’t have the time to take the pictures i wanted to. good review.

    • Man, I’d love to read your review. If you submitted it, it should still be in the works.

      The L9 is what let me fall for Steyr: long barrel, short grip, and all the other goodies. I always felt the M9 had the disadvantages of a long grip and those of a short barrel while Gun Tests Magazine did a rather unflattering side-by-side review of the M and S series… the slides were almost the same length but the early S’s had reliability issues.

      I’ve wondered most about the grip on those subcompacts. The S looks like Steyr’s G26, but it has the stats of a G19. Does it feel too large?

  9. why do you have it listed as a 4.5 lb trigger pull when the manuals and websites all say 5.5 lb???? its 4mm of travel until the trigger breaks, maybe that is what you were thinking about.

    • Hey Preston! All my measurements are taken independently. That’s an honest 4.5 lb pull on my Wheeler Engineering Trigger Pull Scale taken from the center of where my trigger finger falls. It may have lightened up over time, but it’s 4.5 and feels lighter. It was harder for me to measure the trigger travel and reset, but suffice it to say it’s short.

      I’ve heard that the original Steyrs had heavier triggers, but these reports also very depending on the production year. Why Steyr can’t batch their mods in generations is beyond me, but they still make a good product. Thankfully, any L9 or L40 should have the most recent upgrades and the triggers should be comparable to Harry’s specimens.

  10. I am a die hard Glock guy, but I have always been curious about Steyr pistols. Great review. If it wasn’t for lack of after market support, I would probably have a couple of these.

    • CONVERT!

      I’ve actually heard Steyr’s customer service is admirable. As a Glockster myself, let’s be real: what was the last time a factory component broke on you under responsible use? At current prices, you could get a Steyr plus full Steyr “repair kit” for that new G19 and spare mags…

      If by aftermarket support you mean you can’t get pink slide plates… well… that’s another matter entirely. 😉

  11. Just found out the glock 17m was recalled, check out the story at the firearm blog or the bearing news. So much for pperfection.

  12. Love my M in .40.
    Want a 9.

    IWB was mentioned,
    Not for me, that trigger is just too soft!
    Outside waist holster, perfect.

  13. I’ve got a C9-A1 and love the feel of the gun in my hand, the trigger, sights, and ease of disassembly (you don’t need to pull the trigger, just push the button and rotate the release). I find it very accurate.

    But… There is no aftermarket support for the gun (and no factory night sights), the short, light trigger and no other safety makes me leery of it for concealed carry work, you can only get spare mags from Steyr, and it’s reliability is an asterisk.

    My Steyr feeds fine but locks back with the last round still in the magazine. No matter how it is loaded, how many rounds I load, the bottom round creeps forward as I shoot and the gun fails to load it. I’ve seen other Steyrs at my local range with all sorts of problems, including FTFs and double feeds. One of the range guns failed to properly load new magazines 40% of the time.

    I wanted a Steyr after handling one at the NRA show in 2007. When I visited their booth this year, it was dilapidated. Whatever they are doing, it isn’t working.

      • Good question Matt. For one, Steyr USA has a phenomenal reputation for making every Steyr in the US work properly.
        Even the batch of FrankenSteyrs imported by PW are covered. There is absolutely no reason for anyone to have a Steyr S, C, M, or L that malfunctions.

  14. While the gun is a good looker and feels good in the hand, why did you spend time talking about how there’s hardly any accessories available for the gun and still give it 4 stars in customization? And if there’s no holsters, sights, or parts available, why spend the $450 on a repair kit when you can save $20 and buy a new gun?

    • Hear me out Daniel:

      I can’t get trapezoidal sights, cocobolo grips, or true Wilson-grade gunsmithing for my Glock. How is it a five?

      I can’t get trapezoidal sights for a 1911… actually, can’t get many sights depending on the dovetails… and really ought to turn to a gunsmith to swap out my (expensive) aftermarket parts. How is it a five?

      To some extent, everything is relative here. How does the Steyr fair for what it is?

      If you want sights, you can get three-dot NS from Trijicon. Black out the whites if you want traditional target sights. If you wanted CAPs, HDs, or XS Big Dots, you already have them in the Trapezoid. If you insist on CAPs, HDs, or XSBDs, you never would have been interested in the Steyr in the first place.

      If you want holsters, they abound ONLINE. Leather, paper, plastic, IWB, OWB, heck, even pocket… look online. Your LGS can’t do everything.

      If you want aftermarket parts on this polymer duty gun, you’re wrong. There, I said it.

      The lavender slide plate with the Bible verse on it will make you look like a religious fanatic in court. If you’re that artsy, look into Cerakote. Any improvement on the trigger should be done with Mother’s Mag. Unlike the Glock, if you don’t like the gun in itself, you have no reason to buy it. You can still do all the usual garage gunsmithing, slap on some Talon Grips, and Cerakote the gun until it’s a giant clay pot.

      If you want spare parts, you’ve got me, but I’m going on Steyr’s reputation for customer service. I’d like to have an extractor and a few recoil springs on hand, I probably could if I’d just ask, but it isn’t worth the trouble.

      FYI, that $450 repair kit was… a new gun. Break the new one in as you’re waiting for old faithful to return from Steyr.

  15. These are like unobtanium, never see them for sale. The first gen with the proprietary rail detents were as cheap as 349.00. No support for them. Good guns in their own right but too hard to get accessories and parts for.

  16. Unobtanium???? Total BS. There are always at least a half dozen available on Gunbroker alone. Now if you want to beef about GB prices fine. (I ordered mine NIB for $525 via my LGS two years ago) But don’t say they aren’t for sale.

  17. Great review and photos! Especially seeing the Loaded Chamber Indicator in action. One feature not mentioned is that the entire metal chassis can be easily removed from the polymer grip frame for maintenance or tuning. I was lucky and found a brand new M9, no dash, first model with the brilliant safety. I had abandoned my Glock because it just was not as “safe” as I wanted to carry IWB. The Steyr was all that and MORE. That Steyr safety is “stealthy” in that any gun snatcher would not even know it was there and could not fire the pistol! I find the sights wonderful, the original style grip PERFECT for my hands (I like it better than the A-1.) The only improvement needed was a pair of vertical strips of “stair tread tape” up the grips for a no-slip grasp. It has less recoil than any 9mm I have tried, and it just points naturally. Seek thee out an first version if you can, but just TRY a Steyr pistol!………………elsullo

    • Hey Man: I’ve never had the chance to actually shoot the original models with the manual safety. You push them up into the frame before pulling back, right: is this awkward or instinctive? Does it make safety-haters more or less irascible?

  18. Let me add a few points as a person who lives and shoots in Austria.
    Steyr (pronounced “Shtyre”) offers adjustable target sights (which the consent here is shoot high, so that you will need a higher front sight in addition) and standard rectangle sights (white dots on back sight, red dot on front sight) as accessories.
    Actually, the L9-A1 comes with the rectangle sights as standard here in Austria, and the trapezoidal sights are an accessory. I got a set cheap (now I know why) and tried them for about 650 rounds. I always got vertical strings on my targets (we mainly shoot 25 m (= 28 yds) here, and when I changed back to rectangle, I could physically feel the relief on my eyes.
    What I’d like to have most is some way to adjust the grip to fit my long, “hollow” hands – there always seems to be some hand left when I try to wrap them around my Steyr. 🙂 As a comparison: my other gun is a Glock 30 (the version with the large grip, not the SFP), and I just love the grip.
    Sometimes, I think of selling my L9 (it is a bit of a chore to get a license for more than 2 handguns here) for something else, but then I look at her rakish lines and say “Never.” 🙂

    • Hey Longshanks,

      I’ve wanted to correspond with a card-carrying Austrian for a while. Up for a few questions?

      1. How do the red/white three dot sights compare to traditional white three dots? I saw a set at a gun show ages ago and wish I had paid more attention.

      2. Does your modern Steyr have the safety? For some reason Steyr USA will NOT import the safety models, even if we offer to throw money at them. It looks like the new safeties are a bit larger and one imagines they’re a significant improvement over the slim blades from the late 90s. Any thoughts?

      3. What kind of presence does Steyr have in Austria? Do you see many of them at the range or in competition? At my fifteen or so local gun shops, I think there are two Steyrs currently in stock. At US public ranges, I’m lucky to see one every five to ten trips. What does the field look like across the pond?

      Keep enjoying those rakish lines, ~MM

      • Hey Matt,

        thanks for your interest, happy to help (if it does). My thoughts on your questions:

        1. Short version – I don’t care for the red dot. Long version – the red dot on the front sight only catches your attention when the lighting is very good (e.g. direct sunlight on the sight). As soon as the lighting gets merely good (direct shadow, room on a bright day, not to mention artificial lighting) the red dot blends with the black sight much faster than the white dots, and the two white dots on the rear sight start catching your eye first, which feels sort of weird. I think Steyr tried to be different in their sight design, but failed – there is a good reason why all the dots are white on all other guns.

        2. I only know that trigger guard safety from photos in reviews, I have never seen it in person. Certainly, my gun (purchased new in Austria in 2014) does not have it.

        3. Steyr have an excellent name in Austria for their hunting rifles, traditional or modern style. They work hard and successfully to keep that image, but make almost no effort to push their handguns. I don’t know why, but perhaps it would be difficult to be noticed next to that other Austrian handgun manufacturer, Glock. Fact is, I have only seen one (1) other Steyr handgun ever, anywhere in competitions, courses, or at gun ranges. People who do sports shooting (here, that is 25 m = 28 yds) buy “real” sports guns like STI or SIG or whatever. In self-defense or practical gun courses, as good as everybody has a Glock. Might be different in IPSC (I don’t know the community), but I doubt it very much. The story is different with the Steyr AUG semi-auto rifle – I’ve seen a lot more of those than Steyr handguns.

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