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Steyr L-A1 pistol

TTAG would never Steyr you wrong. OK it’s pronounced “shteye-r.” But in my business you don’t cut funny. And it’s true: when it comes to reviewing products upon which your life may depend, TTAG wouldn’t give you a bum Steyr. So we can’t hand-on-heart say that Steyr’s double-action-only L-A1 Service Pistol is a great gun or merely a $560 (retail) GLOCK wanna-be. We’ll try to get ahold of a test gun for review. (Let’s hope we have more luck than U.S. gun stores, who rarely have Steyrs in stock.) Meanwhile, I’ll say this about Steyrs: they have really great, crisp triggers and the grip angle is more severe than a GLOCK’s (but they point better). YMMV. Press release via after the jump . . .

TRUSSVILLE, Ala. – Steyr Arms has announced the availability of the new full-size L-A1 service pistol to the U.S. market. Originally introduced last year at the IWA Outdoor Classics Show in Nuremburg, Germany, high demand from the American market has brought the the L-A1 pistol here. Featuring a full-length slide, 4.5-inch cold-hammer-forged barrel and 17-round magazine capacity for its 9x19mm Luger chambering and 12 rounds for .40 S&W and .357 SIG versions, the new L-A1 service pistol is ideal for the U.S. market. The Steyr L-A1 was designed to serve the dual role of a duty and sporting handgun.

The new L-A1 is nearly identical in form and function to other handguns in the Steyr line, which combine a comfortable fit, a low bore axis, remarkable safety features, extreme reliability and amazing accuracy-thanks to a consistently crisp trigger break. The L-A1’s full-size polymer frame offers unparalleled ergonomics with a high grip that places the barrel axis lower in the hand to mitigate muzzle rise, while creating a perfect grip angle and a very natural point of aim.

The L-A1 incorporates a newly designed loaded chamber indicator that sits flush in the rear of the slide when the chamber is empty and is raised slightly when the chamber is loaded for a visual and tactile indicator of the firearm’s condition. Also new on the L-A1 is a reversible magazine release that is easily swapped for right- or left-handed shooters.

The drift-adjustable sights are in the Steyr’s intuitive trapezoidal configuration, and a Picatinny rail on the frame’s dust cover provides a mounting position for illumination and laser-aiming devices. The integrated trigger safety within the recently redesigned Reset Action System trigger requires positive finger pressure to operate the L-A1’s remarkable double-action-only mechanism. This striker-fired pistol also incorporates a keyed safety lock. The barrel is cold-hammer forged with conventional rifling, and the chamber is fully supported.

The L-A1 incorporates a newly designed loaded chamber indicator that sits flush in the rear of the slide when the chamber is empty and is raised slightly when the chamber is loaded for a visual and tactile indicator of the firearm’s condition. Also new on the L-A1 is a reversible magazine release that is easily swapped for right- or left-handed shooters.

The suggested retail price of the Steyr L-A1 pistol is $560.

Established in 1864 in Steyr, Austria, Steyr Arms is one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious firearms manufacturers. Steyr’s comprehensive lines of premium hunting rifles, precision sporting and tactical rifles, and striker-fired handguns are technically mature, and their subtle elegance also communicates the harmony between appearance and substance. Steyr’s legendary SBS actions and cold-hammer-forged barrels are distinctive and unparalleled. Steyr Arms is also the U.S. importer for Merkel firearms and Anschutz precision rimfire sporting rifles. For more information, contact Steyr Arms at 7661 Commerce Lane, Trussville, AL 35173; call (205) 655-8299; or visit Like us on Facebook at

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Be sure to visit Steyr Arms’ booth 10246 at SHOT Show to see the new L-A1 pistol.

Steyr Arms Pistol Specifications
Model: L-A1
Purpose: Service, sporting, target shooting
Manufacturer: Steyr Mannlicher GmbH
Kleinraming, Austria
Importer: Steyr Arms, Inc.
7661 Commerce Lane
Trussville, AL 35173
(205) 655-8299
Operation: Semiautomatic
Caliber: 9x19mm Luger, .40 S&W, .357 SIG
Slide material: Steel
Magazine type/capacity: Double-stack steel box/17 rounds (9mm), 12 rounds (.40, .357)
Barrel: 4.52-inch cold-hammer-forged
Rifling: Conventional, 6 grooves, RH twist
Sights: Drift-adjustable trapezoidal
Finish: Mannox
Trigger type: Reset Action System (DAO with integrated safety)
Pull weight: 5.5 pounds
Frame material: Reinforced polymer
Checkering: Anti-slip stippled texture
Weight, empty: 28.8 ounces (29.6 ounces L40-A1)
Overall length: 7.9 inches
Height: 5.1 inches
Width: 1.2 inches
Included accessories: Owners manual, lockable box, extra magazine
MSRP: $560 – See more at:

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      • Surely you’ve seen a PMR30?

        I must have very strange aesthetic tastes. I think its a rather attractive pistol. I especially like how high up the web of the hand will sit with these ergonomics – almost inline with the barrel. My only reservation is oddly high cutout for the magazine. It seems strange to have that cut-out go up under the your grip so that you would have to relax your grip to let the magazine fall free. But the sights are PERFECT! I love’em.

        I look forwards to the review.

        • I rebuke your slander of the great John Moses Browning, sir/madam!

          …seriously, though, you think a 1911 is ugly? I didn’t know such a thought could even cross the mind.

    • beauty must be in the eye of the beholder, because I think that Styer is much more aesthetically pleasing than a Glock.

      But I’d take a HK or Sig over either.

      • I’m with you. The weird taper that Glocks have has always visually detracted from the its looks for me. I don’t care for the grips either.

    • Steyr was actually one of the pioneers of autoloading pistols, starting with the M1912. They have made numerous contributions to the market, including the notion of let’s say “unusual” looking pistols.

      I have an M9 and an M357 – they don’t see much use (the M9 is mostly a loaner for students) but they are both accurate as heck, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a malfunction that wasn’t ammo-related in either.

    • Really? I like and respect Glocks but they are about the ugliest autoloader out there. The only “beauty” they achieve is in their function.

    • Yes, when someone points out how ugly a Glock is, you should show them how incredibly sexy a Steyr is.

  1. I could care less what a firearm looks like as long as it does its job
    when I need it to be it at the range, hunting, self-defense, or offense.

  2. I love my Steyr. I just wish it didn’t have that damned loaded chamber indicator. I think the LCI has been the source of a few bizzare malfunctions i’ve had.

  3. Great. Another exotic you wont’ be able to find holster or gear for.

    And in a few years, spare mags will be $50 each.

    Thanks, Steyr.

    I’ll pass.

    • I’ve had no trouble finding holsters (both leather OWB and leather / kydex IWB) , magazines, or night sights for my Steyr M9-A1.

      Maybe you should do some research before you spout nonsense?

    • I REALLY like my L-A1 with MTR Holster.
      Yeah, maybe you should do some research before your nonsense prejudices…

  4. Hickock 45 did a review on the Steyr M9 A1 in 9mm about a month ago. I’d love to see a TTAG review on a Steyr!

  5. Edited Press Release.

    “Behold, the re-stamped gun we now call the L-A1.We hope you don’t remember the M9-A1,since Berettas lawyers chewed us a new one about the name!

    If you’ve got a spare $550 burning a hole in your pocket, and a backup Glock 17 is just too sensible, here’s an option with less holster support, no aftermarket to speak of, and an inferior record of reliability.We hope you use this gun for something, because it’s too ugly for sport and too new for duty use.Remember -a Glock 17s cheaper, easier to shoot , and more reliable-but it AIN’T got TRIANGULAR sights!

    Impress the girls with your pyramid sight picture today.Only $550 with a $100 gunbroker markup and $100 FFL fee!

    • I would, and did, take the Steyr over the Glock any day. Holsters are very easy to get. It does lack aftermarket parts, but that’s because it doesn’t need it, you dont have to swap out 400 bucks in parts to make it not suck. And other than the very early models, which had some extractor problems, the reliability is great. Personally I would rather get a free new extractor than have to get a new trigger and sights, at bare minimum, to have an even decent gun.

      Glocks were great 30 years ago, but times have changed while Glock has not. Now it’s just the Camry of guns, reliable, but sub par in every other way.

      • 100% correct. I’d take my Steyr with its fantastic trigger and supreme ergonomics over a Glock any day. Every Glock fanboy that I’ve convinced to try my Steyr has loved it more than their Glock.

      • +1

        I find myself taking the L9 out to the range over several other polymer pistol designs.

        I have Glocks, M&P, M9 (the Beretta M9 that is), 1911. I can say the Steyr L9 is a very under-rated pistol. Grip can be a little small since you cannot add adjustable backstraps. You can get a very high grip (though you can just as high on a glock). Trigger is good, and almost like a two stage with the takeup and the wall is very clearly defined, and the break is crisp. Grip texture is poor. I absolutely love the trap sights.

        Reliability is not so great as the slide lockup for the first 500 or so rounds sometimes would not be 100%, not a safety issue but not good enought for it to be my “go-to” gun.

        Ugly? eh people say glocks are ugly, to each his own.

        Not sure why this is “new” – its been out since June. It is on several gun retail websites.

  6. Joe Grine tested a similar Steyr last year, and it was pretty damned nice. Extremely accurate and controllable, with a fantastic trigger. It was a bit of an ammo snob, though, and it didn’t like some brands of 9mm at all.

    • The Steyr M series has been around since 1999. I think if it were going to get popular in media it would have by now.

    • The Steyr pistols have made appearances in at least two recent movies. The villain in the latest Bond movie used one and Liam Neeson had one in Taken 2. But by no means are they as ubiquitous as the Glock.

    • Because the only difference from the.40 version would be the barrel. All versions use the same frame. A .45 version would require nearly everything to be re-engineered and while that would be cool it was probably more than they wanted to bite off ATM. That’s why you notice that manufacturers come our with 9mm/.40 versions simultaneously and a.45 version is down the road if at all

      • And America is the only one with an obsession with the .45… Every other country used to/still issues police weapons chambered in “mouse gun” caliber a such .32.

        • “My service weapon is a Walther PPK, chambered for the .32ACP cartridge. It has a magazine capacity of seven rounds plus one in the chamber. And if whatever you are shooting dosent die after you pump eight .32 caliber slugs into it its probably a dragon!” – Archer

  7. Thank you for the Steyr pronunciation guide.
    …actually needed that. So now if I go to a gunshop for a Steyr product, I won’t sound silly.

    • Unless the guy at the counter hasn’t read the guide, Then he thinks you sound like the tool at the pet store that says DAT-shunned.

  8. Austria was the probably the “test market” for this gun. It´s available here for about a year now and they already made minor design changes. Primarily on the extractor (I think…). The first models had problems with either not ejecting brass, or ejecting it directly to the shooters face.

    The latest versions seem to run better and here it´s growing on the IPSC market. As it has a very crisp trigger and you are not as limited as with the Glock 34.

    The M9 Series was hardly a seller in europe. I think there were about 2-3 people in the gunclub at Steyr itself who had an M9 🙂

  9. I saw a fellow at gunshop today who bought a L-A1 for 720 € (MSRP here is 756,00 € incl. tax)
    But his version had a small grip safety. I have never seen it before.
    Still pretty expensive as Glocks Gen3 run here for about 570,- (incl. tax)

    • Probably a separate barrel kit, in time they might actually market a .357 version out of the box but they probably figured that it would pay better to stock shelves with the popular models first.

  10. I love how so many couch commondos comment on a gun they have never seen in person let alone handled or fired. If you’re so thick headed to reject anything but your precious Glock, you deserve nothing better than your Glock.

    Before you go on a rant about Glocks in competition, realize comp glocks are nothing close to your factory sponge box.

    All factory guns can stand improving upon, glocks need more improvements than any other. M&P’s out perform Glocks factory made. Hell even XDm’s!

    Glock-heads, pick up any other gun, a CZ, an M&P, a Steyr and see how ergonomics will improve your shooting abilities.

  11. I like that really great, crisp trigger, full-length slide 4.5-inch cold-hammer-forged barrel and 17-round magazine capacity, comfortable grip fit, a low bore axis, remarkable safety features, extreme reliability, reversible magazine release option with amazing accuracy and affordable price, Austria Glock must-be pistol

  12. Steyr L9-A1 ugly? Well, for me it looks like a reliable tool, how it should.

    I’m now since over 2 years a Steyr M & L9 A1 external company Test-shooter.
    I tried a lot of test items to check where the advantages or disadvantages of them are.
    Beside all those items, the Steyr pistols were always great to handle, accurate and reliable. All items, which gave advantages were later standard for the series production. I kept for myself the triangular sights just on one of the spare pistols, for collecting it original as it comes. All other got Steyr optional sights. The L9-A1 got a LPA like adjustable sight from Steyr, because I checked many rounds of different ammo and use it sometimes as IPSC gun.

    Who ever dismounted the Steyr and has a bit of technical understanding, recognise obvious, that it is a better piece of pistole than a Walther P99, Glock, HK, or other Polymer pistole. For me it is the best polymer pistole available (currently). I really looking forward to the in planing new grips, which should fit for my large hands a bit better.
    If they are around, the pistole will not only my tactical pistole, it will be my one and only IPSC pistole.
    For all the “unlikers” of this pistol. Just dismount one and check the details (all steel trigger group, with rollers inside, etc…..), check the size of the locking surfaces, the length of the guiding, etc. pp and you will be surprised and amazed. Give this pistol a try and you will be satisfied. Especially the L9 shoot like a compensator pistole. Very very fast follow-ups are possible. 1/10 of a second and the follow-up round will be where the first is.

    I think the main problem for the Steyr pistol is its MARKETING. A shame for this great pistole. I have a few of them, and I will not sell any of them.

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