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TTAG’s getting something of an industry rep for our Armed Intelligentsia’s constant kvetching about any firearm that costs more than a Disney World vacation for four.

I tell the upmarket shotgun, rifle and pistol purveyors that less than one percent of our readers ever comment. Those who do skew bitter and twisted value-driven. Well, here’s fresh meat for the price-inflamed groundlings: an extremely soft-shooting STI carry gun that clocks in at $3,699: the Costa Carry Comp.

To save you the eye damage caused by reading Mr. Costa’s website (white-on-black text just missed being outlawed by the Geneva Convention), here are his bona fides:

Prior to founding Costa Ludus in 2011, Chris Costa spent 4 years as the President of Magpul Dynamics. Before founding Magpul Dynamics, Costa spent 7 years in the private sector at Applied Marine Technologies Inc. (AMTI) on assignment with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Risk Management Division (RMD). At AMTI, Costa specialized in teaching Police Tactical Assault Operations for both Maritime and Critical Infrastructure take-back.

Costa also provided Red Team Vulnerability Assessments on critical infrastructures for the US Government.

Prior to this, Costa spent 12 years with the United States Coast Guard, conducting counter-drug operations and special missions in Europe, the Middle East, and South America with such units as: the International Training Division (ITD), Maritime Law Enforcement Academy, Plank-Owner of Port Security Unit 302, and the Taclet Law Enforcement Team North.

Some say Mr. Costa is a bit too operational for “normal” folk. But I reckon he knows how to customize a 1911. We report, you deride. Or praise the capitalist system, set your sights high (so to speak) and aspire to own one just because you can.


STI International has teamed up with self-defense and weapons training expert Chris Costa to design the new Costa series of pistols.

The Costa Carry Comp features an island sight, which is attached to the barrel instead of the slide, with the compensator ahead of the front sight. This technology reduces muzzle jump, making it easy to stay focused on the front sight for follow up shots.

The compensator reduces recoil by 63% and the gun uses the STI Recoil Master dual spring system to reduce recoil even further, making the Costa Carry Comp one of the smoothest shooting pistols on the market.

The STI Costa Carry Comp is available in both 9mm and .45 ACP in the STI exclusive 2011 platform, which provides higher round capacity. The Modular design of the 2011 transfers recoil along a flatter plain for better control and faster follow up shots.

The barrel is 4.15 inches (5.1 inches including the Island Comp) and the gun has a black Diamond Like Carbon finish with tan TreeBark stippled grips and a Picatinny under-rail to mount accessories. Sights are a fixed ledge rear with a fiber optic front. Two magazines are included, both 126mm and 140mm.

Costa Carry Comp Pistol from STI

The Costa Carry Comp sells for an MSRP of $3,699.

For more information, please visit or e-mail [email protected].

About STI International. Performance Defined. STI is based out of Georgetown, Texas and is the premier manufacturer of 1911 & 2011 style firearms. The company is dedicated to providing the highest quality firearms for competition, duty, or self-defense use. From introducing the firearms industry into the precision world of “EDM” hammers, sears, and components to the invention of the legendary 2011 platform, STI has continually led the firearms market in product development and quality.

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  1. I think those grips are horrendous. And I think that’s because unless you’re a serious competition shooter there is absolutely no reason to spend 3700$ on a gun. I would be terrified to carry that in the same way that even if I had the money I would not drive a Lamborghini day to day with the jackassery committed on public roadways

    • How about I can buy three Sigs or I can get a lifetimes worth of underwear for that!

    • I just bought a ed brown kobra carry and that thing looks like a total waste of money to me. Why does putting his name on it justify the price tag? Is it a carry gun or a competition gun? It’s an anomaly, and before you throw 3700 bucks at a one off you should be able to hold it and shoot it…… like anything custom, and that is basically what that is, may be valuable to you but what’s it worth on gunbroker used in two years?

  2. Too rich for my blood but if I could afford an STI for range toy I would. They have a highly regarded reputation in the shooting sports world. It costs that much because that’s what it costs. If I told you that you could buy a factory Formula 1 car but it was 3,000,000 you would all bitch but the guys driving it know they won’t win the race with a Honda Accord.

  3. Costs too much, you know this is an insult to the working man, right? JK, honestly for any high end gun makers reading the comments here, I’m always trying to figure out what my first multithousand dollar gun is going to be and I always like reading reviews about them here no matter how many glocks I can buy for that price. Also whenever I type a guns name into Google + the word review if TTAG has done one it’s in the top two or three results. The reviews live on while us daily readers find something new to bitch about. And honestly I’ve had some recent complaints about these guys but their gun reviews are second to none.

  4. “TTAG’s getting something of an industry rep for our Armed Intelligentsia’s constant bitching and moaning about any firearm that costs more than a Disney World vacation for four.”



    A bitching-and-moaning, whining-and-crying TTAG commentator is a *happy* TTAG commentator.


    • + yeah, it’s like the military, if you hear complaints, all’s good, if you hear silence, it’s mutiny and the plank.

      Good ~ review but I always like mine with RDR (Rounds Down Range) if that means me begging them to let you shoot it for me, so be it.

  5. I don’t have one for a full review, but I got to shoot this gun at STI headquarters before it was released to the public. It is stupid flat shooting. Rapid fire mag dumps of the hottest 45 you can load and it’s just purring along.

    • Kinda jealous about now…
      I had a comped race gun I built for speed steel shooting. They do run flat out level.
      I may just have to build another for carry. Off to the gun room junk drawer.

  6. The wisdom of sticking the weight and length of a compensator onto a carry pistol seems questionable.
    Are all the cool kids carrying race guns for protection now?

    Make a competition gun and sell it for $4K. Make a carry gun and sell it for $2.5K. Don’t make a carry gun with competition features and sell it at competition prices. Nobody will carry it, nobody will compete with it. They’ll show up on Armslist in ten years NIB for $10K and nobody will buy them.

  7. STI makes some of the ugliest 1911’s in my eyes. For that kind of money, I can visit the Wilson Custom Shop and get just as good, if not better, exactly how I want it.

    As far as costs go, people routinely buy that much worth of rifle and scope, or spend $2800 on a SCAR and out fit with optic.

    • Yeah, I got ~2.5K in an AR (burned on a sunken ship in a body of water somewhere) and I couldn’t easily recount how I got there. No gun-nuts yet though, so . . .

  8. Kinda outside my budget. If I bought it, my Asian wife would roundhouse kick me in the face, but looks great nonetheless. Wish I had one, or two.

  9. A carry gun with a compensator?
    Do you also carry plugs in your ears, or is the purpose of the comp to rupture your eardrums so you don’t hear the ringing in your ears after a defensive shooting?

  10. It would be the perfect gun cept for 3 things. 1) It’s a 1911. 2) It’s .45acp. 3) It’s way to costly for a carry gun.

    Other than that, it’s perfect.

    • ‘The STI Costa Carry Comp is available in both 9mm and .45 ACP in the STI exclusive 2011 platform, which provides higher round capacity.’
      Which reminds me – where is .40 sw version? I’ve read somewhere it’s clearly superior? ?

  11. I have an easier time spending big-ish money on a rifle vs a pistol, but I want a high end competetion 1911, I just need to cordon off the money. Too many other cool gun parts get in the way of saving for the 1911

  12. Guys, Wilson Combat offers a carry 1911 at a ridiculous price? What should we do?
    We could offer a gun half the price so that people can actually afford and carry it or maybe… we could just… make one that is even more expensive. Nothing beats a bigger price tag! Our customers won’t get the difference between price and value anyway.

  13. Love my STI Escort 9mm everyday carry. If I felt I needed more capacity, I would consider this one.

  14. I’d have to ship this to the lgs I trust – three hours away – instead of the mouth-breathers in my current zipcode. Looks really cool, but an ACOG and Kriss Vector with a brace are coming first.

    • Oh Nyne, I’m sorry to hear about your loss of eyesight… ‘cuz, y’know, Kriss Vector being the ugliest gun ever? Only a blind person would buy it? That sort of thing?

      • Taking Glock magazines, having a magwell that acts as a quasi-vfg, legally being a pistol again with the brace…it’s a lot to love. Kind of like a rich girl with a good bmi but bleh looks. Form follows function.

        • LOL, you are not wrong… I’m just so shallow that looks are important. I never could settle for a “Butter Face”

  15. STI guns are awesome. Not sure I would EDC one, though. My Glocks get pretty banged up – but they’re only Glocks. I may buy an STI a few years down the road. My next gun will be a Smith 627 PC.

  16. Some neat ideas with that 1911. Not quite what I want in a carry gun, but I am realizing that I am going to be in the market for a higher end 1911 in the somewhat near future. Just not quite this much higher end and not quite that tricked.

  17. I don’t have a problem with expensive pistols in general but as carry guns I fail to see the point.

    If I’m ever going to carry a pistol as an EDC that’s $3500+ I’ll just go whole hog and get a pair of the modded 93R’s Selene carries in Underworld because that would be freaking cool.

  18. Why does this cost $1000 more than a fully-featured racegun from the same company?

  19. Cool gun. I have trouble wrapping my mind around double stack 1911’s. Just an aesthetics thing for me. Dunno if I would carry a high dollar carry gun. I can easily replace my Glock (queue the haters) if and when it’s confiscated after a DGU. My fear would be that my $3,500 pistola would get “lost” in the evidence room.

    I don’t know why people get all upset about high dollar stuff. Sure I would love unlimited funds for fun stuff, but the reality is there are certain things I can and can not afford. I don’t get upset by this it’s just reality. Everybody has a budget. Be it $500 or $5 million whattya gonna do? I may not personally believe in or afford a $3,500 carry gun but I’m not gonna whine about it or call someone an idiot for buying such. I would never tell anyone how to spend their hard earned (or ill gained) dough.

  20. I’m comfortable with the ‘value-oriented’ label. I don’t care about exclusivity when it comes to a defensive handgun, and I think it’s a sign of douchbaggery when people place too much value on such a thing. To justify a significantly higher price, a gun needs to significantly better at saving my ass when it comes to pew-pew time in whatever environment I might find myself in.

    Likewise, I wouldn’t spend thousands on a watch unless it offered a desired feature set or build quality that was unattainable at a lower price. I have a $300 MSRP Japanese automatic dive watch that is objectively superior to my buddies $3500 Movado (a diamond-accented quartz abomination that his ex wife bought him) in every way that matters to me. I don’t have watch envy in the slightest. Quite the contrary, in fact. On the other hand, I am tempted by some of the newer Casio G-Shocks with MSRPs in the thousands because of impressive feature sets that no other watch can match, most of which relate to accurate timekeeping and toughness. That represents value to me, and I wouldn’t care that the bagger at the grocery store might be wearing the same brand of watch. Check out the full specs on the MR-G series if you want to know what I’m talking about.

  21. I love my STI. I’d love to get another one, maybe even a carry with a compensator. But it would have to have some more juice to it, maybe a .38 super rather than a 9mm.

    Oh, and it would have to be under $2k. Sorry, that’s a hard limit for a carry piece.

  22. Think I would have more fun buying a HiPoint 45 and going on a nice vacation and have a bit of money left over.
    I like having nice guns but I don’t think that gat will make the bay guy any more dead than a pistol costing much less.

  23. Yeah no thanks. If I’m spending than 2 grand on any gun, it better be gold plated or have a giggle switch. I love capitalism. As a consumer, I can continue to scoff at such prices and purchase perfectly good guns for under a grand. That’s the true beauty of the free market. Competition and options.

  24. Why is it that the more money you spend on a 1911, the more ridiculous and impractical it looks?

  25. People with deep pockets can buy whatever they want. As a working stiff, my requirements for a carry gun are only that it go bang each time I pull the trigger and be combat accurate. Whatever is on the receiving end won’t care if its launched from a $300 dollar platform or a $3000 dollar platform.

  26. just more shit for idiots to buy thinking a product will elevate them to the next tier of operator status. when really, you just help these guys buy more stuff to go in their mansions. feed that pig.

    • Butthurt because you can’t afford it? Love all the idiots who hate something over the price. Guess all sports cars over $10K are crap and any house that isn’t a double wide is a POS? Some people appreciate quality and will pay for it. Nothing wrong with spending a few grand on a carry gun, not like it’s a $50K Cabot custom.

  27. So ok are we talking about a expensive gun or an useful gun? STI makes a lot of guns that are very similar to this one that are not competition guns. Yes I own 2 of them for competition but I also own a gun that is very close to the Costa carry which is the STI Guardian. Here are the advantages to this gun:

    Shoots very flat in 9mm without the comp (bull barrel really helps on followup shots)
    Is not much thicker then a 1911 even though it is a double stack
    has a great trigger (mine is set for 4.5 lbs carry weight)
    It is stupid reliable (have had the gun over 1500 rounds in 2 days no issues)
    17 +1 capacity
    weight is where it will help you with recoil and muzzle flip
    Based on competition guns that have won more competition matches then any other gun
    Without the comp they look much better
    Without the comp and the fixed sight barrel the gun cost me 1700 not 3700
    Getting 1.5 groups at 50 yards out of a ransom rest and good ammo

    Only real disadvantage is the price. Comparing it to Wilson combat guns is kind of silly. It shoots about the same group. Costs less then Wilson combats guns. Is in my opinion more reliable then any single stack. Easy to shoot good hard parts gun. Whats not to like.

    I own 4 STI guns and they are 4 of my favorite pistols. I am not defending them because I own them I just really like shooting them. Also for what it is worth I would not buy this pistol because I would want other STI pistols that cost way less. I also would not buy a Wilson because it is not a good value for me. I am sure that someone else would disagree and that is good we both get what we want. Also just for the record I have friends that own wilsons and nighthawks and they shoot very well but not as well as my STI’s again in my opinion.

  28. Ok! you all look at this one way,if you like what you have in your hand then go for it don’t set there and say it not OK for some to pay that much for there toy’s,If you get an AR15 for 400.00 and spend a 1000.00 make work like you want it to is that OK?just asking.

  29. The fact of the matter is that there is a convergence of competition born pistol features finding their way on to serious use pistols. Red dots and comps are gaining acceptance. Frankly Im surprised it has taken this long. Expensive is relative. Im fortunate that for me its not that expensive. And coming from a late 90’s IPSC background, I see the value in these attributes. Would I feel totally undergunned carrying my P2K LEM. NOPE. My pistols are my insurance policies I get to play with. So if its fun to shoot on the range and offers shootability advantages and it is within my means, why not? Cost and value are not the same thing.

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