The STR-9S Combat pistol from Stoeger Industries is the fourth variant of the STR series. Made by Benelli’s Stoeger Silah factory in Turkey, the Combat builds on the Optic Ready model by adding a threaded barrel, high-profile sights, a flat trigger and a flared magazine well. Along with its three 20-round magazines, this pistol’s features make it desirable for a broad range of uses including law enforcement, competition and self-defense.
Stoeger’s STR-9S Combat is a full-size pistol chambered in 9 mm Luger. It has nearly identical mechanics to Glock Gen 3 pistols, including a pre-tensioned striker mechanism that fully cocks and then releases when the trigger is depressed. It also shares Glock’s three passive mechanical safeties. These include a pivoting tab in the trigger face that functions as a drop safety and a spring-loaded plunger that captures the firing pin until the trigger is fully depressed, allowing the pistol to be safely carried in a proper holster with a round chambered. A trigger disconnect also prevents the pistol from firing if the slide is out of battery.
The Combat also copies the Glock’s molded-in slide rails and characteristic dual-sided takedown latch and uses essentially the same fieldstripping procedure. Its one-piece polymer frame has a dustcover with an integral Picatinny accessory rail for mounting a light or laser. A recessed section in the rail bears a stainless-steel tab engraved with the pistol’s serial number.
The trigger guard is generously sized to allow the shooter to wear moderately thick gloves in wintertime without activating the trigger. The trigger guard is squared in front with shallow serrations and a minor swell at its bottom for those who wrap their support-hand index finger around the trigger guard, while its rear has a wide undercut where it meets the grip.
A hammerless firing mechanism and undercut trigger guard allow for a grip design that places the firing hand close to the bore axis, a feature that reduces muzzle rise and allows the shooter to quickly re-establish a sight picture after recoil. Our evaluators found the grip to be comfortable but not ideal. The wide, shallow finger grooves on the frontstrap and the subtle thumb rest dimples on both sides of the grip work well, but several shooters thought the back of the flared magazine-well extension was too angular and should match the rounded contours used at its front. Other shooters preferred firing the pistol without this extension altogether, removing it with the supplied Allen wrench.
Three interchangeable backstraps are included, each having a flattened pyramid texture on the rear and crinkle texturing on the sides. Though changeable backstraps are marketed as beneficial to shooter comfort, they can also improve marksmanship by optimizing trigger reach, which helps the shooter press the trigger straight to the rear without disturbing sight alignment.
The pistol’s hinged trigger is straight with a flat face, which for many shooters reduces the perceived weight of pull compared to curved triggers. A hinged, straight trigger is also easier for a practiced shooter to alter the trigger’s weight of pull; placing the finger lower on the trigger provides more mechanical leverage, requiring less resistance to break a shot.
Our test Combat’s trigger had 1/4" of take-up before it broke just past 90 degrees without any overtravel. The pull weight has a factory specification of 6 lbs., 8 ozs., but our sample averaged a much lighter 4-lb., 11-oz. break at the center of the trigger using a Lyman electronic scale.
The slide has four wide, moderately deep serrations on both its front and rear. An optic cut just forward of the rear sight allows both an optic and the native iron sights to be used. Four adapter plates are provided that accommodate optical sights from the industry’s four main mounting footprints.
The Combat uses steel, dovetail-mounted sights with green fiber-optic inserts: one up front and two in the rear. The front sight blade is 0.44" high, providing an unobstructed sight picture when using a 1.37"-diameter suppressor. Its trailing edge is perpendicular to the slide, which precludes sunlight from reflecting back toward the shooter as with ramped sights. The rear sight is click-adjustable with white witness marks that allow the windage setting to be repeated.
The 4.67" hammer-forged barrel is threaded 1/2x28 TPI at its muzzle and has an O-ring to help prevent the thread protector from loosening. The barrel hood has a small port for visually inspecting the load status of the chamber. The slide, barrel and sights are nitride-finished. The full-length stainless-steel guide rod holds a single flat coil spring captive.
The Combat’s magazine release is reversible. The left-side slide stop lever is an adaptation of the Glock’s but is slightly longer. The 20-round, stainless-steel magazines are very sturdy with witness holes on the back that indicate load status from five to 15 rounds; its body holds 15 rounds and the aluminum extension adds five more.
Our sample Combat functioned without stoppages during a 250-round test using four different loads, yielding mean five-shot groups at 25 yards ranging from 2.5" to 3.1". Many of our evaluators preferred the large backstrap, which reduced perceived recoil and enhanced follow-through.
Stoeger’s STR-9S Combat incorporates the reliable mechanics of the Glock with much improved ergonomics in the grip, accessory rail, trigger guard and trigger face. It also offers worthwhile features the famed Austrian maker does not, including 20-round magazines and a suppressor-compatible barrel and sights—all at an attractive price.