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Review: STI Tactical DS 2011 Pistol in 10 MM

A couple years ago, I fell in love with the 10 mm cartridge and the 1911s in that caliber, including the Para Ordnance Elite Hunter Long Slide. These guns provide near-magnum handgun power in a workhorse 1911 and are accurate, powerful and dependable. They’re also great for home defense, hunting and banging the heck out of steel out to 100 yards.

However, the capacity of eight-to-nine rounds I found in these 1911 platforms had me looking for a little more firepower. A friend mentioned STI International, a fixture on the pistol-competition circuit, so I gave the company a look online. Its relatively-new Tactical DS 2011 appeared perfect, minus one large hitch: the Tactical DS was offered in 9 mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP, according to the company’s website. No 10 mm.

So, operating on the theory that you never know what’s possible until you ask, I contacted STI at its facility in Georgetown, TX. Could the company produce a 2011 Tactical DS in 10 mm, with a five-inch bull barrel and a threaded muzzle for a suppressor I was thinking of buying? Of course, the folks at the company said that wasn’t a problem.

What I ended up receiving was a heck of a pistol that was both tough and accurate. The STI Tactical DS 2011 is a high-capacity 10 mm, Cerakoted and tricked-out gun with a full-length accessory rail beneath the barrel. This is a solid steel-framed handgun, and while it is heavier than most semi-auto 9 mms and .40 S&Ws available today, the weight also helps tame the 10 mm recoil.

The Tactical DS comes standard with a fixed rear sight and a ramped front sight. The magwell is flared to more easily accept magazines, especially when you need to load up in a hurry. It also has an ambidextrous safety. It looked like a keeper, and after some shooting time, I realized it was.

A word about the 2011 models made by STI International. They look a lot like 1911s, because they are essentially STI’s “next gen” 1911s and are designed to take higher capacity magazines than standard 1911s.

One change STI made for the 2011’s higher capacity was to manufacture glass-filled polymer-and-modular grips to better absorb recoil, despite being extremely lightweight. Since the grips are injection-molded with steel inserts, they are much stronger and thinner than all-steel grips. Both a 2011 and a standard-width 1911 are 1.30 inches wide and both have a 17-degree grip angle. In total, the grip diameter of the 2011 is only about 0.25 inch larger than a traditional 1911.

The “DS” in the model name stands for Double Stack, and my STI came with two 5.5-inch long double-stack magazines, each capable of holding an impressive 17 rounds of 10 mm. With one in the chamber, that’s 18 rounds of 10 mm power.