All of a sudden, the world has changed. No one shoots a .45 ACP anymore, and every pistol comes ready-to-go for a red-dot optic. The nimble adapt, and the rest get left behind. Well, Stoeger isn’t going to be left behind. The STR-9SC is a subcompact 9 mm carry pistol with all the features consumers expect, and is ready for the red-dot of your choice. In this instance, it arrived with a red-dot already installed: a Crimson Trace RAD Pro, but the retail model doesn’t.
The STR-9SC is a stubby little blaster, with a barrel only 3.5 inches long and a short frame, but still holding a magazine with a 10-round capacity. And, of course, longer magazines will lock and feed just fine, so if you opt for extra magazines in your daily carry ensemble, say from the STR-9, you can have one or two 15-round magazines as backups. (Local laws permitting, of course.)
The steel slide has cocking serrations on the front and the rear. The barrel locks into battery in the ejection port, which is generously sized to ensure ejection of empties or the (rare) failure to fire. At the rear of the barrel, the slide has a loaded-chamber indicator on the top flat of the barrel hood to let you know when there is a round at the ready. The sights are of the thee-white-dot variety, and the rear is shaped so you could use it as a slide-racking edge if you had to do a one-handed slide cycle. On the right side, at the rear of the ejection port, there is a stout extractor, and the STR-9SC had no problems jettisoning empties.
Between the ejection port and the rear sight, Stoeger has machined the slide to accept a red-dot optic. The manufacturer ships the STR-9SC with a filler plate, and the box contains the necessary screws and tools (along with four adapter plates) in order to mount the red-dot optic of your choice. Simply read the included chart, follow the instructions and it will be a task easily performed.
The pistol’s frame is polymer, and the dustcover has an accessory rail molded into it, so you can mount a light or laser if you wish. The STR series by Stoeger are not chassis-system pistols, so the serial number is on a metal plate molded into the polymer. Behind and above the squared trigger guard is the takedown tab. This is a common process for fieldstripping/takedown: Simply unload the STR-9SC, check it twice and then a third time to make sure it is unloaded and no live ammo is present and then with the gun pointed in a safe direction, dry-fire it. Ease the slide back slightly to take pressure off of the tab, and then pull the tab down on both sides of the frame. The slide assembly can now be slid forward off of the frame.
The trigger has a central blade-safety that must be depressed in order for the trigger to pivot to release the striker. The other safeties are internal, and prevent the STR-9SC (and all of the STR series) from discharging if dropped. On the left side of the frame, the STR-9SC has the slide-stop lever. The slide locks open after the last round is fired. There is also the magazine-release button on the left side at the rear of the pistol’s trigger guard.
The frame is contoured for ergonomic fit, if not fully finger-grooved. The top of the frontstrap has been lifted; that is, the trigger guard has been bent up, to allow your hand to get higher on the frame. The grip area of the frame has textured panels molded into it, to provide a non-slip surface for your hand. The backstrap is ridged and nubby, and there are two other sizes in the box with the pistol, so you can swap them until the grip feels best.
At the bottom of the frame, the pistol is both gently beveled in the inside edge to ease reloading and the rear of the frame protrudes down an extra short distance to provide a reloading stop. The stop acts as a partial “fence” or mag well funnel, and allows you a bit of feedback in your reload.
In shooting, the STR-9SC functioned as expected. Being such a small pistol, it was not forgiving of sloppy technique or careless follow-through. However, with the Crimson Trace red-dot on top, aiming was a lot easier, and keeping the dot on-target through the trigger press was easier than with irons on such a small pistol. In fact, if you do your part, the Stoeger STR-9SC (like other red-dot-equipped pistols) can shoot as well as bigger, heavier pistols can. As compact as it is, a comfortable holster means all-day carry without disclosure is almost a certainty.
If you are looking for a compact pistol for everyday carry, ready for a red-dot optic and don’t want to break the bank, you’ve found it.