Before You Buy - Stoeger STR-9S Combat - Rugged, Reliable, Affordable

While handguns probably aren’t the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the name, Stoeger, you might still want to consider their lineup of full-size, compact, and micro-compact firearms that they’ve been trying to refine over the years. Today we’ll specifically looking at the full-size version of the Stoeger STR lineup, but with a few additions that make it a bit more suitable for competition use. I’m of course talking about the Stoeger STR-9S Combat. While combat is the last thing I’d ever use this pistol for, I’ll hopefully demonstrate to you today why the STR-9S Combat might actually be the perfect handgun for an up-and-coming competition shooter, as well as some things that might make you consider other handguns. As always we’ll give you a close look at the STR-9S Combat’s features and specifications, so you can make an informed decision before you buy.

Stoeger STR-9S Combat
Stoeger STR-9S Combat


Specifications and Key Features

The Stoeger STR-9S Combat is a full-size handgun virtually identical to the original STR-9 handgun. However, the STR-9S Adds 5-rounds of capacity with its 20-round extended magazines, as well as adjustable three-dot fiber optic target sights, optics-ready capability with included optics plates for multiple red dot footprints, and a beveled and flared magwell to boot. The pistol comes well equipped for a staggeringly low price tag of $550 MSRP - much less if you’re looking at street or on-sale prices. While the name “combat” might be a misnomer due to all of the clearly competition-oriented features of the gun, the handgun is flexible enough to be pushed into virtually any role, provided you can find yourself the right holster - a plastic Stoeger-brand holster is included with the handgun, but it lacks any sort of active retention and is fairly rudimentary, and also not compatible with any belt-mounted systems currently on the market.

Stoeger STR-9S Combat original holster
Stoeger STR-9S Combat original holster

Stoeger STR-9S Combat Specs

  • Type: Striker-fired, semi-auto
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Capacity: 20+1 rds.
  • Barrel: 4.7 in.
  • OAL: 7.9 in.
  • Weight: 28.8 oz.
  • Construction: polymer frame, steel slide
  • Sights: three-dot fiber optic, adjustable rear
  • Trigger: 4.75 lbs. (tested)
  • Safety: firing-pin block, trigger lever
  • MSRP: $549
Stoeger STR-9S Combat grip modules
Stoeger STR-9S Combat grip modules


Range Performance

The STR-9S Combat shines in the reliability and ruggedness department. I’ve had the handgun for well over a year and in that time I’ve shot thousands of rounds through it in a wide variety of conditions including very dry ones where I was sure the grit and dust of the desert would make this pistol choke. The pistol kept chugging along, however, despite the insane amount of dust and fouling I introduced it to. The Burris red dot I had attached to the pistol held up fairly well, but as with any open-emitted red dot, this one, in particular, didn’t do so well once the dust had settled into the exposed emitter. Overall I’d give the durability and reliability of the handgun a perfect score - at least as long as I’ve had it.

Stoeger STR-9S Combat finish
Stoeger STR-9S Combat finish

The trigger itself isn’t anything to write home about, it’s the same trigger found in the standard variant of the STR-9 handgun and breaks around 4 lbs. If you’re familiar with how a Glock trigger feels and breaks, you’ll have no issues with the STR-9S Combat trigger. The gun does tend to have a “squeaky” sound to it when you manually and slowly cycle the gun, I don’t think there is anything particularly wrong with this and it’s probably just a quirk of the gun from the combination of parts and coatings (mine has a Titanium Cerakote finish). 

Stoeger STR-9S Combat condition test
Stoeger STR-9S Combat condition test

As stated earlier, there aren’t many holsters out there that really cater to the STR-9S Combat’s area of expertise. This is to be expected as there really aren’t that many of these handguns floating around in the US - at least at the present moment. My best solution so far is to find a compatible light-bearing holster with universal handgun compatibility, but in reality, it would be much nicer to have a dedicated rigid OWB holster for the STR-9S Combat like the Level II Duty Kydex holster that Falco Holsters has.

Stoeger STR 9 holster
Stoeger STR 9 holster


Pros:

  • Affordable: The STR-9S Combat and all of its siblings in the STR line of handguns are extremely affordable
  • Reliable: All of my testing with the STR-9S Combat has demonstrated to me that the handgun is reliable with a wide variety of factory handgun ammunition
  • Capacity: This gun comes standard with 20-round magazines which are great for use in competitive shooting sports like IPSC and USPSA
  • Feature Rich: The STR-9S Combat comes with virtually every imaginable feature you’d want from a modern handgun from a threaded barrel to adjustable sights, flared magwell, and optics-ready capability.
Stoeger STR9S Combat magazines
Stoeger STR9S Combat magazines

Cons:

  • Lack of Compatible Competition Holsters: Despite being a competition-oriented design, the STR-9S Combat has very few compatible holster options. Luckily, Falco Holsters has you covered and can deliver beautiful custom STR-9S holster.
  • Little Aftermarket Support: While the pistol is feature-rich, with so few aftermarket parts for the gun you’ll have a hard time customizing it out of universal and or custom-made parts
Stoeger STR9 S combat rds
Stoeger STR9 S combat rds


Conclusion

I’m a firm believer in value-conscious items. Suppose you’re looking to get into competition shooting and you’re looking for a dedicated solution. In that case, the STR-9S Combat might be the perfect option for you. I think the STR-9S could serve as the perfect stepping stone from an affordable competition gun to more complex and adaptable options further down the road once you’ve got a good idea of if you like the sport, and also what kind of features you like in a competition gun. It’s also a great candidate for a fun gun to shoot at the range, with near bottomless 20-round magazines and a whole suite of features designed around shootablity, at a minimum you’ll have a great time at the range shooting the STR-9S. Combat while honing your handgun skills.

Luke Cuenco

Luke Cuenco

Writer

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