October 03, 2012
Two years ago I reviewed the full-size Les Baer Custom Premier II 1911 in .38 Super, and I liked the gun so much that I bought it. It has become my first-line home-defense pistol, and it's the handgun I always grab when I want to do a bit of fun shooting. Now there's a new .38 Super from LBC that fits a different niche, but it's every bit as nice as the Premier II.
I'm referring to the new LBC Stinger. The Stinger has been in the LBC line for a year or so in .45 ACP, but the .38 Super version is brand new this year. The Stinger is a pretty unique 1911 in that it combines a Commander-length barrel and slide with an Officer's-size grip frame. For those who don't know, that means the Stinger has a 4.25-inch barrel and its grip frame is about a quarter-inch shorter than that of a standard Government Model 1911.
The Stinger is all steel, and it's designed to be a concealed-carry pistol, hence the Commander (or Commanche in Les Baer terminology) type upper and shorter lower. It features a Baer National Match Stinger frame with checkered frontstrap (30 lines per inch) and a Baer National Match steel slide with serrations at the rear only. The throated barrel features a supported chamber, a polished feedramp, and a stainless-steel bushing. The sights are an LBC deluxe fixed combat rear with two tritium dots and a Baer dovetailed, ramp-type front with single tritium dot. The Stinger also comes with a Baer speed trigger, a Baer tactical ambidextrous safety, Baer deluxe hammer and sear, a beveled mag well, a tuned extractor, an extended ejector, a checkered slide stop, checkered cocobolo grips, and a flat mainspring housing. The ejection port has been lowered and flared, and since this one is designed for carry, all corners have been rounded. It comes with three, eight-round magazines. MSRP is $2,495.
By the way, the Stinger's magazine capacity is just one round less than the full-size Premier II's. There are some aftermarket magazines that hold 10 rounds of .38 Super for full-size guns, and I sure hope those manufacturers come up with a nine-round magazine for the Officer-size frame.
The Stinger may be considerably shorter, both in length and in height, than my full-size Premier II, but it handles really well. In fact, I'm surprised at how comfortable it is to shoot. I have medium-sized hands, but I can get three fingers of my shooting hand on the Stinger's grip comfortably.
I've been shooting three factory loads in the Stinger: Federal's American Eagle 130-grain FMJ loading, Remington's 130-grain MC offering, and Winchester's 130-grain FMJ load. On average, they generate 1,187 fps in the 4.25-inch-barreled Stinger according to the RCBS chronograph I used. That works out to about 400 ft-lbs of muzzle energy.
I did the accuracy shooting for this report at 25 yards with the pistol mounted in my Ransom Rest, and you can see the results of my shooting session in the accompanying chart. Overall group average with the three factory loads was right at 2.00 inches, and the American Eagle load averaged 1.50 inches.
In the more than 200 rounds I've put through the pistol so far, there have been no malfunctions or stoppages of any kind. And shooting it on my swinging steel target has been, in a word, gratifying.
Full-size 1911s have their places — as competition, home-defense, and service duty guns — but compact 1911s also have their place as carry guns, and since I've decided to buy this Super Stinger it will take on such duty if my home state of Illinois ever grants its denizens the right to carry.