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Stoeger STR-9SC Subcompact Striker-Fired Auto Pistol

Stoeger Industries has extended its line of STR-9 pistols to include the subcompact STR-9SC. Here's a full review.

Stoeger STR-9SC Subcompact Striker-Fired Auto Pistol

(Michael Anschuetz photo)

Stoeger Industries has a bunch of company logos, and one of the company’s mottos is “Every Day Tough.” Those three words surely describe the STR-9 line of semiautomatic pistols, including the new-for-2022 SC version. SC stands for subcompact.

SC Means Subcompact

There are three versions of the new STR-9SC. The standard variety comes with a three-white-dots sighting system (MSRP: $329). There is a second configuration that comes with tritium night sights (MSRP: $399). And the third version is optics-ready (MSRP: $399), meaning its slide is cut for installation of a red-dot optic, and it comes with four mounting plates that accommodate a variety of popular red-dot sights. Most of the features are the same on all three STR-9SC versions, so let’s take a look at the standard STR-9SC that Shooting Times received for this report.

The STR-9SC has a 3.54-inch stainless-steel barrel that has a matte black finish. The pistol is 6.54 inches long overall, 4.24 inches high, and 1.21 inches wide at its widest point. The sight radius is 5.7 inches. The slide proper is 1.03 inch thick. And the pistol weighs 22.4 ounces with an empty magazine inserted.

The pistol comes with one flush-fitting magazine that holds 10 rounds of 9mm Luger ammunition. The magazine has a stainless-steel body, a polymer follower, and a polymer baseplate. It has numbered witness holes on the back side, and it’s marked “9mm STR” on the front side and “Made in Italy” on the left side.

Stoeger STR-9SC Subcompact Striker-Fired Auto Pistol Magazine
While the STR-9SC features interchangeable backstraps, it comes with one medium-size backstrap and one magazine. The magazine is metal with a polymer follower and a removable polymer baseplate. The capacity is 10 rounds of 9mm Luger ammunition. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

The STR-9SC’s polymer frame has an integral accessory rail with three cross-slots, and the grip portion has two finger grooves on the frontstrap. The grip has strategically placed texturing on the frontstrap, the sides, and the backstrap. The serial number is marked on a metal insert in the accessory rail area of the frame and also on the right side of the slide under the ejection port and on the chamber of the barrel.

The backstrap can be switched, though the pistol comes with one medium-size backstrap only. The grip circumference measures 6.0 inches at the spot between the finger grooves.

The grip frame has a generous trigger guard that accommodates shooters wearing gloves. The trigger guard is squared in front with horizontal ridges on its face and angled at the rear where it meets the grip frame to permit a shooting grip that is as high as possible. The grip also has an open beavertail, and the grip angle allows the pistol to point naturally. I have medium-size hands and fairly thin fingers, and I can get two-and-a-half fingers comfortably on the STR-9SC’s grip (half of my pinkie finger hangs down off the bottom of the grip).

Stoeger STR-9SC Subcompact Striker-Fired Auto Pistol Right Side
The pistol’s polymer frame has two finger grooves on the frontstrap. The trigger guard is oversized, and the area under the trigger guard is sculpted to allow a high-hand hold. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

Like I mentioned earlier, the STR-9SC comes with three-dot sights. The sights are metal and dovetailed into the slide. The front sight post is 0.143 inch thick and 0.175 inch tall. The rear sight’s face is smooth, and the square notch is 0.140 inch wide. The shape of the rear sight allows for one-handed manipulation of the slide on a belt or other stable surface, and the edges are beveled to help make them snag-free.

The magazine release can be switched from the left-hand side to the right-hand side. And although the pistol does not have an external thumb safety, it utilizes a firing pin block that is deactivated only when the trigger is pressed all the way to the rear. It also has a trigger safety that is similar to other triggers of the type in that the safety lever has to be engaged before the trigger assembly can be squeezed fully to the rear. The STR-9SC does not have a magazine disconnect, meaning it will fire with the magazine removed.

Stoeger STR-9SC Subcompact Striker-Fired Auto Pistol Front Sight
Our test STR-9SC came with standard white-dot sights, but the pistol also is offered with tritium night sights. There is a third, optics-ready version available that can accommodate most popular red-dot handgun sights. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

The slide has a matte black nitride finish. Nitride is a treatment process that bonds to the components and creates an extremely durable skin that is said to be superior to any of the spray-and-bake finishes.

On top of the slide is a visual and tactile loaded-chamber indicator. The slide has four wide grasping grooves on each side at the rear and three of them up front. Additionally, the slide is beveled at the front to make the pistol easier to holster.

I used my jury-rigged trigger-pull scale to obtain the pull weight required to rack the STR-9SC’s slide, and it was more than 25 pounds. I can’t be more specific than that because my scale only goes up to 25. I tried it twice and got the same results. That’s a bit more than other small striker-fired pistols I’ve tested, but keep in mind my system is not exact. And know that I had no difficulty racking the slide during my shooting session. For the record, I have moderate arthritis in both hands and wrists, but again, racking the STR-9SC’s slide presented no challenges for me.

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Used how it was intended, my trigger pull scale showed the STR-9SC’s trigger pull averaged 5 pounds, 12 ounces over a series of 10 measurements. It has a short take-up and a short reset. The trigger piece is 0.270 inch wide.

Stoeger STR-9SC Subcompact Striker-Fired Auto Pistol Rear Sight
Our test STR-9SC came with standard white-dot sights, but the pistol also is offered with tritium night sights. There is a third, optics-ready version available that can accommodate most popular red-dot handgun sights. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

Range Results

I put the new STR-9SC through a thorough shooting session, including a few self-defense scenarios, on a clear but cold February day, and I found it to be easy to control. The grip allows a high handhold, and the high handhold helped make shooting the compact pistol comfortable.

I also fired the pistol for accuracy from a bench. During that phase of testing, I fired every 9mm Luger factory load I had in my cache. That amounted to 32 different loads, ranging in bullet weight from 100 to 150 grains. Many of them are made specifically for small, compact pistols, and some are not, but I fired them anyway.

As you can see from the accompanying chart, all loads produced averages less than 4.00 inches at 25 yards. That’s for three, five-shot groups with each load. The overall average was 2.89 inches. The tightest group average was 1.51 inches, and it came with Hornady’s Critical Defense 115-grain FTX ammo. That load produced an average velocity of 1,073 fps, with a standard deviation of 29 fps and an extreme spread of 11 fps. Reliability was stellar with all loads, with no failures during the entire shooting session (660 rounds from the bench plus 40 rounds of action shooting).

Now let’s take a quick look at how the loads that are made specifically for compact self-defense pistols performed.

Stoeger STR-9SC Subcompact Striker-Fired Auto Pistol Trigger
The striker-fired STR-9SC comes with a hinged safety-type trigger. Our sample’s trigger pull averaged 5.75 pounds for 10 measurements. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

Hornady’s Critical Defense Lite ammo offers the company’s patented polymer FlexTip bullet for improved expansion and penetration in a reduced-recoil option for handgunners seeking to minimize felt recoil from their lightweight, compact personal-protection pistols. In the STR-9SC, it averaged 1.78 inches and 1,189 fps, with an extreme spread of 29 fps and a standard deviation of 16 fps.

Federal’s Micro HST features a heavy-for-caliber JHP bullet that is engineered for optimal penetration and superior terminal performance along with high-performance primers and propellants that are optimized for efficient cycling, lower velocity, less recoil, and excellent accuracy from subcompact semiautomatic pistols. It averaged 3.00 inches and 887 fps, with an extreme spread of 23 fps and a standard deviation of 14 fps in the subcompact STR-9SC.

Speer’s Gold Dot CarryGun ammo incorporates the newly redesigned Gold Dot G2 JHP bullet that has been specially engineered for superior feeding and terminal ballistics from concealed-carry handguns. The hollowpoint is shallower and filled with elastomer that is forced into engineered internal fissures to initiate expansion upon impact, resulting in extremely uniform expansion, better separation of the petals, and more consistent penetration across barrier types. It averaged 3.99 inches and 1,093 fps, with an extreme spread of 25 fps and a standard deviation of 15 fps.

Stoeger STR-9SC Subcompact Striker-Fired Auto Pistol Accuracy Chart

SIG Sauer’s 365 V-Crown JHP also is optimized for concealed-carry guns. Like the other specialized loads mentioned here, it’s engineered for reduced recoil while providing optimal performance in short-barreled semiautomatic pistols. It features a stacked hollowpoint cavity, delivering exceptional on-target energy, maximum weight retention, and optimal expansion for ultimate stopping power. It averaged 3.25 inches and 1,057 fps, with an extreme spread of 43 fps and a standard deviation of 27 fps.

Remington’s Ultimate Defense Compact Handgun ammunition is loaded with a brass jacketed hollowpoint bullet that’s optimized for substantial expansion and deep penetration at a velocity 100 fps less than conventional JHP ammo. Like the others, it is optimized for short-barreled semiautomatic pistols, and it averaged 2.42 inches and 1,119 fps, with an extreme spread of 45 fps and a standard deviation of 28 fps.

The Wilson Combat “Optimized for Compacts” loading I used is loaded with a Hornady 147-grain roundnose bullet. Wilson says this subsonic load meets the minimum/minor power floor requirement for IDPA/USPSA competition and that the RN bullet and select propellant easily cycle most compact and subcompact pistols, making it a great training choice for recoil-sensitive shooters. In the new 3.54-inch-barreled STR-9SC it averaged 1.59 inches and 867 fps, with an extreme spread of 32 fps and a standard deviation of 17 fps.

Stoeger STR-9SC Subcompact Striker-Fired Auto Pistol Field Strip
The pistol’s design allows quick and easy disassembly for routine cleaning and periodic maintenance. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

The STR-9SC was easy to control when shooting it, and it was equally easy to field strip. First remove the magazine and be certain the pistol is not loaded by racking the slide and checking the chamber. Then return the slide to its forward position, retract the slide slightly, pull down the takedown lever, point the pistol in a safe direction, squeeze the trigger, and move the slide forward off the frame. Remove the recoil spring assembly from the slide and then remove the barrel.

In my shooting tests, the STR-9SC had a very good trigger pull and produced excellent accuracy. It functioned with total reliability, and its retail list price is very nice. The only other thing you want in a personal-protection pistol is durability, and only time will tell how the STR-9SC holds up. But if my shootout is any indication, it’s going to hold up just fine.

Stoeger STR-9SC Specifications

  • Manufacturer: Stoeger Industries; stoegerindustries.com
  • Type: Striker-fired autoloader
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Magazine Capacity: 10 rounds
  • Barrel: 3.54 in.
  • Overall Length: 6.54 in.
  • Width: 1.21 in.
  • Height: 4.24 in.
  • Weight, Empty: 22.4 oz.
  • Grips: Integral to polymer frame
  • Finish: Nitride slide, matte black frame
  • Sights: Three-white-dot setup
  • Trigger: 5.75-lb. pull (as tested)
  • Safety: Trigger safety
  • MSRP: $329 (standard)



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