Steyr Arms is developing their L-A1 full-size service pistol in .40 S&W and .357 SIG. The 9mm longslide model was announced mid-2012 began shipping in limited numbers earlier this year. The L-A1 is an updated, higher-capacity version of the Steyr M-A1 service pistol.
The primary differences between the L-A1 and the more common M-A1 are the slide and barrel lengths and the magazine capacities. The L-A1 has a longer, 4.53-inch barrel and matching slide. It also ships with “plus-2” 17-round magazines in 9mm. These are extended magazines and the L-A1 is compatible with standard 15-round mags.
In .40 S&W and .357 SIG the guns will ship with standard, flush-fitting 12-round magazines. The “longslide” models will ship with and without the optional manual safety.
Functionally the L-A1 is identical to the M-A1. It is a striker-fired service pistol designed by prominent gun engineer Wilhelm Bubits. Bubits cut his teeth working for Glock and the M-A1 and its derivatives are thought by many to be an updated version of the ubiquitous Glock handgun design.
While the Steyr and Glock pistols share an aggressive grip angle, the Steyr design features a higher and more slender grip with a swept trigger guard, a contoured slide, a tuned trigger and Steyr’s unusual trapezoidal sights. The higher grip means a lower bore axis. That combined with the design’s extended beavertail and compact slide makes Steyr pistols some of the easiest-to-control service pistols on the market.
The trigger on the L-A1 has just 4mm of travel, or 0.15 inches with a constant 5.6-pound pull and a very predictable, positive reset. It is a pre-set double-action-only trigger.
Steyr’s handguns are also available with an optional manual safety housed inside the trigger guard, in front of the trigger. Unlike thumb safeties, the Steyr safety is deactivated by putting your finger into the trigger guard. Models without the manual safety still feature a passive trigger safety, a common feature to most striker-fired pistols.
The L-A1, like the rest of the Steyr handguns, also has a key lock that can be used to disable gun for long-term storage. Other features include a fully-supported chambers across the board and loaded chamber and cocked striker indicators as well.
Like the vast majority of service pistols, the Steyr design sports a railed dust cover for mounting accessories like weapon lights and laser sights.
The sights on Steyr pistols use a unique set of fast-acquisition sights. The front sight is triangular and the rear sights are angled. Users bracket the rear sights around the front sight and put the point of the triangle on the target. The sight system is not just fast, it is also accurate. For traditionalists Steyr also offers their pistols with common 3-dot sights.
Steyr arms is one of the most world-renown manufacturers of precision small arms to militaries across the globe. Their handguns may be less recognized than other prominent service pistols but they do live up to Steyr’s standards.
The L-A1 measures in at 7.4 inches in length overall, is 1.18 inches wide and 5.4 inches tall. The handgun weighs 28 1/2 ounces unloaded.
While Steyr’s handguns might not have the aftermarket support and brand recognition of other popular service pistols, their features and value really do make them stand out.
For anyone who is looking for a solid, full-size service pistol for self-defense, competition or the range, the Steyr L-A1 shouldn’t be overlooked. These guns are great buys, generally selling for a little less than Glocks, M&Ps and XDs, without sacrificing any build quality or cutting any corners.
The suggested retail price of the L-A1 is just $560, which means that real-world pricing should be under $500. For details and specifications, head over to the product page.