Review: Are Staccato Double-Stack 1911-Style Pistols Worth the Money?
Staccato pistols are hot right now. Wide-body 1911s in general are having a resurgence. But the real question is, are they worth it?
I think this question boils down to a personality question. Are you a no-frills, function-over-form type of person? Or do you appreciate and are willing to pay for the finer things of life like a gourmet meal or fine alcohol.
If Glocks are the Honda of handguns – affordable, reliable, and sensible – then wide-body 1911s are the sports cars. They are refined, high-performance machines meant to be enjoyed and pushed to the limits.
A Bit of History
The 1911 is a century-old design that has endured the test of time because of a combination of accuracy, reliability, and – most importantly – shootability. In the 1990s, gunsmiths began working on a way to use a thicker, double-stack magazine. One of the first companies to patent this design was STI, later called Staccato.
Another departure from the original design was STI’s use of a polymer grip. This gave some flex to the recoil impulse, resulting in a slightly softer-shooting gun.
First-generation double-stack 1911s were all very much custom guns. Around 2018, STI released its Generation 2 magazines. This significantly improved the reliability of all wide-body 1911s. Today, it is expected that these guns run reliably out of the box.
In 2020, STI decided to capitalize on this new reliability and rebranded its name to highlight these high-performance guns. Enter Staccato. I don’t believe there is another American-built, double-stack 1911 that is this reliable, regularly available, and at this price range.
My C2 Impressions: Reliability and Accuracy
My biggest worry was reliability. I’ve owned a number of budget single-stack 1911s in the past. They have never been reliable, even after getting custom work. But the Staccato C2 I tested ran flawlessly with all the different ammunition I tried, including self-defense loads. Feeding was buttery smooth, and extraction was constant and predictable.
In addition, I’ve gotten reports from numerous sources I trust that say the Staccatos are dead reliable. Industry testing has been done firing anywhere from 20,00-30,000 rounds without problems. It’s been several years since they have been released, and I believe their track record has been proven. As for accuracy, I knew there would be no problem since 1911s are known for great accuracy, and the Staccato didn’t disappoint. It’s the most accurate handgun I own.
Cost and reliability were always deal-breakers for me. After doing my research and testing a Staccato myself, I decided to personally purchase the demo model they sent me. This is the first test gun I’ve purchased, and that should say enough.
Now, because of the double-stack magazine, the grip on the Staccato is large. I have medium-large hands. The grip feels larger than a typical Glock 19 grip. Personally, I don’t think a large grip is a bad thing. Over the years, I’ve found that I perform better with grips that initially feel a bit large.
I believe that’s because they don’t leave enough room for your support hand. If you are shooting with one hand, I’d say a smaller grip would be optimal. However, if you shoot with two hands, you want a grip that is large enough for both hands to touch and control the gun.
I would also say the grip texture is perfect. It’s aggressive enough to keep my hands in place while not so abrasive as to irritate my skin while carrying it against my body. The slide serrations are also perfect, allowing for full control in both the forward and rear positions.
Staccatos come with ambi safety levers, so they can be used by either right or left-handed shooters. The shape and position are perfect. The engagement is crisp and very positive with an audible snap, so you know when you have activated it or deactivated it. If you are not used to manual safeties, they take some training to get used to them, but I happen to love them as an extra safety when carrying.
The guns also have a grip safety that is traditionally a problem area on budget guns. If not properly fitted, it may not disengage every time. It’s common to see shooters pin these safeties in the fire position. I don’t recommend this. I had no trouble with any Staccato grip safety that I have tried.
The magazine release is the standard button style on the left side. It is reversible. The magazine is ejected with good force, but it’s not thrown out of the gun. I do have to rotate the gun slightly to engage both the slide-lock lever and the magazine release. This is probably my only complaint about the gun. However, I don’t think it’s much of a sacrifice for the shootability, and there are aftermarket solutions.
The trigger is fantastic. Staccatos are Series 70s-style triggers, which are usually considered the best-feeling triggers ever. Most of the Staccato line are considered duty guns, so they don’t come with ultra-light competition triggers. My test C2 had a very consistent 4-pound pull weight.
But it’s not only the lightness of the trigger that makes a trigger good. It’s the quality of the trigger pull. The trigger has a short take-up, a solid wall, very little creep, no over-travel after the break, and a very short reset. The break is the definition of a glass rod snapping. Yes, I’ve felt better and lighter custom triggers, but not by much.
Staccatos come standard with Dawson iron sights. The front sight has a narrow fiber-optic blade, and the rear is all black and serrated to reduce glare. This is my favorite sighting setup because it’s very fast to acquire, precise enough for long-distance shots, and works for a large range of lighting conditions. These guns also come with an option for a DPO (Dawson Precision Optic) cut. This cut allows Delta Point footprint optics to be directly mounted to the slide.
What is really difficult to describe is the overall shooting experience. There is a reason why the 1911/2011 design has reigned supreme in all pistol shooting competitions. To this day, despite all the new technology, the majority of the top race guns are built on this frame.
The weight and balance of the guns make for excellent recoil impulse and return to zero in all the models. The low bore axis helps tame even the heaviest of loads. The amazing triggers allow for very fast splits between targets.
All the guns come with three magazines. Just be careful about the base plates. Although you can use a larger capacity magazine in the C2, don’t forcefully slap them into the pistol with the slide locked back or you could damage the ejector. Higher-capacity magazines need specifically designed base pads that will limit the insertion depth.
What Should You Choose?
Have I convinced to you get a Staccato yet? If I have, then the next question is, which model? The most-popular variant is the P with a full-sized grip and a 4.4-inch bull barrel. This is probably where you should start looking. It’s really a do-all gun. It is small enough to carry and large enough to shoot very well. It is similar to the Glock 17 in size. The next step up are the XL with a 5.4-inch barrel and the XC with a 5-inch barrel and integrated compensator. These are geared more toward tactical or competition arenas.
On the smaller side, with shortened grips and 3.9-inch barrels, are the C and C2 versions. The C is the thinnest and most concealable because it uses a single-stack magazine like the traditional 1911 design. I chose the C2 because I wanted it primarily as a CCW pistol with high capacity. I can barely tell the difference between carrying my Sig P365 XL and the C2, so why not conceal the one that I shoot better and holds more ammo? I even shoot it in IDPA matches.
And did I say it’s fun to shoot? Because it is. It’s so effortless thanks to the great ergonomics and outstanding trigger. You pretty much hit everything you aim at (if you do your part). In my role as a shooting coach, beginners almost always perform better with 1911/2011-style guns.
Finally, it’s beautiful! It has that industrial, sleek look kind of like a ‘69 Mustang. If I could only have one gun, it would be the C2. In my humble opinion, it’s the perfect pistol. So, what would you pay for the “perfect” gun? Staccato’s customer service is also excellent, and the accessory market is very strong.