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STI International, Inc. (known as STI in the shooting community) is a Texas-based company that manufactures complete M1911 pistols and parts for competition, duty and self-defense. It is most well known for its modular frame guns (so-called because the lower grip and trigger guard, which is made of a fiber reinforced plastic, is a separate component from the metal upper portion of the frame that comprises the dust cover and frame rails). STI and Strayer Voigt Inc. share the patent on the modular frame.

HistoryEdit

In 1980, Virgil Tripp, a gunsmith and machinist, started building custom 1911s for competition use, especially USPSA/IPSC. After some time, Virgil began designing parts for 1911s, including electrical discharge machining (EDM) hammers and sears. Virgil's company was called Tripp Research, Inc. and most of his parts were sold and marketed by Chip McCormick, a champion pistol shooter, under his company's name,Chip McCormick Corporation (which is known as CMC).[1]

Around 1991, an engineer and computer aided design (CAD) guru named Sandy Strayer joined Tripp Research, Inc. Tripp and Strayer revolutionized the 1911 market by designing a modular hi-capacity 1911 frame for IPSC shooters. While Para Ordnance already had a hi-capacity 1911 frame on the market, it was made of steel. The modular frame made use of a fiber-reinforced plastic which combined the trigger guard, grip, and integral magazine well. It used a proprietary trigger which attached to the upper portion of the frame (a metal part that comprised the dust cover and frame rails). The result was that the modular frame weighed less than half of what the steel frame weighed. Further, while the Para frame feels notably larger than a standard 1911 in the hand, the STI feels similar to a regular 1911 since the grips are molded into the plastic of the frame rather than screwed to the outside. Tripp and Strayer are listed as the co-patent holders on the modular frame. Soon after the modular frame was introduced, the company name changed to STI (Strayer-Tripp, Inc.) and Strayer was given an equity stake in the new company.[2][3]

In June 1994, Sandy Strayer left STI to start a new company called Strayer Voigt Inc, which now competes with STI.[4]

In November 1994, Dave and Shirley Skinner, owners of an electronics company named Tessco, Inc., became involved in the operation of STI along with Virgil Tripp. In early 1997, the Skinners completed their purchase of STI from Virgil Tripp and renamed the company to STI International, Inc.[5][6] Virgil went on to start a new company using the name Tripp Research, Inc., which produces various finishes for firearms and magazines for 1911s.[7]

From 1994 through the late 1990s, STI had a custom shop which would build guns to customer's specifications. Past heads of the custom shop include Benny Hill and David Dawson.

STI TodayEdit

Today, STI manufactures a full range of 1911 pistols based on its modular frame, in addition to single stack 1911s using steel frames in a variety of calibers such as 9mm, 45 ACP, 40 S&W, and .38 Super. STI also manufactures a full line of parts for 1911 pistols, such as modular frame kits (which are used by gunsmiths to build complete guns), slides, barrels, compensators, triggers, hammers, thumb and grip safeties, slide stops, firing pins, guide rods, magazine wells, magazines, and scope mounts. STI's modular frames are marketed under the brand name 2011 (a take on the 1911 name).

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit


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