STI vs. PARA

STI vs. PARA

This is a discussion on STI vs. PARA within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Greetings All, I'm looking for a new companion gun for heavy use on the range and around the pastures - so I'm thinking of a ...

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Thread: STI vs. PARA

  1. #1
    Member Array spurs06's Avatar
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    STI vs. PARA

    Greetings All,

    I'm looking for a new companion gun for heavy use on the range and around the pastures - so I'm thinking of a double-stack 1911. It's a limited field of constestants and I've ruled out Caspian so I'm deliberating between the STI and the Para. The STI is lighter but more expensive, the Para is a little cheaper but has more heft due to the frame. Does anyone have experience with both of the platforms? How's the reliability of either platform? How about the reliability / interchangability of OEM magazines with after-market products?
    I'm leaning towards the Para but the STI is made in Texas (Yes, I take off my hat and put my hand over my heart when I say "Texas") Tough choice. Opinions?
    Thank you for your consideration.
    [B]"The dumber people think you are, the more surprised they'll be when you kill them" - William Clayton[/B]


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array FLSlim's Avatar
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    I can't compare the two, but will say that STI has a stellar reputation for quality and customer service. I have two of their single stack 1911s and if I was going to buy a double stack, I would go with STI without even looking at others. Opinions are cheap, but this is mine.
    Chose a weapon that goes bang EVERY time!

  3. #3
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    I'd say you already have a handle on the pro's and cons, hence the justification of price difference as well.

    If it's going to be a beater, I'd go with the Para, but that's just me. My guns are for shooting, not showing and they're all more accurate than I am.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Array JohnLeVick's Avatar
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    I have quite a lot of experience with both, and own both. STI makes superb frames, barrels and slides, but tends to fill them with cheap MIM internals. My STI Trojan broke its extractor about round #60, and the mag catch was way out of spec from the factory. The magazine that came with it wouldn't feed 50% of the time. Once I replaced the junk internalsand magazine with quality parts, the gun became one of my favorites. A couple of my friends have shot hundreds of thousands of rounds through Para-based competition guns, and everything seems to hold up well but the frames, which tend to crack eventually. After how many rounds, I can't tell you. I've never shot one of my Paras enough to crack it, but my friends have cracked two. I've worked on a number of both STIs and Paras, and most of the problems I've seen (that weren't shooter-induced) were due to inferior or out of spec internal parts. I've seen one Para with a defective barrel, which Para-Ord quickly replaced. Fit and finish of major parts is almost always better with STI than with Para, as reflected by the pricing. Either can be made dead-reliable, but I would not trust my life to either without a thorough wringing-out, and most likely, some parts replacement.

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    Member Array spurs06's Avatar
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    Thank you Gentlemen. I agree that the STI would be optimum but it's actually hard to find one here near Houston. I appreciate the insight and consideration offered with your answers.
    Stay safe!
    [B]"The dumber people think you are, the more surprised they'll be when you kill them" - William Clayton[/B]

  6. #6
    JD
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    If you want a double stack .45, I would not buy a 1911.


    You asked about mags etc. STI mags are not cheap, neither are the Para mags and the aftermarket options tend to suck. Take a look at an M&P 45, XDM-45, Hk45...I can't really comment on the STI, but I've had four Paras and while mine all ran well, they are not worth the premium price they go for today when buying new. Back when they were under $700 new they were good buys but now that they are in the $900+ range I'd pass.

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    You what they say if you buy a Para don't you? If you want a reliable gun, you need to buy a Para them!
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  8. #8
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    I have shot both, in heavy competition; the Para was the gun I earned my "M" card with in USPSA back in 1990 and went on to put something like 50,000 rounds through it. I never noticed any frame cracking whatsoever when I sold the gun to a kid just getting started, and I know this for a fact because I took the gun to my gunsmith who went over it with a fine tooth comb prior to selling the gun.

    As far as the STI is concerned, it is the ultimate 1911, period. I don't know about the internal parts being junk, because none of them ever failed on me during the years I have owned and shot them (March 1993 to present day); it must be understood however, that my STIs were all custom built guns from the ground up with parts I either won at matches over the years or guns I had built by my gunsmith outright. I shot my first open gun until I had to replace 2 comps and the barrel (schuemann ulti-match .38super) after 80,000 rounds and then kept shooting it for 5 more years until I finally sold the gun when my wife started having kids and my priorities changed. During all of my shooting time neither the Para or the STIs I shot ever failed me during a match, practice or otherwise. I would vouch for both weapons to be reliable choices; from a financial standpoint and the fact that you are just starting out I would go the route of the Para simply because it costs a lot less, and unless you are throwing thousands of rounds downrange every other month, you wont reap the benefits that the STI offers; the 2011 frames were designed first and foremost to be heavy-use competition guns, while the Para was designed against the original government specs of the 1911s with a couple of refinements........

    Hope this helps
    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry

  9. #9
    Member Array spurs06's Avatar
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    Good input, Thank You all.
    [B]"The dumber people think you are, the more surprised they'll be when you kill them" - William Clayton[/B]

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    My EDC is a STI Ranger II and it's a great pistol. I have owned Kimber, RIA, Taurus and have shot several other brands. I have not owned or shot the Para. But reading many different 1911 forums I see many more problems with Para's and very few with STI's. The most accurate 1911 that I have owned was a Kimber Pro Carry II but the STI is very close to the same accuracy. The fit and finish on the STI is better than Kimber. I don't see any "junk" internals in my STI. They build quality parts and guns. I would go with the STI.
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    STI is superbe ! The best 1911 on the market !

    If you want a beater why not get a Ruger or S&W 1911 ? STI isn't exactly beater class, although it will take a beating, I don't think your going to want to mistreat it in any way, shape or form once you get one.

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    VIP Member Array TWO GUNS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TommyGun4169 View Post
    STI is superbe ! The best 1911 on the market !

    If you want a beater why not get a Ruger or S&W 1911 ? STI isn't exactly beater class, although it will take a beating, I don't think your going to want to mistreat it in any way, shape or form once you get one.
    I didn't know Ruger and S&W made a double stacked 1911.
    Have Fun and Shoot Straight !!

  13. #13
    Member Array TommyGun4169's Avatar
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    My bad, I missed the double stacked part ! Still go with STI !

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  14. #14
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    STI, without question. Their customer support is fantastic.

    I do share the same sentiment as JD, however. For double stack, I'd roll to the non-1911 variety.
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  15. #15
    Member Array spurs06's Avatar
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    Why not a 1911?

    I've herad the "don't buy a double-stack 1911" statement before but without an explanantion. My reasoniong for one is that I guess I was raised on a 1911 and the platform is comfortable for me. Dad had one when I was growing up and it was the first pistol issued to me in the Army. While I have other platforms, I keep coming back to the 1911 for my carry guns (Kimber Pro Raptor and Kimber Ultra CDP - both .45 ACP). My other favorite platform is the Sig. I love the ergonomics and mechanics of my 239 and 226 (both DA/SA in 9mm)...if Sig made the 220 in a double-stack, I would forgo the 1911 and buy that. I can buy an FN-P or a similar frame but that would add a little more complication to my life with different mechanics and a need for new holsters. Oh yeah...I really need a hammer on my pistols. Call it a quirk but I have a distrust of striker-fired pistols. Glock-folks forgive me please...I mean no direspect but it's a personal thing.
    Thanks again for the good input.
    [B]"The dumber people think you are, the more surprised they'll be when you kill them" - William Clayton[/B]

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