Steyr L9A1 Review

Steyr L9A1 Review

Streyr Arms L9A1Steyr Mannlicher—or Steyr Arms as it's also come to be known—has been turning out quality firearms since its inception in Austria in 1864. Those familiar with the Steyr name know it's synonymous with the legendary Steyr AUG (Armee-Universal-Gewehr) or Universal Army Rifle. The company has transferred those many years of firearms knowledge and craftsmanship into its pistol line, making it affordable for the all shooters to own.

Steyr currently produces C-A1, S-A1, M-A1 and L-A1 pistol series, the latter being the newest in the lineup. The L-A1 is essentially a long-slide version of the M series with a standard size grip and 4.53-inch barrel. In 9mm Luger guise as the L9-A1, it utilizes a 15-round magazine and plus-two floorplate for a total capacity of 17 rounds. Two magazines are included. Additional calibers include .40 S&W and 9x21 (on request), and rumor has it the .357 SIG may be added in the future.

The features are plentiful, starting with the L9-A1's unique but optional triangular trapezoid sights, which are no-snag and low-profile for effective concealed carry. The slide has cocking serrations located on both sides for those who like to conduct press checks, and the barrel axis is low to the frame to help reduce muzzle jump. The L9-A1 has three loaded-chamber indicators, which are located at the rear of the slide, top rear of the barrel and a protruding extractor.

The frame has many extras as well, the first being the "limited-access" lock that doubles as the takedown button. By inserting one of two supplied keys into the lock and turning counterclockwise (toward the S stamped into the frame, with the twin tool-access indents oriented horizontally), you can deactivate the trigger—an action that also prevents disassembly.


With the lock in F position (indents vertical), the gun is in shootable condition and can be disassembled. After removing the magazine and clearing the chamber, release the slide and pull the trigger. While pressing down on the limited-access lock button, push the takedown lever down. You can use your finger to hold the lock button in, although if you have large fingers you may find the key or similar tool will make things easier. Push the slide forward and remove the recoil spring and barrel.


The frame sports an accessory rail for mounting your favorite gear. There are also molded serrations on the front of the trigger guard and on the front and rear of the grip as well. A cut-out is molded into the frame on both left and right sides for indexing your trigger finger. The magazine release is ambidextrous and can be changed easily by the user.


The L9-A1 is very controllable and comfortable to shoot, even for someone with large hands. The drawback to any polymer frame is you're subject to the manufacturer's vision of comfortable, but Steyr has made it feel universal. The angle of the grip does make the L9-A1 very pointable and easy to bring back on target during rapid fire.

The frame also houses the steel block that contains the working parts of the L9-A1. This in itself is not new, but it does allow for a lighter pistol while maintaining its integrity.


Range time allowed me get used to the L9-A1's unique sights, and I was able to produce consistent groups at 25 yards with five different types of defensive and target ammunition. HPR's 124-grain hollowpoint gave the best performance, followed by Winchester's 115-grain metal case. All the groups were tight enough to fit under my hand, although I found it shot high and left. Adjustable triangular trapezoid or night sights would be a welcome option on future models.

I understand that certain compromises must be made to produce an affordable firearm, but I don't think the trigger should be one of them. I felt the trigger on this particular L9-A1 had too much creep before the release. A smooth, crisp trigger would make the pistol a bit more user friendly.

The L9-A1 ate a steady diet of factory ammo and various reloads without a single pistol-related stoppage. That's as it should be if it hopes to fill the defensive or duty pistol role.


I'm enthusiastic about the potential .357 SIG offering because the L-A1's full-size frame will be a good fit for such a potent caliber. However, Steyr's PR rep believes this chambering is going to be a ways down the road for the U.S. market. As for the .40 S&W version, it should be available soon—possibly as early as the end of 2013 but more than likely the first part of 2014.

But the 9mm is here, and if it's a caliber that suits your fancy, check your local dealer for the L9-A1. It's an affordable, shootable and reliable autoloader. What more could you want?

Streyr Arms L9A1

Recommended for You

Semi-Auto

Mossberg MC1sc 9mm Pistol Review

Brad Fitzpatrick

Mossberg dives into the CCW market with the MC1sc 9mm pistol (#89001), their first...

Accessories

8 Popular Drop-In Glock Mods

Dusty Gibson - July 17, 2013

While some modifications require an experienced gunsmith, the average shooter can install most...

Accessories

CTS 2x4 X Base Pro Kit with AR500 Steel Target

J. Scott Rupp

The CTS Targets 2x4 X Base Pro comes with four X-base segments, the base itself, a target...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Teaching New Shooters

Julie Golob of Team Smith & Wesson guest stars, joining Jim and Scott for a discussion of how best to introduce new shooters to the sport.

Dealing with Subcompacts

Jim and Rich cover the benefits and the challenges presented by very small pistols.

Kyle Lamb and Eric Poole talk SIG pistols

G&A Editor Eric Poole and Viking Tacticals's Kyle Lamb talks about 2 new pistols from SIG Sauer and a Lipsey's Special of the P365.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Compact

SIG P365 Review

James Tarr - October 31, 2018

The SIG SAUER P365 (model # 365-9-BXR3) may just be the subcompact 9mm against which all...

Ammo

To Cast a Good Bullet

Bart Skelton - June 28, 2012

I don't have a distinct recollection of the first time I reloaded a cartridge – it's been a...

Compact

Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall Review

Jeff Chudwin - January 29, 2019

One of the newest in the Micro 9 series, the Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall is a serious pistol...

See More Stories

More Semi-Auto

Semi-Auto

Walther Q5 Match Steel Frame

J. Scott Rupp - May 29, 2019

Walther is reaching out to newbies and veterans alike by delivering a competition gun that's...

Reviews

SIG Sauer P365 MS Review

J. Scott Rupp - July 25, 2019

The SIG P365 is an excellent 9mm carry pistol—one that's rated for +P ammo—and it's now...

Semi-Auto

Review: FN America 509 Tactical

James Tarr - April 24, 2019

The military didnft pick FNfs 509, but the commercial version will be of interest to...

See More Semi-Auto

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×