The Austrian firearms manufacturer introduced the latest model of its service pistol at the 2012 IWA Outdoor Classics Show in Nuremburg, Germany. And it began shipping limited numbers of the handgun to America this year.
For those familiar with Steyr’s A1s, the latest version of the pistol won’t hold many surprises – it is nearly a carbon copy of the line’s original model, the M-A1. The main variance between the models is barrel length. The M-A1 has a 4-inch barrel, compared to the L-A1’s 4.53-inch barrel.
The increased barrel length makes the full-sized pistol ideal for target shooting or competition. But it is still reasonably enough sized for concealed carry, though its length and double-stack magazine make it more practical for an outside the waistband holster.
The L-A1 has a few new design tweaks, as well. The pistol boasts a loaded-chamber indicator that rises on the rear of the slide when a round is chambered. It also has an ambidextrous magazine release.
Like its predecessors, the L-A1 is available in 9mm Luger, .40 S&W and .357 SIG. It also has a number of design features common to the line.
The A1 has the unique trapezoidal sight configuration and a Picatinny rail on the front of the frame. It has an integrated trigger safety, keyed safety lock and aggressive cocking serrations. And it has a low-bore axis and steep grip angle of the previous models.
The A1 design has been around for more than a decade, the brainchild of Steyr designer Wilhelm Bubits. Bubits had no formal training as a gun designer, instead formulated his ideas on handguns as an Austrian customs official. He then applied his practical knowledge at Glock, before moving to Steyr in 1997.
The L-A1 comes at a reasonable price, with an MSRP of $560. Affordable and incorporating the notable features of the line puts the pistol in consideration with the other full-sized polymers on the market.
Steyr L-A1 Specifications
Caliber: 9x19mm Luger, .40 S&W, .357 SIG
Slide Material: Steel
Magazine Type/Capacity: Double-stack steel box/17 rounds (9mm), 12 rounds (.40, .357)
Barrel: 4.53-inch cold-hammer-forged
Rifling: Conventional, 6 grooves, RH twist
Sights: Drift-adjustable trapezoidal
Trigger Type: Reset Action System (DAO with integrated safety)
Pull Weight: 5.5 pounds
Frame Material: Reinforced polymer
Weight Empty: 28.8 ounces (29.6 ounces L40-A1)
Overall Length: 7.9 inches
Height: 5.1 inches
Width: 1.2 inches
Included Accessories: Owners manual, lockable box, extra magazine
Recommended Handgun Resources
Gun Digest Shooter’s Guide to Handguns by Grant Cunningham