Steyr S9-A1 Pistol in 9mm Table Top Review ~ VIDEO

YouTube personality, Graham Baates, gives us a video review of the Steyr S9-A1 Pistol.

Steyr S9-A1 Pistol
Steyr S9-A1 Pistol

USA – – (Ammoland.com)- The Steyr pistols have been in production for nearly 20 years and developed a sort of cult-like following.  Like another famous Austrian company Steyr pistols have a polymer frame, but offer a much more refined design and feel and have since the beginning.  The S9-A1 is the smallest in the lineup with a 3.6″ barrel.

Steyr S9-A1 Pistol

Fans of the Steyr pistols note the incredibly low-profile slide and high grip permitted by a deeply cut tang and slightly more forward grip angle.  The other most notable difference with Steyr pistols are their trapezoidal sights.  These sights prove quick to align after the user gets accustomed to them.  For those who don't want to learn a new sighting system TRUGLO TFX sights are also an option.  For a closer look at the features and design see the tabletop video below.

I was curious how the grip angle, high tang, and relatively slim slide would feel on the range.  Although firearm function doesn't vary from most common pistols these days I was also interested to see how the change in weight distribution combined with the 3.6″ barrel would run.  This of course meant it was time for a “What's for Dinner?” test running loads from 165gr down to 65gr.  This test is intended to find out load and case material compatibility.

Loads tested in the Steyr S9-A1 Pistol included:

  • 165gr FMJ brass-cased Freedom Munitions HUSH
  • 147gr JHP brass-cased Remington HTP
  • 125gr HAP lacquered-steel cased Hornady
  • 124gr FMJ brass-cased American Eagle Suppressor
  • 124gr BJHP nickel-plated brass-cased Remington Golden Saber
  • 115gr FMJ aluminum-cased Federal
  • 115gr FMJ steel-cased TulAmmo
  • 115gr XTP brass-cased Hornady American Gunner
  • 100gr RHVF brass-cased Fiocchi
  • 94gr RHTA brass-cased Geco
  • 90gr ZCFMJ Winchester Super Clean
  • 65gr ZCFMJ Liberty Civil Trainer

Results of the tests including a field accuracy group of five shots from seven yards using Nosler Match ammunition can be seen in the video below:

Grouping performance was likely more my fault that then gun's.  Otherwise I haven't experienced a single failure with the Steyr S9-A1.  The ergonomics are excellent and the grip angle required only a few practice runs to adapt to.  Recoil did feel softer than similarly-sized guns.  Of course felt-recoil is nothing but perception, and I can't narrow down the source of my perception.  Between the grip angle, high tang, excellent ergonomics, and lower-seated recoil system the gun just feels good to shoot.  As you saw in the video even Maddy's feminine hands had no issue with the gun.

For the numerophiles here are the specifications for the Steyr S9-A1 Pistol taken directly from Steyr's product page:

Caliber 9mm
Magazine 10+1
Trigger Reset Action (double action)
Grip Frame Synthetic Grip
Dimensions 6.8″x4.8″x1.3″
Barrel Length 3.6″
Weight 1.67 lbs

After spending some time on the range with the Steyr S9-A1 Pistol I now understand why Steyr has such a cult-like following.  They aren't the most common guns out there, but my guess is because once someone owns a Steyr they don't let go of it.  I'd like to hear from our readers.  Let us know what made you chose or not chose a Steyr and what have your experiences been with them?  If you own one have you kept the trapezoidal sights?


G B GunsAbout Graham Baates

“Graham Baates” is a pen name used by a 15-year active Army veteran who spent most of his time in the tactical side of the Intelligence community including tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Post-Army Graham spent some time in the 3-Gun circuit before becoming a full-time NRA Certified defensive handgun instructor and now works as an industry writer while curating a YouTube channel on the side. Visit Graham on Youtube .

  • 13 thoughts on “Steyr S9-A1 Pistol in 9mm Table Top Review ~ VIDEO

    1. As a first time gun owner, I tried Glock 17, 19, 43…H&K VP9…CZ P10C…Walter PPQ…couldn’t get my hands on a Steyr, but after reading reviews, I decided to buy one without firing a round thru it. I’m in love with this gun…Having smaller hands, I have no problem getting a solid purchase on my M9. As my first gun, I have no issues with the sights as my only previous experience with 3 dot sights came while trying the aforementioned guns at the range – my point is there wasn’t an adjustment for me.

      Some people lament the Steyr grips are lacking….but I found aggressive grips (like those on CZ) more detrimental to my time on the range than guns with more timid grips like the Steyr M9.

      The trigger is silky smooth…very little take up before you hit the wall, then crisp break with very little travel behind. While I agree with many that the reset could be more audible..who cares? When you’re rapid firing your rounds, how many of you know where the reset is or listen for the sound? The reset is smooth, allowing you to keep your trigger pulls flat and gun level….and isn’t that the most important thing?

      Any FTF’s I’ve experienced are due to user error (timid slide pulls & mag insertions)…other than that this gun runs smooth and eats anything.

      I’m 5’11” and 160lbs…I feel comfortable having my M9 as my CCW during the winter with bulkier clothing…but will probably buy an S9 as my CCW for the spring/summer as I’m not a thick guy and the M9 will def print more than I’d like…In closing, I’m a Steyr fanboy for life….If you haven’t shot one yet, get your hands on one…you won’t be disappointed.

    2. I love my L9-A1 and M9-A1. The issue I have with the S9-A1 is capacity. It needs to have factory mags of 12 or 13 rounds available. I’d then pocket carry it as my back up. For now, it can’t compete wit the Glock 26, VP9SK, or Sig P320 SC as all of those guns feature 12 round capacity and in the case of the VP9SK 13 rd capacity.

    3. My first full size pistol was the M9-A1. I held it at the SHOT show and it was love! My first time on the range with it made every other pistol pale in comparison for me. Not only does it seem to fit my smaller hands better, but the sights are actually much easier for me to acquire quickly and the softer recoil lets me fire more rounds without fatigue. I have to agree that the holster options are pitiful, but it’s a small sacrifice when you consider the performance.

      1. I just ordered the S9-A1 and looking to order my holster from Alien Gear. If you have any other holster recommendations, please let me know 🙂 I am hoping this gun is small enough to use as my EDC.

        Nice we hear a woman’s perspective on the Steyr. Thank you!

    4. I have both a M9 and L9. And love them. I use them in IDPA SSP they are accurate and fast. Best kept secret in the pistol world. Fantastic sights and amazing trigger out of box. Needless to say I’m in a big fan.

    5. I have carried one variation or another of a Glock pistol for duty (uniform & plain clothes) for over 25 years. However, I currently own both a C9 and S9 Steyr pistols and hands down are more comfortable and accurate to shoot. My wife an issue with a ligement on her trigger finger and while experiences difficulty shooting the glocks loves the Steyr and able to qualify with that more effectively. I had the C9 first and bought the S9 for her but even with her small hands prefers the C9 for it’s full size grip area. I like both but tend to carry the S9 with a backup C9 magazine. Great gun but like someone else lamented not many options for offduty carry and even less for uniform duty. Had a custom Kydex holster made by Talkeetna Archery and Tactical Supply that fist both weapons very well.

      1. Masc Holster from Turkey. You will have it via UPS in a week. They make one for every model.

    6. My first handgun was a Steyr L9-A1. No trouble with the concept of the trapezoid sights but my aging eyes just don’t see the white paint well enough. It sports a set of Tru-Glo TFX now. It can probably be said that a Steyr owner will only sell one of their Steyr’s to fund the purchase of yet another and that’s what I did. I sold an S9-A1 to purchase an S40-A1 in order to use it with the new drop in .357 sig barrels from Ranger Point Precision. Talk about putting the ergnomics and softer felt recoil to good use, with a set of Tru-Glo TFX on top this S357-A1 is a thing of beauty to shoot.

    7. I have had an M40 for 18 years and still love it. The only downside has been that grip texturing has gotten much better in the last 20 years and that holster selection could be much better.

    8. I’ve been carrying a C9-A1 every day for a couple of years now, and love it. Kept the trapezoidal sights. I was originally planning on getting a new M&P mid sized 9mm, but they had this used Steyr in the case. Once I held it, and dry fired it, I had to have it. My only “complaint” is the dearth of holster options. I’m very happy with my Alien Gear IWB though.

    9. I have an M9. Easiest pistol I’ve owned for target acquisition and least amount of felt recoil. I’ve owned several other popular polymer brands but I always go back to my M9 for the fact that it eats every brand and type ammo I cram in the magazines. Every FTF I’ve experienced was due to limp wristed hold and of the thousands of rounds I’ve put through it those were few and far between to date. Not to mention this pistol runs as reliably dirty as it does after a complete take down and cleaning.

    10. I have a M40 A1 and love it. I thank Steyr is better than glock’s. I also lick the video on the S9A1. thank you.

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