The GP6 is STI's first entry into the polymer frame market, and it brings with it a unique design and solid performance. The GP6 is a 9mm DA / SA handgun with a rotating barrel design with a steel slide and a polymer lower frame. The frame itself is completely ambidextrous, as are all of the controls such as the external safety, slide release, and magazine drop button.
I really like the feel of the GP6. Unladen it feels considerably more balanced than an XD or Glock, albeit a heavier pistol all together. The grip angle is somewhat similar to a Glock in that you have a large palm swell, but unlike a Glock you have a nice beavertail which aids in making the grip more consistent. The grip is a tad slick, which is one thing I would like to see changed, but is easily remidied with some grip tape. On the same token, there are some tactically placed striations on the frame that allows my strong side fingers to dig into, which I liked.
I rarely use the actual slide release to chamber or remedy malfunctions so I was very pleased with the aggressive slide serrations. It makes operating the slide very easy, and very quick, as it should be.
Seen here is the unique cut out on the barrel that forces the rotation as it moves reward. The cutout interfaces with a lug on the frame to twist the barrel.
Of more importance is the massive locking lug that gives the barrel good lock-up. The tighter the lock-up, the tighter the groups due to the decreased deflection of the barrel during the firing event.
One thing that everyone that fired the GP6 commented on was the smooth trigger pull, and overall trigger feel. Seen here is the double action pull length. I found the pull to be very smooth, without significant hitch during the pull which is a problem that Glock, and other similar designs, have due to the disengagement of safeties in the middle of the pull. The pull weight is approximately 7 lbs. in DA (going off of feel).
The best thing about the GP6 is the single action pull. Every one of the 20 people that fired the GP6 loved the feel. The pull weight is approximately 4.5 - 5.0 lbs. with a clean break. There is very little creep in the trigger, and about a 5mm take up length. The reset is incredibly short, like 1911 short, and that makes for really fast follow-up shots. I could empty 5 rounds out of the GP6 faster than my 17L with the same degree of accuracy. For self-defense, that is where it counts.
The sight picture on the GP6 is decent. The rear sight is a bit busy for my taste, and the front sight itself is hard to find, but again... this is an aspect of the pistol that is easily fixed. It'd be awesome with a set of Dawson fiber-optic sights, or a more combat oriented XS big dot. I do like the fact that you have a typical three dot sight picture, and the sights offer alot of field of view since they are narrow.
So how's it shoot? Damn well.
That group is at 10 yards using Blaser Brass.
The recoil is soft, but there is a tad bit more muzzle climb compared to other 9mm pistols I've shot, but was certainly manageable.
In the last range visit I actually tried to make the gun malfunction. I held onto it loosely with one hand, double tapped it in the same manner, ran it over-oiled and dirty, softly inserted the magazine, shot it gangsta style, fast, slow, etc. etc. etc. and I could not get the gun to malfunction. In fact, even with 20 shooters, some of them new to pistols, the GP6 never malfunctioned once. Not a single stovepipe, not a single double feed, nothing. This thing is less tempermental than ANYTHING I've owned, and that includes my Glock and HKs.
Everyone commented positively on it's accuracy, and I would as well. It was on par with my 17L which is no slouch.
For it's pricing point the GP6 does bring a strong presence to the market. For those looking for a traditional SA carry gun, but don't want the shortcomings of a single stack 1911, or the cost of an HK, this is something definitely worth checking out.
If you are in the Houston area, Shiloh Shooting Range has a GP6 for trial, and both them and Talon Arms are STI dealers.
Thanks to Rabbit at STI for lending the GP6 for review. For more info on STI and the GP6 see their website, STI International, Inc.