Armscor STK100 Review: Rock Island Rocks

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There are a lot of Glock-like 9mm pistols out there, but among them, the all-metal Armscor STK100 stands out as something different.

The marketplace is full of 9mm pistols with capacious magazines. So, why Armscor? Why the STK100? Simple: no polymer. The STK100 not only looks like a Glock (let’s just get the “G word” right out there, shall we?), it uses Glock magazines and even has parts interchangeability with Glock pistols.

And why not?

On the subject of magazines alone, there are probably more Glock magazines extant, and made by a whole host of companies, than there are 1911 magazines. And that’s despite the 70-plus years and two World Wars head start the 1911 had.

The STK100 looks at first glance like a G17, but there are major differences. And good ones, at that.

Similar, But Different

Instead of polymer, the STK100 pistol utilizes a combination of aluminum and steel. Its frame consists of two aluminum shells, which are milled from 7075 alloy blocks and then bolted together with six durable fasteners. The grip frame has two bolts at the back where the backstrap would be, two across the accessory rail on the dust cover, and the other two at the front and rear of the trigger guard.

The interior is made of steel and consists of a one-piece steel chassis, which is evident by the serial number protruding through the aluminum shell on the right side. This design allows the STK100 to use actual rails rather than the four stamped tabs used by a Glock as bearing surfaces.

The STK100 has all the same controls as on a Glock, so if you know how to run one of those, you’re all set here.

But Armscor didn’t simply clone the G17 in aluminum, because what’s the point? First, the grip is machined to be at the 1911 grip angle, not the Glock angle. Those who have spent time with 1911s will find that the Glock doesn’t point the same. Not that we should be indulging in point-shooting, but when you’re trying to groove in your index on the draw, different angles create problems in transitioning from one pistol to another.

Then, they aggressively machine in nonslip textures. The rear of the grip has diagonal and deep grooves to engage the fleshy part of your hand. The sides have checkerboard panels to give your fingertips purchase and the rest of your hand a grabby surface. The frontstrap has horizontal grooves, and the combination makes for an effective setup.

The backstrap has diagonal grooves to grip into the fleshy part of your hand and resist recoil movement. They work.

Armscor made some notable improvements to the STK100 frame and slide. The extended tang provides leverage to resist muzzle lift, which is not achieved by the stubby nub of polymer on Glocks. The increased density of aluminum further helps in this regard. Although the STK100 weighs 6 ounces more than the G17, it does not affect the reciprocating mass of the system and instead acts as dead weight to resist inertia.

The slide of the STK100 has been rounded at the edges and corners and features clearance slots in front of the chamber area to reduce weight. The top and sides have cosmetic sculpting, and the front boasts cocking serrations on the widest part. These modifications result in less reciprocating mass and less impulse to drive the muzzle rise component of recoil, as observed during test-firing.

The STK100’s sights have also been upgraded, with the front blade set in an oval socket and fastened by a hex-headed screw from underneath. However, the tiny threads may require Loctite to maintain torque, which is a common issue with Glock sights.

The rear sight is also an optics mounting plate cover. Remove the screws, pry the plate off and you can put a Shield on the slide.

The rear sight is part of a removable plate that permits the installation of a red-dot optic. The plate, when removed, takes the rear sight with it, which to me is a small oversight, as there’s room to have the rear sight stay and still mount a red-dot. The footprint is set up for the Shield sights, and all the other red-dots that use the same screw pattern and base size and shape, which is a lot of them. I would’ve tested the STK100 with a red dot, but every single one of my red-dots of that pattern were already on something else being tested. But I did remove the plate and found the fit to be quite tight, which bodes well for having a red-dot fit and stay in place.

The sample STK100 came with a pair of KCI magazines, which are Glock clones made in Korea. I checked the fit with a fistful of Glock mags (they all fit) and Magpul and ETS mags as well. All fit, and all that were designed to drop free did so when required. I have some crusty old original Glock mags, back before American shooters made it clear they didn’t want “won’t drop” magazines. Those fit and functioned, but they wouldn’t drop free. They never were intended to, so I’m neither surprised nor disappointed.

How’s it Shoot?

Test-firing was … interesting. First up, the weight and its distribution, combined with the grip tang, does a great job of keeping muzzle rise under control. Even with the +P ammo, it wasn’t any big deal to just hammer the various steel plates, falling or otherwise.

Armscor sculpted the slide to remove weight, make it less bulky and look good. Points on all of those to Armscor. The sample gun came with two KCI made in Korea magazines, holding 17 rounds each. Standard Glock mags work because that was the plan from the start.

The STK100 right out of the box hit to the sights, and the white dot front with plain black rear worked just fine. The grip angle fit me well, but then I’ve done a lot of shooting of 1911s, so we’d expect that. In recoil, the front sight dropped right back down into the notch of the rear, so the nonslip grip texture is doing a good job of combating recoil squirm.

The one drawback, and this is something that may or may not be a problem for you, was the cold. My range days with the STK100 coincided with a cold snap (like 7 degrees overnight) and grabbing an all-aluminum grip when the temps moved up to 20 was … interesting. After a bit of handling and shooting, it warned up, but the first magazine out of the STK100 was informative.

My usual process is to do the chronograph work first, to get velocities and check basic function. Had I done the accuracy work first, the first few groups would’ve been pretty shabby. But by the time I was ready to shoot groups, the STK100 had warmed some, the sun was out and I knew what to expect. Accuracy? Really good.

Accuracy results from four, five-shot groups fired at 25 yards with sandbags as a rest. Velocity derived with a Labradar chronograph, programmed to read velocity 15 feet from the muzzle. Velocity is an average of 10 shots, fired at 20 degrees F.

So, what’s the STK100 for? If you’re looking for a lightweight carry gun, it’s not the one. The extra weight puts it in second place to other pistols. If you want a heavier-than-polymer pistol for competition, again, not the one. You can easily get an all-steel competition pistol for USPSA or IDPA that runs 40 ounces or more.

The frame is machined into a nonslip pattern, and how the pattern runs depends on where on the frame it is.

However, if you use competition as a means of staying in practice with your everyday carry gun, and you’re not necessarily a slave to “it has to be the lightest,” then the STK100 will fill the bill. A great trigger (a function of the stiffer frame assembly) and soft in recoil (weight and the tang) makes it fun to shoot in a match. And the extra ounces, while combating recoil, aren’t going to be noticed in a proper holster. And might I add, once again, if you’re not using a proper holster, you’re doing it wrong.

Disassembly? If you know how to do it to a Glock, you know how to do it to an STK100. If not, the process is easy to find.

Armscor has hit a home run with this one.

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