“Your box is here” I got the call from the receptionist at work. I was off duty so I raced down with a case and retrieved the parcel. One of my workmates who is the proud owner of a Lee Enfield jungle carbine suggested we open it up in his department so we could have a play without “disturbing” anyone. As part of the deal the pistol was missing a case, a manual, a cleaning kit and only had one mag. After unwrapping it and checking the chamber we tried a couple of dry fires. I picked it up and squeezed the trigger and was quite shocked to feel what seemed to be a 10 pound trigger pull. The blood was draining from my face as I thought about the $1000 lemon I had just purchased. I didn’t say anything to my friend. He had a play and said “wow, that triggers pretty heavy”. I was starting to feel a bit sick. The other thing I noticed was the grip seemed tiny compared to the other Austrian pistol’s 4”x2” I am use to. I was wondering if it was going to be too small. I pack away the new arrival and set off home for a better play. Once in the privacy of my own home I could appreciate how nice the pistol looked. The thickness of the front end and its modern styling had appealed to me since the first time I saw the M9-A1. I liked the chunkiness of it. It has the sort of lines that makes your average 1911 owner feel threatened. The next test was to field strip the pistol and clean the mag and slide. I remember the take down lever was involved somehow but it wouldn’t budge. I got online and went straight to https://www.steyrclub.com and downloaded a manual. The trick was to push in the internal lock before rotating the take down. Steyr Club had come up with the goods again. It was time to get the gun naked. I was looking for proof marks and stampings that would give me more information about the pistol. The slide was marked “BOK” which was Steyr-speak for manufacture date. In this case the slide’s birthday was April 2002. This means the slide was probably manufactured for the earlier M9 and was mated with the new style receiver sometime later. After a quick clean I hunted around for a holster that might fit. I had a cheap shoulder holster for Herr Gaston’s 19th patent that I had picked up from an army surplus store in Wellington. The Steyr fitted OK and I could remove the shoulder straps and use it as a belt holster until I found something more suitable. The ten minute drive out to the range seemed to go pretty quickly. After shooing a family of goats of the 25m range I got set up on one of the firing bays. I loaded up the one mag I had and noted that the 14 round mag might carry 15 at a pinch. I stored that one away for another day and loaded up 14 of Belmont Ammunition’s 115gr FMJ once shot Police brass reloads. On lining up on the 25m target I noticed the grip was a bit slippery. I wasn’t sure if it was due to nerves or the left over break-free on my hands from cleaning the gun. The day was overcast and it was starting to spit. Even though the light was poor the construction of the trapizoid sights allowed ample light to filter through. In fact the front site seemed to be in a lot sharper focus than any other pistol I have shot. My fears about the trigger weight were unsubstantiated. After a few dry fires at home and a few rounds on the range the trigger seemed to free up a lot. Much the same, if not lighter than my polished up combat tupperware trigger. Several other major departures from the well known other polymer handgun was the balance, muzzle flip and recoil of the Steyr. Because of the Steyr’s low bore axis the pistol feels like it sits in the hand instead of on top of it. I can’t be sure after just a few shots but I’d imagine there would be less muzzle flip than the previously mentioned Austrian sidearm. A product of the lower bore axis is a more pronounced punch from the gun in recoil. This may necessitate a different grip or some experimentation to find out what works best. The grip didn’t turn out to be much of a problem either. It feels a bit weird but is ok. I’ll need a bit more range time to get my head round the grip.It took me 2 months to get use to the other black pistols trigger, I should give at least that to the new pistols grip. On an ISSF 25m target I shot a few 9s and 10s (and some fliers) and was satisfied that out of the box it was more than a match for my skills. I only got in about 30 rounds before the rain came down in buckets and put an end to any patching on our outdoor range. On the drive back home I was already thinking about what accessories I will need in order to shoot this pistol in IPSC. I’d like to think that this chunky little pistol could make a name for itself in production class. Time will tell.