MA1 1000 Round Assessment

Discussion in 'M, C, L and S Series' started by kraigster414, Dec 2, 2007.

  1. kraigster414

    kraigster414 Guest

    It's hard to believe that I've already put 1k rounds through my new M9A1 in less than a month but I really wanted to see what this baby is made of. My initial thoughts:

    1. Caliber: 9mm

    2. Purchased from: Davidson's drop shipped to local FFL

    3. Paid: $400 give or take

    4. Date of manufacture: From what I can tell 2005

    5. Davidson's experience: Very satisfied, great communication, and Davidson's lifetime guarantee in addition to Steyr's is a plus. 'Already took advantage of it (see below) and they (Davidson's) mean what they say.

    6. Functioning problems or otherwise snafus: During the first 200 rounds, I experienced a few failures of the slide to return to full battery (stopped just short) and slide not locking back after the last round. 'Cause was determined to be too-short springs installed in the 15-round magazines that came with the gun. They in fact appeared to have 10-round springs instead. (I have yet to be able to figure this one out. File it under "stuff happens.") Once the springs were changed (apologies from Davidson's along with replacements), the problem disappeared and it's been smooth sailing ever since - zero problems of any kind. The need for a 200 round break-in (applicable to most guns) may have also contributed to the failure of the slide to return to full battery. I strongly recommend in the case of any new gun, a liberal application of gun lube to the rails. Brian Enos' Slide Glide Lite is my personal favorite but there are others.

    7. Accuracy: It's a cliche but the gun is more accurate than I'll ever be.

    8. Trapezoid Sights: 'Skeptical at first, they grow on you. Stick with them.

    9. Handling: The MA1's ergonomics are very good particularly for those with small hands. I do prefer the grip angle of my Walther P99 but that's a personal thing and it may not be true in your case.

    10. Aesthetics and Wearability: Although Melonite is impregnated into the base metal to prevent rust, the blackened exterior slide finish is somewhat Spartan and thin compared to other guns. The appearance of the gun overall is attractive and modern.

    11. Enhancements Performed: Partial Big Taco trigger tune-up. To achieve a consistent trigger pull, I polished with 1000 grit auto sandpaper the trigger weight (part#45) and the guide rod (part#44) per Taco's tutorial. I did nothing further. I believe the polishing did help. If you are satisfied with the trigger pull as is, leave it alone. I also installed Taco's s/s recoil spring guide rod assembly. Very nice, adds a bit of weight to the gun and therefore some reduction in felt recoil - more important for the harder-hitting .40SW vs. the 9mm I think.

    12. Would I buy one again? At $350 (CDNN) or even $400 (Davidson's), the MA1 is a steal and definitely one of my better purchasing decisions. If the going price however was more in line with other polymer guns ($500-$600), things become more complicated. Although the trigger in the MA1 does smooth out, smoothness is not lightness and I would much prefer a trigger break of about 4-4.5 lbs (mine clocks at 5.5-5.75 lbs but feels heavier). If this could be achieved and accomplished in a way that would still render the gun reliable for the life of the weapon, I would say the M9A1 can go toe to toe with the best of the $500-$600 polymers. Still, a 5.5-6 lb. trigger is plenty good for carry or home defense. Steyr's customer service is good though sometime you have to wait for a call-back, critical parts ARE available ditto for holsters so I don't buy into the complaint entirely about lack of parts/accessories. All your after-market lights and laser devices should fit the MA1's Pic rail.

    13. Do I feel confident carrying? Yes though night sights would be helpful.

    Keep in mind, these are my thoughts and your mileage may differ. :)
  2. Syntax360

    Syntax360 Premium Member

    My M9A1 from Davidson's had the very same problem. Same experience - once fixed, the pistol was 100% - go figure.

  3. Netfotoj

    Netfotoj Premium Member

    Congrats on the 1K mark. May you shoot many, many more.

    My experience with my M357-A1 is a bit different. I loved my trigger right out of the box, though I have never measured it for weight and presume it is the standard 5.5 lbs. claimed by Steyr. That was my biggest fear when I bought the pistol as all my previous experience had been with DA/SA or SA triggers. I wouldn't even consider a DOA. But I decided I wanted a compact or subcompact pistol in 357 Sig for concealed carry, so I began looking.

    The only ones that fit my specs were DOA with the exception of Sig Sauer, which I can't afford. I was ready to choose between Glock, XD or S&W M&P when I found out about Steyr. To make a long story longer, I went with Steyr and have never been sorry. I had perhaps 3 or 4 FTE jams, mostly stovepipes, in the first 200 rounds, then that stopped. It bonked me on the top of the head with ejects once in a while, but that stopped, too.

    And even though I loved the trigger out of the box, I met BigTaco during a trip to Pittsburgh and got one of his SS Guide Rods with captured spring, plus his full trigger smoothing work. It shot great before and greater after.

    Since purchasing my M357-A1, I picked up a customized G29 which has a custom trigger that has to be no more than 2.5 to 3 lbs. so that gives it a slight edge in the DOA trigger comparison, but I still love my M357-A1 trigger.

    I bought a M40-A1 and found its trigger comparable to my M357-A1, but there was just something strange and uncomfortable about the .40 recoil to me, more so than 357 Sig, 10mm or .45 ACP, so I traded it for a 9mm S&W DA/SA subcompact. I guess I'm just not a .40 fan, though I thought I would be until I tried one.

    I haven't shot a M9-A1 so perhaps there's something different about its trigger. But for me, the trigger of the M357-A1 is one of its best features, right up there with the trap sights, which I have also come to love.

    So I've gone from saying "never" to a DOA trigger to being a happy owner of two. And to me the trigger is the crucial feature of any pistol. I will not keep a pistol that doesn't have a good trigger and I think Steyr's is great.

    I just bought a 1911-type .45, a Llama IX-C hi-cap, which has a custom trigger of about 3 lbs. that I love. But of course, that's SA so Big Bertha serves on duty "cocked and locked." For regular carry, I'll stick with my M357-A1 "Thor" because DOA carry just "feels" safer than "cocked and locked" not to mention smaller and lighter.
  4. kraigster414

    kraigster414 Guest

    Net, I too am a big fan of the .357SIG and carry my Sig P239 in that caliber regularly. In addition I converted my Glock 27 to .357SIG long ago. Plus I reload so I can afford to shoot both guns a lot. I owned an XD Service in .357 SIG, nice gun, priced right but somewhat difficult to find these days at least in my parts - I am sorry I traded mine in.

    Triggers are like woman, one size does not fit all. If I could just lighten my M9A1 trigger (and have it stay light and reliable), I'd be a happy camper - I really don't want to mess with bending springs per se. Perhaps if I didn't already own a Walther P99 AS prior to acquiring my M9A1, the transition to the MA1 trigger would have been easier - I really do like the Walther AS trigger. In the case of my Glocks, switching to the Lone Wolf 3.5 connector made a big difference in terms of improved accuracy and increased enjoyment. Unfortunately, we don't have that quick and inexpensive option with the MA1.

    Short story made long, I'd like to see more options for those like me who prefer a lighter MA1 tirgger break. Canyon Creek and Springer Precision offer a terrific 4# carry job for the Springfield XD and their turnaround is quick. If we could replicate for the MA1 wouldn't that be great? And I am not adverse to sending my gun off to have the work done.

    Overall, I think the MA1 is a great gun and a tremendous bargain. I'd just like to see it "more better." :)
  5. madecov

    madecov Active Member


    That's funny. I own both and like the Steyr just a small amount more. I have very small hands.
    Each is incredibly well designed from an ergonomic point.

    BTW, The S&W M&P is almost a dead ringer for the feel of the Steyr.
  6. kraigster414

    kraigster414 Guest

    Right now Mad, I think the MA1 is a more reliable gun than the M&P and as a result, you stand a better chance of getting a good one right out of the box. I just happen to have checked the M&P board this morning and it appears folks are still having problems with the mag release. Not good. But you are right, the M&P has a very nice feel to it as does the MA1.

    I spoke to Jack at Steyr today (great guy) and he indicated that hopes for a Steyr amrorer's school have been delayed - we probably won't see until the summer. I believe that once folks are up and factory trained, the better our chances for some outstanding after-sale tweaks, the trigger being one that comes to mind. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with the MA1 as it is. It's a great bargain and ideal for concealed carry and home defense. My personal desire though is for a crisp 4-4.5 lb. trigger.

    SELFDEFENSE Premium Member

    Basically my experience also, except I had no teething problems and my trigger was crisp from the beginning.
  8. Yeah, the slide thing also makes me go "huh?"

    I've never had a failure of the slide to return or anything close in either my M40 or MA140, but my pistols are earlier series. As soon as the mannox finished MA1s or SA1s are available I'll purchase those and I hope I don't have that kind of issue with either of them.
  9. kraigster414

    kraigster414 Guest

    To clarify just a bit....I think the only reason I had early problems with the slide not returning to battery was due to the too-short mag springs. Once they were changed, the problem disappeared, however, I can't completely rule out the fact that the gun was going through a break-in period as well. A generous application of lube to the rails helps speed up the break-in process. As for my trigger, I'd say it was relatively crisp, albeit heavier than I'd like from the get-go. Taco's tutorial smoothed it out further. Nevertheless, I'd like to see the break dropped to about 4-4.5 lbs, my personal "sweet spot."
  10. sewerman

    sewerman Premium Member

    nice evaulation write up.

    luck on my part i have only 2 malfuctions on my ma1.
    ftf...meaning go into full battery. probably due to cleaniness and dirty ammo.

    my m-9 has a much better trigger then the a1 yet i have only shot about half of what yo have.
    hopefully it will settle in.
    personally i like the ol' m-9 better.

    live to shoot another 1k!