Hey... remember when I was considering buying an STI Tac-Lite 4.0 with a compact VIP grip as a second 2011 carry gun, but ended up buying the Bul SAS2 Ultralight instead? Well... I got tempted into buying a Tac-Lite after seeing it unsold on GunBroker week after week for what seemed like months. It was apparently the LAST brand new Tac-Lite 4.0 in existence for sale, and I'm so glad I bought it! 😎 I had to sell three competition guns that were no longer being used to help fund the purchase, but it was worth it. I have wanted one of these guns since STI updated their Tactical line back in 2013. I had planned on selling several guns to fund the purchase back then too, but I just couldn't stomach the price tag and gave up on the idea. Now that I've already purchased a few other 2011s and have gotten over the "hump" of paying that much for a handgun, I decided to buy this one and turn it into my "ultimate" carry gun.
The first thing was to buy and install a shorter VIP grip since this would be a carry gun. I haven't seen the VIP grips readily available that weren't already stippled, but STI just happen to have a few brand new ones in stock on their website, so I ordered one the second I won the auction for the gun on GunBroker. After I installed the VIP grip, I was playing around with the tactical magwell that came on the full size grip and realized that it actually fit onto the VIP grip and was held firmly into place solely by the tension against the bottom of the mainspring housing. I really like the look of the tactical magwell on the VIP grip because it looks too "cut off short" without it. The gun prints a little bit more with the magwell installed, but it looks awesome and actually helps with reloading quickly. I also blended the inside of the mag opening in the grip to transition smoothly to the magwell as much as possible.
After putting a couple hundred rounds through the gun to make sure it functioned properly, I sent the slide off to Vulcan Machine Werks to be milled for a red dot sight and I also had them cut a window into the top of the slide to reduce the weight a little and increase the cool factor a little. While the slide was away getting milled, I struggled with whether to stipple the grip or leave it with the classic checkering. I ended up stippling the unused full size grip first to see how it would turn out, and that convinced me to go ahead and do the VIP grip. I also used melted plastic from a sacrificial STI base plate to fill in the faux screw holes at the bottom of the grip to give it a more custom look. I am extremely happy with how everything came together on this gun!
Is this gun the "best" carry gun that I own? Probably not. 😐
Is it the most practical carry gun that I own? No. 😕
Is it the most expensive carry gun that I own? Yep. 😳
Is it the softest shooting carry gun that I own? Yes it is! 😀
Is it the COOLEST carry gun that I own? Absolutely YES! 😁