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|Predecessor||Tripp Research, Inc|
|Headquarters||Georgetown, Texas, United States|
|Virgil Tripp, Sandy Strayer, David Skinner, Tim Dillon, Dave Dawson, Greg Mooney, Westwind Investors|
STI International, Inc., is a Texas based company that manufactures complete1911 and 2011® handguns and parts for competition, duty and self-defense. It is most well known for its 2011® modular frame guns. The competitive shooting world was first to recognize and embrace the innovation and its appreciably superior performance advantages. You can more easily put multiple shots on target more accurately and rapidly thanks in large part to its modular assemblies, which helps to transfer kinetic energies on a much flatter plane. The handgun shooter is able to hold and maintain aim more accurately as felt recoil moves horizontally rather than the more typical vertical trajectory.
STI and Strayer Voigt Inc. share the patent on the modular frame.
In 1990, Virgil Tripp, a gunsmith and machinist, started building custom 1911s for competition use, especially USPSA/IPSC. After some time, Virgil began designing parts for 1911s, including electrical discharge machining (EDM) hammers and sears. Virgil's company was called Tripp Research, Inc. and most of his parts were sold and marketed by Chip McCormick, a champion pistol shooter, under his company's name, Chip McCormick Corporation (known as CMC).
Around 1993, an engineer and computer aided design (CAD) guru named Sandy Strayer joined Tripp Research, Inc. Tripp and Strayer revolutionized the 1911 market by designing a modular hi-capacity 1911 frame for IPSC shooters. While Para Ordnance already had a hi-capacity 1911 frame on the market, it was made of steel. The modular frame made use of a fiber-reinforced plastic which combined the trigger guard, grip, and integral magazine well. It used a proprietary grip which attached to the upper portion of the frame (a metal part that comprised the dust cover and frame rails). The result was that the modular frame weighed less than half of what the steel frame weighed. Further, while the Para frame feels notably larger than a standard 1911 in the hand, the STI feels similar to a regular 1911 since the grips are molded into the plastic of the frame rather than screwed to the outside. Tripp and Strayer were listed as the co-patent holders on the modular frame. Soon after the modular frame was introduced, the company name changed to STI (Strayer-Tripp, Inc.) and Strayer was given an equity stake in the new company.
In November 1994, Dave and Shirley Skinner, owners of an electronics company named Tessco, Inc., became involved in the operation of STI along with Virgil Tripp. In early 1997, the Skinners completed their purchase of STI from Virgil Tripp and renamed the company to STI International, Inc. Virgil went on to start a new company using the name Tripp Research, Inc., which produces various finishes for firearms and magazines for 1911s. During the Clinton era high capacity ban, STI remained in business by focusing on exports and the growing concealed carry market. As of 2007 STI was the third largest exporters of pistols in America.
From 1994 through the late 1990s, STI had a custom shop which would build guns to customer's specifications.
In January 2005 Dave Skinner sold the company to the employees of STI, making it the first ESOP company in the firearms industry.
In 2010 Tim Dillon was hired and made president and CEO, and later joined the board of directors. Dillon left the company in early 2014.
Greg Mooney joined STI in 2014 as President/CEO and member of the Board of Directors and currently serves in all three functions. A private equity group, Westwind Investors, purchased STI.
Today, STI manufactures a full range of 2011® pistols based on its modular frame, in addition to traditional 1911s using steel and aluminum frames in a variety of calibers such as 9mm Parabellum, .45 ACP, .40 S&W, and .38 Super. STI also manufactures a full line of parts for 1911 pistols, such as modular frame kits (which are used by gunsmiths to build complete guns), slides, barrels, compensators, triggers, hammers, thumb and grip safeties, slide stops, firing pins, guide rods, magazine wells, magazines, and scope mounts.
- Note: McCormick won the 1989 Steele Challenge with a gun designed by Virgil's brother, Fred Tripp, called the Scepter. The Scepter was the first of what came to be known as Race Guns. Tripp Research, Inc. - Company History
- STI International - American Handgunner - September/October 2001