Concealed Carry

Review: Les Baer Stinger

Les Baer Stinger

It’s easy enough to find a service-grade and service-size handgun with excellent performance.

The 1911 .45 Government Model is a fast-handling handgun with controllable recoil, a good natural point, and real speed to an accurate first-shot hit.

When you begin to look for a concealed-carry pistol, you run headfirst into areas of compromise.

While there are circumstances in which a full-size pistol may be concealed, this usually means a heavier covering garment.

During the summer months when lighter gear is the rule, a lighter handgun with smaller overall dimensions is needed.

With less weight comes greater recoil. With a shorter sight radius comes less practical accuracy.

We usually give up something in the way of magazine capacity.

Two 1911 pistols
The pistol about ¾-inch shorter than the full-size Les Baer 572 Hemi Government Model.

Commanding Officer’s Model

The first 1911-type design intended to offer a superior concealed-carry pistol was the Commander.

With a barrel ¾-inch shorter than the Government Model and an aluminum frame, the Commander is a fine all-around defensive handgun.

The 1911 handgun features a nicely contoured flat slide, thinner than SIG Sauer, GLOCK or H&K pistols, so this isn’t a problem.

Later, the even shorter Officer’s Model added cutting the grip length to the equation.

The Officer’s Model gives up one round in magazine capacity to the Commander and Government Model pistols.

As for reliability, the Commander length with its 4.25-inch barrel seems able to retain the famous reliability of the Government Model.

The Officer’s Model is regarded as less reliable with a wide range of loads and pressure levels.

If you design a 1911 with a barrel shorter than 4.25 inches, the extra degree of tilt in the barrel demands eliminating the barrel bushing and moving to a bull barrel.

A custom-grade option combining the Commander-length slide with the Officer’s Model grip frame became known as the Commanding Officer’s Model.

This configuration is available from the factory in several renditions.

1911 muzzle with bushing
Barrel/barrel bushing and slide fit is excellent.

Les Baer Stinger

Among the finest of the CCO types I have carried, tested and evaluated extensively is the Les Baer Stinger.

Les Baer pistols are at the top of the heap in quality of manufacture, tight tolerances and superb performance (along with Wilson Combat, Guncrafter and Nighthawk).

They are pricey, but I don’t see how they could offer the same quality for a lighter tariff. The Stinger is a steel-frame pistol.

Recoil is modest, comparable to a steel-frame Commander, a result of careful recoil spring research and selection.

The pistol is first-class all of the way, with a nicely finished stainless steel frame and slide.

The front is checkered in 30 lines-per-square-inch checkering. The grip frame is shorter than a Government Model, but comfortable.

An undercut beneath the trigger guard lowers the bore axis.

1911 pistol slide to frame fit
The pistol features night sights and an ambidextrous safety.

Key Features

The Stinger features a memory groove beavertail grip safety. This safety helps funnel the hand into a good firing position.

The bump helps properly depress the grip safety, allowing the trigger to be pressed.

The safety releases its grip on the trigger about half way into compression as it should. This grip safety helps facilitate a high hold on the grip frame.

The slide-lock safety offers a positive indent, clicking into position tightly. It is more difficult to place on safe than most by design.

This helps prevent the safety from being placed in the on position during firing and movement.

Adding to the pistols excellent balance of abrasion and adhesion are a set of well-finished checkered grips and a serrated mainspring housing.

With the Stinger, you’re getting a pistol with a factory de-horn package.

Sharp edges are not present and the long bearing surfaces are free of snag.

The sights are excellent examples of combat sights. Both speed shooting and precise accuracy are enhanced by these sights.

Tritium inserts give the pistol 24-hour capability.

Les Baer Stinger frontstrap checkering
At 30 lines-per-inch, the frontstrap checkering of the Les Baer Stinger is gorgeous.

Les Baer Fit and Finish

Barrel fitting means a lot to me.

The Les Baer Stinger’s 4.25-inch barrel features excellent fitting in the barrel hood, locking lugs, and in barrel bushing to slide fit.

The barrel ramp features the standard 1/32-inch gap between the two halves of the ramp, and is polished very well.

The barrel bushing is a good tight fit. You will probably need a tool for fieldstripping.

The pistol doesn’t feature a full-length guide rod, rather the standard guide rod and spring setup.

The Stinger is supplied with two Les Baer magazines. I added several Wilson Combat magazines.

The pistol is chambered in .45 ACP.

The .45 ACP, in my opinion, based on a great deal of experience, research and testing, is practically the ideal defensive cartridge.

Les Baer Stinger Barrel
The barrel hood is a good hard fit in the slide. The barrel lugs are a tight fit.

Accuracy and Reliability

The .45 ACP operates at low pressure. Wear is modest.

The cartridge features an excellent combination of accuracy, modest recoil for the bullet weight, and a muzzle flash so subdued there is seldom more than a warm glow.

I have test-fired the pistol extensively with Federal American Eagle 230-grain FMJ, handloads using the Hornady XTP bullet in 185 and 200-grain weight, and a variety of factory defensive loads.

The Stinger has proven reliable with a wide range of loads. The Stinger is fast on target and, like all quality 1911 handguns, accurate to a first-shot hit.

Combat shooting has exhibited excellent results.

As for absolute off-the-bench accuracy, I have test fired the Federal 230-grain Hydra-Shok and Hornady 200-grain XTP at a long 25 yards.

I have fired occasional groups both larger and smaller, but the pistol will consistently hold five shots in two inches at this range.

That is an exceptionally accurate short-barrel .45!

Les Baer Stinger in leather holster
Galco’s Summer Comfort is among the best choices for concealed carry inside the waistband.

Concealed Carry

Carrying the Stinger concealed demands an inside-the-waistband holster.

With a pulled-out sport shirt, the Galco Summer Comfort holster is ideal.

This holster maintains its shape over years of use and offers a reinforced holster mouth (welt) that doesn’t collapse after the handgun is drawn.

Dual-loop construction mated to the Galco gun belt keeps the pistol in place for each draw.

The Stinger is an uncommon mix of accuracy, reliability and lightweight. It is arguably the finest concealed carry handgun I have owned.

What do you think of the Les Baer Stinger? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author:

Wilburn Roberts

When Wilburn Roberts was a young peace officer, he adopted his present pen name at the suggestion of his chief, as some of the brass was leery of what he might write. This was also adopted out of respect for families of both victims and criminals. The pen name is the same and the man remains an outspoken proponent of using enough gun for the job.

He has been on the hit list of a well-known hate group, traveled in a dozen countries and written on many subjects, including investigating hate crimes and adopting the patrol carbine. He graduated second in his class with a degree in Police Science. It took him 20 years to work himself from Lieutenant to Sergeant and he calls it as he sees it.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (6)

  1. Not for long:

    Kimber Manufacturing Moving Its Headquarters from New York to Troy
    Posted: Oct 29, 2020 11:06 AM CDT
    by Alabama News Network Staff

    U.S. gunmaker Kimber Manufacturing has announced it will move its headquarters from New York to Troy.
    As Alabama News Network has reported, the company had already made an expansion plan into Troy with a design, engineering and manufacturing facility.

    The company says it will have 366 workers in Troy, with a $38 million investment.

  2. How can I put my hands on a Les Baer before purchasing? I love my Colt Defender for concealed carry.

  3. I’m hearing mixed things about the Kimber 1911.
    I can not conceive why the company is still in Yonkers,NY

  4. Perhaps you have never examined a Les Baer.

    1911 is a valid description.

    The Les Baer is to Colt as Rolls Royce is to Chevrolet.

    The Rolls is intended to last for decades- needing a brake job at 100,000 miles and so on.
    They nice but rugged.
    Colts are good guns, they fought well in many wars. The Les Baer is another breed.

  5. I was disappointed with a 80series Government model.I had to pay extra for an ambidextrous safety, adjustable sights,lanyard loop.
    Colt was snotty about it.
    I’m content with my [1st generation,fullsize]Glock 30 with adjustable sights,although I replaced the hexagonal rifled barrel with a conventionally rifled barrel in order to use unjacketed ammo.10+1 rounds, plus I can use Glock 21 mags in it.

  6. I am a gunsmith and an avid collector. The venerable Model 1911 is widely copied and modified but use the term “1911” as a sales hook. Sorry. I have around a dozen 1911 and 1911a1 .45acp pistols all of then are either Colt pre Series 70s or military guns. No Clones, which are fine handguns, just flattering variations on a theme.

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