The Bewitching Hex-Tac 4.0 9mm From STI

On the Lyman Digital trigger pull gauge, test Hex-Tac averaged a very consistent 5.74 pounds measured from the center of the trigger. Five and three-quarter pounds is generally considered heavy for a target pistol, but is right in the ballpark for a trigger on a “street 1911” designed to be used in the stress of life-or-death self-defense. The trigger pull had significant light take-up before it “hit the wall” of firm resistance, and then a short and comfortable “roll” to the break of the shot.

Speed reloads were kinda bipolar with our test sample. On the one hand, the tapered mag couples with a flared competition-style mag well to deliver super-fast insertion, and the slide stop—low profile so a straight-thumbs hold will neither override it nor inadvertently activate it in the midst of a string of fire—is still easy for a right-handed shooter’s support hand thumb to hit. On the other hand, though, the magazine release button was rather small, and its spring really strong—each of us on the test team had to move the gun in our hand to get enough leverage to pop the spent magazine out. (Since there was only one magazine with the test gun, each of these elements had to be tested separately.)

An ambi thumb safety is standard. The Hex pattern on the front and rear of the slide gives a solid slide grasp. The ledged rear sight allows one-handed racking of the slide off of clothing or nearby angled surface.

Accuracy? From 25 yards off a Matrix rest on a concrete bench, Federal’s soft, standard pressure 115-grain JHP put five shots in 2.35” and the best three of those in 1.20”. SIG V-Crown 124-grain JHP beat that slightly with 2.15” for all five hits and 1.05” for best three. 147-grain Winchester Winclean training ammo turned in 2.90” for the five, and 0.90” for the three best. All measurements were done center to center of the farthest apart bullet holes, to the nearest 0.05”.

Hand held from the bench, the five shot groups are good predictors of “shootability” in human hands under ideal conditions, and the best three measurement eliminates enough human error to get a good approximation of what all five would have done from a machine rest. With half of the loads going under an inch for the latter measurement, we see the inherent accuracy STI has become famous for. This pistol did show a slight “4+1 syndrome,” a term coined by fellow gun writer Wiley Clapp for when the first hand-chambered round goes somewhat awry from where the subsequent automatically-cycled rounds hit. With the Hex-Tac, the first shot always went to 4 o’clock…but, as the group measurements show, not very far in that direction. Grouping was spot on for elevation and slightly right for this shooter’s eye.

Correlating spent casing(s) with muzzle direction, you can see the controllability of the Hex-Ta c 9mm in the hands of On Target’s Editor, Ben Battles.

Reliability? In hundreds of rounds, we only had one malf we could blame on the gun, a Winchester ball round that went vertical in the magazine and caused a 12 o’clock misfeed. There was also a Winchester 147-grain cartridge that wouldn’t fully enter the STI’s tight chamber because the round was out of spec, and a light competition handload that didn’t have enough oomph to cycle the slide. I can’t blame the gun for the last two.

Carrying the Hex-Tac

The Hex-Ta c’s best 25-yard group was this one, shot with Sig’s 124-gr. V-crown JHP.

Because the long magazine provided protrudes significantly from the butt, and there is that flower pot-size competition style mag chute there to begin with, it was clear from the beginning that this pistol was not designed by STI for concealed carry. Open carry, where (let’s face it) the idea is that people can see the gun, is a different story. I open carry on my own property and range, and the Hex-Tec packed rather comfortably in a Yaqui Slide style holster from Galco. One thing a lot of folks miss about the flared mag chute is that it’s not just for fast reloading, it also provides a bearing surface for the bottom edge of the little finger of the support hand, assuming that all four of the support hand fingers are below the trigger guard, and helps a bit to lock in a really solid hold. Let me note that the mag chute is removable, and a shorter (15 round) magazine can be ordered from STI, the combination of which will make this pistol a whole lot more concealable.

An Ideal Application

The Hex-Ta c was supplied with one 21-round magazine. The cavernous magwell and pointed magazine combine to make reloads an almost no-brainer procedure.

With 22 rounds of something like Winchester 127-grain +P+ on board, the home defender who stores his or her pistol in a static location might find the Hex-Tac ideal. A quarter century ago, I built a dedicated home defense Beretta 92 with Jarvis action, 6-inch Magna-Ported barrel, 20-round 9mm Beretta 93 machine pistol magazine and a period SureFire gun light. The STI duplicates that in a lighter, more compact package with one more round, and the 1911 ergonomics so many of us love. Since I don’t sleep with spare magazines on, this full-up hi-cap with TLR-1 light mounted and Stinger light in adjacent charger, both by Streamlight, comprised a very comforting “bedside home companion.”

Priced at $2599—a price consumers seem happy to pay for popular, high quality STI pistols—the Hex-Tac is a “good hex,” and there are more reasons to buy one than “just for the hex of it.” See it at you forearms retailer, or contact STI International, Inc., Dept. OT; Tel.: (512) 819-0656; Web: