At long last, I finally found a family of 2011s I enjoy shooting. But, boy oh boy, they’re pricey.
Of course, I’m talking about Staccato and their sweet, sweet set of pistols.
Admittedly, I’m a Glock guy. My G17 works great for what and I do. Not to mention, I’ve decked it out with a bunch of aftermarket stuff addressing a lot of the common gripes most folks have with stock polymer.
I’ve never been a huge fan of 1911s. Historically, they’re cool, but they’ve never held my attention outside of that.
The traditional 1911 grip doesn’t fit my hand well, and they’re not typically enjoyable to shoot – at least for me.
So, imagine my surprise when these Gucci-like Staccato 2011s came wandering in and totally blew me away.
Today, we’re going to talk about the Staccato XC and XL 2021. I’ll give you some background on these guns, take you to the range, and explain why I think they’re worth the hefty price tag.
If you want to see these bad boys in action, take a look at my video review below.
For more gun vids, make sure to check out the Pew Pew Tactical YouTube channel as well.
Table of Contents
STI vs. Staccato
Before we dive straight into the review, let’s discuss the Staccato brand.
If you’ve been around guns for any length of time, you might be wondering why the Staccatos look so similar to the STI brand.
Well, that’s because they’re one and the same. STI ditched the acronym around 2020 and adopted the Staccato moniker.
The company still pumps out that familiar double-stack 2011 platform focused on high-performance, just with a different name.
Staccato’s guns make regular appearances in the competition circuit with good reason. They’re sleek and come right out of the box, ready to perform.
You won’t need to tweak or tune…just run and gun.
Again, as someone a bit biased against 1911s and 2011s, I went in a bit skeptical.
Were these guns as good as the hype?
After a few rounds downrange, I had my answer…
So, let’s start with my favorite blaster of the Staccato XC 2021.
Staccato XC 2021
The flagship model Staccato XC 2021 offers a sleek look paired with high performance.
Specs & Features
From front to back, it sports a huge FlaTec compensator integrated directly into the 5-inch barrel. And, yeah, this thing works!
The frame features a steel design with a small Picatinny rail for lights and lasers. Its slide boasts serrations on both the front and rear, with lightening cuts up front.
You also get an optics cutout just behind the ejection port – so go crazy mounting a whole slew of different full-sized pistol red dots. Staccato even includes different adapter plates.
The snappy 2.5-pound trigger brings a very small amount of take-up before an immediate break — essentially exactly what you’d expect from a performance single-action pistol.
It also offers real clicky, positive safety levers on both sides of the frame.
Do you like aggressive stippling? Well, then you’re in luck.
The XC 2021 sports aggressive texturing that works quite well. That said, after so many rounds, my hands felt pretty gnarly. But that kind of goes with the shooting territory.
Staccato sends two 17-round mags as well as a 20-rounder with the package. These pair well with the flared mag well.
And with the features out of the way, we can move right on to the actual range performance, because man, this thing shoots!
When I say the compensator does the work, I’m not joking. This is easily one of, if not the flattest shooting handguns I’ve ever pulled the trigger on.
Check it out slow-mo with Blazer 124gr factory ammo. It returns to its original position like magic…
Admittedly, there was a bit of an adjustment period as I am so accustomed to shooting my Glock. It felt a bit off at first, and I had to make some tweaks to my shooting grip. But eventually, things began to click.
The combination of negligible recoil, a trigger that’s super easy to ride once you’ve got a feel for it, and a red dot optic that shaves time off reacquiring your sight picture all equals up to follow-up shots that are fast, easy, and repeatable.
I was nailing steel at 15- to 20-yards with no issues — strings of hits…strings.
Slower cadenced shots out to about 50-yards also proved pretty easy.
In capable hands, both the XC and XL could reach out to 100-yards with no issues.
Blazer, Aguila, and Gamer Rounds??
In addition to some Blazer 124-grain brass, I also fed it low-powered “gamer” 9mm. Gamer rounds are essentially heavier grain projectiles loaded with just enough powder to cycle a pistol.
This cuts down on recoil. With the XC 2021, the muzzle actually dipped ever so slightly rather than jumping upwards, like with the Blazer brand.
We can easily point to the fact that the gamer 9mm kick backwards barely generates any muzzle rise at all. Most of the rise is mitigated by the compensator.
So, this means the force of the rebounding recoil spring driving the slide forward must go somewhere. Since the muzzle remains more or less flat after the shot, that somewhere is towards the ground.
The incredibly soft shooting result makes the firing experience downright feel like a toy…and I mean that in a good way!
But it also demonstrates that the XC is a pretty fancy gun, more or less tuned to work with factory ammo from the get-go.
In fact, the XC just eats up no-frills FMJ ammo with no issues — everything from Blazer 124 to American Eagle to Aguila 9 ran great with zero failures of any kind to speak of.
That flared magazine well also makes for some of the smoothest reloads I’ve experienced in a handgun.
The XC spits out spent mags easily. And the flared mag well means you can glide a fresh boy in and make it look like you know what you’re doing, even if you only…kinda do.
Downsides to the XC
Probably the only real negative for me came down to the XC’s trigger guard. Let’s be real; even that is a pretty small complaint.
I appreciate the fact that the trigger guard has a small undercut built-in, allowing you to use the ridge of your index support finger to apply a bit of stabilizing pressure underneath the gun.
Personal preference wise, I’d love for that cut to be just a tiny bit deeper.
It currently creates this obvious and positive space where my index finger wants to go. But there’s just not entirely enough of a groove to feel like I’m positively in there.
Just out of curiosity, I wound up trying to grip the gun around the front of the trigger guard, as that area sports stippling as well.
However, it just felt too alien to me.
Again, this is a very minor gripe…almost too minor to mention. But I’m sure someone out there feels me on this. Maybe…
Staccato XL 2021
Next up comes Staccato’s other competition-oriented production piece, the slightly larger Staccato XL 2021.
Specs & Features
Intentionally designed for limited competition — the competition division where you can’t use optics – the XL ships as the only model offered in both 9mm and .40 S&W.
Features-wise, you’re mostly in the same territory as the XC here. Though, the most obvious difference comes down to the lack of a compensated barrel.
Also, the XL brings a slightly longer barrel length, measuring 5.4-inches.
Another slight difference between the two models is that the XL’s grip length is slightly longer than the XC. I think it’s something to the tune of about half an inch.
But after switching to the XL from the XC, I did find it slightly noticeable.
While Staccato doesn’t equip the XL with an optic attachment system straight from the get-go, there is an optic’s capable XL available. But it will cost you about $200 more.
The XL ran just as smoothly as the XC in terms of performance.
But, honestly, it’s not quite as user-friendly as its shorter relative. This is largely because it doesn’t come outfitted with an RMR.
Now, the iron sights work really well. The high-vis fiber optic front sight is a breeze to pick up quickly.
But coming off the red dot on the XC, I had to slow down to ensure I had proper sight alignment.
For the record, this is entirely on me as the shooter. I’m sure with enough time, patience, and practice; I’d reach a similar comfort level with it.
The XL’s smooth and light operation of the slide itself mirrored my experience with the XC.
I believe this is directly related to the Dawson Precision recoil system that both pistols run on.
Check out slowmo again. Super flat with factory 124gr Blazer Brass.
Due to some level of spooky physics, the slide requires an almost negligible amount of force to operate.
So, when cycling, the slide achieves a level of speed that’ll most likely out-pace your ability to pull the trigger accurately as a shooter.
Downsides to the XL
I experienced a slight issue that first popped up on the XL and then reoccurred a few other times on the other Staccato’s we had out that day. I could never quite figure it out.
Occasionally, the XL wouldn’t slide lock on an empty mag. No big deal, honestly, but I wasn’t quite able to deduce why this happened.
On a Glock, I know it’s the result of riding the slide lock lever with your thumbs. But on the Staccato, my support thumb felt nowhere near that lever.
The only potential explanation I can think of is my penchant for “fluttering” my support thumb. This might put pressure on the pivot pin of the slide lock itself, preventing lockup.
Again, not a huge issue, but something to be aware of, nonetheless.
Also, both the XC and XL require a minimum of a 17-round magazine to catch in the grip and lock in securely.
We had some 16-rounders on hand, and, yeah, they didn’t want to stay put. Those would sit flush in the gun with just enough gap not to stay there.
It feels kind of bizarre to offer separate product SKUs for a one-round difference in magazine capacity and have that one round also make a difference in whether the magazine locks into a given pistol.
But I am but a humble handgun pleb. Perhaps there’s some incredibly high-speed reasoning for doing this.
So, where’s all that leave us?
As I mentioned, these are easily the most high-performance pair of handguns I’ve ever had the opportunity to shoot.
The fact that I could pick up and go with both the XC and, to a lesser extent the XL, reaching what felt like a reasonable level of comfort in one shooting session is definitely impressive.
Now the price…
I mentioned earlier that this pair of guns was expensive. And I wasn’t kidding. MSRP on the XC is $4,299, while the XL stands at $3,399.
Ammunition is expensive all on its own these days. And that ammo shortage doesn’t look to let up anytime soon.
Under these circumstances, I actually think there’s a fair case to be made that it might make more sense to pick up a pricey gun right now.
No, I’m not kidding.
You’ll feel comfortable and, dare I say, proficient with a much lower round count.
The Staccato XC and XL 2021 stand as two stellar examples of what a good 2011 can do. Though this style of gun usually doesn’t thrill me, I walked away utterly impressed with the XC and XL’s performance.
To say these are smooth and flat shooting is an understatement. I mean…look at this again.
Yes, the $3K+ price tag is enough to cause a small heart attack, but if you can drop that kind of coin, these Staccatos are definitely worth it.
Again, to see them on the range, check out my video below.
What do you think of the Staccato XC and XL 2021? Let us know in the comments below. Love the 1911 platform? Check out our round-up of the Best 1911 Pistols for the Money.