For more than 20 years, STI has built a reputation for building incredibly precise and durable competition pistols and parts, highlighted by the very successful modular-frame 2011 series of pistols used by elite competition shooters. STI President & CEO Greg Mooney is very proud of the reputation that STI has achieved, but isn’t content to rest on a pile of trophies.

For more than 28 years, Bruce Siddle has been focused on combat human factors, focusing on how the human body reacts under high stress, in order to fine-tune gun designs to the way people fight, instead of forcing people to adapt to the quirks of handgun designers. He has built a “skunkworks” research and development shop at Detonics Defense, leading to the incredibly innovative MTX/STX pistol designs. Detonics owns overlapping patents on anthropometric modular grips, the first modular striker assembly system, and research demonstrating that their platform has significantly less recoil than traditional composite striker-fired systems.

The two companies are now joining forces to mesh the precision engineering, gunsmithing, and production skills of STI with the human-factors-driven design work of Detonics, in hopes of leapfrogging over the rest of the industry with the next generation of STI modular pistols.

STI is gaining innovation in human factors research that will make their firearms that much more effective, while Detonics will gain an highly-experienced production partner.

This summer, the first STI prototypes will be assembled, featuring a revolutionary modular striker-fired system and human factors research-driven modular grip from Detonics.

Other variants, combining the best modular elements from STI and Detonics, will follow, flowing into the hands of some of the world’s best competition shooters for testing and evaluation. The goal is to have production-ready next generation STI guns on hand for SHOT Show 2016, and shipping in the first quarter.

After the competition-grade STI products are established, STI and Detonics will fine-tune and begin production of a line of STX law enforcement and military handguns.

One of the more interesting aspects of the STI/Detonics alliance is that in addition to bringing human factors design to handguns in a way that’s never been done before for both competition and duty-focused shooters, the alliance has relationships that have the capacity to support the Modular Handgun System (MHS) contract to supply the U.S. military with a replacement for the Beretta M9.

A common theme between both STI and Detonics is the “pursuit of engineered precision.”  Engineered precision is a significant challenge that has several levels of difficulty with each engineering objective.

The challenge lies in designing these features so the weapon will still feed, extract, and fire in a sequence that happens in less than 100 milliseconds.  Competition and combat share the variable the shooter must attain precision in time compressed environments — about .3 seconds, which is a blink of an eye (literally).  This is the nuance of combat human factor engineering, which is the study of how the human body responds when exposed to spontaneous stress.

This engineering reduces the cognitive work-load in the act of precision aiming — which can be attained by engineering the weapon to reduce and soften recoil, reduce the time between shots while enhancing control, and achieving grip geometries that enhance intuitive point shooting.

I’ve not been shy in touting the Detonics MTX/STX as the front-running for the MHS contract, as the handgun is the only truly modular, metal-framed handgun which meets the specs of the contract, and the new alliance with STI only strengthens my view that it’s the odds-on favorite.

While other companies have protested the features requested in the MHS contract and are actively attempting to change the contract to satisfy their business goals, Detonics and STI both have a customer-driven approach to designing and producing handguns.

STI and Detonics have both built very important niches in the world of handgun shooting, but working together, they’re poised to radically shape the face of American  handgun design for decades to come.