Steyr M9-A2 Review [2022]

by Ryan Cleckner

January 10, 2022

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The Steyr M9-A2 is the latest iteration of the M9 semi-auto pistol by Steyr. We got our hands on this new pistol and put it through its paces to bring you this review – read on to see the grades it earned.

Steyr Arms M9-A2, Semi-automatic, Striker Fired, Medium Frame, 9MM, pistol featuring Trapezoid Sights.

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Steyr M9-A2 Specs

  • Cartridge 9mm Luger
  • Capacity 17+1 and 10+1
  • Barrel Length 4 inches
  • Overall Length 7.4 inches
  • Width 1.3 inches
  • Height 5.6 inches
  • Weight 1 pound 11.5 ounces

Steyr M9-A2 Background

Steyr Arms, an Austrian company that first started in 1864, introduced a polymer-framed semi-auto pistol in 1999 called the “M” series. The pistols were clearly “glock-like” in that they had polymer frames, are extremely simple mechanically, used some stamped metal internals, were striker fired, had no external safety, and used a blade-safety style trigger.

However, some unique things about the Steyr M Pistols were the very low bore axis (the barrel is positioned very low relative to the firing hand) and the triangle (trapezoidal) sights. These unique features have been retained in the newest version of this pistol, the fourth generation of “M” pistol, the Steyr M9-A2 we’re reviewing here.

There are 3 size options for this new pistol: The L9-A2 (long), the M9-A2 (medium), and the C9-A2 (compact) which are featured below.

Steyr M9-A2 Features

Steyr M9-A2 Gun Features
1 Extremely low bore axis
2 Trapezoidal sights
3 Simple design – takedown lever

Steyr Model Variations

The Steyr M9-A2 is the particular pistol we’re reviewing today, this is only one part of the three separate pistol variations. Here’s are the options:

Steyr Model Variation Specs

ModelCapacityCartridgeBarrel LengthOverall LengthWidthHeightWeight
Steyr C9-A2 (Compact)179mm Luger3.6"7"1.3"5.6"1lb 11oz
Steyr M9-A2 (Medium)179mm Luger4"7.4"1.3"5.6"1lb 11.5oz
Steyr L9-A2 (Long)179mm Luger4.5"7.9"1.3"5.6"1lb 11.7oz

Steyr M9-A2 Review – Our Take

I first learned of the Steyr M9-A2 in 2000 while I was in the military. The pistol really stuck out to me because it was unlike anything else on the market (honestly, that is still true today).

Back then, I didn’t quite understand Glocks yet (I grew out of it) and the Steyr M9 was a non-Glock alternative for a modern striker-fired polymer pistol.

When Steyr announced the newest version of their pistol, the M9-A2, I knew I had to have a look.

What I Loved About It

Although I’ve since learned that it really doesn’t make that much of a difference, I really like the super low bore axis.

Wait…not much of a difference?

That’s right. I still prefer a low bore axis (where the barrel is as low as possible in relation to my firing hand), however, there are MANY handgun shooters that are MUCH better than me with “high/er bore axis pistols” like a 1911 or a Sig P320.

I mean, check out Max Michel shooting his P320 or Jerry Miculek shooting his 1911 – no amount of low bore axis is going to help me beat either one.

So, why do I like a low bore axis on a pistol? I think it helps me manage recoil better and it’s easier to shoot. I might be wrong, but I like it.

I also liked the trigger (sort of). The firing side of the trigger operation is nice (it’s the reset I don’t like too much – more on that below). The trigger is fairly crisp and easy to shoot for a “duty pistol.”

Lastly, I liked the reliability. We are spoiled in this day and age of modern handguns in that a striker fired polymer 9mm is expected to be flawless (or near it). The Steyr M9-A2 is no exception. The pistol we tested (which we purchased from a dealer – it wasn’t a cherry-picked sample from Steyr) ran without even the slightest hiccup. It was wonderful to shoot.

I don’t know where to talk about the sights – I’m not sure whether they belong in the love or hate section. Here’s why:

The trapezoidal (triangle) sights are so unique that it is easy to dismiss them as a gimmick. After all, if they were more effective than standard iron sights on a pistol, wouldn’t they be more prevalent?

I both like them and also prefer standard sights at the same time. Before this became a carry or duty gun, I’d upgrade the Steyr sights with one of the options below.

What I like is how pin-point precise they feel when aiming and also how my eye really picks up the triangle front sight when I’m moving on to a target quickly. I’ll save what I don’t like about the Steyr’s sights for below.

What I Didn’t Like About It

My biggest complaint about the Steyr M9 is the trigger reset – both the travel and lack of a distinct reset.

The trigger is clearly from a European gun – what I mean is this: Europeans make some AMAZING firearms. However, when it comes to modern pistol fighting, the Americans have it covered. What might be nice for the European military market (as this gun clearly is) isn’t desirable by many in the American tactical market.

The trigger reset is faintly tactile/audible and the travel is a bit on the long side.

Above I mentioned some positives about the sights – now for what wasn’t ideal for me:

Although the trapezoidal sights do have some positives (see above), my problem with them is that the front sight needs to effectively be lined up inside of the rear sights. This means that, unlike standard pistol sights, there is an alignment of the sights wherein the tip of the front sight is mostly blocked by the rear sights if not perfectly aligned.

It’s not a big issue but I surely would replace the sights.

The last complaint is about the magazines. It’s 17 rounds for all three sizes of this pistol which means that the magazines will stick out past the grip in some instances. In this “M” version, the magazine baseplate conspicuously sits proud of the bottom of the grip. It’s not a problem, it just looks blocky. A small benefit here is that you do have something to grab a hold of to strip out a stuck magazine.

Steyr M9-A2 Summary

This is a GREAT little gun. It shoots flat, it’s ultra reliable, combat accurate, simple, and robust. If you’re looking for a non-Glock polymer striker fired gun, you really should check this counter-culture option out.

Steyr M9-A2 Pros and Cons

  • Low bore axis (easy recoil control)
  • Very reliable
  • Adjustable grip (rear and sides)
  • No distinct trigger reset
  • Very little aftermarket support (holsters, etc)
  • No internal trigger safety

Report Card

Shootability

The long, and difficult to perceive, trigger reset takes some getting used to.

B+
Reliability

he Steyr M9-A2 ran flawlessly

A+
Ergonomics

The low bore axis is nice and the grip is adjustable

A
Accuracy

The gun was modestly accurate – good for a semi-auto but not the best.

A-
Value

A reliable and quality firearm at a semi-premium price

B+
Steyr M9-A2 Final Grade

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Ryan Cleckner

Reader’s Grade

A+

Based on 2 Reviews

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The Steyr M9-A2 is a solid firearm that would prove effective for any task a semi-auto 9mm can handle. There are some unique features that will either make you love or hate this gun.

Steyr M9-A2 Gun Deals

Best Ammo For Your Steyr M9-A2

HORNADY - CRITICAL DEFENSE 9MM LUGER AMMO

Hornady – Critical Defense 9mm Luger

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Brownells $1.34
Primary Arms $1.12
HORNADY - American Gunner 9mm Luger

Hornady – American Gunner 9mm Luger

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Gritr Sports $0.95
GunMag Warehouse $1.39

Steyr M9-A2 Starter Pack

If you’ve decided to bite the bullet and pick up the Steyr M9, you’ll want to make sure you have everything else needed for basic firearm operation.  This includes eye & ear protection, cleaning kits, and proper storage. 

Upgrades and Accessories for the Steyr M9-A2

The Steyr M9-A2 is a fantastic weapon that can be customized to suit your needs. We recommend these upgrades and accessories for you!

Upgrades and Accessories for the Steyr M9-A2

1. Iron Sights

Trijicon ST-01

Trijicon ST-01
  • Trijicon Night Sights feature a white ring around the glowing dots for unequalled daylight visibility.
Check Price
2. Iron Sights

TruGlo TG13SM1A

TruGlo TG13SM1A
  • Glows in the dark no batteries or light exposure required.
  • Concealed fiber cannot be seen by target.
Check Price
Craft Holsters M9-A2
  • Comfort – Concealment
  • Fast Draw & Easy Reholstering
Check Price
Pineworld Biometric K5
  • Reliable Biometric Scanner
  • Sturdy and Well Built
Check Price

Steyr M9-A2 Review and Field Strip

Below is another great review of the Steyr M9-A2 pistol by Graham Baates. In this video Graham goes through ‘What’s in the Box’ when you first buy this handgun, his review and how to field strip this pistol. Check it out below.

Need some more info on the Steyr M9-A2?  A great place to start is the manufacturer’s website and the User’s Manual.  We’ve listed them below.

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About Ryan Cleckner

Ryan is a former special operations sniper (1/75 Ranger) and current firearms attorney, firearms industry executive, university lecturer, and bestselling author of the Long Range Shooting Handbook.

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