For a quick “shootability test,” I set up a Colt Police Silhouette target and ran the first half of the old PPC course, using a less-than-optimal generic belt slide holster. At seven yards, the “six, reload, six” in 20 seconds stage resulted in a dozen Atlanta Arms ball rounds grouping tightly in the center of the roughly heart-size “5X center ring.” From the 25 yard line, six shots each from the barricade fired kneeling, left hand controlling the gun while standing, and right hand standing all went swiftly and comfortably into the K5 zone. Twenty-two of the 30 total shots had hit the tie-breaking X-ring, for a 100% score of 150 out of 150 possible qualification points.

A defensivepistol is only as good as the sum of all its parts, and the Monolith’s hand-fitted components produced a super-reliable and amazingly precise pistol in our testing experience.

I noticed that unlike most Les Baer pistols, this one didn’t need two men and a boy to pull the slide back when it came out of the box. Turns out that Les and his team had already put some four hundred rounds through it before they sent it to On Target. The Stinger Monolith came with three magazines, and we also ran it with Wilson-Rogers mags. We noted two malfunctions, both steep 12 o’clock misfeeds with the same provided mag and none with the Wilsons. That one mag was taken out of the rotation, and no further malfunctions occurred.

At a suggested retail price of $2915, the Les Baer Stinger Monolith sits solidly among the other top-ranked ”boutique” 1911 brands in terms of workmanship, accuracy and value delivered. Add $295 if you want the hard chrome finish seen on ours. Contact Les Baer Custom, Dept. OT; Tel.: (563) 289-2126; Web: www.lesbaer.com