Chris Costa & STI Offer Another Collaboration – the “Costa V.I.P.”

The partnership of trainer Chris Costa and handgun maker STI International seems to be going well. The pair has introduced their latest handgun collaboration – the V.I.P. STI states the Costa V.I.P. is modeled after their own similar non-Costa V.I.P., but …. “upgraded with new finishes, under rail, new stippled grip, and tritium sights”

The new double-stack handgun is offered with a standard ambidextrous safety, “treebark” stippled grips, contoured trigger guard, and a longer sight radius with a 4.15 bull barrel. Magazine capacity is STI’s standard 120mm magazines (15 for 9mm, 9 for .45), but the handgun can, of course, take the longer mags for those wanting a higher-capacity reload on them.  Recoil is handled well through STI’s “Recoil Master” spring system.

Finishes are the usual high-quality choices, this time opting for black on the likely concealed carry handgun. The majority of the parts are DLC PVD coated in black. For those not familiar with the acronyms, “Diamond-Like Carbon Physical Vapor Deposition”, which in the Diamond Like Carbon form is extremely robust. DLC is hard, abrasion resistance, and corrosion resistant, making it an excellent finish for weapons that are likely to be handled often.

The STI International Costa V.I.P. is available in both 9mm and .45 ACP with no mention of other potentially forthcoming calibers. Retail is set at $2,599.

*Author’s note – few high-quality photos were available. Those pictured in the gallery are from a lucky customer who had an early model and sold it on


TFB’s FNG. Completely irreverent of all things marketing but a passionate lover of new ideas and old ones well executed. Enjoys musing on all things firearms, shooting 3-gun, and attempting to be both tacticool AND tactical.


  • Sam Done

    Looks like STI and Costas answer to the Wilson XDC-9.
    Both look like great alternatives to the Glock 19 platform, but pretty upscale, not sure if I’ll be buying too many 2000$ plus carry pistols, that price range I reserve for quality MSRs.

  • Martin Grønsdal

    Can we see the catwalk presentation of this gun?

    • Unexpected laugh of the day.

    • Dan

      It needs a rail accessory that allows the shooter to “c-clamp” the slide and dustcover/rail. More control when operating operationally.

  • Sunshine_Shooter

    Should have called it the V.E.P., very expensive pistol

  • Harry’s Holsters

    When do we get to see their MHS entry? That’s what I really want to see!

  • It’s hard to take a gorgeous gun like a 1911 and make it look terrible. This… This does that. This is like Charlize Theron in “Monster”. This is horrible looking. I’m sure it works fine… Lie Charlize Theron – same gal. Gorgeous, normally… just hard to look at.

  • Juggernaut

    It looks like the use Zimmerit for the grips

  • The STI 2011 platform is thus far my favorite double-stack for a number of applications. While ugly, the standard STI polymer lower grip piece means that a loaded double-stack 9mm weighs comparable to an all-steel gun of similar size, and also similar to a fully loaded Glock 19 in the case of the carry-size models.

    This ties into something that many fail to note about STI’s guns: the actual grip itself, and trigger guard, are only half of the frame and are polymer. The top half, which houses the fire control group and mates with the slide, is all steel. It’s truly more modular than many handguns, and was so long before guns like the P320 made swapping out entire grips “modular”.

    Adding to that there are a number of manufacturers which make aluminum and steel grip frames that can be added to the gun, along with STI’s own Aluminum and Polymer grip frame options, so the gun can be easily made all-steel, aluminum-and-steel, or kept as polymer. Finally, they allow for grip frames to be easily and cheaply replaced if they get damaged or if you don’t like a stippling job (roughly $80 for the poly frame piece, which is still cheaper than a replacement frame for a glock).

    I also have a couple of Wilson EDC X9s in, and those, too, are gorgeous pistols that are extremely comfortable. I will give the STIs the edge, though, as it’s stupendously simple to change out the entire grip to a different type depending on my needs, all with fully customized grip shapes to suit.

  • John Yossarian

    Does Costa even carry a 1911? Nope, just profiteering. Lame!

    • Spencerhut

      He was carrying a S&W M&P for a while.

    • Juggernaut

      Yeah- he should have turned down the $ that STI threw at him just for slapping his name on a pistol.

  • maddog

    should call it the “costa lot” or “costa more than it’s worth”.

  • maddog

    should call it the “costa lot” or the “costa too much”.

  • Malthrak

    Aside from looking cool on a wall, which I can appreciate on its own if thats your thing, why on earth would anyone pay $2700 for this thing?

    In what possible practical application is this going to deliver 6x the value of…any modern brand name pistol?

    I dont get guns like this.

  • Lt. Dan

    He’s still a thing?

  • Destro Yakisoba

    I don’t buy guns to try and impress people. These guns are about $1000 over priced for the value you actually receive.

  • jonp

    Where is the rail for my stabby bayonet?
    This looks like a bragging gun to me.
    “So what ya carry”?
    “Kimber Custom, you”?
    “I’ve got a Costa STI”

  • Mufasa

    For $2700 the stippling shouldn’t look like crap. Where’s the edge work? Where’s the consistency? Calling your pattern “Tree Bark” because you can’t hold a straight line is pathetic.