STI Nemesis & the 7mm Penna By: Travis Pike

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(Penna)

I love weird guns, and I love weird calibers, so it was only a matter of time before I came across the 7mm Penna and the STI Nemesis. STI because the 2011/1911 company before they changed their name to Staccato. In anticipation of SHOT, I was looking at ancient SHOT articles…going back as far as 2010! That’s when I ran across the STI Nemesis and the 7mm Penna round.

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It’s tough to find a lot of information on guns and their caliber. It bears mentioning that the Nemesis didn’t seem to have been built by STI but perhaps imported. It’s not incredibly clear, but it appears the Nemesis was built by an Italian firm called QS Armi. Why would STI market or import an obscure gun and caliber from Italy? Well, they were also producing M1911s in both standard and double stack frame types for the 7mm Penna round.

Not much seems to be known about the QS Armi Nemesis pistol. We know that it was a concealed carry-oriented weapon. The magazine held 13 rounds of 7mm Penna. From some reports of SHOT Show attendees, the trigger was nice, and the slide was easy to rack. It appears to be a fairly small pistol.

STI

The edges look mostly melted, and the gun looks snag-free. The magazine release is a very odd design. It’s placed to the rear of the grip and looks like a revolver cylinder release. It seems to be the only thing close to a snag point. While unconventional, I try to withhold judgment until I can try it myself.

It appears to be about the same size as a single stack 9mm for the era, but those 9mm typically held eight rounds. Four extra rounds aren’t bad, but is it revolutionary?

The 7mm Penna was developed by Leonardo Penna, who, unsurprisingly, was of Italian descent. He designed the caliber for IPSC, which might have you holding your horses. This caliber doesn’t appear to be IPSC legal, at least by my calculations. However, maybe the Italian IPSC has a few different rules. The idea was to create a small, low-recoiling cartridge that allowed for higher capacity. Why not just use 9mm?

Well, up until 2011, you couldn’t. Italy has some laws in place regarding military calibers owned by civilians. Not all calibers used by the military are banned for civilian use, but some are, and for a long time, this included the standard 9mm cartridge. Plus, the 7mm Penna still offered lower recoil and higher capacity than the 9mm.

Wikipedia

Mr. Penna took a 5.7x28mm cartridge and necked it up to accept a .277 bullet, which actually isn’t a 7mm bullet. It’s actually 6.8 mm, but rounding up was likely an easy way to capture the minds of folks who think bullet size is everything. Fiocchi would later produce the ammo as the only major manufacturer who adopted the load.

The bullet would be light and fast. It’s tough to find solid information on the different loads Fioochi offered, but a load that utilized a 68-grain bullet moves at 1,400 feet per second from a 5-inch barrel. The smaller bullet allowed a single-stack M1911 to hold 13 rounds and a double-stack to hold 26!

While the cartridge was designed for IPSC, it does seem like they pivoted towards concealed carry and self-defense. That’s where the Nemesis pistol came to be. Sadly, that’s where the round and the gun ended. The 7mm Penna didn’t generate much interest, and it has since faded into obscurity.