My opinion about buying a Strat. Just buy it. It is my go to guitar for songwriting and casual playing, it is just a pleasure to strum some chords or write some killer riffs. Then, of course, if you need more bite for recording, you can always use a more modern sounding guitar. My opinion about MIM: a good MIM is generally better than an average MIA. Of course try before buy, some MIM are just bad, but that's true for all other guitars. I sold my 2002 MIM Strat to a Strat fanatic, he simply loved the quality of my guitar. He made me a crazy offer that I could not refuse. Tone wise, if the Strat is SSS and you need some firepower, go for a Di Marzio BC2. Forget about Hot Rails and similar from Seymour Duncan, the BC2 sounds almost a full humbucker: powerful, aggressive, full, and yet it retains that amazing Strat tone. I recorded a few death metal album with it.