The Ruger SR1911 is a semi-automatic large-frame pistol chambered in .45 ACP. Ruger introduced the SR1911, its first 1911, in May 2011. The 1911 is a very popular military pistol design because of its ability to absorb the recoil of the large .45 caliber cartridge.
Ruger is typically known for making high-quality economically priced firearms and for a decent high-end 1911, patrons could pay well more than $1,000, but Ruger, staying true to its roots, priced the 1911 at around $800.
The Ruger 1911 is made stainless steel with a low-glare finish. It’s equipped with checkered hardwood grip, and a skeletonized trigger and hammer for reduced weight. It is equipped with Novak brand (dovetailed) 3-dot sight system and, like true 1911s, a beavertail grip safety, an extended thumb safety, and a slide stop lever.
Additional features include a titanium firing pin and an 8-round stainless steel magazines.
|Sights:||Fixed Novak 3-dot sights|
|Features:||Titanium firing pin; grip safety; manual thumb safety; slide stop lever; skeletonized trigger and hammer|
|Material/Finish:||Stainless steel/low glare|
|Twist:||1 in 16"|
Ruger SR1911: The New Kid on the Block
People say that the best way to earn credibility is to convince a real skeptic to accept what you’re offering as true. It’s no secret that I haven’t been a huge fan of Ruger semi-automatic handguns. I’ve owned and used Ruger revolvers for years but not the semi-autos. While there was no definitive reason for my lack of interest, I preferred a wheel gun. My favorite caliber in semi-auto is the .45 ACP. Having said this, it only makes sense that I be given the opportunity to review the new Ruger SR1911 .45 ACP on a traditional 1911 platform. I was skeptical, but knowing Ruger has the capability of making fine firearms, I gave it a shot. The pun is completely intended.
Like with dating, first impressions can mean a lot. I opened the box at the sales counter and was instantly assailed by a chorus of “oohs” and “aahs” from by-standers. It’s not every day that a brand new, innovative model of a tried and true platform, comes to small town Tennessee. My first impression was, “Wow! This looks just as good as the high-dollar Kimber [1911 style pistols].” It is a sleek handgun with a non-glare stainless steel finish and truly beautiful checkered wood grips and the Ruger emblem in the center. I think you will see this handgun in the movies and on television cop shows – it’s just a matter of time.
Functionality and Features
My curiosity took the best of me and I couldn’t help but have a closer look. I slid the magazine in the receiver and hefted the pistol, taking aim at myself in a mirror on the wall. It felt really good. I have a very large hand, often referred to as a paw by my friends, and it filled it well. The tip of my index finger fell perfectly beyond the trigger, my thumb wrapped perfectly around the left side, right below the safety lever and the palm of my hand covered the squeeze safety without adjustment. There’s also a curled lip on the top of the squeeze safety that extends about three-quarters of an inch off the back of the handle, just below the hammer. It allows for consistent grip placement in turn consistent impacts.
I didn’t shoot it the first day but instead just held it in my hand while considering how Ruger made this huge leap forward in perceived quality of semi-auto handguns. It is heavy at 39 ounces, unloaded but I don’t mind the weight. This platform has made military, civilian and law enforcement history for almost 100 years now and it didn’t do that by being a light-weight. While beautiful, it is still a tool, just one to be treasured.
The trigger and the hammer have been skeletonized to reduce weight and are both attractive. It is not ambidextrous in access to the controls. The magazine release, slide release and the safety release are all on the left side of the pistol, making it right-handed user friendly. Lefties will just have to re-learn how to use it. The sights, fixed Novak 3-dot system, while seemingly a bit high, are stout and easy to acquire when snap drawing. They are not night sights, but I’m sure that could be adjusted later by the purchaser, if that is your preference.
The magazine release is easy to reach without having to take your eyes off target and the mags do not hang in the well. In fact I was surprised by how quickly they drop away. The slide is smooth and easy to operate, locking back with little to no effort. I do believe that with a little practice this could be a handgun for someone not quite as large as I am. The slide release is a bit stiff and required some muscle to release. Also, the slide will not release with an empty magazine in place. You have to drop the empty for the slide release to function and the slide to release forward. Finally, the hammer is an easy pull if you want to fire single action.
Traditionally, with the 1911 platform, you can easily carry it cocked and locked. While I generally advise against it for the novice shooter, for safety reasons, the manual safety did a great job of holding the hammer despite my efforts to trick it into failing.
I decided to take down the pistol and look at the individual parts. Remember, I’m still the skeptic and I am doing my best to find something to detract from this pistol. I just haven’t found it yet. The zippered nylon case opens up completely and makes a wonderful gun rug for breaking down your handgun. You have plenty of work room. As with all 1911s you begin the take down at the muzzle. Ruger provides a nice tool to accomplish this but be careful. The spring WILL launch if you do not use caution. I always cover the muzzle with a rag when beginning to disassemble, just in case.
It breaks down easily and I found no shortcuts in materials or manufacture. Everything is exactly as you would expect in a fine quality firearm. Reassembly was just as easy and it functioned well afterward.
The proof being in the pudding, we went to the range, this marvel of a handgun and I. I decided on 10 and 25 yard targets as those are pretty standard, especially for a concealed carry.
Chambering the 200gr Hornady XTP, I sighted and squeezed the trigger. To my absolute surprise and amazement, the first round straight out of the box, of this pistol I was trying to dislike, hit bulls-eye. Shocked and now cocky, I snapped off two more rounds creating a grouping of about 0.5” to 0.75”.
I loaded my mag with three more rounds and stepped back to the 25 yard line. I fired a quick three-shot grouping of about 1” and was again amazed. It wasn’t rapid fire but I didn’t draw a bead and use breathing techniques for accuracy on these shots either. I fired two more groupings at 25 yards, with the third again being at about 1” and the fourth being about 1.5” as I had a slight flyer. The 6 groove, 1 in 16”twist, 5” barrel made a believer of me.
The recoil from this pistol was negligible. I know it was there and I could see the slight muzzle flip but in the process of shooting it returned to target well and wasn’t truly a factor in the accuracy or performance. I’m sure the weight had something to do with the recoil reduction as well. The shells ejected well away from me so weren’t an issue but weren’t so far away that I couldn’t find them easily.
This semi-automatic .45 ACP, 1911 platform pistol made in Prescott, Arizona USA by Ruger has a new, dedicated and thoroughly convinced fan – Me. Without question or hesitation I say this is a five-star semi auto. It is moderately and competitively priced and should be owned by every 1911 lover. The only issue I have with the package I received is the extra magazine provided in box. The primary magazine is an 8 round (8 + 1) single stack and has a very nice plastic shoe to give that little extra room on the grip. The secondary magazine holds less than 8 rounds and does not have the added plastic. That second magazine being used after dropping the first, is going to change the feel and grip of the pistol. In competition or a fire-fight, that could become a factor in the results. Don’t spare the expense of purchasing another 8 round magazine if you purchase this pistol.