Ruger's First 1911, the SR1911

At first blush, the SR1911 looks a lot like everything else.  It’s a stainless 1911 with some wood grips and skeletonized hardware.  It’s not in a special caliber, it doesn’t have any ground-breaking features, it doesn’t even have ambidextrous controls.

But we think the SR1911 has a place.

On account of it being The Year of the 1911 every major gun company has dug out some CAD drawings, blown the static off them, and churned out their version of Colt’s great .45.  Sure, Ruger’s jumping on the bandwagon, nobody is saying otherwise, but this .45 is its own product.

First let’s talk about how it’s made.  The barrel, barrel bushing, and slide are milled from stainless steel bar stock.  The barrel and bushing are actually milled from the one piece of bar stock to make sure they’re perfectly mated to each other.  This, to our knowledge, is unique to only the SR1911.

The frame is cast steel.  Purists won’t like that.  Truth is, there is no reason to trust cast any less than forged since both can be cocked up badly.  A good frame is a good frame and only time will tell if Ruger is saving money or cutting corners.  Casting has a benefit, and it’s that the plunger tube between the slide stop and safety is the same piece as the frame.  It’s not a discrete length of metal that’s screwed into, welded, or otherwise bonded to the gun.  It is the gun, and it will not ever come loose.

The casting sure as shit isn’t to save weight, this gun scales at 43 ounces dry.

The sights are 3-dot Novak’s.  Paint only.  For the money it would have been nice to see either fiber or adjustable, seeing as how it’s being marketed as an entry-level competition gun, but they’re still better than combat sights.

And tipping their hat to Colt’s Series 70, Ruger decided not to go with a firing pin block.  Instead they’ve installed a super-heavy firing pin spring and went with titanium for the pin itself, to deal with the forces.  Jeff Quinn says his sample SR1911’s trigger broke at 4lbs, 8oz, so maybe Ruger went the right way there.

There are a handful of other little touches that make the SR1911 unique, at least for The Year of the 1911, like the rear-only slide serrations, bead-blasted satin polish, chamber peep hole, over-travel adjuster, gaping ejection port, high LPI checkering on the mainspring housing (including a flat mainspring) and full-length guide rod. And while yes it is cast, purists rejoice: look ma, no rail.

Why do we think any of this is special?  The MSRP.  Its list price is $799 which means it’ll sell for a good chunk less, we’re talking Rock Island territory; a nickel-plated RIA .45 will set you back close to $600.

For that amount, or maybe a hair more, who wouldn’t want a pretty Ruger, with all its custom tweaks, made entirely in the U.S.A.?

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