Photos & Report
New Ruger SR 1911 .45 pistol rated ‘well worth the wait’
by Buck Pope
It is rather hard to believe that the original 1911 pistol was introduced 100 years ago by Colt and John Moses Browning. This semi-automatic handgun has been the champion among all the large caliber handguns ever introduced in this country. The popularity of the 1911 platform has been copied by numerous firearm makers and continues strong today. This also was the standard firearm for our military through two world wars and has served us well with dependability and honor.
Now we have a new copy of this great sidearm introduced to us as the SR 1911 by one of the leading firearm makers in this country, Sturm Ruger & Co. Rumors have been flying for some time about the strong possibility that Ruger would come forward with their copy of the 1911. So it happened that Ruger chose the 100th anniversary of this model to introduce their own version, the SR1911.
I received the pistol from Ruger which I might add is made right here in Prescott, AZ, where I happen to live. Ruger has had a manufacturing plant here for a number of years that specializes in handgun manufacturing along with other die cast products.
My initial reaction to seeing and picking up the pistol was very favorable. I very much liked its looks and was quite anxious to look it over in close detail and then get to the range and see how it shot. First off this is a full size semi-automatic pistol that is a similar copy to the original, it is made of stainless steel, has a 5-inch barrel and is finished in a matte bead-blast finish. The handgun came with two stainless magazines, a standard 7-shot and also an 8-shot extended magazine. The caliber is the .45 ACP, the same as it was 100 years ago.
One feature that really jumped out at me right off the bat was the quality sights that were on the pistol. It comes with a set of Novak three-dot white sights. The rear sight is also adjustable for windage. To me this is an upgrade that adds to its appeal, particularly with the price point of the handgun being what it is.
In short order I field-stripped the pistol to take a look at the internals. I have fond memories of the Army 1911 firearm as it was standard issue when I was in the service years ago. The Ruger has a good feel to it and I liked how it pointed. The model I was sent came with a pair of handsome checkered Rosewood grips embellished with the Ruger logo. I understand the regular issue will be hard black rubber grips made by Hogue. I would guess that the wood grips will be available as a special order from their Accessories catalog.
Looking at the field-stripped pistol showed the slide was machined from 416 stainless steel solid bar stock. The frame is made from an investment casting, using 415 stainless steel. Casting is a true specialty with Ruger and is seen on all their product lines. I would think the cost saving must have been rather significant by using a cast frame instead of machining one from bar stock. I was told they stayed with bar stock for the slide as there was not a cost advantage to die casting it. The slide has, on each side near the rear, eight large slightly diagonal cuts to allow easy operation.
The coned barrel also is made in house. The guide rod is short, staying with the tradition of the original 1911. The barrel bushing is stainless and has a tight fit. I might also add all of the material and parts made for this pistol are steel and everything comes from here in the USA.
The trigger is skeletonized aluminum along with an over-travel stop which again offers a match-grade appearance. The trigger is grooved at the end for finger touch. The trigger had a crisp release and by my scale broke at five pounds. As much as the trigger pull is fine, I would think just a bit of polishing by a qualified gunsmith would enhance the pull just a bit. The slide release is a nice size and easy to use. I liked the safety pad and it is about ideal in size and very easy to operate. The safety is on the left side which is standard, thus designed ideally for right handed shooters. There are aftermarket safeties should you be a lefty, and many optional alterations available from suppliers such as Brownells. The button magazine release is stiff as it should be and the magazine jumps out of the pistol.
The hammer is elongated and has the look similar to that of a Commander-style model. It has deep cross cuts in the metal to assure it will not slip when using your thumb.
I very much like the beavertail-type flaring out of the grip safety in the rear of the pistol. This combined with the flat main spring housing provides a slightly higher grip area which I found very nice in holding the pistol.
This pistol fits my hand about ideally and has a really comfortable feel to it. The finish is a bead blast, complimented with a deep matte black finish on miscellaneous attachment parts, including the sights. All of this I feel really sets the pistol off as a very good looking handgun.
As to engraving on the pistol, the left side of the slide has “Ruger made in U.S.A.” The right side has the Ruger logo on the slide. Below that, on the frame, is “Prescott AZ and Ruger,” followed below that with the serial number and the model “SR1911.” For a Specifications Review, please refer to Chart A.
The next step was to take the pistol out to the range and see how it shot. This is the fun part and I could hardly wait to get into the field with it. I had immediately available four types of ammunition. They were: Federal Premium 165-grain Personal Defense Full Metal Jacket, Federal Premium 230-grain Hydra-Shok, Remington 185-grain Jacketed Hollow Point and Winchester (USA) 230-grain Jacketed Hollow Point.
I started off the shooting session by firing the pistol at a tin can just to get a feel for the Ruger. I immediately liked how it shot; I was shooting it fairly well for a fellow who is not an avid pistol shooter. After a good bit of fun shooting, it was time to see just how it shot on target. I very much like the sights and to me this was an excellent enhancement to the pistol.
Sitting at my benchrest and using sand bags, I shot for performance at 20 yards. Refer to Chart B for pistol performance.
Overall I was very pleased with the performance of the SR 1911. My group sizes varied a bit, ranging from 2.25- to 3.25-inch groups. However, considering my pistol rest was far from perfect, I was very happy with the results. My best results were with the Winchester 230-grain JHP which gave me a 2.25-inch group. I am fairly sure had I had an improved platform to hold the pistol, the groups would have been even better. The Ruger seemed to like the heavier bullets a bit more. My average across the four types of ammunition was 2.69 inches.
A very import factor was: I had not one functioning or firing problem. The pistol functioned perfectly. Also note the pistol was fired just as I received it from the factory. I could tell from my targets that I was rather consistently shooting a bit to the right by several inches. I will need to adjust my rear sight to make this correction, which is easily done with the adjustable rear sight.
In summary, I very much like this pistol. The workmanship is quite good, it handles and points very well. It has just enough extra features and pluses that give the pistol the looks and performance of an upgrade match-type handgun.
The final real bonus to this Ruger SR1911 .45 ACP handgun is its price. It has a suggested MSRP of $799. The pistol comes with two magazines along with a black zipper case with the Ruger logo and Ruger SR1911 on it.
This is truly an excellent value. I really think Ruger hit a home run with this model and, to me, it was well worth the wait. The timing was perfect, as it happened on the 100th anniversary of this great American legend.
Chart A: Specifications
200 Ruger Rd., Dept. GWK, Prescott, AZ 86301;
phone: 928-541-8893; online: ruger.com.
|| Stainless Steel
||Low Glare Stainless
||8 plus 1
Chart B: Shooting Performance
|*Distance 20 yards; *Grouping 4 to 6 shots per target. Performance Summary:
Best2.25” Win. 230-gr., Worst3.25” Rem. 185-gr; Avg. 2.69”
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