Ruger SR1911 .45 ACP
Major Pandemic 12.24.13
As some point or another, every gun owner has said they want to own a good quality 1911 pistol that will not break the bank. In fact, most of us have an image of that gun floating around in our heads.
This driving desire to own a 1911 has been part of a 100 year romance that shooters have had with the gun since its namesake year. Of course, the power and accuracy potential of the venerable 1911 design all makes us feel like bullseye shooters and 1920s gangsters.
When most of us picture that quality 1911, we’re thinking of a gun with the basic upgrades but not so many upgrades that the gun becomes unaffordable. For most, this means a price range well under $1,000 and preferably under $800. That mental image of the perfect sub-$800 1911 usually includes over-sized beavertail safety, skeletonized hammer and trigger, a crisp trigger feel, and upgraded barrel and bushings to increase the accuracy. Somehow Ruger was in our heads and designed the SR 1911 upgrading our dream to include stainless in the process. The result is a firearm that is surely destined to become another long-term perennial favorite like the GP100, Mark III, and 10/22.
Someone once said the secret to great cooking was using the best ingredients available and then just not screw them up. Ruger did the same with their version of the 1911. They used the best components available and let them shine without overdoing it. The result is base priced 1911 in stainless with the basic “must do” upgrades covered all for under $800. No need to spend a fortune for parts and gunsmithing services. Just plop down your cash on the Ruger SR1911 and go have fun shooting.
This at least will be the impression most will have with the Ruger SR1911, but there are more subtleties to the new Ruger 1911 than meet the eye and which increase the gun’s appeal even further.
Finish, Fit , and Feel
Overall, the Ruger SR1911 is one of the best fits of production 1911s between the stainless cast lower receiver and miller stainless upper receiver. Perfect buttery custom gun feel? No, but it is tighter and smoother than other production guns I have shot. Many will say, “Milled lowers are better,” but keep in mind that Ruger’s high precision foundry has been delivering some of the most precise castings to manufacturers across the industry for decades. I would challenge you to notice from a fit perspective that it is cast lower versus milled. All the parts are tight and have that solid “build like a Ruger branded brick shit house” feel about them. Most will find the fit and finish as good or better than other production 1911s.
The SR1911 gun feels solid, beefy, and comfortable in the hand. One of my typical tests is to hold the firearm in my hand during a full length movie at home. This test confirms that the gun would be comfortable during a long event or during extended shooting, and it also shows exactly where blisters will begin to form. The horns on the beavertail do start to create a couple sore spots, and the inside trigger guard could be slightly more radiused, but unless you have stumpy hands like me or are shooting the gun for over an hour, you probably will not notice. The rest of the gun is very comfortable, and the grooved rosewood grips and rear checkering provide a perfect grip without being too aggressive on the hands.
Ruger skipped the problematic newer generation firing pin safeties which leave many 1911 owners swearing about higher manufacturing costs, failures to fire, and harsher trigger pulls. Ruger just made the older, simpler, problem-free 70-series design just as safe by using a stronger firing pin spring and lightweight titanium firing pin. This allows the gun to survive drop tests without accidental discharge when the gun hits the concrete, provides anice upgrade, is a less complex and less expensive design, all while maximizing a great trigger feel.
The trigger is skeletonized aluminum with over-travel adjustment and is probably one of the best triggers I have tried on a production 1911.
The stainless barrel and bushings are made from the same piece of bar stock. Why? Because every piece of bar stock is just unique enough that one piece will be marginally harder or softer than another. By using the same barstock for both barrel and bushings, the chance for wear over the long term is greatly minimized, and a better fit equals tighter groups now and into the future. Nice detail.
The Ruger SR1911 includes a oversized mag release, thumb safety, beavertail safety with a nice palm swell for positive safety dis-engagement, and skeletonized and bobbed hammer. The beavertail safety and thumb safety are not hugely oversized, so the Ruger should be a good comfortable carry option. The hammer is nicely stylized and deeply serrated and can be cocked single handed with the grip hand. The mag well is more of a standard type with a decent magazine flaring, but competitors will want to add some sort of aftermarket mag well funnel to assure speedy mag changes.
The Ruger SR1911 magazine are some of the most gorgeous magazines I have ever seen on any production gun. The included seven and eight shot magazines are mirror polished stainless steel with anti-tilt followers. The 7 shot provides a flush fit with the lightly beveled mag well, while the extended 8-shot includes a hard plastic bumper. These magazines are a work of art all unto themselves. Note that my Kimber .45 magazines functioned perfectly, as well, for those looking for possible compatibility options.
The sights are Novak three-dot dovetail sights that provide plenty of function with the rear being adjustable for windage via a set screw. Unless you are a target shooter, these are all you will ever need. It should be noted that the top rear of the slide is milled to accept other Novak equivalent extended combat and adjustable sights, but should you want other non-Novak compatable target sights, you may need to have the top of the slide milled to provide clearance. Grips are beautiful cocobolo with deep aggressive checkering for plenty of grip.
Included in the now standard cardboard box was a lock, the gun, two magazines, the plastic take-down wrench, and a zippered pistol pouch.
Function and Accuracy
Testing included 500 rounds of five types of ammo, ranging from the inexpensive steel case Herters & Wolf up through various standard and premium Winchester rounds in hollowpoint and FMJ. Everything fed, fired, and ejected without a single issue. Based on the fact the gun could feed anything I threw at it, I would not hesitate to recommend this 1911 for anyone intending to utilize the SR-1911 as a reliable defense gun.
Ruger has mentioned that the gun will do 1.5” groups at 25 yards, and I don’t doubt that it would be true when shot from a Ransom rest or by someone more competent than myself. Almost all of my groups were solidly in the 2” range for 8 shot groups. A magazine full of the cheap ammo grouped mostly in the 2.25” range, which I was very happy with. My second best group was a four-shot 1.8” group with Winchester 230-Gr FMJ rounds – yes the cheap stuff. My best group was a four-shot 1.6” group with Winchester PDX1 230-Gr defense round. Noting the Winchester PDX1 ammo has been some of my most consistantly accurate rounds in a variety of pistols and calibers. I believe Ruger’s SR1911 claims. Apparently I just need to improve my skills a bit more to match theirs.
The Ruger SR1911 is an outstanding value for a feature loaded production 1911 that you can just buy and have the confidence to go out and shoot. For my hands, the standard grips are a bit wide, and I would like to swap those for something thinner. But I would keep everything just as it is. As that old chef told me, if you have great food ingredients make sure you don’t screw it up, and Ruger certainly added up all the right ingredients and prepared an outstanding 1911 for the masses. Highly recommended.
- Caliber: .45 Auto
- Slide Material: Stainless Steel
- Sights: Fixed Novak® 3-Dot
- Length: 8.67″
- Height: 5.45″
- Width: 1.34″
- Grooves: 6
- Barrel Length: 5.00″
- Twist: 1:16″ RH