Review: Ruger SR1911 Lightweight Commander
Major Pandemic 08.10.16
I believe that Ruger hit the nail on the head for 45 ACP 1911 owners, and this lightweight alloy-framed version of its Commander version (alloy frame, with slightly shorter slide and barrel) follows that trend. At nearly 10 ounces lighter than the all-stainless version, the reduced weight is a welcome option.
Fit, Finish, Feel, Features, Functions, and Accuracy
Overall the Ruger SR1911 offers a good slide-to-frame fit for a production 1911. Perfect buttery custom gun feel? No, but tighter and smoother than many other production guns I have shot. Many will say that 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 a cast lower versus milled.
All the parts are tight and have that solid Ruger feel about them. Most people will find the fit and finish as good or better than most other production 1911s (note I said production, not custom).
The SR1911 Model 6711 feels solid and is comfortable in the hand. This lightweight version is a pleasure to carry at only 28 ounces. The shorter barreled SR1911 Commander moves the pivot point of the balance back for a less-muzzle-heavy feel. 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 did groove the front strap on the alloy Commander.
Ruger skipped the problematic newer generation firing pin safeties, which leaves many 1911 owners swearing about higher manufacturing costs, failures to fire, and harsher trigger pulls. Instead, Ruger altered the older, simpler series 70 design and made it 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 a nice upgrade, and is a less complex and less expensive design, all while maximizing a great trigger feel.
The trigger is skeletonized aluminum with overtravel adjustment and is probably one of the better triggers I have tried on a production 1911. This particular Lightweight Ruger Commander has just a little bit of a snag in the trigger, which pushed the feel out of match quality range, but for its intended purpose it is a good trigger.
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.
Features – Standard Upgrades
The Ruger SR1911 includes a oversized mag release, thumb safety, beavertail safety with a nice palm swell for positive safety disengagement, and a skeletonized and bobbed hammer. The beavertail safety and thumb safety are not hugely oversized, so the Ruger should be a 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; good enough for a carry gun.
The Ruger SR1911 magazines are some of the most gorgeous magazines I have ever seen on any production gun. The Commander included just one seven-shot magazine instead of a seven- and eight-rounder like the full sized SR1911. The 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 optional extended 8-shot includes a hard plastic bumper.
These magazines are a work of art unto themselves. Just a note on compatibility: my Kimber 45 magazines functioned perfectly in this pistol.
The sights are Novak three-dot dovetail sights and provide plenty of function, with the rear being drift-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 compatible 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, one magazine, the plastic take-down wrench, and a zippered pistol pouch.
Testing included three hundred rounds of five types of ammo, including inexpensive steel case Herters & Wolf and various standard and premium Winchester rounds in hollowpoint and FMJ. Everything fed, fired, and ejected without a single issue. Based on that fact, I would not hesitate to recommend this 1911 as a reliable defense gun.
For me, the lightweight version of this Commander was actually a bit more accurate than the all-stainless model. I wanted to replicate my testing of the full sized SR1911 and dug through the ammo box to find the same boxes and brands of ammo. The shorter sight radius marginally decreased accuracy, but if placed in a Ransom rest, I am sure the groups would be nearly identical. Almost all of my groups were solidly just over 2.5” for 5-shot groups and about the same as my full sized Ruger 1911. Again, the Federal HST and Winchester 230-grain FMJ rounds delivered my best groups. All around, a very accurate 1911 pistol for the price.
The Ruger SR1911 is an outstanding value for a feature-loaded production 1911 that you can just buy and have the confidence in to go out and shoot. The Commander version offers a carry option that is 3/4″ shorter and a few ounces lighter to increase all day carry comfort.
Like the full sized version, the grips are a bit big for my hands and would swap them for a set of VZ slim custom grips.
- Caliber: 45 Auto
- Slide Material: Stainless Steel
- Sights: Fixed Novak® 3-Dot
- Length: 7.75″
- Height: 5.45″
- Width: 1.34″
- Weight 28oz
- Grooves: 6
- Barrel Length: 4.25″
- Twist: 1:16″ RH