Ruger SR1911 Commander 45 ACP: Now Even Smaller

   09.12.16

Ruger SR1911 Commander 45 ACP: Now Even Smaller

As noted in my previous review of the Government-length Ruger SR1911, Ruger hit the nail on the head for 45 ACP 1911 lovers. Full-sized 1911 desires aside, the next on every 45 ACP lover’s list is a more carriable Commander-length pistol, and again Ruger has answered the call with a SR1911 Commander version of its hugely popular SR1911.

I wish I could highlight something different between the full sized SR1911 and this one, but essentially the two guns are identical with the exception of a barrel and slide that are .75” shorter. Every other part between the guns are theoretically interchangeable beyond the hand fitting.

Let’s re-explore the finer points of the SR1911 platform. The Ruger Commander is a base-priced 1911 in stainless with the basic “must do” upgrades, all for under $800.

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Fit, Finish, Feel, Features, Functioning, and Accuracy

Overall, the Ruger SR1911 has one of the best slide-to-frame fits of production 1911s. Perfect buttery custom gun feel? No, but tighter and smoother than other production guns I have fired. 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 in the industry for decades. I would challenge you to determine that a given lower is cast based on fit alone. All the parts are tight and have that solid Ruger feel.

Most will find the fit and finish as good or better than most other production 1911s–note I said production, not custom.

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The SR1911 feels beefy and is comfortable in the hand. The shorter-barreled SR1911 Commander moves the point of balance back for a less muzzle-heavy feel. The checkered rosewood grips and mainspring housing checkering provide a perfect grip without being too aggressive on the hands.

Ruger skipped 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 70-series design just as safe by using a stronger firing pin spring and a lightweight titanium firing pin. This allows the gun to survive drop tests without accidental discharge when the gun hits the concrete while providing a less complex and less expensive design, all while maximizing a great trigger feel.

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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.


Features – Standard Upgrades

The Ruger SR1911 includes a oversized mag release, thumb safety, beavertail safety with a nice palm swell, and a skeletonized and bobbed hammer. The beavertail and thumb safeties are not hugely oversized, so the Ruger should be a decent carry option. The hammer is nicely stylized and deeply serrated and can be cocked single handed with the grip hand. The mag well is a standard type with decent magazine flaring, but competition shooters will want to add some sort of aftermarket mag funnel to ensure speedy mag changes.

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The Ruger SR1911 magazines are some of the most gorgeous magazines I have seen on a production gun. The Commander included two seven-shot magazines instead of a seven- and eight-rounder like the full-sized version.

The magazines are mirror-polished stainless steel with anti-tilt followers, and the bases fit flush with the bottom of the grip. These magazines are a work of art unto themselves.

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The sights are Novak three-dot dovetail, 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 combat and adjustable sights, but should you want non-Novak-compatible 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.

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Features – In the Box

Included in the cardboard box was a lock, the gun, two magazines, a plastic takedown wrench, and a zippered pistol pouch.

Testing included five hundred round 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 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 for defense.

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Accuracy Testing

I wanted to replicate my testing of the full-sized SR1911, so I 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 in the 2.25” range for 5-shot groups; that’s about .25” larger than the full sized. A magazine full of the cheap ammo grouped mostly in the 2.5” range, and I was very happy with that. Again the Winchester 230-grain FMJ rounds produced some great groups right at 2”, which is superb for the inexpensive ammo. Basically, it’s an accurate 1911 pistol for the price.

Final Thoughts

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 carriable option that is ¾” shorter and a few ounces lighter.

Like the full-sized version, the grips are a bit big for my hands and I would swap them for a set of VZ slim custom grips. As that old chef told me, if you have great ingredients make sure you don’t screw it up. And Ruger has added up all the right ingredients and prepared an outstanding 1911 for the masses. Highly recommended.

Manufacturer Specs

  • Caliber: 45 Auto
  • Slide Material: Stainless Steel
  • Sights: Fixed Novak® 3-Dot
  • Length: 7.75″
  • Height: 5.45″
  • Width: 1.34″
  • Weight 36.4oz
  • Grooves: 6
  • Barrel Length: 4.25″
  • Twist: 1:16″ RH
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