EVALUATION: Ruger SR1911 9mm

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A fan of the 1911, the author found this Ruger to be a great pistol, perhaps as good as it gets!


by Wilburn Roberts


SR1911

Ruger is an old-line maker that has offered quality products at a fair price for more than 68 years. They were a latecomer in the 1911 market but introduced their version that has earned an excellent reputation for reliability, accuracy, and, as always with Ruger, value.

The Ruger SR1911 9mm is an aluminum-frame 1911 in the Commander configuration. “Commander” is a generic description of a 1911 with a full-size grip and frame but shortened slide and barrel. Taking that 3/4 inch off the slide makes for a fast-handling handgun that’s more compact to carry.

There are many 1911s available. Unfortunately some are cheaply made from inferior parts. Others are very well made, and with high price tags, but have extraneous features not really needed on a combat pistol. I adhere to the principles put forth by the late Colonel Jeff Cooper. His consensus (and it wasn’t only his but as he stated “the conclusion of learned minds”) was that the ideal combat pistol was a handgun that featured good sights, a good trigger, and a speed safety. The Ruger SR1911 has all of that. After evaluating this pistol I found a service-grade handgun well worth betting your life on. And it is Ruger’s first 9mm 1911.

SR1911
Ruger’s two-tone treatment creates a handsome handgun. The fit and finish on both pistols tested was excellent. A custom-grade beavertail safety makes handling easier and shooting more comfortable. CNC machined front strap grooves are a nice touch and improve feel.

Examination
The stainless steel slide is well finished. I particularly like the chevron-style cocking serrations. They do seem to afford a bit more leverage than the original-style 1911 serrations. The gray hard-anodized aluminum frame look great, well done. The pistol does not incorporate a Series-80-style firing pin block. The Series 80 drop safety seems to irritate some shooters. The Ruger accomplishes the effect of a drop safety by means of a low-mass firing pin backed up by an extra-power firing pin spring. The sights are Novak Low Mount with three dot inserts. The sights are solidly dovetailed in. These sights allow precision fire at modest range and area aiming to 50 yards or more. The hammer is a lightweight version. It is easily cocked if desired. I carry my 1911s cocked and locked, which is correct as designed. With the hammer to the rear and the safety on, the disconnector is solidly blocked. Unless the grip safety is depressed the trigger is blocked. The grip safety is a “memory-bump” type, which aids in properly depressing the grip safety with a less-than-perfect grip.

novak
Lo-profile Novak sights front and rear offer excellent visibility along with precise shot placement at reasonable distances.

The barrel features conventional 1911 locking lugs and barrel bushing. The recoil spring plug is likewise conventional and there is no full-length guide rod. This is best for a service pistol. Over the years quite a few “target” features have crept into 1911s. A personal defense pistol is best served without these add-ons. The barrel is a ramped type, an asset to improve case head support and feeding reliability. A good improvement is a permanently attached plunger tube. Staked tubes can become problematic over time. The trigger is a long target type. I can live with this. The trigger is superb. It is crisp and clean, breaking at 5.25 pounds. The mainspring housing is a flat type, the only way to go with a custom-grade beavertail. The slide lock safety snaps into the locked position smartly indicating a tight, quality parts fit. The grips are hard rubber. They are comfortable and provide good abrasion. There is a slight dip in the front strap beneath the trigger guard that aids in gripping the pistol and also lowers the bore axis. The relatively short height of the centerline of the bore over the hand is one reason the 1911 is so controllable in rapid fire; there is little leverage for the slide to rise in recoil.

SR1911
The SR1911 comes with two high quality stainless steel magazines. These have stout springs and will feed anything I asked them to digest.

The magazines are well-made stainless steel units, with stout springs. It is a bit difficult to load more than seven cartridges but I was able to get the ninth cartridge in with some protest. I like this as there are many different 9mm loads that will cycle the slide at different speeds. A stout spring presents the rounds more quickly for better assurance of feeding reliability.

The 9mm chambering offers modest recoil yet it is undeniably a powerful cartridge. The 9mm may be used well by those who cannot tolerate the recoil of heavier caliber. Accurate shot placement can make up for power; the reverse is seldom true. 9mm loads are available for economical practice. The Winchester USA 115 grain FMJ is one example, and the Winchester USA Forged steel case ammunition is another. For those wishing to field a credible defense loading there are +P 9mm loads with a good balance of expansion and penetration. As velocity approaches 1200 fps we see powerful performance.

SR1911
Despite its shorter slide, lighter weight, but also its 9mm caliber, the Ruger SR1911 is controllable, fast on target, and reliable. Fast, accurate shots are easy with this gun.

The Firing Line
The Ruger SR1911 gave excellent results on the range. There were a handful of short cycles in the first magazine of one the pistols tested, but after that it was smooth sailing. The second pistol never stuttered. The piece fed, chambered, fired, and ejected every cartridge. Like most firearms the SR1911 exhibited an affinity for one load over others for accuracy but not for reliability.

The combination of lighter weight, shorter slide, and 9mm chambering means that this pistol is fast from leather, fast on target, and offers excellent control. The 9mm just doesn’t kick much so fast and accurate double tap and controlled pair hits were easy. This is simply a great-handling 1911.

ruger-sr1911-9mm-c9

I like the Ruger SR1911 very much. The workmanship is flawless and so is performance. This is a handgun well worth its price.

SR1911
I was able to test and evaluate a number of loadings. The Winchester 124-grain PDX Defender +P is a good choice for personal defense. The balance of expansion and penetration is impressive. If you do not wish to run +P loads in your 9mm, and many do not, the Winchester 115-grain Silvertip offers good expansion in a lighter load. I fired a number of loads for accuracy, firing five-shot groups at 15 yards. 15 yards is a long distance for personal defense.

Wilburn Roberts is a veteran police officer, gunsmith, and professor. His articles have appeared in numerous publications over many years.

LINK: Ruger.com

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5 thoughts on “EVALUATION: Ruger SR1911 9mm”

  1. Great write up, thank you. This pistol has features I paid many hundreds to have added years ago on my Colt Series 70. The only thing I don’t care for on these newer 1911’s is the wideer speed safety. I much prefer the old Swenson speed safety, which was a great compromise between functionality and appearance. Although I suppose if you ride the safety with your thumb as many do it’s preferable. Keeping the Series 70 fire control should also give a better trigger, and make getting a trigger job easier if you’re so inclined.

    I like the appearance very much, and the Commander format in a lighter caliber has always been a winner.

    Now living in the PRK, I guarantee I won’t be able to buy one, because it won’t be on Kamala “I hate guns so you don’t need one” Harris’s DOJ “approved” list.

    1. PRK= “People’s Republic of Kalifornia”. State has the most idiotic law makers known to mankind if you ask me. Cannot for the life of me figure out why people want to live there.

      1. Well, most people don’t “want to live” anywhere. They live where they do because that’s where they were born and raised, and that’s where their extended families live. I’m a Benefactor Life NRA member in part to try and keep the crazies at bay here in this state. It’s a few of us against a majority of left-leaning pro-criminal, anti-self-defense nanny-staters, and that’s a lot harder and frankly a bigger commitment than being part of the pro-gun majority in most other states, where they only have to give lip service to the fight.

        Anyone who’s pro-freedom in this state knows about Harris and how she’s kept new models off the “DOJ Approved” list, which is a clear end run around what the law is designed to do, that is, keep only well-built functional guns for sale, and strip out the unsafe junk. She is the ultimate bureaucrat, using the letter of the law to passively-aggressively foist her political agenda on the entire population. Now that she’s moved on to another job maybe we’ll get some movement on that front, and perhaps will even be able to buy Gen 4 Glocks as they have been out just s little while…!

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