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Ruger SR1911: One Truly Fine .45ACP Gun (My Range Report)

Ruger SR1911. Image: Creative Commons.
Image: Creative Commons.

As many of you dear readers already know, I’m a big fan of Ruger brand handguns. Mainly their revolvers like the GP-100 .357 Magnum and Redhawk .44 Magnum, but I also appreciate their autopistols like the P90 .45 ACP.  

I’m also a big fan of the M1911 pistol platform and the .45 ACP cartridge. Granted, my luck with the reliability of the various 1911s I’ve owned over the years has been hit-or-miss (bad pun intended), but thankfully I’ve gotten lucky a couple of times with my purchases.  

So then, the combination of Ruger and M1911 and .45 ACP cartridge oughta be a match made in heaven, right? Let’s see if the Ruger SR1911 lives up to these lofty expectations.      

Ruger SR1911 Early History and Specifications 

What else can be written about the ending classic M1911/M1911-A1 pistol series that hasn’t already been written? 112 years after its invention, its popularity remains undiminished.  

Sturm, Ruger & Co. – founded in 1949 and headquartered in Southport, Connecticut –decided to get in on the 1911 game in 2011, perhaps not coincidentally 100 years after the pistol design made its illustrious debut. According to the manufacturer’s official info page

“Classic, original 1911 fire control. Precision CNC-controlled machining process results in a superior slide-to-frame fit and smooth slide travel. Positive barrel lock-up allows for superior accuracy out of the box. Traditional design with replaceable grip panels and checkered backstrap. Lightweight, aluminum, skeletonized trigger provides a very crisp, no creep, light trigger pull with a quick, positive reset.” 

Ruger offers three different full-sized versions, dubbed the Full-Size (plainly & simply enough), Target, and Competition; a mid-sized Commander-Style (named and modeled after the famous Colt Commander); and a compact Officer-Style (named and modeled after the Colt Officer’s ACP). 

Specifications for the Full-Size are true to the old-school 1911 specs in terms of the 5-inch barrel length and 39-ounce empty weight. Overall length is 8.67”, width is 1.34”, and height is 5.45”. Magazine capacity is 8+1 rounds.

Personal Shooting Impressions/Range Report 

So then, it was back to good ol’ Silver Eagle Group (SEG) indoor pistol shooting range in Ashburn, Virginia, to try out a rental Ruger SR1911 Full-Size .45. It was one of three pistols I test-fired that day, along with the Walther PPQ and Beretta APX.  

Fit & finish were impressive; the low-glare stainless steel appearance was quite aesthetically pleasing in addition to being maintenance-friendly. Trigger pull was quite crisp, sight picture was excellent — thanks to the Drift Adjustable Novak® 3-Dot sights designed by the renowned pistolsmith Wayne Novak –and the beavertail grip safety made for top-notch shooting comfort; yes, recoil and muzzle flip were substantial, as is par for the course for a largebore handgun, but the actual “kick” felt more like a push, as is typical of a full-size .45 ACP. Charging the magazine and racking the slide were accomplished with ease, and the slide stop lever was within easy reach.   

Target used was the IPSC Practice Target, as my preferred ICE-QT target was out of stock. Ammo used was 50 rounds of PMC Bronze 230-grain full metal jacket full metal jacket (FMJ) AKA “hardball,” divvied into 25 rounds of heads shots at 7 yards and 25 yards of center-torso shots at 25 yards, all delivered from the Classic Weaver Stance. (As a sidebar note, I’ve read a few complaints here and there about PMC Bronze ammo, but <knock on wood> I’ve never had any issues with the stuff.) 

As for practical accuracy performance?  

At 7 yards, I pulled three of my shots high into the B-zone of the target’s head (including one that was peripheral and barely broke the scoring line), but the remaining 22 hits were sufficient to satisfyingly obliterate the A-zone. At 25 yards, 20 rounds took the A-zone (admittedly, two of those just barely broke the proverbial “plane of the end zone”) and three strayed into the B-zone; three high-left (true to form for a cross-eye-dominant right-handed shooter, as my friend and fellow firearms instructor Lou Chiodo points out) and two high-right (overcompensating for the previous tendency, I apparently did). 

Overall, I’d rather the Ruger SR1911 as an excellent “factory custom” 1911, slightly above the Smith & Wesson SW1911 and just a tad below the SIG 1911 Scorpion (I was a tad bit more accurate with the latter, and as much as I like the stainless appearance of the Ruger, I like the flat dark earth [FDE] look of the SIG even more). It reaffirms that Ruger knows how to make .45 autos, whether a double-action like the P90 or a single-action like the 1911.  

Admittedly, none of the above-named modern 1911-A1s have the classic old-school appeal of my original WWI-era Colt M1911, but hey, they’re darn sure practical!              

Want Your Own? 

True Gun Value states that “A RUGER SR1911 pistol is currently worth an average price of $937.26 new and $663.36 used. The 12 month average price is $924.98 new and $663.36 used.”  Ruger lists an MSRP of $799.00 to $1,199.00. Cabela’s is currently selling one for $969.99, and Impact Guns (cool name, huh) has multiple specimens at a price range of $569.99 to $2,132.69 (depending upon proverbial bells & whistles or lack thereof).                 

Christian D. Orr has 34 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and the Nevada Police & Fires Games (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011.

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Written By

Christian D. Orr is a former Air Force officer, Federal law enforcement officer, and private military contractor (with assignments worked in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kosovo, Japan, Germany, and the Pentagon).