Range Report: Ruger SR1911 10mm

By Bob Campbell published on in Firearms, Range Reports

Ruger’s SR1911 line continues to expand with the introduction of the Ruger SR1911 10mm. This handgun differs considerably from previous pistols and may arguably be one of the best 10mm 1911 handguns ever built.

Ruger SR1911 10mm handgun left profile

The Ruger SR1911 10mm is a burly and effective handgun.

The original SR1911 follows the 1911 template closely with attention to modern details. When the SR1911 9mm lightweight Commander was added to the lineup, Ruger launched a winner. Ruger made viable improvements on the 1911, including redesigning the plunger tube for permanent attachment rather than staking the tube to the frame. The result is a rugged handgun with much to recommend, and a real improvement on the 1911 chassis.

Ruger’s latest SR1911 is a bold step. The 10mm auto cartridge is a powerful number that gives handgunners a viable cartridge for long-range use and hunting medium-sized game. It is suitable for defense against animals and a viable service and personal defense cartridge.

The 10mm has been called a specialist cartridge. It offers real power for those willing to master the heavier recoil of the hard hitting combination. The 1911 platform is reasonably light and may be concealed more readily than a magnum revolver, which is part of the appeal of the combination.

Double Tap hard cast 200-grain flat point bullet

The Double Tap hard cast 200-grain flat point is a fine outdoors load.

The Ruger SR1911 10mm is a stainless steel pistol built on the full length or Government Model frame. The barrel, slide lock, slide lock safety, and grip safety are finished in black. The grip safety is a beavertail type. Those who sometimes allow the palm to rise off the grip safety when executing the palms forward grip will find the beavertail grip safety helps keep the grip safety properly depressed.

The extended slide lock safety offers a positive indent. It is sufficiently larger than the GI types to ensure positive manipulation. Both the trigger and hammer are skeletonized types. Trigger compression is 6.5 pounds, tight, and breaks smoothly without creep or backlash.

The front sight is a post design I had not previously seen. It offers a good sight picture and is solidly dovetailed in place. The rear sight is a fully adjustable unit resembling the Bomar type. This sight is very well done with excellent machine work and good final finish.

Custom-grade beavertail grip safety and extended slide lock safety on the Ruger SR1911 10mm pistol

A custom-grade beavertail grip safety and extended slide lock safety add to the pistols usefulness.

The barrel is a ramped design for feed reliability and full cartridge case head support. The barrel is a bull barrel with bushingless lockup. Barrel to slide fit is excellent.

The pistol features a full length guide rod. Other features include a beveled magazine well and an extra power firing pin spring. This extra power firing pin spring is used instead of the complication of a firing pin block or drop safety. The Ruger is supplied with two magazines. The grips are checkered plastic.

The 10mm cartridge offers many advantages. Light 10mm loads such as the Federal 180-grain Hydra-Shok allows good control—this load is no hotter than a standard .40 Smith and Wesson loading. This is a reasonable choice for personal defense. However, the advantages of the 10mm are more apparent with full power loads.

The 10mm shoots flatter than the .45 ACP. The effective range of the 10mm is greater than either the .45 ACP or .38 ACP Super. The cartridge offers power that outstrips even the .357 Magnum with top end loads. As an example, the Federal JSP bonded-core design maximizes the caliber as a dedicated hunting load.

Bull barrel with bushingless lockup

A bull barrel with bushingless lockup provides excellent accuracy.

I began the firing evaluation with a number of suitable practice and service loads. The pistol was lubricated along the long bearing surfaces and the magazines loaded with CCI Blazer ball ammunition. The Ruger came out of the box running without any type of malfunction. I began by firing at man-sized targets at 5,7, and 10 yards. The big Ruger stayed on target, delivering X-ring hits with attention to the sights and trigger compression.

With standard loads, recoil wasn’t any more difficult to control than the .45 ACP, it is simply a different feeling. I expended 100 cartridges as quickly as I could load the magazines, aim, and fire. The Ruger is a pleasant gun to fire with good practical combat accuracy. I added a blue steel MecGar magazine to the test program. Function was 100 percent.

Moving to personal defense loads, I used the Hornady 180-grain XTP and Hornady 155-grain XTP. The heavier loading offers good penetration and may be called an outdoors load. At 1,180 fps, it is controllable for those that practice. The 155-grain XTP loading breaks 1,355 fps. This is an excellent all around defense load.

Bob Campbell firing the Ruger SR1911 10mm offhand

Firing offhand, the pistol was fast enough in personal defense drills to serve as an all-around defensive handgun.

Recoil was certainly there, but controllable, with a solid grip and firing stance. I fired these loads off the bench with the aid of my Bullshooters shooting rest. Accuracy was excellent—on level with any .45 ACP target pistol. The 180-grain XTP turned in one 1.5-inch 25-yard group and several 2.0-inch groups. The 155-grain XTP’s best showing was a 1.75-inch group with the average around 2.0 inches. This dog will run, and the 10mm Ruger has plenty of accuracy.

At this stage, I took the Ruger home and cleaned it. No eccentric wear was noted. I traded the supplied plastic grips for a set of Kim Ahrends skip checkered tactical grips. These grips offer superior adhesion when firing heavy loads and simply look right.

Back at the range, I took along a number of loads to further test this new offering. Among these were three loads from Double Tap ammunition. First up was the 135-grain JHP. The average of three of these loads over the Chrony was 1,555 fps and very consistent. This is a powerful load intended for personal defense. The bullet fragments and penetration is at about 12 inches. For those wishing to limit penetration, and hit the target with plenty of energy, this is the choice.

The second load is the 230-grain Equalizer using a 135-grain JHP over a 95-grain lead ball. At 980 fps, it is controllable, even mild to fire in the SR1911. At 10 yards, the two projectiles impact in almost the same hole. Penetration was some 20 inches in water.

The impact of a single Double Tap 230-grain Equalizer.

This is the impact of a single Double Tap 230-grain Equalizer.

Another hard hitting load uses a hard cast 200-grain flat point at 1190 fps. This WGNGC bullet would be ideal for protection against large animals. Double Tap loads show the versatility of the 10mm. Defense loads that are controllable and offer wound ballistics comparable to the .41 Magnum and exceeding the .357 Magnum and .45 ACP may be used. Even stronger loads may be used for hunting.

The Ruger SR1911 is accurate enough to take advantage of these loads. It is up to the individual shooter to master this handgun. It requires more skill and effort than firing a .45 ACP or .40 Smith and Wesson handgun, so the 10mm isn’t for everyone. For those who favor the 10mm, the Ruger is a good option and one that cost less than any other quality 10mm handgun.

Accuracy: Five-shot Groups Fired From a Solid Bench Rest at 25 Yards

Load Group in Inches
SIG Sauer 180-grain FMJ 2.25 inches
Double Tap 200-grain WFNGC 1.75 inches
Federal Cartridge Bonded Core 1.75 inches
Federal Cartridge 180-grain Hydra Shock .95 inches
Double Tap 135-grain JHP 2.35 inches
Hornady 155-grain XTP 2.0 inches
Hornady 180-grain XTP 1.9 inches
Seller and Bellot 180-grain FMJ 3.25 inches
SIG Sauer 180-grain V-Crown JHP 2.15 inches
CCI Blazer 180-grain FMJ 1.75 inches

Let’s hear from the hardcore 10mm fans. How does Ruger’s SR1911 10mm rank? What’s the best 10mm ammunition? Share your answers in the comment section.

SLRule

Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooter’s Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.

View all articles by Bob Campbell

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Comments (55)

  • Jake Logan

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    Nice review. As for the 1911 vs Glock comments, I have both and I have had several FTFs with my Glock 23. I have never had any issue with my Dan Wesson 10mm 1911.

    Reply

  • Shooter1911

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    Great article. I bought one a week after they hit the market. Ditto to all of your good remarks. I carry a Glock17 at work. Love it! But for 10M&M I want the Ruger. It tames the beast the way no Glock ever has.

    Reply

  • Thomas

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    I do like the article, but you forgot to list the price I believe. The power loads, you should have shot some Underwwod ammo. Underwood offers a 135 Nosler HP at 1600fps, and a 165 HP at 1350fps both great and very accurate, and consistent, at least out of my EAA Tanfoglio FS 10mm 2-3 inch groups at 50yrds off hand. I believe if you own a 10mm you should shoot full power loads, because if you want light loads, than stick with the S&W .40.

    Reply

  • Tony Mullican

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    Glock 20 and 16 rounds of Underwood ammo. I fear no man or beast. Love my Ruger LC9(Lucyniner)

    Reply

  • Darrell G

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    Great review Bob. Y’know I’m a die hard 1911 guy and somewhat of an on again, off again 10mm man. That Ruger is badass in every way, and considerably cheaper than any other 10mm 1911.

    Reply

  • Steve K

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    While I can appreciate the 1911 my personal choice was a Glock 20 in 10MM. 15 rounds is preferable to 8 or 9 rounds and the glock is utterly reliable with any load I feed through it.

    Reply

    • Dieter Michael Woerz

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      I agree. The G20 is a great firearm. Having said that, I also own a G21C which is my favorite…..until I put a G 30S in my hands. Move aside, this pistol is …..perfect. Nuff said.!!

      Reply

  • Bob Clevenger

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    Thanks for the review, Bob.

    When is a century-old design “new?” When it’s a “new 1911″ but I’ll get to that after praising the 10mm Auto cartridge — something I do quite often.

    The 10mm Auto is one of my favourite handgun cartridges, and one that I choose for carry and home defense alike when I am not using the 9×25 Winchester. Special thanks for evaluating the 135 gr bullet loads as these are what I use for personal defense. In general I do not buy factory-loaded ammo since I have more time than money (and I enjoy handloading on my Dillon XL-650) but I have heard good things about Underwood ammo — perhaps someone who has used it will add their comments.
    As far as the “new 1911″ (isn’t that some sort of oxymoron?) from Ruger, it appears to be a very good pistol, though still slightly handicapped by the single-stack magazine — at least in my opinion. I must admit to being out of step with my fellow American shooters in that I do not own a 1911.My 10mm rounds are fed through an EAA Witness Semi-Compact with a brace of Ruger’s Buckeye Specials doing revolver duty and a Star Megastar awaiting a replacement extractor. High compliments to Ruger for using a ramped barrel with full case-head support. The 10mm really needs this if one is to realise its true potential as a high-powered cartridge.

    The 10mm Auto is a great cartridge that is now enjoying something of a resurgence in popularity, and this “new 1911″ from Ruger should help that situation.

    Reply

  • TxRed

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    I must say, this article was 180 out from the last time I gave you a bit of critique. It was clearly presented and cohesive. You offered good insight into what appears to be a beautiful and effective pistol. Nice choice on the grips. Would like to get my hands on one set up much the same way. Keep up the good work.

    Reply

  • El Mac

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    Sadly, they didn’t put a rail or magwell on it. What a shame.

    Reply

  • thomas unger

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    Yet another offering for the 1911 Fanclub. I’ve been buying motorcycles and guns since the 50’s and I’m struck by the similarities between Harley and 1911 devotees: the former overlooks shortcomings (overpricing, unreliability and old technology) for the Harley ‘sound'; the latter overlooks shortcomings (overpricing, overweight, old technology and unreliability) for the ‘Look’. I gave the ‘plastic’ guns 20 years before investing in one, but wound up choosing the Glock 21 for my service weapon for 27 years. I have yet to experience my first failure to fire, feed, extract or eject with any of my three Glocks, using every available ammunition. That, my friends, is the ticket!

    Reply

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