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)

  • Aris Arsenis

    |

    It is $ 150.00 cheaper than the Sig P220.
    By common acceptance big bore carry always will be the .45ACP.
    The 10mm, is a hunting cartridge. To get its full potential requires a 6″ barrel. In a stressed situation (heavy predator) I like to have the advantage of a high cap mag.
    Glock delivers all that $ 400.00 less.
    What exactly is so unique about that Ruger worth coughing up $1,150?

    Reply

    • Tony Mullican

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      Exactly….Glock price advantage blows everything else away on that point alone

      Reply

    • Vic vapor

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      so it takes an extra inch of barrel to get perhaps 40 fps extra before this cartridge climbs out of mediocre for hunting.?! Underwood or double tap or Buffalo bore or even sig ammo provide significant performance to maybe even meet your tough demands.

      Reply

    • Bob Clevenger

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      So the 10mm is not a good self-defense cartridge because it “needs” a 6″ or longer barrel to make it perform? Does that mean that the 135 gr. Nosler JHP bullets moving out of my 10mm Witness’s 3.6″ (ported) barrel at 1560 fps (measured by chronograph) making 730 ft-lbs or kinetic energy won’t stop an aggressor? Not just blowing hot air here. I have measured this.

      Reply

  • Robert

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    I have both the Colt Delta Elite and the Rock Island 10 MM both are very well built pistols. I held one of these the other day and it feels very good a little rough but I’m sure a few hundred round will smooth it out. The biggest issue I have with 10MM is the cost of the Ammo.

    Reply

    • Bob Clevenger

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      Yep, ammo cost is still a factor. There are only two ways I know of to correct that. One id for the US military to adopt the cartridge — don’t hold your breath. That would be the FBI fiasco all over again. The other way is for more civilian shooters to buy 10mm ammo, and that will take a lit of time

      Reply

  • Vic vapor

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    good article… this will be my next purchase

    Reply

    • Tim

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      So do you work for Ruger too?

      Reply

  • Thomas

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    I agree to say the best is a stretch. EAA Tanfoglio is great and is all metal as well as 14+1. Rock Island Armory 52000 10mm is phenomenal and it’s 17+1 as well as all metal.

    Reply

  • Nick K

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    I got my 10mm Colt Delta Elite back in 1988 when they first came out. Original factory loads were pretty much on a par with the 357, approaching 41 mag levels. Seems most manufacturers reduced velocities to only slightly more than 40 S&W levels when that round came out. So, you pretty much had to hand load to get the full potential of the round. Good to see the round making a comeback.
    As to the plunger tube, seems like Ruger found another elegant solution to a non-problem.

    Reply

  • James Henry

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    I just purchased my first 10mm. My choice was the Rock Island Ultra FS 1911. For the money, this particular firearm has many good features. I haven’t taken it to the range yet but when I do, I will leave a followup comment.

    Reply

    • James Henry

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      I shot the Rock Island 1911 10mm a few days ago and I really liked it. You can definitely feel the difference in recoil when using high power loads but not overbearing by any means. I did have a few FTFs but it hasn’t been broken in yet, being a new firearm, and I am going to replace the 20 lb. recoil spring with a 22 lb. spring to see if that helps. It seemed to shoot high and to the left, but that maybe just me. It does have adjustable sights which helped my point of aim. Overall, I am pleased.

      Reply

  • Jason Adams

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    Please pass along to Ruger my thanks for not considering that left handed population. They don’t deserve consideration when designing and building a new handgun. I have become a reasonably good pistol smith by making handguns ambidextrous.

    Reply

    • Gunwrites

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      Jason Adams, They say left-handed people are the only ones in their right mind!

      Reply

  • Tim

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    To say that this is one of the best built 10mm 1911s ever seems to be quite a stretch and the claim is backed up by no data whatsoever. I’ve got a Dan Wesson and a Kimber that I’d put up against this gun any day of the week.

    Reply

    • Vic vapor

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      I think at the price point of this firearm vs the ones you mentioned, I think you made the author’s point

      Reply

    • Tim

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      Vic, read the article again. He didn’t qualify his statement based on “price point”. He merely stated it was arguably one of the best 10mm 1911s ever built to his statement, not yours, I take exception.

      Reply

    • Bob

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      Ruger has a well earned reputation for building touch reliable firearms.

      Bull barrel, new plunger design – and plunger tubes worked loose in older 1911s at high round count-adjustable sights- this is a great handguns at a fair price.

      Reply

    • Vic vapor

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      the author really liked the way the Ruger is built… you really like the way some more expensive firearms are built… the Ruger is several hundred dollars less expensive… for most people, this is a hmmm moment of comparison. You discount the article because the author didn’t state specifically enough for you. You then brought it to his attention your more expensive units were as equal as the Ruger. Not sure what to tell you Tim. It’s kinda like when the Corvette test sets a tremendous track time. Somebody always chimes in their Porche does it a tenth quicker… forgetting to add it cost 40 g’s more.

      Reply

  • Bugsy

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    Great review. The 10mm seems be the forgotten caliber that will not go away. A 5″ 10mm has been on my wish-list for years. It would be great if someone would start producing a compact 1911, as small as possible (maybe 3-1/2″ or 4″) with a shortened mainspring housing yet still retain the bushing for us “older” 1911 people.

    Sure there is a Glock, and yes this is a round that needs training and we all know there a .40 but I think that this an area of the 10mm market that has long been forgotten.

    To clarify, I am a 1911 of 35 years because most of the plastic guns and double-stacks are too big for my hands and after 35 years of carry the 1911 has become second nature, shortcomings and all.

    Reply

  • David Harley

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    I love the power and versatility of the 10mm and the reloading options are very useful and a lot of fun! My favorite pistol for this caliber is the Glock model 40 long slide although I have been warned against non jacketed rounds. Anyone know if the double tap or buffalo bore hard cast are ok in the polygonal rifling? Thanks!

    Reply

    • joecz2017

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      I have a Glock 20 and shoot buffalo bore thru it. No issues whatsoever.

      Reply

    • Bob Campbell

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      Glock 20 is the single most accurate Glock I have ever fired.

      A great choice.

      Reply

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