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)

  • Sam

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    The 10mm Auto is an awesome round – especially the original Norma rounds – own and fired several pistols in 10mm. The 1911 is a great platform – own and fired several (and carrried – and used on occasion) a 1911 on duty for many years (in .45 ACP). Like the 1911 platform so much switched my backup piece to the little Sig P938 (with 8 rounds of 9mm + P) from my 6-round .357 Kimber. Also own several Rugers and they have all been good quality, very accurate, and quite reasonably priced – even have a Ruger revolver in 10mm. I think too much is made of recoil. For 10mm it gets down to the proper design of the pistol, and the best I’ve ever fired is the Bren Ten – no more reciol than the 1911 in .45 ACP. Plus, you don’t even notice recoil in the heat of battle, and can even be a little reassuring knowing you’ve got that much power in your hand when you need it.

    Reply

  • Howard Worrell

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    I missed the magazine capacity somewhere.I guess I can look it up… Is it still limited to the single stack? That’s a big grip to not fit more rounds inside…

    Reply

    • Bob Campbell

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      I have carried the 6 shot .357 and the 8 shot .45 auto for many years.
      The Ruger holds 9 round total of 10mm
      the 10mm 1911 has the same small grip that fits most hands well, compared to the high capacity pistols that stretch most hands.
      It all depends on how often you are planning on missing. My mantra is that the only shot that is important is the one I am firing right now and it needs to be a hit.

      Reply

    • Bob Clevenger

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      Of course 6,7,or 8 rounds may be plenty fot any given armed encounter, and yes, shot placement is critical — but — ammo is just like firearms in general, it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
      Everybody’s hands are different. Mine are medium-sized but with fairly long fingers. I dind single-stack pistols to have grips that are way too narrow for comfort. The most comfortable grip I have ever felt on a pistol is on the CZ-75 and clones. I actually feel like I have a good grip on the pistol and the larger contact area spreads the recoil out across more of my hand rather than pushing it all against the web between my thumb and forefinger. But that;s just my hand. Other folks have different hands.

      Reply

  • Dave

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    I enjoyed the write up and I prefer Ruger anyway but, it’s still just another .40 cal. Either way. Now make it a 10mm special or even a magnum… Now you’re on to something new and interesting. If it can be done I’m sure Ruger will be the “Doers”, so to speak. As of now, if I need another 1911, it’ll be .45 ACP. It’s tried and true.

    Reply

    • RKC

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      I don’t understand your comment.
      The 10mm has 200 fps on the .40 SW

      I suppose the downladed 10mm would be the 10mm Special

      Reply

    • Darrell G

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      Or the 10mm Kurz? Lol…

      Reply

    • davzway

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      Original LOADS for 10mm from NORMA, 200gr FMJ @1,250fps, and their 170gr JHP @ 1440fps, and 165gr JHP loafing along trying for 1600fps,, (Norma specs verified on PACT chronograph, with personal handloads clocking at 180gr Hornady XTP @ 1,350fps, (NOT quite max but you have brass life) , FIRING these loads from 1911 is REACHING 41mag specs FOR REAL, and doing so in 9-shot 1911 single stack pistol is pretty good deal. Want more go for Glock 20 with extension on mag for 17-rounds without mag change, 18 rounds if you start ONE UP.

      CURRENT load data for 10mm has been REDUCED from original Norma load data (have copy of ALL Norma load data with variety of bullet weight, using Accurate No 7 powder) Yeah favorite all round gun, Detonics 45 in old day, currently Kimber 3″ , always in 45acp.

      SERIOUSLY NEED SELF DEFENSE, GLOCK 20 GETS THE NOD, COMING OUT OF DRAWER WHERE IT NORMALLY RESTS.

      CANNOT GET IT DONE IN 9, OR 18, OR 5 (carry Kahr with five rounds 45acp is NOT risky, or undergunned. JAHOWEHO

      Reply

    • Jeremy Solano

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      Dude if u think a 10 mm in just a 40 cal ur sadly mistaken do ur homework the 10 mm is the cream of the crop it kicks hard but has stopping power like no other ! Although my guns are mostly glock I love my ruger p90 D.C. And wish they would bring them back it is my every day carry! I say this cuz I own everything glock makes 10 mm /45 /45gap /357sig/40/9mm and once again 10 mm is hard hitting like no other I’m on my way to my gun shop looking for this new ruger 10 mm

      Reply

  • Firewagon

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    I am a devoted Ruger fan! Have several, as in a half dozen or more. That said, this may suit 1911 ‘pistoleros’ that think to hunt with a semi-auto pistol. Personally, if I want to hunt with a handgun that cruises past the 40 oz line on the weight scale, I’ll stay w/Ruger 44 mag in Blackhawk or Redhawk variety! As a defense gun? Absolutely, as long as u don’t think u are going to want to pack this much ‘iron’ all day into the night! Possible home defense until you can round up your shotgun. Remember I said I love Ruger, & have since the ’60’s! Glock, however, is the only game in 10mm for concealed carry w/their G29 – approx 27 oz v/s 40+ – 6-3/4″ v/s 10″+ – 4-1/2″ high v/s no comparison. More benefits include having 26 rounds on tap with just ONE extra mag. When carrying in public, I like to have the 10 rd mag in the gun w/one in the pipe=11 – the other 15 are in a G20 mag w/spacer in reserve, just in case I run into those walking dead things! Accuracy w/stock <4" bbl using Buffalo Bore type ammo, 1250 fps, 180 Speer GDHP, is consistently.75"-1" @25 from a sandbag rest! I carry it all day, every day, in a Crossbreed holster.

    Reply

  • James Lawrie

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    I’ve had a Glock 20 for several years and use 165g loads for range and carrying in the woods, I owned a S&W .41 Mag back in the 80’s and 10mm is just as good if not better. The Glock is thick for my hands, but a 1911 Frame would be a good fit. I too will be looking to purchase the Ruger down the Road. It’s funny I bought it as an after thought when I bought my other Glocks (19 and 22) neither of which hit where aimed, but the 20 in 10mm was dead on out of box at 25 yards.

    Reply

  • MacII

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    Bob,

    Another very well done article. I acquired a Ruger when they first arrived in town and added it to my stable of 10mm. It joined a Glock 29, a Glock 20, an EAA Witness all steel compact, an EAA Witness Match Elite, and a Rock Island Tac FS2.
    For some years the Glock 29 was my daily carry. Now my daily carry is either the Glock 29 or the EAA Witness all steel compact. Both have about the same magazine capacity and accept longer magazines from a big brother as spare carries. All shoot acceptably well. I sent the Witness compact to a gun smith recommended by Hennings Walgren and he milled off the made in the frame front sight and added Tru Glo TFX sights, comparable to the sights added to my Glock 29.
    But, the Ruger now joins the Rock Island and the Witness Elite Match as the most accurate, out of the box, pistols I own. The Ruger delivers, for me, much the same accuracy you experience. Ruger also solved another problem common to my Rock Island bull barrel. Releasing the recoil spring on that pistol to clean the full length guide rod requires you to pay attention and use your strength to avoid holes in the wallboard. Ruger solved the problem by using one part reversed to compress the spring for pinning after it has been removed to clean the guide rod. Great idea.
    Quite frankly, i do not accept the idea that the recoil is more than any man can handle. In my view, far too much is made of recoil as if it is a perennial topic to give writers something to comment about. My 120 pound 75 year old wife shoots all my 10mm pistols. Her view is that I cannot have a pistol she cannot shoot. My response was put on your big girl pants and step up. She did. It took her a whle to realize that because the gun moves back sharply in her hand, it is really no big deal if she grasps and holds it properly. After all, it is not going to break her hand, arm, leg or skull. Yes, it is going to recoil smartly but so what? it will not kill you and can’t cook you and eat you, so she has said to one of our sons shut up or quit shooting it.
    It may suprise a new and inexperienced shooter but really should not intimidate or scare an experienced shooter who uses good technique. Don’t misunderstand, i am no fan of recoil or any other fan of self flaguation. I sold my Ruger M77 .458 Win Mag shortly after buying it. Same with my short barreled Smith & Wesson model 29 .44 Mag. they were just not fun to shoot. But, the 10mm in any of my pistols is nothing like the .44 Mag, or the .454 Casul I took brown bear hunting — fortunately for me I had no luck that trip.
    I reallly think that the recoil issue is overblown. When did we become such a nation of wimps where our every whim must be catered to and any degree of discomfort avoided at all costs in every case. Life is just not like that. It has moments of discomfort, pain and sorrow and that is just the way it is. Live with it and quit whining, or stop doing it and quit whining. If my little old wife can do it than anyone can do it — but, you are going to feel the recoil. So what? What’s the big deal?
    In any event, the Ruger is excellent, even if it is single stack, in my opinion.

    Reply

    • davzway

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      EVERYTHING SAID IS 100%, MY SON’S AT AGE 14 OR SO, SHOT IT ALL FROM 44mag TO 10mm TO 44 Auto Mag, TO 454 Casull (NOT MANY, NOT MUCH FUN WITH 4-3/4″ EVEN MAGNAPORT WITH ORIGINAL FREEDOM ARMS AMMO AND LOADS. MAGNAPORT CUTS MIN 1/3 OF RECOIL TO HALF ON 44MAG SHORT BARRELS.

      ADD SCANDIUM S&W 4″ in 44MAG TO NEAR HOPELESS. FIRED 12 ROUNDS (no ports) FOR FRIEND WHO WANTED SOMEONE ELSE TO TEST,, TOLD HIM TO MAGNAPORT, DONE IT’S MANAGEABLE BUT NOT FOR BEGINNER OR LOTS AND LOTS OF SHOOTING. PAST RECOIL GLOVE HELPS, BUT THIS REVIEW WORE HOLE IN GLOVE AND BLEEDING AFTER ONE SESSION USING 454 CASULL.

      SOME ARE NO FUN. AMERICAN DERRINGER , GREAT GUN, BUT IN 10mm, WITH STRONG HAND AND FINGERS, ALL THAT COULD BE DONE TO KEEP HAMMER FROM BURYING ITSELF IN TOP OF HAND.

      Reply

  • Harry R

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    10MM is my favorite pistol round and I own many 10MM pistols, some costing over twice what I paid for the Ruger. After firing many rounds in the 155 and 180 gr. area- all loads capable of being used for hunting, meaning 1300fps +, the Ruger was stellar in the accuracy and reliability department. I test accuracy at 50 yds., hunting distance, and the Ruger has to be in the top 3 in that category, going up against a couple longslides as well. Trigger broke at a little under 5 lbs. but was very gritty. Installed new sear spring, disconnector and match grade sear. Trigger broke at 4lb. 2oz and broke real clean and crisp- no gritty feel. Haven’t shot gun since new parts but assume accuracy may be better. Recoil was not as harsh as expected with casings landing 10-15 ft away. The Ruger SR1911 10mm is a bargain, believe me.

    Reply

  • Tim Ferrall

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    I have two 10mm pistols. One is a stock Kimber Eclipse II, the other one a modified Glock 20. Both shoot very well, and I find the recoil very manageable. The Kimber required aftermarket magazines and extensive break in before the reliability became acceptable. The Glock ran well right out of the box, but I went to an extended KKM barrel and a reflex red dot sight. With a healthy dose of Blue Dot under a 200 grain Nosler JHP, I get 10 shot ragged hole groups at 10 yards. I cannot get the Ruger in California, but the 10mms I have serve me will. The Glock will be in a chest holster when I go to Alaska after brown bear. It is a great cartridge, and will do whatever I choose to do with it.

    Reply

    • davzway

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      Agree on BOTH guns, in all the many thousands of 10mm shot since ’80s, would suggest Norma 200fMj for start and back up with JHP if in Alaska, the 200FMJ Norma runs at 1,250fps, punches HOLES and stays together.
      Try Accurate No 7 powder, original Norma powder and never found powder that was better (tried). “RUGER in 10mm, don’t need and cannot afford ANOTHER gun, but oh Boy.

      Reply

  • Kevin Kearce

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    Love my 10mm. Underwood also manufacturers so excellent 10mm.

    Reply

    • Cody Smith

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      +1 for underwood ammo

      Reply

  • Gunwrites

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    Among my many 1911 platform pistols are 2 Ruger SR1911 LightWeight Commanders(.45ACP & 9mm). Definitely don’t need yet another caliber to reload but this may be moving up the future acquisition ladder to a top spot.(pistol category)

    Reply

    • Bob Campbell

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      Thanks for reading1
      My friend when is the last time we bought something we needed? I am glad we can buy what we want!
      It has been a long long time. I have 1911s as well and I really enjoy this handgun. The 10mm is one awesome number!

      Best

      Bob

      Reply

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