Range Report: Ruger SR1911 Officers Model

By Bob Campbell published on in Firearms, Range Reports

A few years ago, Ruger introduced a well made and nicely finished Government Model 1911 .45 ACP. The SR1911 has earned a reputation as an excellent value for its modest price. But Ruger did not stop there.

Winchester PDX1 Defender ammunition

Winchester PDX +P loads provide excellent protection.

A few years later, Ruger introduced a Commander version. The standard Commander type—as currently manufactured by more than one maker—features a .75-inch shorter barrel than the 5-inch Government Model. The 4.25-inch barrel uses a standard barrel bushing. The frame is the same size as the Government Model. This all steel handgun handles well and clears leather faster than the Government Model.

The Lightweight (LW) Commander is a Commander length 1911 with an aluminum frame. This results in a considerable weight savings. A LW Commander weighs 28 ounces versus 40 ounces for the Government Model. Each of these variants uses a standard seven- or eight-round 1911 magazine.

The Officer’s Model is an even shorter variant. This pistol features a 3.6 inch barrel and a shortened grip frame. The Officers Model is a truly compact 1911 pistol. Due to the short slide and differences in geometry, the barrel must tilt at a more severe angle. The result is the barrel bushing is eliminated and the barrel is a bull type that butts into the frame for lockup. This design often results in excellent accuracy.

Ruger 1911 pistol with the a box of Winchester USA ammunition

Winchester Ammunition provided the horsepower for this test.

The original Officer’s Model was developed for use by General Officers in the United States Army. Colt introduced commercial versions to compete with compact pistols such as the Star PD—an excellent design. Ruger’s offering is chambered in 9mm Luger, banking on the immense popularity of the cartridge.

The new Officers Model 9mm SR1911 is an attractive handgun. The slide is satin finished nickel. The slide features Novak combat sights with a three dot outline. The slide lock, safety, magazine release, and beavertail safety are finished in black. The cocking serrations are the same unique slanted style used with the Ruger Commander.

The bushingless barrel is well fitted to the slide. A reverse plug caps off the recoil spring. The pistol features a stylish stepped slide that looks similar to the Browning P35, but it isn’t quite as sharply shouldered. The pistol doesn’t have a firing pin block or drop safety. Instead, it relies on a lightweight titanium firing pin and extra power siring pin spring for drop safety.

The frame is a dark gray hard anodized. The contrast with the slide is pleasing to the eye. The grips are among the best designed and feeling grips I have seen on a 1911. They are G10 material engraved with the Ruger logo. These thin grips allow the SR1911 Officers Model to maintain a low profile. I like the custom grade extended beavertail. This beavertail safety properly releases its hold on the trigger half way into trigger compression.

Five-Shot Groups | Three-Group Average | 15 Yards

Winchester 115-grain FMJ 2.0 inches
Winchester 124-grain PDX +P 1.7 inches
Winchester Silvertip 115-grain JHP 1.8 inches

The pistol is delivered with two, well-designed and well-finished magazines. Trigger compression is a crisp 5.0 pounds without any rough spots or creep and modest take-up.

I lubricated the pistol over the long bearing surfaces before testing the Ruger Officers Model. During the initial work, I used a goodly amount of Winchester USA 115-grain FMJ ammunition. To test cycle reliability I also used the Winchester Defender 147-grain JHP loads. These loads have proven accurate and clean burning in a number of 9mm handguns. The Ruger 9mm was no exception.

I fired a box of each bullet weight without a single failure to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. There were no break-in malfunctions or short cycles. After this initial 150 rounds, I switched to the Winchester 124-grain PDX +P. This load demonstrates 1,200 fps in most pistols and just slightly less in the 3.6-inch barrel Officer’s Model.

Man shooting a Ruger SR1911 pistol with two spent cartridges in the air

The Ruger proved controllable and accurate.

This load offers excellent wound ballistics. This is a credible loading with good expansion and penetration. I fired these loads in rapid fire and the Ruger 9mm proved controllable, with well-centered groups at 7, 10, and 15 yards.

I field stripped and cleaned the pistol after the initial 260 rounds. There were no signs of eccentric wear. The pistol was lubricated along the long bearing surfaces. I returned to the range a few days later. To broaden the test I added a number of handloads using hard cast lead bullets.

If the pistol isnt reliable with cast lead bullets it may not have a place in my scheme of things. I also fired a number of Winchester’s 115-grain Silvertip. This is a popular load that demonstrates good wound potential. I elected to fire the piece for accuracy rom a solid bench rest. I fired at 15 yards in deference to the Ruger’s short barrel and sight radius. Accuracy was excellent as noted in the table below.

The 9mm 1911 Officer’s Model makes a lot of sense. This is a reliable, accurate, and controllable handgun. It is light enough for constant carry but heavy enough to control recoil. It rides close to the body but maintains a good firing grip.

Sturm Ruger & Co. SR1911 Officers Model
Caliber: 9mm Luger
Action: Recoil-operated, hammer-fired, semi-automatic centerfire pistol
Frame: Aluminum alloy
Slide: Stainless steel
Barrel: 3.6 inches
Magazine: 8 rounds
Sights: Dovetailed three-dot configuration, drift adjustable
Weight: 27.2 ounces
Height: 5 inches
Overall Length: 7.25 inches

I have carried my example with the Jeffrey Custom Leather EZ Carry for some weeks. This holster is a great inside the waistband holster but also offers the option of carrying the holster between the belt and the trousers. It is rigid enough for such use. This is a good kit, and the Ruger Officers Model is among the best carry guns to cross my desk in some time.

Which size 1911 do you prefer, Government, Commander, Officers? Are there any special upgrades or modifications you would recommend? 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 (22)

  • Lew

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    How about a “bobtail”, “round butt” etc.?

    Reply

  • Gary Burns

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    They do have it in 45 and interestingly the Ruger Website says both the 9 and 45 magazines are Seven plus one capacity. Like someone else said I use CMC 8 round magazine (Mine have a X-Grip pinky extension) I use a “GI” version of a Rock Island Armory Officer’s Model 45 with 3.5″ barrel. (I love mine) I was a early adopter of a Ruger 5″ 1911 in 45. Those are my only 1911’s, I gave a Para 14-45 to my son. I came to 1911’s mainly to see what all the hoopla was about. I am sorely tempted to add a Ruger Officer’s Model in 45

    Reply

  • Bob Stack

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    And, of course, in just looking it it again, it reverted to the same old picture of it flat against the background so I’m just not not going to waste any more time on this obvious anomaly but I ABSOLUTELY KNOW WHAT I’VE SEEN MORE THAN ONCE in the “Comments” section of your advertisements for this specific Ruger pistol!!!
    Thanks, Bob Stack

    Reply

  • Bob Stack

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    Dave Dolbee: There’s that Ruger once again with NO barrel hole showing in front but just a flat piece of silver colored steel!
    Bob Stack

    Reply

    • RKC

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      Sir,
      With all respect you are making a spectacle of yourself. I took the original image and I assure you it was a functioning handgun the only one I have ever owned. In any case of what import is this? The illustration is clearly a 9mm Ruger and what possible reason would we have to illustrate anything else? Please use the logic ladder and perhaps pray and meditate as well.

      Reply

  • Texsa

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    My carry gun is a Colt Combat Officers Model pistol. It no longer available from Colt, but essentially is the Commander frame with an officers slide and barrel, so it takes regular .45 magazines with their greater capacity.

    Reply

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