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)

  • Don

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    Kudos to Ruger for using a Series 70 type action in this gun. It shows they are serious about their 1911’s.

    Reply

  • Greywolf

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    Mate that frame to the Commander slide and you get a real fine carry piece. A Springfield Compact .45 as described has been my Baby for many years now. Wonderful hand gun!

    Baby doesn’t say much. But when Baby speaks, everyone listens…

    Reply

  • Gunwrites

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    I guess if you have to ask, “How much”, you cannot afford it?

    Reply

  • Barry

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    I have owned a Ruger SR1911 Officer since they first came out. Love it at the range but a little heavy to carry 8-10 hours. I currently carry my wife’s Sig 1911 compact. If Ruger puts out this new beauty in 45ACP I may have to buy another (of course) handgun.

    Reply

  • Sam

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    I favor the 1911 platform and have several pistols that are of this type. My on-duty piece was a customized Colt 1911 .45, which was (and still is) a great shooter and saw a lot of use back in the day. My current carry piece is a customized and more compact all stainless Colt Officer’s Model .45 with 8-round stainless Chip McCormick magazines, which is also a great shooter. I like the 1911 platform so much that my backup piece is the Sig P938 9mm (occasionally alternating with a Kimber K6s .357 magnum). I also have a 10mm and a .40 in the 1911 platform, plus other calibers in the 1911 platform.

    It has been my experience that Ruger tends to make good quality, sturdy, accurate, and reasonably priced revolvers (I know, I have several), but when it comes to pistols I tend to prefer Colt 1911, specifically in .45 ACP, and in 9mm tend to prefer Browning Hi-Power. The great John M. Browning really knew his stuff, to say the least.

    Reply

  • Robert S. Stack

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    Dave: I know what I saw and, of course, when I just went back to see if I could find it again and then print it, no such luck but, again, when that gun was originally displayed in the upper right-hand corner of the first page right above that Winchester 9mm ammo, it was not flush with whatever that is behind it but slanted out at about a 30 degree to 45 degree angle from the backing and I immediately saw that there was no barrel hole in evidence but just a flat piece of, presumably, metal which was the same color as the whole slide and I thought, that’s really weird looking, so made notice of it in your comments column. I then scrolled down through the article and when I got to the bottom, I saw the same exact, but smaller, picture displaying it the very same way, i.e., without a barrel hole and then wrote my original note.
    I’m not losing any sleep over this anomaly but I know exactly what I saw and you can take that to the bank!
    Now I have to get back on my flying saucer and get the hell outta here because you Earthlings are nothing but a bunch of “Doubting Thomases”!!!
    Beam us up, Scotty!

    Reply

    • Dave Dolbee

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      The proof the intelligent life exists beyond earth is the fact that they have made contact with us silly earthlings – Have a good flight!

      Reply

  • Robert S. Stack

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    “H”: That’s definitely NOT the same picture that was posted before both at the very top of the page and at an angle so that you could see the whole front of the area where the muzzle was SUPPOSED TO BE SEEN, but wasn’t, and then again in the lower right-hand corner below the author’s picture so the only thing that I can think of is that Cheaper Than Dirt took them both down and replaced them with the broadside of the same gun, the sneaky buggers!
    Kinda makes me wish that I had made a copy of it now so as not to be thought of as a “blind, old fool” or something less complimentary, LOL.

    Reply

    • Dave Dolbee

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      I am not sure what you saw, but I have not changed any of the photos—although I would be otherwise honored to be called a sneaky bugger! ~Dave Dolbee

      Reply

  • Mike

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    I have owned a real Colt Officer Model .45 since they were made in the ’80’s. I always thought it was a shame that it was no longer made. It is an excellent pistol, highly accurate, and just as small as the current subcompact .45’s on the market. And it is chambered for a real cartridge. I agree with the above comment. If they decide to make it in .45 shooters should give it a serious look.

    Reply

  • Robert S. Stack

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    I don’t know if it’s me (my old eyes) or something else but that very first picture of the Ruger Auto something (9mm) above the box of the Winchester PDX1 Defender 9mm Luger +P ammo at the top of this article DOESN’T seem to have a hole (read barrel muzzle here) in it below the front sight so I hope Bob Campbell doesn’t shoot that gun as things just might get a little “dicey” for him if that’s the case, LOL!

    Reply

    • H

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      Robert, you might want to get the ‘Ol Mark 1, Mod 0 eyeballs checked, Pardner.
      Or at least zoom in on the photo a bit as I did.
      There IS just the tiniest sliver of a barrel protruding out the front of the slide, not to mention there is a hunk-O-black barrel hood safely parked in the ejection port instead of being wide open, not to mention the other photos show an, obviously, open barrel.
      But your comment DID have me headed back up to the beginning to verify WTH was going on. LOL
      Shoot Safe, Shoot Straight, Hit Your Target.
      Overnout for now.

      Reply

  • John1943

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    I almost put this pistol on my “must have” list to pair with my full sized S&W Scandium framed 1911. Then I reached the “chambered in 9mm.” Sorry, but with no offense intended to 9 mm fans, I would rather power my 1911’s with .45 ACP magazines, of which I have quite a few.

    Maybe they will add a .45 version, but in the meantime . . .

    Reply

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