Ruger has expanded its line of 1911 handguns considerably since the introduction of the original SR1911 a few years ago. There is a steel frame Commander version, lightweight Commander .45, and now an SR1911 9mm Commander. These handguns have proven to be reliable, accurate, and a good value. They are service grade and deserve the attention of anyone interested in a quality 1911 handgun.
The good features of the 1911 include a low bore axis, straight to the rear trigger compression, grip frame that fits most hands well, and the hard hitting .45 ACP cartridge. The Ruger SR1911 is well made of good material. I like the tight slide to frame fit and attention to detail. The barrel is well fitted. When a barrel has slop in its fitting, the firing experience isn’t all it could be and accuracy suffers as well. A well-fitted barrel and barrel bushing reduces the pistol’s clunky feel when cycling. Good fitting reduces the tendency to eccentric wear.
Ruger has introduced a 1911 with a light rail in the SR1911R version. The Ruger SR1911R wears Novak Lo Mount sights. It doesn’t get any better for combat sights with an excellent sight picture and low snag profile for concealed carry. The SR1911R features a properly fitted slide lock safety. Operation is crisp and the indent positive.
The custom-grade grip safety features a memory groove paddle. This benefits those that use the thumbs forward grip that sometimes allow the palm to rise from the grip safety when firing. The grip safety releases its hold on the trigger about halfway into compression. If the grip is relaxed, the pistol will not fire. The trigger action is crisp and smooth with little take up and no creep.
The slide lock and magazine release operate properly. Overall, the pistol exhibits good fit and finish. The dark coating is non reflective and well suited to a modern service pistol. This black nitride finish offers a low-key appearance compared to stainless steel handguns.
The SR1911R is a rail gun affording shooters the option of mounting a combat light. For home defense and other qualified users, the light is a great option. The pistol is supplied with two Ruger magazines. These magazines are well made and functional. Each is stamped with the Ruger logo.
I supplemented these magazines with 8-round units from MecGar during the firing test. In short, the SR1911R is a modern handgun with credible improvement over early 1911 handguns. The handgun is also based on one of the most capable handguns of all time, the Government Model 1911 .45.
To begin the evaluation, I first lubricated the pistol along the long bearing surfaces. Next, I loaded the magazines with the American Eagle 230-grain FMJ, an affordable clean burning practice load. I holstered the piece in my DM Bullard Chocolate Elephant skin IWB holster, drew and fired at man-sized targets at 5, 7, and 10 yards.
The low bore axis and straight to the rear trigger compression provided good results along with the Novak Lo Mount sights. With limited muzzle flip, the pistol is controllable in fast pairs. Firing a number of drills including the Bill Drill, firing six shots as quickly as possible at seven yards; the Ruger gave good results.
The sights are properly regulated for the six o’clock hold with 230-grain ammunition. The Ruger SR1911R is a formidable defensive handgun, whether carried concealed or for home defense. I often carry a steel frame 1911 when weather and clothing permit—the Ruger SR1911R is a credible choice. There is no more effective defensive handgun for those that practice.
I tested the Ruger further with a standard ‘outdoors load’ I carry in the field. This consists of a Hornady 230-grain XTP over a stiff charge of Unique for 920 fps. Recoil is strong, but the load is accurate, hits hard, and has long legs for long-range use. The balance of expansion and penetration are excellent.
I fired the pistol at small targets at known and unknown range from 20 to 100 yards with excellent results. This builds skill and familiarity more than paper punching. Naturally, the Ruger performed well.
I also fired the pistol from a solid bench rest at a long 25 yards to test accuracy. The SIG Sauer 200-grain JHP is an accurate, hard hitting loading that gives good accuracy in .45 ACP handguns. The Ruger functioned well with this load and gave the single best accuracy testing of the firing session.
I also fired the Gorilla Ammunition 230-grain JHP FBI specification loading. This load meets or exceeds FBI specifications for penetration and expansion. Results were good to excellent with this load exhibiting good accuracy.
Accuracy Results, 25 yards, Five-shot Groups
|SIG Sauer Elite 200-grain V Crown JHP||2.5 inches|
|Gorilla Ammunition 230-grain JHP FBI||2.8 inches|
|Federal American Eagle 230-grain FMJ||3.0 inches|
|Hornady 185-grain||XTP/WW231 Powder||890 fps||2.6 inches|
|Hornady 230-grain||XTP/Unique Powder||920 fps||2.85 inches|
After firing some 400 cartridges over the course of two weeks, I found the Ruger SR1911R reliable, accurate, and fast handling. The results show the pistol is reliable and accurate enough to bet your life on. The Ruger SR1911R is well worth its price.
With a combination like Ruger and a 1911, it is hard to go wrong. Do you own or carry a Ruger 1911? What recommendations would you share with other readers? Share your answers in the comment section.
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 Shooters 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.
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