Those who collect certain handguns seem to have different personalities. The Glock man may be practical. He owns a hideout Glock, a full-size pistol, and perhaps a spare. SIG folks appreciate fit and finish, but a half-dozen pistols satisfy their needs. Both will appreciate the Ruger SR1911.
The 1911 man will own as many pistols as he can afford. It has been a long time since I purchased a 1911 I needed. A shooter who gets the 1911 bug may own a cheap 1911, several middle-of-the-road guns, and a top-end pistol or two. He is convinced he needs them all.
I appreciate the 1911 and demand a lot from individual handguns. I know what a properly setup pistol is capable of. The Ruger SR1911 is among the best 1911 handguns out of the box and is all of the gun many shooters need. The pistol wasn’t introduced all that long ago, but has earned a solid reputation as a working man’s 1911.
Ruger is known to be a good value for the money. The P89-type pistols are reliable and accurate, but very clunky. When Ruger introduced the SR1911, it had a relatively slim, ergonomic, and effective firearm that was based on proven principles.
All Ruger had to do was pursue quality of manufacture. If anyone thinks Ruger cannot make a stylish gun, the SR1911 puts a lie to that statement.
Ruger introduced the SR1911 as a brushed stainless hard-use 1911. The grip safety, slide lock, thumb safety and grip safety are nicely contrasted in black. The pistol features checkered grips with the Ruger emblem.
While there are a number of variations, the pistol illustrated is the popular five-inch barrel Government Model steel frame .45 ACP. There are also Commander and Officer’s Model pistols with excellent performance.
Ruger SR1911 Government Model
The appearance of the SR1911 is flawless. The machine work is flawless. The stainless steel slide and frame are well fitted. As the slide is racked, the locking lugs run smoothly out of lockup, and the pistol locks solidly again as the slide comes to rest.
The pistol features a slightly extended thumb safety and a modern beavertail-type grip safety. Trigger compression is a tight and smooth at 5.1 pounds. The beavertail safety funnels the hand into the grip as the handle is grasped. The grip safety — when depressed properly — releases its hold on the trigger about halfway into the grip safety’s travel.
The checkered mainspring housing helps the shooter keep a firm grip on the handgun. The slide is a forged unit, while the frame is cast. I have no problems with cast parts. Ruger revolvers are cast. These revolvers are easily the strongest modern revolver. Perhaps, they are the strongest revolvers ever made.
The barrel is a standard five-inch long 1911 .45 ACP barrel. The two halves of the feed ramp — one on the barrel and one on the frame — are nicely polished. There is the requisite 1/32-inch gap between the two halves to ensure proper feed reliability.
The extractor features a tight tension on the cartridge case when in battery. Feed, extraction, and ejection are positive, with spent cases ending up in a neat pile about 11 feet to the right. The barrel bushing is nicely fitted. The fit of the bushing to the barrel is snug, but not so tight it cannot be fieldstripped by hand.
With the original 1911 design, and almost every modern pistol, the plunger tube is a separate staked-on part. This is the tube that holds the tension spring that provides tension to control the slide lock and thumb safety. I have seen a number of loose and broken plunger tubes over the years. They are not easy to replace and re-stake.
The Ruger features a design change in which the plunger tube is part of the frame. This is a big advantage.
Drop Safety Solution
An important issue with any handgun is drop safety. Once the SIG P-series introduced a positive firing-pin block, many makers rushed to redesign their handguns. The 1911’s firing pin is the inertia type.
When the hammer strikes the firing pin, the firing pin runs forward, and strikes the cartridge primer. The firing-pin spring then withdraws the firing pin to its original resting position.
The problem with a free-floating firing pin would be a case where the pistol was dropped dead on the muzzle from a sufficient height. The firing pin may take a run forward, reach the cartridge primer, and fire the pistol. Colt introduced the Series 80 firing-pin block to counter this problem.
The firing-pin block keeps the firing pin locked in place until the trigger is fully pressed to the rear. Some feel the firing-pin block is an unnecessary complication. Ruger has solved this problem in a neat way.
Ruger uses a lightweight titanium firing pin. This lightweight firing pin is far less likely to run forward should the pistol be dropped. In addition, the firing-pin spring is an extra-strength design.
The pistol features Novak fixed sights. The rear sight may be adjusted for windage. A set screw holds the rear sight in place. Loosen the screw and bump the sight to adjust the windage. Novak sights are the standard by which all other handgun sights are judged.
The rear sight is angled to prevent snagging the sight on clothing as the pistol is drawn. The combination of a square rear notch and post front sight makes for an excellent all-around combination.
Test Firing the SR1911
All of my examinations added to up to confirm the pistol’s quality of manufacture. However, the real test is firing the pistol. The pistol was taken to the range with a good mix of .45 ACP loads from Federal, Remington, Winchester, and Fiocchi.
The pistol was lubricated on its long bearing surfaces, barrel hood, barrel bushing, and locking block. Wilson Combat and Ruger magazines were loaded with 230-grain ball ammo.
Drawing quickly from a custom leather holster, produced excellent results. There is no pistol faster to an accurate first shot hit than the full-size 1911. The pistol comes on target quickly. The sights line up quickly, and the trigger is smooth. Firing at seven and 10 yards, the pistol proved fast on target.
It was easy to get solid center hits. Fire, allow the pistol to recoil as you control the handgun, get it back on target, and fire again. The Ruger SR1911 is an impressive combat pistol.
Firing from a MTM Case-Gard K-Zone shooting rest at a long 25 yards, I fired several groups with three types of 230-grain FMJ ammunition. The Ruger may be counted on for 2.5-inch groups at 25 yards. With quality ammunition, some groups will be smaller.
The single most accurate loading tested was the Fiocchi 200-grain XTP with a 2.0-inch group. The Ruger SR1911 is well made of good material, and is reliable and accurate enough for all but the most demanding competition.
The Ruger SR1911 is among the best buys in the 1911 world.