Review: Ruger's new SR1911 .45 ACP

This has been the “year of the 1911”: rightfully so considering John Browning's 1911 (a.k.a. the Colt .45) has been the definition of the United States service pistol from WWI to Vietnam, from 1911 to 1985 as the standard-issue sidearm of the United States. The U.S. procured over 2.7 million units during that time. It is still in wide-spread use today in military, LE, and as self-defense applications, and was designated as the “official firearm of Utah” on March 18, 1911.

The pricing for 1911s has historically run from mild to wild. One of the most truly pathetic examples I've ever spent any unholy time with was an example by Llama. To refer to the Llama example I used as junk would be insulting to junk, as some junk just isn't nearly that bad. Of course we have had all kinds of “improved models” as well, and like many things improvements can ruin a really good thing. A compromise in reliability is no improvement at all in a handgun no matter how much the improvement costs. Ed Brown, and Les Baer. Currently, the Ed Brown Classic Custom is as good as any I've seen, just dripping with quality and handfitting. It currently goes for over $3K though, but there are far pricier custom 1911's out there. Several highly-regarded Ed Brown Special Forces models run around $2300. Many other brands are sorely over-rated, as once you have had enough birthdays you well understand that more dollars spent does not guarantee anything except more dollars spent.

It is a crowded field right now, with a dozen companies claiming to be “the finest” and using bogus terms like “match grade” to obfuscate what they offer. Some of the allegedly match grade stuff might mean only that after a little quality time, you might want to take a match to it. So it goes.

The review of this Ruger 1911 almost didn't happen. The leading pro shop in this area is Mega-Sports, and when I can . . . I support my local dealer. If we don't do that, there is no reason to expect local dealers, much less quality independent pro shops. The group at Mega-Sports in Plainfield, Illinois was excited about the Ruger SR1911 to say the least. They were ecstatic about the looks, the build quality, the reliability, the accuracy, the trigger, and the price. Okay, so, it was time to find out for myself. Here are the basic specs of the SR1911.

Catalog Number: SR1911
Model Number: 6700
Caliber: .45 Auto

Slide Material: Stainless Steel
Slide Finish: Low-Glare Stainless
Grip Frame: Low-Glare Stainless Steel
Sights: Fixed Novak® 3-Dot
Capacity: 8+1
Barrel Length: 5.00"
Height: 5.45"
Overall Length: 8.67"
Weight: 39.00 oz.
Width: 1.34"
Twist: 1:16"
RH Grooves: 6
Suggested Retail: $799.00

At first blush, you might consider the new Ruger a better-looking pistol than something like the more expensive Kimber Stainless II. I think that's a fair accessment; this Ruger is one of the best-looking mass-produced 1911's I've seen in a very long time.

The features present in the Ruger are largely common-sense and desirable. This includes the oversized ejection port, the lightweight trigger with adjustable overtravel, the skeletonized hammer, the Novak sights, the attractive hardwood grips, the overall traditional series 70 style.

We all liked the trigger right out of the box. After minor initial take-up, it broke lightly and cleanly at 4.5 lbs according to my Lyman electronic trigger gauge. It feels a bit lighter than that. The combination of the excellent trigger and Novak sights made it effortless to hit with. Off-hand, with economical Blaser, Federal American Eagle, and white box Winchester ammo it had no trouble producing 2.5 inch 25 yard groups and I fired a couple of three inch 40 yard groups off-hand as well. There is no end to the search for those that fancy themselves as gunslingers and the like, of course, but for many people including myself, this is all the accuracy you can use as a practical matter. The gun will of course, do better than our off-hand shooting allowed for, and there is more consistent ammo out there than what we tested with as well.

For the current street price of somewhere around $750, the Ruger SR1911 is an impressive achievement in a contemporary stainless, feature-added M1911. It was perfectly reliable for us, fine handling, and feels great in the hand. There is no firing pin safety, rather a titanium firing pin and a strong spring make it unnecessary.

There is a certain pleasure in finding a pistol without a really dumb flip-up loaded chamber indicator (there is a witness hole), a magazine disconnect safety, and some of the other aesthetically vulgar and practically worthless additions found on handguns these days. I'm impressed, to say the very least, with the SR1911 and there is nothing that competes with it today in this price category that I'm aware of, in a stainless series 70. Congratulations to Sturm, Ruger & Co. for a job extremely well-done here.

Copyright 2011 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.



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