A SIN­GU­LAR SIN­GLE-AC­TION

RUGER’S NEW OF­FI­CER-STYLE 9MM IS A 1911 THAT’S BOTH EASY TO CARRY AND TO SHOOT

Concealed Carry Hand Guns - - EXPERT’S CORNER - STORY AND PHO­TOS BY STEVEN PAUL BAR­LOW

Some­times, small re­fine­ments to a good de­sign can make all the dif­fer­ence.

There was a time when I would see an ar­ti­cle on a newly in­tro­duced 1911 pis­tol and ask, “Do we re­ally need an­other one?”

The 1911 pis­tol can stand on its own mer­its, of course. It’s a good de­sign and it’s stood the test of time. Yet, once in a while one comes along with just the right en­hance­ments that com­bine to make some­thing truly spe­cial. Such is the case with the new compact pis­tol from Ruger: the Light­weight Of­fi­cer-Style SR1911 pis­tol. It’s not “just an­other one,” and that’s due in large part to some well-thought-out touches.

PER­FECT SIZE

Sev­eral com­pa­nies of­fer small 1911 pis­tols; some of the more re­cent ones are small enough to be con­sid­ered true pocket pis­tols. Ruger set­tled on a size sim­i­lar to the old De­ton­ics Com­bat Mas­ter and Colt Of­fi­cer’s ACP—eas­ier to con­ceal than a full-size 1911, but large enough to be able to shoot it well.

Ruger didn’t just chop the bar­rel and grip to make a down-sized 1911. First, the com­pany cham­bered it for 9mm Luger rather than .45 ACP, which has two big ben­e­fits. It makes for a more con­trol­lable pis­tol with lighter re­coil. Also, the 9mm also doesn’t suf­fer as much from a loss of ve­loc­ity in a short bar­rel as the .45 ACP, so hol­low­point de­fen­sive ammo still has a chance at re­li­able ex­pan­sion.

STAIN­LESS SLIDE

The slide is stain­less steel with a matte fin­ish. The wide cock­ing ser­ra­tions at the rear are an­gled form­ing what looks like a pat­tern of ar­rows. They’re dif­fer­ent and at­trac­tive to my tastes, yet they’re very func­tional. They make it easy to get a solid grasp on the slide.

There are no cock­ing ser­ra­tions at the

front, but the slide is scal­loped at the front. This ta­pered slide al­lows for eas­ier re­hol­ster­ing and also pro­vides a good hand­hold if you are ac­cus­tomed to re­tract­ing the slide from the front.

Atop the slide is a full-size set of No­vak metal sights in the three-dot pat­tern. They’re set in dove­tails and the rear is drift ad­justable for windage and is se­cured with a set screw. En­graved along the flat sides of the slide are “RUGER MADE IN USA” on one side and the Ruger logo on the other. The ejec­tion port is flared at the rear and low­ered for re­li­a­bil­ity.

“...IT’S SLIM AND SMALL ENOUGH TO BE EAS­ILY CON­CEALED AND COM­FORT­ABLY CAR­RIED WHILE STILL BE­ING LARGE ENOUGH TO BE CON­TROL­LABLE AND EASY TO SHOOT WELL.”

LIGHT­WEIGHT FRAME

The slide-to-frame fit was very good. The frame is made of light­weight alu­minum, al­low­ing the en­tire pis­tol to tip the scales at 27.2 ounces, not a feath­er­weight, but much lighter than a full-size, steel-frame 1911 at 39 ounces. The frame ap­pears dark gray, but with a bluish tint in brighter light. In any light it con­trasts nicely with the stain­less slide.

The con­trols are fin­ished black. The slide re­lease, man­ual thumb safety and mag­a­zine re­lease are all on the left side only and are ex­tended slightly for easy reach, but not enough to get in the way while fir­ing. The plunger tube for the slide re­lease and thumb safety is in­te­gral with the frame. It’s not staked on as with some other pis­tols and won’t work loose over time.

The beaver­tail grip safety cups the skele­tonized “Com­man­der-style” rowel ham­mer. The grip safety has raised sur­faces at the bot­tom for pos­i­tive ac­ti­va­tion when you take a grip on the pis­tol. The flat main­spring hous­ing is

finely check­ered for a se­cure hold, but it’s rounded at the edges so the pis­tol won’t cut into you when car­ried.

“ITS AT­TRAC­TIVE TWO-TONE FIN­ISH AND EN­GRAVED G10 GRIPS COM­BINE FOR A PIS­TOL THAT’S SURE TO IN­STILL PRIDE OF OWN­ER­SHIP.”

The sin­gle-ac­tion trig­ger of the 1911 is one of the main rea­sons it stays so pop­u­lar. On the Ruger, it is un­fin­ished alu­minum. It’s skele­tonized and is ser­rated on the face. It’s fit­ted with an over-travel screw. The trig­ger is ex­cel­lent. It has a slight bit of take-up and then breaks clean­ing at about 4 pounds even ac­cord­ing to my scale.

The grips are gray G10. They’re very slim and fea­ture a styl­ized wing on each panel from the Phoenix bird of the Ruger logo. Those wings are tex­tured for a good grip with­out be­ing too abra­sive. The Ruger logo is also present on each panel.

THE IN­SIDE SCOOP

There are good fea­tures on the in­side, too. The pis­tol fea­tures a bull bar­rel, putting a lit­tle more weight up front to help con­trol re­coil. It’s 3.6 inches long and made of stain­less steel with a black ni­tride fin­ish. A small port at the top serves as a visual loaded cham­ber in­di­ca­tor. No bar­rel bush­ing is needed.

The re­coil spring sur­rounds a ful­l­length guide rod. They’re held in the slide by the re­coil spring plug. This pis­tol has no fir­ing pin block. It does have a ti­ta­nium fir­ing pin to lessen the chances of an ac­ci­den­tal dis­charge if dropped. That light­weight fir­ing pin also helps to im­prove lock time—the time be­tween when a pull of the trig­ger re­leases the ham­mer and when the gun goes boom.

EASY TAKE­DOWN

This is prob­a­bly the eas­i­est 1911 to dis­as­sem­ble that I’ve ever en­coun­tered. There’s no bar­rel bush­ing, no cap­tur­ing of the spring re­quired and no tools in­volved. Move the slide rear­ward un­til the take­down notch aligns with the slide stop lever. Push out the slide stop lever from right to left. The slide can then be re­moved from the frame. You can then lift out the re­coil spring, guide rod and re­coil spring plug. The bar­rel slides out the front of the slide.

AT HOME ON THE RANGE

Down-sized 1911 pis­tols are no­to­ri­ous for re­li­a­bil­ity is­sues. Many are re­li­able only af­ter a sub­stan­tial break-in pe­riod. This Ruger had no re­li­a­bil­ity is­sues what­so­ever and needed no break-in pe­riod. Through sev­eral hun­dred rounds of ammo of all types, it was flaw­less.

Of course, I was us­ing qual­ity ammo through­out. I tested the gun with two

Hornady loads. The first was their Crit­i­cal De­fense load with FTX bul­let that has a flex­i­ble poly­mer tip fill­ing the hol­low­point. That tip aids ex­pan­sion and pre­vents clog­ging of the hol­low­point by bar­rier ma­te­ri­als. The sec­ond was their Amer­i­can Gun­ner load with con­ven­tional XTP hol­low­point.

I was fa­vor­ably im­pressed with the Sig 365 ammo both the hol­low­point and full metal jacket loads de­signed for short-bar­reled hand­guns. Re­coil with the Winch­ester De­fender 124-grain +P load was pre­dictably snap­pier, but still very man­age­able. The Amer­i­can Ea­gle full metal jacket ammo from Fed­eral makes a great prac­tice load.

Most of my shoot­ing dur­ing this test was per­formed stand­ing with a two-handed hold, al­though I did fire a cou­ple of mag­a­zines one-handed with each hand. I found the gun more con­trol­lable than smaller 9mm pis­tols I’ve tried.

I also per­formed a min­i­mal of oblig­a­tory ac­cu­racy test­ing from the bench. The sights were well-reg­u­lated; I punched holes in the tar­get where I was aim­ing when I did ev­ery­thing right. Five-shot groups fired at 15 yards were in the 1.5-inch to 1.75inch range with some a bit above or be­low that.

Two stain­less steel mag­a­zines came with the gun. One re­view I read listed the mag­a­zine ca­pac­ity at nine rounds. I could squeeze eight into them if I re­ally tried. The Ruger web­site now lists the ca­pac­ity at seven rounds. Car­ried for de­fense, I’d go with seven rounds plus one in the cham­ber and not risk any re­li­a­bil­ity is­sues from an over-stuffed mag­a­zine.

NO NEG­A­TIVES

Dur­ing the test, I never felt as if I wanted some­thing more from this

“THROUGH SEV­ERAL HUN­DRED ROUNDS OF AMMO OF ALL TYPES, IT WAS FLAW­LESS.”

pis­tol. There was noth­ing lack­ing. It of­fers com­plete re­li­a­bil­ity in a proven de­sign with per­for­mance-en­hanc­ing fea­tures. Its at­trac­tive two-tone fin­ish and en­graved G10 grips com­bine for a pis­tol that’s sure to in­still pride of own­er­ship. And you still get a pis­tol that’s com­pat­i­ble with stan­dard parts and mag­a­zines. Best of all, the Ruger Light­weight Of­fi­cer-Style SR1911 pis­tol bal­ances along that fine line: It’s slim and small enough to be eas­ily con­cealed and com­fort­ably car­ried while still be­ing large enough to be con­trol­lable and easy to shoot well. And that above all makes it a win­ner. Ap­par­ently, we re­ally did need “an­other 1911.”CC

The G10 grips are slim and com­fort­able. They pro­vide a good grip with­out be­ing too abra­sive. A nice touch is the styl­ized wing from the Phoenix bird in Ruger’s logo. The full-size, white three-dot No­vak sights pro­vide for a good sight pic­ture and are a def­i­nite aid in shoot­ing the pis­tol well.

Above: The main­spring hous­ing is nicely check­ered for a good grip but is rounded at the edges so it won’t dig into you when you carry the pis­tol.

Right: The pis­tol fea­tures a bull bar­rel that helps to con­trol re­coil by get­ting a lit­tle more weight out front. It’s made of stain­less steel with a black ni­tride fin­ish.

Above: The Ruger Light­weight Of­fi­cer-Style SR1911 pis­tol is easy to dis­as­sem­ble as there is no bar­rel bush­ing. Side­bar: A closeup of the Gun ProSure Fire mag­a­zine shows the small spring that’s in­tended to pre­vent bul­lets from nose-div­ing and caus­ing a mal­func­tion.

The slide doesn’t have for­ward cock­ing ser­ra­tions, but it’s scal­loped at the front in a way that it can still be ma­nip­u­lated eas­ily from the front if de­sired.

The pis­tol has a sin­gle man­ual thumb safety on the left side of the frame as well as a beaver­tail grip safety. Note the skele­tonized rowel ham­mer.

The au­thor found the new Ruger to be 100 per­cent re­li­able with all ammo tested.

Leftr: The newRuger main­tains the slim pro­file that’s al­ways been one of the strong points of the sin­gle-stack 1911 de­sign.

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