Gun World - - Contents - By Robb Manning

Just as ev­ery­one else is down-cham­ber­ing 1911s to 9mm, the SR1911 goes 10mm—for when fol­low-up shots aren’t an op­tion.

Iam a mas­sive fan of the 10mm Auto. Sure, my go-to, all­time fa­vorite hand­gun car­tridge is the 9x19mm, be­cause it’s so ver­sa­tile. But my pet round—which I am re­quired to have in my line of work as a gun mag­a­zine ed­i­tor—is the 10mm, hands down.

I be­lieve the 9x19mm is a bet­ter all-around fight­ing round. The re­coil is mild, which makes for fast fol­low-up shots. And while that’s a very true state­ment, and I agree with it, many of us gun scribes love to write and talk about “the low re­coil and fast fol­lowup shots of the 9mm.” How­ever, not all sit­u­a­tions al­low for mul­ti­ple shots; some­times, you might get time for only one, maybe two.

Case in point: I have a cabin in the Wis­con­sin North­woods. I have cap­tured on my game cam­eras nine dif­fer­ent bears on my prop­erty. Have you ever star­tled a bear? Have you seen how fast those suck­ers move? If you haven’t, go to youtube.com and search for “bear charge.” Un­der op­ti­mal con­di­tions—at the range, star­ing at your tar­get, ready to draw at the beep—a trained shooter can draw a gun from an open-carry hol­ster in about one sec­ond, get­ting one shot off. A charg­ing bear can

cover 16 yards in one sec­ond … ex­cept not ev­ery­one is a trained shooter, star­ing at their tar­get and wait­ing for the beep to draw from an open-carry hol­ster. That doesn’t leave very much time for a whole lot of shoot­ing.

If you have time for only one shot, do you want it to be 9mm?

This is where the 10mm Auto comes in. To many, the be-all and end-all is the .45 ACP. Stan­dard fac­tory .45 ACP loads of 230-grain FMJ are go­ing to have around 360 to 370 foot­pounds of en­ergy, and JHP self-de­fense loads are go­ing to be around 360 to 395. Plus-P loads are go­ing to bump it up to about 520 to 540 foot-pounds. Full-power 10mm loads ap­proach 690—a sub­stan­tial in­crease.

THE SR1911 10MM

The SR1911 is listed on Ruger’s web­site as be­ing based on the Colt Se­ries 70 de­sign, but in this in­stance, that only means it does not have a fir­ing pin block, as do the Colt Se­ries 80-based 1911s, giv­ing it a bet­ter trig­ger pull. It doesn’t have much else in com­mon with the Colt Se­ries 70.

It’s CNC-ma­chined, which gives it a pre­cise slide-to-frame fit. Out of the box, it had no play be­tween slide and frame, just like all of Ruger’s SR1911s I’ve got­ten my hands on; and it feels very smooth when work­ing the slide. Bar­rel lockup is also very tight, which aids in ac­cu­racy.

The 10mm ver­sion has the same up­grades as all SR1911s, such as a skele­tonized ham­mer and trig­ger, over­sized beaver­tail grip safety, ex­tended thumb safety, vis­ual in­spec­tion port, ex­tended slide stop and mag­a­zine re­lease, ti­ta­nium fir­ing pin and a swaged link pin (so it doesn’t work its way loose). It also has an in­te­gral plunger tube so you don’t have to worry about it be­com­ing loose—en­sur­ing that the safety and slide stop will al­ways have a se­cure ma­nip­u­la­tion.

The skele­tonized, light­weight alu­minum trig­ger has an ad­justable overtravel stop. It has al­most no takeup and a smooth, crisp break. The trig­ger pull av­er­ages 4 pounds, 7.2 ounces in five-pulls, and it also has a very short re­set.

The rub­ber­ized grip pan­els are man­u­fac­tured by Hogue and make for sure-gripped con­trol—even with wet hands— es­pe­cially when cou­pled with the grip tex­ture found on the flat main­spring hous­ing. That’s no small feat, given the 10mm’s sub­stan­tial re­coil in­crease over the .45 ACP. As far as rub­ber­ized grips go, the Hogue grips look nice but aren’t as nice look­ing as the wood grips Ruger of­fers on other mod­els. Nev­er­the­less, they do have the edge on im­proved grip per­for­mance.

One of the en­gi­neer­ing prob­lems Ruger had to over­come was the 10mm re­coil, which, over time, caused dam­age to the 1911 bar­rel bush­ing. The com­pany found that the best so­lu­tion was a bull bar­rel, which pro­vides a se­cure, tight lockup with­out the need for a bush­ing. In ad­di­tion, the stan­dard 1911 guide rod and spring couldn’t be used in con­junc­tion with the bull bar­rel, so Ruger went with a full-length, solid stain­less steel guide rod and spring. Op­er­a­tionally, the con­fig­u­ra­tion works well.

How­ever, due to this bull bar­rel and guide rod con­fig­u­ra­tion, it re­quires the use of a tiny wire dis­as­sem­bly tool to field strip the pis­tol. Ruger is thought­ful enough to in­clude one with the hand­gun. But be cau­tious: Dur­ing as­sem­bly, mine sheared off and got launched some­where in my rug-cov­ered fam­ily room. For­tu­nately, the guide rod was al­most in place, so the guide rod spring didn’t launch as well. Un­less you’re go­ing to carry the lit­tle pa­per­clip-sized tool with you when­ever car­ry­ing the hand­gun, this means you won’t be able to field strip it com­pletely. You can re­move the slide from the frame, and that’s as far as you’ll get. Still, the wire tool is a bet­ter al­ter­na­tive than the Allen wrench some other makes re­quire. My rec­om­men­da­tion is to carry and use a pa­per­clip or small wire for dis­as­sem­bly, be­cause the in­cluded tool seems to be a bit frag­ile.


I got the shiny, new SR1911 in be­fore any of the test ammo. Burst­ing at the seams with an­tic­i­pa­tion, I gath­ered about 40 rounds of var­i­ous makes and headed to the range.

The very first mag­a­zine through it didn’t lock the slide to the rear on the last round. The next mag­a­zine didn’t have that prob­lem. Iron­i­cally, the sec­ond mag­a­zine wasn’t even the right mag­a­zine (I was also test­ing a Ruger SR1911 Night Watchman, and one of the empty .45 mag­a­zines some­how got mixed in with the 10mm mag­a­zines). It worked per­fectly, though, de­spite the dif­fer­ent fol­lower and lack of side wall chan­nels. Af­ter that first mag­a­zine, I never had an­other is­sue with last-round lock-open. It could pos­si­bly have been me rest­ing my fin­ger on the slide catch.

Later that day, I talked via e-mail with Tim Sun­dles of Buf­falo Bore am­mu­ni­tion, who rec­om­mended that with 1911s cham­bered in 10mm, I run at least 100 rounds of low-power loads through it for a gen­tle break-in. “Putting our full-power 10mm ammo in a brand-spank­ing-new 1911 and shoot­ing it


re­peat­edly is like break­ing in an ex­pen­sive en­gine by run­ning it at red line all day,” he noted.

There­fore, on my sub­se­quent trip to the range, I started with 100 rounds of Buf­falo Bore Tac­ti­cal Low Re­coil, Low Flash 155-grain JHP. It ran like a charm; I was im­pressed. From there, I com­menced per­for­mance test­ing.

This was the first non-Glock 10mm I’ve fired; and, in re­cent months, I’ve been spend­ing a lot of time with the G29. I wasn’t sure what to ex­pect from a 10mm 1911, but I was pleas­antly sur­prised.

Re­coil wasn’t bad at all. The Glock’s poly­mer frame is sup­posed to pro­vide a de­gree of “shock ab­sorp­tion” for the re­coil, but in com­par­ing the two, this was mit­i­gated some­what by the heav­ier weight of the 1911 (nearly 10 ounces, which is roughly 25 per­cent heav­ier than a G20) and the fact that I could wrap my hand all the way around the grip.

As any­one fa­mil­iar with 10mm Auto car­tridges can tell you, there’s a wide dis­par­ity in the strength of power that’s avail­able in com­mer­cial loads—from very weak to very strong—and prob­a­bly more so than any other cal­iber. The SR1911 can safely shoot any SAAMI spec 10mm load; and, ac­cord­ing to Ruger’s Bran­don Trevino, “We have not found any com­mer­cially loaded ammo that is be­yond the ca­pa­bil­ity of the pis­tol.”

Ac­cord­ing to Trevino, it’s been 100 per­cent proof-tested, and with the ni­tride-coated bull bar­rel, “the gun is tough.”

For sake of full dis­clo­sure, I did have two fail­ures to eject, but it was not the fault of the hand­gun or the ammo. I was con­cur­rently test­ing a brand of dry lu­bri­cant, and to be straight to the point, it failed. In ret­ro­spect, it was a bad idea to mix the two tests (gun and lube), but I’ve never had a gun lube fail like this. I started to no­tice the slide get­ting slug­gish, and af­ter a cou­ple of mag­a­zines, it didn’t cycle enough to eject the spent case. The same thing hap­pened again a mag­a­zine later. Re­al­iz­ing the is­sue, I squirted some Break­free into both of the slide/frame rail chan­nels and cy­cled the ac­tion. It worked per­fectly af­ter that.


The SR1911 10mm car­ries just like any other full-sized 1911, which I be­lieve is pretty well. It doesn’t have the width that poly­mer 10mm hand­guns have, so it can be hugged closer to the body with OWB carry and makes for great IWB carry. The full-length grip will have to be ac­counted for; and, with im­proper cant, it could print in the back of your shirt.

I don’t have any ex­pe­ri­ence car­ry­ing ap­pen­dix with a 1911. I have a fairly lean build and don’t have any is­sues car­ry­ing OWB with a carry-friendly shirt. I can even carry IWB with an un­tucked T-shirt. A few years back, I was a lit­tle chub­bier but still didn’t have any is­sues car­ry­ing ei­ther way.

Any hol­ster for a full-sized 1911 can be used; in par­tic­u­lar, I’ve used the Ruger branded OWB hol­ster made by Mitch Rosen (www. ShopRuger.com), and the Dou­ble Clip IWB hol­ster from Side Guard Hol­sters (www.Side­guardHol­sters.com). Both are ex­cel­lent choices.


There are a cou­ple of dif­fer­ences be­tween the dis­as­sem­bly pro­ce­dure of the stan­dard 1911 and this 10mm. To dis­as­sem­ble, re­move the mag­a­zine, lock the slide to the rear, and vis­ually and phys­i­cally in­spect the cham­ber to make sure it is safe. With the slide still locked to the rear, in­sert the take­down wire tool (or an ap­pro­pri­ately sized pa­per­clip) into the guide rod hole lo­cated at the end of the dust­cover. Then, slowly ease the slide for­ward to align the slide stop with the notch in the slide. Re­move the slide stop. Ease the slide for­ward and re­move it. Once the slide is re­moved, the re­coil spring will be com­pressed. To re­move it, lift it away from the bar­rel and pull to­ward the rear of the slide. Pull the bar­rel out of the front of the slide.

To dis­as­sem­ble the re­coil as­sem­bly, in­sert it into the slide from the front, with the curved lip on the plug po­si­tioned to­ward the bar­rel hole. Press down on the re­coil as­sem­bly un­til the take­down wire tool is vis­i­ble, and re­move it. Care­fully ease the re­coil as­sem­bly so the spring is un­com­pressed and re­move it from slide. Use cau­tion: it’s un­der a lot of ten­sion.

Re­verse the pro­ce­dure to re­assem­ble the re­coil as­sem­bly. Once done, align the curved area on the guide rod with that on the plunger. Note that when in­sert­ing the re­coil as­sem­bly into po­si­tion, make sure the bar­rel link is in the “up” po­si­tion.

Place the slide on the frame rails and con­tinue as­sem­bly just as on a stan­dard 1911. How­ever, once the slide stop pin is fully po­si­tioned, lock the slide to the rear and re­move the take­down wire tool.


Ruger got an­other one right. It’s a very shootable 10mm, plus it car­ries well and is well made. In ad­di­tion, Ruger did a great job with fit and fin­ish. The up­grades of­fered from a stan­dard, run-of-the-mill 1911 are a def­i­nite plus, and I think at this price point, Ruger of­fers a great pack­age: As of this writ­ing, I’m find­ing on­line re­tail prices of $820—and even as low as $776— with free ship­ping. For what Ruger of­fers, I’d pay the full MSRP for this gun, but for the much lower re­tail price, it’s a def­i­nite go.

As much as I like Ruger’s new 10mm, I didn’t find it with­out fault—specif­i­cally, the dis­as­sem­bly/as­sem­bly pro­ce­dure us­ing the take­down wire tool. It’s a bet­ter sys­tem than what other mak­ers in­cor­po­rate, but I’ve never been fond of sit­u­a­tions where guns re­quire a tool for ba­sic field-strip­ping, es­pe­cially one this small and prone to get lost or bro­ken. For­tu­nately, in this in­stance, a pa­per­clip can be fash­ioned into an im­pro­vised tool for dis­as­sem­bly.

Even so, fac­tor­ing in the pos­i­tive traits of this hand­gun, this is def­i­nitely not a deal-breaker. And hon­estly, the 1911 plat­form isn’t ex­actly a quick, sim­ple field-strip any­way, so if some­one is count­ing on be­ing able to field-strip a bro­ken 1911 to fix it and get it back into the fight, they are prob­a­bly screwed. This is just a mi­nor in­con­ve­nience, com­pared to all the pos­i­tives. The bot­tom line? I’ll be buy­ing one. GW

NOTE: I’d like to give a spe­cial thanks to MJ Gun Shop (www. MJGun­shop.com; [262] 628-4200) for get­ting this gun into my hands for test­ing. This shop of­fers qual­ity gun­smithing work and friendly ser­vice. With­out Matt Bogues and crew, my job of writ­ing re­views and edit­ing this pub­li­ca­tion would be much tougher.

In­cluded are two mag­a­zines spe­cific to the 10mm and marked as such. When the au­thor loaded 10mm into a stan­dard .45 ACP and fired it in this hand­gun, it func­tioned per­fectly, even lock­ing the slide to the rear.

The re­coil as­sem­bly on the 10mm (right) dif­fers from that on a stan­dard .45 ACP 1911. It has a ful­l­length, solid stain­less steel guide rod and a dif­fer­ent re­coil spring plug with an open end to ac­com­mo­date the full-length guide rod. To dis­as­sem­ble the...

Dis­as­sem­bly dif­fers in a key way from a stan­dard 1911: In­stead of re­mov­ing the bush­ing, the first step is to lock the slide to the rear and in­sert the take­down wire tool into the guide rod hole lo­cated at the end of the dust­cover, as shown. I Once the...

The Bo­mar-style tar­get sight is rear sight ad­justable for windage and el­e­va­tion. Both rear and front are dove­tailed.

A muz­zle shot of two SR1911s—the bush­in­g­less bull­bar­reled 10mm (right) and the .45 ACP with bush­ing. Note the bar­rel thick­ness; the bull bar­rel (left) can eas­ily han­dle the 10mm (and then some).

The “10mm” on the bar­rel cham­ber is the only in­di­ca­tion that this SR1911 is a 10mm Auto. Note the en­larged ejec­tion port.

The Ruger SR1911 cham­bered in 10mm. Ruger has been great at read­ing mar­ket trends and de­liv­er­ing to the shooter. The 10mm Auto is see­ing a strong resur­gence.

The ex­tended thumb safety lever is fast to lo­cate with the thumb and flip to fire. This Ruger has a skele­tonized ham­mer for faster drop, as well as aes­thet­ics.


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