Ruger’s SR1911 9mm
Date: May 16 2017
Ruger’s announcement of the SR1911 9mm was a pleasant surprise. It is a popular handgun that has earned a reputation for reliability. Accuracy has been middle of the road, but so has price. The first SR1911 was a .45 with a steel frame and 5-inch barrel. Following this Government Model length handgun was a Commander length pistol with a 4.25-inch barrel. Next came a light frame version of the Commander. These stainless steel .45 ACP handguns featured Novak sights, good fit and finish, attractive grips and a good trigger action.
A more recent offering is a lightweight Commander length 9mm with an identity all its own. Offering the SR1911 in 9mm was a good move, as the cartridge is presently enjoying increasing popularity. It is more popular and more widely used now than at any time in its long history. Part of that popularity lies in simple economy. The 9mm is less expensive as a factory cartridge than the .45 ACP, handloading components are affordable, and modern handgunners shoot more than any previous generation. Concealed carry permit classes, personal defense schools and IDPA and IPSC shooting account for millions of cartridges fired each year.
The 9mm is also more comfortable to fire than larger calibers; during long practice sessions, the difference in recoil between the 9mm and .45 is pronounced. Accuracy potential of the 9mm has considerably improved with modern bullets and powder combinations.
The 9mm isn’t a .45, but the attributes of economy, versatility and velocity are provable. The polymer frame pistols are long on reliability but often come up short on accuracy and pride of ownership. The SR1911 is an answer.
The slide is stainless steel with Ruger emblems, and MADE IN USA is laser engraved in the slide flats. The slide lock safety, slide lock, beavertail safety and magazine release are blued. An aluminum alloy frame is anodized gray in contrast to the brightly polished slide. Six angled cocking serrations provide good purchase when racking the slide. The sights are Novak low mount — ideal for personal defense and IDPA shooting. The front sight is solidly dovetailed. The front post is good for accurate shooting to 25 yards and area shooting at 50 yards but will subtend a considerable section of the target at longer range. The rear sight is adjustable for windage by loosening the setscrew and applying a brass punch and hammer. For a lightweight 9mm, the sights are properly regulated for a 6 o’clock hold and 124-grain ammunition. The pistol features a lightweight firing pin coupled with a heavy firing pin spring. The barrel bushing is conventional and while snug, it is only finger tight. The ramped barrel design solves feed problems and seems to offer greater case head support.
The trigger breaks at 5.5 pounds with slight take-up and little definable creep. Its smooth pull plays a part in the pistol’s excellent accuracy potential. There is no full-length guide rod. The standard recoil spring and guide allow easy field stripping and maintenance. The slide lock safety isn’t a "gas pedal" type but is slightly larger than the GI safety. The beavertail safety features a memory groove bump, an aid for those using the "forward thumbs" grip that tends to raise the palm off of the grip safety. The grip safety releases its hold on the trigger about halfway into compression.
The magazine release is slightly extended. It is nice to see the 1911 upgraded with an integral plunger tube that is not staked on. I have seen plunger tubes weaken and come loose, especially when the grips do not support the plunger tube. I am impressed by the sturdy nine-round magazines. This magazine is well-made to properly handle the 9mm Luger cartridge. During initial firing, I was able to get eight rounds into the magazine, but the ninth was a struggle. After a modest break-in, the magazines became nine-shot magazines.