The auto-loading pistol known as the Colt 1911 is one of the most recognized, copied and used handguns. Originally produced in .45 Auto, it was later introduced in .38 Super and more recently in 10mm Auto and 9mm Luger. Many variants have been produced, but one of the most popular is known as the Commander size. Unlike the full-sized model, the Commander version features a 4-inch barrel, with some types having an alloy frame to reduce weight.
THE NEWEST RUGER SR1911
A large number of companies produce 1911-style pistols. When another variant appears, it is usually no big deal. For several years, Ruger has produced pistols of the 1911 pattern, but the newest Ruger 1911 is neither full size nor a .45 Auto; it’s a Commander-sized version with an alloy frame and chambered in 9mm Luger. The .45 Auto is a legendary caliber—but so is the 9mm Luger.
For a considerable number of years, my double-action Ruger P95 has been a durable and reliable companion, but it is thick and boxy. In comparison, the new SR1911 is downright sleek. For my taste, the full-sized 1911 .45 Auto seems to be slightly too much of a good thing. It is a rather large pistol, and at almost 40 ounces, it is heavier than I like to carry.
Known as the Model 6722, the Ruger SR1911 Commander 9mm features a 4.25-inch barrel, which is ¼ inch longer than some other Commander-sized pistols. The frame is made of anodized aluminum alloy, giving the pistol a weight of 29.3 ounces. However, the slide is made of stainless steel that has a satin finish. The SR1911 utilizes a single-stack magazine that holds nine cartridges, giving a 9+1 capacity. Two magazines are provided, and they are made of beautifully finished stainless steel.
Ruger’s new pistol is provided with the highly respected and functional Novak sights. The blade of the front sight is 1/8 inch thick and has a highly visible white dot on the rear face. The rear sight has a square notch that features a white dot on either side. Moreover, the rear sight is held in a dovetail groove and locked in place with an Allen head set screw. After loosening the locking screw, the rear slide can be drifted laterally to adjust windage. For a pistol of this type, the sights are very appropriate.
When I first handled the 9mm Ruger SR1911 in a store in Wyoming, I was impressed with that subjective quality known as “feel.” The pistol felt neither too large nor too small. The weight was sufficient to give assurance that a substantial piece of hardware was in the hand. Yet, the pistol pointed well and was easy to hold steady.
Part of this comes from the fact that the SR1911 is provided with crisply checkered, black rubber grip panels. Made of black polymeric material, they might not have the eye appeal of exotic wood, but they stick to the hand. There is a good reason a couple of my other .45 Auto 1911s have had beautiful wooden grip panels replaced by grips of exactly that type.
The front of the grip frame is smooth, but the back strap is finely checkered. The bottom of the grip safety has ridges that help offer a secure grip. Made of aluminum and skeletonized, the aluminum trigger has grooves along the front face.
As is the case with many other 1911-style pistols, the magazine is flush fitting. The hammer is also skeletonized, deeply serrated and easy to cock. All these attributes contribute to making the Ruger SR1911 comfortable to hold and pleasant to shoot.
On a more mechanical level, the SR1911 utilizes the internal mechanism known as the Series 70 design. The firing pin is titanium; it is sufficiently low in weight so that if the pistol were dropped, it would not strike a chambered cartridge with enough force to cause it to fire. The Series 80 design has a connector linked to the grip safety so that if the pistol were dropped, the firing pin would be held in the rear position to prevent discharge. Some purists believe the linkage somehow detracts from the original design. Consequently, the Ruger 1911 in 9mm Luger should appeal to that group.
During the first handling session, it was immediately apparent that the trigger action was better than on any of the other 1911 pistols in my safe. I measured the let-off with a Lyman digital gauge, which indicated a pull of 3.7 pounds and only a very slight movement. For this type of pistol, nothing more is needed.
Having spent time with the Ruger SR1911 and assessing its aesthetic qualities, I tested an assortment of ammunition that included types suitable for defensive purposes, as well as inexpensive bulk-pack varieties. The temperature during testing was almost 90 degrees (F), and the humidity registered almost the same digits. The results obtained are shown in the table on page 21.
Shooting was conducted under somewhat less-than-ideal conditions—with the hands supported on an ammunition box topped with a felt pad. With a glaring sun overhead, a consistent sight picture was difficult to attain, and numerous groups showed vertical stringing.
During the first handling session, it was immediately
apparent that the trigger action was better than on any of the other 1911 pistols in my safe.
Groups of 3-inch size were common, with four shots in a smaller cluster and an occasional outlier. As a result, group sizes are shown in the table as the average of three five-shot groups with the average of the best four shots for each group. Under better conditions, and with a better rest, I believe the Ruger SR1911 is capable of consistent groups in the 2.5-inch range.
Throughout the tests, the gun performed flawlessly, and its original gritty action became noticeably smoother. The handling of this little gun is superb.
Although Ruger is a relative newcomer among the producers of 1911-style pistols, it has developed a new product worthy of serious consideration by anyone who likes 1911s but prefers 9mm Luger. The 9mm SR1911 has all the desirable characteristics of the legendary design in a compact, portable pistol.
Now you can have a pistol of both legendary design and in a legendary caliber in a very attractive, new handgun. It should be a winning combination … it is a winner with me.
MODEL: SR1911 Commander 9mm (#6722)
CALIBER: 9mm Luger
BARREL LENGTH: 4.25 inches
WEIGHT: 29.3 ounces
OVERALL LENGTH: 7.75 inches
HEIGHT: 5.45 inches
FRAME: Aluminum alloy
SLIDE: Stainless steel
STURM, RUGER & CO.
Velocities were measured at 10 feet from the muzzle with a Competition Electronics ProChrono chronograph. The average velocity and standard deviations are the results from at least 15 shots. Group size is the average of three five-shot groups/average of the best four shots of each group at 25 yards.
|Ammunition||Bullet type||Average velocity
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the January 2017 print issue of Gun World Magazine.