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Power Pair: Ruger SR1911CMD and Ruger SR45 Review

by Patrick Sweeney   |  March 7th, 2013 8


It was a typical Tuesday here at Gun Abuse Central. An email in my inbox announced, “Patrick, overnight package arriving tomorrow. Need feature ASAP.”

No problem.

The box that arrived was plain, but inside were a pair of Ruger boxes. When I opened the first one, my reaction was, “Another SR? What now?” Considering the possibility that Ruger had done something just a bit odd, like chambering it in .357 SIG or .45 GAP, I dropped the magazine out of it as part of my “check and unload” routine. As I was holding the mag, my coffee-starved brain noticed that the magazine was not shaped like the 9mm and .40 I already have here. I turned the pistol over to see the model name: SR45. Wait a minute, this can’t be. The frame doesn’t feel any bigger than my 9 does. What trickery is this?

Well, it isn’t trickery but engineering, and unless you fondle one model and then the other, you won’t notice the difference between a 9mm, a .40 and a .45. And I’m not sure if you picked one up at random when blindfolded you could tell which was which. That’s how slim Ruger managed to make the new SR45.

The .45 has the replaceable backstrap, thumb safety, husky external extractor and loaded-chamber indicator that the smaller brothers have. The same polymer frame with an accessory rail up front and the same striker-fired system inside the slide with adjustable sights on top. Proportionally, they are the same, and if you saw one in the gun shop display case, you might not be able to tell one from the other unless the caliber-marked side is up.

However, while the 9mm and 40 .SRs each have barrels a fraction over four inches (4.14 inches, according to the book specs and my dial caliper), the .45 ACP has a barrel of 41/2 inches in length. Not because the .45 ACP needs that much to get bullets up to speed, but that happens to be the barrel length that balances well in .45 ACP configuration. Similarly, the .45 is a quarter-inch taller, at 53/4 inches. That’s necessary to get that 10th round into a flush magazine.

In width, however, the book specs are the same, at 1.27 inches. That is the width to the widest parts that stick out, namely the thumb safety. The 9mm and 40 are both thinner than that where your thumb rests, being under an inch, while the .45 is just a smidge larger, but not much. Complaining that the .45 is thicker there is like complaining that a supermodel is a size four instead of a size two.

The trigger? It’s the expected little-bit-gritty because it’s a new gun, but it started to clean up with a bit of dry-firing.

The magazine is a double-stack tapering to a single feed point, with a sharp taper to it. I had expected the taper to be more gradual, as I’ve seen in earlier versions of 10-shot .45 pistols. But Ruger engineers have figured a way to make the SR45 magazine double-stack almost all the way up and not make the gun feel like some porky bullet hose that you have to accommodate your hand to. In talking with Ruger, the magazine, while looking familiar, is not an adaptation of a design from some other model. It is all new for the SR45, and Ruger made sure it worked 100 percent before letting it see the light of day.

This is something I think needs emphasis. Most double-stack .45s are portly and end up wide in the beam, a bit difficult to get your hands around. Now, if Ruger had been determined to make the SR45 hold as many bullets as possible, I’m sure they could have made the SR45 fat. But they settled for slim and 10 shots in the magazines. And I can easily imagine that the makers of aftermarket magazine pads will be upping the count, making plus-two and plus-four baseplate extensions.

While this one is in brushed stainless trim, the SR45 is also available in a nitride stainless version. And as with all Ruger SR models, the slide and barrel are through-hardened and the barrel is rifled in the customary Ruger manner and will not have any problems with lead bullets.

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