Review: Ruger SR1911 Custom Shop

Review: Ruger SR1911 Custom Shop

Photos by Michael Anschuetz

The SR1911 Last January, 18-­time Bianchi Cup champion Doug Koenig made gun-­media headlines when he left Smith & Wesson to become the team captain for Ruger’s new shooting team. One of his first tasks was to develop an SR1911 that could win matches. This is the gun.

Custom-Ruger-SR1911-4
Doug Koenig uses his namesake SR1911 competition model to demonstrate a stage of cardboard silhouettes and steel poppers. He never seems to miss.

Ruger launched its version of the 1911 in 2011, and has been at it ever since. Officially named the “SR1911 Doug Koenig Competition Model,” this pistol has all the makings of a hand-­built race gun. By February, Koenig already had prototypes and was making tweaks after each practice session.

“New and accomplished competition shooters alike will find this pistol to be one of the finest, feature-­rich competition pistols available,” Koenig said. “This firearm was designed to win.”


Custom-Ruger-SR1911-7
Koenig’s design incorporates every enhancement found on a tuned competition 1911 such as sights, magazine funnel, flat trigger shoe and EGW’s Ultimate Trigger Kit.

The stainless steel frame and hand-­fit slide are tight yet slick. They’re finished in black nitride, while the slide slabs have been polished for a two-­tone appearance.


Chevrons on the front and rear slide serrations compliment the one on the aluminum trigger. I figured they were related to the letter “K” in Koenig’s name, but Ruger said it was just a happy coincidence.

Custom-Ruger-SR1911-5
To Koenig’s spec, a high grip for improved recoil control was added to this SR1911 design by way of the arched cut at the back, under the triggerguard.

The trigger shoe is flat, which is a nod to a current trend. Some like the feel of flat triggers; I’m indifferent. It measured 4 pounds to fire on our gauge.

A nice detail that serves as evidence of Koenig’s input is the high cut for the middle finger behind the triggerguard. This feature encourages a higher grip and more control than conventional 1911s without it. Control is aided by 25 lines-­per-­inch (lpi) checkering applied to the frontstrap and flat mainspring housing. The grip panels are Hogue’s G10 Piranha with a nicer-­than-­normal, black-­stainless Ruger medallion imbedded. The grips are very tactile, but not too aggressive.

Custom-Ruger-SR1911-1
Cocked-­and-­locked, the ambidextrous thumb safety features an extended ledge. The hammer is lightened, also.

The controls are pronounced and easy to reach including the checkered magazine release button, beavertail grip safety with speed bump and memory grooves, and a wide, ambidextrous thumb safety. As an aside, I love these thumb safeties — even on my carry guns — because I tend to push down on them with my thumb to help manage muzzle flip due to recoil more effectively. On this 9mm, strings of rapid fire transitions are so much fun. Combined with the trigger work, the control that this pistol offers helps it shoot like a bullet hose.


While testing this Koenig-­designed pistol, I found Easter eggs. I’ve always associated Ruger with “safety” in the way that some people regard Volvo. Besides the obvious safety features 1911s are known for, this Custom Shop model offers them subtly. For example, I almost missed the “READ INSTRUCTION MANUAL BEFORE USING FIREARM” warning. I knew it had to be somewhere on the gun (because it’s a Ruger), so I searched for it and found it lightly laser engraved under the dustcover as if the guy who did it was ashamed for having to scar an otherwise handsome pistol.

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The front sight features a green fiber optic; the serrations knock down glare. The rear sight is fully adjustable.

The sights on the Koenig model were zeroed out of the box, and the green fiber optic was bright. If you prefer red, contact Ruger; they’re happy to send you a replacement red fiber-optic tube for free.

The square-­notch rear sight is black and without dots. The best part is that it’s fully adjustable for windage and elevation using a thin, flat-­head screwdriver. The typical sharp, square corners at the top have been beveled to keep this otherwise classic target sight from snagging shirts like the old BoMar sights used to. The result is a rear sight that looks something like a tombstone. Between the sights are long serrations, which are both functional at preventing glare and good looking. Even the shooter’s view of the front and rear sight blades are serrated for the same purpose. Nice.


Especially nice are the two, 10-­round Metalform magazines with angled basepads that integrate perfectly into the Techwell magazine well. Though there appears a gap between the front of the magwell and the frame, you’ll find that it goes away with a magazine inserted. This gap accepts magazines with extended basepads that have a pronounced toe. The act of reloading is extremely positive, quick and easy.

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The magazine funnel is so generous that it’s intuitive to locate during a reload without having to look at it.

I can’t praise Techwell magwells enough. Allow me to note that Techwell even makes magwells for Ruger’s popular PCC 9mm carbine. (techwearusa.com)

If you’ve been thinking about getting into the competition scene, these two models from Ruger’s new Custom Shop are winners. The 10/22 would be great for Rimfire Challenge, and Doug Koenig’s Ruger SR1911 will have you hammering steel and punching the A-­zone out of cardboard silhouettes like a pro.

Custom-Ruger-SR1911-6
Notes: Accuracy is the average of five, five-­shot groups fired from a sandbag rest at 25 yards. Velocity is the average of five shots across an Oehler Model 35P chronograph.

“Our customers are craving high-­end performance products based on our popular, standard model,” Ruger President and CEO Chris Killoy told G&A. “The Ruger Custom Shop will deliver these products to market.”

I can’t wait to see what comes next. 

Ruger SR1911 Custom Shop
Type: Recoil operated, semiautomatic
Cartridge: 9mm
Capacity: 10+1 rds.
Barrel: 5 in., crowned, supported
Overall Length: 8.26 in.
Weight: 2 lbs., 9 oz.
Grips: Hogue Piranha G10
Finish: Blackened stainless
Trigger: 4 lbs., 1 oz. (tested)
Sights: Fiber optic, green (front); Adj. target (rear)
Safety: Ambidextrous, manual thumb lever; beavertail grip
MSRP: $2,500
Manufacturer: Ruger Firearms, ruger.com
336-949-5200


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