I was one of the first to to get my hands on the Ruger's first 1911 pistol when it hit the gun stores in January 2012. I paid the Law Enforcement price of $569.95 before tax. I picked mine up from GT Distributors Inc. in Dallas. As of January 2017, the going street price is around $880.
I own several 1911's and I love them all for different reasons. I wanted this particular gun because it was the first 1911 manufactured by Ruger. The second reason was the price. Back in 2012, even without Law Enforcement pricing, a civilian could own one for around $600-700 if I remember correctly.
In 2012 I wasn't carrying the SR1911 for duty or off-duty purposes. It was strictly a recreational shooter. The first time I took it took to the range I broke it in with 100 rounds of FMJ. As expected, it performed flawless. I did field strip, clean, and lube it before it's first use. Reinstalling the slide release was a little tricky on this particular gun. Tolerances on the SR1911 are apparently nice and tight.
At the end of the year I counted 12 boxes of spent ammo for a total of 600 rounds. No malfunctions to report. I did clean and lube after each use. 45 ACP ammo isn't cheap so, I usually never fired more than 100 rounds per range session.
The following years after my initial purchase were much like the first accept for the minor modifications I recently made in 2017. As of 01/09/2017, I have fired at least 3000 rounds with no failures or malfunctions of any kind. I say "at least" because I stopped keeping track at the 3000 round mark. Truth be told, I have been to the range several dozen times after I lost track of the round count. Once again, I maintain my weapons perfectly. Any properly maintained combat pistol should be able to achieve this level of reliability, in my opinion. This weapon had no trouble doing so. I recently had my gunsmith measure the tension on my recoil spring. It measured 18 pounds which is within spec for the 1911. So far, no need to change any springs or internal parts. Everything on the pistol is still tight.
The SR1911 comes with regular white dot Novak sights. Nothing special, and thats all you really need for a range pistol that's not in service for duty or concealed carry. The SR1911 is easy to aim. Most shooters of any experience level will not have trouble lining up the three large dots. The Novak sights are just fine for short range, within 25 yards. Remember, pistols were meant for short range anyway. I've since changed the sights as you can see in these pics but, more on that later.
The SR1911 does not come with the blue G10 grips you see in these photos. The stock grips are brown checkered plastic. There's a million pics of the SR1911 with the brown stock grips so I didn't bother including another one. The stock plastic grips work fine for range purposes and they look nice enough. If there's any chance you will find yourself in a situation of high stress involving sweaty hands, blood, or rain, plastic grips aren't going to cut it.
The front strap of the SR1911 is smooth. No checkering or any other grip aiding machining work to speak of. Before some of the modern day 1911's, there was no checkering machined into the front strap, at least that I am aware of. So I don't know if Ruger was trying to keep a traditional looking 1911 or just negated the checkering to save on machining costs. Either way, for the price I paid, I can't complain and it looks just fine.
The back strap has small, tight, black checkering below the grip safety. It has great friction and looks fantastic. The black back strap and grip safety contrast well with the rest of the gun.
The trigger is about as good as any other quality 1911 pistol. It has a small and light travel area, then breaks clean and crisp at around 4.5 pounds in my estimation. I did not measure it with a trigger scale. I like the skeletonize cutouts and flows with the style of the hammer.
The slide on the SR1911 is perhaps it's most attractive component. It has traditional vertical slide serrations on the rear. "Ruger" and "Made in the USA" are machined onto the left side of the slide. The Ruger logo is machined into the right. The size and style of the branding on this beauty are just right. The slide action is silky smooth and seems to stay that way, even after 100 rounds or so. I rarely use the slide release to chamber a round when doing reloads. I always use an overhand grab to pull back on the slide to release it into battery. I never had an issue grabbing hold of the rear slide serrations.
My Ruger SR1911 came with two magazines. A seven round and an eight round. I use the two shown in conjunction with another Mecgar magazine. All have performed flawlessly.
My Ruger SR1911 came with a nice nylon bag that I used exclusively for storage before I put my pistol into full time service. I think a great looking gun like this should come with a nice bag. Great job Ruger!
As I mentioned earlier, I have a few 1911's. All of them are on the higher end of the quality and price scale. The internal parts of my SR1911 are no better or worse than my more expensive pistols. They are right on par with a high quality, much more expensive 1911 pistol. Everything seems to be of high tolerance and specs. All parts come apart and got back together tight but, smooth. With the exception of the tricky slide release.
Going Into Service
After 5 years of reliable recreational shooting with the SR1911, I decided I liked it enough to carry it on duty. For those that care, I have carried a total of 5 duty weapons, during my Law Enforcement career. Starting in chronological order, I have carried a Glock 17, Sig Sauer P226, Glock 22, Beretta 96 Vertec, and now the SR1911. Before becoming a cop, I was a Navy Corpsman for 8 years. I carried a Beretta 92 (M9) in the field, but not for everyday use. Eventually, I'll do reviews on all the above mentioned pistols but, back to the SR1911 for now.
Sometimes I work in the rain so I swapped the stock grips for a set of G10 grips from the Altamont grip company. G10 is a very high friction type material. it feels similar to the bottom part of a ceramic tile. You won't loose your grip even if your hands are wet. As I mentioned earlier, the stock sights are sufficient for recreational / range use but, for a working gun, night sights are superior. I opted for the a set of Truglo TFO Novak Lomount sights. They're tritium and fiberoptic so they look like they are glowing, even in the daylight. In low light, these sights glow as if they are electric powered. Half of my shift is spent at night so, these sights are perfect for my SR1911.
After qualifying at my agency range with my duty holster, I purchased two holsters for off duty. I purchased a Hellbent holster from Defender Firearms in Fort Worth and an Alien Gear holster directly from the Alien Gear website.
I use the Hellbent holster in an outside the waistband configuration buy way of belt loops. I really like how this holster holds the 1911 close to my body. No one can notice I'm packing a full size 1911, even when I'm wearing a t-shirt. The Hellbent OWB holster is pure awesomeness!
I use my Alien Gear holster when I'm going to be in the car for a long time. It takes longer to put on than the Hellbent holster but, its' very comfortable. I seem to forget I'm wearing a full size pistol, even when sitting down.
As you can see, the Alien Gear holster in combination with the thin 1" profile of a 1911 pistol is a very slim EDC setup.
Wear and Tear
Until this year, this was strictly a perfectly pampered range pistol and didn't have a scratch on it. I'll find out how the SR1911 holds up to duty use in a leather Safariland holster. It will definitely endure all the seasons of north Texas including 100 degree days, sub-zero freezes, and plenty of rain and moisture. I'll give it a year and report back with wear and tear review.
Thanks for reading this and I hope I gave you some useful information, in very plain language. If you are spec nerd, you can always go the the Ruger website. My goal with this review was to give you my opinion of the SR1911, the same way I would describe it to a friend.
Update May 2017:
I had some trouble for the first time with this gun. I was running Winchester Ranger T Series 230 grain JHP during a qualification and had several failure to go into battery malfunctions. The large square nosed JHP's would not ride up the feed ramp and chamber properly.
To fix on the fly, I intentionally short-stroked the slide causing the round to seat properly and continued to fire. Doing this versus ejecting the round allowed me to put all my rounds on target without throwing any.
To permanently fix the problem, I polished the feed ramp thoroughly but, did not grind out any material. This fixed the feeding issue with Winchester Ranger. No more issues to report.
If you are not required to carry any particular round by your agency, I recommend Horanady Critical Defense or Zombie Max (same thing as Critical Defense just a different color). I recommend this particular JHP due to the narrow, pointed like, hollow point tip. The narrow tip JHP's move easily into the feed ramp of the 1911, just like FMJ rounds. Zombie Max rounds are shown in one of the above pics.