Ruger has been producing its SR1911 pistol series since 2011, which is rather fitting. Debuting a line of 1911 pistols on the 100th anniversary of that gun’s military adoption speaks to the incredible longevity of its design.
The SR1911 line includes full-sized 1911s, medium-sized Commander models and now the smaller Officer models — with your choice of all-stainless or lightweight aluminum-frame construction.
As a point of historical order, the names “Commander” and “Officer” originally belonged to Colt. The Commander name designated the 1911 equipped with a full-sized all-steel frame and a 4.25-inch rather than a 5-inch barrel. The Officer moniker was applied to a special cut-down version of the 1911 designed for concealment by general officers in the U.S. Military. Ruger has adopted these names to simplify identification of its 1911 models.
I received an all-stainless Ruger SR1911 Officer-Style .45 for evaluation. As soon as I opened the box, I was duly impressed. The brushed stainless-steel finish of the slide and frame is reminiscent of the popular satin-nickel finish of the 1980s, down to the vaguely goldish tint.
Balancing out the brushed stainless look are replaceable black G10 grips bearing subtle Ruger logos on both sides. These logos act as checkering to enhance the handling capability of the grips and give the Officer-Style 1911 a custom appearance.
Black accents such as the standard slide release, extended magazine release, oversized beavertail grip safety, extended thumb safeties and flat mainspring housing contrast nicely with the brushed stainless finish of the slide and frame. The genuine fixed three-dot Novak sights are dovetailed in place and feature a slanted shape that keeps them from snagging on clothing as the gun is drawn.
The lightweight skeletonized trigger is adjustable for overtravel and is set to provide a very crisp trigger pull with little creep. The skeletonized oval-shaped hammer is coupled with a titanium firing pin for a faster lock time. There is a loaded-chamber viewing port at the rear of the chamber and angular slide-gripping serrations at the rear of the slide.
The cone-shaped barrel is a bushingless design (as is standard for Officer-style pistols). The frontstrap is smooth, while the mainspring housing is checkered. Two stainless-steel seven-round magazines are included. The Ruger eagle logo is stamped on the baseplates for a nice aesthetic touch. The pistol has all the features required of a modern combat pistol right out of the box — which was how I tested it. I did not pre-lube the pistol before I fired it. I tested the SR1911 using a mixture of SIG Sauer Elite FMJ practice ammo as well as SIG’s Elite V-Crown 185- and 230-grain JHP defensive ammo.
The SR1911 is excellent in terms of accuracy. I could effortlessly drop rounds into the center ring at distances of up to 50 feet. The pistol seems to have natural accuracy just oozing out of it. The 31-ounce weight negated any potential recoil issues, and the trigger pull really helped with accurate shooting. If the .45 model is too heavy for you, the Ruger Lightweight Officer-Style 9mm weighs in at 27.2 ounces. Purists will be happy to know that all Ruger 1911s are based on the Series 70 Colt design and not on the later 80s-series pistols. This undoubtedly affects trigger feel.
The Ruger sights were dead-on from the factory. And the mainspring housing, though technically flat, curves at the base, splitting the difference between a true arched mainspring housing and a flat one.
The Officer-Style .45 ran extremely well, with only one failure to feed within the first 20 rounds using the SIG 185-grain V-Crown. Adding lubrication before starting would likely have prevented that lone malfunction. It is important to remember that 1911s require more lubrication than most modern polymer-frame pistols. Groups ran easily in the 1- to 3-inch range at various distances. Shooting with only my right or left hand did not cause any malfunctions.
Some have criticized Officer-sized pistols for losing too much power because of their 3.6-inch barrels. While I didn’t have a chronograph with me to test muzzle velocity, I can tell you this: The heavy .45-caliber bullet propelled by that 3.6-inch barrel is still capable of doing serious damage downrange. The SIG Sauer 185-grain .45 ACP leaves a 5-inch barrel at 995 feet per second. The reduction in velocity from a barrel that is only 1.4 inches shorter is probably less than 100 feet per second. Any .45 ACP bullet moving at 750 feet per second has more than 100 years of proven “oomph” behind it — more than enough to deliver a “Sunday punch.” For those of you too young to be familiar with that term, it means a hit so hard that it will knock the target into next Sunday.
Ruger is building some fine 1911s. While its new polymer-frame defensive and concealment handguns are getting most of the attention, the SR1911s deserve a look. The Officer-Style .45 doesn’t offer any earth-shattering innovations, but the standard features are nicely rendered. The only feature I missed was an extended slide release, which I believe is critical for rapid reloading.
You don’t have to spend megabucks to get a 1911 loaded with what were once considered custom features. The MSRP of the Ruger SR1911 Officer-Style .45 is only $979.
If you are looking for an excellent 1911 .45 for concealed carry, home defense or use on the trail, look no further than Ruger’s Officer-Style Model .45. Check it out along with the full Ruger 1911 line at www.ruger.com.