Ruger SR1911CMD Review
Part 3 - External & Operational Features
April 26, 2013

Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

In this part of my Ruger SR1911CMD Review, I cover all the externally visible features of the Ruger SR1911CMD Pistol along with the basic operational features.  Throughout this review, you can click on any photo which will bring up a high resolution photo allowing you to see the finer details.

 

Just like I did with my SR1911 review, before I get into the specifics of the Ruger SR1911CMD Pistol, I think it is important to discuss the basic series differences (Pre-70, 70, 80) with regard to this pistol.  These terms (i.e. Series 70, Series 80) were actually intended to describe the Colt pistols, but they can be generically applied to all 1911 type pistols.  Most people refer to the firing pin block safety as the defining criteria for whether a 1911 style pistol is a Series 70 (without) or 80 (with) and I believe this is what Ruger has done when they listed a key feature of this pistol as having the Original 1911 Series 70 design.  There are some other interesting (my opinion) differences worth pointing out and I have made an attempt to identify some in the table below.  In my opinion, the Ruger SR1911 pistols are closer to the original design intended by John Browning.

Differences Pre-Series 70  Series 70  Series 80  SR1911 
Year Introduced 1911 1970 1983 2011
Firing Pin Block Safety No No Yes No
Barrel Bushing Solid Collet Solid in 1988 Solid
Slide Stop Cutout Bridged Bridged  Full Bridged

For those concerned about the lack of a firing pin safety, Ruger included a titanium firing pin and heavy firing pin spring.  This design is such that the reduced mass of the firing pin and the increased spring weight prevents the firing pin from making contact with a cartridge if the pistol were dropped on it's muzzle.

These next four photos show some isometric views of the Ruger SR1911CMD Pistol.  The combination of the low glare stainless steel finish, the black accents on the sights, beaver tail, thumb safety, slide stop & magazine catch, and the wood grips makes for an attractive pistol (my opinion).

Figure 1                                                              Figure 2     
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)   Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

        Figure 3                                                              Figure 4
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)   Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

The Ruger SR1911CMD measured about 1.39" in width across the widest point which is from the right side grip to the left side thumb safety.  This was slightly more than my SR1911 and more than the specification width of 1.34", so there must be some small amounts of variability in the grip panel thickness.

Figure 5
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

The SR1911CMD measured 5.45" in height with no magazine installed and 7.89" in length.  From the tip of the barrel to the breach face, the barrel measured about 4.30".

Figure 6
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

The right side is marked with the Ruger eagle logo, "PRESCOTT AZ", the "RUGER" name, basic model number "SR1911" and serial number, along with the caliber ".45 AUTO" shown on the barrel.

Figure 7
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

The bottom of the frame has the warning "READ INSTRUCTION MANUAL BEFORE USING FIREARM".  It was kind of Ruger to put this warning in a very non obvious location.

Figure 8
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

The left side of the slide is marked with "RUGER" and "MADE IN USA".

Figure 9
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

The Ruger SR1911CMD Pistol with magazine weighed in at 36.50 ounces which is about 2.75 ounces lighter than the SR1911.  Fully loaded with eight rounds (7+1) of Remington HD Ultimate Home Defense 230 gr BJHP, the pistol weighs in at 42.50 ounces.

Figure 10                                                               Figure 11
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)   Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

Starting with the front of the pistol, the SR1911CMD had a good barrel "bushing to slide" and "barrel bushing to barrel" fit.  There was enough looseness to allow the pistol to function properly, yet when the barrel was locked up, I couldn't detect any movement of the barrel with respect to the slide and bushing end.  I also checked this with the recoil spring removed and could only detect a hint of movement.  With the recoil spring removed, I was not able to detect any vertical looseness at the rear of the barrel (chamber end).  Next I reinstalled the recoil spring and did a press test on the rear of the barrel to check for movement.  I was not able to detect any vertical looseness.

                        Figure 12                                                             Figure 13
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)   Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

The stainless steel barrel comes with a 6 groove 1:16" right hand twist.

Figure 14
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

The Ruger SR1911 comes with a standard white dot front sight as shown below.  In this photo, also notice the stainless matte finish that covers both the slide and frame.

Figure 15
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

These next two photos show the visual inspection port with and without a cartridge in the chamber.  Although I like the raised bar showing that a round is chambered on some of the other Ruger SR pistols, I'm glad to see Ruger didn't go that route on their SR1911.

Figure 16                                                             Figure 17
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)   Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

The SR1911CMD oversized ejection port is similar to many 1911 pistols on the market today with it having a "lowered and flared" port which should assist with the ejection of the spent case from the pistol.  This commander-style version also has a slightly relieved (cut out) area on the forward side that was not on my full size pistol.

Figure 18
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

The SR1911CMD comes with a Novak LoMount Carry rear sight which is adjustable in windage only.  These next two photos give you a good idea on the sight picture of this three dot sight system.  Personally, I'm a fan of the Novak sights and this is my preferred sight configuration.  Also notice the fit of the slide to frame.  There was a slight amount  of looseness of the slide at the rear, but overall I would say it seemed like a decent fit with the gaps between the slide and frame being uniform.

                                 Figure 19                                                            Figure 20
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)   Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

To adjust this sight, loosen the set screw and adjust the sight in the direction you want your group to move on the target.

Figure 21
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

The photo below shows about how much gap you have on each side of the front sight when extended at arms length. 

Figure 22
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

These next three photos show the rounded skeletonized hammer in it's three positions which are decocked, half cocked and cocked.  The skeletonized feature makes the hammer light weight and provides faster cycling (according to Ruger).  From an engineering perspective, I agree it would be faster cycling, but from a practical perspective, I wonder how much.  The half cocked position provides a safety in the event your thumb slips when cocking the hammer.  If your thumb slipped, the hammer would only fall to the half cocked position.

Figure 23                                      Figure 24                                  Figure 25
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)  Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)  Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

These next three photos should give you a good look a the back of the pistol.  The black accents on the rear sight, firing pin stop, ejector, extractor, hammer, thumb safety, grip safety and mainspring housing are a nice touch.  You can see that the thumb safety is right hand only.  The grip safety has a ridged speed bump and the mainspring housing has a textured checkered pattern on the backstrap surface.

Figure 26                                  Figure 27                              Figure 28
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)  Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)  Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

The SR1911CMD has an extended manual thumb safety.  These next two photos show the safety in the lever down, safety off,  "fire" position and then in the lever up, safety on, "safe" position.  The hammer must be fully cocked to move the manual thumb safety to the lever up (safety on) position.

Figure 29
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

Figure 30
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

The trigger on the Ruger SR1911CMD is a light weight aluminum skeletonized trigger with an adjustable over-travel stop.  The trigger pull on this pistol measured an average of 4.7 pounds based on ten pulls from a Lyman digital trigger pull scale.  I was not able to detect any perceivable creep and the trigger seemed to be crisp.  You can also see in the photo below  the extended magazine release.

Figure 31
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

The SR1911CMD comes with a set of checkered Rosewood grip panels with the Ruger logo inlayed into the center of the grip.  As mentioned already, the pistol includes a steel extended beavertail grip safety with a ridged speed bump.  I view a speed bump safety as a good feature because I tend to have a high grip hold and the bump helps to ensures I disengage the safety.

Figure 32                                                             Figure 33
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)   Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

This next photo shows looking into the magazine well.  You can see that the sides and back edges around the lip have been beveled slightly to allow for ease of magazine insertion. 

Figure 34
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

These next several photos give you a good look at the SR1911CMD Pistol with the slide locked open.

Figure 35
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

Figure 36
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

Figure 37
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

In the photo below, you can see the ejector which is thicker on this commander-style pistol than the full size SR1911.

Figure 38
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)


Magazine

The Ruger SR1911CMD Pistol comes with two stainless steel 7-round magazines.  Although not shown in the photo, Ruger makes it clear with the two orange stickers on the sides of the magazines that the SR1911CMD will fire with the magazine removed.

Figure 39
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

You can see the tapered front edge of the magazine has an exposed follower that will push the slide stop in place to lock the slide open after the last shot.

Figure 40
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

Figure 41
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

In the photos below you can see the anti-tilt followers and fixed base plate.

Figure 42                                                           Figure 43
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)   Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

                                                        Figure 44                                                               Figure 45
Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)   Ruger SR1911CMD Review (Commander-Style Pistol)

 

Thoughts

Just like I said in my SR1911 review, considering that 1911 pistols have been around twice as long as I have, I may have only scratched the surface of 1911 knowledge with my photos and commentary, but I hope that I have at least provided enough photos so that a seasoned 1911 aficionado could get some useful nuggets of information from this part of my review.  For those new to the 1911 pistol platform, I believe the Ruger SR1911CMD Pistol to be quality product and a good value.  I like this commander-style version as much and maybe slightly more than my original full size pistol.  Taking 3/4" off the length of the pistol seems to make it look more proportional and the trigger was slightly better on this pistol.

For more detailed photos and commentary, make sure you check out the other parts of this review and feel free to leave comments on my Reader's Comments page.  The following links are provided to help you see other parts of this review. 


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