Ruger American Pistol Review (9mm)
Part 1 - Introduction, Specifications and Summary
April 8, 2016

Ruger American Pistol Review: Rear View    Ruger American Pistol Review: Right View    Ruger American Pistol Review: Front View

Ruger continues to adapt and evolve to meet the consumer's interests and the proof is the release of their new Ruger American Pistol.  When I first learned of this new series, I wondered what would be the differences for this new pistol compared to their SR series.  I think the differences get summed up by this new pistol's catalog number which includes the words "PRO-DUTY." The Ruger American Pistol is for those consumers wanting a pistol platform with features that would truly be considered by our military and law enforcement today.  One aspect that immediately stands out for me is that this initial "PRO-DUTY" version has minimal safety features.  I own several of Ruger's SR pistols and truly love their features as a whole, but I also know that when it comes to my own personal preferences, I tend to shift in the direction believing less safeties equals more safety (for me).  Other significant features on the Ruger American Pistol include a new trigger system, barrel cam / low mas slide / low bore axis enhancements, Novak®  three-dot sights, modular wrap-around grip system, ambidextrous slide stop and mag release, quick takedown and more.  Sounds interesting...

The new Ruger American Pistol is basically a clean sheet approach where Ruger was trying to produce their next generation pistol.  Ruger combined the specifications for the US Military's Joint Combat Pistol with the Modular Handgun System and then did their own market research with various law enforcement experts to find out what they were wanting in a duty pistol.  The results ended up yielding the Ruger American Pistol.  At the time of this review, Ruger has three versions; 9mm (17+1), 9mm (10+1) and 45 Auto (10+1).  Based on various sources, I believe that Ruger intends to eventually release compact models, add the .40 S&W caliber to the lineup and offer models including some safety features (i.e. manual safety).

Now... just to get it on the table up front... when anyone is considering the style of handgun that is best for their needs, they should consider their full picture.  That picture might include intended use, how they carry, where they store it, how they store it, who else has access to it, are there kids in the home, blah blah blah.  My point here is that as you reduce safety features on any firearm, you increase your responsibility to ensure safety in all circumstances.  Having said that, there are those who will love this first offering of the Ruger American Pistol and those who will will wish it had a few more safety features.  For those people wishing for more, don't worry.  If Ruger ends up shifting their focus to the Ruger American Pistol series and away from their SR series (and based on my review I think they will), then I would expect to see other models of the Ruger American Pistol hitting the market in the near future.


Ruger is offering the new Ruger American Pistol at an MSRP of $579, but the street prices are coming in between $425 and $475.  Overall, this seems very comparable with something like the S&W M&P9.

During my reviews I like to compare my results to the manufacturer's claims where possible so the following text in colored italics was taken directly from the Ruger website on 2/27/16 and gives the Key Features and Specifications for the new Ruger American Pistol.  The , and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos, commentary or both.

Key Features

  • Trigger features a short take-up with positive reset.
  • Recoil-reducing barrel cam, low-mass slide, low center of gravity and low bore axis.
  • Performance tested for sustained +P ammunition use.
  • Genuine Novak® LoMount Carry three-dot sights.
  • Modular wrap-around grip system for adjusting palm swell and trigger reach.
  • Safe, easy takedown with no tools or trigger pull required.
  • Ambidextrous slide stop and magazine release allow actuation with either hand.
  • Safety features include internal, automatic sear block system, integrated trigger safety and no trigger pull required for takedown.
  • Also includes: Two nickel-Teflon® plated steel magazines; small, medium and large grip modules; hard plastic case


  • Model Number: 8605
  • Catalog Number: A9-PRO-DUTY
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Capacity: 17+1
  • Slide Material: Stainless Steel
  • Slide Finish: Black Nitride
  • Grip Frame: One-Piece, High-Performance, Glass-Filled Nylon
  • Grips: Ergonomic Wrap-Around Grip Module
  • Sights: Novak® LoMount Carry 3-Dot
  • Weight: 30 oz. review pistol weighed in at 30.8 oz. empty and 38.1 oz. with 18 rounds of 115gr ammunition
  • Barrel Length: 4.20" actually 4.16 on review pistol
  • Overall Length: 7.50"
  • Height: 5.60"
  • Width: 1.40"
  • Grooves: 6
  • Twist: 1:10" RH
  • Suggested Retail: $579.00 retail prices between $425 and $475

This review is broken down into multiple parts with this page providing links to each part along with an overall summary of the specifications, pros and cons, and my final "bottom line" comments.  Make sure you take time to checkout the other parts of the review because they contain many photos and lots of commentary.  Also, there is an extreme amount of detail in those parts which is not covered on this page.

As you read these Pros and Cons below, keep in mind that it is hard to keep my particular preferences from creeping in the equation.  Therefore, it is important that you take the time to look at the other parts of this review so you can decide yourself on items which may be more of a personal preference.


  • Overall, the trigger had a short travel, crisp break, no overtravel and a relatively short reset.  I think the reset could have been better, but it wasn't too bad. For this style pistol, I feel the trigger easily meets the need.
  • The Ruger American Pistol is extremely easy to disassemble and reassemble and there should be no excuses for keeping your pistol clean.
  • Everything I have seen indicates that the Ruger American Pistol is an accurate and reliable handgun that will feed a variety of ammunition without issue.
  • I was pleased with the overall ergonomics of the pistol and it had a good feel in my hands.
  • The stainless steel slide with the black nitride coating was a great decision making the pistol very corrosion resistant.
  • Made in the USA!

Pro/Con/Comment (you decide)?:

  • The gap between the bottom of the magazine base plate and grip seemed slightly wider than most.
  • The magazine seemed to have more freeplay (rattle) inside the grip than some of my other pistols.
  • Ruger also has incorporated a new design for their pistols with the integration of the fire control insert and interesting way they incorporated the striker blocker.


  • When unloading the pistol and removing a live round from the chamber, I found 115gr hollow points would hit the rear of the barrel as the ejector tried to flip the round out of the chamber.  This was also the case from some 115 FMJ round nose ammunition and other types of ammunition.  The bullet hitting the barrel made the slide stop and gave a false sense of having the slide being pulled fully to the rear.  Releasing the slide from this position re-chambered the round, so you need to make sure you pull the slide back hard and visually verify a round is not in the chamber when unloading.


Bottom Line:

Ruger's new Ruger American Pistol is a great new addition to their line of pistols and I can see it replacing their SR series in the future.  The pistol I reviewed seems to be a quality made product and proved to be reliable with all the ammunition I put through it.  Bench testing proved it to have an accuracy potential consistent with this style of pistol and range testing proved it to be fun and easy to shoot.  I'm looking forward to seeing how Ruger will evolve this new line of pistols and if you are in the market for a "PRO-DUTY" styled handgun, I suggest taking a close look and the new Ruger American Pistol.

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