Ruger SR1911 Review
Part 3 - External & Operational Features
June 6, 2012

In this part of my Ruger SR1911 Review, I cover all the externally visible features of the Ruger SR1911 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.


Before I get into the specifics of the Ruger SR1911 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 is 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 type views of the Ruger SR1911 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

Figure 3                                                               Figure 4

The Ruger SR1911 measured about 1.35" in width across the widest point which is from the right side grip to the left side thumb safety.

Figure 5

The SR1911 measured 5.45" in height with no magazine installed and 8.65" in length.  The right side includes the Ruger eagle logo, "PRESCOTT AZ", the "RUGER" name, model number "SR1911" and serial number.  The barrel length measured about 5.05".

Figure 6

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 7

The left side of the slide is marked with "RUGER" and "MADE IN USA".  This particular pistol also had a white inspection dot which I removed for the remaining photos.

Figure 8

The Ruger SR1911 Pistol with magazine weighed in at 39.25 ounces.

Figure 9

Starting with the front of the pistol, the SR1911 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 on 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 able to detect some vertical looseness at the rear of the barrel (chamber end) which I believe is a result of the looseness in the barrel link.  This rear looseness may not be an issue as long as it locks up in the same place every time.  Next I reinstalled the recoil spring and did a press test on the rear of the barrel to check for movement.  I was able to measure about 0.001" of downward movement when pressing.  Ultimately, range testing will give us a good idea on the significance of any looseness in this pistol.  My thoughts where that this would not be an issue and range tests proved me right.

Figure 10                                                              Figure 11

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 12

The 5" stainless steel barrel includes a visual inspection port at the rear to see if a round is chambered. The barrel also has the caliber ".45 AUTO" prominently engraved and comes with a 6 groove 1:16" right hand twist.

Figure 13

The SR1911 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.

Figure 14

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 15                                                                 Figure 16

The SR1911 comes with a Novak LoMount Carry rear sight which is adjustable in windage only.  To adjust this sight, loosen the setscrew in the rear sight and adjust the sight in the direction you want your group to move on the target.

Figure 17

These next two photos give you a good idea on the sight picture of this three dot sight system.  The photo on the right shows about how much gap you have on each side of the front sight when extended at arms length.  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 overhang (~.013") and looseness of the slide, but overall I would say it seemed like a decent fit with the gaps between the slide and frame being uniform.

Figure 18                                                            Figure 19                       

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 20                                    Figure 21                                   Figure 22

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.  During my examinations of the SR1911 pistol, the only manufacturing issue I found was that the recessed area for the Ruger logo in the wood grips on the right side was recessed more that it should have been.  In the right photo below you can see how the logo is tilted in the wood grip compared to that on the left side.

Figure 23                                   Figure 24                                 Figure 25

The SR1911 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 26                                                             Figure 27

The trigger on the Ruger SR1911 is a light weight aluminum skeletonized trigger with an adjustable over-travel stop.  The trigger pull on this pistol measured an average of 5.25 pounds based on ten pulls from a Lyman digital trigger pull scale.

Figure 28                                                          Figure 29    

The SR1911 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 30

Figure 31

These next two photos are intended to show the slide in forward (locked up) position and in the rear positions with the slide stop lever engaged holding the slide locked open.

Figure 32

Figure 33

This next photo shows looking through the ejection port at the ejector (A) and top of the disconnector (B).

Figure 34

These next two photos show looking into and up the magazine well.  You can see that the sides and back edges have been beveled slightly to allow for ease of magazine insertion.  You should also notice the extended magazine release.

Figure 35

Figure 36

The Ruger SR1911 Pistol comes with two stainless steel magazines.  One is a 7-round magazine and the other is a 8-round magazine.  The 7-round magazine has a flush profile while the 8-round magazine has an extended profile and polymer finger grip extension floor plate.  Ruger makes it clear with the two orange stickers on the sides of the magazines that the SR1911 will fire with the magazine removed.

Figure 37                                                          Figure 38

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 39

Figure 40

Figure 41

In the photos below you can see the anti-tilt followers and the removable floor plate on the 8-round magazine.

Figure 42                                                               Figure 43



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 nugget of information from this part of my review.  For those new to the 1911 pistol platform, I believe the Ruger SR1911 Pistol to be quality product and a good value.  The two features I would have liked to see different on this pistol were texturing on the front of the grip and an ambidextrous thumb safety.  My guess is that Ruger has tested the market with this model of their SR1911 and more models will be on the way.

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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