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April 19 : 2011  
Skill Set: Ruger Makes a 1911: SR-1911
by Rich Grassi

The original preproduction SR1911 had Hogue rubber stocks. A line of these preproduction samples were extensively fired at Gunsite in early December, 2010.
While at Gunsite last December, looking at the then-secret Gunsite Scout Rifle by Ruger, we were introduced to the SR-1911. We shot pre-production samples and this feature covers those - not the gun being released at NRA. It has yet to be tried. Based on the press release it sounds like little has changed.

I'd heard unkind things said about the potential for a Ruger 1911; some said it would be blocky and ugly, others talked about a Manhattan-phone-book's worth of safety warnings etched into the piece, along with various and multitudinous loaded chamber indicators, extra "safety" devices, mudflaps and curb feelers.

Maybe in the Ruger that used to be, not now. When it was decided to make a 1911, that's what they set out to make. So what is the Ruger SR-1911?

It's a standard 5-inch, 39 ounce single action, 7-round 1911. The slide is forged stainless steel, the receiver is cast. Both have a bead blasted finish. The barrel is also stainless steel. The extractor is internal. The external thumb safety is built up. There is a titanium firing pin.

SR1911 is field-stripped like a GI 1911.
There is no firing pin safety plunger. There is a firing pin spring, as you might expect. The "loaded chamber indicator" is a divot cut out of the barrel hood - affectionately known as the "Mass. Hole" (for Massachusetts, the state that requires such damn-foolery).

The grip safety is a beaver-tail with a pad extension at its base. There is no full-length guide rod. Slide serrations are at the rear of the slide only. The sights are a Novak rear with standard front in a dovetail. There are three white dots, two on the rear and one in front.

The trigger and hammer are skeletonized in the current style. The mainspring housing is checkered but not the front strap. The plunger tube is integral to the frame - not a piece that's staked on. I almost wish I could say the same about the stock screw bushings, but they are separate. The stocks are by Hogue and are of rubber. The stock screws have an Allen-head.

We had about 25 guns in the hands of various media and outdoors industry types. It's fair to say there were a few issues, as these guns were put out within the week before we arrived. I wanted to buy the one I shot, but these weren't finished products - they were post-prototype but not yet confirmed as final form.

The SR1911s suffered no stoppages witnessed by the editor, though a few had loose sights. Ruger had one week to build these guns for our use. They shot very well.
The issues we had were that sights came loose on three or four guns. I'm not personally aware of any stoppages. A few folks missed the grip safety and failed to fire - not all the time, but sometimes. That's a problem I should have; I shoot the 1911 with thumbs high, the "shooting" thumb on the thumb safety and I have small hands.

I didn't miss the grip safety. I'm unsure what happened with those who did. We could build up the grip safety or ask Wayne Novak for "The Answer." (http://www.novaksights.com/customguns/1911/answer.html) For me, the gun worked fine as is.

I consumed between 300 and 400 rounds in the primary SR1911 I shot. Dave Spaulding shot closer to 600 rounds through his sample and one other. I noticed one edge that worked a blister up at the base of my shooting thumb before our time was up. The gun was otherwise "hands-friendly," a nice change from many 1911s of my acquaintance.

For me, the gun cries out for nothing. I'd change sights, if only to use a permanent marker to block out the white dots. I'd prefer tritium up front. Dave Biggers, marketing guru at XS Sights, installed XS Big Dots on the SR-1911 he used. He seemed to hit what he wanted to shoot with no problems.

At an MSRP of $799, you'd be a sap not to buy one if you're in the market for a 1911.

And, in 2011, who's not in the market for a 1911?

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