Beauty and appearance, performance and doing what it is supposed to do, comfortable, right fit, reliable, and optimum weight. These are just some of the adjectives and terms which might describe your new car or even a spouse, the latter even by some uncouth person. Well, I am using them to initially describe the new Ruger SR1911 Officer Style 9mm pistol.
The compact Ruger SR1911 Pistol has been released recently and seems at first glance to have these characteristics, but I want to put hands on it at the range and field test it against my criteria and desired features. The SR1911 Model #6758 single action carry gun with its 3.6″ barrel, comfortable, durable, and nice-looking G-10 grips, fine trigger, and machined parts called my name and Ruger was nice enough to send me the new gun to try. Ruger is building on the success of their other fine “Made in America” firearms, and I am anxious to test and evaluate this new SR1911 for myself and you… especially for concealed carry.
Over the past few months, I have reviewed several compacts in depth on this website and others, including some Rugers. Some of the Rugers are included in my Top 21 Concealed Carry guns in the recent second printing of my book “Concealed Carry & Handgun Essentials.” Now with the recent introduction of the new SR1911 compact, I want to analyze, compare, and rank it among my top compacts for a recommendation or not in this article.
I was very anxious to shoot the SR1911 and to compare it factor by factor to my other quality compact 9mms to see if it truly ranked in my top compact concealed carry pistols. Know that I am not on the Ruger payroll, have not been paid by them for this article nor influenced to say certain things about the gun. I want to be honest and straight-forward with my opinions and ideas the way I see the pistol to help folks sincerely.
Questions I Had Coming Into this Ruger SR1911 Lightweight Officer-Style Review
Specifically, I wanted to know FIRST how accurate is it out of the box, without modifications? Does it genuinely have a short, soft, and smooth single-action trigger press? Some say the trigger press is less than 5 pounds. Is this factual? Is it reliable? What about the gun’s weight for all-day carry? Is it too heavy for concealed carry? What are its pros and cons? Are there any issues or concerns that would prevent me from carrying this gun? Is this a gun I would recommend for concealed carry? Would it make it to my top five list of concealed carry 9mm handguns?
First, I want to present the specifications and some features for the SR1911 Officer’s Style 9mm compact pistol. Then I give you the 10 criteria that I use to evaluate all guns. Finally, I present my analysis and how I specifically evaluated the gun against each of my criteria to recommend or not recommend it. As always, set your own criteria and priorities, do your research and check my data, information, etc. with yours, for your very personal selection process.
Holsters for the Ruger SR1911 Lightweight Officer-Style Pistol
Kramer Handgun Leather
Kramer Handgun Leather makes a high-quality horsehide leather In-the-Waistband (IWB) #3 holster custom fit for this Ruger SR1911 Compact. They say that this holster was designed for use by our nation’s premier covert operations teams and has proven so comfortable and effective that it is now available for several popular medium and large frame semi-automatics and used by many shooters.
It is designed with a large paddle-type extension of leather that provides better support for larger pistols and places the grip of the handgun closer to the body. The gun is carried at an extreme F.B.I. forward tilt and provides maximum concealment with the butt of the gun hugging the body for a low profile. The mouth of this IWB #3 holster is reinforced with a specially-treated horsehide throat band and will NOT collapse when the gun is drawn or re-holstered. It allows easy one-handed re-holstering and is available in black, mahogany, tan, and shark.
BlackPoint Tactical makes a nice sturdy Kydex Outside-the-Waistband (OWB) holster for users who “desire a rugged and rigid carry platform.” This is their Standard OWB holster. It is designed to have a total curve throughout the body of the holster, allowing the holster to have a more natural fit to the curve of the body. It is not made flat which can create contact points on the body where the curvature of the holster does not match that of the body.
This holster has a retention screw that allows adjustability of its retention to individual preferences. It also has metal hardware that eliminates common loop failure points and side-mounted belt attachments to reduce thickness for improved concealment. There is a sweat guard to provide a moisture barrier and straight up and down and forward cant options available. This SR1911 with its 3.6″ barrel fits securely in this BlackPoint Tactical holster, which is made for a 4-inch 1911, so there is an extra .4 inch at the bottom for versatile fit for your 4-inch 1911s.
Criteria and Considerations for this Ruger SR1911 Lightweight Officer-Style Review
Here are just 10 of my criteria and factors I use for evaluating any handgun, so I will use them for the SR1911. In addition to my criteria, other subjective features may be appealing for some. For example, a particular style, mag release location, action, caliber, appearance, number of mags included, type of sights/modifications, bore axis, rail, grip angle, non-porting or porting, added extras like a holster and pouch, and customer service. So, I combined these into my last Miscellaneous criterion.
I assigned a total possible point score of 10 points for each of my 10 criteria for a total possible score of 100 points. You can certainly add your own additional criteria and preferences or subtract any of mine.
Recognize that there are several features, characteristics, pros and cons, and personal criteria to include and consider and you make your own tradeoffs according to your priorities, preferences, defined needs, and use.
Ruger SR1911 Lightweight Officer-Style Compact 9mm Range Test
I shot high-quality Sig Sauer Elite V-Crown JHP ammo in 115 and 124 grain weights and some in 115 grain FMJ to determine how well the gun cycled and handled different loads. After only firing about 200 rounds (versus the usual 500 rounds over a couple of days), I had the information I needed.
Below are my evaluations for each of my 10 criteria for my concealed carry purpose. I wanted to put the gun through its paces and check it thoroughly for malfunctions, stoppages, and performance with quality JHP ammo and FMJ rounds. I want to thank Sig Sauer for providing various Elite Performance fine ammo to test and evaluate the SR1911.
The SR1911 9mm compact has very nice ergonomics. The somewhat shorter Officer’s-Style grip felt good in my medium-sized hands and was very comfortable. My pinky finger did not dangle below the magazine well when I gripped it. The texture of the high-quality G-10 grips and their stippling on the backstrap especially were perfect for me and very nice. I could easily reach all the controls.
The large extended magazine release was easy to reach without rotating my hand and it is reversible. The slide was easy for me to rack and the felt recoil and muzzle rise were very manageable partially due to the slightly-less than 30 ounces LOADED weight of this compact. The small profile, shorter barrel, Officer model dimensions, and rounded butt and corners seemed to lend this gun to concealed carry. Below I will get into these factors and my opinions and ideas for each of my criteria after my range testing.
Ruger SR1911 Lightweight Officer-Style Post-Range Report
After my range live fire, the SR1911 compact gun impressed me as a very accurate and reliable (with limited rounds fired by me) carry gun. I had no malfunctions or stoppages at all with the various Sig Sauer ammo bullet weights fired. After initially cleaning the gun and then shooting it at the range for the first time using my standard Col Ben’s Concealed Carry Drill, I easily and quickly landed all 15 rounds (with a mag change) in the five various-sized circles at 3 yards. So, I challenged myself by moving to 5 yards for my self-defense drill. Again, my 15 rounds (with a mag change) fired rapid fire with the Sig V-Crown 124 grain JHP at 5 yards all hit in their five circle targets and within the 20 seconds time limit. See above photo.
It was a challenge for this old codger’s declining eyesight with my same drill at 10, 15, and 20 yards. But, I found this Sig 124-grain JHP to be a very good self-defense round. The about 29 ounces weight of the gun + ammo weight helped. From a big picture perspective for me, these hits were acceptable for closeup self-defense encounters. BUT, shoot it for yourself to make your own decisions, based on your abilities, goals, and proficiency. Use my drill at various distances, e.g., 3, 5, 10, 15, and 20 yards to challenge yourself. At first, do not time yourself but safely practice, until you feel comfortable and safe with the Drill. Above are my hits for my 15 rounds at 5 yards fired rapid fire with a mag change with the SR1911. Let me know how you do with my drill.
Range Test Results for SR1911 for each of my 10 Criteria:
1. Accuracy and Reliability – Score: 10
The Accuracy of the SR1911 compact was very acceptable for me at distances of 3, 5, 7, and 10 yards, given my aging eyesight. Using my concealed carry Drill, I started at 3 yards, and this was a “piece of cake” for this fine gun. So I moved to 5 yards and again easily had all 15 hits with a mag change in all five circles in 19 seconds. Then at 7 and 10 yards, my hits met the goal of 80% hits (12 of 15 shots fired) for both strings in 20 seconds or less. At 10 yards, I just barely got 12 hits in the five circles in 20 seconds. I need more practice, but the gun did fine. Groups were also good for me at 15 and 20 yards, but not great.
I fired about 200 total rounds. I’ve got to shoot again to challenge myself to beat my Drill times. Hope you try my concealed carry Drill. The 4.75# trigger press helped. It was crisp, short, and very soft, helping with minimizing my movement and contributing to very nice accuracy. The about 29 oz. weight of the loaded gun with its steel barrel and steel slide certainly helped my accuracy, in addition to the full-length steel guide rod. This IS an accurate pistol. I used my Modified-Isosceles Stance, a two-handed grip, and shot high-performance Sig Sauer V-Crown 115 and 124 grain JHPs and FMJs.
2. Trigger Press – Score: 10
The trigger press averaged about 4.75 pounds with ten readings from my Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge. YES! This was almost perfect for me and what I expected. Nice smooth and soft press. It will probably improve more after break-in and shooting it more. I prefer that my carry guns have near this 5# press and I am used to a lighter trigger and can handle it safely. This is personal preference and a training and gun familiarity issue. I shoot a lot of 1911s and striker-fired single actions and like the lighter press. Iin my recent book, I analyze and compare 21 of my top 21 concealed carry guns’ trigger presses and other features. I really liked this trigger.
3. Trigger – Score: 9
The single-action aluminum skeletonized trigger had a very identifiable click and reset point. I liked the short takeup, positive reset, and crisp trigger. It was a light trigger weight and again for me personally, I like single action pistols. My shots were consistent each time, and I could definitely recognize the reset point.
4. Barrel Length – Score: 10
The 3.60-inch stainless steel barrel helped control muzzle flip and recoil. It was treated with a special salt bath nitride for durability. The steel barrel was of high quality, and it fit tightly with the slide and frame. This barrel length was just right for concealed carry and concealed well.
5. Sights – Score: 8
The steel Novak LoMount Carry 3-dot white sights were distinguishable and certainly acceptable. The dots were large enough for me. But for my aging vision and color-blind eyes, I prefer the bright green fiber optic front sight for a better lock on to the front sight. And I do prefer standard tritium Night Sights for concealed carry..
6. Proper Gun Weight – Score: 9
The 27.2 ounce unloaded weight of the SR1911 compact was acceptable for concealed carry. Of course, there are pros and cons for gun weight for various uses. A very personal decision. While a satisfactory weight, loaded at near 30 ounces, I prefer a slightly lighter gun for carry in a compact. But, this will work.
7. Caliber – Score: 10
Shooting the SR1911 was comfortable in my hand, and the 9mm caliber was nice to shoot. The G-10 grips allowed a solid grasp of the pistol and were great with the 9mm. I do prefer the 9mm caliber for my main concealed carry gun. The felt recoil was easily manageable, and I like its low bore axis. It digested the various weights of 9mm ammo easily without a single malfunction or stoppage.
8. Capacity – Score: 9
There were two steel mags included, both eight rounders. They were quality mags and had view holes for round count. I prefer that three mags are included as standard, with an extended mag to enhance a solid grip.
9. Ergonomics – Score: 10
The ergonomics of the SR1911 were excellent. I really like the feel and looks of the G-10 grips, and they work functionally. You can see how good they look above. The “Officer’s” style grip area was ample to allow me to acquire a firm and comfortable grip. And I was able to easily reach all the controls without changing my grip at all. The over-sized beavertail grip safety did not cause any problems at all, and my natural grip allowed the gun to function without any stoppages. I like this.
I really like the extended thumb safety and extended slide stop which allowed easy operation. This manual safety clicked solidly on and off. The rounded butt of the gun’s mainspring housing helped concealability, but I wanted just a little more rounding shape to it. Slide serrations were only at the rear, none on the front of the slide, but that is fine with me. The steel slide, barrel, sights, and mags were solid, and helped accuracy and handling. The lightweight hammer helped with faster cycling. The mags dropped freely.
10. Miscellaneous – Score: 9
I disassembled, lubed and cleaned, and re-assembled the SR1911 before I shot it, as always with any gun. Disassembly was easy, and it was very easy and quick to takedown without tools. Just remember to remove the recoil spring plug from the rear and rotate the barrel link forward to remove the barrel through the front of the slide. A caution (for a lot of pistols) is to NOT dry fire them while the slide is removed because it could damage the hammer and other internal parts. It can be normally dry-fired otherwise without damage to the firing pin or other components, per the manual.
The gun does not have a rail, and that is fine with me for a concealed carry gun. I liked the visual loaded chamber viewport. The SR1911 comes in a cardboard box which helps lower its price. I rarely use the plastic containers anyway and want to save on the upfront purchase price. It does not include accessories like some other compacts, e.g., a holster, mag pouch, backstraps, or third mag, but it does come with those great G-10 grips. There are several nice features for this gun. There is an implied warranty, rather than a full or limited one, per their policy, but my experience tells me they produce a fine product and stand behind them.
Total Points = 94 out of 100 Possible.
I certainly RECOMMEND this single-action compact 1911 pistol for consideration as your concealed carry gun. I especially like its accuracy, manageable recoil, steel construction, G-10 grips, and great light trigger press. Its felt recoil was very manageable for a compact 9mm, and its smooth, rounded lines prevented snags. I was not in love with its standard 3-dot white sights, but they worked fine and are certainly acceptable. My aging eyes wanted brighter sights, and I wish it came standard with night sights.
But its many great features and especially the accuracy and reliability are there. I want to shoot it more to see its long-term reliability before I decide to put it in my concealed carry rotation. But I was very impressed with its accuracy and its very controllable recoil for a compact 9mm, as was another instructor who shot it. I had no malfunctions or stoppages whatsoever with the 200 rounds I fired.
This SR1911 Officer’s Style 9mm ranks in my TOP FIVE concealed carry 9mm pistols, near the top. I will buy this 1911 gun for concealed carry and carry it after more practice with it. These are just my opinions and ideas, so handle and shoot it for yourself. I hope this review of the SR1911 Lightweight Officer-Style 9mm has helped you gain some information you did not previously have.
Consider that these are just my opinions with limited live-range fire and shooting myself only about 200 rounds of ammo. Like always, I recommend that you shoot any handgun yourself before you purchase it. Decide on your criteria, how you will primarily use the gun, and what features are important to you and you are willing to pay for ahead of your range time. Then critically evaluate the gun YOURSELF per your criteria and purpose, with standard drills (several mentioned in my book), with various ammo types and brands, over an extended break-in period of about 500 rounds. Remember, Safety First Always.
Continued Success and Be Safe!
Prescott, AZ 86301
Kramer Handgun Leather Holsters
Tacoma, WA 98411
BlackPoint Tactical Holsters
Alpharetta, GA 30004
Sig Sauer for Elite V-Crown 9mm JHP-FMJ ammo
Newington, NH 03801
Photos by Author.
* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.
© 2018 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at [email protected].