By: Greg Chabot
Photos by Sasha Steadman
As a freelance writer I have to self-fund my work. Unlike the shills in other publications or YouTube, buying my own test weapons keeps me honest. And I couldn’t care less if I piss off a company or their fan boys. I’m a 1911 guy, it is a timeless and battle-proven design that is my go-to handgun. There is a train of thought that you need to spend big bucks to get one that “will work”. That is complete nonsense as I personally own sub $1k production 1911s that are just as reliable as a semi-custom. One of these is the Ruger SR1911 Commander.
Ruger needs no introduction to readers, and I won’t bore you with their history. I have wanted to put a Ruger 1911 through the paces since they debuted in 2011. They were always sold out and owners tend to hang onto them. I got lucky and found a slightly used Commander for short money in God’s caliber, .45 ACP, that I promptly jumped on.
Before I start, if you are in the “MIM is bad or it will get you killed” camp, you might as well skip this review, there is nothing wrong with MIM in firearms. I personally have never witnessed or broken any MIM parts on my personal weapons. I shoot more than the average shooter, so I call bullshit on the “MIM parts break easier” argument. MIM parts can be found in cars and airplanes, and no one complains about that.
The SR1911 comes in a plain cardboard box with two GI-style magazines. Novak three-dot white sights are standard. The previous owner swapped out the front sights for a fiber optic one which I decided to keep. This is a working man’s gun, plain and simple. There is no front strap checkering, the grips are standard wooden grips. I swapped them out for more aggressive G10 ones off a Kimber Desert Warrior after my simulated bloody hand test. The frame is cast stainless steel with the plunger tube cast into the frame. The ejection port is flared and lowered. Bushing-to-barrel fit is tight as is slide-to-frame fit. The pre-series 80 trigger is skeletal aluminum and broke at five pounds. The overall quality was outstanding, with good parts fitment and no machine marks. Full specs are available on Ruger’s website.
I started with my grip test using mineral oil to simulate blood on my hands. The stock grips were decent with dry hands, with oily hands, I found myself correcting my grip while shooting which I expected. I planned on changing the grips and adding skateboard tape to the front strap as I like aggressive grip texture on my handguns. After cleaning off the mineral oil, I swapped the grips and added skateboard tape.
I used mixed ammo during testing which I feel is a true test of reliability, the weapon was not cleaned during testing, SEAL-1 CLP was used as lube.
The trigger weighed in at five pounds even, which is fine for a carry gun in my opinion. The trigger had a short take-up and reset with no grit and a clean break. Not bad for a working man’s 1911, accuracy was decent, and it will shoot MOBG (minute of bad guy). This is where the differences come up between a semi-custom and production gun. Semi-customs have a more precise fitting than a production gun which can increase accuracy. For a self-defense gun, the SR1911 accuracy meets my standards for a carry gun.
In a deadly situation under extreme stress a first shot hit is what counts. You should train to be prepared for a follow-up shot if needed. As a combat veteran, I have witnessed firsthand, a normally easy shot on a flat range, being missed at close range. Leave the theatrics to the phonies on social media and focus on the basics and live to tell about it.
I consistently hit the steel shooting various drills and all misses were on me. I won’t bore you with a spreadsheet on ammo types and groups as we all shoot differently.
The SR1911 was 100% reliable with all ammo used including some steel case garbage that was given to me for a total of 700 rounds. It was dropped into sand and mud, and it kept chugging along. At the conclusion of range testing the weapon was cleaned. No unusual wear was found on any internal parts. That didn’t surprise me, as Ruger is known to overbuild their products.
Overall, I was completely satisfied with my purchase. The SR1911 is no slouch and performed to my standards for a carry gun. It was 100% reliable and I completely trust my life to this weapon and would have no issues taking it to war. My only complaint is the lack of front strap checkering and grips, which is easily remedied by end-users to their tastes. For the price point this weapon performed better than some higher-priced offerings. Sure, the high-end guns look nice and might be super accurate. If they are not reliable, they are useless as a self-defense weapon in my opinion. Ruger is notorious for advertising a high MSRP for their products. On the streets in my area, they can be found for under $1K USD new if you shop around. If you are looking for a reliable and well-built 1911 made in America look no further than the Ruger SR1911.