It was good to see Ruger add a 40 S&W version to the SR Series. There are lots of folks who like compact 9mm handguns and feel perfectly comfortable carrying them for self-defense, but there are many who feel the 40 S&W holds a significant edge in stopping power, and not without good reason. The law enforcement shooting results database* indicates, the 40 S&W outperforms the 9mm Luger, 357 SIG, 10mm, 41 magnum, and 44 magnum with a 94% rating for one shot stops. The 40 S&W, in a very compact firearms, is only marginally outperformed by the 357 magnum and 45 ACP.
A 40 S&W can do something distinctively better than the 357 magnum or 45 ACP, it can get small while not giving up much in the way of ballistic performance. A concealed 357 magnum revolver needs a large cylinder to provide decent capacity and at least a four inch barrel to provide better than 38 Special +P ballistics. A full up 45 ACP with a 5″ barrel takes up as much space as two slice toaster. A short barrel version doesn’t solve the problem of excessive width and it yields substantially diminished ballistic performance. A compact 40 S&W can match 9mm autoloader dimensions, surrender little in capacity and still deliver impressive ballistics. Ruger has done a good job of exercising this potential.
The Ruger SR40c in overview…
The SR40c is a cam actuated tilting barrel design which basically means the breech is closed and the barrel is locked in position at the moment a cartridge is discharged. As the bullet clears the muzzle and the slide begins to move rearward, the rear of the barrel is cammed downward, unlocking the action and allowing the gun to cycle.
The SR40c has a presetting action. Unlike the Ruger LC series, which is based on a preset hammer, the SR40c has a preset striker assembly. The cycling slide of the SR40c, specifically as the slide moves forward to battery, partially cocks the striker (See arrows below). The trigger pull then carries the striker the rest of the way to full cock and initiates its release. Once the striker is released, the trigger cannot be pulled again without the slide moving rearward enough to partially cock the striker again.
There will be no double striking a stubborn primer with the SR40c without partially cycling the slide to preset the striker, which means correction for a misfire is racking the slide to eject the failed round and chambering a fresh round. Why? Safety, particularly in a defensive firearms where handguns are roughly handled and a myriad of safety devices are needed to prevent extreme conditions from resulting in accidental discharge. This is not a double action autoloader as there is no traditional hammer and trigger pull alone cannot cock and release the gun’s striker. It is not a single action autoloader as the cycling side will only partially cock the action and trigger pull is required to finish the job. The SR40c has a magazine disconnect function. The intent of the gun’s design is to not fire when a magazine is not inserted.
The controls are familiar for anyone who has handled an autoloader since 1903 and intuitive by placement; thumb safety, slide stop, magazine latch. Thumb safety and magazine latch are ambidextrous. The trigger safety/firing pin block is a familiar character for anyone experienced with striker type firing arms.
The sights are three dot white, click elevation adjustment is nice, as is the ability to drift windage, front and rear, to accommodate a favorite load. The sights are fairly low profile, absent of snag… atude and they combine for a crisp sight picture. The thumb safety is easy to reach with even medium size hands, the magazine release the same.
The “loaded” indicator is a nice touch atop the slide, but I tend to want to see actual brass before I conclude loaded, or an absence of the same to signify empty. The slide is fairly stiff; a double recoil spring and low slide mass necessity. The Ruger’s slide lock lever holds the slide in the open position when set manually, or after the last round in the magazine is expended. The slide is released by pulling back on the slide, then depressing and holding the slide lock lever as the slide is released. The accessory rail is there for those who wish to mount headlights, rearview mirrors and proximity sensors on their own SR40c. I don’t fault Ruger for this feature, all the kids are doing it.
There is no independent guide bushing. That honor of that function belongs to the oversize muzzle and close fit to the gun’s slide. The guide rod, as is standard fare these days, is made of durable plastic.
The frame is poly, the brunt of the barrel up/down and anchoring and slide loading on the frame is taken by the cam block assembly and metal frame rails. The internal magazine housing and fire control parts support are provided by steel pieces integrated into the frame. The SR40c can take shock, sweat, dirt (if eventually cleaned) and constant use without falling apart, as should be the case with a reliable defensive firearm.
For those who like a curved or flat backstrap or can’t make up their mind, the SR40c backstrap is reversible. Pressing out the backstrap pin, the backstrap insert can be rotated to give either. I tried both and found the flat to be more comfortable but it is nice to have the option.
Capacity – is anything absolute?
I like the size and heft of the SR40c, just like I like the size and heft of the SR9c, they are compact firearms that serve a great purpose, close in self-defense, and do so without weighing so much as to make your pants fall down or get in the way of just about anything else you are doing.
The SR40c, “c” for compact, is supplied with two magazines, a 9 round that includes a floorplate finger extension and a 15 round that extends the grip (installed on pistol and in foreground.) The SR40c is also supplied with a loading tool to assist in stuffing rounds when loading magazines which I found not to be required under any circumstance. Personally, I don’t have a need for the 15 round magazine and, it seems, this much extension of the grip makes this into a big gun… with a short barrel. So why not just buy the longer barrel SR40 if there is no need for a very compact firearm?
Wake up! I’m going to cover live fire
I did not shoot two hundred yard groups with the SR40c. I can’t see that far and it scares the wild turkeys. I did shoot seven yard targets from a two hand hold… both mine, and the gun could be shot quickly and put three shots into a hair more than an inch using inexpensive plinking ammo.
The 165 grain white box ammo shot 938 fps from the SR’s 3.5″ barrel compared to the 5″ barrel standard 1060 fps. The Remington UMC 180 grains shot 875 fps compared to their 5″ 990 fps standard. I began this piece by talking about a minimal sacrifice in performance for a major reduction is firearm size. My favorite ammunition for this compact 40 S&W is Remington Golden Saber 165 Grain jacketed Hollow Points that are 5″ barrel rated at 1150 fps and shot 1080 from the Ruger SR40c. Not only do they hold onto a lot of velocity, but they expand big time and penetrate without falling apart.
|Type||Semi Auto Striker|
|Capacity||9+1 or 15+1|
|Grip Frame||Glass filled Nylon|
|Finish||Nitridox Pro Black|
Weights & Measures
|Weight – Empty||23 Oz.|
The SR40c is a solid compact autoloader. It is accurate for purpose, reliable and durable. For concealed carry, home defense or trips to the range for a little recreational target shooting, it is an excellent value.