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One of the interesting things about being… mature, is hearing my children and grandchildren go on and on about the great songs of their generation, when many are no more than a cover of the songs of my ancient generation. As good grandpa, I smile, feign acceptance of their creative superiority, but somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind I hogtie them to a chair and make them listen to the originals. We were so much better at everything.

At least three times each generation, some shooter discovers the 1911 type 45 Auto. They set aside their Euro influenced 9mm and 40 S&W autoloaders, double action and preset, grab a good 1911 and start shouting about their new discovery. John Browning’s 1911 is a good, solid design. Which is why, over one hundred years after their inception, manufacturers are still introducing a myriad of new ones every year. This is the second iteration of Ruger’s SR 1911. What differentiates it from the first go-round is the new additions Commander length , 4.25″ versus 5.00″ barrel… which is probably why Ruger cleverly added “CMD” to the gun’s Catalog #, SR1911CMD.

Thank you for not messing with a great basic design!

The Ruger SR1911 is very similar to a Colt 1911 Series 70; a recoil operated, linked, tilting barrel design, with that generation’s enhancements and some popular custom touches. The SR1911 is an all steel gun, including the mainspring housing, but excepting its lightweight aluminum trigger.

Consistent with the Series 70 are: no firing pin bloc, a long trigger, lowered ejection port and extended ejector. Custom touches not standard on the Series 70 are: solid barrel bushing, lightweight trigger with overtravel adjustment, titanium firing pin, dovetail mounted front sight, Novak LoMount Carry rear sight, extended thumb safety, beavertail grip safety with contact pad, and lightened hammer. The slide stop – thumb safety plunger tube is cast integral to the frame.

Despite all of the nuance changes, the SR1911 remains a spec gun in regard to pin hole size and location, as well as in overall size and geometry. Subsequently, virtually any part can be upgraded, enhanced or modified with any of the 375 million aftermarket part available for the 1911. Yes, that was an exaggeration, but only slight. Yes, that was another exaggeration… You’re catching on.

Contrary to impressions some people may have, the 1911 is a small firearm, only 7/8″ across the slide and 3/4″ across the grip frame. Grip panels swells artificially expand width to 1.34″ to make it a comfortable handful. The SR1991CMD envelope is 7.75″x5.45″, weighing 36.4 ounces. Considerably smaller than a Glock 45 Auto of comparable barrel length, but about 10 ounces heavier; steel Vs poly frame. Subsequently, the Ruger is a comfortable compact handgun to shoot.

Not a lot of parts inside…

The Ruger SR1911 takes down this far without the use of tools, including the bushing wrench that comes with the gun. Standard 1911 stuff. You pull the magazine and clear the gun. You push in on the recoil spring plug, rotate the barrel bushing until it clears the plug and ease the plug out… then look for it on the floor when it slips off of your thumb or rebounds off your forehead. Pull the slide back until the take down notch aligns with the end of the slide stop and push out the stop. Move the slide forward and off. Lift out the guide rod and barrel.

So the preset guys, the striker guys start jumping up and down advising that their Euro sympathetic guns come apart with alignment of a slide stop only. Very true, but the Ruger SR and other 1911 design guys can strip the rest with a small punch and end up with a few more parts, including the slide. The striker guys are left with a grip frame that has lots and lots of linked and solo stampings, springs and spring retained pins and it is not abundantly clear that they can ever be reassembled again. Yes, further exaggeration, however, a 1911 does have approximately 30 less parts and they are easy to “dis” and “re” assemble.

Just like the big CZ 75 SP-01 except completely different

What the SR1911, all 1911s, have in common with the firearms like the Browning Hi Power and theCZ 75 SP-01 are radial locking lugs, part of the original Browning 1911 design. Why bring up this model CZ 75? Because it is another firearm that has the potential to exhibit excellent accuracy. The locking lug layout, within the confined of link and slide stop slop, allows the barrel to align cartridge casehead square to breech face and barrel to bushing with a very solid lock up. There is no squared locking lug above the barrel’s chamber that needs to be squared with the slide and forces a third alignment point between breech face and muzzle.

Playing around with some bench parts, it would not be difficult to refine the SR1911 with a tighter conventional, spherical or angled barrel bushing, or swap in a favorite match barrel. A little gunsmith sitting to maintain the loaded chamber indicator in the barrel hood, but nothing serious. Or better yet, just leave it alone and shoot it as Ruger intended. The slide was a tight fit on this gun and nice uniform rail contact.

Good sights for carry, basic low profile three dot, the rear is Novak LoMount Carry, the front is dovetail mounted. The front mount means a lot to those of us with old guns with staked front sights and a reason to keep old installation fixtures around. The bobbed hammer is a nice touch. I put them on all of my 1911s. Mostly because all of the other kids do it and it looks impressive; all that decreased lock time from lightened parts and snag free concealed carry.

Not in the least bit picky

In the old days, Mesozoic, Cretaceous more specifically, the preoccupation related to the 1911 was reliable feed and cycling. The shorter the barrel version, the more sensitive the firearm, the more stove pipes and shaved cast bullets we all got to look at. Hobbyists were busy grinding away with Dremels, ruining some very nice barrels by cutting into case support and most everyone was shooting ball ammo to minimize chambering problems. Now, 1911s are so good that if you throw a handful of ammo at a current generation 1911 it will cycle just because it can. No exaggeration and no sarcasm. Ever see a unicorn?

The Ruger SR1911 digested and expelled all of these without complaint, even when mixed in the same magazine. In fact, I was trying to load mags with a blindfold just so that I wouldn’t skew the results with advanced knowledge of what was loaded where (WWLW), but that approach became problematic during the live fire portion of the program.

Brand Type Bullet
7 Yard
3 Shot
Remington Ultimate Home Defense BJHP 230 875 888 2.1
Hornady TAP +P FPD 200 1056 993 2.3
Federal Personal Defense JHP 185 950 953 2.0
Speer Gold Dot JHP 185 1050 1003 1.8
Federal Guard Dog EFMJ* 165 1140 1004 2.4
*Poly filled full metal jacket – limited penetration

Other than that…

The Ruger SR1911 is an easy autoloaders to shoot; good trigger, overall durability, accuracy, and intuitive feel when shooting. The grip angle and size is very good, with no fingers hanging over unsupported and no curved mainspring housing pressing unevenly into the palm of a shooter’s hand. Recoil is… brisk with +P loads, it is a 45 Auto, but very manageable. The Commander length SR 1911 has a very balanced feel compared to a typical full size 5″ barrel 1911’s nose heavy attitude. The magazine well opening is chamfered, making magazine changes easy, even without looking. The trigger reach at 3″ puts the index finger pad fully on the trigger in a comfortable grip. The three dot sight picture is clean and fast. Thanks to the gun’s beavertail grip safety, nothing bites at the web of the hand when shooting offhand or from a Weaver stance, neither Charlie or Dennis.

Trigger pull is classic duty firearm 1911. Light take up, slight creep, clean break and virtually no overtravel. Ten minutes with a hammer file and stones squaring and cleaning up the hammer hooks and sear, a little reforming of the sear spring and there would be no creep and the trigger would break at 2 pounds… and be absolutely inappropriate for any carry or defensive firearm or recreational target shooting. My point is that the Ruger SR 1911 CMD trigger is excellent and requires no fiddling or finagling… especially no finagling.

Ruger SR1911 CMD

Manufactured Sturm Ruger Prescott, AZ
Model # 6702
Type Recoil Operated Autoloader
Caliber 45 Auto
Capacity 7+1
Barrel Length 4.25″
Rifling 1:16″
Weight 36.4 Oz.
Overall Length 7.75″
Grips Checkered Hardwood
Slide & Frame Low Glare Stainless Steel
Sights Low Profile – Windage Adj.
Trigger Pull 4 Lbs. 3 Oz.
Safety Thumb & Grip
MSRP $829

Nominal Weights & Measures


I didn’t measure the recoil spring rate, but the gun dumped empties a few feet to the right of my feet. Often Commander length slide guns, with less reciprocating mass than a 5″ gun, eject empties make a shooter play “fetch” with empty brass.

Meeting the need to be a critic, regardless how petty – I would like to see the SR1911 without the contrasting black bits, with the exception of the sights. I realize the black treatment is fashionable with even the biggest price tag autoloaders and it is aesthetically pleasing. However, it causes me to have Tubbs & Crockett flashbacks and I hear Phil Collins in my head singing “In the Air Tonight”. But then I am a very old guy and not always attuned to know what the young under 100 crowd likes these days. Supply is currently a little tight while demand is very high, but certainly a gun worth the wait. For further information stop by the Ruger site.

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