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About a hundred years ago, when I had some association with ad production, the selected agency would be given access to a product with the hope it would be presented in a way that illustrated its virtues. Unfortunately, the output would sometimes be similar to the above, which played to the art director’s ego, but totally obscured the product. Fortunately, this isn’t an ad, just information, and in either case we don’t get paid by the manufacturer… so, why not?

Previously on Real Guns…..

As Episode One came to a close, we found Joe rambling on about the physical attributes of the Ruger American Pistol, noting his appreciation for a 45 Auto version as opposed to the yawn inspiring 9mm Luger cartridge, or as the French say “Lu-gair”. The 45 Auto version barks ferociously, jars wrists and forearms, hits a target hard and makes big holes; all reasons why people like firearms.

There are currently over 120 factory 45 Auto loads available to address many applications from target practice to self defense and there are many types of defensive loads. Some are intended for close quarter use where penetration beyond a target needs to be curtailed, others will blow through three feet of ballistic gel.

Far left, the Remington 230 grain Golden Saber penetrated 15″ of ballistic gel, expanded to over 0.750″ and retained virtually all of its weight. It opens a large permanent wound channel. The 114 grain Ruger ARX does not expand, but its impeller shaped nose generates exceptional amounts of hydraulic displacement, effectively transferring energy laterally as well as forward and it also opens a large permanent wound channel. Penetration was 16.5″.

Always have a few on hand…

Above, a selection of common ammunition types, all intended for self defense with the exception of the FMJ Federal that is non expanding and over penetrating. Some standout examples might be, far left, Ruger’s ARX previously noted. The second from left, Federal’s Guard Dog with its nickel plated gilding metal encapsulated polymer bullet, specifically intended to eliminate over penetration. Far right, Remington high expansion, high weight retention Ultra Home Defense. All of the above are excellent.

Ammunition Bullet Type Bullet
3 shot
Group “
Ruger ARX Copper/Poly 114 1350 1345 2.0
Federal Guard Dog MJPoly 165 1140 1044 2.2
Speer Gold Dot JHP 185 1050 966 2.2
Federal Personal Defense JHP 185 950 981 2.0
Hornady TAP FPD +P JHP 200 1055 1039 2.3
American Eagle FMJ 230 850 804 2.4
Remington HD Ultimate Home Defense JHP 230 875 806 2.0

Chronographs often don’t begin, but often end in an inaccurate state and this exercise began with one of those times. The range is marked with chronograph and bench positions for muzzle distance from chronograph. We rotate in use three chronographs of the same model and we maintain control lots of rimfire and centerfire ammunition with reference velocity data. The chronograph assigned for this task read 15% low. So we switched, tested and packed up the problem child for calibration. In short, the velocity stated is accurate.

Other than moving lead… or poly down range…

The Ruger American Pistol is soft shooting; damped recoil and subdued muzzle rise. The large backstrap insert proved to be the most comfortable; recoil absorbing, trigger and control reach, the small insert pictures here. The simple three dot sight system is effective and about universal in application. Trigger pull was very good; it was short and broke cleanly, but not quite as the 9mm Luger version we evaluated previously.

The gripping surfaces were effective and properly placed. Warm or cold hands, bare or gloved, the American always felt confidently gripped and tightly controlled. Magazines ejected cleanly and inserted and locked in place positively.

Reliability looms large as a necessary quality for any firearm slated for self defense. Firearms that go “click” when they need to go “bang” can be problematic in virtually any setting where “bang” is desired. The Ruger American cleared several magazines with each of the rounds noted previously – Full metal jacket, jacketed hollow point, standard and +P pressure and then several mixed magazines of all without a hitch. Ultimately, it would take thousands of rounds to tell the whole story, but this much use without a failure to feed, failure cycle or stovepipe is a pretty good affirmation of reliability. Solid pistol, good lines, good product.

The Ruger American Pistol Pro in 45 Auto Part I
The Ruger American Pistol Pro in 45 Auto Part II

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