The Gun Doctor Dishes the Dirt on the Ruger SR40. Literally.

Quick recap: Ruger sent us an SR40. In my review, I revealed that the gun was sexy, reliable and comfortable, but the trigger felt completely different from the previously reviewed SR9c, and not in a good way. The go pedal was mushy, vague and stacky. I called Ruger for an explanation. They denied the problem, claiming that the SR40 used the exact same parts as the SR9c. They sent me another SR40. Same trigger trouble. Ruger blamed our cleaning process. I sent the second gun to our Gun Doctor. He discovered that the SR40 did NOT contain the same trigger parts as the SR9c. He then broke down the second SR40 and another SR40 (for reference) and examined both weapons in detail. He found a workbench full of not good . . .

Mushy trigger

You are correct: the SR40′s trigger lacks any of SR9c’s trigger’s crispness. As far as I can tell, that’s down to the mixed parts. The striker springs I pulled out of your gun (and the reference SR40) are the same parts as those used by the SR9c. Same O.D., same wire size, same number of rungs, same O.A.L. And yet the SR40 manual clearly says that the SR40 spring is a different part.

So I swapped the SR40′s striker spring for the original striker spring from an earlier SR9. The trigger got heavier BUT it no longer felt mushy. The trigger had more resistance than the SR40′s, and it continued to stack up, But its actuation became predictable and repeatable.  Think SR9c trigger, just a heavier pull. I’ve order a few springs with the new part number to compare. I’ll let you know once they arrive.

Gritty trigger

The MAG Disconnect is the major culprit here. Secondary cause: the bits of metal shavings in the striker tube, as seen below. (The striker spring channel however was completely clean.)

I’ve not seen any other SR’s that way, but it’s a pretty shocking discovery. I gave your SR40 a good cleaning and removed the mag disconnect. Trigger grit gone and the problem disappeared. I reinserted a polished striker and polished mag disconnect (with  some rem oil lube on the disconnect) and the trigger was still nice and smooth.

Sand in cover latch

This one has really got me. You told me you only fired the SR40 once, indoors, and never dropped it or took it outside. So I have no idea how that much sand got into that spring channel. It was so full the latch could not compress. I broke the cover getting it off. I removed the spring and latch button and cleaned it. It was packed full of sand. I reinstalled the parts and fitted  a new cover.

The only explanation I can think of: when the slide was sandblasted it got packed and the assembler didn’t give a crap. They had to beat the cover over the latch because the spring wouldn’t compress. Maybe they needed one more gun to make production quota for that day or it was a hangover first thing Monday gun. Who knows? Carelessness and poor quality control.

Fire control block

The gun was really REALLY oiled down inside. There was oil along with metal shavings and some grit (sand?).

This merits mentioning because anything short of a detail cleaning would not have caught this or been able to remove it from the system. Could it have caused the gun to malfunction at the moment it was needed to save a life(s)? Probably not. But it’s still unacceptable, representing poor cleaning protocols before and during assembly.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

21 Responses to The Gun Doctor Dishes the Dirt on the Ruger SR40. Literally.

  1. avatarJohn Moses says:

    While Ruger makes very good firearms, particularly .22's, their centerfire pistols have always been second tier. I would and have bought used Sig, Glock, Beretta and CZ pistols rather than new Rugers for the same or higher price. Their autos are clumsy compared to the better makers products.

  2. avatarConcerned_Citizen says:

    I know the SR9 series have been selling well, and many places have trouble keeping them in stock. Now add a new model to the line, new workers and quottas to meet and you have a bad situation if QC is week. I know Ruger will find these issues and resolve, but in the mean time a few early birds got a small snake instead of a worm.

  3. avatarGaviota says:

    I bought several Ruger revolvers, centerfire and rimfire, and loved them. They were all first-rate, both SA and DA, with smooth, clean, light, crisp triggers. So when the first Ruger centerfire auto hit the market, I bought it. The P-89 was just awful. Stiff, gritty, creepy, long-ass trigger pull, and minute-of-barn-door accuracy. I shot this 9mm off-hand, and on sandbags, with five (5!) different kinds of ammo, and couldn't stay inside the 6 ring at 25 yds. Wondering if I was having some kind of neurological problem, I broke out my Ruger .357 mag Security Six. On sandbags at 25 yds, double action, with Winchester Silvertips, I put all six rounds into the 10 ring.

    I haven't bought a Ruger centerfire auto since.

    John Moses is absolutely right. Sigs, Glocks, CZ's, XD's, and HK's are all head and shoulders above Ruger centerfire autos in both design and quality.

  4. avatarTam_212 says:

    I can't say anything about the P-series aside from the complaints and criticisms voiced by others who have owned them. Never shot one.

    Try a SR9/9c/40 and see if improvements were/were not made in the intervening years.

    For the record, before buying an SR9 I sent 100s of rounds downrange through rental and privately owned Glocks, Sigs, HKs, XD/XDMs, Berettas… all fine handguns but I did not see any that were offered New In Box for $419 out-the-door.

  5. avatarChris Dumm says:

    I share Gaviota's disdain for the P-89. I owned one (briefly) in 1990 and got rid of it as soon as I discovered its crappy trigger and dismal accuracy. Last year I cautiously acquired a used P-95. I had my doubts about it, since it gives the impression of being nothing but a polymer-framed P-89. However, the price was excellent and it had only been fired a handful of times. To my surprise and delight, it has proven to be reliable, accurate, and incredibly rugged. The trigger pull? Not great, but not bad enough to make it inaccurate or tedious to shoot. It's still a bulky and un-sexy firearm but I trust it and I enjoy shooting it.

    Every SR-9 or SR-9C I've handled (three or four of them, at gun shops) has had a gritty, stiff, and stacking trigger pull. Much worse than my bulky P-95, actually. I wonder if they were all packed with sand and metal shavings too?

  6. avatarCaleb says:

    Did any of the “problems” with the SR40′s trigger prevent it from functioning?

  7. avatarCaleb says:

    Just out of curiousity, did you measure the pull weight before before the gun was disassembled and examined? I’d be curious to see how it compares to the two production models I have.

  8. avatarGun Boffin says:

    Bought my wife an SR-9 in April. So bad, it needed a bathroom scale to measure trigger pull, couldn’t keep 5 shots inside a big Amish hat and it plowed up a 1/64″ ridge on the barrel hood after only 80 rounds fired. Sent it back to Ruger. They replaced the barrel and fixed the trigger. Accuracy is now better, and 150 rounds later it still seems ok. In mid August, (must have had a bowl of stupid for breakfast) I bought the SR-9C. This gun had a good trigger and accuracy was excellent. It also peened the barrel hood in just 30 rounds, but I kept shooting it until the the ears at the breach chipped and accuracy went.
    Has been back to Ruger 2 times, and each time, is worse. Now the trigger fails to reset.

  9. avatarPatrick Carrube says:

    I feel like a broken record here, but I will say it yet again – Ruger and Remington can both keep the crap they’re putting out nowadays. Quality is terrible, fit is mediocre, and reliability is something I would NEVER rest my life on.

  10. avatarEric says:

    Just bought a Ruger SR40 and I’m very disappointed with it. First problem is that the slide release lever is so unbelievably hard to release when the slide is locked to the rear. You have no choice but to pull back on the slide then release it to load the gun. Next problem is that the trigger has a very gritty feeling. It doesn’t really affect the accuracy much but it is certainly noticeable. Finally and worst of all, the magazines fall out of the gun during firing. I have three different Ruger factory magazines and each one falls out of the gun while firing. This is extremely aggravating. I checked my grip to see if I was inadvertently hitting the magazine release button but I could not determine whether I was causing the magazines to drop out or whether there’s something wrong with the magazine catch. I don’t know whether to return the pistol to Ruger and have it repaired or trade it in on something that I know won’t have any issues like a new Glock pistol.

    • avatarBrad says:

      Eric

      I’m some what new to the SR series of pistols, I just recently purchased the SR9c and even though I haven’t even put 300 rounds through it yet I am very happy with it.

      However, I couldn’t help but notice the first part of your response mentioned the “slide release” being so stiff when the slide is locked back you have no choice but to pull back the slide to load the gun. First of all it is not a “slide release”, it is a “slide stop” (it’s even labeled as such in the parts list), and it even says in the manual that you need to pull the slide back to release the stop with a full magazine to load the gun. This is not a design flaw, there is nothing wrong with the “slide stop”, this is how the weapon is intended to function. The purpose behind this is so that you have to consciously pull back and release the slide to chamber a round, rather than inadvertently manipulating the slide stop resulting in potential accidental discharge.

      Now, your issue with mags falling out is not something I have encountered. There might be something wrong with the magazine catch. Most of my ruger experience has been 10/22, and variety of revolvers from .22 LR/M to the Super BlackHawk .44 mag.

  11. avatarCaleb Longstreet says:

    Eric,

    I’m not sure if this will help but, I can tell you my experience with my SR9 was similar. The magazines are fine but, the grittiness of the trigger and the “lashing” of the slide were prevalent at first. I was finally concerned enough to call them in Prescott….I spoke to two guys on the manufacturing line and both told me not to worry, the tolerances are tighter at first…etc…etc…..

    To their credit, they were both very sincere, polite and very professional and displayed a genuine willingness to help. I took their advice and started shooting the pistol…..300 rounds later, no real trouble, slide was smoother, the trigger smoother as well…never had that problem with the magazines though…..good luck with that….

    Try putting 6 or 8 boxes through it and then check. However, if the mags keep falling out throughout the shakedown cruise, send it back. They do honor what the make. Ruger has always been a good company and they make good products.

    I would be shocked if they didn’t do good by you. I paid $399 for mine new about a year ago…..so far, so good….great feel….not sure what that .40 is like but, I like my 9mm….seems like a good pistol so far.

    Good luck….

    P.S. How much are the .40′s?

  12. avatarjokar1 says:

    I recently purchased the sr40 in sacramento CA, for $419(taxes and fee cam out to $483). I am still within my waiting period of picking it up.

  13. avatarmatthew says:

    well i have had my sr40 for a week, and i must say i love it. I havent had any problems out of it yet, i have put over 200 rounds through it and not a single jam or anything, smooth as butter on angelina jolies backside in a mid summer heat wave. my answer to these problems clean and lub often, oh and as for the accuracy i have mine dead on so i dont know what all the fuss is about.(not my first sr40,all ive owned were great with no probs.)

    • avatarsage streets says:

      i agree. i’ve put 500 rounds thru mine and it has shot perfect and accurate every single time. cheap ammo, expensive ammo, doesn’t matter to the sr40. it has fired every time, no jams,totally accurate. if you eject your mag while you’re shooting then you shouldn’t own the gun. watch your grip and lube it up. might be holding too high.lol. this gun is a perfect addition to the ruger family, with plenty of sweet features.

  14. avatarCHRIST TUCKER says:

    i got mine about month ago and love it, shot it six times and hit bull eyes all six time about 20 yards… very good gun to have.

    • avatarJames Coaley says:

      Just put the Galloway Smooth It Kit with the Ghost Ultimate Trigger Reset Bar on my SR40… SMOOOTH as my GLOCK trigger with a quicker reset! To all those NON-Ruger fans out there… I’ve sent GLOCK’s, SIGS, and a BOAT LOAD of XDM’s back because of problems from Manufacturing… Guess what??? Any pistol that is not handmade with all parts custom hand-fitted and smoothed by a real live person CAN and WILL have plenty of Factory-Automated-Assembly Lemons!!! My first GLOCK that I had so high of hopes for quickly became my Second GLOCK because they had to take my first G-LOCK’d up POS back that couldn’t even pass a simple function test… much less even thinking about puttin a round down range!!!

  15. avatarMike Hunton says:

    My SR 40 had to be sanded on barrel cam, the backside of it, because the casting lines wouldn’t hit the pin, which would walk out (front pin) which most likely made the hole bigger? You could see the hits on the pin. It even walked out after sanding, so I took out the cam, and the little spring was right in place. So, I tried locktite, and the pin walked out again. Then I noticed the peening of the barrel where it meets on the right side of the gun (which happens to be were the pin walks). Sure enough, a burr had to be sanded. Well after making sure the barrel wasn’t striking any pins and all springs were working, taking off the burrs, yes I found more. The pin still walked out.
    So with 100 rounds, in it, I staked the lower pin with a roll pin.
    The gun shoot straight, I mean real Straight, but I think my gun will end up looking like the pic’s you find on google pictures (SR peening). Heck, I most likely ruined the warranty.
    After all the reading, some people say they’re great, I guess I just got one run off the line during the great Obama buying spree, and ruger just cranked them out and made look good on the outside.

    You know, I paid 478.00, and maybe if they had an few more inspectors at the factory, they could grade the guns. Sell me the ruger “hand fit yourself” gun like I got for 478.00, then sell the good ones and Call it the SR Delux, for 578.00, then the ones that really look good call them the Ruger super Delux…. for 600.oo. This could of been rugers 1911.

    I’m kinda mad I put some dings in the finish, and had to do a little sanding, it matches under the trigger though, so no big deal.

    I did have time to run a mag through it yesterday, no pin walking. But at the price of ammo these days, I think I just take my cz rami alloy, until prices go down and I can put about 500 round through it.

    My advice on buying a Ruger SR 40, go shoot it “only 50 rounds), go buy some 1000 grit sand paper, a few roll or spring pins, and the right size punch, so you don’t screw up finish. The burrs will show up well after 50 rounds. Check the lug on the barrel, especially the part behind the takedown pin.

    Sure like the way it feels and it dead on, and the kick for a 40 is nill. No failures. Heck and now mine looks a few years old after 100 round, what a deal!

    Maybe a dedicated company can copy it and maybe do some hand fitting. I would of paid 150 buck more for this gun if Soooo many things would have been taken care of, lets say on the inside of the gun. Sure looks good new. Mine looks older than some of my guns that have 500 or more round on them. Should of sent it back, but I didn’t. Oh well, it will be fun to see if it falls apart. I have other rugers, and you know they all have some, usual cosmetic defect on the outside of the gun. This time it’s just the other way around.

    Mike

  16. avatardaniel says:

    My Trigger Fails To re set Also. Its A Sr40. Anyone Figure That One Out yet

  17. avatarLarry says:

    I have a few of the older Ruger’s excellent pistols. Bought a new sr9 a few years back sent it back twice trigger reset problems. It never really compared to my P 85,89,or 95. Traded it for a Smith M&P never thought about an SR again. Lets face it , none of these are preferable carry guns. Mainly range guns and home defense guns. I thought Ruger might have hurried production of these pistols. But, No doubt Ruger will fix the problem.

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