Gun Review: Ruger SR45

Ruger SR45 semi-automatic handgun (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

Whenever I hear the letter combination “SR” I think of the SR-71 Blackbird, the sexiest object ever created by hand of man. While the Ruger SR45 doesn’t quite achieve the legendary spy plane’s height of horniness, it is, nonetheless, a deeply desirable ballistic battler. It’s the kind of gun that reminds a Glock guy why he’s like a happily married man; constantly reminding his high school buddies that looks aren’t everything. True dat. At the end of the day (or the muzzle) a gun’s got to git ‘er done. Does the Ruger SR45’s performance and utility match its suave demeanor? Yes and no. But first a little more about the Ruger SR45’s siren song . . .

Ruger SR45 boxed (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

In the same way that a tall woman can make even the most style-challenged dress seem drop-dead gorgeous, the jumbo-sized SR45 elevates the already comely SR series to supermodel status. The big Ruger’s a perfectly scaled and wonderfully proportioned minimalist classic. The indent on the slide at the muzzle end shows its designer’s attention to detail. The handgun’s bold graphics, grip-angle aligned slide striations and fine-checkering make it Ermenegildo Zegna of semis.

Ruger SR45 top view (courtesy The truth About Guns)

The SR45 may look tall and tan and young and lovely but the gun is something of an optic illusion. The big Ruger’s exactly the same width as the sine qua non of full-size .45-caliber striker-fired polymer pistols: the 1.27″ wide Glock 21. Even though the American pistol holds three fewer cartridges than Gaston’s handiwork (10 vs. 13), an unloaded SR45 is almost four ounces heavier than a G21 (30.15 vs. 26.8 ounces). That said, no full-size .45 is for the feint of hip.

The SR45’s handle offers enough grip space to accomodate a gorilla-sized support hand. With plenty ‘o heft and a low bore axis, muzzle flip’s a moot point. As you’d expect from a modern gun at this price point, accuracy’s not an issue. Exploiting a sight radius longer than the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, peering through remarkably useful adjustable three-dot sights, your humble scribe fired 11 rounds on a sheet of computer paper at 10 yards in less than three seconds. I also shot a mag’s worth of bullets through the same hole at five yards. [That’s Steve above and below.]

The SR45’s trigger accounts for much of my mad shooting skilz. The semi-automatic handgun’s go-pedal has none of the grit that bedeviled the SR40; it’s as smooth as a snifter of Speyside. Rhode Islanders will be pleased with the trigger’s relatively short travel in both directions. And Glock guys will be happy with the solid CLICK on reset. Unfortunately, the SR45’s trigger has no appreciable breaking point. At some point in the squeezing process the thing just goes off.  The surprise break is great for square range marksmanship but not so great for self-defense . . .

You’re pushing the SR45 out during a defensive gun use (DGU). The bad guy’s in your sights. Your finger is on the trigger. You squeeze your index finger to “register” the trigger. You decide not to fire. Only you do, anyway. Or the bad guy’s moving. You’re squeezing the big Ruger’s trigger slightly, subconsciously deciding on the exact moment to fire. Only you shoot a fraction of a second too early. Or a moment too late. And yes, “average” armed self-defenders can make such fine distinctions—even or especially under stress.

Ruger SR45 safety (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

And then there’s still the SR45’s ergonomic issues: the largest member of the SR family retains Chicklet-sized external switches. It takes enormous pressure and dexterity to work the SR45’s minuscule slide stop. You can sweep off the SR45’s safety easily enough. Putting it back on with your thumb is like trying to play chopsticks with one hand. During an adrenalin dump, when fingers turn to flippers, you’d be SOL. If you want to re-holster your gun in a safe condition after a DGU, fuhgeddaboudit.

All American Ruger SR45 (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

I’m also no fan of any self-defense handgun whose sights are round-edged at the front; you can’t cycle the gun with the heel of your shoe. But that’s me. Zooming out, we’re talking about an all-American polymer pistol that’s a full Franklin cheaper than the Austrian alternative; a 1911-sized gun that’s Helena Svedin to Glock’s Rosie O’Donnell (and Springfield’s Predator-styled XD). And while the big Ruger may not match the Glock’s proven reliability, yet, the SR45 ate a thousand rounds of mixed brand ammo like Adam Richman downing sliders.

If you’re a capacity-relaxed buyer who wants to carry a cool-looking big ass .45 with a proper-sized external safety I’d recommend stumping-up another $90 for the Smith & Wesson M&P45 (soon to feature the Shield’s most excellent trigger). Or save-up another three bills for a drop-dead gorgeous Ruger SR1911. That said, if you’re a sucker for a pretty gun it’s best to buy a Ruger SR45 sooner rather than later. The big semi doesn’t go Mach 3 but I reckon it’ll sell mach schnell. Whether it’s high-flying military machines or large-caliber firearms, sex appeal is its own reward.

The SR45 for this review was provide by The Kentucky Gun Company


Caliber: 45 Auto
Grip Frame: Black, High Performance, Glass-Filled Nylon
Sights: Adjustable 3-Dot
Barrel Length: 4.50″
Height: 5.75″
Width: 1.27″
Weight: 30.15 ounces unloaded
Price: $529 msrp

RATINGS (Out of Five Stars)

Style * * * * *

Ergonomics (carry) * *
Big, wide, heavy, long.

Ergonomics (firing) * * * *
Minimum muzzle flip, OFWG-friendly three-dot sights. Smooth trigger doesn’t break cleanly enough for self-defense work.

Reliability * * * * *
One-thousand rounds of mixed ammo. No problems.

Customize This * * * * *
Lights and lasers on their way.

A reliable, accurate, good-looking gun that doesn’t “get” self-defense.