Sharp Shooting Indoor Range & Gun Shop in Spokane got a handful of Ruger’s newest firearm, the American Pistol, in stock and immediately added one to its extensive rental counter. Although one of TTAG’s Texas-based writers is putting an American Pistol through the full review process, I figured I may as well snag this one and jump straight into the Fun Shoot competition stage. Initial impressions follow. . .
The grip circumference, shape, and angle are all excellent. Ideal, really. I’m a big fan of how it feels in the hand, and I love that the frame allows for and encourages a high grip to compliment the pistol’s relatively low bore axis. Everything about the grip gives the feeling of full control over the pistol. I could learn to really drive this thing.
Ruger’s SR9 series has always been right up at the top of my list for semi-auto handgun recommendations for women or other petite folks due to the small grip circumference, easy-to-rack slide, and soft recoil. The American Pistol hits on all of those points as well, but the swappable backstraps give it a leg up on accommodating hands of all sizes from from carny to sasquatch.
The trigger pull is clean and smooth, and the break is crisp. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of take-up (slack) and, worse, you’re forced to relive it after every single shot. Normally “riding the reset” can save you from this, but the American Pistol’s trigger must move forward a lot farther than I’d like before it resets, and most of that travel sends it ahead of the sear engagement and deep into take-up zone.
While I’d definitely get used to the trigger travel with just a few more mags through the gun, I did short-stroke it once on each of my two runs through the Fun Shoot stage.
Wrapping up my trigger nitpicks, the trigger safety blade pivots too far — behind the face of the trigger — the result is the trigger face feels like it has a skeletonized notch cut into it with a sharp edge on either side. It’s not particularly comfortable.
Speaking of skeletonized, the “feed strip” has its middle removed. I’m not sure I’ve seen that before. Just a random note.
Also on the random notes front, the fire control group seems more complicated than I would have expected. It all looks very stout and nicely-machined, but KISS-compliant it ain’t.
Taking my very first shots with this pistol on a timed and scored competition-style stage may not have been the smartest choice, but I still shot well, if a bit slow. The sights weren’t particularly easy for me to acquire, which, combined with the longer-than-I’m-used-to trigger travel, slowed me down. The front blade just doesn’t stand out well enough for me against the rear. Still, that second run in the video at top was too accurate…I should have picked up the pace. With modified or different sights and a little trigger work, I could see this gun quickly becoming one of my favorites.
Overall, if the Ruger American Pistol proves reliable — and so far this example apparently hasn’t seen a single stoppage — as well as durable, it’s going to be a big hit. Especially at an MSRP of $549 and a street price about $100 less.