On The Range With Ruger’s Ruger American Pistol in .45 ACP

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I’m bullish on the Ruger American Pistol and I think it’s going to earn a good reputation amongst shooters, which is why I went ahead and purchased one in 9mm to review. But the RAP is also available in .45 ACP, and at SHOT Show’s Range Day I was able to empty a few mags using the big bore version . . .

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With the .45 on the left and the 9mm on the right, the length difference is apparent. Overall, it measures 0.50″ longer, 0.10″ taller, and 1.5 oz heavier. Width and MSRP are unchanged.

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Grip circumference is still very slim, especially for a .45 ACP. To fit the longer cartridge, though, Ruger effectively moved the frame into the backstrap a bit and the .45 offers only a Medium and Large option whereas the 9mm comes with a Small as well. Medium worked great for me on the 9mm and felt identical when gripping the .45.

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On the range it had a heavier push to it than the 9mm, but the good ergos and low bore axis made it a very soft-shooting and controllable .45. Because it’s easier to keep on target than many other .45s, if Ruger ends up making a compact or sub-compact version of this (keep in mind that would just entail a non-serialized frame and slide, as the removable chassis has the serial number and is the “firearm” per the law) I’m sure it’ll find a market.

I was able to ask Ruger’s Pistol Product Manager if that chassis is the same between the .45 and 9mm, meaning the owner could swap calibers. Unfortunately, the answer was “no.” The .45 ACP chassis is internally larger to fit the longer cartridge and magazine.

Also of note, I loitered around the firing line and asked a couple dozen people who had just shot the RAP if it hurt their thumb. Negative. I saw two people bring up the topic on their own while on the firing line, referring to the Military Arms Channel’s video, looking for, but not finding the thumb issue. Obviously a biased source, I still asked the Ruger rep who was facilitating that part of their shooting range what people had been saying on the subject. He said he wasn’t bringing it up specifically, but that, as I had witnessed, every dozen or so shooters expressed surprise that it didn’t hurt their thumb as they expected it to.

Again, I can reproduce the issue and I’m not saying MAC is wrong — as mentioned in my review, I’m confident some shooters will experience this source of discomfort. I just haven’t found any of those people yet among the handful who shot my RAP here or among the TTAG crew in Austin. I’m sure some of the 1,600 attendees at SHOT Show Range Day didn’t like the American Pistol’s ergos, but I couldn’t find them there either.

comments

  1. avatar Erik says:

    If it were more than 10 rounds this would be awesome. 10 round .45’s are so 1990’s.

    1. avatar S.CROCK says:

      I don’t understand the 10 round capacity either. It is not like they were trying to accommodate ca either because ca won’t accept any new handguns.

      1. avatar Mattb says:

        Also agree, my FNS 40 compact carries 10 round in a two finger grip. I cant get behind a full size .45 only carrying 10 rounds if not a 1911. The 9mm has my interest though because I am currently without a full size gun (compact with 14 round shares home duty with 10 round for cc)

      2. avatar mlk18 says:

        My guess is they were trying to keep the grip slim and the weight down. The gun is already heavier than most.

        1. avatar Stuki Moi says:

          That’s it. A full sized, fully doublestacked .40 gun, allows for 10 .45s in a staggered fashion. Fully doublestacking .45s, which is necessary for 13-14 rounds in a sane length grip, gets a good bit wider. Space efficiency is not one of old, low pressure cartridges’ more salient points. Same reason why the Glock 21’s magazine holds 13, while the 37’s only hold, again, 10.

        2. avatar Tex300BLK says:

          FNX45 has a grip that is about as slim as any of the fullsize Gen4 Glock 9/40s, and it holds 15 rounds (actually feels more slim than those in my opinion). The tumor… er I mean mag extension only holds 2 rounds, so that is 13 in the grip and it is noticeably more ergonomic than its nearest competitor the Glock 21.

        3. avatar Anon in CT says:

          Sorry, but ergonomic it is not – it’s a squarish cheese-grater.

        4. avatar Jeremy S. says:

          Yes, I agree with what mlk18 said. The grip width is the same in the .45 as it is in the 9mm. That means the magazine is wide enough to truly double stack a 9mm round, but only stagger a .45 round.

          BTW regarding the CA thing, yeah, new handguns are off the table there due to the microstamping crap, but 10-round max capacities are still mandated in some other states like MA and maybe two others so Ruger and other companies are still making guns limited to 10 rounds for that purpose. Of course, in the case of the 9mm RAP they’re selling it with either 17- or 10-round mags. In the case of the .45, it may legitimately hold only 10 because of the magazine width thing.

  2. avatar mlk18 says:

    My guess is they were trying to keep the grip slim and the weight down. The gun is already heavier than most.

  3. avatar Tim U says:

    Because it’s an American company, I want the pistol to do well. I haven’t gotten to touch one yet, so I can’t pass a definitive opinion of the gun that isn’t just quoting another source.

    1. avatar NineShooter says:

      My son and I got a chance to shoot the 9mm version today, as a local indoor range is doing free 9mm RAP rentals for the entire month of February. We bought the required box of overpriced 9mm ammo, and headed to the range.

      It feels good in the hand, the trigger action is very nice (much better than my Glocks). Some have complained about the slot in the trigger for the safety lever being sharp or uncomfortable, but it didn’t bother us at all (although 25 rounds each is hardly much of a “shooting comfort” test). On the other hand, I found the long trigger reset quite annoying (again, compared to my Glocks, which I am well-programmed to run). Recoil was very flat and controllable with standard-pressure 9mm, and it shot well considering the cheap ammo (my son actually shot it better than I, and that’s a fairly rare occurrence; one that I hope is not repeated soon). No bumping/thumping of knuckles was noted, but we’re both fairly large folks with big hands. Well-defined sights, and plenty of light on either side of the front sight was a nice change for my advanced-middle-age eyes.

      My son is in the market for a range/blaster.45 (will not be carried), and after shooting the 9mm RAP, I think the .45 ACP version is now pretty high on his list.

      1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

        Good feedback. Got two chuckles out of me, too 🙂

        1. avatar NineShooter says:

          Thanks! Glad the effort wasn’t wasted…

  4. avatar SteveInCO says:

    I wonder if the 9mm chassis would (theoretically) work with .40? Length of cartridge is less of an issue there.

    And I’ll second the gripe about ten round .45s. And add to that an-admittedly-off-topic gripe that CZ’s 75 in .40 has a ten round magazine when one would expect it could hold thirteen or even fourteen..

    1. avatar Mk10108 says:

      Unsolicited old guy advise…Train for one shot, one stop the threat and you’ll be fine.

      1. avatar Swarf says:

        There’s more to shooting than training to stop a threat.

    2. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      Yes, if they offer it in .40 I’m 99.5% certain it will be the same chassis.

      On the CZ front, that’s the flat sheet metal base .40 that holds 10 rounds. You can also run the flush-fitting polymer base ones that hold 12, or larger base pad ones that hold 14 and are 5/8″ longer than the flush fitting ones (sold by Mec-Gar). Of note is that the P-06, which is the .40 cal version of the P-01 (both compact frames that are shorter than the 75 frame), holds 10 in its flush-fitting mag. Why CZ uses 10-round mags in the standard .40 cal CZ 75 I don’t know exactly, but it has something to do with sticking with the classic sheet metal baseplate.

      1. avatar SteveInCO says:

        …which is the first thing I get rid of. Those suckers bend if you look at ’em crosseyed.

  5. avatar Reef Blastbody says:

    Just bought one for about $465 out the door here in DFW in 9MM. My impressions so far are the ergonomics are excellent. Trigger break is above average for a striker pistol. Reset, as noted by MAC and other media types, is on the long side. I’d be shocked if Apex, Zev, or any of the other usual suspects aren’t already working on a short reset kit for the RAP.

    Looking forward to this weekend and the 70 degree weather here in the DFW metroplex for some much needed range therapy. Got a Black Friday special Lionheart LH9N MK2 that needs its cherry popped as well. 😀

  6. avatar FormerWaterWalker says:

    Has Ruger EVER had a 45 with more than 10 rounds? That’s low capacity with so many with 12,13 and even 14 round mags…

  7. avatar Stoopid1 says:

    Ha! Glock fans can suck it!

    1. avatar Fred Frendly says:

      Suck what, we have 3 more rds in the mag and much higher resale. When these are selling for 329.00 in a few months come back with how Glock sucks.

      1. avatar joel says:

        If they are selling for $329 in a few months i am buying one….. On a similar note, i expect The SR pistols to drop in price soon. And i will seriously consider buying one or two of them.

        If a Glock was selling for $329 in a few months….. I would keep looking. JMB’s grip angle works better for me.

        1. avatar Swarf says:

          If that happens, my SR9 will have a compact buddy.

          Better would be a compact version of the L9e for even cheaper.

          Look, just give me a gun, Ruger.

      2. avatar neiowa says:

        There dp always seem to be many 2nd hand Glucks being dumped.

      3. avatar Swarf says:

        He probably just meant in general.

    2. avatar GutshotYooper says:

      Hahaha, the Booger is just another Glock knock-off. Save your money and buy the real thing.

      1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

        Sweet. Then a Glock is just a HK VP70 knock-off and you should buy that instead. I must have missed the rule where you have to buy the “original” of some design concept even if it hasn’t changed since the 80’s (and what is that design concept here? Polymer frame? Striker-fired? What aspects of the RAP make it a knock-off Glock?…that don’t also make the Glock a knock-off VP70?)

        1. avatar Chris WT says:

          I know what the VP70 is, but I clicked on it anyway hoping to read a review, the hyperlink takes me to a fishing lure. FYI. that could of been the point, I guess, but if not here is a friendly heads up.
          EDIT: It happened to me too

      2. avatar Frank in VA says:

        Just like every massed-produced car today could be called a ‘knockoff’ of a Ford Model T or some other early auto, virtually all modern firearms are evolutions of earlier models. Glocks are no exception. Old Man Gaston didn’t think up staggered magazines, accessory rails, dual recoil springs or various other innovations on his own. He copied what others had already done.

  8. avatar RandallOfLegend says:

    In the market for a full sized 40, and I like Ruger products. If they can put out a 40 RAP in the near future I might be in. Also, please make sub $50 magazine’s.

    1. avatar NineShooter says:

      With many cop agencies abandoning the .40, I don’t see many (any?) companies tooling-up to make brand new .40 caliber pistols for a while (if ever). Used .40s will be flooding the market for years, and even many non-cop owners seem to be getting away from them (based on how many used trade-in-or-sold .40 pistols I’m seeing in my local dealers’ display cases).

      1. avatar RandallOfLegend says:

        Yeah. I have noticed a lot of police trade in M&P 40s. I have yet to find a dealer willing to swap or separate the magazines (10 round limit in NY, 15 round standard cap from police). Even if they ditched the magazines, the replacement cost would push the used pistol into the relm of a new one

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Randal,

      How about the Ruger SR40? That is a full-size pistol in .40 S&W. I hear lots good comments about the SR9 … I imagine the SR40 would be the same.

  9. avatar Anon in CT says:

    “Unfortunately, the answer was “no.” The .45 ACP chassis is internally larger to fit the longer cartridge and magazine.”

    Just like the Sig 320. And sorry, but that’s a fail in both cases. Even though the Sig is the easiest to clean pistol I have ever used.

    1. avatar Charles5 says:

      Not exactly. For the P320, there are two differences between the 9/40/357 chassis and the .45 chassis. The first is that the ejector on the 9mm chassis is longer than that on the .45. The second difference is that there is a tab on the 9mm that extends into the area in the chassis through which the magazine passes when one is inserted into the gun. That tab serves as a safety feature. It is attached to a part that moves into the magazine space when the takedown lever is rotated. If a magazine is still in the gun, the tab hits the magazine and prevents the takedown lever from being fully rotated. That tab is not present on the .45 chassis because the .45 magazine is larger and the part itself can come into contact with the magazine without assistance from a tab to prevent the takedown lever from being fully rotated. The presence of that tab on the 9mm chassis makes it impossible to fully seat a .45 magazine. All other aspects between the 9mm and .45 chassis are the same. That means that you can take a 9mm chassis and place it in a .45 frame and fully assemble the firearm. However, the tab necessary to prevent disassembly of the 9mm gun also prevents the .45 magazine from being inserted, rendering the 9mm-chassis-in-the-45-frame obsolete. The magazine well on the .45 frame is also larger, so you can’t use the .45 polymer frame on a smaller caliber.

      However, what happens when you put a .45 chassis in a 9mm frame and assemble with a 9mm slide? You get a fully functional pistol, with one exception. The .45 chassis doesn’t have that tab, which means you can fully rotate the takedown lever and disassemble the gun with a loaded magazine still in the gun. This is obviously a liability issue, so SIG has said the .45 is NOT convertible to the other calibers and vice versa. However, you can do it and it works. The shorter ejector poses no problems for the 9mm either. I have just under 500 rounds through my 9mm conversion kit using the .45 chassis without a single issue. So, if you buy the complete .45 pistol first, you can convert to any other caliber and size. But, doing so removes the disassembly safety feature and probably voids the warranty. For those of us that are not stupid, it is a viable option.

      I happen to own a P320 in every caliber and have done a lot of experimenting. I can shoot 9mm, .40S&W, .357SIG, and .45ACP all using the .45 chassis.

  10. avatar Tex300BLK says:

    I fully accept that I could be missing something, or that pictures just dont do it justice, but am I alone in thinking this is at or near the top of the list for ugliest, cheapest looking polymer gun excepting maybe hi-points? The lines and shape of the slide just dont seem to flow into the very sculpted/ergonomic grip shape, I guess that just really bugs me. Maybe I need to find one local and put hands on it, but man that slide looks like someone put a slab of metal in a bench vise and went to town with a flat file. It looks cheap like a toy.

    1. avatar mark_anthony_78 says:

      You’re not alone. I love my Ruger handguns (have 7 of them) but I’m not feeling this one, based on pictures at least. I think for me it’s that takedown lever… just looks clunky and ruins the lines. I’ll stick with my SR9 for now.

    2. avatar Harry says:

      Seconded. Approaching Walther levels of ugly. Ugly with a capital “ug.”

    3. avatar BLKGsx says:

      I agree, it looks like a cross between a Hi-Point and a Strike One to me

    4. avatar Wiregrass says:

      They remind me of the FN line. I don’t know if it’s the lighting or if these guns have seen a lot of reholstering but both of them seem to be losing there finish pretty fast.

      1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

        SHOT Show Range Day is outdoors in the Nevada desert. That’s just dust. The shooting bays are made of fine sand in the middle of a zillion acres of fine sand 😛

        (expand this photo and look at the red mat the gun is sitting on. It’s covered in it)

  11. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    Where’s the hammer?

  12. avatar Geoff PR says:

    “I was able to ask Ruger’s Pistol Product Manager if that chassis is the same between the .45 and 9mm, meaning the owner could swap calibers. Unfortunately, the answer was “no.” The .45 ACP chassis is internally larger to fit the longer cartridge and magazine.”

    *Very* disappointing.

    I was hoping the modular fire control group would allow broad multi-cal compatibility.

    Would they have been able to adapt the wider .45 chassis to the 9mm and other smaller calibers?

  13. avatar TXGal says:

    Looks “Plain Jane” to me. I have a thing for good looking handguns so will probably pass on this one. Still trying to find a Ruger P95 to replace the one I foolishly sold. Really like the looks, feel and accuracy of that P95

  14. avatar Peldrigal says:

    “This full size pistol has a sot recoil, so I want to shoot it compact or sub-compact because it will have a soft recoil”

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      Yes, “compared to other full-size or compact/sub-compact guns.”

  15. avatar Frank in VA says:

    In the muzzle-to-muzzle photo, it looks like the finish has already worn off of some of those sharp metal corners, with bright steel exposed. But upon second glance, it looks like the same color wear marks are on the polymer frame too, which obvious can’t be exposed steel.

    Is that something that rubbed off onto the gun from a holster, like grey kydex? Or is that legit finish wear?

    1. avatar Chrispy says:

      If it’s anything like the finish on my SR then it will get a dull sheen to it as it’s seen some holster time. The finish hasn’t come off though.

    2. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      SHOT Show Range Day is outdoors in the Nevada desert. That’s just dust. The shooting bays are made of fine sand in the middle of a zillion acres of fine sand 😛

      (expand this photo and look at the red mat the gun is sitting on. It’s covered in it)

      1. avatar Frank in VA says:

        Ah, ok. If I ever make it to SHOT show range day, I may come dressed in one of those Stillsuits from Dune.

        1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

          Yes, that’s probably best.

  16. avatar Kevin Haynie says:

    I want Ruger to make a pistol caliber carbine that takes RAP magazines. In .45 and 9mm. They had a similar gun out until 2006. It would be great to have a carry gun and a rifle that use the same ammo and mags. I have the RAP in .45 and it shoots as softly as my much heavier 1911. A very nice firearm.

  17. avatar Ray Cam says:

    Bought the gun in .45 from a LGS at a sale price of 399 and went straight to the range. Did a quick clean/oil and went to town. I only put about 200 rounds through it but on that note ZERO issues or pains or discomforts. Its accurate and has a good trigger. I own other Rugers as well as Smiths, Springfiled, ect, ect. Its a keeper in my book.

  18. avatar joe faulise says:

    My experience with this gun is quite different from you guys. The first thing is that the action closes automatically when loading Mags that have ammo. You shoot one mag run out of ammo reload and the action closes with out hitting the slide release.

    Secondly I cant hit anything with it. At nine feet I shot about nine inches low. at 45 feet I hit 2 feet or more low. Actually shot the wooden target stand base in half kinda funny.So I benched it 45 feet and still shot 4 inches low.I dont see anything wrong with the sights . I believe this gun just doesnt fit my hand or I am just not used to the trigger yet. Left right it dead on. Generally when shots fired low its the shooter 99 % of the time. I am only out 469 but definitely bummbed

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      That first thing is often viewed as a feature, not a bug. There are many pistols designed specifically to do that, and many will do it if the magazine is inserted forcefully or after the gun is well broken in (e.g. Glocks often do it, especially if broken in, HKs almost always do or may even have it designed in intentionally).

  19. avatar Nathan Bush says:

    I held the first new 45 model yesterday that I had seen all year. During the course of looking it over, I was able to jamb the slide. The black polymer follower in both of the magazines were tilting back naturally without any rounds loaded. Then the follower step was not able to catch the inner arm when fully inserted. Releasing the slide would jamb the follower forward and wedge the slide. It cut a deep gouge in the follower doing so. One magazine had a very obvious tilted follower, and the other mag’s follower would do the same if nudged. I have not seen this issue with the 9mm versions and wondered if this was a fluke from a pair of bad magazines. This issue would not have happened if the magazines were loaded when inserted.

  20. avatar Jim Wilder says:

    Been shooting .45s for 54 years…..really enjoy my 1911R…..just bought the American Pro Duty .45……..please don’t waist your money…..it’s gonna sit in the back of my gun safe for a long time…really disappointed in Ruger.

  21. avatar Jim Wilder says:

    American .45….keep your money and buy a real gun

  22. avatar Jim Wilder says:

    Ruger boys did not build a better .45 with the American……I’m disappointed with mine

  23. avatar michael pospychalla says:

    if you cant hit what you need too with ten rounds then buy a shotgun and shoot buck shot

  24. avatar T. Brennan says:

    Ten rounds is more than sufficient for most situations armed civilians will encounter. In most cases in a self defense situation 2 to 3 shots are fired. Yes you may wind up in a different situation where more shots are exchanged but on the whole it is rare. All I care about is that the weapon goes bang when I need it to, regardless of caliber or magazine capacity. Most days I carry a Charter Arms .44 Special, In my opinion that is more than adequate for most situations I would encounter.

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