Gun Review: Ruger SR1911 Lightweight Officer-Style 9mm

Gun Review: Ruger SR1911 Lightweight Officer-Style 9mm

When most people think of the Series 70 1911, Ruger isn’t the first brand to come to mind. My advice: you should expand your thinking. This review is on one of Ruger’s newer takes on John Moses Browning’s world-famous design, the SR1911 Lightweight Officer-Style 9mm.

Just about everyone makes a 1911 or an AR-15 these days. The low-hanging fruit for companies looking to broaden their product lines is to add one or both of these models and attempt to make something different from the rest. Maybe.

Unfortunately, this often results in some M. Night Shyamalan-level twists on reliability, and some CNN-worthy unsubstantiated hype. The point is, when Ruger entered the 1911 game around 2011, they entered a saturated market.

Gun Review: Ruger SR1911 Lightweight Officer-Style 9mm

I never really gave the Ruger SR1911 much consideration when it was first released. I owned a couple of good 1911 pistols back then and eventually sold them for lack of interest. Over the years I owned several more, this time of very high quality, but ultimately sold those too, again for lack of interest.

I loved .45 ACP, but just didn’t carry them much and hardly took them to the range as a result. I remained blissfully disinterested in the SR1911 series until I saw this model in the case at my local gun store. This one was something different from what I’d seen from Ruger in the past.

Gun Review: Ruger SR1911 Lightweight Officer-Style 9mm

The Lightweight Officer-Style is chambered in 9mm, which is the first thing that caught my eye. Several companies over the years have introduced 9mm 1911s, but few were really successful and many had reliability issues. Something about a large relatively heavy handgun and limited capacity made it a not-so-great choice for many shooters. This pistol, however, is smaller and addresses some of those concerns.

The frame is made of anodized aluminum which allows the SR1911 Lightweight to shed some significant ounces. Its 3.6-inch barrel length reduces weight, too. The capacity remains unchanged, as this model holds 7+1 rounds in a single-stack magazine (two ship with the pistol).

Gun Review: Ruger SR1911 Lightweight Officer-Style 9mm

As far as handling goes, this is straight 1911. The trigger breaks crisp and clean and the reset is positive and audible. Aiming the gun is also straightforward and it comes with a very serviceable set of drift-adjustable Novak 3-dots.

Like me, you may prefer that your carry gun has night sights, but I don’t think Ruger could have equipped the SR1911 Lightweight with tritium for the $979.00 MSRP. There’s no shortage of aftermarket options available if that’s a must for you.

The gun features a rather heavy, conical barrel instead of a traditional 1911 bushing and this aids in accuracy. A small downside is that the gun feels slightly muzzle-heavy, which can affect quick follow-up shots in untrained hands. Again, not a deal-breaker, just an observation.

Gun Review: Ruger SR1911 Lightweight Officer-Style 9mm

I experienced no failures to feed or fire with this gun right out of the box. I tested several factory loads over my Oehler 35P chronograph at a distance of five feet from the muzzle. Group sizes are an average of three, five-shot strings from a rest at 15 yards.

Black Hills 100gr +P Honey Badger — 1233fps, 2”
Hornady 124gr +P Critical Duty — 1159fps, 1.5”
Black Hills 125gr Honey Badge Subsonic — 964fps, 2.5”
Lehigh Defense 90gr +P Xtreme Defense — 1490fps, .75”
Mid America Munitions 124gr Broadhead — 1120fps, 1”

Overall, this is an acceptably accurate and reliable personal defense pistol. I was expecting some problems, as most small 1911 pistols I’ve tried over the years tended to have them, but not so with the SR1911 Lightweight.

Gun Review: Ruger SR1911 Lightweight Officer-Style 9mm

Ruger has delivered something light and very attractive in the SR1911. I can see it being very popular with those who want to carry gun with a safety (or two), favor the 1911’s excellent ergonomics and trigger, but balk at the gun’s weight.

I carried it some, fired it a bunch, and got very used to it. I’m still not a really big 1911 guy, but the SR1911 Lightweight addresses a lot of the objections people like me have about the platform. For your money, you get an attractive, ergonomically good gun with great features that’s ready to run from the second you pick it up.

Specifications: Ruger SR1911 Lightweight Officer-Style

Caliber: 9mm
Barrel Length: 3.60”
Overall Length: 7.25”
Height: 5″
Width: 1.34″
Capacity: 7+1 rounds
Weight Unloaded: 27oz
MSRP: $979 (about $750 street)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy * * * * *
This gun shot and shot well. But that should come as no surprise considering the bull barrel and easy-running 9mm chambering.

Reliability * * * * *
I was expecting some problems with the magazines due to how they were shaped internally, but I experienced no failures. Fitting a 9mm to a .45-size frame (and making it reliable) isn’t easy for some companies, but Ruger got it right.

Aesthetics * * * * 
Ruger did their homework on making this gun, well, not homely. The skeletonized trigger and hammer make it look upscale. It has an attractive color palette and thankfully lacks what I call ‘overbranding’ when it comes to its markings. Even the font on the frame is tasteful and crisp.

Ergonomics * * * * *
It’s a 1911, which is all most people need to hear. But, seeing as how I’m not a 1911 guy, I tend to be more critical. The thin grip panels and unobtrusive grip safety make it comfortable in the hand. It lacks front strap checkering, but I welcome this in a carry gun as too often they can be cheese graters. I would have liked an ambi safety on this gun, but the owner can always install one later if it suits them.

Carryability: * * * 
Everything else aside, I still had a hard time getting behind this as a carry gun. The GLOCK 19 Gen 5 is almost identical in dimensions and holds twice the ammo for what is essentially the same weight fully loaded. For a 1911, this is a very good, extremely carryable pistol, just not my taste in a carry gun. But that’s a personal opinion and certainly not the case for everyone.

Overall: * * * * 
This is a very solid gun. Ruger has certainly refined their 1911-making abilities and the SR1911 Lightweight is evidence of that. I like its combination of great concealability, dependable reliability and excellent accuracy.

 

comments

  1. avatar A Brit in TX says:

    Seems nice, I really want a 1911 but it will have to be in .45. There are too many decent alternatives in 9mm to justify the higher price and (presumed) extra upkeep of a 1911.

    Does anyone have any experience of the Ruger 1911 in .45? Seems nice at first glance and half decent value for a 1911.

    I do have a hankering for a Dan Wesson should I stumble upon some $$’s laying on the ground!

    1. avatar Dan in Detroit says:

      I had the first model of sr1911. It was good, but I could never keep it from shooting left. I’m sure this was because of me being used to fat grip doublestack 9mm instead of narrow singlestack .45. I let my uncle give it a look because he’s been upgrading 1911s for decades and he was pretty impressed with what they were offering for the price. I think the stock trigger was his only complaint – not because it was bad, but because he does trigger jobs on everything he owns and he has unusually high standards.

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      S,R&Co makes the same thing in .45 except it’s a stainless steel frame and weighs 4 ounces more. ( https://www.ruger.com/products/sr1911/specSheets/6762.html ) Both hold 7+1 and I’m guessing that if you’re using it for carry that anodized aluminum wouldn’t wear so well, so if you’re willing to pack an extra 5 or 6 ounces (loaded) I’d give the .45 the advantage. Personally I’d rather take the lightweight commander with a 4-1/4″ barrel and 9+1 capacity and only weighs 2 ounces more. Now if they made one like that in 10mm I might be willing to actually drop the $$$ on it.

    3. avatar Jack M says:

      I have used an SR1911 as an every day farm and ranch carry for several years. Flawless reliability with a wide range of ammo, even better, it seems to love my old favorite Golden Saber rounds for accuracy purposes, though I have never bench tested it, so that is just a “feeling”. Safety was really loose and sloppy, but I replaced it with another SR1911 safety from one a friend was customizing, and it was a much tighter fit. Trigger is crisp, moderately light, really good for an “entry level” 1911.

      I may look at this 9mm Officer’s model for an in town carry, looks nice, and I have always found Rugers to be solid performers.

      1. avatar PeterC says:

        I took the Gunsite Pistol 250 course with my Ruger SR1911 Lightweight Commander. I ran approximately 1,200 rounds of .45 ACP ball and frangible ammo through it in the five days without one hang-up. I did not clean the gun until I got home. I’d give it an A+ for reliability.

    4. avatar jwtaylor says:

      I had one of the early SR1911s as well. It was a good basic gun but it cost me almost as much as the price of the gun to get it to reliably feed a variety of self defense ammunition, as well as change the grips and the sights. I had Dawson Precision do the work on it, and afterwards it was a gun I’d trust my life with.

      1. avatar Jack M says:

        I have heard about reliability issues with SR1911s, I never had any, but my serial # shows a 2013 manufacture date. Maybe they were getting better? I’m almost 60, and while I have fired ugly Rugers, heavy Rugers, even why did you think a magnum snubbie as heavy as a boat anchor was a good idea Rugers, I guess I got lucky on the reliability issues.

        1. avatar jwtaylor says:

          That may be it, I got mine the very first year of their production, and early on it that. I got it directly through Ruger as a replacement for a different, broken Ruger pistol and before I saw any of them on the shelf.
          It may also be that I just got one that wasn’t that great.
          I have bought dozens of Ruger guns before that one, and dozens since. I’m a big fan of the company because they make good guns, but also because their customer service is second to none.

  2. avatar yolo says:

    great call on the carryability rating:

    why didnt they make this double stack? its just a stupid 1911 fudd gun, no one is going to carry this. Wilson combat made that awesome double stack 1911 that was exact glock 19 dimensions… but its $3000. Theres a market here that no one is tapping, i would love to switch things up and carry a compact 1911, i dont know who wouldn’t.

    1. avatar anonymoose says:

      Make a 1911 that takes Glock 19 mags. That would blow some minds.

    2. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Wilson Combat does not make a double stack 1911, but several other companies do. They have been around for decades.
      I carried the STI DVC Carry as my EDC for a year were so, but I recently switched back to a Government.

      1. avatar Anner says:

        Wilson made the KZ 45 for a few years, a staggered 1911 that fit 10rds into a normal height government 1911 frame. It was a polymer frame and didn’t accept slabside grips, so the overall thickness was pretty close to a single stack. I wish I’d bought one when they were available, it was a cool concept.

        http://www.handgunsmag.com/editorial/featured_handguns_wilsonkz45_032807/138813

        1. avatar jwtaylor says:

          They currently make their EDC9, but it’s not a 1911.

      2. avatar yolo says:

        wilson doesnt make one? really? are you unaware or seriously splitting hairs? its a 1911. i know what you are about to say about, but for 99% of the shooting population, they dont care. This is a double stack 1911.

        https://www.wilsoncombat.com/edc-x9/

  3. avatar rob says:

    1911s are great, but I too prefer a carry gun that is lighter, less tall, and holds more ammo: Efficiency.
    That said, I love living in the golden age of firearms. All hail choices.

    1. avatar Michael B says:

      That’s the truth, Rob — we have choices, and choices, and choices. It really is awesome. And tremendous resources like TTAG, and so many knowledgeable people who share their experiences. And then we find out for ourselves what we like, don’t like — in my case, a somewhat expensive process of exploring / owning / carrying different guns. Best of all, it’s great fun!

  4. avatar Ryan says:

    I really dig this mid-sized 9mm type of gun. The g-19, P229, this gun, it’s just the perfect size for a 9mm. I would love it if this was a double stack, like the EDC X9, but I would buy this. Seems like Ruger has a winner.

  5. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I love the 1911 platform and I really like everything about this pistol except for its reported street price of $750.

    By the way, I am astounded with this test result:
    Hornady 124gr +P Critical Duty — 1159fps, 1.5” [groups]

    I have to think that those Critical Duty bullets with a muzzle velocity of 1,159 feet per second have to be pretty decent fight stoppers.

    (Hornady’s Critical Duty bullets appear to be ideal because they seem to expand just right: not expanding too little or too slowly and causing over-penetration, and not expanding too much or too quickly causing under-penetration.)

  6. avatar IAmNotTheHulk says:

    I love the original Colt Delta Elite. It is a laser at 50 yards, recoil is manageable and 10mm will make a BG think twice.

  7. avatar Rokurota says:

    Okay, I’ll say it: disinterested means impartial. Sounds more like you were uninterested.

  8. avatar tdiinva says:

    I went with the Springfield EMP 4″ with a 9+1 capacity to replace my now retired BHP. The reason you carry a 1911 is shootability. If I stand there and bang away on a square range I will shoot a Glock about the same as a 1911. Put things in motion and my accuracy with a Glock falls by 50% versus 10-15% with a 1911. Your results may vary but most people will find Browning designs to be more accurate in practical real world situations.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      I am very impressed with that little pistol, but have always balked at the price, which is always north of a grand. Weighs the same as the Ruger, but comes with three 9+1 mags.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        Yeah, it helps to have paid off your mortgage.

  9. avatar strych9 says:

    As usual with the 1911 style guns the price bothers me.

    At the reported street price there are just SO many other options that I always get my interest piqued by the 1911 and then, predictably back burner the 1911 for something else.

    The last time was just a few weeks ago, ended up picking up a LCP 2 instead just for funzies. Of course that took a chunk out of the 1911 budget… back burnering that as a potential carry piece yet again.

  10. avatar Ogre says:

    I have a SA EMP in 9mm and a Colt Compact 1911 in .45 ACP. Both excellent pistols that have been around a while. Why the manufacturers continue to try to reinvent the wheel is beyond me. There is nothing new under the sun.

  11. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Nothing against Ruger by any means. But. This gun does nothing my RIA – CS Officers size gun does. Except maybe cost more and look a bit nicer. Both my RIA 9mm and 45acp compacts have been reliable and accurate from day one. Very happy with all 4 of my RIA 1911s.
    9mm 1911s have been out there for many years, made by many companies.
    Ruger is a tad late to the party.

  12. avatar el Possum Guapo Herr Standartenfuher they think we're making pizza's" Oberst von Burn says:

    These light weight pistols are defeating JMB’s dual propose design of the 1911 boat anchor

  13. avatar =BCE56= says:

    The slide chevrons are pointing the wrong way.

  14. avatar =BCE56= says:

    The slide serrations are pointing the wrong way

  15. avatar Jim Hovater says:

    At the time of the article did you know that Ruger had made a couple of 1911s in 9mm, most notably their Lightweight Commander-type? So. 1911s in 9mm were nothing ‘new’ for Ruger.

  16. avatar ‘liljoe says:

    For that price they couldn’t include night sights? sig does it for cheaper.

  17. ruger should have put an 8 rounder on this, since it is about the same size as my sig p225 and about the same weight. and one of the advantages of a 9mm was it holds more ammo in the same space as a 45. I would rather just use my sig. now if they made this an 8 rd 38super than I think I would be interested. and maybe RIA /Armscor will see fit to do that. if they can make one with the fit and finnish done right that would be a nice gun. Wilson may have a nice hi cap 1911 9mm but the price is up there for it and someone like Armscor or ruger making a hi cap version that would be cheaper would be better to have. especially when you consider the cops will take it and hold it until they decide to give it back to you ( you know the “testing they have to do for 6 months to see if that really was the gun you used), you would miss it less than your $3000 Wilson.

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