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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
Barrel Length: 3.60”
Overall Length: 7.25”
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.