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 . . .
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.
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.
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.