Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ruger SR1911 Lightweight Commander .45 ACP Review

Ruger SR1911 Lightweight Commander .45 ACP Review
Now Smaller and Lighter

As noted in my previous review of the sized Government length Ruger SR1911, Ruger hit the nail on the head for .45ACP 1911 owners. Lustful full sized 1911 desires aside, the next on every .45ACP owner’s list is the more carriable Commander length pistol and again Ruger has answered the call with an all stainless SR1911 Commander and now a Lightweight alloy framed version of its hugely popular SR1911. At nearly 10ozs lighter than the all stainless version, the reduced weight is a welcome option.

I wish I could highlight something different in a review between the full sized SR1911 and the shorter barreled Commander length, however essentially the two guns are identical with the exception of a .75” shorter barrel. Really, they are identical. Sure, the spring, slide, and barrel are shorter, and an aluminum alloy frame versus stainless steel, however that is about it. Every other part between the full sized guns are theoretically interchangeable beyond the factory hand fitting. Of note the magazines are completely cross compatible between the Government and Commander size.

Let’s re-explore the finer points of the SR1911 platform. The Ruger Commander is a base priced 1911 in stainless with the basic “must do” upgrades covered all for under $979.  No need to spend a fortune for parts and gunsmithing services for the basic upgrades... Just plop down your cash on the Ruger SR1911 and go have fun shooting or start carrying it concealed.

FINISH, FIT, FEEL, FEATURES, FUNCTIONING & ACCURACY
Overall the Ruger SR1911 good fit for a production 1911s between the aluminum alloy lower receiver and milled stainless upper receiver. Perfect buttery custom gun feel? No, but tighter and smoother than many other production guns I have shot. Many will say, “Milled lowers are better”, however keep in mind Ruger’s high precision foundry has been delivering some of the most precise castings to manufacturers across the industry for decades.  I would challenge you to notice from a fit perspective that it is a cast lower versus milled. All the parts are tight and have that solid Ruger feel about them.  Most will find the fit and finish as good or better than most other production 1911s - note I said production, not custom.

The SR1911 Model 6711 feels solid, beefy and is comfortable in the hand. This lightweight version is a pleasure to carry at only 28oz. The shorter barreled SR1911 Commander moves the pivot point of the balance back for a less muzzle heavy feel.  The gun is very comfortable and the grooved rosewood grips and rear checkering provide a perfect grip without being too aggressive on the hands. Ruger did groove the front strap on the alloy Commander.

Ruger skipped the problematic newer generation firing pin safeties which leave many 1911 owners swearing about higher manufacturing costs, failures to fire, and harsher trigger pulls. Ruger just made the older simpler problem-free 70-series design just as safe by using a stronger firing pin spring and lightweight titanium firing pin. This allows the gun to survive drop tests without accidental discharge when the gun hits the concrete, provides nice upgrade, a less complex and less expensive design all while maximizing a great trigger feel.


The trigger is skeletonized aluminum with overtravel adjustment and is probably one of the better triggers I have tried on a production 1911. This particular Lightweight Ruger Commander has just a little bit of snag in the trigger which pushed the feel out of match quality range, however for its intended purpose it is a good trigger.

The stainless barrel and bushings are made from the same piece of bar stock. Why? Because every piece of bar stock is just unique enough that one piece will be marginally harder or softer than another. By using the same barstock for both barrel and bushings the chance for wear over the long term is greatly minimized and a better fit equals tighter groups now and into the future.  Nice detail.
Features - Standard Upgrades
The Ruger SR1911 includes a oversized mag release, thumb safety, beavertail safety with a nice palm swell for positive safety dis-engagement, skeletonized and bobbed hammer. The beavertail safety and thumb safety are not hugely oversized, so the Ruger should be a good comfortable carry option.  The hammer is nicely stylized and deeply serrated and can be cocked single handed with the grip hand. The magwell is more of a standard type with a decent magazine flaring and good enough for a carry gun.
The Ruger SR1911 magazine are some of the most gorgeous magazines I have ever seen on any production gun.  The Commander included just one seven shot magazine instead of a seven and eight rounder like the full sized. The magazines are mirror polished stainless steel with anti-tilt followers.  The 7 shot provides a flush fit with the lightly beveled mag-well while the optional extended 8-shot includes a hard plastic bumper.  These magazines are a work of art all unto themselves.  Just a note my Kimber .45 magazines functioned perfectly as well for those looking for possible compatibility options.

The sights are Novak three dot dovetail sights and provide plenty of function with the rear being adjustable for windage via a set screw. Unless you are a target shooter, these are all you will ever need.  It should be noted that the top rear of the slide is milled to accept other Novak equivalent extended combat and adjustable sights, however should you want other non-Novak compatible target sights, you may need to have the top of the slide milled to provide clearance.  Grips are beautiful cocobolo with deep aggressive checkering for plenty of grip.

Included in the now standard cardboard box was a lock, the gun, one magazines, the plastic take-down wrench, and a zippered pistol pouch.

Testing included three-hundred round of five types of ammo ranging from the inexpensive steel case Herters & Wolf, and various standard and premium Winchester rounds in hollowpoint and FMJ.  Everything feed, fired and ejected without a single issue.  Based on the fact the gun could feed anything I threw at it, I would not hesitate to recommend this 1911 for anyone intending to utilize the SR-1911 as a reliable defense gun.

ACCURACY TESTING
For me the lightweight version of this Commander was actually a bit more accurate than the all stainless model. I wanted to replicate my testing of the full sized SR1911 and dug through the ammo box to find the same boxes and brands of ammo. The shorter sight radius marginally decreased accuracy, however, if placed in a Ransom rest, I am sure the groups would be nearly identical.  Almost all of my groups were solidly just over 2.5” for 5-shot groups; and about the same size as my full sized Ruger 1911.  Again the Federal HST and Winchester 230-Gr FMJ rounds delivered my best groups.  All around a very accurate 1911 pistol for the price.
FINAL THOUGHTS
The Ruger SR1911 is an outstanding value for a feature loaded production 1911 that you can just buy and have the confidence in to go out and shoot. The Commander version offers a carriable option which is ¾” shorter and a few ounces lighter to increase all day carry comfort.

Like the full sized version the grips are a bit big for my hands and would swap them for a set of VZ slim custom grips.  Highly recommended.

RUGER SR1911 LIGHTWEIGHT COMMANDER SPECS
Caliber: .45 Auto
Slide Material: Stainless Steel
Sights: Fixed Novak® 3-Dot
Length: 7.75"
Height: 5.45"
Width: 1.34"
Weight 28oz
Grooves: 6
Barrel Length: 4.25"
Twist: 1:16" RH

SOURCES
Ruger - http://www.Ruger.com

2 comments:

T.White said...

The Ruger Commander everything the article says it is and more!

T.White said...

The Ruger Commander is everything the article says it is and more!