Author Topic: Range Report - RIA 1911 Compact & Ruger SR45  (Read 3625 times)

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Range Report - RIA 1911 Compact & Ruger SR45
« on: December 08, 2013, 10:22:01 AM »
Range time is over and the results are in.

Both the RIA 1911 Compact and the Ruger SR45 are winners.

RIA 1911 Compact (Officer Model):

For the first outing of this pistol it ran nearly flawless. With a 6:00 o'clock hold 48 out of 50 rounds were left of center in a nice 4" group at 15 yards offhand. That is, to me, outstanding for a compact  1911. I had two fliers and I can't say if they were caused by me or the ammunition (Sellior and Belloit 230 grain FMJ) or me, but I'll take the blame.

The pistol is outfitted with Hogue wrap-a-round rubber grips and aided in reducing the felt recoil. I also shoot with a shooting glove and that also helped in taming the recoil. That is not to say that the recoil is excessive from this compact pistol - it is not. Muzzle flip was surprisingly little. The recoil is very manageable and getting back on target with the relatively weak set of sights on the RIA 1911 Compact was actually quite simple.

The only issue I had was that the safety flipped in "not safe" mode on two occasions. I had replaced the plunger spring and I had hoped for no safety issues but there were two. I'll have an extended safety ordered for the pistol today and that should rectify that situation.

There were absolutely no FTFs or FTEs. I had polished the feed ramp slightly and I'm sure that it helped reducing any potential FTF problems. I have a new set of springs for the pistol but as of now I don't feel the need to replace them.

A new extended safety and a slight drift of the rear sight to the right and this pistol will be ready for anything in front of it.

If you are looking for a compact .45 of the 1911 family of pistols, the RIA 1911 Compact should serve you well. The beaver tail grip safety keeps ugly things from happening to your shooting hand during fast fire. The bit of white paint that I put on the front sight didn't matter at all. I shoot in low light and even with my aging eyes, small sights, and a short sight radius, I was still able to place the majority of the rounds where they needed to be placed.

Ruger SR45:

When I test fire a firearm I try not to compare it with anything else - even firearms of a similar nature. Most write-ups I have read have made comparisons between the SR45 and the Glock 21 (or Glock 30). I feel that is wrong to do as the SR45 and the Glock series are totally different firearms despite the fact that they are striker-fired.

When I first fire a firearm there are a lot of questions rolling through the mind. After reading some negatives about magazines falling out and the slide not staying back on the last round, questions regarding those issues roll around until they are proven or regarded as a non-issue. In the case of the SR45 that I started breaking in, those issues never reared up.

Looking at the date of the test case that was fired, it was fired on 9/07/2013. That meant the this pistol was roughly 2 months old. My friend had recently purchased it, but through unfortunate circumstances, I was able to buy it from him at a very reasonable cost. And, to tell you the truth, although I had told him that he could buy it back at any time, I would be reluctant to sell it. Yes, it is a keeper.

I put three different types of ammunition through it during the range session; 50-rounds of Atlanta Arms 230-grain FMJ range reloads, 50-rounds of 230-grain FMJ target loads, and 50-rounds of Winchester 185-grain White Box. Just for giggles, I also put 8 rounds of my favorite carry load (230-grain JHP). I had two issues in all of these rounds going down the tube.

Ruger recommends loading only 8-rounds in the 10-rounds magazines until the springs set. I would recommend this also. For the first 60-rounds I loaded only 8-rounds in the two magazines that I carried with me ( the pistol comes with two magazines). They ran flawlessly. I loaded two magazines with a full compliment of 10 and they also ran flawlessly. On the third magazine; however, I had one FTF with the first round. I downloaded the magazine to 8-rounds and, again, the pistol ran flawlessly. The magazines springs are stout. Ruger provides a magazine loader with the pistol; the ninth and tenth rounds are difficult to load, but I was able to load them without the aid of the tool. My favorite magazine loader (UpLula) does make short work of stoking the magazines; however, and I used it for the first four magazine loads. The loading tool that Ruger provides is adequate but you have to rock it back and forth and push down to use. To me, the provided magazine loader was a PITA to use and the UpLula is just so much easier and faster. But, thanks for the thought anyway, Ruger.

Aside from the magazine issue, I had one FTF that was caused by my experimentation with the slide stop. The SR45 is intended to chamber from a slingshot position; pulling the slide all the way rearward and then releasing the slide so that the full extent of the compressed recoil spring is used to chamber the round. I tried using the slide stop and the round would not chamber - on several occasions. The reason, as I see it is two-fold. First, there is not enough spring tension to adequately chamber the round. The recoil spring on the SR45 is stout and I don't think that this was the problem. Chambering a round then relies primarily on barrel alignment and magazine feed angle to the chamber. One round went head first into the feed ramp. The other reason probably was that I was too wimpy with the slingshot. Using an overhand or rear slingshot approach to chambering is the answer for this pistol. The slide serrations (10 lands and 12 grooves) are deeply cut to make for a solid gripping surface. I have polished the feed ramp a tad to help with chambering and I just need to be more "macho" when slinging the slide. By the way, this is the Ruger-approved method as Ruger does not recommend using the slide stop. I did, at one point, slam a magazine home and the slide went into battery. I actually like this feature as long as the round does not fire when the slide goes into battery. However, I was not able to duplicate it in subsequent magazine changes so it may have been that the slide stop had simply not fully engaged the slide. I wish that I could tell.

The operator controls (slide stop and safety) are small. The hammer safety was easy to take "off" safe but was not as easy to put "in" safe with the thumb of the shooting hand. I learned quickly; however, that the thumb of the support hand works very well in doing so without destroying your grip on the gun. I also learned another trick; the ambidextrous safety will pinch your trigger finger near the web of the hand at times when dropping the safety lever to the off safe position with the thumb of the shooting hand. The answer here is to use the thumb of the support hand for both safety functions - wipe-on and wipe-off.

A function that I had to seriously find out for myself was the magazine disconnect safety and yes the SR45 has one. Remember that this pistol is intended for LEO use as well as the general public. While some do not like a magazine disconnect - I do and so do many LEOs. Anyway, I had to test it out. When I was dry firing the pistol yesterday, I removed the magazine and tried to fire it. I was expecting the trigger to be blocked - it was not. The striker; however, is. The SR45 has a "cocked" indicator that protrudes out the rear of the slide. When the trigger is pulled, the striker indicator moves inward. I didn't expect it to move inward with the magazine out of the pistol - but it did - and that concerned me. I didn't feel as if the magazine disconnect was working. At the range, I did verify that the pistol will not fire with the magazine removed although the "cocked" indicator will move forward. It give me the same uneasy feeling as when I use a de-cocker on a pistol equipped with one. You are expecting the pistol to fire even though it won't. It may be a psychological thing that when a hammer falls or a "cocked" indicator moves that you expect the thing to fire. I won't get over that and I don't feel as if I should lest I become complacent.

Did I mention shooting comfort? After a few rounds out of the barrel, I felt as if I was holding a 1911. The grip portion of the frame is very close in angle to the 1911, and for being a staggered-magazine machine, is not that thick. In fact, the grip of my Para 14-45 is thicker The SR45 has a removable back strap that is easily removed with one pin and reversed to change the grip for different people. Surprisingly, I preferred the "arched" position that provides a bit of palm swell and a deeper front-to-rear grip dimension. For my mitt it was a perfect fit. The grip portion of the frame is nicely checkered, but not deeply so, and affords a comfortable grip without leaving a waffle pattern on your hand. With the back strap using the "arched" position, the pistol a very like the 1911A1 in this respect. The back strap is of a rubber compound and also helps the comfort level of the pistol. With this frame, I feel no need to add a grip-sleeve to add extra width to the grip.

The pistol is dead-on accurate. With a six o'clock hold on the center of the 100-yard rifle sight-in target, the center disappeared within 50 rounds at 15-yards while shooting offhand in the Modified Weaver stance. The pistol did not like Federal ammunition; however, and some really strange stray hits (but still within the "kill" zone) concerned me. With these strays being with the first 50 rounds, I wasn't that concerned, as subsequent rounds with Atlanta Arms range ammo was better. Federal needs to step up its game.

On to the trigger. I have read that most folks liked and did not like the trigger at the same time. How can that be? The trigger on the SR45, while not perfect, is much better that I have found on other striker-fired pistols. The trigger has the center-mounted safety lever. After pressing this lever to pull out the slack the trigger begins its travel rearward under tension - and very smoothly, I might add. The trigger does not have the grittiness I was expected and the more the trigger was pulled the smoother it became. One complaint (not mine) was that you could not "feel" the break point when the sear releases. Some even claimed that this could cause you to shoot when you don't want to shoot. If you don't want to shoot  - don't press the trigger. I did find that if I press the trigger instead of pulling the trigger that I could just about judge when things were about to happen. Not always, mind you. This was a new trigger for me to learn and I had no problem with "surprise" shots. The trigger resets when the slide moves rearward about .5" and that makes for some pretty fast follow-up shots although I did not try that today, as today was simply an observation of function. The trigger on my particular gun breaks at 7-pounds but it actually feels lighter. As to why if feels lighter than it actually is, I can't tell you - but ergonomics may have a bit to do with it. Regardless, on a pistol used for self defense, I'll take a smooth heavy trigger over a rough lighter trigger. The trigger on the SR45 feels more like a light double-action trigger with no staging.

Ruger did a nice job in the design of the pistol and everything blends in well. There are; however, some sharp edges that you will be made aware of very quickly. The slide serrations are deep and sharply cut. The slide stop is small, but has some sharp edges. The ejection port edges are sharply defined. In the grand scheme of things these are a minor nuance rather than a show-stopper.

To close this out, the SR45 is a pistol well worth considering. While some might say that it is too large for concealed carry, and while I did observe that the long butt is to be considered, there is also this; the handle of a full-sized Government model 1911 (8-round) and the handle of the SR45 (10-round) are nearly identical in length and the width of the SR45 is actually less than my RIA 1911 Government Model. So where's the argument?

At first, the SR45 feels "top" heavy - and it should be. After all, there is steel over polymer. Once loaded; however, the gun's "feel" balances out.

So, how does the SR45 stack up? A Cross Breed Super Tuck was ordered for it. That, in itself, should tell you something. Once I order a holster for a firearm, the firearm has found a home. By the way, the Cross Breed Super Tuck Deluxe holster for the Ruger SR45 will also fit the SR9 and SR40.For now, it will reside in the Simply Rugged "Cuda" holster for the Springfield XD, which holds it very gracefully.

One last thing. The SR45 has a pop-up chamber loaded indicator that provides a visual and tactile indication that a round is chambered. Some people complain about this. Heck, I didn't even notice it!

To sum the day:

It was a good day for a much needed break for me and a not so much needed break-in for the RIA 1911 Compact and Ruger SR45, as both of these guns ran just fine right out of the box. Although I did not put in an award winning result with either gun, I'm sure that I can find enough excuses to validate the result.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2013, 12:02:06 PM by Taurian »
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Re: Range Report - RIA 1911 Compact & Ruger SR45
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2013, 10:57:58 AM »
Great report! Sounds like you've got yourself a couple of winners. ;D
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Re: Range Report - RIA 1911 Compact & Ruger SR45
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2013, 02:12:42 PM »
This is a good read. Thanks Taurian. Congrats on your new shoot'en irons!


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Re: Range Report - RIA 1911 Compact & Ruger SR45
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2013, 09:34:31 AM »
Thanks Taurian! Sounds like a good day!