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Ruger American Pistol: Surprisingly Tolerable


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I recently acquired one of these in a trade. It had been on my Maybe I'll Pick One Up Someday list, and the right opportunity came along. I took it to the range a couple days ago and I put about 120 rounds through it (124gr hard cast reloads).

Ergos / handling: It shoots and handles better than it looks. The squared-off rear of the frame which I initially had concerns about ended up being no issue whatsoever. The gun in 9mm simply doesn't recoil enough for this to even begin to be a problem.  

The backstrap / grip inserts slide on and off after being unlocked with a 1/4 turn of a recessed Torx cam. It looks like the cam moves outward to lock the insert into place, and inward to allow removal. There were a couple of sharp corners on the inside of the lanyard slot which dug into my hand, but a couple of quick strokes with a file fixed that. It wasn't an issue on any but the smallest grip insert for some reason. I don't much care for the exaggerated palm hump on the large and medium backstraps so I left the small one installed.

The ambi magazine button was actually quicker to hit with my thumb with the small backstrap installed. With the large backstrap, it's harder for thumb reach and easier for trigger finger activation.

The grasping serrations on the slide rear were very well designed. The crosscut serrations provide a superlative grip.

The takedown lever has a bit of a protruding shelf that makes a handy place to rest your support thumb.   Unfortunately it prevents it from fitting into holsters for other brands that would actually be a pretty good fit otherwise.

Trigger reach is easy and comfortable for me. There are no sharp edges or other unpleasantness on the trigger shoe like there can be on other designs (XD, Glock).

Shooting: It ran through all my reloads with no feeding problems. I was doing offhand shooting at a 2" dot at about 20 yards and I was able to keep all the shots either on the dot or within an inch of it, so accuracy was certainly adequate for my purposes. Brass ejection was a bit erratic but thankfully none came near my face.

The sights were regulated such that the front sight dot represented your point of impact. I usually prefer my POI to be the top of the sight blade, but whatever. Sight picture was good enough that I will probably leave the factory sights on.

The trigger pull was similar to the XD pistols. The pull itself was not heavy enough to complain about, probably 5 pounds or a little less. There was a fair amount of creep but it was smooth and consistent. The reset point was about 2/3 of the trigger forward travel, which is a little longer than most people like but not a real problem. The reset was distinct and clear. About all I would want is a little less creep and a little shorter reset if I were going to be doing a lot of shooting.

Muzzle flip was negligible, despite the rather slick grip. The mags easily dropped free and locked in consistently. Mags were not difficult to load to full 17 rd capacity.

TL;DR: It performed well and I liked it more than I expected to.

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I've been wondering what the market response to this pistol would be.  I don't think it's made quite the splash Ruger was hoping for.  Usually the latest/greatest plastic fantastic remains close to MSRPish in price for awhile until demand cools.  That doesn't seem to be the case with this thing at all.  I've seen them advertised under $400 already... that's basic SR series money already.  I've played with a few and on a scale of 1-10 I rate it a solid "meh"

While the trigger is acceptable, it's not great or even really good.  I personally find the gun terribly ugly.  It does feel good in my hand with the medium palm swell, but not any better than an M&P or XD, and not as good as an HK VP, PPQ, or most CZ75 variants.

I have yet to shoot one, but unless they worked literal, actual magic and made a recoil-less firearm, I don't think I would personally be swayed to buy one.  Would definitely take one in trade if it were profitable to me like you did, however.

I'm sure it will find a home in the safe of many die hard Ruger fans, and there will be those who find the aesthetic pleasing as well.  I wish all gun companies well these days, and I hope they are are filling their coffers, because they are going to have a heck of a time when Hillary is prez.  :-(

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I had read a lot of forum posts that didn't encourage high expectations, but when the opportunity to trade my CZ-75 for it appeared, I decided to roll the dice.

I recently got rid of a SR-9 after the realization that I didn't like it very much.  This is a far more shootable pistol IMO, and I have already shot it more than I did the CZ that it replaced.

I agree that it's uglier than a mud fence, and with the crowded polymer striker pistol market being what it is, it's difficult to imagine why most people would select the Ruger over so many other quality competitors.  Then again, people still buy XDs, so who knows?

The X-factor lies in the Ruger's internal frame / removable grip system.  Time will tell what Ruger does with the potential of this system.  They certainly don't seem to be flying off the shelves, and Ruger's reputation of not being able to get pistols right on the first try certainly doesn't help matters.





Edited by ken_mays
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5 hours ago, mikegideon said:

Haven't you heard? since the FBI's CYA move expired, you're the only guy left that shoots it :)


4 hours ago, Caster said:

Him and Comms......:hiding:

Good... more of the high end stuff for me. You guys all shooting your wives/girlfriends guns?

Edited by DaveTN
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1 hour ago, TNWNGR said:

Is it still a G-23 if you put a 9mm P barrel in it? I've heard tell you can be a sneaky little son of a gun if the notion takes you that away... :P

I have a G19 as well, and a Raven phantom that stays on my belt. I just grabbed the 23 until I could get to the ammo store. I don't dislike 40, even if it WAS developed over some CYA bull####.


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