Ruger SR1911 Lightweight, by Pat Cascio

Anyone who has followed my writings for any length of time will surely know that the 1911A1-pattern handgun in .45 ACP is my all-time favorite handgun. I’ve written more articles on the 1911 than any other kind of handgun. Still, it would not be my first choice for an End Of The World handgun. The main reason is that I’d prefer to have a high-capacity handgun in 9mm that holds 15 or more rounds. When the lead starts flying, you probably will wish you had more ammo in your handgun, and that leaves out a standard single-column magazine 1911 that only holds 6-to-8 rounds. But the Model 1911A1 configuration remains my favorite handgun, and I still pack one of them from time to time.

I’ve reviewed many of the Ruger M1911 variants over the years and found them to be great shooters for the money. Recently, I found another new SR1911 model that I had to have, and I picked it up in a trade. This newest model SR1911 is a lightweight Government-style model with a 5-inch barrel and slide. My last three 1911s were Government models with the full-length barrel. I have always leaned towards the shorter 4.25-inch Commander-style length, because they are easier to pack, and the lightweight versions just feels better in my hands for some reason.

In case the articles might interest you, I’ve also written reviews for SurvivalBlog about the stainless steel-frame .45 SR1911 back in 2011, the 9mm Compact SR1911 model in 2014, the 9mm full-size model in 2017, and the Officer’s Model-sized .45 SR1911 in 2020.  

I was surprised when I learned about the full-sized Government-style version that Ruger announced. Then again, another Ruger does come as a surprise to me If Ruger can’t do it “better” they won’t do it – period! This newest version is called the Model 6792. The Ruger website says that it is currently available. Of course, it is chambered in .45 ACP/ That is my favorite caliber in a 1911.

The slide is made out of stainless steel, and the frame is anodized Aluminum that is black coated. This makes for a very attractive 1960s/70s type of custom 1911 look. I really like it! Ruger added custom-made G-10 grips instead of the traditional walnut grips – again, I like those a lot. However, I swapped out those grips for a pair of my own design “Code Zero 1911” grips. I just like my own design a little bit better. The SR1911 lightweight comes in at only 31.1 ounces – and that is a lot lighter than the traditional all-steel M1911 variants which, depending on maker, typically weigh around 42 ounces. Carrying 10 fewer ounces makes a big difference when packing the gun all day long. I thought it would give me a huge recoil difference, but I’m happy to report, the recoil wasn’t nearly as much as I thought it would be – a happy surprise!

The pistol’s sights are made by Novak – and I believe they are not clones, but the genuine Novak-made article. They are all black besides the white dots. The sights were dead-on out of the box – they are drift adjustable if you need to make adjustments.

The 5-inch barrel is match-grade if you ask me. Plus the feed ramp is made out of Titanium – this is important if you shoot a lot of ammo with aggressive-profile JHP bullets – it can chew up your feed ramp if it is made out of aluminum. The slide has forward-angled gripping grooves instead of the more old-fashioned grooves that are straight up and down. A match-grade Aluminum trigger is perfectly adjusted and it broke dead-on at 4.50-lbs with only a hint of overtravel, I left it as it came out of the box. The slide-to-frame fit exhibited no side-to-side play, nor up and down play – perfectly fitted because these two parts were CNC machined. The firing pin is Titanium for a faster lock time.

The magazine release is slightly oversized – a real plus in my book. The single-side thumb safety is big enough, but not too big. The hammer is skeletonized. The beavertail grip safety is oversized and narrow – the mainspring is flat and checkered. The magazine well is slightly beveled for easier and faster magazine insertion, as well.

There is the traditional recoil spring and plunger, and I like this a lot, instead of full-length, which makes it harder to break the gun down for cleaning and inspection. The front strap of the grip frame is smooth – I routinely place a strip of skateboard tape on this part of a 1911 for a better grip. I don’t use coarse tape, just enough to give me a much better grip on the gun. And, once a year, if it is needed I replace this friction tape. This takes just a couple of minutes and it’s inexpensive, too.

Now as near as I know, Ruger is the only 1911 maker that machines the plunger tube into the frame – no worries about it working loose under recoil. This is important, because if the plunger tube works loose under fire, your gun is dead in the water. A really nice added touch that can save your bacon.

I don’t know who makes the magazines for Ruger, but they are some of the best to be hand. Each SR1911 comes with one 8-round slightly extended mag and one flush-fitting 7-round mag. These are highly polished stainless steel magazines.

There wasn’t anything that I didn’t like about this new offering from Ruger. Oh, one more thing I should mention is that this gun balanced perfectly in my hands. I’ve owned dozens of lightweight 1911s especially in the Commander-sized version, and they are balanced nicely. However, this full-sized 1911, in the lightweight version balances better than any 1911 I’ve ever handled. I can’t put my finger on it, but this gun just feels perfect in my hand, and the recoil isn’t as bad as I thought it would be – even as a lightweight 1911. Hmmm – go figure it out – I can’t.

My Practical Range Tests

Of course, it all comes down to how well, the gun shoots. I had a small amount of Black Hills Ammunition  self-defense loads on-hand – not a lot. So, I contacted Black Hills, and got 500 rounds of their .45 ACP FMJ ammo. This stuff if some of the best, if not the best shooting FMJ ammo I’ve ever shot – bar none, over the years.

Since I’ve had several strokes over the past year, my loading of the 1911 mags is now a lot slower than it used to be – but I still managed to fire more than 500 rounds of the various loads that I had. All of the shooting was done over a couple weeks – not in one shooting session. My accuracy shooting was done at 25-yards, over a rolled-up sleeping bag. None of the Black Hills ammo exceeded 2-inches, if I did my job. Many times I called an errant shot before looking at the target. This was my bad, not the gun – not in the least. My handgun skills have diminished since my strokes, but I’m gaining on my skills, once again.

The 230-grain FMJ ammo proved to be the most accurate, with some rounds going into 1.60-inches. So, with all that shooting, nothing exceeded 2-inches – that’s good shooting no matter how you look at it. I was hoping that the Black Hills 135-gr all copper self-defense rounds would be the winner. However, the best I could do – if I was really on my game were a couple groups slightly under two inches – and that is still good shooting if you ask me. I can’t take all the credit, I had to really work to get those groups – the gun and ammo made it all possible.

I haven’t had but a few helpers doing some of the shooting since the Covid outbreak, and I only count the groups that I shoot – not their groups. My only “helper” in testing the Ruger SR1911 was my wife, and she just did some shooting for “fun” and she really had a lot of fun shooting this gun. Some of the shooting was done on my small home range.

I don’t know if I can draw and shoot this full-sized lightweight 1911, faster than I can a lightweight Commander style 1911 – I didn’t time myself, but I sure could get this SR1911 out of the holster a lot faster than I could an all-steel model 1911. And, to be sure, it was a lot more pleasant packing this gun on my hip all day long than the all-steel versions.

With the right holster you can pack a concealed handgun the size of this gun, and conceal it with the right holster and clothing. In this case, I used a belt side holster and it held the gun high and close to my body. It does tend to slow down the draw a bit, but not by much. I’ve never had to face someone in a fast draw contest on the street – thankfully – during my life in law enforcement and in contract security. I always managed to have my gun out and in my hand. Still, even though I am now in my 70s and I spend much more time at home, I still practice my draw from concealment and from open carry. You never know…

Full-retail on this latest SR1911 is $799 and this gun is a bargain with all the factory features if you ask me…The gun is worth $500 more, in my humble opinion. Check one out at your local FFL dealer. I think that you are going to like it.