Made to compete for the U.S. Military’s Joint Combat Pistol Specification and Modular Handgun System (MHS) programs, the Ruger American Pistol is a full size strikerfire handgun. Available in 9mm, the Ruger American Pistol has a capacity of 17+1 and utilizes a Browning-type lock-breech action.
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Say what you want about Ruger, they prove the old adage that “specialization is for insects”. Ruger has always had a diverse offering of single action revolvers, double action revolvers, bolt action rifles, semiautomatic rifles, 1911 pistols, double-barreled shotguns, 22 target pistols, rimfire suppressors and now a striker fired, polymer framed pistol.
The Ruger American Pistol
The pistol is very “un Ruger-like” if you have not pulled your head out of the sand to take a look at the company’s offerings over the past decade. They are moving by leaps and bounds in the correct direction. They could have easily built this pistol on the SR-9 platform, but it appears to be a completely new design built from the ground up.
There is no external thumb safety, no magazine disconnects and no “Warning” on the barrel. This new design may seem familiar with respect to other pistols on the market, but the design is a complete departure from Ruger’s older semiautomatic pistols.
In essence, it is a full-size semi-automatic that utilizes a Browning-type locked-breech action.
Another thing we noticed is that it sports a patent-pending barrel cam that is intended to reduce felt recoil.
This cam spreads the recoil impulse out by controlling the rearward movement of the slide as the shot is fired. So rather than have the brunt of the recoil driven into the shooting hand it reduces the amount of felt recoil. A secondary benefit is that It allows the use of a lighter slide.
One of the good things about the Ruger American Pistol is that it is a chassis pistol like the SIG 250 and 320 and this internal chassis is the serialized part. We have not seen replacement frames offered, but when they are, swapping to another size or configuration should be cheap and easy. Disassembly for field-stripping requires no tools and you do not even have to pull the trigger to take it down.
Ruger’s trigger on the American breaks even at 5.5 pounds with a medium take up and reset. It is very nice for an out of the box trigger on a striker-fired handgun with our favorite still being the one found on the Steyr S9-A1.
This trigger incorporates a safety like many other striker-fired designs and there is an automatic seer block. The grip profile is very similar to the Steyr Arms M-series.
Another feature we really liked that Ruger went with on the American Pistol is the ambidextrous slide stop. This is a great upgrade for left-handed shooters and we are glad to see more manufacturers adding this feature.
The texture of the polymer frame is just-right, not too soft or overly aggressive. As the trend goes with polymer framed handguns for the past 7 or 8 years, the back straps are interchangeable. The frame can be stippled if you like. We particularly liked the machining job for the rear cocking serrations.
Sights are metallic Novak style three-dot types. Set in a dovetail, Ruger is supposed to offer different variations as upgrades through their website in the coming months.
The steel magazines are Teflon coated and they have polymer bases. They hold 17 rounds, which is a refreshing change from ten on a Ruger semi-auto pistol.
Ruger’s American pistol has been out for a while, but the extras to capitalize on its features do not seem to be found. We have a serialized chassis which allows for replacement frames, but we have yet to see them. It’s the same deal for caliber conversion kits, barrels and the like. This pistol truly has the potential to deliver on all those accessories. Maybe the aftermarket will get to work on this before Ruger does.
The Ruger American Pistol is a well thought out and executed pistol. Reliability was excellent and accuracy was more than acceptable. We tried a variety of ammunition types including Hornady XTP (115 grains), Freedom Munitions 147 Grain subsonic and a few Remington 115 FMJs. Best accuracy went to Hornady.
On almost any other design from Ruger we would predict huge sales and Ruger should rightfully capitalize on the “Made in America” aspect of this handgun. However, so much of the market share has been swallowed up by another company in this regard and brand loyalty is a funny thing.
Perhaps this could change if Ruger’s loyal customers who have not jumped on the polymer pistol bandwagon show up for this one in droves.
Ruger’s American is an extremely well made and reliable pistol, it’s a shame they did not bring this product to market years earlier, as it could have been a serious contender for a police duty pistol.
Law enforcement trainers put a lot of “what they want to see in a duty handgun” during the design phase for Ruger’s engineering team and much of those specs made the cut for the final product.
Ruger started this design in order to compete for the U.S. Military’s Joint Combat Pistol Specification and Modular Handgun System (MHS) programs. It is easy to see that their end goal was producing a pistol that would meet or exceed the military’s requirements.
We strongly hope that this design remains in the company’s lineup for a long time. Versions are available in a more compact size as well as in the 45 ACP chambering.
Hickock45: Ruger American Pistol
Ruger American Pistol Specs:
- Caliber: 9mm
- Weight: 30 oz
- Length: 7.5″
- Width: 1.4″
- Height: 5.6″
- Barrel length: 4.2″
- MSRP $579.00
About Mike Searson
Mike Searson’s career as a shooter began as a Marine Rifleman at age 17. He has worked in the firearms industry his entire adult life as a Gunsmith, Ballistician, Consultant, Salesman, Author and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1989.
Mike has written over 2000 articles for a number of magazines, websites and newsletters including Blade, RECOIL, OFF-GRID, Tactical Officer, SWAT, Tactical World, Gun Digest, Examiner.com and the US Concealed Carry Association as well as AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.