Ruger 1911 Commander – SR1911CMD – New Gun Review

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Ruger SR1911CMD

Accuracy testing on the Ruger SR1911CMD was done using a Ransom Rest to remove as much human error as possible. Group sizes ranged from .5 inch to only as much as 1.55 inches at 15 yards.


By Scott Mayer

Ruger
www.ruger.com

In a 1911 market that really should be saturated by now and an economy that’s arguably still struggling, Ruger is adding a Commander-size SR1911CMD for the concealed-carry gun owner who wants a quality, American-made 1911 for only $829. It used to be that if you wanted a reliable and accurate 1911, you bought a Colt and then spent more than the cost of the gun on custom gunsmithing. Depending on what you wanted, the sky was the limit. I credit Kimber with changing that in the mid-1990s when it aggressively entered the 1911 market with factory-made guns flush with all the bells and whistles and set off a race to the top that seems to still be going.

Ruger SR1911CMD

Ruger is expanding the model line with the introduction of a Commander-size gun—the SR1911CMD. The CMD is simply a shortened SR1911 with all the same features as the full-size stable mate.

Today, there are plenty of amazingly accurate, feature-filled, high-end 1911s from so many makers that it would be impossible to list them here. There are also several companies offering inexpensive, functional 1911s that you can use as a platform for building good 1911s like we used to do with Colts. But with the bulk of the attention, marketing and demand having been on what were essentially “factory custom” guns, little attention has been given to a basic, reliable, accurate, American-made 1911 at a lunch-bucket price that has just enough custom touches to make an exceptional “everyman’s” (or woman’s) pistol. Sure, many high-end 1911 manufacturers carry a basic model in their product lines, but until fairly recently, the economy had been running flush with discretionary income and most consumers were buying top-of-the-line 1911s from those makers—guns with words like “Custom” in their model designations.

Ruger SR1911CMD

The CMD’s barrel is 4 1/4 inches long. Parts such as the bushing and plug are also shortened to work better with the abbrviated package.

Ruger, long known for producing quality guns at middle-class-income prices, entered the 1911 market in 2011—100 years after the 1911 was adopted as the standard U.S. service pistol, and a few years after the rumor of a Ruger 1911 was first floated. While there was probably some clever marketing strategy planned around the 100-year thing, the introduction at the time was a bold and risky move. The U.S. economy was deep in the tank and, really, you’d think that after 100 years, everyone who wanted a 1911 would have one.

In hindsight, conditions for the SR1911 probably couldn’t have been more perfect. For nearly two decades, well-known 1911 makers had earned a perception, right or wrong, of offering expensive guns. With the introduction of the SR1911 (and without existing, expensive 1911 pistols in Ruger’s line to confuse the message), someone who wanted a solid, quality 1911 was no longer faced with the decision of buying a gun or making a mortgage payment.

Ruger SR1911CMD

A nice custom-like feature is the adjustable overtravel screw in the trigger.

Concurrently, the “Greatest Gun Sellers On Earth,” United States politicians, touched off an unprecedented buying frenzy the likes of which even a company such as Ruger can hardly keep up with. The SR1911, with an MSRP of $829 was priced right and combined desirable traditional features such as Series 70-like design and short, G.I. guide rod with welcomed modern touches like a beavertail grip safety, Novak LoMount Carry sights, and skeletonized hammer and trigger. To top it off, SR1911s are really well built, and come from a company known for quality and standing behind its products.

Response to the SR1911 was so good that this year Ruger is expanding the model line with the introduction of a Commander-size gun—the SR1911CMD. The CMD is simply a shortened SR1911 with all the same features as the full-size stable mate and with the slide, frame, bushing, plug, recoil spring and guide rod proportionally shortened to work with the abbreviated barrel. Like the SR1911, the CMD has a full-size grip and is a Series 70-like design with enhancements including an adjustable trigger stop, extended thumb safety, extended magazine release, and lowered and flared ejection port.

Ruger SR1911CMD

Ruger uses the short “G.I.” guide rod in its 1911 pistols. The CMD’s (bottom) is shorter and uses a shorter spring than the full-size SR1911 (top).

Generally speaking, “Commander-size” (emphasis on the word “size”) is a 1911 that has a 4 1/4 inch long barrel instead of 5 inches like on a full-size 1911. To Colt students, there are differences other than size between an actual Colt full size and Commander 1911, not the least of which is that an actual Commander has an aluminum frame. The SR1911CMD has a stainless steel frame, so it’s only slightly lighter than the full-size SR1911, but that ¾-inch less length makes a big difference to a lot of smaller-framed shooters in how the gun carries and handles. If there are criticisms of smaller 1911s, it’s that the smaller they get the harder it is to make them function reliably, and as the barrel gets shorter you give up some bullet velocity and some sight radius, which can make aiming more difficult.

Ruger SR1911CMD

Recoil is totally manageable and there were no gun-caused stoppages of any kind. The only problems encountered were with some handloads that weren’t crimped properly and wouldn’t fully chamber.

Even with the shorter sight radius, this is an easy pistol to aim and shoot. There’s enough heft to the all-steel gun that recoil really isn’t any less manageable than a full-size 1911. The low-profile Novak sights are dark blue and provide a crisp sight picture against a bright background, while the three white dots stand out nicely against a dark background. They’re both dovetailed into the slide and the rear is adjustable only for windage and secured with a setscrew, so it’s unlikely you’ll knock these sights out of alignment if you get into a grapple, or just neglect your gun for years.

Ruger SR1911CMD

Instead of a Series 80-type firing pin block, the CMD uses a titanium firing pin and extra heavy return spring to pass the drop test.

When we took the CMD to the range, there wasn’t much .45 ACP ammo available and we were able to shoot only 185-grain standard pressure and 200-grain +P loads. Both shot to point of aim at 15 yards. Since the rear sight isn’t adjustable for elevation, if you find that your CMD shoots a little high or a little low, you’ll have to either change the front or rear sights, but it’s much simpler to choose a heavier or lighter bullet. Heavier bullets hit higher and lighter bullets hit lower and for all practical purposes, higher or lower velocity for the same bullet weight won’t make a difference.

Just like “Commander” is a generality when discussing the Ruger SR1911CMD, so is the reference to its “Series 70” design. On new-production 1911 pistols, shooters often concern themselves with whether a gun is Series 70 or 80 design. Again, at the Colt-student level, there are several differences between the two, but the generally recognized main difference is that Series 80 1911s have a firing pin block and Series 70 do not. A firing pin block is intended to reduce the chances of a gun firing if it’s dropped on its muzzle. If dropped on the muzzle hard enough, some guns with inertial firing pins (like on a 1911) will fire when the pin shifts forward and hits the primer. The Series 80 has a little plunger in the slide that physically blocks the firing pin from moving forward, but a series of levers activated by the trigger pushes the plunger out of the way. Some shooters believe you can’t get a good trigger pull with a Series 80 design because of all that extra business going on via the trigger.

Ruger SR1911CMD

Low-profile sights are drift adjustable for windage and feature three white dots.

There are work-arounds to that trigger pull/firing pin block problem. One is to change the levers so that instead of working off of the trigger pull, they work off of depressing the grip safety. Another is the one Ruger takes on the CMD, and that’s to not have the block at all and instead use a titanium firing pin and an extra heavy firing pin return spring to help hold the firing pin back.

As strong as titanium is, it’s very light. By itself, the firing pin probably lacks the mass to set off a primer if dropped, and the extra-heavy return spring holding it is added insurance. There’s a thing called the “Drop Test” described in ANSI/SAAMI Z299.5-1996 “Abusive Mishandling” standards that gun makers use to check gun designs to see if they’ll go off when dropped. Ruger subjects its handguns to that test, and the CMD with its titanium pin and heavy spring passes.

Ruger SR1911CMD

Several manufacturers opt for plastic mainspring housings while the Ruger’s is checkered steel.

There are, of course other safety features on the CMD. One is the beavertail grip safety in the back of the grip that has to be depressed or the gun won’t fire. The “beavertail” moniker comes from the part’s shape and it’s shaped that way to prevent “hammer bite,” which is when the tip of the hammer digs into the web of the hand as the slide reciprocates and recocks the hammer. It’s not so much of a problem unless you have really big hands, are going to shoot a lot, or have a spur-type hammer, so for most shooters the practical purpose of the beavertail is going to be that it does a better job of guiding your hand into the right place when you grasp the gun, and it’s larger surface area makes it more likely that it gets depressed so you can fire the gun. Ruger also puts a nice hump on the CMD’s beavertail, which makes it even more likely that, even with a poor grip, you’ll fully depress the grip safety.

Ruger SR1911CMD

Accuracy was really good with all loads, but the best was a 15-yard, .5-inch ground turned in by Hornady’s Critical Defense ammunition.

There’s a conventional thumb safety on the CMD. It’s extended so it’s easier to snap in and out of the safe position, but from the factory it’s a right-hand only proposition. If you shoot lefty, or just want an ambidextrous safety, an aftermarket one will set you back $60 to $90 bucks and it’s a part that anyone with a little mechanical aptitude can change and shouldn’t require much, if any, fitting. Another safety feature Ruger includes is a little port cut into the back of the barrel that’s just big enough to look into the chamber and see the rim of a chambered round.

There are several really nice touches unexpected on a gun in this price range. One is that the flat mainspring housing is steel. We’ve seen (and own) more expensive 1911 pistols that have a plastic mainspring housing. From a practical standpoint, it’s probably not going to make a difference if that part is steel or plastic, but the 1911 generally appeals to the “guns should be made of wood and steel” crowd, so it’s a feature that’s going to be appreciated by potential buyers.

Ruger SR1911CMD

A small cut-out in the rear of the chamber (arrow) serves as a visual chamber indicator. If there’s a cartridge in the chamber, it should be visible through the small opening.

Another unexpected feature is the adjustable trigger stop. This is a little Allen-head screw in the trigger blade that shooters can adjust to remove any overtravel from the trigger. You can turn it in or out so that as soon as the trigger releases the sear, the trigger can’t be pulled any farther backward, and you can reset the trigger for a faster follow-up shot.

Ruger went with the short “G.I.” guide rod, which was especially appreciated on the range when we got into a batch of handloads where some weren’t crimped well and wouldn’t let the slide close all the way. Being a short semi-automatic, the spring on the CMD is fairly powerful and when a cartridge stuck just short of chambering, it was completely impossible to retract the slide by hand to extract it. Instead, to open the gun the front of the slide at the plug was pressed against the shooting bench and a little weight was put behind it. That’s also a technique for racking the slide if you have one hand disabled and it is something you can’t do on a gun with a full-length guide rod.

Accuracy from the CMD is nothing short of excellent. This gun was tested from a Ransom Rest and, with three different loads, was banging out one-inch groups at 15 yards as fast as the Rest could be reset and the trigger arm slapped. The best single group was from Hornady’s 185-grain Critical Defense load that came in at an honest 0.5 inch and the worst group was with the aforementioned handload and even it was a respectable 1.55 inches.

Ruger SR1911CMD

The SR1911CMD (bottom) is more compact then the full-size SR1911 (top). Both have full-size grips, but magazines that come with the CMD hold one less round.

The Ruger SR1911CMD is 7.75 inches long, 5.45 inches tall and 1.34 inches wide. The 4.25 inch barrel has six-groove rifling with a one-in-16-inch right-hand twist. Magazine capacity is seven and the gun weighs 36.4 ounces.

Judging from the quality, accuracy and company reputation, Ruger’s SR1911CMD is about as good buy as you’re going to get if you’re looking for a basic, American-made 1911 with the essential custom touches. For what you’re getting, this gun is an absolutely great price. If you’re just looking for an semi-automatic pistol, you will easily find polymer-framed guns for less money and you can find cheaper 1911s. Just remember that while many less expensive polymer-frame “wonderpistols” are good and have their place, they’re simply not 1911s and that many of the cheaper 1911s are still cheap. The couple of hundred bucks you save going cheap is going to be spent and then some on a trigger job, accurizing, better sights, maybe a beavertail grip safety and more, just to bring a cheaper 1911 up the where the Ruger starts.

{ 97 comments }

{ 93 comments… add one }

  • Kevin Bergen March 11, 2013, 4:14 am

    I HAVE BEEN SEARCHING FOR AVAILABILITY . WHERE CAN I FIND ONE FOR SALE/ I OWN A BUNCH OF RUGERS AND HAVE FAITH IN THEIR PRODUCTS .

    • B.F. March 11, 2013, 6:23 pm

      Bought the full size a couple of weeks ago at Gander Mountain for $799.99. They had both flavors, the Commander and the full size. But for some reason, they weren’t in the display case. When the salesman approached me to see if I needed help and I told him what I was looking for, he immediately went into the back room and came out with both pieces. Maybe they want you to ask so they know you’re genuinely interested? Not sure.

  • John R March 11, 2013, 6:33 am

    I know this is a question that has been asked multiple times, and answered with a different answer, depending on whom you ask, so let me try it here. Are there and any advantages or disadvantages in the use of a “ GI type” recoil plug this Ruger, and other manufacturers employe, over a full length guide rod?
    Thanks for the article, I’ll definitely be on the lookout for one but honestly I have yet to even see the full sized version in the Indianapolis area.

    Thanks!

    • Scott Mayer March 11, 2013, 10:46 am

      John,
      One big advantage of the GI rod, as I see it, is that if you’re down to one hand and you have to manipulate the slide, you can press the front of the gun against cover to do that, but you can’t with a full-length rod.

  • Bill Close March 11, 2013, 6:33 am

    I don’t have any knowledge of the Ruger—pics are nice but they don’t really count.
    I do really like what I read about the designs and benefits.
    Being a long-time user of 1911′s, I agree with all comments made concerning reliabiity and the need for the touch of a good Smith on earlyier and present day copies which are not so innovative or consider these faults in the early design and manufacture.
    For these reasons, I have always bought used guns and had a Smith work them up—unlike Sig-Sauers which are out of the box reliable.
    I am thinking about a Ruger—If production could possibly keep up with demand. They have not to this point, so all we are left with are promises. Promises do not fill an empty stomach.
    Blessings

  • Not fooled March 11, 2013, 6:52 am

    “I credit Kimber with changing that in the mid-1990s when it aggressively entered the 1911 market with factory-made guns flush with all the bells and whistles and….” magazines that refused to feed even after you just spent over grand on one of their guns. Has this shill ever found a gun that he didn’t like? Why are we even reading this stuff if every manufacturer is the greatest thing since sliced bread? People would love to hear the story about the what really happened at Kimber after it was sold and to whom it was sold to before it went down hill. Now that would certainly be an interesting read. Do you have the stones to tell it?

    • Harry Powers March 11, 2013, 8:36 am

      Hmmmm. I have a Kimber Ultra Carry 2 and have put over a 1000 rounds through it with no problems…probably the most accurate pistol I own.

      • Bob D March 11, 2013, 11:04 am

        Same for me … I own several Kimber’s along with other guns. The Kimber operates perfectly, without a stovepipe or glitch at all. The Kimber Ultra Carry 2 shoot perfect, and operates without a single malfunction in about 1,000 rounds. I have recently changed out the mainspring to one of Wilson Combats flat springs & guide rods for easier disassembly and will report on how it shoots at a later time.

    • Scott Mayer March 11, 2013, 10:54 am

      First of all, I can credit anyone I please with changing the market–your opinion may differ. Secondly, you can take your “shill” comment and stick it in your ear. This was not an article about Kimber. Why would you think it was? Lastly, if you’re going to criticize a person publicly, in writing, on what’s basically the wall of their office, don’t be a coward and use your real name.

  • jimmyjet March 11, 2013, 8:41 am

    “I credit Kimber with changing that in the mid-1990s when it aggressively entered the 1911 market with factory-made guns flush with all the bells and whistles…”
    It was ParaOrdnance that started adding all the refinements to the gun, such as ambi safeties, etc. NOT KIMBER, you dingbat!

    • Scott Mayer March 11, 2013, 11:04 am

      jimmyjet, nothing in that sentence references or even obliquely refers to innovation. Para has been a great innovator in 1911s. Their double-stack is too fat for my hand, but I like the LDA and frequently carry one as my CCW.

      The sentence was about the market, not innovation. Para was in the market a long time before Kimber, and the way I see it, when Kimber came in as strong as it did, it kicked things into gear so that today we see the variety of 1911s from Para, Springfield, Kimber, Ed Brown, Les Baer, and on, and on, and on.

  • Brian Harrison March 11, 2013, 8:48 am

    As a dealer this kind of news is extremely frustrating. If manufacturers cannot even begin to fill the demand for a product they currently catalog why bother coming out with new productswe cant get?

    • Wyodog March 12, 2013, 2:13 pm

      My local dealer’s sentiments exactly. It would be nice if the manufacturers would make sure there is a good supply of their current products out there, including the small dealers, before anouncing a new product.

      • Administrator March 14, 2013, 3:42 pm

        Nobody could have prepared for or predicted what is going on right now. The correct reply is how many morons are going to pretend that anyone knew this supply and demand crisis would happen and that it is anybody’s fault but the gun grabbing politicians.

  • Doug Cody March 11, 2013, 9:39 am

    Nice article, but I have to disagree with your statement that “…with the introduction of the SR1911 … someone who wanted a solid, quality 1911 was no longer faced with the decision of buying a gun or making a mortgage payment.)

    You completely ignored the FIRST mid-priced, quality 1911 – the Taurus PT1911, introduced several years before the Ruger.

    When it first came out, I bought my PT1911 under $800. But, being the first weapon produced by the “new, improved Taurus company,” the makers packed it with many, many extras (forged steel frame, skeletonized hammer and trigger, grip face microgrooving, custom shop assembly, etc.) usually found only on $1000-plus 1911s. When you totaled up the market prices for the various add-ons, the Taurus was a $1200 gun going for just over half that.

    I was an early buyer and have been a Taurus 1911 proselytizer since. And everyone I’ve ever let shoot it said, “Wow.”

    I’m sure the Ruger Commander is sweet… but Taurus deserves credit for its groundbreaking pistol.

    • Rottie March 12, 2013, 1:48 am

      Thank you Doug, yes the Taurus PT1911 is a very nice 1911. We have two of them in the family and they are great shooters! Taurus is doing a great job there as well.

    • AmericanProud March 19, 2013, 7:39 pm

      If you like Brazilian crap! I will take the Ruger over any other 1911. They make all their own parts right here in the good ol USA! No other 1911 manufacturer can say that!

    • Gary B. July 19, 2013, 7:02 am

      While the Taurus may seem equal, I have been to a local shop and they have had a number of Taurus’ come back with broken extractors or pins. I can remember a friend of mine had a Taurus .357 snubby that literally fell apart in his hands. I’ll go with Ruger.

  • jjr March 11, 2013, 9:56 am

    You must have missed the paet where hs said “American Made” ……

    • Scott Mayer March 11, 2013, 10:56 am

      LOL. Beat me to it. :)

  • Matt ballard March 11, 2013, 10:01 am

    I own the full size SR1911 and it is a great shooter! I will own the Commander size if it becomes more readily available. If its anything like the full size I’m sure I won’t be disappointed. Ruger definantly did this 1911 right in my opinion, other than keeping up with demand.

    • Administrator March 11, 2013, 10:04 am

      I doubt anyone at Ruger is excited about this artificial boom either. We would all just as soon the degenerate politicians leave our gun rights off the table where they belong.

  • Loyd Garcia March 11, 2013, 10:35 am

    Good review, but had to point out one inaccuracy. The term “commander” does not mean aluminum frame per se. The original commanders from Colt were the Combat Commander (steel frame) and the Lightweight Commander (aluminum frame).

  • Bob D March 11, 2013, 11:25 am

    Good job on the article …

  • David Beatty March 11, 2013, 11:36 am

    The standard 1911 and commander share the same grip and frame but why the 1 round less in the commander clip

  • DJ March 11, 2013, 11:49 am

    Wish they would make both guns in blue .

    • Laurentius March 11, 2013, 7:52 pm

      I agree that they should probably offer a blue finish for these guns. Other than that, I don’t think they have to do much since they are only just diving into the 1911 market and furnishing very nice USA steel pistols.

  • MR9MM March 11, 2013, 11:58 am

    I will look forward to one in 9MM .

  • Dud March 11, 2013, 12:11 pm

    I just purchased a new Ruger SR1911CMD and right out of the box, shot great, hitting bullseye 6 out of 7 shots at 20 yrds. Best gun I have shot yet (1911) vs Kimber, Smith. Balanced like a fine swiss watch.

  • Michael Parker March 11, 2013, 12:18 pm

    First, Rugers are strong. That said, they are ugly, ungainly, and have poor resale value. If I wanted a 1911 right now, Sig makes one for about $1,000 which is much slicker(I am sure) than a Ruger. I do not know what Ruger paid you for shoveling this pile of crap, but the Sig and several others offer the same features, better triggers at about the same price. What your article is, is a very long, boring advertizement for the Ruger 1911, a mediocre gun from a mediocre company. Just my opinion, but I have only been shooting a 1911 for 30 years and guns in general for nearly 50.

    • HouseofSig March 11, 2013, 9:45 pm

      Hmmm… Have you held the Ruger? Shot it? Read the reviews? Yep, did not think so. I am a huge Sig fan. Love them. Own them. Shoot them. Ruger is on par with Sig on this one. Both offer a high value 1911. Sorry your argument fails.

    • Rottie March 12, 2013, 1:50 am

      I don’t know about you Michael but I’m not purchasing my guns for resale. I’m purchasing to keep and pass down to my heirs. And this Ruger is very beautiful. I’ve got one and love it. It’s a very striking gun that I would put up against any 1911 Commander.

    • T J Green March 22, 2013, 12:57 am

      Michael… So you favor a “slick” pistol that’s pretty (at least not ugly), graceful (certainly not ungainly) and has wonderful resale value… sounds pretty metro-sexual, after all we’re talking about the quintessential American sidearm here. Here’s the hair-on-chest performance I’m after (see M1911 Pistol @ Wikipedia): “Six thousand rounds were fired from a single pistol over the course of two days. When the gun began to grow hot, it was simply immersed in water to cool it. The Colt gun passed with no reported malfunctions.” I’ll go with your first thought: “Rugers are strong.”

    • Goatroper April 27, 2013, 9:47 pm

      Knowledge is what counts in the gun world, not opinion.

      I have both the SR1911 (couple of years) and more recently the SR1911CMD. Considering the price and features, I don’t see how you could do better. I also have a SIG full-size 1911 (very lucky indeed to acquire a very lightly-used one at a bargain-basement price — about the same as I paid for the SR1911 new.) Can’t argue with the quality of the SIG; it shoots very well, and is slick. The trigger is no better than either of the Rugers, and accuracy is comparable.

      It’s a subjective thing — and you are, of course, welcome to your own preference — but the overall feel of the Rugers is better to me. And they lack nothing, in my experience, in the quality department. And, on my budget, the price difference when you compare overall performance, is huge. To me the name on the side trumps nothing. I’ve also shot “guns in general” for over 50 years, and that by itself means nothing. I find this article to be a pretty fair treatment of a good-quality, fair-priced firearm.

      Have a better day, sir.

      Goatroper

    • Gary B. July 19, 2013, 7:06 am

      Would love to know where you bought a Sig for “about the same price.”??? Personally have held both and examined the features and cannot justify the “hundreds” more.

      • Bob D. September 25, 2013, 9:21 am

        i have both the sig 1911xo andruger sr1911, the triggers feel the same out of the box, the grips are nicer on the ruger the SS is better on the sig(ruger has rust problems going on and blew me off after 3 phone calls and emails with pictures, guess i’ll email the president now….) finishes are bead blasted . sight picture goes to sig , larger dots…. accuracy- same.. sig 20$ more on gunbroker. i’ll keep both and ” pickle the rust off the ruger. some contaminant in their process i guess.

  • Charles March 11, 2013, 12:37 pm

    Since my SR1911 is already a Ruger (and can be verified through thier records) I would wonder whether Ruger would sell me a CMD model titanium firing pin, the accompanying heavy spring, and a trigger with the adjustment screw -or- will there be some “factory fitting” of the firing pin and/or the adjustable trigger that will preclude my ability to purchase these parts and retro-fit them to my standard SR1911?

    • AmericanProud March 19, 2013, 7:45 pm

      The SR1911 Came with same pin and spring as the CMD.

  • cory Lathrem March 11, 2013, 1:13 pm

    Hey Michael parker dont knock the sr1911 till you’ve shot it. I would put mine up against any 1911 especially your shitty sig.

  • Rick March 11, 2013, 1:44 pm

    Has any American gun maker considered making a 1911 calibrated for NATO 9mm ammo?

    • jhr March 11, 2013, 11:07 pm

      Para has a full sized 1911 chambered in 9mm. Other variations include the Colt 10mm, Tarus 38 Super and there a 1911 chambered in .357 Mag. There are probably others but the afore mention is what I am familiar with. What I wold like to find is a Commander sized 1911 chambered in .40 cal, don’t care who makes it, as long as it isn’t a boat anchor. I settled on a Sig Sauer P-226 stainless elite in .40, it wasn’t really what I was after but it sure is a helluva pistol.

  • Maurice March 11, 2013, 1:44 pm

    From a ‘student’ point of view, the article was excellent, giving lots of good info concerning this category of 1911′s. Those of you with thousands of hours of shooting experience will have your (valid) opinions and preferences, but unless you can point to specific inaccuracies in the review, let’s not ‘shoot’ the messenger! If you believe there is another weapon of the same type, style, price range superior, by all means, say so..and why!
    Let’s be fair when you share.

  • Lee March 11, 2013, 1:48 pm

    Holy over price batman i paid 675.00 for my Ruger Commander and sense have seen it cheaper in my area.
    Great gun in fact it shoots every bit as well as my higher end 1911s

    • B.F. March 12, 2013, 7:46 pm

      Overprice is right. We have King hussein obama to thank for that. The greatest gun salesman in the history of this Nation.
      I’m still glad I bought mine when I could. Very nice piece.

  • smith29 March 11, 2013, 1:52 pm

    Scott, nice article!!
    When a cartridge won’t seat all the way 2 things are capable of doing that.
    1. Overall length is too great. The bullet has engaged the rifling.
    2. Cartridge is too long.

    Now the loading manuals tell us the round head spaces on the cartridge mouth. This means we don’t crimp when reloading for the 1911. I put a very light crimp on my reloads mostly to assure the outer edge of the cartridge mouth is smooth to feed properly. Then I check a round in the barrel which is removed from the gun to check for depth and a solid seating in the chamber. For revolver use I would crimp for sure as recoil can pull the bullet since the round is held by the rim which isn’t the case in the 1911.
    I’m sure that Ruger is worth the money….

  • Arley March 11, 2013, 2:28 pm

    I have owned and shot several Rugers for over 50 years and not one did I have to have fixed or sent in. The only thing stopping me from owning a SR1911 is that I am retired and unable to purchase one. I would patiently wait for one to become available.
    “Ruger Crap” I think not. JMHO and experience.

    Good artical.

  • Gordon March 11, 2013, 2:33 pm

    Dear Editor,

    Who is the Editor? For some reason I read this article about the Ruger Commander and all the comments. Like many similar web sites that ask for comments there were a few emails that were rude and impolite to say the least. Such vicious hubris based on opinion really has no place in a discussion. I hope in the future the “Editor” might consider my opinion.

  • mreilly58 March 11, 2013, 2:34 pm

    I just got the Ruger 1911 and it a great gun at a great price! I couldn’t ask for a better 45! It is on the money and will take any type of ammo. It is by far the best 45 I have ever gotten and I have had many of them and used a 45 for 40 years. Trust me you will not be disappointed if you purchace the gun!!

  • ajnsr March 11, 2013, 2:35 pm

    Why buy a clone when u can get a real colt for about the same money

    • Laurentius March 11, 2013, 8:16 pm

      See my post below. You have to spend about $240 more for a pony. You have to decide if that is worth the name difference for essentially same quality gun.

    • Gary B. July 19, 2013, 7:10 am

      Again as I told the Sig gentleman, I would love to know where you get a Colt for about the same price. The prices I have seen for Colts are absurd, you’re paying for the name, plain and simple.

  • Publicus March 11, 2013, 2:43 pm

    Lunch bucket price? Who are you kidding? It will take more like a treasure chest. The fear and anxiety created by the NRA is proving very profitable for the gun industry.

  • rob March 11, 2013, 3:34 pm

    This is to me the best 1911 I have ever shot and no I havent shot ever 1911 ever made. Also for the money you cant go wrong with this Ruger. I love this gun. Thank you Ruger and keep up the good work.

  • john March 11, 2013, 5:08 pm

    ive got several rugers and while not always the best in fit and finish they work as far as reliability , mine havent glitched ,i will say they need help in the barrel dept ,particularly in the rifle dept ,the mini 14 barrels are a joke , some of the older 77′s wouldn’t group well ,IMO,though Ive seen some that are respectable groupwise

  • Laurentius March 11, 2013, 8:14 pm

    I am a new pistol permit holder and did a lot of range time to find what gun I wanted to purchase first. My dad worked for Colt and owns an NRA Commemorative Gold Cup 1911. I love that gun, fire it well, and have a slight prejudice to buy Colt over Ruger. I fired a Kimber Ultra Carry 1911, which was very nice too, as well as the full sized Ruger 1911 (when I found out they just came out with the CMD model). I just bought the SR1911CMD because the comparable Colt (Commander XSE) is $1100 retail to the $690 I paid retail for the Ruger. I got a holster, box of Hornady CD ammo (exactly what is in the article), and the Ruger for $808 after tax. Add on the $115 for one-8 round and two-10 round magazines from Wilson Combat, I got everything but a clip carrier for just under $925. The cheapest evaluation of the Colt XSE was about $930 on Armslist. (Basically you have to pay $240 for the Colt name currently). The Colt Gold Cup, Kimber, and Ruger all fired very similarly and crisply that I could not justify spending the $240 for a name. I have yet to take my new purchase into the range, but I am quite sure I will not be disappointed if it fires like the full size.

    • Laurentius March 25, 2013, 12:37 am

      Just an update… I fired 150 rounds through it today without a single hiccup or malfunction. It fires about as well as my dad’s Gold Cup. I have to sight it in for myself, but all the rounds hit the target. I used 4 different brands of ammo: PMC Bronze FMJ, Remington HB, American Eagle FMJ, and Winchester FMJ (all 230 grains). Once I have it sighted in, I will be nothing but giddy over this purchase. Very happy with its current performance and would recommend it to anyone looking for a gun this size.

  • Robert March 11, 2013, 8:57 pm

    Picked up my SR1911CMD back in January for $649 + tax. Absolutely love it, and will pick up a full-size in the future. Not a Kimber hater, but I’m not impressed by their 1-yr. warranty. As stated, lots of 1911 purists want series 70 type, plug and spring, and most importantly, internal extractor guns. That’s the primary knock for them when it comes to Sigs & Smiths.

  • CC March 11, 2013, 10:04 pm

    Commander is not small enough for concealed carry. Where is the Officer’s model? Colt Wilson and ATI are the only models I have found. Wilson’s is $1500.00. Colt is impossible to find, ATI is foreign made. Would love to see a Ruger.

    • Ron M. August 22, 2013, 3:28 pm

      Unless you’re unusually short or slim that’s nonsense. I conceal carry a Commander size 1911 in a OWB holster nearly every day. I’m 5’11″ and 185 and usually wear aloha style shirts and slacks.

  • Dave H March 12, 2013, 1:13 am

    Sign me up for one of each Model! Any idea when they will be available? The only thing about Ruger is that they come out with new models that make us drool over them; then you don’t see them in the stores for at least a year! I wish magazines and magazine articles/reviews like this would only be published within a maximum of three months before the manufacturer ships sufficient quantities for the consumers, nationwide.

    • Goatroper April 27, 2013, 9:57 pm

      They are available, but the shortage/demand is complicating things. My local dealer has told me he could sell as many of the SR1911s as he could get — they just can’t produce ‘em fast enough.

      Also, notwithstanding Michael P’s comment above, I could on many occasions have sold either of mine for well over what I paid new. The demand is that great.

      Goatroper

  • Dean March 12, 2013, 3:38 am

    Like many of you I waited for over a year for my first Ruger 1911. As a dealer it is most frustrating, that the “Big Box Store” type shops are the ones that get the first fruits of the new hard to get items. So yes that is where you will have your best shot at getting one.

    By the way, nice article Scott, sorry some readers have to be so brutally critical of someones work.

    • Scott Mayer March 12, 2013, 11:50 am

      Thanks for the kind words, Dean. No worries about the comments. Twenty years of doing this thickens your skin. :)

  • bhp9 March 12, 2013, 1:56 pm

    Hello: Is the slide and frame made from bar stock or are they made of castings? Also are any of the internal parts made from the newer style MIM castings or the older traditional Ruger castings.

    • AmericanProud March 19, 2013, 7:53 pm

      MIM casting on a Ruger. The barrel and bushing are barstock.

  • Wally Johnn March 13, 2013, 9:33 pm

    Would love to know how many MIM parts are in the Ruger 1911CMD. The article didn’t state if there were any tooling marks, especially along the frame rails. The picture of the barrel suggests that one should polish it since there are some abrasion marks evident. No mention of the magazine maker, nor the number supplied, but one will probably end up buying Wilson Combat or Tripp Research mags for reliability reasons. I liked the barrel loaded indicator but wonder why Ruger couldn’t have also made the barrel with a ramp. Now that would be different. I own a Colt LWC, Sig 1911 Compact and a Star M45. I have no preference for extractors but prefer stainless steel for frames due to bluing rusting and wearing away due to holstering. While “real” bluing would be a good option, many would probably be put off if they used some parkerized finish. I’m really surprised that Tridiu sights aren’t standard. Since the Ruger CMD weighs about as much as the Star M45 I’m anxious to feel how it balances in the hand.

    • Goatroper April 27, 2013, 10:04 pm

      Didn’t see any noticeable marks in mine, and no need for polishing. Magazines are US-made with the Ruger logo; not sure if they’re made by someone else. The SR1911 comes with one 7-rd and one 8-rd. I’ve had no problems with either over the last couple of years. The Commander comes with two 7-rd mags.

      Haven’t tried yet with the CMD, but the full-size does just fine with Wilson Combat 8-rd mags (personal favorite, and through a local dealer a little better price than extras from Ruger.)

      In my experience so far, the Novak combat sights are good enough I see no need to change ‘em.

      Goatroper

  • Jerry Parris March 19, 2013, 11:46 am

    Excellent article. I have been shooting 45 Acp since my military days in the 60′s and over the years have owned most makes of 1911′s. To me Colt and Para have been my favorite but love Ruger,s and would not have any other 357 mag except Ruger. As soon as I can find a Ruger full size or commander I,m taking it home. Keep up the good work.

  • Dave Schuele March 25, 2013, 3:41 pm

    Wow…This article as all internet articles sure stirs up a stink. The article, which I think was very well done, was about the Ruger 1911, and the commander model. The author gave his option based on his experience with similar weapons, and based on the experience he gained while shooting the firearm. I have to agree….I think the Ruger is a very attractive firearm. I have a special connection with .45 Cal, magazine feed, recoil operated, hand held weapons like the 1911. They were still standard issue when I was in the Army, and I’m not so certain they should not be again?
    This is not the place to brag about how many or what brand 1911′s you have….Like the article said, there are many, many makers of these pistols and many more models. Way to many to list, if even possible. There is no doubt, that certain makers are at the TOP of the 1911 heap. Among those would be Kimber, Wesson, LesBear, Sig Sauer and some others I have forgotten about. This was also clearly stated, that this was not a top tier pistol, but rather a very good pistol that may surprise many based of its name and price tag. Two very important factors for any purchase. The key is that while you may expect key features on every top tier gun, you may not expect them on a reasonably priced pistol like the Ruger 1911. The fact that it had many top features, was well made, look very nice, and shot straight, was what made it a good deal….maybe even a surprisingly good deal to some?
    The commit about resale value is very important to most gun collectors and buyer, it is very important to me. No one wants to purchase a dude, and no one wants to buy something that will not appreciate like expected. That holds true weather it’s a car, house, tractor or firearm. So don’t ding the gentleman for making that statement, you may not care about resell? But I bet down deep you do. The Commander was as stated, also made in steel or with an aluminum slide. The reason for the reduced capacity is that on most commander sized weapons, the grip or handle is rounded for smooth snag-free draw and better concealment. That rounding shortens the grip surface and lowers the capacity for a flush fitting magazine. You are free to use a longer mag, just expect it to stick out the bottom.

    I do not see how one can comment on this article, especially about function, without having shoot or handled the firearm???? You may not like the gun, it’s manufacturer or finish, but that’s your opinion and biases, not a true test or factual finding, please remember to keep the two separate.

    I, as stated, collect/fire many 1911′s, and I plan on purchasing one of these fine pistols, maybe even the both. I don’t think any true 1911 collection or grouping would be complete without one represented. I have no troubles finding them on Guns of America or Gun Broker.com. As I purchase about 65% of my firearms from the interweb, I can assure you it’s simple, safe and very competitive compared to the local gun broker. While I am no huge gun collector by any means, nor do I pretend to be, I do love these weapons as well as others and spend a considerable amount on them every year, roughly $25,000.00 to $35,000.00 annually. I love the sport, I love to reload, and I love the newer type AR platforms like the 6.5 Grendle, 300 Blackout, 50 Beowulf, and 6.8 SPC. Too me, the AR world is getting much more exciting then it has ever been, obviously technology and the easy of machining has made this platform and others very bright.

  • DeadCrowPoe March 28, 2013, 8:52 pm

    I just got my SR1911 commander. I’ve been out of the 1911 scene for a while, love my Glocks and Sigs(never much of a Ruger fan), but then I Saw the new Ruger 1911 at my LGS and couldn’t believe it was a Ruger, the fit and finnish are outstanding. I used a Colt 1911 in the Army and I had a new Springfield Armory G.I. which was a big POS back in 2004. I’m really happy with this 1911 and I’m proud to own something made this nice, by skilled American workers for this price. Gives me a bit more hope for our country. I thought the article was well written too.
    I hope if any one is interested in this fine firearm they go check one out, I’ll think you’ll agree it really doesn’t get any better for the money.

  • Dave G June 20, 2013, 7:32 pm

    Just picked up a commander this afternoon for $699 up here in good ol’ NH! Can’t wait to hit the range this weekend!

  • Frank July 3, 2013, 8:09 pm

    I have been buying and shooting all brands and calibers for 50 years and for some people it is brand loyalty. I have three Sigs. P-220,P226and a P230 along with my new Ruger Commander CMD. The Ruger shoots circles around my Sig 45. With 230 grain my Sig gags way too often with stovepiped shells.The Ruger feeds every time.It feels like a Kimber,trigger pull is very light,and shoots about 1 inch groups at 15 yards.You can pay $ 2000 for a custom and not get too much better than that. Besides a perps chest don’t require 1 inch groups. I paid 689 for mine and waited about 4 months.Put your name on a list with your favorite gunshop.I believe the employees are grabbing these CMD,s and reselling them at a profit.Great American made gun.

  • Charles July 15, 2013, 10:36 pm

    The 1911 commander is the best looking 1911 I have seen. I have two gun shops here in town trying to find me a gun. Is Ruger doing anything at the company to increase the production of this gun?

  • Gary B. July 19, 2013, 7:16 am

    While I am a late comer to this article I found it informative and justifies my purchasing of the CMD. Ruger has always been a great company. The SR1911′s are coming with the same bells and whistles the other more expensive 1911′s are at several hundreds less. BTW mine only cost me $599.00 new! Chew on that Sig, Colt, Kimber, etc….

  • Gene Hunter September 2, 2013, 12:55 pm

    I own a small town gun store , am by no means an expert, but I saw this one come in stock and had to have it for myself. Very nicely made gun and looks great. Quality American Made.

  • Jeff September 8, 2013, 11:33 pm

    Sgt. York My blood line. Buy American. And yes I own the Ruger 1911 Commander. American MADE. Love it.

    During the assault, six German soldiers in a trench near York charged him with fixed bayonets. York had fired all the rounds in his M1917 Enfield rifle, but drew his .45 Colt automatic pistol and shot all six soldiers before they could reach him.

    German First Lieutenant Paul Jürgen Vollmer, commander of the First Battalion, 120th Landwehr Infantry, emptied his pistol trying to kill York while he was contending with the machine guns. Failing to injure York, and seeing his mounting losses, he offered in English to surrender the unit to York, who accepted. By the end of the engagement, York and his seven men marched 132 German prisoners back to the American lines. His actions silenced the German machine guns and were responsible for enabling the 328th Infantry to renew its attack to capture the Decauville Railroad.
    1911s rock. KMA Glock.

  • jrj September 9, 2013, 5:31 am

    Thanks for the great article and comments from the other readers. I am in the market for a good 1911 and was choosing between a SIG and a Kimber. After reading this article, looks like I will consider the Ruger

  • Mary H October 21, 2013, 5:35 pm

    Love my SR1911, ordered it in October 2011 and it was in within a few weeks. Can’t wait to see the Commander. Just contacted my favorite gun store to see if they have it in stock. I have not had any issues at all with any of my Rugers. It’s funny because I looked for a while for the SR1911 and as I said ordered it, was at a gun show over the weekend and they were everywhere.

  • Gary A November 14, 2013, 5:23 am

    I own several of the SR1911CMD and love them. I have several other 1911 models including STI, Springfield,and Colt. I liked the price point on the Ruger and the features this gun has. The fit of the gun was excellent. I am least impressed with the finish, but did not buy it for a fireplace mantle piece. I took this gun right out of the box, cleaned it, took it to the range and shot over 500 rounds. Accuracy was top notch. POA was right on, some slight variation occurred with my less than perfect grip. I like the size, weight, and feel of this pistol and Ruger is right on with the design. So far the gun has run flawless. I purchased another one as well. My wife, and 13 year old son both shoot this gun quite well. In fact, my son enjoys shooting this gun over one of my custom full size Springfield’s. His accuracy with this gun is unbelievable. Of course I like that fact that this gun is made in America. I don’t think you can go wrong with this gun especially for the price. I really see no need to add anything at all to this wonderful shooting gun.

  • Henry Hertel November 20, 2013, 4:22 pm

    Just got a SR1911CMD at Sportsman Warehouse Las Vegas NV for $699.99 they had two more on hand.

  • Raymond November 22, 2013, 9:30 pm

    Over the years I have had several 1911s. Two Kinbers, one Springfield, Three Colts, one Ed Brown and two that I built up myself (Fusion). I have sold all but two; the Ed Brown and a Colt Gunsite. I just purchased this Ruger at Gander Mountain for $699. Took it to the range and love every bit of it. Well, except for the “read instruction manual” engraved on the dust cover. It is not too deep and I may try to take it off.

    This is a perfect gun for the 1911 beginner and seasoned shooter alike. Love it

  • Dave December 11, 2013, 1:04 pm

    This Ruger SR1911 in stainless is only $629 at my local gun store and I’m seriously thinking about picking one up. I’ve been looking for an affordable 1911 in the stainless finish and I may have found it.

  • Joaquin December 23, 2013, 9:41 am

    Interesting evaluation and discussion. By posting our opinions, we provide everyone out there with a snapshot of our character, so those who needlessly badmouth others… I happened to come across a Ruger SR1911 at one of the local gun shops, so I asked to see it and handle it. The fit in my hands was excellent, the trigger not too bad (I rework all triggers on any firearm to my liking), the slide was nice and tight with MINIMAL play. The only thing, other than a trigger job, that I would add to this excellent pistol would be stippling or coarse bead blasting of the front strap of the frame, since skateboard tape does not look too nice on stainless steel. Had I not already bought myself a 20 gauge auto loader a week ago for Christmas, that Ruger would be in my safe right now. BTW, I own a SIG 1911 Target .45 and the fit of the Ruger I sampled was on a par with the SIG.

  • Joaquin December 23, 2013, 9:43 am

    Oops! I omitted to say, specifically, I was referring to the Rugger SR1911 CMD in my last post. Sorry.

  • Tom Stevie December 23, 2013, 1:21 pm

    Have one of the full size and commander size and I am very fond of both. I must admit I may be a little prejudice due to the fact I am a big time Ruger fan. My old eyes do not get along real well with the three dot sight system and I will be putting Advantage Tactical sights on mine.

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  • Ray Frisbey March 8, 2014, 8:41 pm

    This is simply my opinion. That said, I am very impressed with my new 1911 CMD. New out the door for $742. Cleaned, and took to the range. -12 degrees, light winds, clear sky. Too cold for accuracy checks on paper. I set up a blast back 9mm-30-06 pop up target at 45 yards. Consistent hits both resting, and off hand. I was able to chase 2 ballistic plastic rolling 8″ balls all the way to the 50 yard mark. I fired 110 or so rounds with no malfunctions. The wife fired a magazine with no malfunctions. Before deciding on the purchase I talked with the gunsmith at a busy range in Norfolk, VA who new I would making the purchase in South Dakota. He had no reason to try and sell me on it as I would not be buying from them. He pulled the guns records and showed it had only been through maintenance twice in the 22 months the gun had been a rental. He had replaced the plungers and plunger spring and had replaced the slide stop. His notes said he replaced the slide stop because he didn’t like the plunger engagement. The gun also hadn’t been cleaned in 11 months. It shot well through a box of ball and convinced me to buy one. It is one of 3 1911s I currently own. I am no stranger to them. It is not a piece of furniture. It is not a work of art. It is a good solid 1911 which will go in my carry holster after 100 more rounds of ball, and 100 rounds of Critical defense 220 gr +p. I will change the front sight to one better suited the 220 grain +p ammo if I find it to shoot low. Outside of that I will change out the plungers, and plunger spring with EGW’s because I think they are a little “mushy” (not unsafe, just a little mushy feeling) I am retiring a Springfield Champion Loaded withe this gun because after nearly 15 years the reliability is beginning to suffer. I like the Springfield a little more but can’t carry a gun that has gotten that fussy. I guess to sum it up. I have one, I’ve shot it, I like it and will be trusting my life to it. If any of that changes I’ll let you know but for right now I would expect to get as many years out of this one as I did my Springfield. Oh, and I blew the middle paddle of the blast back target about half way through. wouldn’t recommend that one for pistol use. It might be OK at 200 yards for large slow rifle rounds but I’m not betting on that. If your trying to decide on a new 1911 I wish you great success in your search. This would be as good a choice, as most quality 1911s are. Keep the pointy end forward and win the fight.

  • Fred Phifer March 23, 2014, 10:13 am

    I bought my Ruger CMD at Franklin Gun Shop, in Tennessee two days ago and gave $785.00 total price out the door. I got the last one they had and they deal in large volumes, so that tells me the Ruger CMD is a hot seller. I have already been offered $850 for it and sorry, it is not for sale. Cannot wait to shoot it.

  • MikC April 16, 2014, 5:21 am

    Very nice and love mine. Got mine used for $600 from a friend who did not like it. (think he is a democrat). My front sight snapped off after 1500 rounds and Ruger was awesome in getting it replaced quickly and free. Just received a High Noon topless OWB holster and oh happy days…

  • JIM April 26, 2014, 9:42 am

    I just picked up my SR1911 CMD from my LGS for $594! That’s Glock price territory for a USA made all steel firearm. I am a quality inspector / metrologist for one of the world’s largest machine tool manufacturers, and I am impressed by the fit and finish of the example I have. The frame is investment cast and the slide is milled from bar stock. The machining on mine is clean and the fit is very nice. Of course the proof is in the pudding, and the pudding is function and accuracy, but that will be revealed at the range tomorrow. I have an SR9C and an LCP, and both have performed well. I have high expectations for this one. My Glocks are becoming jealous.

  • John Denning August 11, 2014, 7:38 am

    Great article! As a newbie I like reading and researching a product before buying. I value other peoples opinions and experience. I’m now in the market for one of these SR1911′s I just don’t know which would fit me better the full size or the commander. I don’t plan on carrying it on my person so size doesn’t matter. I have other CC firearms. I guess what I was looking for in the article was the shooting differences between the two. Are there any +’s or -’s of one over the other?

  • GMAC September 12, 2014, 11:38 am

    I am an old fashioned wheel gun fan especially partial to S&W .357 mags. My twins sons in the Marine Corps got me the Ruger SR1911 full size for my birthday and I am thoroughly impressed. Have shot it a bit an like the feel and out of the box accuracy. As was stated, it is American made! Love it!

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