RUGER AMERICAN PISTOL--The Glock Killer? - Shooting Sports Forum


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Old 01-01-2016, 20:48   #1
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RUGER AMERICAN PISTOL--The Glock Killer?

Ruger has just announced a new handgun called the Ruger American Pistol. I was fortunate enough to receive an early production sample in 9mm Luger and have been shooting the gun for a couple weeks.





The gun is somewhat similar in appearance to Ruger's line of SR22 rimfire pistols and is quite a departure from the earlier line of striker-fired handguns like the SR9 and SR40. I had initially thought the gun would be some sort of "gen two" version of the early striker guns but it really is a new design. About the only thing that seems to have been carried over is the design of the ambi magazine release. By the way, magazines for the SR9 won't fit the American.

This new gun is available in 9mm and 45ACP. The 40S&W should follow shortly. The new gun is a full-sized duty auto with a magazine capacity of 17 rounds in 9 and 10 rounds in 45. As I understand it, Ruger first started working on this design as a 45ACP as a possible military handgun. Even though the M9 replacement project has been suspended or shelved for the time being, Ruger pressed on and developed the pistol for civilian and LE sales.

As a side note here; I don't have an American in 45 but I have seen and shot one. The 45 variant is really only slightly larger than the 9mm and my guess is Ruger is using as many parts are possible between the two calibers. This should make the 45 American one of the smaller double stack big bores on the market.

Since the American is most likely going to be marketed as a direct competitor to the Glock and M&P, I thought I would review the gun in that context. I'll do so by breaking the guns down into various categories. I should note here that I don't currently have a Glock 17 for comparison. And the G19 used for weight measurements has 45 bevels and front cocking serrations added to the slide which no doubt change weight slightly.

Weight

Ruger 1.74 pounds without magazine
M&P 1.56 pounds without magazine
G19 1.26 pounds without magazine

Ruger slide assembly 1.08 pounds
M&P slide assembly 1.10 pounds
G19 slide assembly .98 pounds

Ruger frame assembly .64 pounds
M&P frame assembly .44 pounds
G19 frame assembly .28 pounds

Ruger empty magazine .18 pounds
M&P empty magazine .18 pounds
G19 empty magazine .14 pounds

Ergonomics

Grip angle between the M&P and American is more or less identical and presenting both pistols with my eyes closed results in a natural point of aim. The Glock for me as with many "1911 people" presents slightly high due to its non-1911 grip angle. It is all a matter of what a person is used to but the Smith and the Ruger point more naturally for me.

Controls on all three guns are located in more or less the same locations but the American's controls are truly ambidextrous. Unlike the M&P there's no need to reverse the magazine release for a lefty. Also, unlike the Gen4 Glock the magazine release is small enough and high enough that I don't accidentally bump it with my middle finger while shooting. I don't have this issue with Gens 1-3 Glocks but I don't like the Gen4 stuff as a result.

Magazine wells on all the pistols are similar in size but the American has an extended tang at the rear that really helps with magazine insertion. The M&P has a similar extension that's also the backstrap retention pin. Both guns for me are easier to speed reload than the Glock.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTsZ5HQnuMM

Grip panels are another thing the S&W and Ruger have in common. Both guns come with a small, medium and a large grip insert that not only increase grip length but width. The G4 Glock also uses grip inserts but these don't increase width.

For hand fitment, I chose to run my American with the medium panel even though it feels a little too small for me. The large fits my hand a bit better but is too aggressively arched for my liking. Hopefully Ruger will introduce something a bit flatter later on down the road.

Ruger, like the M&P, is devoid of finger grooves.

Along the same lines is grip texture. All three guns have some texturing built in but all are fairly smooth out of the box. Really the only factory texturing that really seems useful across multiple scenarios is the Glock RTF series. The Ruger is nicely textured on the front and back but devoid of much texture on the sides. This was probably done to keep the gun from tearing up jackets and uniform shirts but it doesn't provide much traction for the support hand. On this note, I wonder about Ruger's plastic frame. It feels more rigid and less flexible than the other guns and I wonder how well the frame material will respond to a wood burner and sandpaper.

Up top the American slide has rear cocking serrations that are cross hatched and provide for a good purchase when loading and unloading. Spring weights are such that no excessive effort is needed to work the slide.



Trigger

The American has a steel trigger with a Glock-type trigger safety in the center. Unlike the Glock, the American uses a pre-loaded striker so it operates in more of a "single action" mode. The resulting trigger pull is fairly short and actually fairly crisp with little overtravel.

When I first unboxed the gun, I was surprised at how slow, mushy and indistinct the trigger reset was. But now that I have 300 or so rounds fired and probably 3x as many dryfire trigger presses, the reset is more positive. It still feels a little light and reminds me of the earlier M&P pistols.

Sharp edges and/or frame shape and thickness

This is another area where, for me, the American and Smith both shine over the Glock. I have fairly large hands and get a very high and aggressive grip on a handgun. The Glock will cut the base of my shooting thumb if I'm not careful.



Neither the Smith nor the Ruger will bite me. All three pistols are relatively smooth and free of bite points otherwise and are easy to manipulate without torn hands or ripped fingernails. On the down side, the Ruger has no prominent squared edges and a true Novak rear sight so working one-handed malfunctions is going to be difficult. I imagine we'll see a notched rear sight like is on the M&P sometime in the future.

The American's trigger and trigger guard are more close in size and shape to the Glock. Shooters wearing gloves or with fat fingers will probably feel some rubbing on the inside of the trigger guard on these two pistols. The M&P is superior to both in this regard.

Ease of maintenance

Both the M&P and the Ruger require the slide to be retracted before the takedown lever can be moved. This is a big plus over the Glock. The American goes one step further in that the trigger is deactivated by the takedown lever and the slide comes off without any trigger manipulation and/or the use of the backstrap pin.



Ruger says the new American's metal parts are made of nitrided or nickel teflon coated stainless steel. The gun should be fairly easy to maintain in harsh conditions. The gun comes apart easily, as mentioned, and the striker comes out in a manner similar to the Glock and M&P. The firing pin block is located in the sear/firing assembly so the slide has nothing else to remove other than dovetailed sights and the pinned external extractor. The slide does have a few more internal cuts and grooves that are harder to get into with just a cleaning patch or toothbrush compared to the other two.





The serial number is located on the back of the frame and the entire firing mechanism is housed in a skeletal chassis that can be removed from the frame. This isn't mentioned in the owner's manual but it isn't too hard to figure out. Once the chassis is out, care must be taken not to accidentally lose the trigger return spring or the two level bars that run along each side of the chassis. In this regard, the American apparently is more mechanically complex than the Glock or M&P.

An interesting side benefit, and one that should appeal to many future owners, is the serialized part of the frame can be easily removed. I imagine this means Ruger will eventually sell plastic frame assembly parts in green, tan, etc. Also, competition shooters could replace a frame with a badly-worn magazine well by simply installing a new plastic housing. This should be a huge advantage over either the other two guns. SIG and Ruger are both on to something here and I imagine more polymer makers will follow this pattern in the future.

Accuracy



Accuracy seems good and I had little difficulty keeping rounds in the head of a USPSA target from 15 yards. Similarly I had no problem consistently hitting a steel silhouette target at 50 yards and even 100 yards.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjBPd99D2gg

The American, like many light pistols with a relatively heavy trigger, may have a tendency to shoot left for a right-handed shooter. Sinking the trigger finger in a little deeper may help alleviate this.

Ruger seems to have identified the proper barrel twist and barrel-to-slide fit to provide good accuracy out of the box.

Durability/Reliability

It won't be until the gun has been out a year and has been used by a few departments and competition shooters that we can make any sort of determination on durability or reliability. Still, the gun is fairly stout and is noticeably heavier than the other two guns. It is built for hot +P ammo and should be able to take a steady diet of the latest defense ammo without drastically reduced service life. That should mean the 40S&W variant will be tough as nails too.

Overall, I think I prefer the M&P at this time. That's not to say Ruger hasn't done an excellent job with the American and I'll admit the gun has grown on me. I think my preference at this point is honestly based more on familiarity rather than any salient features or design characteristics. Both guns feel a bit more natural and comfortable to me than the Glock series and I don't have the issues with cuts on my thumb or accidental mag release with either.

So there you have it. My quick and dirty review. If anyone has any specific questions let me know. Thanks.
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Old 01-02-2016, 07:59   #2
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How is the recoil on this version compared to the SR9?

I'll be waiting for the .40S&W variant before I consider one, though I'm excited about it. The SR9 and SR40 both have excessive muzzle flip for my liking, but both guns fit my wife well--though part of this is due to her liking the polished metal/black appearance of them. It's just a tad purdier she thinks.

Anyhow, I've put off getting her what she wants because in my time at the range with them they're just not comfortable to shoot. I'm hoping this one, with the lighter springs and a bit larger frame will work better, and still catch her attention.
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Old 02-03-2016, 10:40   #3
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Hardly a glock killer. Neat, kinda. The gen 4 addresses slide bite with the beaver tail back strap. I hope they get some contracts though. They are an American company.
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Old 03-02-2016, 19:11   #4
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Glocks are great guns and will fire every time, but...."friends don't let friends own Glocks". I own three Rugers (.380, 9mm, 2 semis, 1 revolver), S&W (.40, .357., 38, .22) and soon, my first Sig. I've never had a problem with Ruger. Personally, while I have respect for Glocks' design, I don't find them as comfortable to shoot, and really no more accurate or reliable than my Rugers.
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Old 03-10-2016, 05:10   #5
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It's got some nice features; but, the, 'idiot warning' on the dust cover is a real turnoff for me.

I don't need to be reminded that stupid people own guns; I already know that! Neither do I need any manufacturer's legal disclaimer stamped into the side of my EDC. Knowing your weapon well is almost a form of religion to me! If I didn't really know and truly understand my pistol then I wouldn't - and, quite frankly, believe that I shouldn't - be carrying it.

This first American pistol is too large to be a serious threat to Glock's flagship pistol, the G-19 - Which is, in my opinion, one of the best EDC pistols in the world. I live with both a G-19, and a G-21; but, of late, I've been spending a lot more time with the G-19 because it's very accurate and just plain easier for me to carry around everywhere. Besides, right now, I see no particular need to carry anything heavier. (I might change my mind tomorrow, though!)
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Old 03-10-2016, 13:42   #6
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This assumes that a Glock is the be-all, end-all of handguns out there. It aint.
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Old 03-10-2016, 14:36   #7
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Originally Posted by Scorpion of Mars View Post
This assumes that a Glock is the be-all, end-all of handguns out there. It aint.
No, it assumes nothing. It's a simple statement of fact that, for whatever reasons, you appear to be unwilling to recognize. MILLIONS of pistol owner/users disagree with you; and, of late, apparently so does the United States Navy's Special Warfare Group. (SEALS)

By the way I, myself, am NOT over-enamored with Glocks; but I'm faced with the same reality as you are. For my own part I've decided to, more or less, 'go with the flow'; and I've learned how to use and live with what I'll freely admit to be Glock's less than perfect design.
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Old 03-10-2016, 17:03   #8
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Originally Posted by Lone Gunman View Post
No, it assumes nothing. It's a simple statement of fact that, for whatever reasons, you appear to be unwilling to recognize.

Hum, statement of fact? Thats right up there, "with have too", "wont", "cant". etc. You propose an absolute. How can I recognize, with what I dont agree with. Something about everybody jumping off of a cliff comes to mind.


MILLIONS of pistol owner/users disagree with you; and, of late, apparently so does the United States Navy's Special Warfare Group. (SEALS)

Milliions would agree with me, and millions with agree on the 1911, or the CZ-75, or Sig P226, or the Browning Hi-Power and so forth. As far as the teams go, they have a greater latitude in weapons selection, and setup than pretty much the rest of the military. In addition, they have the ability to have weapons specifically made to their needs, specs, and at times they come up with the design.


By the way I, myself, am NOT over-enamored with Glocks; but I'm faced with the same reality as you are. For my own part I've decided to, more or less, 'go with the flow'; and I've learned how to use and live with what I'll freely admit to be Glock's less than perfect design.
Im not sure what reality you speak of, but we do not share the same one. I do not like Glocks, period. Therefore, I will not buy one. Have I used one, sure, but its not my first choice, or anywhere in the ballpark. So you buy what you want, I will buy what I want.
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Old 03-10-2016, 18:41   #9
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Originally Posted by Scorpion of Mars View Post
Im not sure what reality you speak of, but we do not share the same one. I do not like Glocks, period. Therefore, I will not buy one. Have I used one, sure, but its not my first choice, or anywhere in the ballpark. So you buy what you want, I will buy what I want.
Fine! But, who cares what alternate reality you prefer?

(You might want to think twice before going public with that highly subjective, 'reverse logic' in the future, though. A lot of people are going to laugh at you for, 'being from another planet' with such silly ideas. Like it, or not, Glock pistols are here to stay!)
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Old 03-10-2016, 20:07   #10
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Its known inside and outside this board I am no fan of Glocks. As for being laughed at,...........whatever dude, whatever
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Old 05-18-2016, 19:20   #11
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Very nice review. Thanks for your time putting it together.
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Old 05-18-2016, 20:23   #12
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Originally Posted by Scorpion of Mars View Post
This assumes that a Glock is the be-all, end-all of handguns out there. It aint.
No.... But here's the thing about Glocks. It's the Honda Accord of handguns.

If you need a car to do everything a car does - Get you back and forth to work, go on vacation, hop in an drive to your Aunts house three states over, start and get you down the road... Every day, day in and day out.... And do it efficiently with just routine maintenance - you'd be hard pressed to do better than an Accord.

It's not going to win drag races. You're not going to take it to a car show. It's not going to make it over the Rubicon.... But it's going to start when you turn the key and do car stuff really well.

That's a Glock. Look, I don't even really care for them or particularly shoot them very well but if I were dropped into any city in the world with a G19, a couple of mags, a hundred rounds of HST and told to run a physical security detail I'd feel pretty good about my gear.

Glocks aren't perfect, but they're a known quantity. Sometimes that's worth it's weight in gold.
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