Ruger American Pistol: A Duty-Ready Design

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posted on August 4, 2021
Ruger American Pistol

Ruger introduced its American pistol in December of 2015 and it quickly become a favorite among enthusiasts. It’s more than just quality, performance and reliability driving sales of the polymer-framed, striker-fired handgun. The company has expanded the line in the past six years to include Duty, Compact and Competition Models and, true to form, kept the price budget friendly.

The semi-automatic uses a locked-breech system of operation. Each feature a patent-pending barrel cam that helps control the slide’s rearward movement during firing, which results in reduced perceived recoil. Further supporting that mission is a lightweight slide and the barrel’s low bore axis.

As for the combination’s effectiveness, when American Rifleman reviewed an early model the testing team noted, “At the shooting range, the Ruger American Pistol kept its promise of providing a comfortable, manageable level of felt recoil. Although +P rounds exhibited a more snappy comeback than their standard-velocity counterparts, the recoil ranged from modest to moderate levels. This easy-going attitude, combined with the pistol’s good balance, useful sights and carefully crafted grip frame makes it a solid choice for first-time shooters and seasoned professionals alike.”

Less than a year after that introduction, the company rolled out a Compact version. It maintained the replaceable backstraps in its smaller size, as well as the three-dot Novak sights. Barrel length was reduced to 3.55 inches, which shrunk the overall pistol measurement to 6.65. The original’s specs were 4.17 and 7.5 inches, respectively.

Porting gives the latest model, the Competition, the kind of racy looks that turn heads at the firing line. It comes in 9 mm with a 5-inch, stainless steel, competition-grade barrel. It’s overall length of 8.31 inches it’s probably not the best choice for carry, but that isn’t its primary mission.

Every Ruger American Pistol has an MSRP of $649 and ships with two magazines, regardless of model, cosmetics, size or chambering. Slides in the Compact series either carry a black nitride or Elite Cerakote finish, and frames are black or gray, depending on model. The Duty and Competition models wear businesslike black, exclusively.

Duty American Pistols are available in 9 mm Luger and .45 ACP, 10- or 17-round (9 mm Luger only) magazines and with or without manual safety. Compacts have magazine capacities of 7 and 10 in .45 ACP and 10 and 17 in 9 mm Luger. The Competition is available in 9 mm only, without manual safety, and its magazine holds 17 cartridges.

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