Ruger was hitting on all cylinders at SHOT Show last January, introducing the Ruger American Pistol and the Ruger Precision Rifle to very high praise. Ruger’s American Pistol may have been a little late to the striker-fired, polymer framed pistol competition, but their entry is noteworthy.
Ruger has recently added Ruger American Pistols with an external safety lever. Though external safety levers are not my personal preference for the highly versatile striker-fired format, these new models will prepare the Ruger American Pistol to be purchased by those living in some of the more restrictive States requiring one.
The Ruger American Pistol
A quick look at the Ruger American Pistol (RAP) and the shooter can see inspiration from Glock, Smith & Wesson M&P, Walther, and H&K. Having shot the Ruger American Pistol at SHOT Show I was impressed. The RAP has a balanced feel, manageable recoil, a good trigger, and short reset. Metal magazines, an adjustable grip swell, ambidextrous slide stop lever and magazine release, and nice low profile Novak 3-dot sights are stand out features of this feature-packed pistol.
In fact, the few complaints I had with the Ruger American Pistol, as I noted in my first post, were the very cheap looking metal-injection-molded (MIM) slide stop lever, a slightly too small magazine release, and the 9mm being a little less accurate than I would have liked. Not bad accuracy at all, but it just didn’t group as well as the .45 ACP version.
The new manual safety lever is ambidextrous on the rear portion of the glass-filled nylon frame. That part is great for left-handed shooters, and for transition shooting with strong and support hands.
However, I do not like the safety lever design. Similar to the Smith & Wesson M&P pistols with a manual safety lever, the Ruger safety is on when the safety lever is in the up position. This means the shooter must move their thumb above the lever to press the lever down bringing the pistol into the fire position. Surprisingly, earlier S&W pistols with manual safeties had exactly the opposite configuration.
This is unnatural, and could cause significant hindrance in a sudden threat situation, where the shooter wants to get on target and be ready to fire as soon as possible. It’s just one more reason I do not favor manual safety levers. Though Ruger is marketing to those who do prefer these safeties, or to those living in States with restrictive laws requiring them, they should have made the design more natural. A quick upward flip of the thumb to disengage the safety and make the pistol ready to fire would have been more appropriate and ergonomic.
Ruger American Pistol Features
- Trigger features a short takeup with positive reset
- Recoil-reducing barrel cam
- Low mass slide, low center of gravity and low bore axis
- Performance tested for sustained +P ammunition use
- Genuine Novak® LoMount Carry 3-dot sights
- Modular wrap-around grip adjusts palm swell and trigger reach
- Safe, easy takedown with no tools or trigger pull required
- Ambidextrous slide stop and magazine release
- Ambidextrous external safety lever
- Internal, automatic sear block safety system
- Integrated trigger safety (no trigger pull required for takedown)
- (2) nickel-teflon® plated steel magazines
- Small, medium and large grip modules
- Includes hard plastic case.
Ruger American Pistol Specifications
- Slide Material: Stainless steel
- Slide Finish: Black nitride
- Frame Material: One-piece, glass filled nylon
- Overall Length: 7.50″
- Barrel Length: 4.20″
- Height: 5.60″
- Overall Width: 1.51″ (original 1.40″)
- Weight 9mm: 31 oz. (unloaded)
- Weight .45 ACP: 32.5 oz. (unloaded)
- Twist Rate: 1:10 RH, 6 grooves
- MSRP: $579.00.
As I wrote before, I really like the Ruger American Pistol. It is definitely late to the striker fired pistol market, but Ruger’s late entry does pack a lot of features. The new manual safety is a detractor and poorly designed in my opinion, but it may be required or just what some shooters are looking for.