Ruger American 45 ACP Semi-Automatic Pistol

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

March 8th, 2016


Click pictures for a larger version.















Ambidextrous magazine release.





Ambidextrous slide lock.





Early this year, we reviewed the new Ruger America Pistol chambered for the 9x19mm  NATO cartridge.  I found it to be especially easy to fire, and easy on recoil. It was very comfortable in my hands, and I was anxious to try the 45 ACP version, as soon as I could get ahold of one. Since then, i fired a couple of the larger-caliber version at SHOT Media Day, and have recently received a 45 ACP version in here for review as well.

As expected, the 45 version of the American Pistol is slightly larger than the 9mm version, but only minimally so. The 45 version does not come supplied with the small grip module, but only the medium and large modules. The magazines are double-stack, but not excessively wide, holding ten 45 ACP cartridges. The 45 version is only slightly longer, and only one ounce heavier than its 9mm little sister, and is as easy to handle and fire as the 9mm pistol.

I will not go into all the details of the American 45, as it would be re-plowing the same ground, and instead refer you to the review of January 1st on the 9mm pistol for details. The short version is that the American 45 is every bit as good as the 9mm pistol, as easy to shoot as the 9mm pistol, and with this one sample, slightly more accurate than the 9mm pistol, grouping my favorite handloads into just slightly over one inch, handheld and rested at twenty-five yards. At first, I thought it was a fluke, but the American Pistol would do it again and again, as long as I did my part. The largest group fired was slightly over three inches, but that ammunition was not consistent with velocities either.  Most fighting ammo grouped in the two and one-half inch range.

Critical specifications for the American 45 Pistol are listed in the chart below. Weight is listed in ounces, and includes the empty magazine. Linear dimensions are listed in inches. Trigger pull is listed in pounds of resistance, as measured with my Lyman digital trigger pull scale and confirmed with my Timney mechanical trigger pull scale. Height includes sights and magazine base with the magazine in place. Maximum grip width is measured across the grip frame palm swells, with the medium-sized grip module installed. Maximum width is measured across the ambidextrous slide lock levers. Trigger reach is with the medium grip module installed.


45 ACP

Weight with Empty Magazine 31.7 ounces
Trigger Pull 6 pounds
Barrel Length 4.53 inches
Barrel Diameter 0.582 inch
Overall Height 5.63 inches
Overall Length 8.1 inches
Grip Width 1.28 inches
Frame Width 1.2 inches
Slide Width 1.06 inches
Maximum Width 1.37 inches
Trigger Reach 2.72 inches
Magazine Capacity 10
Magazines Supplied 2
Magazine Disconnect Safety No
Manual Thumb Safety No
Accessory Rail 1913 Picatinny Spec
Extras Supplied Hard case, cable lock, instruction manual, decal, two grip modules, wrench
MSRP as of March 2016 $579.00 US

I tested for velocity with my chronograph set at ten feet from the muzzle, with an air temperature of thirty-nine degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of eighty-five percent. Velocity readings were taken at an elevation of approximately 541 feet above sea level.  Velocities are listed in the chart below, and are listed in feet-per-second (fps). FMJ is a full metal jacket bullet. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint. Tac-XP is an homogenous copper hollowpoint bullet. XP is a solid copper specialty bullet made for "Extreme Penetration". ARX is a polymer/copper composite bullet.  LWSC is a cast lead semi-wadcutter bullet. UHD is Remington Ultimate Home. HCL is a hard-cast lead bullet. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Bullet weights are listed in grains.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Ruger ARX 114 1320
Buffalo Bore HCL 255 921
Buffalo Bore JHP 230 996
Buffalo Bore FMJ 230 987
Buffalo Bore JHP 185 1101
Buffalo Bore TAC-XP 160 895
Cor-Bon JHP 200 1023
Armscor FMJ 230 802
Atomic HP 230 915
Remington FMJ 230 745
Remington UHD 230 794
Handload LSWC 200 973
WCC 1911 Ball FMJ 230 778
Sig JHP 200 899
Lehigh Defense JHP 200 991

The Ruger performed exactly as I expected that it would; flawlessly. Every round fed, fired, and ejected perfectly. Loading the magazines to full capacity was pretty easy, but for the last couple of rounds, a mag loader, such as the UpLULA, makes doing so much easier. The American Pistol is a full-sized duty pistol, but is not excessively bulky nor heavy. It feels good in my hand, and the grip modules can be swapped out quickly, if desired. Trigger pull was smooth, with a positive reset. The sights are easy to see well, and are, thankfully, made of steel. The magazines insert easily, and drop free when the ambidextrous mag catch is pressed. Disassembly for cleaning is quick, easy, and pulling the trigger is not required to disassemble the weapon. The Ruger American pistol is an excellent design, backed with some of the best customer service in the industry.

Check out the extensive line of Ruger firearms and accessories online at

For the location of a Ruger dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at

To order the American Pistol online, click on the GUN GENIE at

To order quality ammunition, go to,,,,, and

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.



Pistol comes with hard case, two magazines, instruction manual, two grip modules, wrench, decal, and cable lock.



Low-recoiling, lightweight, and effective Ruger ARX ammunition.



Excellent low-recoil load from Buffalo Bore.



High-performance, deep-penetration Lehigh Defense Extreme Penetrator.



Disassembly lever.