Ruger Lightweight 9x19mm SR1911 Semi-Automatic Pistol

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

July 6th, 2016


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About five and one-half years ago, Ruger introduced their version of the legendary 1911 semi-automatic pistol. Chambered for the popular 45 ACP cartridge, the SR1911 has met with great success in a market already crowded with competitors. Following up on the heels of the full-size SR1911, Ruger introduced the steel-framed Commander-length pistol, followed by the aluminum-framed version of that dandy pistol. Like the other pistols in Ruger’s SR1911 line, the Lightweight Commander has also been successful in the crowded marketplace.

Now, with more and more shooters seeking a lightweight 1911 chambered for the 9x19mm (9mm Luger) cartridge, Ruger has obliged, and introduced just recently their 9mm SR1911. The 9mm version is also built on the Commander-sized frame. While not marketed by Ruger as a “Commander”, that name belonging to Colt, it is, nevertheless, a Commander, as that has become a generic term that is understood by most to mean a 1911 pistol with a lightweight aluminum frame, slide shortened by three-quarters of an inch, and a full-sized grip.

While the 1911 platform has built its reputation on the 45 ACP cartridge, there is historical precedence for a 1911 Commander-sized pistol chambered for the 9x19mm cartridge. The first Commander pistols built by Colt in 1949 were chambered for the 9mm cartridge, for inclusion in military trials as a pistol to replace the standard steel-framed 45 ACP 1911-A1 for use by officers and other specialized troops. After the US Military failed to adopt a new pistol, Colt introduced the shortened pistol to the commercial market as the Commander, chambered for the 45 ACP and 38 Super cartridges.

Today, there is even more reason for a fighting pistol to be chambered for the 9mm cartridge. Many people prefer the lighter recoil of the 9, compared to the 45, and with today’s excellent bullet designs, the 9mm can be depended upon to get the job done. Besides just the lighter recoil, the 9mm Ruger uses a lighter recoil spring than does the 45, making the slide easier to operate. To assist in the operation of the slide, the Chevron-shaped grooves near the rear of the slide provide a secure grasp for chambering the first cartridge out of the nine-shot magazine. This would be a good place to note that Brownell’s sells some very good ten-shot magazines for the 9mm 1911 pistols. I have not tried them in this Ruger, but Ed Head reports that they work perfectly in his Ruger 9mm SR1911 pistol.

The lightweight frame and shortened slide drops almost three-quarters of a pound off the weight of the full-sized pistol, and makes the smaller SR1911 much better-suited for concealed carry. I covered the lightweight SR1911 in detail in my review of the 45 ACP version, so I won’t plow the same ground here, but will instead focus upon what makes the 9mm version unique.

The Ruger SR1911-CMD9-A pistol wears a satin stainless slide atop the dark gray anodized aluminum frame. The hammer and trigger are skeletonized units. Like the other pistols in Ruger’s SR1911 line, the pistol does not incorporate a firing pin safety, as none is needed. Ruger uses a lightweight titanium firing pin to prevent the pistol from firing if dropped upon its muzzle. The SR1911 also, thankfully, has no magazine disconnect safety. The grips are a black synthetic rubber, like those that I first saw on the early prototype SR1911 over five years ago. The grip safety, checkered mainspring housing, slide stop, thumb safety, and magazine release are a matte black, all working together to distinguish this pistol visually from the others in Ruger’s SR1911 line. The sights are black genuine Novak, with the familiar three-dot pattern. Unlike the lightweight 45 ACP SR1911, the 9mm version does not use a titanium insert in the feed ramp; instead, it uses a ramped barrel, which incorporates the feed ramp into the barrel, eliminating the need for an insert in the feed ramp as on the 45 version. The 9mm pistol ships with two nine-shot stainless steel magazines, a bushing wrench, cable lock, and instructions. 

Critical Specifications:

Weight 29.2 ounces
Height 5.45 inches
Length 7.87 inches
Slide Width 0.9 inch
Maximum Grip Width 1.22 inches
Frame Width 0.753 inch
Maximum Width 1.258 inches
Trigger Pull 4.4 pounds
Trigger Reach 2.76 inches
Barrel Length 4.3 inches
Construction Stainless Steel / Aluminum
Sights Novak Three-Dot
Magazine Capacity 9 rounds
Magazines Supplied 2
Firing Pin Safety No
Magazine Disconnect Safety Hell No
MSRP as of July 2016 $979.00 US

Shooting the 9mm Ruger is very pleasant, and that is the main reason that some people prefer the 9mm in a lightweight 1911 pistol. Recoil is very soft, compared to the 45 ACP version, for the simple reason that the 9mm fires a lighter weight bullet.

I fired a variety of ammunition over the chronograph to check velocities, with the results listed in the chart below. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second. Bullet weights are listed in grains. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint bullet. DPX is a hollow nose homogenous copper bullet. FMJ is a full metal jacket roundnose bullet. FMJ-FN is a full metal jacket flat nose Buffalo Bore Penetrator bullet. PB is Pow’RBall, a specialty bullet from Cor-Bon. XP is a specialty homogenous copper bullet from Lehigh Defense. Glaser is a pre-fragmented bullet. Velocities were taken at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with an air temperature of eighty-eight degrees Fahrenheit and humidity of seventy-nine percent. Velocities were recorded at ten feet from the muzzle.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Sig Sauer JHP 124 1149
Remington JHP 124 1109
Lehigh Defense JHP 85 1233
CCI Blazer Brass FMJ 115 1092
WCC NATO FMJ 124 1019
Fiocchi FMJ 115 1147
Buffalo Bore FMJ-FN 124 1265
Buffalo Bore JHP 115 1313
Buffalo Bore +P JHP 115 1333
Buffalo Bore +P JHP 147 1107
Buffalo Bore +P JHP 124 1262
Cor-Bon Glaser 80 1554
Cor-Bon JHP 115 1300
Cor-Bon Pow'RBall 100 1308
Cor-Bon +P DPX 115 1156
Cor-Bon JHP 125 1287
Stryker JHP 115 1054

The SR1911 worked well with every type of ammunition tested, with the exception of the Lehigh Defense Extreme Penetrator. This is an excellent bullet design, and the cartridges fed and fired perfectly, but the recoil was too light to reliably lock the slide open on an empty magazine. If this is to be the preferred ammunition for this pistol, a lighter recoil spring might solve the problem, but choosing one of the other excellent loads available would be preferred. I really love the Buffalo Bore Lead Free hollowpoint ammunition for all purposes. Every other type and brand of ammunition fed, fired, and ejected flawlessly. Accuracy was tested with the pistol secured into my Ransom Master Series machine rest. Five-shot groups were fired on paper at a distance of twenty-five yards, with satisfying results. Sig-Sauer hollowpoint ammo turned in the best accuracy, with groups measuring a consistent one and three-quarters inches, with most other ammo grouping into two and one-half inches. CCI Blazer Brass recorded the largest groups, in the four-inch range.

For carrying this new Ruger 9mm, and it is ideal for concealed carry, I tried two of my favorite holsters for a carry 1911; the Simply Rugged Cuda, and the Galco Avenger. The Cuda is a pancake style that works well for both strong-side and cross draw carry, and the Avenger is ideal for strong-side carry, having a reinforced mouth, and pulling the butt of the pistol snuggly into the side, to aid concealment. Both are expertly crafted from quality leather. For a Kydex/leather hybrid holster, I always go with Cross Breed Holsters. They offer the comfort of good leather with the light weight, rigidity, and thinness of Kydex.

The 9mm SR1911 is easy to operate, and easy to shoot well. The magazines are difficult to load to full capacity without the aid of a magazine loader, so I always keep an UpLula handy when loading these mags. It just makes life so much easier. The trigger pull was pretty near perfect for a carry gun, releasing crisply at just under four and one-half pounds resistance, with only a minute amount of take-up before firing. The slide is very easy to operate. The SR1911, like other lightweight Commander-sized pistols, is just about the ideal balance of size, weight, and ease-of-use. These are the traits that have endeared the Commander to professionals for decades, and with the lighter recoil of the 9mm cartridge, makes this new Ruger a very good choice for those who are serious about going armed, while offering easier recoil and a higher magazine capacity than that of a 45 Commander.

The Ruger SR1911-CMD9-A is a welcome addition to Ruger’s 1911 line up, and to the wonderful world of 1911 pistols. It is accurate, reliable, soft-shooting, easy-to-use, and made in the USA.

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 9mm SR1911 pistol online, click on the Gun Genie at

To order quality holsters for the Ruger SR1911-CMD9-A, go to,,  and

To order quality 9x19mm ammunition, go to,,,,, and

Jeff Quinn

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