Gun Digest

The Striking New Ruger American Pistol

Ruger’s American Pistol was designed with the input of both the military and law enforcement.
Ruger’s American Pistol was designed with the input of both the military and law enforcement.

The Ruger American Pistol was designed with the input of both the military and law enforcement. It appears to have plenty to offer shooters in and out of uniform.

There are all sorts of factors and trends that influence gun designs. Presently, one point of gravity — at least when it comes to handguns — is the Modular Handgun System.

The MHS is the set of design specifications put forth to find the U.S. Army’s next sidearm. And the program has prompted a number of new designs and modifications to be unveiled in the past few years. Ruger is the most recent gun maker to whip out a pistol that ticks off the boxes for the project.

The company has not stated that it plans to submit its new American Pistol in the race to replace the U.S. Military’s venerable Beretta M9. It could happen; the deadline for MHS submissions is Jan. 28. But the New Hampshire/Arizona manufacturer makes no bones that the stipulations laid forth for the MHS were the inspiration for its new line.

The slick-looking American Pistol is presently available in two calibers, 9mm and .45 ACP.

Ruger quite simply states the polymer striker-fired pistol’s genesis was the goal of exceeding the specifications set forth by the military. But the company also was advised by law-enforcement agencies around the country on desirable design points for a duty sidearm.

The company is initially offering the full-sized semi-automatic in 9mm and .45 ACP — +P rated in both calibers. And at first blush, the new pistol has plenty to appeal to shooters in or out of uniform.

Perhaps the most practical aspect is the shootability Ruger has engineered into the American Pistol. In particular, the handgun features a low bore axis and patented barrel cam, each meant to make the firearm easier to handle and keep on target.

Placing the bore axis closer to a shooter’s hands gives them more control over the pistol, reducing muzzle flip and helping to disperse recoil reward into the arms. The barrel cam on the Browning-type, locked-breech action, on the other hand, is all about recoil reduction, dispersing the force over a longer period of time, thus blunting the gun's kick.

Additionally, the new cam design helps to trim the overall weight of the pistol. It does so by requiring a lighter slide than many other pistols in its class, which has it tipping the scales right around 30 ounces in 9mm and 31 in .45 ACP.

For some, this might be a hair too heavy for a concealed carry piece, but it definitely doesn’t rule the American Pistol out — particularly since it is full sized. And its other vital stats — especially its 1.4-inch width— definitely keeps it in the running.

Like most new polymer, striker-fired pistols to come out in recent years, the American Pistol features interchangeable grips. The three grip choices (small, medium and large) not only adjust for palm swell, but also help shooters achieve a comfortable trigger reach.

Ruger is touting a number of features on its new American Pistol, including ambidextrous slide and magazine releases, and crisp trigger pull.

The trigger, more specifically its pull, is another feature Ruger touts on its new pistol. With ¼-inch travel to break a shot and positive reset, the handgun should have a light, clean and fast pull. This is in part due to the pistol’s ignition system, which fully cocks the striker upon chambering a round. This means the only work the trigger pull does is to release the sear.

The 4.20-inch barreled pistol also has a number of other features that should catch shooters’ eyes, including: Novak LoMount Carry 3-dot sights, nickel-teflon-plated magazines, sear block and trigger safety, and ambidextrous slide stop and magazine release. The double-stack pistol has solid capacity. The .45 ACP has a 10+1 capacity, and the 9mm is available in 10+1 and 17+1 models.

Presently, the MSRP of all three models of the American Pistol is $579. All models ship with two magazines, grip modules and a hard case.

Ruger American Pistol Spec
Calibers: 9mm; .45 ACP
Capacity: 9mm 10+1, 17+1; .45 ACP 10+1
Barrel Length: 4.5 inches (all models)
Width: 1.4 inches (all models)
Weight: 9mm 30 ounces; .45 ACP 31.5 ounces
Sights: Novak LoMount Carry 3-Dot

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