Ruger American Pistol Review

Editor: Mike

Basic Description of Item:

Ruger American Pistol is a new line of pistol from Ruger for 2015. It features a Polymer Steel mix. Large Capacity Magazine Semi Auto Pistol.
Just the Facts:
• Trigger: Tfeatures a short takeup with positive reset.
• Recoil-reducing barrel cam, low mass slide, low center of gravity and low bore axis
• Genuine Novak® LoMount Carry three-dot sights.
• Modular wrap-around grip system for adjusting palm swell and trigger reach.
• Safe, easy takedown with no tools or trigger pull required.
• Ambidextrous slide stop and magazine release allow actuation with either hand.
• Safety features include internal, automatic sear block system, integrated trigger safety and no trigger pull required for takedown.
• Also includes – Two nickel-teflon® plated steel magazines; small (9mm models only), medium and large grip modules; hard plastic case.
• Capacity 17+1
• Slide MaterialStainless Steel
• Barrel Length4.20″
• Grip FrameOne-Piece, High-Performance, Glass-Filled Nylon
• GripsErgonomic Wrap-Around Grip Module
• Slide FinishBlack Nitride
• Width1.40″
• SightsNovak® LoMount Carry 3-Dot
• Weight30 oz.
• Overall Length 7.50″
• Height 5.60″
• Grooves 6
• Twist 1:10″ RH
• CA Approved No
• MA Approved & Certified No
• Suggested Retail$579.00 (we found it for $479)
Check them out here:

Ruger American 9mm Pistol Review
Ruger American 9mm Pistol Review

My Story:
I took possession of the Ruger American Pistol in a 9mm 17 mag capacity gun in January of 2016. I had heard mixed reviews on the gun from other online editors, and was anxious to try the gun for myself.

The gun intrigues me for several reasons:
1: I have not been a huge fan of Ruger pistols, why? I am not sure  I have been around many of them that were owned by others, and all seemed to work well, shoot well, and were liked by the owners.

2: The idea that this gun had a reduced recoil based on the Recoil-reducing barrel cam, a low mass slide, and a low center of gravity, really caught my attention. The ability to reduce recoil and quickly return to target is a nice add, if true.

3: The Ruger American Pistol has some new to Ruger features that I like:
-No Magazine disconnect, this gun will fire with the magazine removed. Scary to some, but nice to have if the Mag fails for some reason.
-No thumb safety. The safety is built into the trigger. Ok, not really a safety, but the lack of safety switch makes this gun have one thing less to worry about when trying to make it go BANG.

I will let you go read about all of the technical details elsewhere. We decide we were just going to test this gun on how it feels, performs, and holds up. We are not going to get into the details on how the trigger mechanism works…etc. Just, does it feel good, does it shoot well, and does it hold up to our testing, so, Here we go.

We first testing and shot the Ruger American at an old dump site in Central Utah. It was a cold winter day, about 8 degrees Fahrenheit. Snow was blanketing the ground, and our breath was visible on each exhale. We had cleaned the gun pretty well, and had put a light coating of oil on it. This gun came to us very dry compared to other guns. We kept with the dry feel, and did not lube it down much.

We set up a target at 8 yards, and slogged through the snow to shoot at it.
(We did bring with us a CZ 75 B Pistol for comparison.)
We took turns shooting 8 shots each, out of the Ruger American, and then 8 shots each out of the CZ 75 B. We wanted to get a feel for the reduced recoil that was promised with the Ruger.

We immediately noted that our Ruger shot low and left. We did have a decent pattern however and were pleased with the out of box accuracy with Winchester 115 grain target loads.

Our ability to quickly re-acquire the target was outstanding, and we did notice a reduction in felt recoil and improved barrel control with the Ruger vs the CZ. The Ruger had a sharper more straight back kick vs the barrel rise and base like recoil of the CZ 75 B.
We then decided to measure the barrel position in relationship to the grip. (as best we could) To determine if the Ruger really did have a lower mass, and a lower bore axis. We did this by putting a rod out of the barrel, and then measuring to the top of the trigger guard. Sure enough the length was about ½ inch less on the Ruger. It does have a lower bore axis compared to the CZ. One could surmise that this lower bore should put kick back in line with your arm and push backwards rather than upwards. It seemed that it did for us.
The recoil on this pistol was not ideal for me. It did keep the barrel lower, and allowed me to get on target quickly, However: It did kick straight back causing me to have to pay close attention to my grip. If I gripped with my thumb rolled back too far it seemed to bump into my thumb knuckle hard and I noticed a sharp hit to that area of my hand. When I wore a glove, or kept my knuckle rolled forward it felt normal, and I did not have this issue. This could be a function of the more square edges on this gun, and less about recoil.
We continued our test by just shooting and shooting and shooting. Geez I hate sending so much money out of the barrel and into the ground, a target, or a stump..but ya gotta do it to see if it keeps shooting or not. It did!

Ruger American Pistol
Ruger American Pistol

We then moved to our second round of cleaning. We again, were impressed with the ease of takedown, no trigger pull required, just the rotation of the takedown lever, and pull the slide off. Easy to clean, and takedown that is for sure.
We then took the gun to a new location, and shot about another 100 rounds. We focused on accuracy for the first 50 rounds, and were able to shoot a decent pattern. The sights on this gun are average at best, and compare well to a stock Glock. There was plenty of room for error in this sight. The shooter needs to really concentrate to repeat the sight window view on each shot. The rear sight is easy to adjust with an allen wrench.
The gun seemed fairly accurate. The trigger pull is good and shoots soon after the take up of the safety is removed. I was not very impressed with the reset on the trigger. The trigger must be returned to almost full before the trigger resets. This means every shot is about a full trigger pull.

This gun works, and works well. It is a very good price point for a gun that is just going to shoot and shoot fairly well. It has some things that are not top of the line, but seem acceptable for a decent shooting gun.
We like the gun, and consider it a buy.

What they could do better:
The trigger reset is too long.
The edges are very square and could use some rounding
Other than these minor things, the gun is a keeper.

  • Functionality
  • Value
  • Ergonomics
  • Durability


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