The Ruger American Pistol

By now everyone has heard of the newest polymer framed striker fired pistol, launched this week by Ruger. The Ruger American pistol is available in 9mm and .45 ACP, and if you want one they’re in gun shops today.

Image courtesy Ruger
Image courtesy Ruger

The new offering from Ruger has a number of features to make it attractive to shooters.

  • Modular grip inserts to fit a range of hand sizes
  • Novak sights
  • short trigger take up
  • low bore axis

Additionally, what I like most about the way Ruger launched the pistol is that they also have holsters and different sight options available right now. Want to carry you new American pistol? You can buy a holster for it today. Don’t like the factory three dot sights? No problem, Ruger has options for that available as well. If I were getting one of these guns, I’d get it with a tritium front sight and the white line rear sight option. But if you want three tritium dots you can get that, or if you like plain black sights for competition/target shooting you can get that.

I’ve not fired one of the new American Pistols yet, but I already like some of the features. It seems like Ruger took a lot of the issues that some people had with the SR series and addressed them with this gun. No magazine disconnect, no thumb safety, no enormous LCI – just a simple meat and potatoes polymer pistol priced to sell. Make no mistake, with an MSRP of $579, you’re going to see these pistols in dealers hands for under $500, and at that price point they’re going to move.

ruger american pistol square

Do I think that we’re going to see the new American pistol in police holsters any time soon? Nope. I also don’t think that we’re going to see it at many USPSA matches either. When I ran an SR9c in USPSA for a project, I was pretty much the only person shooting the polymer Rugers, and I don’t think that will really change. Mostly because Ruger has never really viewed competition shooting as a venue for marketing guns, with the exception of the excellent GP100 Match Champion. Truth be told, if the new Ruger American Pistol performs as I expect it to, they won’t need to.

My experience with the SR-platform was overwhelmingly positive. Both the SR40s and the SR9c pistols I had worked extremely reliably over several thousand rounds of logged ammo. I suspect that the new Ruger American pistol will be much the same, but with the new added enhancements in terms of trigger and modularity making it more appealing.

I have no doubt that Ruger will sell a ton of these pistols, and that, to me at least, is a good thing.


  1. ” I also don’t think that we’re going to see it at many USPSA matches either.”

    You are correct, the USPSA and IDPA Market is too small for Ruger to bother with!!

    I don’t think there are more than 25K Individual members between both Organizations (Some members belong to both), yes, maybe 30K if you want to stretch it and that is just a drop in the bucket compared to the recreational shooters out there.

    IMHO, this will be a good seller, can’t wait to try one.

    1. This is actually something I want to expand on in a future post – how the competition shooting market as a place that spends money isn’t really that important. Like you said, there’s 30k people tops in it, and they’re all very particular about this and that. It’s a much better place to market if you’re a small company that makes aftermarket parts for guns, but for actual manufacturers? Not really. Now, factory sponsored teams that are used at marketing platforms and to develop product make sense, ala F1.

      1. To expand on that, do you remember when Eotech came out with the Holosight in 1995?? Jerry Barnhart was using it on his UPSA Open Gun, the Prototype looked like a freaking Brick, I I dig out Photos from those days. They DID come out with a IPSC Open Gun Version, that had two Flavors, one for a 1911 and one for a 2011 with the Thicker Dust Cover. That lasted for like a year or two, they figure out that if they sold TWO Scopes to EVERY IPSC shooter in the WORLD, they would NEVER make the numbers they needed to make to make a profit!! Simple economics!! They went to a weaver mount and they eventually made it into what it is today, the rest is Tactard History!!

      2. I wonder about this. For a general gun maker, IDPA is likely to be a much bigger market segment just because it’s growing faster and there’s more tolerance for gear that isn’t cookie cutter.

        Given the way IDPA is structured though (join USPSA if you shoot club matches regularly, join IDPA only when you want to shoot a major match or get classified), plus the fact that IDPA shooters tend to be more casual (you don’t see as many of the same faces at every match), I’d conservatively estimate that the number of regular IDPA shooters at a club level is twice that of USPSA, despite broadly similar (~25k) membership numbers.

        1. 25K members IS NOTHING to a REAL Gun Maker!! They make that in one or two days! They are looking at sales in the Hundreds of Thousands…

          IDPA is a great game, but is NOTHING!!

          IF they sold ONE pistol to EVERY IDPA and USPSA member in the US, they can probably make that in a weeks production!! They are looking a wee bit forward than a weeks worth of production!!

        2. OH and 25K IDPA and 25K USPSA DO NOT mean 50K members!!

          There is a whole lot of Overlap here, I would venture to say about 30K Individual members and that’s about it!!

      3. All true with one exception. I’m a competitive shooter and have had many friends ask for advice when they make a firearms purchase. While I certainly don’t have the experience or knowledge that Caleb or many of the blog contributors have, I am the most knowledgable person that my friends know. So based on my rather limited experience, I do believe that competitive shooters have a market influence that goes well beyond our individual purchases.

  2. Actually, contrary to the opening sentence, this is the first I’ve heard of this new pistol. Apparently I’ve been spending too much time in my gun cave, I’ve even been on the Ruger website as recently as two days ago and hadn’t seen it. Looks like a great new competitor to the Glock, S&W M&P, Springfield XD, and etc. series of polymer pistols. I really like like the direction Ruger has been going over the past five years.

  3. One of the other blogs made a comment that this new Ruger will be much like the Sig 320 in that the serialized part is a trigger pack that can be easily swapped out for different sized packages in the future, and then further speculated that it would be Ruger’s attempt to get into the new DOD pistol program.

  4. How I assume the Ruger board meeting went down:

    CEO: “Well, Jenkins the SR series hasn’t inspired a lot of interest when looking at the other striker options. Ideas?”
    Jenkins: “Sir, the SR doesn’t follow the Ruger Semiautomatic Brand.”
    CEO: “Explain Jenkins.”
    Jenkins: “We need to make it uglier. Sure the SR9 works, but it doesn’t look like a striker fired P89. Look, I mocked up a model using a Canik TP9 dipped in Play-Doh.”
    CEO: “Get this into production immediately! Jenkins, you’re getting promoted.”

    1. I don’t know what you mean, this pistol feels REALLY Good!! Didn’t have a chance to shoot it, but I bet we will at Media Day. Looking forward to it.

    2. I’m a function over form guy, as I expect most of us are. But that is not a good looking pistol.

      Wouldn’t keep me from carrying one if it works better than the rest. But that is not a good looking pistol.

      It’s just not. 🙂

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      1. Me too, but in this case, I don’t see it as ugly and it fits my hands very well.

        There are Pistols out there (WILL NOT Name Names) that everyone raves about and they don’t fit my hands worth crap! But then again, personal preference.

      2. From the frame down, I think it looks pretty decent. It’s the slide milling that’s a little akward to me. However, from the pics, it looks like there’s enough material there for one of these guys doing custom slide machining to come up with something cool. Granted, that would be several hundred more dollars into the pistol, but if the look is the only thing stopping someone from buying one…and there are already dudes dropping that kind of coin into all of this pistols competition, so someone is willing to spend it.

  5. I havent handled one yet, but from the specs, the gun is way to wide/thick compared to competitors. It is 1.4″ compared to most others around 1.1 – 1.3″. That little bit makes a big difference in how the gun carries and handles. We’ll see when they hit the streets.

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