Ruger SR40 Review
This past weekend I was window shopping at Cabela’s and noticed that they had a Ruger SR40 on sale for a price I couldn’t pass up. Not only was the LISTED price low, but because .40 cal pistols are not selling very well right now Cabela’s was giving an additional $50-$125 off the prices! Not one to pass up a great deal when I see one I took it home that day. Another great side effect of the “poorly selling” .40 cal is that Cabela’s was STOCKED with .40 cal ammo for great prices. I snagged a box of 100 shells for $39 on my way out, darn near robbery when you consider the normal Cabela’s mark-up.
Now, I do have some history with Ruger firearms. I have fired several Ruger pistols (not the SR40) and my favorite plinker and small game hunter is still the tried and true Ruger 10/22. Due to this brand knowledge and my love of the .40 cal pistol lines I was really excited to get this bad boy in my hands. First thing was first though, a rigorous cleaning and inspection!
Tear Down and Re-Assembly
Breaking down the SR40 is about as simple as it gets. Lock the slide, push down the ejector, pop the locking pin and remove the slide. Once that is accomplished all that’s really left is removing the spring and the barrel…both simple. Dis-assembly for cleaning took about 30 seconds. Luckily whomever had owned this pistol before me kept it in great condition and I believe the Cabela’s staff ran it through a cleaning before putting it on the shelf. After a few minutes of cleaning and reapplying oil it was time to put the pistol back together. Once again the Ruger SR40 was a dream to re-assemble. 30 seconds later I had the pistol back together and was popping a couple of dry fire tests.
The SR40 is a medium size pistol with a lot of weight to it. During the cleaning process it was painfully easy to see where all of that weight was coming from because the lower felt like a feather and the slide felt like a brick of lead.I was a little concerned about this initially, but anyone used to firing anything .357 or larger knows that a little extra weight is sometimes a really good thing. The feel of the gun was perfect in my grip. There is a reversible back stock on the grip, one side is flat, the other is rounded for a more customizable shooting experience. I used the rounded back and the pistol slid into my hands with ease.
Test Firing the Pistol
Before test firing the pistol I had watched a few reviews online, just so I would know the major areas to watch for this particular pistol. Most of the videos mentioned the weight, the always mentioned “snap” of the .40 in general, accuracy issues and problems with the slide cutting into people’s hands. Also mentioned was the trigger pull and the “slide lock vs slide release”. Less mentioned was the muzzle lift when firing and the firing mechanism (this pistol has a pin, not a hammer).
I placed my targets at roughly 10 meters (30 feet) figuring that the .40 is best suited to being a defensive weapon and most of those scenarios occur from 15 feet or less. If I can fire accurately from 30 feet, 15 should be no problem at all. I used 1/3 scale human silhouettes for my testing and employed a basic right handed shooter’s forward leaning stance with a double handed grip. I fired for accuracy testing, then ramped up the speed of the firing for a more “real world” test of the pistol.
I guess I should mention the “slide lock” versus “slide release” bit now. The Ruger SR40 does not have a slide release. You can push on that little button all day, it will eventually release but you’ll tear your fingers up by the end of the day. This particular model has a “slide lock” instead. To release the slide you simply rack the slide back and let it go! If you have an empty magazine loaded it will lock again, otherwise it should slam forward with a very satisfying sound. One thing I did notice is that you have to rack the slide with some authority or you may experience feed problems. In normal firing the slide racks perfectly, no misfeeds to report at all.
Firing the SR40 was really nice. The weight of the slide keeps the pistol in a much better position for firing multiple shots without having to take much time to reacquire your target or aim point. The “snap” that most people complain about with the .40 cal round is really minimized in this pistol and it felt much more like firing a 9mm instead. So I was bringing .40 cal power to the table with a 9mm recoil…nice.
So one of the biggest complaints about this pistol is that it is not accurate. Not accurate? Only if you are expecting competition class groupings. I was putting every round within 1.5 inches of dead center with ease. The trigger DID take a few rounds to get used to but it didn’t feel mushy or gravelly at all to me. It seemed to click in the same spot every time and I didn’t experience any difficulties with travel or accuracy. I put my first 10 rounds down range (the magazine capacity is actually 14, but I never fully load for target shooting) and was ready for more!
Ultimately I ended up firing a 5 round salvo into a target 15 feet away as fast as I could. This was literally as fast as I could pull the trigger. Out of the five rounds I scored three lung shots, a heart shot and a shoulder hit. Again, this is on a 1/3 scale silhouette from roughly 15 feet under rapid fire. That’s better than I have ever done with a .40 cal and certainly on par with my 9mm tests.
After sending all 100 rounds down range I never once experienced the slide crashing into my hands and I believe we have covered the “muzzle lift” problem. I didn’t see it so it was either lack of ability to control the weapon or people limp wristing their pistols. Either way I don’t think these are failures on the part of the SR40.
All in all I give this pistol great marks!
5/5 for look and feel
4/5 for accuracy
5/5 for ease of maintenance
5/5 for shooting enjoyment