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Reviews : Arsenal

Sturm, Ruger & Co. SR40 Duty Pistol

Ruger's new .40 S&W handgun was designed specifically for police service.

March 21, 2011  |  by Paul Scarlata - Also by this author

The SR40 has much in common with its two predecessors. Its slide is machined from solid stainless steel, and it is the narrowest of any of its contemporaries. The slide also features very aggressive grasping grooves, making it easy to retract even with wet hands or when wearing gloves.

The front sights are mounted in dovetail cuts and are prominent, easy to acquire, and fast to line up while the rear sight is adjustable for elevation so that the pistol can be zeroed in for your preferred load.

When a round is chambered, a loaded chamber indicator rises above the slide, providing a visual and tactile indication of the pistol's condition. The tail of the striker is visible at the rear of the slide when the pistol is cocked. There's also a massive (well, I don't know how else to describe it) extractor with a large claw that ensures reliable functioning.

Locking is via the SR40's barrel hood, which rises up into and bears against the front of the ejection port. This holds the slide/barrel unit together until they recoil a short distance. The recoil makes the barrel cam down, allowing the slide to continue to the rear, extracting and ejecting the spent cartridge case. The dual recoil spring unit under the barrel then pulls the slide forward, feeding the next round from the magazine and pulling the slide/barrel unit into battery.

Made of glass-reinforced Zytel nylon, the SR40's frame is slimmer than much of the competition and has a grip frame angle that feels just like a 1911 pistol. The grip features impressed checkering on the side panels and frontstrap and the tacky feeling backstrap is grooved. Removing a single pin lets you reverse the backstrap to present either a flat or arched configuration (personally I prefer the latter). Lastly, the SR40's frame features a rail for mounting tactical lights and/or lasers.

The slide reciprocates on rails on a steel camblock—which also acts to cam the barrel down during movement—and steel inserts at the rear of the frame. This camblock also serves to disperse recoil pulse through the frame, lessening felt recoil. The SR40 is a striker-fired pistol, and as the slide goes forward into battery, the striker is held in a partially cocked position. Pulling the trigger through a full stroke draws the striker back completely, disabling the firing pin safety plunger and then tripping the sear to release the striker to fire the pistol.

Ruger's SR pistols are unique among today's plastic pistols in that they come standard with ambidextrous thumb safeties. While these are located flat against the frame to reduce the chance of them hanging up, they are serrated for positive manipulation. The SR40's port side bona fides are further enhanced by ambidextrous magazine release buttons.

Range Time

Ruger kindly provided me with an early production SR40 to evaluate for POLICE Magazine. I was impressed with the pistol's balance and ergonomics. With the arched backstrap installed, the SR40 proved as naturally a pointing handgun as I have every handled.

Tags: Ruger, Duty Pistols, Firearms Reviews, .40 S&W

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Comments (6)

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6

Michael @ 4/20/2011 2:29 PM

I have shot various Rugers and I own a first generation P90 45cal. that I carry on duty. The gun is alittle heavy but I love it. I think that ruger brand has come a long ways and I must say that I have never had a single problem with my gun, that is now 21 years old with lots of rounds put through it. It is a Very, Very dependable weapon.
I have S&W, Colt, Browning, and Sig, I think they are all great guns but, I enjoy the Ruger for a Duty Weapon. I think it shoots better the more rounds go through it and it's easy to clean. Yes, I think I will buy an SR40 too, how can I not.

Lou @ 9/26/2011 11:41 PM

You must be kidding. I have an SR9 and it is junk. I want to sell it but not to anyone I know or will ever see again. Stop saying every gun you evaluate is great. I would never advise anyone to use this weapon for defensive use. I stopped trying to sell this gun for half of what I paid after two months. The LCI on this Ruger is ridiculous!

wayne @ 5/23/2012 8:32 PM

I own a Ruger SR40 with the black slide. I carry it off duty. Its slim, reliable, accurate, and I like that it holds 15 rounds of ammo. I like the manual safety. The only thing I didnt like is that the finish on the slide started to show wear almost immediately.

Hank @ 3/1/2013 7:38 PM

I currently have a SR40 that I'm trying to find a duty holster for, any suggestions. Looked on several sites and so far it's a bust

Kevin @ 4/9/2013 4:15 PM

I carry a sr40 on duty and sr40c off duty. I had searched all over for a duty holster but could not find one. I ended up buying a serpa cqc and then buying a jacket slot mount for a standard serpa duty holster. I have used it for a year now and it has held up fine. It sits like a standard serpa and locks in like one, it just does not have the cover over the rear sights like the serpa duty holster.

David E. Smith @ 4/20/2014 6:53 PM

I purchased a Ruger P90 in 1995 and used it as a duty weapon until issued a Sig in around 2007. I am now retired and still have the P90. The only downside is that it is bulky. It is accurate, reliable, rugged, easy to clean. I have fired hundreds and hundreds of rounds through it and it is still reliable. Even the bulkiness has a plus in that the recoil is easier to manage. I don't know about the modern Ruger Pistols but I don't think you can go wrong with the P90.

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