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Guns I Hate Part 1: The Ruger SR Series

As I alluded to months ago, there exists a tier of autoloading pistols between outright trash like Hi-Point and the various potmetal ring of fire companies, and actual decent pistols that are popular in police service and competition. Let’s call it the “Derp Tier”, because for about the same money you could have had a real pistol, but instead you saved $50 and got a piece of junk.

nb: In the case of butthurts, please take a moment and reread my above post. tldr: That your singular pistol works fine and you are happy with it is not a statistically relevant piece of information. Without the magnitude of numbers involved in police contracts or competitive pistol leagues, it’s impossible to make a judgement on how good a particular design is.

The Ruger SR series was introduced in 2007 chambered in 9mm, with compact and .40 S&W versions available a couple years later. Ruger then introduced a .45 ACP version, as well as a scaled down .22LR model that merits its own section. The centerfire SR guns are striker fired semiautomatics with a polymer frame and a stainless slide. They feature an ambidextrous safety and magazine release button, have adjustable sights, a slim grip and an accessory rail.

So where’s the beef?

rugersr9

The Ruger SR series is quite simply the most contemptuous pistol design I’ve ever seen. It’s festooned with unnecessary, condescending “safety features” that do nothing useful but add additional points of failure. They all come with a double sided safety (that is too small to reliably operate under any kind of pressure), a gigantic chamber loaded indicator, an integral key lock, and a magazine disconnect. None of these gimmicks do anything to make the pistol easier to use, but rather to fill out a checklist of arbitrary “safety” criteria invented by anti-gun jurisdictions in order to limit the selection of pistols available to people living within its borders. These criteria, oddly enough, do not apply to guns carried by police, which is why the SR series has never been a contender for any law enforcement contracts.

It is a pistol not designed to be shot, but to kowtow to Democrats.

I know it’s meaningless, but since people seem to be impressed with anecdotes, here’s two.

The first SR-9 I’ve seen in person showed up to a local USPSA match. It was a post-recall gun with a stainless slide, and stopped firing halfway through the first stage. The owner took it back to his truck to fiddle with it, and then returned in time to run it through the second stage. A pin sheared off three targets in and the pistol was down for the count.

The second one I met was purchased by my cousin, whom you may remember from my review of the Moore’s Machine Co. / Bear Creek AR-15, does not have the best luck in choosing his own firearms. He bought a SR-9c for about $325 at a gun show and we hit the range soon after. Trouble started early, as the gun would consistently fail to feed the first round from a magazine if the slide was released from slidelock or slingshotted vigorously. Only by easing the slide home could we get it to chamber a round. It also had a failure to feed about one round per magazine, and the observed accuracy was quite poor. (We had three varieties of ammo and this behavior was consistent between them). The polymer grip was also slippery and hard to keep a consistent grip, and I noticed my cousin having to readjust his grip after every couple of shots.

Oh, and when he pulled it out of the soft pistol rug he stored it in, a pin had drifted out of the frame from a 20 mile car ride over paved roads.

“Yeah, it does that sometimes,” he mentioned as he used a pen to push it back in.

NO! REAL GUNS DO NOT DO THAT!

Ironically, the SR series is probably the least worst option in the Derp Tier. If I absolutely had to pick a carry pistol from this loser’s group, and was forbidden from getting a used Glock, S&W K-frame or 3rd gen S&W for about the same price, I’d probably, reluctantly, take an SR9. But it’s kind of like preferring the clap over herpes at that point.

The Ruger SR series is a piece of shit designed by lawyers to appease fascists by a company that thinks you’re stupid. Buy something else.

The Ruger SR-22

The SR-22 is a special case because while it sucks just as much as the centerfire SR series, it does so in a completely different way!

sr22

When it was introduced, everyone hoped for an equivalent of the Walther P22 that actually worked, but also didn’t have a cheap zinc slide. The aluminum slide of the SR-22 gave us hope, but in practice it turned out to be an unreliable turd just like the P22. But even if it worked, I still wouldn’t recommend it because of the way the safety lever functions.

It’s been customary for frame mounted safety levers to operate such that they are pressed DOWN to fire, and UP to block the hammer or striker. This is intuitive and consistent across dozens of manufacturers over the last century. However, for some inexplicable reason, the lever on the SR-22 operates in just the opposite manner! UP to fire and DOWN to safe!

“But pdb! What’s the big deal? It’s just a plinker!”

Yes, and most people spend more shooty time with their plinkers than their carry guns, it’s just economics. You might not care, but your brain will. And I’d rather not have any confusion in my thumbs when it comes to a lever that can make my gun not work.

There are plenty of decent .22 autoloaders on the market, and even in Ruger’s own lineup, that work the right way. Pick one of those instead.

{ 13 } Comments

  1. Tam | April 7, 2014 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    There are plenty of decent .22 autoloaders on the market, and even in Ruger’s own lineup, that work the right way.

    Why anyone would pick that dog over a 4″ fixed-sight 22/45, which is possibly the most bang for the buck in the handgun market today, is beyond me.

  2. Marko Kloos | April 7, 2014 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    The kicker is that when I picked up my 22/45, the SR22 was actually more expensive by almost fifty bucks. Dog only knows why.

  3. ensitue | April 8, 2014 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    having never seen an SR 22 I was shocked to learn the safety was so derp worthy!

  4. Parnell | April 8, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been shooting an SR22 for close to three years and have yet to have a FTF or FTE in over 3,000 rounds. I agree about the safety and the mag disconnect being stupid. I’ve just learned to ignore the safety and cuss at the mag disconnect a lot.

  5. Wes S. | April 8, 2014 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Love my 22/45 and my (several) flattop Blackhawks in .357 and .44 Special.

    Not sure why Ruger even bothered with the SR22, though, especially given that derp-worthy safety.

    Most people I’ve talked to with SR9s and its little brother SR9C like them and have found them reliable, and they feel good in the hand, but that Tic-Tac sized safety is a deal breaker for me. If I’m going to go the plastic wondernine route, I’d much rather have a similarly-priced CZ P-07 Duty, myself.

  6. Caleb | April 8, 2014 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    For what it’s worth, you can rip the safety and the mag disconnect out of the SR9.

  7. Just a Thought | April 9, 2014 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    First of all I happen to love my SR9c’s all three of them. But since my anecdotes are not valid, let me explain why this post was very poorly thought out.

    Ahem…

    The most expensive step in manufacturing any product is creating the tooling. The capital cost of setting up a factory is hugely expensive. One of the simplest ways of cheapening the process is universality. Making one part or one tool that fits a variety of products.

    Many states have created laws mandating a wide range of safety features. Some you may like, others, you may not. Either way, its the law. Older models of various handguns have been grandfathered in so some of these state approved handgun lists. New designs are not. A company like Ruger, who aims to make reasonably priced guns, would therefore be inclined to design a gun, and set up a manufacturing facility that would produce one pistol legal in all 50 states with the minimum amount of item to item modification. The SR series is the result of Engineering Econ 101, low cost through universality.

    If you live in a state that don’t have safety feature laws, you have the luxury to pout about “damn Ruger and their lawyer guns.” But keep in mind that 1 in 8 Americans live in California and the SR series was once approved for Cali sales. Same with the NY/New England area that also greater metro area, that has both a lot of people and a lot of annoying gun laws. A company would behoove itself to make a gun that is legal for sale in the most population rich regions of the country.

    The design of the SR9 was to make Ruger money, not cater to your delicate sensibilities.

  8. Michael | April 9, 2014 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    One can run the safety on the sr-22 as a Sig like decocker with a bad return spring…

  9. pdb | April 9, 2014 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Many states have created laws mandating a wide range of safety features. Some you may like, others, you may not. Either way, its the law.

    Yes, and now Ruger has financial motive to either see these laws spread, or at the very least, maintained. This makes them the enemy.

  10. Caleb | April 9, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    The problem isn’t the features themselves. It’s that the features were implemented in a careless fashion with no thought towards the gun’s shootability.

    The M&P is available with all the same features as the SR guns, mag disconnect, thumb safety, LCI. The difference is that the M&P was designed to be a shootable platform first, and had the features added with an eye towards not compromising the gun’s most important function. The SR series on the other hand looks and feels like it was designed as a platform to be a gun that explicitly has these features, and not to be a good shooting gun first, with additional safety gubs second.

  11. mikee | April 11, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    I went to the trouble many years ago to find and purchase a Mark II Ruger .22LR pistol for my son’s use. I expect him to be able to use it indefinitely, along with his children and grandchildren. I kept the Mark I for myself, as it is only about 48 years old and still has good use left in the original springs.

  12. Tam | April 14, 2014 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been shooting an SR22 for close to three years and have yet to have a FTF or FTE in over 3,000 rounds.

    Wow. Same planet, different worlds.

  13. Tam | April 14, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Same with the NY/New England area that also greater metro area…

    Which states up there mandate a mag disconnect or LCI? Honestly curious.