Ruger’s American Pistol Is A Handgun Unlike Anything You Have Ever Seen

Ruger’s American Pistol Is A Handgun Unlike Anything You Have Ever Seen

Kyle Mizokami


It remains reliable in any environment.

Key point: The Ruger American Pistol is a fully modern handgun that incorporates the best features available for a reasonable price.

One of the newest pistols on the U.S. gun market was created to compete in the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System. Although it would never actually compete against winner Sig Sauer, the Ruger American Pistol is now available to civilian shooters who want a reliable, safe, well-designed pistol backed up by the Ruger name.

In a field of storied American gun manufacturers, some of whom date back to the nineteenth century, one of the strongest is actually fairly new to the scene. The Sturm Ruger company was founded in 1949 by Alexander Sturm and Bill Ruger. Sturm Ruger became well known for a revolvers, including the Ruger Security Six and the Ruger Redhawk, and rifles such as the Hawkeye, Mini-14 and Ruger 10/22.

In the mid-1980s the advent of the “Wonder Nines”—large capacity polymer framed handguns—caught Ruger and many American gun makers flat footed. Although outside of the Ruger’s traditional field of expertise, the company quickly responded with the now-discontinued P-series handguns. In the mid-2010s the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System (MHS) contract promised sales of one hundred thousand handguns to the Army alone, and the rest of the services would likely fall into line behind the Army. Ruger designed the Ruger American Pistol for the MHS contract but ultimately declined to actually enroll in the competition. The pistol was released to the civilian market in 2015.

The Ruger American Pistol is like most pistols these days a locked breech, short recoil pistol. Unlike most pistols the serialized part—the part technically considered a firearm—isn’t the lower receiver but actually a removable chassis made of billet stainless steel that contains the fire control group. This provides strength and durability to help with higher pressure +P loads, which the pistol is rated to use on a regular basis. The billet in turn is seated in the polymer frame. This is similar to the Sig P320 chassis in execution. Theoretically, this lends itself to using different sized frames should the user want to switch things up although such frames have yet to materialize.

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