Sunday, November 15, 2015

Over 18,500 rounds through a Ruger SR9...

To admit my bias up-front, most people who know me know I love all things Ruger. Ruger is an innovative (especially in manufacturing), debt-free company that produces American-made guns made by hard-working Americans... and that's something that has always appealed to me.  Now, as a firearms instructor, I often recommend to my students that want a self-defense or concealed carry pistol, that it's hard to beat a Glock or S&W M&P... but for me and also budget-conscious people... it's hard to beat the quality and reliability of most Ruger products in any given category.

That budget concern is one of many factors that led my family to select the Ruger SR9 and SR9c pistols for home defense and concealed carry because I wasn't just purchasing one pistol, we were purchasing three pistols. It was a pistol, at the time back in 2008, that was very slender in the grip and seemed to fit the hands fairly well for my wife, my daughter, and me. We were looking for a standardized gun for the family that would work well for self-defense, plinking, IPDA, and concealed carry, while allowing magazine interchangeability between family members, having common parts to keep on hand, and even holsters too.

Some of our Ruger SR9's - we have a number of them - were purchased through Ruger's Instructor Purchase Program and are used in the firearm courses and 4H Shooting Sports that I instruct. One particular Ruger SR9 we purchased in 2009 became my "endurance-quality" test gun. I wanted to see what problems we'd encounter over time.

We started with Todd Green's 2000-round Challenge back in 2011.  I took this new SR9 right out of the box, visually inspected it, but did not clean it... and finally after 2,618 rounds fired... we had a stove-pipe on round 2,619! The gun needed cleaning... badly. We had only had three prior failures during those 2,618 rounds due to ammo not firing with clear, deep primer strikes using Winchester White-Box and Federal 115 grain FMJ ammo we had used.

Now, this particular gun has been our primary practice gun (we do shoot the others regularly) and I decided that I wanted to see what would break or wear-down first on this gun since my entire family is betting our lives on the Ruger SR9 series. The gun was regularly cleaned and maintained after that first 2,619 rounds and just passed 18,500 rounds fired this past weekend.  It did go back to Ruger once after 12,200 rounds to replace a Striker Spring Cup that had cracked (Part #25 in the Ruger SR9 Manual)... which Ruger took care of at no cost... although they probably had no idea how many rounds had been through the gun.

So... here we are, well-past 18,500 rounds fired with many brands of ammunition and 9mm variations... still with the original springs in the gun and magazines. There is definitely wear showing on areas of the barrel and inside the slide, but not so much we're concerned and it still holds tight groups. Yes we've had failure to fire and other malfunctions mostly due to ammunition problems or students limp-wristing on occasion, but the over-all, steady reliability of this gun gives us complete confidence in these pistols. Hopefully, we'll pass 20,000 rounds this winter and keep on going... as I'm curious as to how long the springs will last providing reliable cycling.

I remember three years ago when my wife, daughter and I showed up at the Tactical Defense Institute's Defensive Pistol Levels 1, 2, and 3 with our Ruger SR9's as part of my daughter's high school graduation present. We were told they never saw a Ruger SR9 make it through the three-day, high-round-count course without failing. Well, two of the three Ruger SR9's we brought with us did fine with over 1,300 rounds through each of them, but one started to have light primer strikes on day three after about 900 rounds... mostly due to being gunked-up with residue from over-oiling by my daughter. Lesson in lubrication learned! Oh, and by the way... we also saw Glocks, M&P's, Sig's, F&N's and many other pistols malfunction during that course.

So, while we do own a number of Glocks and S&W M&P's, along with other pistols and brands... our Rugers are still our go-to guns for the most part... and I tune-up/re-build most of them every 3,000 to 4,000 rounds... we feel pretty good about our choice for many reasons, including... Over 18,500 rounds through a Ruger SR9...

How have your experiences been with the Ruger SR9 series?

1 comment:

  1. Not anywhere near your round count but my SR9 has had 2 malfunctioms. One was a limp wrist and the other was reloaded ammo that was the issue. Other than that, at j I st shy of 3k rounds I have had no issues. It eats anything I feed it and hits where you aim. No complaints. Good gun at a great price.