Field striping the pistol for cleaning is a breeze. First, make sure the pistol is unloaded, then lock the slide back and remove the magazine. Push the ejector down and forward—you can’t fieldstrip the pistol unless you do—then remove the takedown pin assembly and, while holding the slide, release the slide stop and ease the slide off the grip frame.
Remove the guide-rod assembly and its spring, then remove the barrel. Reassembly is in reverse order. After the takedown pin is replaced and the slide is still locked back, the ejector then must be pushed up to its original position. This can be done either with your finger or simply by inserting the magazine back in place.
On the test range, the SR40 was accurate and reliable. I tested 13 factory loads and 20 handloads (see the results in the table). Mercifully, there was none of the “first shot out of the group” nonsense so common to many semi-autos. Reliability is absolutely paramount in any defensive pistol, and there was not one failure to feed, fire, or eject with any of hundreds of rounds I tested. Also, it was a lot of fun to shoot. Like Goldilocks said, “It’s not too small or too big, it’s just right.”
Overall accuracy of the SR40 was excellent. With either factory ammo or selected handloads, groups averaged from two to three inches for five shots at 20 yards from a rest; 10 loads handily beat two inches. This is outstanding accuracy for any defensive pistol.
Several loads with new “wonder” bullets offer an optimum combination of penetration and expansion, even through clothing or other barriers—essential for self-defense or law enforcement work—and muzzle energies exceeded 400 ft-bs.
The two mid-weight Hornady 155-grain loads were powerhouses, with the Custom XTP load registering a sizzling 1,152 fps and 457 ft-lbs of muzzle energy, and the TAP/FPD version close behind at 1,098 fps and 415 ft-lbs. The various 180-grain loads clocked about 900 to 980 fps, and the SR40 favored the Hornady 180-grain Custom XTPs and Winchester’s economical USA JHPs.
A bonus with all these rounds was the SR40’s excellent adjustable rear sight, which made switching loads easy. It was tough picking a “best” load, but I finally settled on the Hornady Custom XTP load, because of its excellent accuracy and a crunching 457 ft-lbs of muzzle energy.
I liked the performance of this pistol so much, I broke Gun Writer Rule No. 2*—“Never Buy Test Guns”—and sent Ruger a check. The SR40 is now my regular carry gun around the farm.
Its user-friendly ergonomics, quality construction, excellent accuracy, total reliability, and modest price make it worth a look for anyone considering a self-defense handgun—or just a neat auto pistol for lots of shooting fun.
Ruger SR40 Specifications
Type: Striker-fired, semi-automatic, DAO pistol
Caliber/Gauge: .40 Smith & Wesson
Capacity: 15+1, two 15-round flush-fit magazines provided; 10-round versions available
Barrel length: 4.14 inches, 1:16 right-hand twist six grooves
Weight: 27.2 ounces (with empty magazine)
Overall length: 7.55 inches
Overall width: 1.27 inches
Sights: Fully adjustable three-dot sights
Finish: Brushed stainless steel (tested) or black
nitride alloy steel slide; glass-filled nylon frame
Stocks: Nylon, integral with grip frame
Contact: Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. (www.ruger.com)
This article is an excerpt from the Gun Digest 2014 annual book.
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