Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

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Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by JeeperCreeper » Sat Dec 13, 2014 12:00 am

Well folks, I done did it again. I went into my local hole-in-the-wall gun store, helping a buddy shop for a lightweight hunting rifle, when one of the guys points out a LNIB Ruger P90 for only a tad over $300. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a Ruger, especially one so darn ugly and industrial that it actually looks gorgeous (is that possible?).

Looking for one a while ago, and now having one, I seem to be confused on why these pistols don't have a huge following and only a cult following. When compared to a 1911, it is pretty similar: all metal, single stack mag, JMB action, hammer fired (SA vs DA/SA tho), kinda bulky, functional looking. I seem to find that interweb-rumor-mill-research (yes, it is 100% scientific) shows that the general consensus is that the P90 is "built like an Abrams tank" and the 1911 "needs to be high dollar to run right".

So my question to you lot is: will this P90 replace my 1911 for functional use (nostalgia, history, popularity aside) or is the P90 just a beater pistol that can't hold a candle to the Holy and Sacred 1911 of John Moses Browning?

If the lights went out today, which would you grab?
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Re: Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by cricketdave » Sat Dec 13, 2014 12:08 am

I'd grab my 1911, i've had a p90 and sold it years ago. Not really anything wrong with it other than a heavy trigger and I've seen them stovepipe fairly often. A little clean up inside and a trigger job and its a good gun. Just not as pointable for me as the 1911.
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Re: Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by manowar1313 » Sat Dec 13, 2014 12:33 am

My little brother has a P94 which is the 40 cal version.

Personally I think it slide is over-sized and that makes it not practical for me. I struggled with the safety because of the slide size and generally didn't like the gun. I also think it has the look of a hi-point and hi-points are about as attractive as a dog turd.

In my humble opinion, the MSRP is only a tad over the basic M&P which is a hell of a lot more gun.
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Re: Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by JeeperCreeper » Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:31 am

manowar1313 wrote:My little brother has a P94 which is the 40 cal version.

Personally I think it slide is over-sized and that makes it not practical for me. I struggled with the safety because of the slide size and generally didn't like the gun. I also think it has the look of a hi-point and hi-points are about as attractive as a dog turd.

In my humble opinion, the MSRP is only a tad over the basic M&P which is a hell of a lot more gun.
The P94 is the 40S&W version of the P95 in 9mm and P97 in 45. The P90 is based off the P89. Not as ugly. And real world, an M&P 45 is more than $200 above what I paid. But everything else you said is accurate, and I will have to see how I like the bulkiness and the slide mounted safety/decocker

Here's the P90. Arnold uses one.
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Re: Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by JeeperCreeper » Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:34 am

cricketdave wrote:I'd grab my 1911, i've had a p90 and sold it years ago. Not really anything wrong with it other than a heavy trigger and I've seen them stovepipe fairly often. A little clean up inside and a trigger job and its a good gun. Just not as pointable for me as the 1911.
The DA trigger is heavy, and the SA has a decent amount of take up but a nice clean break, so I will have to see how I like it. I never heard about them stovepiping, I will have to feed some random ammo to see how it does.

I think I'm going to do a head to head with my 1911 to see whcih one points better, but honestly, I think they feel too similar in my hand to make a difference.
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Re: Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by LJ126 » Sat Dec 13, 2014 2:22 am

Just one man's opinion: The P90 is better than a 1911. Especially if you've made it a DAO gun. (What can I say, I'm a sucker for DAO.)
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Re: Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by hondo » Sat Dec 13, 2014 9:29 am

P-89 trigger got smooth with a time, P-95 own for a 15 years or so never had any problem with it since then became able to buy better and more expensive guns, Rugeres still in the house used for home defense, or as a truck guns

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Re: Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by jor-el » Sat Dec 13, 2014 2:21 pm

JeeperCreeper wrote:
cricketdave wrote:I'd grab my 1911, i've had a p90 and sold it years ago. Not really anything wrong with it other than a heavy trigger and I've seen them stovepipe fairly often. A little clean up inside and a trigger job and its a good gun. Just not as pointable for me as the 1911.
The DA trigger is heavy, and the SA has a decent amount of take up but a nice clean break, so I will have to see how I like it. I never heard about them stovepiping, I will have to feed some random ammo to see how it does.

I think I'm going to do a head to head with my 1911 to see whcih one points better, but honestly, I think they feel too similar in my hand to make a difference.
The closest comparison would be a Lightweight Commander with its alloy frame and a P90.
The P series was designed with the same grip angle as the 1911 so only the grip scale contours would change that. I believe the P series was meant to pass the requirements of the 1978 JSSAP. I could be wrong but I dimly remember the four digit S+Ws, the P85, Sig P226 and Beretta 92 had to pass 25,000 rounds in differing temps and conditions.

I'm not really sure the 1911A1 could pass that test in its WWII spec. Especially as it would have to compete in feeding modern ammo ie hollow points.

Someone want to do a direct competition between a P90 and a GM clone?
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Re: Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by Smash05 » Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:46 pm

jor-el wrote:
JeeperCreeper wrote:
cricketdave wrote:I'd grab my 1911, i've had a p90 and sold it years ago. Not really anything wrong with it other than a heavy trigger and I've seen them stovepipe fairly often. A little clean up inside and a trigger job and its a good gun. Just not as pointable for me as the 1911.
The DA trigger is heavy, and the SA has a decent amount of take up but a nice clean break, so I will have to see how I like it. I never heard about them stovepiping, I will have to feed some random ammo to see how it does.

I think I'm going to do a head to head with my 1911 to see whcih one points better, but honestly, I think they feel too similar in my hand to make a difference.
The closest comparison would be a Lightweight Commander with its alloy frame and a P90.
The P series was designed with the same grip angle as the 1911 so only the grip scale contours would change that. I believe the P series was meant to pass the requirements of the 1978 JSSAP. I could be wrong but I dimly remember the four digit S+Ws, the P85, Sig P226 and Beretta 92 had to pass 25,000 rounds in differing temps and conditions.

I'm not really sure the 1911A1 could pass that test in its WWII spec. Especially as it would have to compete in feeding modern ammo ie hollow points.

Someone want to do a direct competition between a P90 and a GM clone?
My understanding is that ww2 built 1911a1 specs were for 5k rounds before replacement. I couldn't cite it now, but I recall reading that was one of the issues for hte high round count standard for its replacement.
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Re: Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by s.leinicke » Sun Dec 14, 2014 5:19 am

I've shot my dad's Colt 1911 (original pattern SN dates it to 1918 if I recall correctly) and his Colt model 70 gold cup and really enjoyed them. I wouldn't, however want to use either as a go to for a sidearm. That being said I wouldn't grab for a Ruger p90 either. In my opinion if you're grabbing for a semiauto, you want to grab something with a double stack magazine. I would personally go for a 9mm, because you get more rounds and you can carry more rounds because they're lighter. My personal favorite in that category is the Springfield XDM9c. You can run the full 19 round mags or the shorter 14 round mags and I like not having a manual safety, because it's one more thing to remember when in the heat of the moment.

If all metal single stacks are your thing I'd go for a Colt 1911 any day. I'm not a fan of double action so that definitely influences my decision. Plus they don't really feel as good as a Colt does.

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Re: Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by jor-el » Sun Dec 14, 2014 1:58 pm

Something that the youngsters on this board never had to deal with; back in the seventies, when these 9mm plastic guns were not even gleams in the eye of Gaston Glock, the reigning thought on combative handguns was .357 Magnums in double action revolvers, or 1911s with hardball FMJ.

Modern expanding hollow point ammo just did not exist back then. They were little more than lead cups swaged into gilding metal jackets, and with a round ball profile to assist in feeding. That design frequently failed to expand, or catastrophically fragment with minimal prenetration.

A company called Super Vel thought it had a solution; cutting weight and increasing velocity to improve the odds of expanding. It did, but the price was reduced reliability (the vagaries of altering the recoil impulse in a semi-auto pistol designed for a fairly specific load) and occaisional low penetration.

Cue Miami 1986. More later.
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Re: Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by doc66 » Sun Dec 14, 2014 3:27 pm

No.

I have never seen a P-series make it through a class. They break. A lot. I'm sure there have been a couple that have survived, never where I've been.

Like all things classic, the modern 1911 from a reputable manufacturer is a solid firearm. With modern ammo, a fine shooter.

I have owned lots of 1911s. From Norinco to Ed Brown. I'd stick with the 1911 over the Ruger.

All other responses aside, that's my answer to the OP question.
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Re: Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by ultra magnus » Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:48 pm

P series are solid budget guns imo, but can't do much to rise above that bracket, along with the sigma\sdve, p250, sr series etc.

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Re: Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by LJ126 » Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:59 pm

doc66 wrote:No.

I have never seen a P-series make it through a class. They break. A lot. I'm sure there have been a couple that have survived, never where I've been.

Like all things classic, the modern 1911 from a reputable manufacturer is a solid firearm. With modern ammo, a fine shooter.

I have owned lots of 1911s. From Norinco to Ed Brown. I'd stick with the 1911 over the Ruger.

All other responses aside, that's my answer to the OP question.
Must've been a mistake when the US Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command ordered 5,000 Ruger KP95D back in 2004. They meant to order a bunch of Ed Brown 1911s. :wink:

I've run my old Ruger P89 through some pretty intense training in the ten years that I owned and carried it, it did just fine. And by just fine, I mean that it did every bit as well as the Sigs, Glocks, and other <$1000 handguns present in said courses of fire. Maybe I got lucky. Ruger has always been known for turning out weak, underbuilt pistols and revolvers that don't perform.
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Re: Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by 400 Grains » Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:41 pm

doc66 wrote:No.

I have never seen a P-series make it through a class. They break. A lot. I'm sure there have been a couple that have survived, never where I've been.

Like all things classic, the modern 1911 from a reputable manufacturer is a solid firearm. With modern ammo, a fine shooter.

I have owned lots of 1911s. From Norinco to Ed Brown. I'd stick with the 1911 over the Ruger.

All other responses aside, that's my answer to the OP question.
I watched hundreds of them on the line, including through 1000+ round transition courses years ago, and only saw a few problems, most user induced. Can't remember seeing even one "break". I still have most of the P series parts I was given in the factory armorers courses I attended.

Contrast that to more recent 1911 transition courses I was involved with, where quite a few, including popular high dollar guns, pooped the bed. Some actually breaking parts with less than 1000 rounds on them. Some with lots less than a thousand rounds.

Sorry, got to split the sheets with you on this one. Ruger P autos, at least the metal frame ones, were big, ugly, felt unrefined, but almost always worked. I would trust one out of the box more than most out of the box 1911's.

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Re: Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by jor-el » Tue Dec 16, 2014 2:15 am

400 Grains wrote:
doc66 wrote:No.

I have never seen a P-series make it through a class. They break. A lot. I'm sure there have been a couple that have survived, never where I've been.

Like all things classic, the modern 1911 from a reputable manufacturer is a solid firearm. With modern ammo, a fine shooter.

I have owned lots of 1911s. From Norinco to Ed Brown. I'd stick with the 1911 over the Ruger.

All other responses aside, that's my answer to the OP question.
I watched hundreds of them on the line, including through 1000+ round transition courses years ago, and only saw a few problems, most user induced. Can't remember seeing even one "break". I still have most of the P series parts I was given in the factory armorers courses I attended.

Contrast that to more recent 1911 transition courses I was involved with, where quite a few, including popular high dollar guns, pooped the bed. Some actually breaking parts with less than 1000 rounds on them. Some with lots less than a thousand rounds.

Sorry, got to split the sheets with you on this one. Ruger P autos, at least the metal frame ones, were big, ugly, felt unrefined, but almost always worked. I would trust one out of the box more than most out of the box 1911's.
I will also have to disagree. NYPD picked up 250 P89s in stainless back in 1993-94 and gave them out to officers. Ruger didn't get the contract but the pistols stayed in city service till 2004 or so; the officers were allowed to transition to Glocks, S+Ws, or SIGs.
The only issue I remember with them was galling; beyond that the heavy DAO triggers.

What broke on the P series, Doc?
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Re: Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by 400 Grains » Tue Dec 16, 2014 11:35 am

jor-el wrote: I will also have to disagree. NYPD picked up 250 P89s in stainless back in 1993-94 and gave them out to officers. Ruger didn't get the contract but the pistols stayed in city service till 2004 or so; the officers were allowed to transition to Glocks, S+Ws, or SIGs.
The only issue I remember with them was galling; beyond that the heavy DAO triggers.

What broke on the P series, Doc?
I know of P guns still in service from the late 80's/early 90's. I have an early P85 that I wouldn't be afraid to use for defense if I had to. I'm not a fan of the ergonomics, but their longevity/reliability isn't a question for me.

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Re: Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by doc66 » Wed Dec 17, 2014 12:02 pm

Mag release, extractor, and we had one jam up so tight it took a hammer to release it (that was the shooters fault; no lube, but it didn't make me trust them any better).

400 Grains and I always have this fight over the Ruger! I hate 'em. He likes 'em. LOL
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Re: Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by 400 Grains » Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:39 pm

doc66 wrote:Mag release, extractor, and we had one jam up so tight it took a hammer to release it (that was the shooters fault; no lube, but it didn't make me trust them any better).

400 Grains and I always have this fight over the Ruger! I hate 'em. He likes 'em. LOL
They're not my first choice, and like I said, I actually don't like the ergo's, but I watched enough of them on the line work flawlessly, even in beginning shooter's hands, that I do trust them reliability wise.

I don't recall an extractor or mag release that broke. And I would have been the guy that replaced them if they did.

Jam up from poor or no maintenance? Sure. That and improper reassembly, especially when they took them apart further than they were allowed to. 21 year olds with ball peen hammers and screwdrivers can break anything.

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Re: Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by JeeperCreeper » Thu Dec 18, 2014 1:24 am

doc66 wrote:Mag release, extractor, and we had one jam up so tight it took a hammer to release it (that was the shooters fault; no lube, but it didn't make me trust them any better).

400 Grains and I always have this fight over the Ruger! I hate 'em. He likes 'em. LOL
Sounds to me like you have "Ruger Envy". It is a psycological theory developed by Sigmund Freud shortly after he theorized "Penis Envy" in developing females. I see it at my clinic all the time... Glock guys coming in, realizing that the don't own Rugers, and jealous of their buddy's Rugers, which puts them in an identity crisis that will manifest itself in the vulnerable psyche. Symptoms include: fanboyism, delusions of grandeur, hatred for specific brands, listening to negative internet gossip of hated brands, and claiming that space age polymer is actually not plastic but a gift from God.

It is closely linked to Freud's theory of "Castration Anxiety", or now referred to as "Striker Anxiety" where plastic (sorry... space age polymer) striker fired pistol shooters realize they do not have hammers on their guns. It's an epidemic, really...

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Re: Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by ashwednesday » Sun Dec 28, 2014 10:47 am

Massad Ayoob used to extoll their virtues frequently, back when every other article in every other gun magazine had his name in the author line. He said he carried one frequently in winter, when penetration of heavy clothing was a consideration and he went with hardball over hollowpoint for that reason. Is it okay for me to suggest that while modern ammo has benefitted massively from hollowpoint advances, not that many people had big complaints about .45acp stopping power in hardball?

In terms of ergos and design, the 1911 has a lower height over bore and a single action trigger, thus same trigger pull first to last. My recollection is that the Rugers have an awkward Beretta-style safety lever, while the 1911 safety makes sense for most human bipeds with thumbs. If you are comfortable carrying cocked-and-locked, then advantage 1911.

I wouldn't snub the Rugers in .45, but it's not going to displace the 1911 as a pistolero's pistol. Shoot the two in one sitting; your results may not vary that much, but the Ruger has a tendency to feel "overly flippy", maybe? And maybe only in comparison. It's a bit clunky, but it will get the job done for a "kruchenticker" (modern double action).

It will certainly launch .45acp projectiles at x-hundred feet per second and capacity is pretty much the same. You're not undergunned, and I don't know how different the parts and build quality are from the Springfield Armory stainless Loaded 1911 that I enjoy sooooo much.... the frame of which probably came from Brazil anyway. And I paid twice what you paid for the Ruger (almost exactly double), so who wins?

You'll hear the same complaints that Sig Classic devotees make about the Sig Pro (and those guys have a point). But I love shooting my SigPro, so... what do I know?

You won't have as much selection available in terms of holsters etc., but the holes you make in stuff should be pretty much the same as the ones from a Nighthawk 1911 or Glock 21, albeit the Nighthawk should group better. To be fair, I don't think my first choice to flog in a class would be the 1911; I have a holster for it on a war belt, but I usually run the Glock 19 or Glock23 for the trigger reset, boring reliability, and simplicity of operation.

They feel almost Soviet in their sturdiness of construction. If you don't feel well-dressed wearing it, you should at least feel well-armed.
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Re: Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by JeeperCreeper » Sun Dec 28, 2014 9:51 pm

Well.... after 2 range sessions with the P90, I put my 1911 up for sale.

I like everything about it better, from the safety/decocker to the DA/SA trigger to the accuracy and reliability testimonials. It just points better for me. Ruger P90 it is....
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Re: Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by rednekrampager » Mon Dec 29, 2014 1:09 am

The P-90 was originally designed to be a 10mm , and was going to be submitted for a stab at the FBI contract when they were going to use that cartridge . When they didn't , Bill Ruger had the P-90 rebarreled to .45 acp in hopes that it would grab some LE contracts & the public at large would take a shine to it because it was in good ole .45acp. $300, sounds like a fair deal. Glad you like it.


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Re: Is the Ruger P90 a 1911 replacement?

Post by silentpoet1 » Sun Feb 22, 2015 5:33 am

My first pistol was a p90. Traded it towards a Colt 1991 many moons ago. A ruger p90 wouldn't be my first choice, but if I was looking for a budget gun I might look that way. I think of them as security guard guns.
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