Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ruger P345 range report (finally)

Last Sunday we went to the range and I fully intended on renting a .45 caliber 1911. I wanted something big and shiny - something I'd be left drooling over the rest of the week, pining away, wishing I could win the lottery so I could just take it home and make it mine.

Anyway...when I got to the range and looked in the display case, they didn't have a 1911. Not one. I had a brand new, unopened box of .45 and was being denied. No soft shove of the recoil, no satisfyingly large bullet holes in my targets...tragic. Plus, I really needed some blogfodder.

What to do, what to do?

"Wait," I thought to myself. "They make .45 caliber handguns that aren't 1911s, right? I should try one of those and broaden my horizons a bit. Variety is the spice of life and all that..."

I spied a Ruger P345. We own a Mark II and an SP101 and I enjoy shooting those, so why not? I asked to see it.

Hmm...a little chunky for my taste, and I wasn't fond of the plastic feel, but since I'll shoot anything once, I rented it...

...and I liked it. My first shots were easily near the center of the target, the trigger was nice and crisp and I didn't mind at all that the pistol wasn't a 1911. I suddenly realized that it was the .45 caliber ammunition I had fallen so deeply in love with, not the pistol I was using to shoot it. Now, we all have preferences as to what is most pleasing to our eye, that's only natural. I like paintings by Picasso, the color cobalt blue, guys with goatees, arts & crafts furniture, orange tabby kittens and pistols designed by John Moses Browning. So I will always love 1911s aesthetically - to me, they will always be the most well designed pistols and someday I will have a beauty of my very own. But to shoot? Doesn't matter what it is, as long as it's a .45.


kaveman said...

Hmmm...there seems to be a large dark blemish in the center of that target.

You really should contact the manufacturer and complain about their quality control.

Probably made in China no less.

Oldsmoblogger said...

I shot a 944 in .40S&W a few times. The Rugers are big, probably overbuilt, not very concealable, but I like them.

I got interested enough that I downloaded and read the manual, and if I remember right the P series are actually based on the 1911 action, with some changes. Unfortunately, one of the changes makes it such that Condition One carry is not recommended.

Sevesteen said...

Is it the .45 you are in love with, or the single-stack grips? Not that I have anything against .45, mind you...

Justin Buist said...

They make .45 caliber handguns that aren't 1911s, right?

The heathens among us do.

Wai said...

Would it be sacrilege if I told you I have a Kimber 1911 in 10mm and not in .45 ACP?

Wai said...

I'll have to rectify that soon. I do want a 1911 in .45. Tam recommends the S&W 1911. Seen them on for under $700

Mike W. said...

"Would it be sacrilege if I told you I have a Kimber 1911 in 10mm and not in .45 ACP?"

I hope not. Hell I'd like an STi Trojan in 9mm. If that's an affront to JMB then so be it.

Tam said...

P-series Rugers are good guns. A little clunky and rough around the edges, but very reliable and may be the best value for the money in a major-caliber centerfire pistol.

The P-345's grip is a ton better than its P90/P97 predecessor, too.

(Oldsmoblogger: The only similarity mechanically between the P-series and the 1911 is that they both use a swinging link on the barrel. I think Ruger may have gone to a cam block on the newer poly ones, but it's been a while since I've been inside one and I disremember.)

Ahab said...

I have really got to get you out to Indy for a little steel, or maybe some IDPA.

The Saj said...

Welcome to my gun Breda...

I've started describing my P-345 as "1911" on top and "Glock" on the bottom. It's got a safety, it's got a visible hammer. But a poly bottom.

It's really a fun gun to shoot.



You're talking P-9x. If that is what you think of Rugers (big) than you need to try the P-345. I tried a Glock .45. I picked it up and new that I could never be comfortable with such a brick. Picked up the P-345, it fit my hand so nicely. The mechanicals all felt nice.

As for "condition one"... Ruger's P-345 is double-action/single-action. So while it might not be advisable to be in condition one. It's not necessary. You can pull the trigger without the hammer cocked and it will fire. Oh, and if the round doesn't go off due to a failure to ignite primer. Just pull the trigger need to re-cock. ;-)

@Sevesteen "Is it the .45 you are in love with, or the single-stack grips?"

Might be both... I will say the single stack makes for a comfortable grip. And I've carried the P-345 in an IWB holster with nothing more than a T-shirt and not had people have a clue to what I had on me.

They also slenderized the safety/decocker. This is one of those trade offs. Positive: it's slimmer, Negative: there's less there to flip up.

@Tam "Ruger may have gone to a cam block on the newer poly ones"

Yes, the Ruger P-345 does feature a cam block. I've heard this is supposed to help with recoil. And one good shooter who I let shoot my P345 did comment on how nice it handled and the good level of perceived recoil for a .45

I am not very familiar with what a cam block is or how it affects the firing mechanism.


Lastly, this is probably the easiest firearm I have to disassemble and reassemble. (Much improved over the Ruger MKIII for sure. And blows my Glock away too. Not quite as easy as some of the Sigs I've seen that just flip up a lever and slide off. But I bet with practice I could get to under 10 seconds for a field strip with the P-345


Now for the disadvantages:

- Magazine disconnect makes it "not recommended" to dry fire without a magazine in the firearm.

- Finding holsters, selection is much more limited than say Glock, 1911, etc.

zeeke42 said...

If you like single stack 45s, you've got to try a Sig P220. I'm a big 1911 fan, but the P220 is a good 2nd choice if you don't mind a DA/SA gun.

Tam said...

The Saj,

"So while it might not be advisable to be in condition one. It's not necessary."

It's not possible to carry the P345 in C1, as it features a hammer-dropping safety.

"Oh, and if the round doesn't go off due to a failure to ignite primer. Just pull the trigger need to re-cock."

Personally, I would just perform a malf drill; if the round went *click* once, I'm not giving it another chance. ;)

TexasFred said...

I absolutely love the .45ACP, I have for years...

I guess you've heard the story of the old Texas Ranger that was asked by a newspaper reporter WHY he carried a .45??

The Ranger tipped his hat back, looked the reporter in they eye and drawled, "Well Ma'am, I carry a .45 because they don't make a .46"..

My daughter in law is NOT a big girl, she carries a .40 on duty, her hubby, my son, carries a Springfield XD-45 Tactical, and she shoots it just fine, that's a fairly big pistol for most woman, but she seems to have NO problem with it, and it's 13+1, double stack...

I carry and XD-45 Tactical too, but I wear a size 14 ring, BIG hands... But the fact remains, those of us that love the .45 are true devotees!!

Mike W. said...

"If you like single stack 45s, you've got to try a Sig P220. I'm a big 1911 fan, but the P220 is a good 2nd choice if you don't mind a DA/SA gun."

Zeeke - Sig also makes a P220 DAK if you don't like the DA/SA transition.

rickn8or said...

Must bemember not to annoy you.

Rick R said...

For somebody who's only been into guns for a couple years you sure have good instincts...


excitedVulcan said...

I dare say you shoot that Ruger better than your Bersa!
I haven't heard mention of the Kahr P-45. I just got one used ($400) and it shoots sweet!. Not as sweet as my XD-45, but it is only 1.1" wide, and around 20 oz. empty. It carries nicely IWB.

Buckshot said...


We have to get you to shoot the ULTIMATE combat .45 ACP, one of the Smith Wheelguns with full moon clips!

The Ruger's are decent. I WON'T go for the P345, I won't have a mag disconnector or an on-board lock. So I guess I will have to stick with my KP-90. THAT has a fat grip for a single stack .45 ACP, but I can deal with it.

Got to get you over into the world of Single Actions, too. I bet you would LOVE the old Colt Model P or clones.

BTW, Appleseed has announced Women shoot free again for all of 2009!

They are planning at least 4 this year in Ohio and it might go to 6.


phlegmfatale said...

Good for you for adapting to the disappointment and not being denied your .45 shooty goodness! A woman after my own heart, you are.

Old NFO said...

Nicely done! Keep up the practicing!

docjim505 said...

Used to own a P345. Decent pistol; found the feel of the grips a bit odd. I was VERY upset about the safety / decocker because it was "mushy" and I found that it was possible that a little pressure (such as might be encountered by the pistol rubbing against my side) would rotate the lever just enough that it would put the pistol on "safe" when I didn't want it to be. So, I traded it in. I've thought about a decock-only model, but have soooo many other goodies I'd rather buy.

Tam is right about the grips on the P-97. I own and love mine, but had to put a wraparound boot over it because, otherwise, it tends to slip and slide in a sweaty hand. The grips on the newer P-95 are MUCH better. It's not an elegant-looking pistol, but Rugers have a well-earned reputation for reliability and durability and aren't budget busters. Ruger also has good customer service in my experience.

Happy shooting. Now, if I could just get my fiance to shoot anything larger than a .22 without being terrified...

Willorith said...

A librarian that likes beer and .45's can't be all bad. Every part of her that I know about is pretty OK.

Bruce said...

Still very happy with my P345. Bought it while I was still incarcerated in Massachusetts, so my options for a new .45 pistol were limited.

I put a Redneck Hogue grip on it (cut up bicycle inner tube) and it feels great, especially on really hot humid days, when that plastic can get slippery.

I carry it in a Fobus holster made for the Sig Pro.

Here's my range report, where I put it up against Jay G.'s old Colt.

PolyKahr said...


Your next round of .45 shooting should be with Springfield XD-45. When I was searching, I rented one of these and fell in love. I was putting everything in a 1.5 inch hole in the center of the ten ring.

So, how much snow do you have on the ground up there in the great white north?


Oldsmoblogger said...

Tam and The Saj, thanks for the additional and/or corrected information.

I didn't mean to imply that "big" was a particular problem, and hope that I didn't. Actually, not that my experience is vast (it probably ain't even half-vast), but so far I haven't tried anything I thought was particularly troublesome. I thought the Ruger felt fine. I thought the Glock 22 felt fine. I thought the Sig 226 felt fine, though I didn't get to fire it. I thought the 1911 felt fine, but I couldn't shoot it for sour apples (I'm not a particularly good shot, but not usually as bad as I was with that 1911). Dunno why.

Petey said...

I have a Ruger P90 in .45 ACP. It was the first automatic handgun I ever bought. It shoots great. Naturally shoots. It is big in the hands. Even for me, and I have huge hands. But I have never felt like I had anything but complete control. It is an all around great gun. Although not highly concealable.

Then earlier this year, I bought my first 1911. The Taurus PT1911. Mine came with a Fobus holster and magazine holster and 4 mags. Shot great right out of the box. Exactly what I expected from a 1911. And it was right at $700.

Kim du Toit said...


Drop me a note in the New Year if you'd like to shoot not only a 1911, but a selection thereof.


excitedVulcan said...

Holy Smoke!
Dude! KIM posted on yer blog!
you soooo totally ROCK!

Anonymous said...

I have 5" XD 45, full size and love it... if you get a chance give one a try

Lorimor said...

Heheheh.... reminds me of the first time I took the venerable Sig 220ST to a local shoot called "Rock Your Glock." I was firing 200 gr SWC lead reloads.

After I engaged the targets one youngster, going out to tape 'em up, looked at big, neatly cut holes and exclaimed "WHAT are you shooting them with?"

I guess he was used to the pencil poke holes created by 9mm FMJ's.

Heheheheh, the 45.

The Remittance Man said...

Ouch! I wouldn't want to be a naughty type person when you're somewhere near.