Ruger P series

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Ruger P series
Ruger P89 1.png
Ruger P89
Type Semi-automatic pistol
Place of origin United States
Production history
Designed 1985 (P85)
Manufacturer Sturm, Ruger & Co.
Produced 1985—2013
Variants See Variants
Weight 32 oz (910 g) (P89)
Length 7.75 in (197 mm) (P89)
Barrel length 4.50 in (114 mm) (P89)

Cartridge 7.65×21mm Parabellum, 9×19mm Parabellum, .40 S&W, .45 ACP
Action Short recoil
Feed system 7 to 15 round detachable box magazine
Sights 3-dot sight

The Ruger P series is a line of centerfire semi-automatic pistols made by Sturm, Ruger & Company produced from 1985 to 2013. The P-series pistols were designed for military, police, civilian and recreational use. The designs are largely based on the Browning action found in the M1911 pistol, but with minor variations, generally related to the safety mechanism and the barrel-camblock interface. Reviews have considered them rugged, reliable, and strong, though this strength comes at the price of bulk and a blocky appearance.[1]

Design details[edit]

The P series are short recoil–operated, locked breech semi-automatic pistols. They use a SIG P220 type locking system, and an M1911-style tilting barrel. The P series were made with a traditional double-action/single-action (DA/SA), or double-action-only (DAO) trigger mechanism.

The standard models have an ambidextrous manual safety/decocker located on the slide; when the safety lever is lowered to the safe position, the firing pin is cammed into the slide away from the hammer, the trigger is disconnected from the sear, and the hammer is decocked. The decocker models have no manual safety; instead, when the lever is lowered, it only cams the firing pin into the slide and drops the hammer. When the lever is released, the firing pin springs back to the normal position. The DAO models have no manual safety or decocker. All models feature an automatic firing pin safety that blocks the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled fully rearward.[2][3]

The pistols make extensive use of investment-cast parts and proprietary Ruger alloys. Nearly all internal parts, including the barrel, are stainless steel, while the slide and ejector are carbon steel. The P85 through P944 use an investment-cast aluminum frame, while the P95 and later models use a fiberglass-reinforced polyurethane frame.

The 9mm and .40 S&W versions use double-column box magazines; the 9mm has a 15-round capacity, and the .40 has a 10-round capacity. The .45 ACP versions use single-column magazines holding seven or eight rounds (depending on the model). All P-series pistols of the same caliber use a similar magazine design, but slight modifications have been made to at least the 9mm guns so that not all P-series magazines will function in all P-series frames. Ruger did not keep track of the magazine models so an older magazine may not secure in a newer frame. The Ruger Police Carbine also uses P-series magazines. The P-series pistols have an ambidextrous magazine release located behind the trigger guard; it can be pushed forward from either side to eject the magazine.

The early-model P95s have fixed, three-dot sights; newer P95s, P97s, and P345s have three-dot sights adjustable for windage.


The P85 was originally developed as a replacement alternative for the U.S. Military's M1911A1. It was not adopted, and the contract was awarded to the Beretta M9. Nonetheless, its rugged design and military qualities did see it adopted by the San Diego Police Department and the Wisconsin State Patrol.[4] The P-85 was also adopted by the Turkish National Police.

Criminal use[edit]

A Ruger P89 was used in the 1991 Luby's shooting[5] and the 1993 Long Island Rail Road shooting.


P85/P85 MKII[edit]

The P85 was developed in 1985, but was not available until 1987.[1] It was only available with a DA/SA trigger, decocker, and a manual safety.

Early P85 pistols were recalled for a safety issue that resulted in one accidental discharge. If the firing pin broke in front of the firing pin block, applying the safety, which dropped the hammer, could transfer enough energy to the broken firing pin to cause a discharge. The P85 was recalled, and a new safety was installed that prevented contact between firing pin and hammer during a decocking operation. This modification was done free of charge. The P85 MKII was released with the safety fix, larger safety levers, and improved accuracy.[1][3]


The P89 is an upgraded P85 MKII that introduced a number of new features, including a DAO model. In 1992, Ruger produced a limited-run P89X convertible model, which came with a second barrel and recoil spring assembly that allowed conversion between 9mm and .30 Luger calibers. Ruger only made 5750 with both barrels.[citation needed] The P89 was discontinued in late 2009[6]

P90/P90 DC/P90 [edit]

The P90 is a scaled-up version of the P89 chambered in .45 ACP with an aluminum frame. It was introduced in 1991 as the company's first attempt at a .45 ACP, and was in direct competition with Sig Sauer's P220, Smith and Wesson's 4500 series, and to a lesser extent Glock's G21 that came out the same year. The P90 is considered to have above average accuracy for its price. The P90 was produced until 2010.[1]


The Ruger P91 is essentially just a Ruger P89 chambered in .40 Smith & Wesson. It was only produced for two years, from 1992 to 1994.

KP94DC, decock-only model


Original model KP95, without the Picatinny rail

The Ruger P94 is a mid-sized, scaled-down variant of the P89. It was introduced in 1994 and was designed for shooters interested in lighter weight or easier concealability. The P94 lacks the flared nosepiece of the P89 and also features different grips with heavier checkering. Standard capacity was either 15 or 10 rounds. The P94 was discontinued ten years after its introduction in 2004.


New model P95PR with Picatinny rail and a Hogue Handall grip installed

Introduced in 1996, the P95 incorporated a number of changes from earlier P-series pistols, including a shorter 3.9-in barrel and a new frame made of fiberglass-reinforced polyurethane, based on Dow Chemical's "Isoplast".[2]


The P345, released in 2004, incorporates an integrated keyed lock that locks the safety in the safe position, a loaded chamber indicator, and a magazine disconnect that blocks the firing pin when the magazine is removed. It also has many ergonomic improvements, such as a new polymer frame design (narrower than the double column derived P90 and P97) and low-profile safety levers. It does not feature an ambidextrous slide release or magazine release. Both controls are designed for a right-handed shooter. The model P345PR adds a Picatinny rail to the frame, for mounting lights and other accessories. It was designed to be legal for sale in states that require elaborate safety measures. The P345 was discontinued in 2013 and replaced by the new SR45.[6]



  1. ^ a b c d Glenn Barnes "Ruger's P series: what's wrong with Ruger's P-series semiauto pistols? Not a darn thing, says the author". Guns Magazine.[1]. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
  2. ^ a b Ruger P series, Modern firearms.
  3. ^ a b P85 instruction manual. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
  4. ^ [2], Retrieved 2017-06-26.
  5. ^ Walsh, Robert (30 April 2015). "The Luby's Cafeteria Massacre of 1991". Crime Magazine. Retrieved 1 April 2018. 
  6. ^ a b Ruger instruction manuals and product history. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
  • Ayoob, Massad. "Ruger: The Value 45 Auto", Gun Combat Annual, 2000.

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