First Impressions: Ruger’s New American Compact

    Ruger American Compact

    Ruger recently added a Compact model to the American Pistol line of handguns. The company was good enough to send me one in 9mm for testing (the ‘pro’ model without the external safety). So far, I’ve had the gun for about a week and taken it to the range once for about 400 rounds. Here are a few of my initial impressions.


    The gun is heavier than I expected. According to the company, the gun weighs 28.7 ounces (unloaded.) This is five full ounces heavier than a Glock 19 Gen4 – a pistol that is larger and has a greater capacity. I checked the gun on my postal scale and with the small grip panel and magazine, the gun weighed in at 27.8 ounces.

    As one might expect with a polymer grip frame and steel slide, the gun is top heavy. Ruger states the gun is “performance tested for sustained +P ammunition use,” so I can only assume the weight is there to ensure the gun lasts a lifetime of hard living.


    Through the first 400 or so rounds, the gun has been completely reliable. I’ve shot about 250 rounds of FMJ (Blazer Brass and American Eagle mostly) and about 150 rounds of self defense loads including HST, Gold Dot, Critical Defense and PDX1. The gun feeds all of it without any hints of a problem.

    Ruger shooting


    I haven’t done any bench testing with it, but it shoots very well. The sights are typical 3-dot with a good deal of light through the rear sight.


    The trigger is pretty good. There is a fair amount of take up, a reasonable pull length and little over travel. There is a trigger stop built in to the trigger guard which prevents nearly all potential over travel.


    Ruger uses a modular wrap-around grip that changes both trigger reach and fill in the hands. For me, the medium size is ok, but the small works best. My hand locks into the grip nicely and does not shift during firing.

    This is just a first impression look at the Ruger American Compact, and is not a thorough test of it. I will have the gun back on the range for more shooting and will be carrying it to see how the weight plays out for a CCW piece. So far, though, the gun is a good performer.

    Richard Johnson

    An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is