Ruger American Competition Pistol

Affordable sport, plinking, defense and utility semi-auto
; .

The Ruger American Competition pistol takes everything righteous and wholesome
about the Ruger American line of guns and upgrades it for match work or home defense.

The new Ruger American Competition pistol builds upon Ruger’s inimitable legacy of quality American-made firearms at reasonable prices. The Ruger American line of combat handguns reflects the current state of the art in tactical pistol design. Featuring all the bells and whistles along with unimpeachable quality and a very pleasant MSRP, this new competition pistol offers some remarkable versatility.


Modern Ruger pistols reflect the current state of the art (left to right):
Security-9, American Competition and the Ruger-57.

Ballistic Philosophy

What makes a good competition pistol? If you’re running against a clock the gun needs to be accurate, handy, maneuverable and dead nuts reliable. Misses count against you, and malfunctions make the difference between sweet victory and the dreaded “And also participated” list. Now hold the thought.

What makes a good defensive pistol? If you’re gunfighting for real then the gun needs to be accurate, handy, maneuverable and dead nuts reliable. Misses threaten those you love most in the world and malfunctions make the difference between living to see tomorrow and an attractive marker along with a moving memorial service.

A pistol for competition or home defense need not be concealable or particularly lightweight. You’ll not be humping such a handgun on a 50-click forced march through the Hindu Kush. You’ll seldom pack this gun farther than across the room. This pistol is much more about shooting than concealing.

The flower of modern American engineering prowess has been unleashed on this thorny problem. The same design parameters driving pistol competition also produce a simply superlative defensive weapon. In the Ruger American Competition we find these kernels of greatness. Well-reasoned, elegantly executed and reasonably priced, this new Ruger heater is all that and a bag of chips.


The controls are well-reasoned and bilateral.

Pertinent Particulars

The Ruger American line of combat handguns is time-proven and cost-effective. Featuring rugged polymer frames and generations of institutional knowledge as a foundation, these tactical tools are suitable for Law Enforcement, concealed carry, or general defensive use. This latest Competition model builds on all of this and takes it to the next level.

The pre-tensioned striker system guarantees reliable ignition while retaining a pleasant, predictable trigger pull. The slide stop is replicated on both sides of the gun and the magazine release is a legit bilateral pushbutton. Scads of automatic safeties keep the gun inert until you are ready to fire.

The modular wrap-around grip system includes three interchangeable grip modules to accommodate different hand sizes. I have big monkey mitts so the large version fits me best. Interestingly, with the large grip module in place the gun won’t quite fit back into its fitted plastic carrying case.

The 5″ stainless steel competition barrel features a rugged black nitride finish and a relatively slow 1:16″ twist. This means enhanced accuracy with the sorts of lightweight bullets with which we train while still shooting laser-straight with the serious social stuff as well. The fully-adjustable rear sight is serrated to help manage glare while the front sight includes a fiber optic light tube for easy acquisition.

The ported stainless steel slide offers reduced weight for faster lockup and plenty of gripping grooves both front and rear. The rear slide deck comes from the factory cut for direct mounting of a micro red dot. The dust cover sports the obligatory length of Picatinny rail for accessories. Once nicely tricked out, the Ruger American Competition is comparably ready for the range, the glove box or the night stand.


At 12 meters from a simple rest, the Ruger American Competition shoots plenty straight.

Practical Tactical

The Ruger American Competition feels great in the hand. The grip rides intentionally high to lower the bore axis and mitigate muzzle flip. Aggressively textured grip stippling locks the gun in place without abrading unduly. The extended barrel and slide help keep the muzzle under control.

The superlative nickel-Teflon-plated 17-round magazine is adequate to deal with any reasonable problem and the gun comes with a spare. Scant divots on the bottom of the grip allow purchase in the unlikely event a mag gets sticky. Mine drops cleanly away with the stroke of the magazine release. The end result is a gun which shoots straight and runs fast. I would rely upon this pistol without hesitation.



The Ruger American Competition pistol offers quite literally anything you could want in a competition handgun at a stock gun price. When compared with more posh offerings all the nifty bells and whistles essentially get thrown in for free. The MSRP is $579, but the street price will obviously be lower.

A concealed carry gun is designed to be small and comfortable to tote at the inevitable expense of handling and accuracy. The Ruger American Competition, by contrast, is 100 percent performance-driven. Whether running in a match or investigating why the dog won’t shut up at 2 o’clock in the morning, this new Ruger Competition pistol is top-tier practical firepower.

Purchase A PDF Download Of The GUNS Magazine December 2020 Issue Now!