Ruger SR40 Review: Good handgun for shooters on a budget

Handgun Review: Ruger SR40

Ruger SR40


Like many other newer pistols, the SR models have a low barrel axis to reduce recoil, muzzle flip and improve accuracy.

There is a prominent loaded chamber indicator that is easily visible as well as readable by touch in the dark.

Models were offered both with and without a manual safety as well as a “Glock type”, or cam style, trigger safety.

Additionally there is a recessed “cocked” indicator on the back of the slide.

Finally, it also has a magazine safety, which may be a pro or a con depending on an individual’s shooting philosophy.

The model is offered in either with blued or with a stainless slide.

Its biggest boon, however, remains the price backed by a company that does not offer a warranty but replaces anything that breaks (and since it is a Ruger, one really has to try to break it) to keep it working.

It will not win many ohs and ahs at the range, but it will serve.


It is somewhat unfair to compare this model with other more high-profile duty pistols such as Glock, but the comparison will inevitably be made.

Ruger has fewer after-market support options and is still known for being big (despite the slimmer SR ergonomics) and clunky. This may be due more to people unable to let go of their impression of the older P series that was replaced than anything the SRs are responsible for.

However, the worst thing that can be said about it is that one gets what one pays for: if one wants a $5-600 quality pistol, one should be ready to pay $5-600.

The SR offers comparable performance and relatively better than average dependability at a lower price by offering a somewhat visually uninspired (but competent) grip with a slightly heavier than average trigger pull (6+lbs).

This is best for

Shooters on a budget.

While there are many affordable polymer pistols available, few are out there that have the name, respect, legacy and track record of Ruger.

For those looking for a reliable pistol with a large company to back it up and not looking to pay S&W, Glock or H&K and Walther etc. prices, the Ruger SR40 offers quite a bit, even when compared to other more expensive pistol. 

Ruger SR40 Review: Look Closer

Ruger’s SR series of pistols fully replaced the P series in 2013. This completed a move from the somewhat bulky looking, alloy frame to a sleeker appearing polymer. Known as one of many of the “Wonder 9s” this new model was designed to jump into the plastic gun craze that Ruger began over two years previously with their new striker fired pistols. This was a time demanding lighter and more ergonomic looking pistols to answer an increasing demand for dependable and reasonably priced pistols for concealed carry that had a consistent and constant as well as short trigger pull.

The SR series was inaugurated with the 9mm (SR9) chamber but was shortly followed by the .40 S&W chambered model in 2010, the SR40 obviously, to meet the contemporary demands of American law enforcement and civilians who preferred that larger caliber’s performance.

The SR series was never adopted in large numbers by any police or military services – certainly not to the extent of Glock or S&W in any case - but remained a “civilian” option. Nevertheless, it also found use among individual private security or kept as a full-sized back up because of its relative economy of price and Ruger’s reputation for robust manufacture.

Simply described as a more robust version of the SR9, which was replaced by the Security-9 at the end of 2017, the Ruger SR40 has remained in production longer as a proven choice for those looking for a reliable sidearm chambered in .40 S&W on a budget.

Ruger SR40 review: Sight plane

The length of the slide is 7.5” making the sight radius at just about 7.25”. The Novak style sights are fixed.

Ruger SR40 Rear Sight

Barrel Length

The standard, service model has a nominal 4” barrel that measures out to 4.14” true.

Grip frame size

The grip is somewhat atypical to the bit larger than expected double stack: it actually has good ergonomics, especially when compared to the earlier P series. The SR40 also offers a reversible backstrap to change from a straight grip to one with a palm swell for broader comfort options.

ruger sr40 grip frame

Balance of the build

As with most all polymer framed pistols, one of the heaviest components is the slide itself and that is also the part that has the most dramatic movement when firing. It is a careful balancing act to have enough weight to soak up the recoil of the cartridge without it being too heavy and creating a type of torque in the hand that can result in sending empty casings into the face of the shooter. The SR40 has a slightly wider slide to both accommodate the increase in cartridge diameter as well as pressure which unsurprisingly brings up the weight, but still achieves the “sweet spot” of balance to maintain as manageable a recoil that can be expected from the .40 S&W cartridge.

Ruger SR-40

Sight choices and accessory options

In what has become standard for “duty” or service grade pistols, the SR40 offers an accessory rail for lighting options. There are also aftermarket options, albeit not many, for sight replacements, including the installation of a reflex sight, and different trigger type replacements.


The full sized SR40 is shipped with two 15 round, flush fitting magazines. There are also 10 round magazines available for areas where magazine capacities are limited by law.

Ruger SR40 Review: Final words

Rugers work. That is one statement that remains a constant for the company.

For someone looking to get into performance or heavy shooting, while the Ruger will do a good job at making the effort, there are other options out there.

For someone who wants something affordable for personal or home defense without a heavy investment, Ruger will always be a respectable option.

No one will snicker seeing it at the range because over the long term, the investment to depreciation will be far less than that of the $600-800 firearms, if for no other reason than the Ruger not having far to go.

At the end of the day, Ruger SR40 will work for casual to regular use without threatening to put the owner into hoc. It is never going to be seen as a major performance star, but it will do what is needed from target shooting to crisis dependably and economically.

No matter what other complaints may be levelled at it, nothing can beat that.

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