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Budget Gun Review: Ruger P-95
Caliber: 9mm Luger
Barrel Finish: Stainless
Grip Frame: Black Polymer
Sights: Fixed 3-Dot
Barrel Length: 3.90"
Weight: 27 oz
Average Retail Price: $375.00
Ahhhhhhhh...Ruger. Where would many of us be without our first Ruger? The first firearm I ever fired was a Ruger 10-22, quite possibly the greatest .22 rifle ever made. This is a company that has made fine guns for a long time. They haven't ALL been winners, but they have remained a staple of the industry with their affordable, mid-range weapons for the every day user. The P-95 pistol has been around for some time, and many consider it the quintessential entry-level 9mm automatic.
This is a meaty weapon. I have never known Ruger to make a fragile weapon, and this is no exception. You can expect years of reliability from one of these, despite the polymer pieces. Even plastic can be very durable if you use enough of it, and Ruger has used a lot of thick, industrial grade polymer in the grip frame.
She can hang!
This weapon comes with (2) 15-round magazines. That is damned respectable. I know...your XD can hold 20, but you paid twice as much! With 16 total rounds at your disposal, you can be reasonably sure that your chosen bad guy will be dispatched, discouraged, or disabused with a few rounds left over. Combat reloads are such a pain to practice, so bring more bullets!
Mikey likes it!
This pistol will eat anything. Cheap reloads, Bulgarian surplus rounds, that old one you found under the shooting bench, or grandma's possum-pot-pie, it doesn't care. This means cheap plinking and practice. Go to Midway or the flea market and by 10,000 rounds of reloaded 9mm for 175 bucks and have a ball. This may not sound like a big deal, but if you are the kind of shooter who likes to shoot A LOT (me), this becomes a serious consideration. There are many fine firearms out there that shoot at the professional level, but won't take just any round. That can be annoying. Won't be a problem here!
It could work...
Not for fancy lads.
The grip on this thing is very thick and wide. Meaty paws will appreciate this; but those of daintier digits will find it uncomfortable to grip and difficult to point. The double-stack magazine, coupled with the very rugged (read "thick) polymer frame make this thing a handful. If you are a smaller person, you might want to pass on this one.
The trigger poll on this weapon is shall we say, "sub-optimal." I can't really say it's "bad," but it is not "good" either. It's kind of...squishy. In double action it is long and stiff (heheheheheheh), and in single action the take-up is a little too pronounced and the break feels mushy. This is more or less imperceptible during fast-fire, but trying to squeeze off carefully aimed shots will be frustrating until you get a feel for it.
Can we work on this?
While many people carry this weapon as their personal defense piece; it DOES have some issues that make it sub-optimal for every-day-carry. First, it is wide and much more likely to print then a thinner weapon. Clothes can fix this, but it is an issue.
Second, this weapon cannot be carried "cocked and locked," which means that the first round you fire will always be in double-action mode, making your trigger pull for the first round very different than subsequent rounds. This is a pain in the ass to train and get used to, and with a sub-optimal trigger right out of the box, you are compounding your woes.
It's got a rail!
That's right folks...it comes with a rail already attached. Feel free to attach a light, laser, bayonet, or M203 grenade launcher to the front of this thing. Anything that attached to a standard accessory rail will be fine. It's a nice feature that many low-cost pistols would not have.
While not as flashy or accessorize-able as some pistols, there is a respectable array of grips and inserts for this weapon. I recommend the Hogue hand-all series to increase grip and shooting comfort.
It comes in a stunning array of finishes, provided you find blue and gray to be stunning. Between you and me, dear reader, I find that the beautiful thing about polymer weapons is that with a little know-how you can paint them yourself!
This is a solid weapon for a great price. For a dedicated carry piece, it is serviceable if not perfect, and for home/range use it will be just fine. Spend a little time learning the trigger pull, or have someone competent adjust it, and you will greatly improve its utility for personal carry. Basically, for under 400 bucks you can have a reliable, hi-capacity 9mm pistol that competes with models at twice the price.