By Col Ben Findley
Col Findley reviews the Ruger American Compact Pistol RAPC a new 9mm for concealed carry use.
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- The full-size Ruger American Pistol (RAP) was introduced in late 2015 and now the new RAP in Compact size (RAPC) has been released, with most of the same features and quality, but for concealed carry (CC.) The grip frame and barrel are shorter on the RAPC.
The new RAPC is available with or without a manual safety. The Pro Model #8635 is the one without a manual safety and I chose it to review.
Ruger wants to build on the success of the RAP with the compact, so I want to test and evaluate it for myself and you.
Ruger American Compact Pistol RAPC in 9mm
I have reviewed several compacts in depth in the past few months, including some on this website. I evaluate the Ruger SR9C compact 9mm with its 3.5 ” barrel, 17 capacity, 23.4 oz weight, and nice 5.5-pound press in my Top 21 CC guns in the 2016 second printing of my book “Concealed Carry & Handgun Essentials.”
Now with the recent introduction of the new RAPC, I want to analyze, compare, and rank it among my top compacts for a recommendation or not in this article.
Several readers and students have asked what criteria I use to analyze my recommended handguns, so I want to give my criteria and range test results for the RAPC to help you analyze your handguns and make the best selection for yourself. You can add or subtract from my criteria to meet your needs and preferences. I was very anxious to shoot the RAPC and to compare it factor by factor to my other quality compact 9mms to see if it truly ranked in my top compact CC pistols. Ruger was nice enough to loan me one for testing and evaluation purposes.
Know that I am not on their payroll, have not been paid by them for this article nor influenced to say certain things about the gun. I want to be honest and straight-forward with my opinions and ideas the way I see the pistol to sincerely help folks.
Specifically, I wanted to know how accurate the Ruger American Compact Pistol RAPC is out of the box, without modifications. How was its trigger press? Is the trigger smooth and crisp? What about the reset distance for follow-up shots? Is it reliable? What about the gun’s weight? Is it too heavy for CC? What are its pros and cons? Are there any issues or concerns that would prevent me from carrying this gun? Is this a gun I would recommend for CC?
First, I want to present two charts that list the Specifications and some Features for the Ruger American Compact Pistol RAPC 9mm pistol. Then I give you my 10 criteria that I use to evaluate all guns. Finally, I present my analysis and how I specifically evaluated the gun against each of my criteria to recommend or not recommend it. As always, set your own criteria and priorities, do your own research and check my data, information, etc. with yours, for your very personal selection process.
Criteria and Considerations
Here are just 10 of my Criteria and factors I use for evaluating any handgun, so I will use them for the RAPC. In addition to my criteria, there are other subjective features that may be appealing for some, like smooth rounded corners, a certain style, mag release location, action, caliber, appearance, number of mags included, type of sights/modifications, bore axis, rail, grip angle, non-porting or porting, included extras like a holster and pouch, customer service, etc. So, I combined these into my last Miscellaneous criterion. I must admit that ALL gun-choice decisions involve tradeoffs, but I really want ALL of my criteria to be met. I assigned a total possible point score of 10 points for each of my 10 criteria for a total possible score of 100 points. You can certainly add your own additional criteria and preferences or subtract any of mine. Here are mine:
Recognize that there are several features, characteristics, pros and cons, and personal criteria to include and consider and you make your own tradeoffs according to your priorities, preferences, defined needs, and use.
Ruger American Compact Pistol RAPC 9mm Range Test
To determine how well the gun cycled and handled different loads, I used high-quality Sig Sauer Elite V-Crown JHP ammo in 115, 124, and 147-grain weights and some in 115-grain FMJ. Also, I fired Polycase’s ARX Inceptor rounds which are high velocity, lower recoil, non-expanding with polymer tips, and perform like HPs. I only fired about 200 rounds total to evaluate this gun (usually I shoot 500 rounds over a couple of days) to decide if I want to carry the gun or not. I had the information I needed after shooting it. Below are my evaluations for each of my 10 criteria for my concealed carry purpose. I wanted to put the Ruger American Compact Pistol RAPC through its paces and check it thoroughly for malfunctions, stoppages, and performance with quality JHP ammo and FMJ rounds.
I want to thank Sig Sauer for providing various Elite Performance ammo and Polycase for ARX Inceptor ammo to test and evaluate the RAPC.
The RAPC in 9mm has nice ergonomics. It felt good in my hands and was comfortable. It did seem a little front heavy, but the grip felt so nice I was able to handle it. My pinky finger did not hang below the 12-round magazine when I gripped it. No finger dangle. And the included 17 round magazine extender gave me extra rounds and included a sleeve adapter, so it looked good in the magwell. I like the extra rounds just in case. The grip stippling on the front and back and the rounded corners were perfect for me and very nice. I could easily reach all the controls. It has an ambidextrous slide stop and magazine release. The slide was very easy for me to rack and the felt recoil and muzzle rise were very manageable due to the extra heaviness of this compact.
There are pros and cons to its weight for CC. Below I will get into these factors and my ideas for each of my criteria after my range testing.
Shooting the Ruger American Compact Pistol RAPC
I had no malfunctions or stoppages at all with the various Sig Sauer and Polycase types and weights of ammo fired. After my range live fire, the RAPC compact gun impressed me as an accurate and reliable (with limited rounds fired by me) carry gun. After initially cleaning the gun and then shooting it at the range for the first time, my first 12 rounds fired rapid fire with the Sig V-Crown 124 grain JHP at 5 yards all hit in a nice 2.5″ group, considering this old codger’s declining eyesight. I had the same results with the Polycase 9mm 65 grain, 1540 fps, 342 ft lbs ARX Inceptor. Both very good self-defense rounds, but I want to shoot more of them. The about 29 ounces weight of the gun + ammo weight helped. My next 12 rounds fired at 7 yards also made a 2.5″ group, as did my next 12 at 10 yards.
But, sadly for me, the 15-yard group fired rapid fire extended to about a 3.0″ group, with one strangler. I recognize that I must practice more, even when writing articles and reviews and regularly teaching classes. From a big picture perspective for me, these hits were acceptable for closeup self-defense encounters.
BUT, shoot it for yourself to make your own decisions, based on your abilities, goals, and proficiency. Below are my hits for my first 12 rounds at 5 yards fired rapid fire with the RAPC.
Range Test Results for Ruger American Compact Pistol RAPC for each of my 10 Criteria:
Total Points = 92 out of 100 Possible.I certainly RECOMMEND the Ruger American Compact Pistol RAPC handgun for consideration as your concealed carry compact striker-fired gun.
I especially like its accuracy, manageable recoil, short takeup, steel construction, and customizeable grips, but did not like particularly the heavy weight, in addition to the extra width, and paying extra for night sights. Its felt recoil was very manageable for a compact 9mm and its smooth, rounded lines prevented snags. I wish it came standard with night sights, but several do not. But its many other features makeup for most of my personal preferences.
I want to shoot it more to see its long-term reliability before I decide to put it in my CC rotation. I was very impressed with its accuracy out of the box, its low muzzle flip and very controllable recoil for a compact 9mm, and that I had no malfunctions or stoppages whatsoever with the 200 rounds I fired. These are just my opinions and ideas, so handle and shoot it for yourself. I hope this review of the RAPC 9mm has helped you gain some information you did not previously have. Consider that these are just my opinions with limited live-range fire and shooting myself only about 200 rounds of ammo.
Like always, I recommend that you shoot any handgun yourself before you purchase it. Decide on your criteria, how you will primarily use the gun, and what features are important to you and you are willing to pay for ahead of your range time. Then critically evaluate the gun YOURSELF per your criteria and purpose, with standard drills (several mentioned in my book), with various ammo types and brands, over an extended break-in period of about 500 rounds. Remember, Safety First Always.
Ruger American Compact Pistol RAPC Photos by Author.
* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.
© 2016 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at ColBFF@gmail.com.
About Col Ben Findley
“Col Ben” is retired with 30 years service in the U.S. Air Force, with joint services Special Ops duty and training, and is Air Force qualified as “Expert” in small arms. He is a Vietnam-era Veteran. Ben is an experienced NRA-Certified Pistol Instructor, NRA Range Safety Officer, and FL Concealed Carry License Instructor.
Ben recently wrote the book “Concealed Carry and Handgun Essentials for Personal Protection” (second printing 2016) with 57 comprehensive Chapters about concealed carry and handgun principles, techniques, and tips for both experienced and new shooters. His reference book is endorsed by several organizations and is available on his website at www.FloridaHandgunsTraining.com. Contact him at ColBFF@gmail.com.
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