Ruger P89: Military-Style Battle Tank

Ruger P89 pistol
Ruger P89 pistol chambered in 9 mm (Photo: XY)

Ruger P89 was a state-of-art military-style pistol produced by the Sturm, Ruger & Co. They began with a .22 automatic pistol and then built up a high reputation for excellent revolvers. In 1987 they announced a military-style automatic pistol, the Ruger P85, and since then it has been steadily improved and is now the P89.

Ruger P85 pistol
Ruger P85 pistol (Photo: XY)


Mechanically, it used the familiar Browning link swivel to draw down the rear end of the barrel as the slide and barrel recoil after firing, but instead of using lugs above the barrel to lock to the slide, the Ruger design uses a squared section around the chamber wich locks into the ejection slot in the slide. The barrel is of stainless steel, as are the hammer, trigger, and most internal components.

The frame is of light-weight aluminum alloy, hardened to withstand wear, and finished in matt black. The slide is of chrome-moly steel, also finished in matt black. A safety catch is on the rear of the slide; this can be used by either hand and, when applied, locks the firing pin, blocks the hammer, and disconnects the trigger.

Ruger P89 9mm was military-style pistol
Ruger P89 9mm was military-style pistol known for being over built and it’s ability to function with just about any ammunition type (Photo: XY)

The firing mechanism is double-action, the trigger guard being large enough to allow firing in a gloved hand and reverse-curved to provide a grip for the non-firing hand. The magazine release is in the forward edge of the butt and can be operated by either hand.


Several variations have been developed in response to demand.

Ruger KP89

This model is the same as the basic Model P89 but with a stainless steel slide.

Ruger De-Cocker P89

This has a de-cocking lever on the slide in place of the usual safety catch. When pressed, this blocks the firing pin and lowers the hammer. Thereafter the pistol can be fired by a double-action pull on the trigger by thumb-cocking the hammer and firing single-action.

Ruger Double-Action-Only P89

This mechanism can only be fired by pulling through on the trigger; after each shot, the hammer follows the slide back and comes to rest in the down position,

Ruger KP90DAC

Similar to the De-cocker P89, this is chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge.

Ruger KP91DAC

Like the KP90DAC, but chambered for the 10 mm Auto cartridge.

Technical specification: Ruger P89

Manufacturer: Sturm, Ruger & Co., Southport, CT 06490, United States
Type: recoil-operated, semi-automatic, double-action
Caliber: 9 mm Parabellum
Barrel: 4.49 in (114 mm)
Weight (empty): 32 oz (907 grams)
Capacity: 15 rounds
1 comment
  1. Your article failed to mention that the Ruger P89 is no longer produced. Okay article but could have been more detailed and interesting.

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