Gary L. Simmons  rev 06/17/03
Home  Marathon  Joke OT Weak  Web Building  Resumé  Lynx  Hobbies  Extra  Site Map Site Map Hobbies Go to next department

Back to NRA Page

NRA Logo

Sturm Ruger KP89C Autoloading Pistol

The following is the write up on the P85 from a Ruger brochure. The P89 is the same pistol with a modification to the decocker. Pictures and text on this page are copyright 1988 by Sturm, Ruger and Company, Inc.

UESC standard issue sidearm

UESC sidearm after teleporter accident

The Police and Military Semiautomatic from Ruger

Built to Withstand Law Enforcement Demands

Designed for Extended Service Life

Ruger engineers began the design of the P85 semiautomatic pistol with a clean sheet of paper and an unlimited budget. This fresh start allowed Ruger to incorporate in the P85 pistol the most desirable features and improvements dictated by many years of service experience, without the restrictions imposed by outmoded factories, obsolete machine tools or methods. Throughout the P85 development program, Ruger engineers have taken full advantage of today's advanced technology and sophisticated manufacturing techniques. The combined use of precision investment castings and computer controlled machine tools has allowed Ruger to produce an ideal police and military service arm at relatively low cost. Ruger design principles, evolved over four decades of small arms manufacture, are based on a commitment to simplicity and correct engineering that is clearly demonstrated in the P85 pistol.

The precision monolithic shell moulding (investment casting) process, the development of which Sturm, Ruger & Company pioneered in the firearms industry, makes it possible to finish machined P85 parts to an unprecedented level of accuracy. This increases the strength of the part yet greatly reduces the cost and time required to achieve quality production compared to traditional methods of manufacture. The strength inherent in investment cast steel parts has proven to be equal to or greater than that of comparable parts produced by forging. The combination of investment casting and the use of modern computer controlled machine tools operated by a carefully trained work force permits Ruger to rapidly mobilize existing plants for the production of small arms for law enforcement and government customers.

The P85 is now in production at the newest Ruger factory at Prescott, Arizona - a model plant of its type, especially designed and planned for the efficient manufacture of the pistol and backed by the full foundry, metallurgical laboratory testing, engineering, and toolmaking capabilities of the company.

A Rugged Gun

The Ruger P85 9mm model is a fifteen-shot, double action, recoil operated, magazine fed, semiautomatic pistol of light weight and compact design. It incorporates no delicate or complicated subassemblies and includes a total of only 56 individual parts, less than the M1911A1 pistol and less than comparable competitive models, most of which contain an average of 20% more parts. The Ruger P85 pistol is rugged, reliable, and simple to manufacture, operate, and maintain.

Development of the Ruger P85 pistol has resulted in a number of unique improvements, patents, and patents pending. The intensive testing procedure which preceded the introduction of the P85 pistol has continued through two years of production. Prototype and production models withstood rigorous proof-testing and 20,000 round reliability and function testing without breakage of stressed component parts and with no appreciable signs of wear in the mechanism.


The Browning type action of the Ruger P85 pistol uses a tilting barrel design in which the barrel and slide are strongly locked together at the moment of firing. After firing, the barrel and slide recoil to the rear a short distance while still locked. After this initial movement, the barrel tilts downward from its locked position, permitting full recoil of the slide and the extraction and ejection of the spent cartridge case.

Safety, De-Cocking Mechanism

A firing-pin-blocking safety mechanism is a key element in the Ruger P85. The firing pin cannot contact a cartridge until the operator pulls the trigger all the way to the rear with the manual safety in its "fire" position. When the manual safety is put into its "safe" position, it disengages the trigger and hammer completely. In addition, placing the manual safety in its "safe" position automatically drops the hammer onto the drum of the safety without contacting the firing pin, thus serving as a de-cocking lever. The P85 safety thus operates in a four-fold fashion with the safety in its "safe" position, (1) the firing pin is blocked from moving forward, (2) the hammer is blocked from striking the firing pin, (3) the entire firing mechanism is completely disengaged from the trigger, and (4) a secondary firing pin block prevents the firing pin from moving forward until the trigger is pulled regardless of the position of the safety.

These dependable P85 safety features have been designed with the protection of police officers and the safety of the public in mind. The P85 pistol can be considered as safe as a traditional double action revolver, yet it incorporates the speed and large magazine capacity modern police work requires.

Magazine Latch

The full-time ambidextrous magazine latch can be activated by either right or left-handed operators. It is not necessary to switch the latch to the opposite side of the frame for left-handed shooters as is necessary with many competitive pistols. The safety, magazine latch, and slide stop are all within the arc of the thumb and are easily operated without changing the position of the hand while grasping the pistol in its firing position.

Frames and FBI Demands

The FBI has criticized frames of competitive pistols because of cracking. Repeated tests under severe structural demands show Ruger frames do not crack. The frame of the P85 pistol is investment cast in aluminum alloy for lightweight. It is hard-coated for toughness and resistance to wear by a process similar to that employed in the manufacture of the U. S. M16 rifle receiver. The frame is finished in a matte black, glare-resistant surface overall.


The open top design of the slide offers the advantage that cartridges can be easily loaded singly for training purposes or if the magazine is lost, and enables the operator to clear any malfunction by hand quickly and easily. The slide and most internal parts are constructed of ordnance quality, 4140 chrome-molybdenum alloy steel, heat-treated for hardness. Even when subjected to a 5,000 round M8XZ test with portions of the slide completely cut away, the Ruger P85 does not fail.

The slide is sandblasted and blued to achieve a matte black, glare resistant surface which matches the finish of the aluminum frame. All parts are rugged and strongly designed, with no thin sections and with ample metal in critical, highly stressed areas. Coil springs employed in the mechanism are of strong music wire throughout.


The extractor is a proven design similar to that used in the Thompson submachine guns, and offers exceptional strength and durability. Simple and rugged, it provides positive extraction even after many thousands of rounds of extensive reliability and function testing.


The fifteen-round, staggered, double-column box magazine loads in the conventional manner and the loaded magazine can be inserted into the pistol whether the slide is locked in its rearward open position, or closed. Pulling back on the slide as far as it will go and then releasing it allows it to move forward, stripping the top cartridge from the magazine and chambering it. The pistol can be loaded and unloaded with the safety in its "safe" position. The magazine incorporates a removable floor plate and can be easily and quickly disassembled for cleaning without the use of tools. When either the left- or right-hand magazine latch is activated, the magazine will fall free from the butt of the pistol held in its normal firing position-this facilitates rapid reloading when necessary.


The P85 sights meet US. military specifications and are equipped with high visibility white dot inserts, both front and rear, to assist in rapid target acquisition and obtaining a correct sight picture. The front sight can be changed quickly by removing its retaining pins, and the rear sight can be drift adjusted laterally for windage.


The ergonomically designed, deeply grooved grip panels are molded of G. E. "Xenoy," a dense high-impact material possessing exceptional toughness and resistance to wear, breakage, and common lubricants. They also provide a comfortable, non-slip hold on the pistol.

Cleaning And Maintenance Simplified

Basic disassembly (field stripping) of the P85 pistol is straightforward and similar to that of the M1911A1 pistol, being accomplished quickly and easily in the field without the use of tools. The pistol breaks down into five major parts or subassemblies (slide, frame, barrel, recoil spring, and guide rod) for normal cleaning and maintenance. P85 pistol parts are interchangeable and complete disassembly/assembly can be accomplished by ordnance personnel equipped with a few simple, basic tools.

Additional Features

Although the Ruger P85 pistol meets all U.S. military specifications designated in the mandatory categories of the Joint Service Operational Requirements, it also includes a number of the Operational Requirements desirable optional features, such as an oversize trigger guard which permits shooting with the gloved hand, a recurved trigger guard bow to accommodate the non-shooting hand in a two-hand hold, a lanyard loop, fifteen-round magazine capacity, proper functioning with various U.S. commercial and foreign 9mm Luger caliber ammunition, and an expected service life in excess of 20,000 rounds.


The pistol is loaded by placing the manual safety in its "safe" position and inserting a magazine into the butt. Hold the pistol in the firing hand with the muzzle pointing in a safe direction. Grasp the slide ahead of the ambidextrous safety ears with the non-shooting hand. Draw the slide fully to the rear, and then release it. The slide will move forward to strip the top cartridge from the magazine and chamber it. The safety mechanism in its "safe" position drops the hammer automatically and blocks the firing pin. The trigger is inoperable while the safety is in its"safe" position.

Double Action to Single Action

When the pistol is to be fired immediately, the safety can be rotated upward (placed in its "fire" position). The firing pin is blocked at all times unless the trigger is pulled all the way to the rear. The first shot can be fired double action by pulling the trigger through its full arc, with subsequent shots being fired single action until the magazine is empty and the last round has been fired; or the hammer can be cocked with the thumb and the first shot fired single action.


When the last round has been fired, the magazine follower presses the slide stop upward to engage the slide, holding the action open.

Reloading is accomplished by pressing the magazine latch while holding the pistol in its "fire" position. If rapid reloading is required, the empty magazine can be allowed to fall from the butt of the pistol of its own weight.

The safety should be returned to its "safe" position unless firing is to be resumed immediately. to reload, insert a loaded magazine. Release the slide to move forward by pressing down on the slide stop, and the pistol is again loaded and ready to fire.


If further use of the pistol is not anticipated after firing, it is cleared by first placing the safety in its "safe" position and removing the magazine. Then, with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, draw the slide all the way to the rear and pivot the slide stop upward to hold the action open. The chamber should be examined to be sure that no cartridge remains chambered.


The advantages of the Ruger P85 9mm double action semiautomatic pistol, its suitability for police and military applications are summarized as follows:

  • Meets or exceeds all Joint Service Operational Requirements.
  • Simple, compact, straightforward design.
  • Unique four-point safety mechanism.
  • Fewer parts, with no complex subassemblies.
  • Rugged construction with ample metal in critical, highly stressed areas.
  • Reliable functioning.
  • Accuracy with light perceived recoil and quick recovery between shots.
  • Simple takedown and maintenance in the field.
  • Cost-efficient manufacturing and low unit cost.

Gary's NRA page is not affiliated with the National Rifle Association
The NRA logo is copyright NRA

Back to NRA Page

Top of Page

Back to Extra Department