The Ruger P90DC: The Gun of the Desperado that tells True Lies


By Luis Valdes

Ruger, a synonymous with affordable American made firearms. What’s another thing synonymous with America? The .45 ACP cartridge of course. So that’s what inspired Bill Ruger to have his designers draw up a DA/SA .45 Auto and luckily they had the P85 and P89 to use as a cornerstone for the foundation that what would become the P90.

Finally finished in 1990 and originally released to the shooting public in 1991, the Ruger P90 was a hit.

An affordable DA/SA .45 Auto that didn’t break the bank and had some nice features. Ambidextrous slide mounted safety/decocker, a swappable magazine release, stainless finish, combat style squared off trigger guard, and a nice pair of fixed three dot combat sights.
They also released a Decocker Only Model and I happen to have my dirty mitts on one.

The difference between a regular P90 and the P90DC is that mine doesn’t have a safety. The safety lever is simply a spring loaded decocker. But other than that. The gun is the same.

The P90DC shipped from the factory with two seven round magazines. Ruger, when they later released the P97. THey released a eight round capacity magazine. The P97 and even later P345 used the same magazines as the P90. But Ruger at one point advised not to use the eight round magazines in the P90 and then they disregarded their own advise and started to ship the P90 with them.

7rd & 8rd magazines. Notice the difference in the followers. 
Taking the gun apart is kinda like a 1911, well actually no. So make sure it is empty of course, remove the magazine, lock the slide back, flip down the ejector, and then align the slide catch lever with the takedown notch.

The nice thing about the P90 is that the slide catch lever is captured. So that is one less part you have to worry about losing. It breaks down into the frame, slide, barrel, recoil spring, and guide rod.

The barrel is a hybrid. It has a 1911 style swing link but a Sig inspired locking block.

So I said the gun was a hit. It got some modest contracts in the law enforcement market. Massad Ayoob even carried one.

And it was popular in the civilian market too. Since it was an affordable .45 Auto, during the Clinton AWB. If folks were broke and wanted a reliable pistol. The Ruger P90 was always a good choice. But other than the fact that folks were limited to ten rounds or less wasn’t the only reason why the P90 was a popular pistol. It also had some screen time too.
First staring with the big man himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1994 action comedy, True Lies.

It was Arnold’s issued pistol as an agent of the Omega Sector. The gun got ample screen time due to the fact that it was stainless steel and showed off well on the big screen.
The other film that the P90 got ample screen time in was the second installment in Robert Rodriguez’s Mexico Trilogy, Desperado.

Antonio Banderas, the titular hero dual wielded two P90 pistols in the film along with an assortment of other guns to hunt down the drug dealer known as Bucho. Again, being in stainless steel. The gun showed off well.
Yes, before anyone scoffs at the idea. Pop culture does drive gun sales. Dirty Harry was a huge seller of the Smith & Wesson Model 29 and and according to designer of the Wildey Survivor, Wildey J. Moore. Every time Death Wish 3 is aired on cable TV, sales of the gun spiked. 
True Lies and Desperado had a similar story with Ruger and the P90. Both films were a hit and folks wanted to emulate and imitate the main stars. Sure, they didn’t have the good looks, the muscles, fancy cars, or exciting lives. But they could own the handguns at an incredible price, shoot them at the range and have fun. 
So while the 1990s came and left us. The P90 stands as a tangible reminder of those yesteryears gone by. They’re still out and are pretty affordable. So if you find one in good shape and at a decent price, snatch it up. You might be surprised. 


  1. I don’t get the love for the Ruger P-series pistols. They are cheap and they work. That’s all that can be said for them. Ergonomics are garbage, capacity is unremarkable, and they fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. There’s a reason why there was a movement to bring back the Colt Python and there will never be a movement to bring back the P-series.

  2. I own both the p-98/p-95 both in 9 mm.
    I also own a beretta 92 fs
    3 different sigs
    2 glocks, plus a few other handgun’s I gotta tell ya, both the p-98/95 will out shoot the beretta any day and all day, plus keep pace with two of my sigs, they out perform both glocks all day long. I love my beretta, it’s one of the best handling guns on the market. My three sigs are awesome and feel fairly similar as well as shooting very tight rounds.
    Just to let ya folks know, I’ve been shooting, hunting with handguns and rifles plus shotguns since I was a kiddo growing up in Oklahoma. Plus a few yrs in L.E.
    So for those of you “doubters “, these Rutgers p 98/95 are damn good, even more so considering the price ya pay for ‘em.
    “ ps I’m now looking for an .45 P series “, to complete my collection……

  3. Have owned and still carry a P90 for literally decades. The one and ONLY flaw I have is the factory grips. Hogue to the rescue and made my P90 the most natural feeling handgun I have ever owned. That and after thousands of rounds my P90 has NEVER jambed or failed. I cannot say that about any of my other .45s I have owned (and sold).
    To the “only real .45 is a Colt 1911” snobs, the “if it ain’t over $2000 it’s a POS” elitists, and the “all things Glock” crowd haters of the P90… Has any of your “superior” weapons misfired or failed? Has your weapon ever felt like it was part of you? It may only hold 7 rounds plus one in the tube, but I am comfortable in knowing I will be hitting 8 targets right where I targeted. Two extra clips totalling 22 rounds including the one in the tube….if can’t get myself and family out of harm’s way with 22 rounds of 230gr +P hydra shoukd….i was somewhere I had no damn business being in the first place.
    I don’t have any problems with whatever choice of protection you choose whatsoever. Well except maybe you Glock lovers! (Really??? ….a Glock?)

  4. I like The Ruger P Series and they were very popular with Texas Law Enforcement when I was growing up. But its never been one of my choices when buying. When the SR Series came out, it was the same way – they are nice guns, they felt good in hand, perform well, and were inexpensive. But they just aren’t on my list of gotta have guns. In the used market, I would take a Ruger over most other guns in the case.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here