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.