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Ranger Arms RA9 Defence01

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Ranger Arms RA9 Defence01
Ranger Arms RA9 Defence01

If you've never heard of Ranger Arms you're not alone. I hadn't either until a reader tipped me off to a sub-$300 deal. The tiny singular picture on the retailer's website showed me it was a pistol, and that was about it. My mind referenced the pile of other affordable generic pistols I already had, but for some reason I felt inspired and took a chance in buying one. I'm glad that I did.

The frame cut out and black steel that hinted there was more to the Ranger Arms RA9 Defence01 than originally thought.
The frame cut out and black steel that hinted there was more to the Ranger Arms RA9 Defence01 than originally thought.

What Is It? The Ranger Arms RA9 is a full-sized duty-type 9mm pistol using CZ-75 magazines. I frankly had little excitement about it until I opened the box. and picked it up.

Picking the gun up I immediately noticed it felt heavier and more solid than I had expected. Because I had selected a green model I could quickly see what was different and immediately field stripped the pistol in the shop.

Ranger Arms RA9 Defence01 Monoblock Trigger Group
Ranger Arms RA9 Defence01 Monoblock Trigger Group

What's Different? Ranger Arms uses what they are calling a "Monoblock Trigger Group" in the RA9 Defence01. This is similar to what Grand Power has been doing for decades, but I hadn't seen anyone else do yet. Grand Power CNCs a block of billet stainless steel to form a housing unit for trigger components. Ranger Arms has done a similar thing, but with a simpler, possibly cast monoblock. The benefit of these systems is twofold: It creates more consistent and longer-lasting trigger mechanisms, and helps lower the center of gravity in the shooter's hand. This is in contrast to older designs like Glock which hold trigger components with metal pins through the polymer frame. Over time pins in the system like a Glock uses can wear the polymer holding them, causing shifting of trigger components and resulting an a less consisten trigger. Even without wear polymer gives more than steel under pressure; creating a "squishier" trigger feel.

A step between the Ranger Arms Monoblock and the older Glock style would be stamped-steel chassis like the Sig P365, Sig P320, and Arex Delta. The stamped systems have been noted for inconsistency from one gun to the next. I have five P365 FCUs and all five have slightly differen trigger feel.

It's been my experience that dual-spring recoil systems like the one found on the Ranger Arms RA9 Defence01 have a smoother and gentler recoil impulse than those using a single spring.
It's been my experience that dual-spring recoil systems like the one found on the Ranger Arms RA9 Defence01 have a smoother and gentler recoil impulse than single spring systems.

Take a look at the Ranger Arms RA9 Defence01 in the tabletop video below, but be warned YouTube has restricted and limited this video due to limited advertiser friednliness.


Specifications:

MODEL: Ranger RA9 Defence Series

CODE: RA9 Defence01

ACTION: Single Action Semi Auto

COLOR: Black, Camo, Army Green, FDE, USA FLAG and more

CALIBER: 9x19 mm NATO Parabellum

SLIDE MATERIAL: 4140 Steel

FRAME MATERIAL: Reinforced Polymer

CAPACITY: 17 Rounds

LENGTH: 7.55"

HEIGHT: 5.66"

WEIGHT (with mag): 29.45oz

WIDTH: 1.25"

TRIGGER WEIGHT: Between 3.97-4lbs

TRIGGER RESET DISTANCE: 0.16"

BARREL LENGTH: ~4.25" *Not included in manufacturer specifications, measured at home.

Pricing as of 20MAY24

Click links for current pricing and availability

In the Kit

  • Usuer Manual

  • 2x 17rd CZ-75 Magazines

  • 2x backstraps

  • Bore Mop

  • Bore Brush (nylon)

  • Bore Brush (brass)

  • Celaning Rod

  • Magazine Loader



Between the heft, excellent grip texture, full-size grip, and dual recoil-spring assembly my pre-range estimates were that the Ranger Arms RA9 Defence01 would be a soft-shooter and absolute joy on the range IF it proved reliable and could run well on American ammunition which tends to be loaded to 10% lower pressure than the NATO ammunition many foreign manufacturers use in development. As always, the GBGuns range protocol would give us some answers.

  • Cold Shots: Truly the first rounds through the gun. No warm up, no practice.

  • Full Magazine +1: Suprisingly some modern guns still struggle with this. It's a test of how much play is in the magazine as well as how the slide cycles with pressure. This is also when I do my best to learn the trigger.

  • Multi-Mag: When a firearms uses someone else's propietary magazine design (see what I did there?) I attempt running potentially compatible magaines. This is useful should you ever need to source more magazines and the main source is out of stock.

  • What's For Dinner™: A test to see what ammunition the gun will eat. Does the gun feed the round from slide lock, will it cycle and feed another round of the same type, does the slide lock to the rear on empty, and is there any notable point of impact change with different loads.

WFD for the Ranger Arms RA9 Defence01
WFD for the Ranger Arms RA9 Defence01

For this gun we used the following ammunition:

Priced and linked where found at the time this article was written

65gr Norma Frangible

70gr Federal Frangible $31.99 / 50 direct from Federal

115gr Magtech Steel Case $12.99 / 50 at Primary Arms

115gr Blazer Aluminum-cased FMJ $11.99 / 50 at True Shot

124gr Federal Premium Tactical HST $39.99 / 50 at Target Sports USA

130gr Federal Syntech PCC $28.99 / 50 direct from Federal

138gr Federal Syntech Defense $48.99 / 50 direct from Federal

147gr PPU Defense Line JHP $23.74 / 50 at Sportsman's Guide

165gr AMMO, Inc /stelTH $24.99 / 50 at Palmetto State Armory

Range Ammo was Sterling 115gr FMJ $299 / 1000 from Global Ordnance

  • Sights & Trigger Control: on a 6" spinner target at a distance of 12 yards. We got this from Titan Great Outdoors and use it to gauge how learnable the trigger is and usable the sights are for forced, timed, precise shots.

  • Practical Accuracy: Five shots from a distance of seven yards at a one inch target. This isn't so much about printing a tight group as it is a culmination of our shooting experience and time for us to collect thoughts prior to making a conclusion.

  • After Shots: Final impressions and reflections from the range session.


The entire process for the Ranger Arms RA9 Defence01 can be seen in the Shooting Impressions video below. Warning: YouTube has restricted and limited this video due to limited advertiser friednliness.

Ammunition seen in our Shooting Impressions video was made possible by our Patrons and supporters of our ammunition savings account through Ammo Squared.


On the Range the Ranger Arms RA9 Defence01 felt as expected, but there were some hangups. We had three light primer strikes with Sterling 115gr ammunition. Light strikes, especialyl when they only occur with one type of ammunition can be the result of any number of factors. The striker might not be hitting hard enough for those primers, the ammunition might have been out of spec and had "proud" primers, there could have been debris or oil in the striker channel decelerating the striker, or something else. We're most of the way through our case of Sterling ammunition from Global Ordnance and have not had this issue with other guns. That points to it being a firearm issue and not an ammunition issue, but during WFD we did not have such issues. The only conclusion I can come to at this point is that this specific pistol and that specific case of ammunition might not be best together. In the future I may strip the slide to take a look at the internals, give everything a good clean and try it again with this ammunition, or maybe simply not use Sterling with the Ranger Arms.

Excellent texture and functional finger grooves on the Ranger Arms RA9 Defence01
Excellent texture and functional finger grooves on the Ranger Arms RA9 Defence01

In Hand it was a very enjoyable shooting experience. Soft-recoiling, easy to operate, and a very predictable trigger. I've long said that a trigger's weight and even travel (within reason) is not as important as its predictability. It did not take long to know when the Ranger Arms RA9 Defence01 would fire. Combining that with the softer recoil impulse afforded by good ergonomics, the longer slide, dual-spring recoil assembly, and monoblock trigger unit results in a gun that would be a treat to shoot all day, and likely a good one for newer or more timid shooters to learn with.

I've been in touch with the importer, Dickinson Arms and reassured that this line is here to stay with additional models in the works. That's always reassuring when a new brand appears out of nowhere. Dickinson Arms also has very close ties with Ranger Arms so this is not a simple order of a few thousand to be later abandoned. I have faith that should warranty work be needed it will be taken care of. While I don't know the future, it seems like this might be a good time to get in on a Ranger Arms while they're relatively unheard of. Their website already shows a "sport" model with advanced features, and I understand Dickinson Arms is working with them on what other models to possibly bring to the US.

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2 Comments


elsullo2
elsullo2
May 21

I have to say it: I am shocked to learn that you shoot these reviews "right out of the box." ANYBODY OVER THIRTY knows very well that it is standard practice to clean and lube a brand new gun before testing it! A new gun has GUNK in it from the factory that needs to be gotten out, and the shipping grease is sticky so as not to soil the packaging and to prevent on-the-shelf-for-who-knows-how-long rusting. ONLY the YuuuTooob generation has been led to believe that any new gun SHOULD shoot any ammo perfectly "right out of the box!" Guns are made in factories which are DIRTY, milling and grinding and sand-blasting and ceracote spraying, leaving grit and metal part…


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You've been with us long enough to know why we run guns out of the box. As I've explained many times before I do it because there are many out there who don't know any better. I like to see if the gun can be run that way and when there are instances that are clearly the result of gunk or not enough lubrications we stop and remedy it. In the case of this gun failing to fire one specific brand of ammunition it's most likely that this gun can't reliably fire that ammunition and no at-the-range lubrication or wipe down would remedy that.

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