Picked up a Ruger P85 in a family deal.


February 11, 2013, 09:55 AM
I bought it from a relative that is raising cash for an adoption and cannot have any guns in the house during the process. I have never fired the gun but it is in pretty good shape for a gun this old.

It is a 9mm and also came with 11 boxes of ammo which made the deal even sweeter. I probably over paid for the gun a bit but I want to help him out and the ammo makes it a good deal unless the gun will not work at all.

I have no experience with this pistol so what do I need to look out for or expect? I see them on Gunbroker going for a little over $300 in today's stupid market but what is it actually worth? It is NOT for sale but I like to assign a value to all my firearms.

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February 11, 2013, 10:32 AM
For the price they're hard to beat.


Mine had a problem extracting and it caused stove-pipe failures, but Ruger fixed it.
The only things I didn't like about it was this:

The grip is slippery (hence the rubber tube sleeve in the picture).

The mag release is too sharp (I filed mine down a little to blunt it), and you have to push it somewhat forward instead of straight inward.

It's a bit chunky compared to some other 9mm pistols.

And I don't care for the safety on the slide and the swipe up to fire.

Having said that, it was still a gun pistol after Ruger repaired it.

February 11, 2013, 10:39 AM
Awful gun. You should sell it to me...:)


February 11, 2013, 11:01 AM
Mine had a problem extracting and it caused stove-pipe failures, but Ruger fixed it.

I know the P89 extractor is different on the the working end than the P85's.

Loc n Load
February 11, 2013, 11:19 AM
As with all Ruger's, the P-85 is rugged and functional. I worked for a large LE agency that procured thousands of them in 95 and we shot them for several years until we replaced with the Beretta 92. The Rugers held up well with thousands of rounds being run through them.....they have to be cleaned and maintained as do all firearms....I was an instructor / armorer and supervised tens of thousands of rounds down range in the Ruger's . Your P-85 will serve you well.

February 11, 2013, 04:51 PM
You can see in the picture that it does have a few small rust spots that I will try to take off. I fired 4 mags of FMJ today, in the rain, and had no problems at all. I was looking at minute of paper plate accuracy today and really just wanted to see how it handled. Seemed solid and as accurate as I wanted for today.

Blue .45
February 11, 2013, 05:33 PM
There was a recall on the early P 85s for a firing pin/safety issue.

We are installing a safety modification that replaces the safety and firing pin mechanism of the original Ruger P85 9mm pistols, manufactured between 1987-1990.

This modification does not apply to any P85 which has “MKIIR” stamped on either the right or left safety; the “MKIIR” identifies that the safety modification has already been installed.

The modification also does not apply to any other model P-Series pistol (including the P85MKII), as this safety system is installed in all other models at the time of production.
All Ruger P85 pistols should be fitted with this new safety system because a P85 pistol fitted with the new safety system will not accidentally discharge when the safety/decocker lever is engaged if the firing pin is broken in a particular way.

That’s very important! It can help prevent accidents caused by the user’s failure to take the basic safety precaution of always keeping the pistol pointed in a safe direction, especially when loading, unloading or decocking.

For more details,you can download the .pdf file from Ruger's website located at the bottom of the page.


As others have said, the P series guns have a reputation for being reliable and durable among their owners, myself included.

February 11, 2013, 07:15 PM
A gun that old? That would be the NEWEST of my guns. I think my most recent is a 1989 CZ-85.

February 11, 2013, 08:20 PM
They're big, they're ugly and the work fantastically. I'm planning on picking one up as they have a bit of sentiment to me (first handgun I ever fired). It's worth every bit of $300 imo.

February 11, 2013, 08:26 PM
Wait, why can he not have guns during an adoption?

February 11, 2013, 08:37 PM
That was my department-issued sidearm back in around 1990. Big, loose, clunky, and rock-solid. Would fire and cycle in any conditions, and at any angle. The much-more-expensive SiG P226 of that era was known for failing when dirty, or when fired upward or downward (never saw that firsthand, as I knew no one with one.) However, to carry the Ruger, all I had to do was qualify with it, having come to that agency from another. I did so, but all my formal training had been with double-action revolvers, and I had had none with semi-automatics. I really couldn't shoot it nearly as well as I could the revolver.

I left law enforcement not long after, and never really learned to shoot DA/SA autoloaders well until the middle of the 2000-2010 decade, having been largely out of the firearm scene for quite some time.

February 11, 2013, 08:39 PM
Ruger P-series are all tough, reliable and effective. The blocky grip contains a goodly number of cartridges and it suits my hand. Ugly? well, not asugly as some other brands. I've never had a problem with a slippery grip slipping and rounds consistently go where I want them.
I prefer my P89 to the 85, but for $300 plus the ammo, you did well.

February 12, 2013, 09:36 AM
Wait, why can he not have guns during an adoption? __________________
They are trying to adopt a child from Ukraine and that is one of the stipulations for "hosting". If the adoption is finalized then I am sure they can have guns but he needs the cash to get everything done.

February 12, 2013, 10:55 AM
Adopting a child is an expensive process and if you are adopting from overseas the red tape can be immense. I got into adoption practice for a short while before leaving it. The expense, headaches, and occassional heartache is horrible. Just passing a background check, passing a psychological evaluation, and proving a history of five years of stable income is for some reason not enough to make you a suitable parent. But these kids sitting in some rotting orphanage is a preferable condition. And god forbid the biological mother or father suddenly appear to contest the adoption after having had the child taken from them or they abandoned the child. And yes guns in the home can be a no-go when dealing with foreign orphanages.

February 12, 2013, 08:11 PM
I had a p-98 that I traded because it was to big to CCW. They are tanks.

February 12, 2013, 09:23 PM
P-85's are great. The thing to look for is the MkII conversion.That is all that you really need to do and Ruger will do it free.Call them, they will help.Other than that, enjoy!

February 12, 2013, 10:54 PM
I called Ruger and they sent me a UPS label to ship it to Arizona. Thanks for the heads up on the recall. The gun was manufactured on October 26th 1989.

February 13, 2013, 01:12 PM

I bought a P85 in California when I was stationed in San Diego back in the 1980's. It came with 2 15 round magazines and I bought an 18 round magazine. It was a different time then. It's still one of my favorite guns.

February 14, 2013, 10:32 AM
The P-85 is a big, ugly, reliable pistol. Never had an issue with mine, its not the most accurate pistol I own, but it gets the job done and can be counted on the work every time I need it. I wouldn't feel too bad if it was the only handgun I owned.

As others have pointed out, make sure that yours has had the safety upgrade performed, the Ruger website will give the details.

February 15, 2013, 10:34 AM
The P-95 is big & ugly but soft shooting, reliable and affordable.
They are highly underrated IMO.

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