Retro Gun Review: Ruger's P90DC in .45 ACP


August 1991 issue of Guns & Ammo with the Ruger P90DC sporting a pair of aftermarket Uncle Mikes grips.

It was classic Ruger — an affordable DA/SA .45 automatic with some nice features that didn’t break the bank.

The P90 had a slide-mounted safety/de-cocker that would later become ambidextrous, a swappable magazine release button, a stainless steel finish, a combat style squared off trigger guard, and a good pair of fixed three-dot combat sights.

Ruger also released a de-cocker-only model, the P90DC and I happen to have one.

What was the safety lever is simply a spring-loaded de-cocker on the P90DC. Aside from than that, it’s the same design as the P90.

Mine is an early production model. It doesn’t have an ambidextrous de-cocker lever, only one on the left side.

The P90DC shipped from the factory with two seven-round magazines. Ruger updated the magazine design to eight-rounders when they released their polymer framed .45 ACP gun, the P97.

The P97 and even later P345 used the same magazine design as the P90. Original 7rd magazine on the left and the updated 8rd magazines on the right. Notice the difference in the followers.

Taking the P90DC apart for cleaning is kind of like a 1911. Well, actually no it is not. This is an interesting critter to say the least.

Make sure the pistol is empty of course, remove the magazine, lock the slide back, and flip down the ejector. Yes, you read that right. Flip down the ejector. It was Ruger that came up with this idea, long before Smith & Wesson did with their M&P series.

Anyway, after doing that, you then align the slide catch lever with the takedown notch.

See the ejector on the bottom left by the breech face of the slide? That’s what you flip down.
Here, you see the ejector flipped down, without doing this, the gun will not disassemble for cleaning.

The slide catch lever of the P90DC is captured. So that’s one less part you have to worry about losing.


The barrel is a hybrid. It has a 1911-style swing link but a SIG Sauer-style locking block.


As I said earlier, the gun was somewhat of a hit. It won some modest contracts in the law enforcement market. Famed gun writer and instructor, Massad Ayoob carried one as a reserve police officer.

Look on Ayoob’s duty belt, you can see the stainless mags and the back end of the Ruger automatic.

But the P90’s greatest claim to fame was being very popular in the civilian market since it was an affordable, reliable .45 Auto.

During the Clinton AWB years, gun owners were limited to ten rounds or less. A single stack DA/SA .45 automatic with a eight-round capacity wasn’t a bad choice. But capacity the only reason why the P90 was a popular pistol. It also got some screen time too.



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