Ruger CarryHawk

A Fistful of Ruger Power

The Ruger CarryHawk follows in the Ruger tradition as being a rugged, reliable revolver.
It’s as tough as it looks!

Ruger’s release of the new TALO exclusive, the CarryHawk, is proof of their ability to please the masses by understanding their customer base. Think their Research & Development team has a crystal ball? How else would you explain the ability to read the minds of their customers?

It keeps Ruger on top. While production is one thing, you need to move what you produce, right? When asked long ago if he collected Ruger firearms, Bill Ruger sheepishly replied, “Hell no! I sell as many as I can.” And therein lies the key …

A New Bird of Prey

Ruger’s latest release, the CarryHawk, is a single-action shooter on a full-size Blackhawk frame carrying like a canary and packing the power of a pterodactyl! Ranchers, farmers, outdoorsmen, or other self-reliant sixgunners will love the rough and tough design.

Designed for people not afraid of drowning in their own sweat and knowing a traditional thumb-cocker is as viable today, as it was almost 150 years ago, the CarryHawk will get the job done. Fancy? Not really. Rugged and reliable? You bet.

This frill-free shooter is all business with its ruggedly good looks, playing the “tough guy” part as brilliantly as any Clint Eastwood character. And versatile? This dual-cylindered dandy is chambered in two of my favorite cartridges, the .45 Colt, along with the tried and true .45 ACP. How’s that for resourcefulness?

The Cartridges

The CarryHawk is a dual cylindered dynamo chambered in two well-known, big bore cartridges. By having two cylinders, you get twice the fun in the same gun. And two guns for the price of one with a simple cylinder change.

The Original .45

The .45 Colt is a battle-proven big-bore cartridge having nearly 150 years of service. It oozes history, versatility and potential, especially when handloaded to its many power levels. You know a gun is tough when it has its own category listed in the cartridge cookbooks known as “For Ruger Only” when looking up .45 Colt loads. The old .45 Colt can be loaded with bullets from 200- to 350-gr., shooting them hard and accurately in the Blackhawk-sized Rugers, making the original pistol cartridge more versatile than any other, at least in my opinion.

.45 ACP

The second cylinder is chambered for the .45 ACP, also a well-known performer with a proven history and track record as a man stopper. Abundant factory ammo gives the CarryHawk a wide variety of self-defense ammo and cheaper, plinking, or practice-type fodder.

Originally made for the 1911, the .45 ACP saw service as a revolver round when a shortage of 1911s during WWI became a problem. A smart S&W employee came up with moon-clips so the .45 ACP could be shot in revolvers. The CarryHawk doesn’t require moon-clips since the cartridge’s mouth headspace in the cylinder.

Still Gettin’ ’Er Done

The single action revolver is just as useful for today’s shooting needs, as it was when it was first introduced in 1873. Thumb-cocking sixguns are known for strength, simplicity and stubborn reliability. They rarely break down, something important when the nearest town is 200 miles away from your homestead.

The ability to shoot powerful cartridges accurately, compared to their semi-auto counterparts, are also pluses for the thumb-cocking crowd.

Even in Tank’s mitt, the CarryHawk was comfortable to shoot.

Compact Companion

The first thing you’ll notice about the CarryHawk is the round-butted birds-head grip-frame. Small enough to stay out of the way while concealed by a shirttail, yet big enough to hang onto when firing the heavy-loaded .45 Colt cartridge. Grip panels are nicely done, finished in smooth, black micarta, with gunfighter style contours and Ruger Phoenix inlays.

Having dual cylinders for the ubiquitous .45 Colt and .45 ACP cartridges gives this gun a wide range of factory loadings ranging in bullet weights from 185-grain .45 ACP target loads to 320-gr. cast lead Buffalo Bore ammo going over 1,200 fps. Pulling the base-pin allows one to swap cylinders with no tools.

What more could you ask for from a 4-5/8" barreled shorty? Accuracy was top notch
and the round-butt birds-head grip-frame was comfortable to shoot with, even with stout loads.

Shorty Barrel

The 4-5/8″ barrel makes the CarryHawk an easy packer and comfortable to boot, especially while riding in your truck, or sitting in a chair for lengthy periods of time. The barrel flats and unfluted cylinder add graceful lines to the already compact sixgun.

Tough Skinned

The CarryHawk has a rugged black-matte carbon finish that wears tougher than barbed wire. The Super Blackhawk styled hammer is serrated, and its spur lays lower than the Blackhawks, providing easier reach and positive purchase for thumb-cocking your hammer.

Here’s what your sight-alignment will look like.


The front-sight of the CarryHawk is all business, being a large XS white-bead front sight used in conjunction with a V-notch express rear sight, with a single white line. This combination provides a super-fast sight picture, especially for defensive type shooting.

Lolli-popping the big front bead on top of the white-line of the V-notch is all you need to do. The only downside to this type of sight system is precision shooting for groups. It’s tougher to maintain elevation with a round front sight compared to a flat front sight, but the sight picture provided by the large round front sight is definitely quicker.


Nothing is more nostalgic than thumbing fat cartridges into a single action sixgun, as you stare down your adversary in the middle of Main Street. There are faster ways of doing it. Speed strips for the .45 Colt and 1911 magazines for the .45 ACP are great ways for reloading your gun.

I like to carry speed strips in my strong side front pocket and retrieve them after I’ve unloaded empties and am ready to reload.

When using the .45 ACP cylinder, carrying a 1911 magazine in either your strong-side front pocket or magazine pouch is the way to go. Thumbing cartridges directly from the magazine to cylinder works wonderfully. Clipping a coil from the magazine will make thumbing the rounds out of the magazine easier, however, mark it so it’s only used for this purpose and not your 1911 carry gun.

What more could you ask for from a 4-5/8" barreled shorty? Accuracy was top notch
and the round-butt birds-head grip-frame was comfortable to shoot with, even with stout loads.


The round-butted birds-head grip allows for a comfortable hold, even while shooting hotly loaded Buffalo-Bore ammo, or the heaviest of handloads. I shot a variety of factory loads in both calibers and a few cast handloads of mine. Even after all these years, I still get a bigger kick shooting my own handloads. The CarryHawk performed as expected from a Ruger single-action revolver. Everything went bang.

For accuracy testing, I shot from the bench with my forearms resting on a 6″x6″ carpeted block at 50 feet.

.45 Colt

The standard black powder .45 Colt load pushed a 250-gr. radiused flat-nose bullet 900 fps. I duplicate this load by using a hand-cast LEE 255 RF designed bullet that’s been powder coated and loaded over 8.0-gr. of Winchester 231 powder. This bullet is one of the most accurate I cast from any brand mold and usually shoots around 1 to 1.5″ groups at 25 yards with most guns. With the CarryHawk’s sights, groups of 1.5″ were the norm.

I shoot a 320-gr. LBT long flat-nosed gas check (LFNGC) bullet I cast and load over 22-gr. of H110 and sparked by a CCI 350 magnum pistol primer. This load goes over 1,200 fps, even in the 4-5/8″ snubby barrel of the CarryHawk. This load also consistently groups 1 to 1.5″ at 25 yards in other guns, and I’ve shot several groups under 2″ at 50 yards. Again, due to the CarryHawks’s sights and shorter sight radius, groups of 1.5″ at 50 feet were the norm.

Buffalo Bore ammo was a very good performer in the CarryHawk. Advertised velocities were very close to actual velocities, which when coming from a 4-5/8″ short-barreled gun says something. The Heavy 45 Colt +P 260-gr. JHP advertised at 1,450 fps shot into just over an inch at 50 feet. The Heavy 45 Colt +P Outdoorsman packs a 325-gr. cast bullet at 1,325 fps and is an eye-opener. Recoil is manageable with the round-butt birds-head grip, more so than with a traditional plow handle in my opinion. Groups of around 1.5″ were standard at 50 feet.

Tank used Buffalo-bore and SIG SAUER factory ammo for testing.
Both performed exceptionally well.

.45 ACP

Buffalo Bores .45 ACP +P Outdoorsman load was the winner as far as accuracy goes. With an advertised velocity of 925 fps with a 255-gr. FN bullet, it’s a thumper. Groups of 1″ were standard fare at 50 feet. This shows accuracy is possible with great ammo. I’m really impressed with Buffalo Bore’s cast bullet loads.

SIG SAUER’s V-Crown 230-gr. load shot almost as well, averaging around 1.5″ at 50 feet for five shots.

Rob Leahy’s Sourdough Pancake is perfect for a hard-use, carry everywhere working gun.
Its full coverage protection will keep your shooter safe and sound. Spare ammo is carried
in his 2x2x2 ammo pouch and magazine pouch for .45 ACP.

Simply Rugged For A Rugged Revolver

I had Rob Leahy of Simply Rugged make me one of his classic Sourdough pancake holsters for the CarryHawk. It provides full coverage of the gun while also having the uncanny ability to hold your shooter tight and snug against your body.

The holster’s design tapers or feathers the belt slots to your body providing a printless profile during concealed carry. Plus, it’s a natural for the CarryHawk. He also sent a magazine pouch and 2x2x2 cartridge carriers to cover all bases for spare ammo needs. Rob’s gear will last a lifetime of hard use.

Last Word

Keeping in the famous tradition by providing rugged and reliable firearms for the plaid shirt, work-boot brigade of men and women, Ruger’s CarryHawk single-action six-shooter will perform perfectly in any endeavor it’s called upon. Whether used in concealed carry while going to town, rounding-up strays on the back 40, or having a means of back-up during hunting season, the CarryHawk will handsomely handle all chores.

If the smell of sweat-soaked leather, lathered horses, dog hair and dirt are pleasing to your senses, the CarryHawk is the kind of gun for you. It will make for good company in those heartwarming conditions sitting around any campfire, strapped to your hip, ready for the worst.

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