Posted By Mac66 on December 23, 2013
Just obtained a new Ruger LC9. I know there are lots of reviews on the internet but I thought I would offer up some first impressions.
First some background….Been carrying a gun for 37 years, 34 of that in law enforcement. Been retired for 3 years now. I have carried just about everything over the years both on and off duty, undercover, as a backup etc. That goes from small .25 and .22 autos to j frame revolvers, original AMT Backup .380, Charter Arms .44 bulldogs, Star PD .45 auto, Keltec P32s and P11s, full size 1911s, Glocks, XDs, etc, etc.
Never was big fan of 9mm but I own several and carried a Keltec P11 which I thought was good pocket gun being a compromise between caliber and firepower. Recently I’ve been carrying a small Charter Arms Off Duty .38 with a hip grip just stuck in my waistband/appendix carry. Works well but I would prefer something with a higher capacity. I sold my P11 about 5 years ago to a friend of my wife who had a threatening ex husband. The deal was I get to buy it back when she no longer needs it or has replaced it with something else. Been looking at replacing the P11 with another one if I could find one at a good price. Other alternatives were the Ruger LCP in . 380, the Keltec 3AT from which the Ruger design was stolen/borrowed, the Keltec PF9, a single stack 9mm or the Ruger LC9 which is Ruger’s version of the PF9, another borrowed design. I preferred 9mm over .380 so the PF9 and LCP were choices one being cheap and the other being free. The Ruger contest I won allowed me to pick a couple free guns so the choice became obvious.
Ruger has come a long way with their service pistols since the “P” series. The “Ps” (P89, P90, P95, P97) were good guns but somewhat heavy and clunky. Not very esthetic either. Ruger’s LC (LCP 380 and LC9) as well as their new SR series (9, 40 & 45) are much nicer looking and working pistols. The LC9 is a good looking and well made pocket gun.
It is a nice size for a pocket pistol. It is shorter than my classic Colt Model 1903 .32 which is the granddaddy standard of pocket pistols. The LC9 is not too small or two big though I can only get two fingers on the grip. The grip is also pretty thin and is IMO uncomfortable to hold. Overall though the pistol is well rounded and ergonomic.
Good and Bad and Indifferent
Nice size for a pocket gun
Trigger while very long was pretty smooth on this pistol.
7 round mag is better than a 5 shot revolver. I also got an 9 round extended mag
Accurate and reliable-I put a hundred rounds of 5 different kinds of ammo. All shoot to point of aim and no malfunctions.
Long, long trigger pull. You really have to learn the trigger and resets on this pistol or you will definitely short stroke it.
Small sights with small white dots.
Need a tool to field strip it (the safety key can be used but who is going to carry that around with them?)
With the small grip the recoil is stout and follow up shots need considerable concentration on the target.
It comes with a bunch of safety features including a manual thumb safety, a loaded chamber indicator, magazine disconnect safety and a key lock out. In our litigious society these are added to keep idiots from shooting themselves or others and suing the company.
I listed these as indifferent since you don’t really need to use any of them except the mag disconnect. I am used to a thumb safety on my 1911 and other pistols but with the long double action trigger pull (The Keltec P11, P32 don’t have safeties) you really don’t need an additional safety. Don’t like it? Don’t use it. However, whatever you decide to do at least be consistent. Either use it all the time or don’t use it at all. In a stressful situation you will get confused and forget whether it is on or off.
Same goes with the key lock out thing. I would never use it since I no longer have kids in the house but it is a way to store it safely if others could have access to it. On the other hand this is a carry pistol not a home defense gun so it is likely to be in someone’s procession most of the time, not stored.
I didn’t even notice the loaded chamber indicator when I loaded the pistol. Some people don’t like it because of the why it looks, I don’t really care one way or another.
Mag disconnect. I’ve read reviews by people who say that the mag safety is tactically unsound in that you can’t shoot the gun during a reload. Consequently, they maintain, that the gun is not suitable as a carry gun except as a back up since it leaves you vulnerable. I get the ultimate tactics thing but it can sometimes be taken too far. A revolver can’t be fired during a reload, neither can an empty semi auto. So don’t carry them either??? Some people also advocate disabling the mag disconnect. I’ve done that on some guns (Browning Hi-Power) but I don’t advocate it from a liability issue. If someone (grandchild, spouse whoever) were to pick up your modified gun and inadvertently shoot themselves or someone else YOU ARE NEGLIGENT for disabling that safety device.
Recoil is snappy. Small light pistol with full power 9mm=snappy recoil. You have to learn it.
Mods and fixes:
First thing I did was dab some White Out, typewriter correction fluid (remember typewriters?) on the front and rear sights so I could see them better. That stuff lasts but is easy to remove. My eyes are older and I don’t pick up the front sight so well anymore.
Second thing is the old bicycle inner tube custom grip trick. Yeah, you could buy a slip on rubber grip thing. All my guns get the inner tube thing because it works and it cheap. Makes the grip more comfortable.
Third is ordering a belt clip for it. I had a belt clip on my P11 which allowed it to be carried inside the waistband without a holster. I also have one on my P32. They are a really handy way to carry these types of guns. Some people feel uncomfortable carrying a gun without a holster. I get that but save your preaching. This thing has a long, long double action trigger pull and a manual safety. Do what’s comfortable for you, I’ll do what works for me.
I know these are considered pocket guns but I’ve never really liked carrying a gun in a pocket even with a holster. I prefer it on or inside the belt.
I haven’t carried it out and about as my primary weapon yet but have been carrying it around the stuck in my waistband. It is very comfortable to carry to the point I forget I have it.
Size: 6″L X 4″H X .90″W
Weighs 17.1 oz,
Comes with one 7 round single stack mag. 2 round extenders are available
MSRP for the LC9 is $449 Street price runs $360-400
UPDATE: Since this article was written I have been carrying the LC9 pretty regularly. I do admit however that all those safeties bother me. Kind of a like an itch I can’t scratch. I don’t know why but it just bothers me. It’s like unnecessary clutter or something. In the mean time Ruger has come out with other versions of the LC9. The LC9s is a single action version that uses a short single action trigger that is a vast improvement over the long double action on the original. It retains all the safety features of the original. The LC9s Pro is single action version that eliminates the manual safety, chamber indicator and key lock. All those things I felt were unnecessary and that bother me. Apparently many others felt the same way and Ruger listened to them. I’ve had a chance to shoot the single action version and it is a huge improvement over the double action one. My original is now for sale and I will pick up an S Pro version when I get a chance.
It should be noted that prices have come down since the original article was written (at least online prices). I’ve seen the original LC9 online for as little as $289 and the single action versions for around $320. Check cdnnsports.com and budsgunshop.com and/or kygunco.com for good prices on these and other guns.
It should also be noted that Glock finally came out with a single stack compact 9mm called the 41.