Review of the Ruger LC9: Is it TOO Safe?

By CTD Blogger published on in Reviews

Caleb Giddings wrote a brief review and discussed the details of Ruger’s compact LC9 9mm pistol when it was first announced in early January 2011. When we received our first shipment of LC9 pistols, we immediately took one out for testing and evaluation.

Black Ruger LC9, barrel pointed to the right, in a box

First, we took the new shooter to the photo studio and opened the box to see what goodies Ruger included with its new pistol. It was a pleasant surprise to see a Ruger-branded, soft-sided case was included, along with the user manual and a magazine. Also included are:

  • A standard cable-padlock
  • Two keys for the padlock
  • Two more keys with the Ruger emblem, which fit a child safety lock on the rear of the right side of the pistol. They are also necessary to field strip the pistol, so don’t lose them!

 

Ruger LC9 Functions

Ruger included a manual, frame-mounted thumb safety on the LC9 that blocks the firing pin and locks the slide in place—similar to the safety on a 1911. The trigger pull is a consistent and silky-smooth double-action pull, with no double-strike capability. The slide must be cycled for the action to be charged. This was a bit perplexing since the LC9 is not a striker-fired pistol and instead relies on a mainspring and hammer.

Hand holding the LC9 with the focus on the sights.The sights are a simple 3-dot setup with a windage-adjustable front and fixed rear sight.
The LC9 has a California-approved loaded chamber indicator which clearly displays unmistakable tactile and visual cues indicating the pistol has a round chambered. At first glance, it may appear the chamber indicator would interfere with the front sight; fortunately, a quick glance after lining up the white 3-dot sights shows it is low enough to remain out of the way.

The LC9 is equipped with a magazine disconnect safety that locks the action when the magazine is removed. The design allows the gun to fire if the magazine is at least partially inserted. This prevents the LC9 from being disabled in a firefight if the mag release is inadvertently engaged or the mag is not fully seated.

The magazine itself is a single-stack design with a 7-round capacity. It comes from the factory with a finger grip extension installed on the baseplate to give you more positive control. You can easily remove the grip extension to reduce printing when carrying concealed.

In fact, the entire pistol has been designed for concealed carry. Ruger added a slide lock/release lever and a small, easily usable frame-mounted safety, both features requested by customers. With both a thumb safety and double-action trigger, and a total width of just .9-inch, the LC9 is perfect as a pocket-carry gun.

The controls are low profile, and the edges have been given a melt treatment and rounded smooth to eliminate snagging when drawing from concealment.

 

At the Range

Black LC9 in a man's hands, with the fous on the takedown keyOn the range, the LC9 performed flawlessly.

  • Recoil was a bit snappy, though manageable, using 115-grain 9mm FMJ BVAC ammunition.
  • Muzzle velocities averaged around 1125 FPS, which is just about right given the LC9’s short 3-inch barrel.
  • The sights on most pistols this size are marginal at best, although the bright 3-dot sight system on the LC9 was instinctive and on target at 7 yards out of the box.
  • Groups measured three to six inches at 7 yards and given the long, double-action trigger and small sight radius,  this is quite acceptable for little pistol.

Disassembly of the LC9 is tedious to say the least. Field stripping requires the use of the Ruger-provided key. If that is not available a punch, nail or other similar device works. A takedown panel on the left side of the pistol reveals a takedown pin, which must be aligned with a notch in the slide and then punched out from the other side using Ruger’s special tool.

After that, disassembly is fairly straightforward. The slide pulls forward off of the frame, and the dual recoil springs and guide rod assembly are easily removed followed by the barrel.

Too Safe?

 

Dark gray metal of the LC9, with a focus on the takedown palteSome have argued Ruger missed the mark with this gun by including so safety features and controls. The fault, however, lies with the gun’s creators. While Ruger performed the engineering and design needed to put the pistol into production, the features incorporated into the LC9 were drawn from their “Voice of the Customer” program.

California and other states with restrictive gun control laws make up a large portion of Ruger’s customer base, and the inclusion of a large chamber indicator and child-safety lock ensured the LC9 met the legal guidelines for those states.

Ruger CEO Michael Fifer commented on the genesis of the LC9 saying, “On the heels of the overwhelming and ongoing success of the LCP, customers repeatedly requested a lightweight, compact 9mm pistol. Frankly, they wanted an LCP chambered in 9mm. Delivering an American-made, compact 9mm that provides the same legendary Ruger reliability as the award-winning LCP, LCR and SR9 became our focus. Meeting customer expectations is our goal and key to Ruger’s continuing success.”

Dark gray LC9 with a takedown key lying on top of itWhile some may dislike features such as the magazine disconnect and chamber-loaded indicator, Ruger clearly listened to customer requests. The overwhelming majority requested features that ensure the pistol is available and legal in nearly any local jurisdiction.

With the typical attention to performance and reliability, Ruger has developed yet another fantastic pistol that is sure to appeal to anyone seeking an easily concealed 9mm defensive handgun.

Ruger LC9 Specifications:

  • Overall length: 6 inches
  • Barrel length: 3.12 inches
  • Width: 0.90-inch
  • Height: 4.50 inches
  • Weight: 17.10 ounces
  • Capacity: 7+1 rounds
  • Rifling: 6 groove, 1:10 right-hand twist
  • Finish: Blued

Click here to purchase a Ruger LC9

Check out a selection of holsters that fit the Ruger LC9

Have you taken the Ruger LC9 for a spin? What did you like? Not like? Share your opinion in the comment section.

 

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Comments (142)

  • Ric D

    |

    I purchased my LC9 for off duty concealed carry. I looked at the .380 models and they didn’t comfortably fit my hand I wasn’t comfortable with them. My glock 27 is a little too wide to be easily and comfortably concealed, so I researched several sc9 models and then chose the LC9. Out of the box 7 and 15 yard groupings were great and gave me confidence. Now with close to 1K rounds through it, the groupings are even better and there have been no misfires.

    The safety features aren’t required in Texas, but they don’t bother me either. I don’t need to use the child safety key and don’t. The chamber indicator looks funny, but doesn’t affect the lc9 in any way. Using the thumb safety also isn’t an issue. Basically, you don’t have to use the safety or lock if you don’t want to. If you are worried about potential misfires because of the safety features, you don’t have to purchase the LC9.

    Some people are worried about the slide release. I’m not sure if you can one it to the point of making it easier over time, but for me, I’m able to rack it so quickly that the thumb release isn’t an issue.

    I don’t think that the LC9 is for everybody. In fact it’s all about what works for you and if you are comfortable with a certain weapon over another, you will have more confidence in that weapon and probably shoot it better as well. If you get hung up on the trigger pull, or safety, or chamber indicator, or the child lock for that matter, then you will probably not be a fan. If you, however, overcome your distaste for those things and actually go out and practice, then you may be surprised.

    Either way, if you don’t like the gun for any reason, you really don’t have to get it. As for me, the LC9 packs the punch I want it to, and is easily concealable. It also fits well in my hand, and shoots really well, even when doing stress drills. Cheers

    Reply

  • Scott McCall

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    I bought the LC9 with the built in Lasermax last week. For the gun, an extra clip, and 2 boxes off ammo walked out at just about $450. Excellent value in my opinion. Went through about 80 rounds the first day without any flaws. Accuracy is good. Takedown is not as bad as some may lead you to believe, I am not overly mechanically inclined but I disassembled and reassembled with very little trouble. I think overall Ruger did a fine job making a rugged little carry gun at a great value. So far I love this pistol and would definitely recommend it to other shooters.

    Reply

  • Lorie

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    I got my LC9 about 3 weeks ago. I have fired over 500 rounds and have not had any misfires. We got the Ruger SR9C 2 months ago and have fired over 1000 rounds and no misfire. We really love are Rugers.

    Reply

  • Royce

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    I just purchased an LC9 today … I’m finding the release for the slide will not disengage properly …. My thumb will not do the job . I have to pull the slide back and engage the release manually to load a round! Any Suggestions???? I have not fired a round thru this weapon yet !

    Reply

  • ariel

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    So, Ruger says, “customers repeatedly requested a lightweight, compact 9mm pistol. Frankly, they wanted an LCP chambered in 9mm.”

    Yeah, but we didn’t GET an LCP in 9mm. Instead we got something a lot larger and heavier with a bunch of so-called “safety” features the LCP does not have.

    No sale for me.

    Reply

  • Gretchen

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    I think many of you have MISUNDERSTOOD the saftey features,just because it is on the gun with the key lock does not mean you have to use it. And just because, all guns now comes with its own pad lock type does not mean you have to use it. IT has options to use “ALL” of the safety features which is a good idea with homes with small children in them. And it is up to the parents to USE these features. IT does not mean YOU have to use these safety’s … IT is extra protection which personally I like. KUDOS to you Ruger, for the options to USE the features build in.. It is my responsibility to CHOOSE which safety I want to use on my gun, and I am happy I have a choice.
    As far as my grouping, i was very pleased 8 rounds in a 3 in grouping.. the size fits my hand perfectly but my husbands pinky don’t fit.. lol.. but he has is own guns that suit him. I am VERY PLEASED with the LC9.. I will be getting another one soon..

    Reply

  • Yousef J

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    I love the LCP and the LC9 will be my next buy. I do think they went a little crazy with the safeties but ohwell you don’t have to use any if them if you don’t want to. If you don’t have enough training to make sure you guns safety is off then I think I would question your ability to even handle a firearm. If you don’t like the safeties don’t buy the gun. Some people feel comfortable with them. This is America and we believe in capitalism no one is forcing you to buy the gun. Tired of whiney pro gun extremists giving everyone that is pro second amendment (which if you are not to some degree I question your belief in the Constitution) a bad reputation.

    Reply

  • Viejo

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    Who has done a serious comparison of Kel-Tec PF9 and the Ruger LC9 please post your findings.

    Reply

  • richw

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    I think that most of you that are saying “if you don’t like the safeties don’t use them” are missing the point. All those extra safeties are misfires waiting to happen. If it’s mechanical it can break. Why do you think Glocks are so reliable? Because they don’t have all that extra bs.

    If you think Ruger needs to make guns CA. compliant to sell them try to find a SR1911 right now. They’ve been out for almost a year and you still can’t get them. They purchase a whole new production line to double the number of 1911’s they turn out and still can’t make enough of them.

    I’m a ruger fan, I have both a Redhawk in .44mag and one of the new SR1911’s. They are quality guns made in the USA but I won’t buy something with all these stupid safeties that could cost me my life. The long trigger pull of a DA only gun is your safety, there is no way for that gun to fire without intentionally pulling the trigger. I’m probably going to spend the extra money and buy a Kahr without all the bs.

    Reply

  • Freddy Mack

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    I bought the LC9 in August of 2011. The first time I fired it I had a bunch of Misfires. I thought it might have been the Ammo I used because it was cheap. I tried a better Ammo and had 15 Misfires out of 50 rounds. I brought the LC9 back to where I got it and they sent it back to Ruger. Two weeks and I got it back. Put 200 Rounds through it and it did not misfire once. Ruger replaced the Firing Pin and Spring. I am very happy with this weapon. Compact and easy to carry and I have the punch of a 9 MM. I think Ruger is a very under-rated pistol. Well made. Safe to use.

    Reply

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