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)

  • Gymowner

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    I had one for 3 months, the trigger slop ws unbearable and the length of the pull just impossible. I changed the trigger out to the RTK short stroke, it never functioned right, hit and miss, even with the adjustments maxed out it would not reset 30 % of the time, the gun was the poorest made internally that I have ever seen, the trigger spring and bar are a joke.
    If you take it apart prepare for hours of a balancing act to re assemble it , then get the trigget to slide up while pushing the chassis down. The gun is just the most cheaplly made gun I have ever seen. after the 10th time taking it apart due to the trigger bar sliding off the tiny paperclip looking trigger spring, I just traded it in on a shield, it’s a shame, the gun carried well. But if you take it apart you will be disgusted , “if you know guns to se how it’d made.

    Reply

  • William

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    Does anybody know if Ruger has any plans to modify, or improve the trigger?

    Reply

  • Grenadier

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    I’ve fired about 400 rounds from my LC9 and never had a malfunction of any kind. The LC9 is light, easy to conceal, reliable, accurate pistol with 9mm punch. LC9 safety features do not bother me or hamper function of the pistol in any way. I am comfortable with loaded chamber indicator and the safety. Take down is simple and fast. For me, the LC9 is an excellent personal defense firearm.

    Reply

  • Lindsay

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    I am a Woman and I just purchased the LC9 Silver Eagle Edition, and I wanted to give a Woman’s Review of this gun. I did a lot of research before buying this gun and almost purchased the LCP instead, but once I held the LC9 I fell in love. Light Weight, and I personally liked all of the safety features the gun has. I dont use most of them all the time but I like knowing I have them. I have smaller children. I have read reviews where people have said it kicks like a mule, I did not find that to be true. I thought it had an average kick at most. Not much more than a lot of the 22’s that we shoot. What I found more startling was the sound, but with a few rounds that was less noticeable. We have 22’s that are equally as loud. Everyone expected the gun to kick like hell because it is so light weight and they were all amazed when it did not! I did not have to adjust my grip after each shot.. was easily able to maintain my grip and quickly line up my next shot. Some of the guys that shot my gun complained about the long trigger pull, I did not even notice it. They all carry guns that have a much lighter trigger and I think this was less noticeable for me this being my first personal conceal carry gun. Everyone including me thought it was a smooth trigger. This gun is a beast, I feel very confident with it. At 20 yards I can easily hit what I am aiming at. My husband took a 50 yard shot and hit one out of 6. We also own a Keltec 9mm, this gun is much cheaper made than my ruger but is built to be quite the same, the kick is harder on the keltec and the accuracy on the keltec is all over the place. Locally we do not have much selection for ammo, Blazer or Remington, we shot exclusively Blazer Brass, 50-75 rounds with multiple shooters and no misfeeds of any kind. I did thoroughly clean the gun when I got it home, it had a lot of grease in every nook and cranny and it took some time to get it all out! I am extremely pleased with this gun! Would recommend it to any woman. And all of the men love it too! You will love this gun!

    Reply

  • Brod

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    I have to say something about the Ruger LC9.
    My wife and I Have two of them. We went shooting
    with her dad to show him our new guns.
    my wife shot hers first and at 20 feet with the
    target was 2feet up from the ground.
    She shot 4foot into the ground in front of the target.
    She is a great shot with any kind of gun and was embarerassed
    in front of her dad. My LC9 was the same way.
    I talked to Ruger about this problem and no good since from them.
    So I machined a new sites for it raising it 3/16 higer in the rear.
    Now the gun WILL HIT 5 in a 6 in circle at 20 feet.
    Sorry guys, at Ruger you should have talked to me
    and not fed me the wrong info about your rear site.
    But we love the guns now…………..

    Reply

  • Billy Ray Cowan

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    Now that I have my new LC9, I’m finding out it’s not what I expected. I’m sorry Ruger but it’s not a good thing. After watching the 22 minute video on-line I kinda thought that the LC0 was going to shoot like a dream both close as well as somewhat a desent distance but no, that was not the case at all. Took it to the range and could not hit a bull in the butt with it. Now I’ve been shooting guns all my life so I know it’s not me. The so called adjustable sights were not what I expected either. I expected to be able to zero it in if needed but not able to because the sight does not adjust up and down. One more thing. Ruger needs to figure out a way to eliminate the long trigger pull. I strongly believe that if I can figure out a way to remove half the trigger pull I will be able to shoot it much better and any distance. Other than what I said, The LC9 is perfect size for concealed carry….

    Reply

  • Ric D

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    I know have over 3K rounds through the LC9, no misfires during normal shooting at all. I let a friend shoot it, and she DID have some misfires. We took a look at what was going on and it turns out she did not have a firm enough grip on the pistol and once she worked on the grip there were no more misfires. As for jeffs comment about no tool necessary to break down the LC9, you must use something to get the takedown pin out. I use the key, you can use a small pin or screwdriver to push it out.

    Reply

  • Jeff martin

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    No tool is necessary to break down the pistol. And it is absolutely not necessary to use the internal lock tool for anything but the IL….end of story. Sheesh…I thought all the whiners were here in California!

    Reply

  • Ken R

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    Purchased an LC9 not long ago. I have fired 350 rounds with an 20% failure to eject the old casing. Not acceptable for a CCW.
    one shot may not be enough. Sent back to Ruger waiting for return and to hear what they have to say. if not fixed will trade in for New S&W MP shield or light weight revolver.

    Reply

  • Zeno B

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    I carry an LC-9, terrific defensive CC. The Germans killed many people with 9mm in WWI and WWII, it’s plenty big enough. 1) If your not comfortable with a safety, your incompetent, rent a body guard. 2) Best practice: go to the range, draw your weapon and fire two rounds to kill, go home. If you’ve been in more than 10 gunfights you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t and don’t believe it, learn to run fast. In 4 Viet tours with SF I have never heard of a magazine dropping out during a gun fight, it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard. Folks, you need to cut down on your comic book reading!

    Reply

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