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)

  • clamboslice

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    The thing is absurd, lousy ergonomics, lousy trigger, huge recoil, can’t hit a barn door, etc.
    A guy above said he got a tiny group from this trash at 25 yards? Maybe clamped to a vise with a string to pull the trigger.
    Why is this post negative? I am afraid some new gun buyer will google the gun and read glowing reviews.
    This is a lousy popgun the only thing it does is go bang, that’s not enough for me to buy anything.
    I suppose it’s an effective weapon from a couple of yards, but why buy junk?

    Reply

  • clamboslice

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    A guy let me try this gun one day at the club. This gun stinks. Don’t believe me and go waste your money, it’s your dough not mine. You’ve been warned.

    Reply

  • parc bébé

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    Highly descriptive post, ӏ еnjoyed that bіt.

    Will there be a ρart 2?

    Reply

  • B Burke

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    I will stand behind my orginal post. The Ruger LC9 still has the same problem its always had, the rear sights are not tall enough. 3/16 of a inch higher will correct the gun to perfect sights, three white dots lined up gives you a dead on target at 20 feet. I have shot several other peoples LC9’s and its always the same results. IN THE DIRT BELOW THE TARGET.
    Now then, the Ruger Mark 2 22lr was and still the best Ruger hand gun I have ever owned. It is 30 yrs old and still very accurate at 100′.

    I always wished they would turn that same size hand gun into a 9mm, then they would have another dinger you couldnt wear out……

    Reply

  • jim richey

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    I bought a LC( and like it a lot except for the slide release-it takes two thumbs to get enough pressure to release it-i intend to take it to a gunsmith and see if they can fix it. I am a big guy but i do not have enough power in one thumb to release the slide.

    Reply

  • B Burke

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    Ruger needs to know that the LC9 rear sights are to low and need to be moved up 3/16 of a inch to line up the contrast sights correct. Met several people that has the problem.
    Tryed to talk to them but they refused to change a .50 cent part.

    Reply

  • Paul

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    After a year with the LC9, I have found the trigger pull to be far too long. Sometimes I even have to let up on the trigger and readjust. Also, as noted by some others, it shoots low. The incorporated safeties don’t bother me, and the gun is a perfect combination of size and wallop, but that trigger pull is just too annoying.

    Reply

  • Shooter Rick

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    I’ve owned my LC9 for a little over a year now. I found I don’t need that little key to take out the take-down pin. If you hold the slide on the pistol just right after opening the little gate blocking the take-down pin, the pin drops out easily.

    I also concealed-carry this in states I’m licensed to do so, and I like actual the safety. I train with it so I’m used to activating/deactivating it. It’s purely a personal preference. Like someone said before, “If you don’t like it, don’t use it”. I like it because I use a Techna-Clip on my LC9. So when I tuck just the pisol into my 4 o’clock w/o a holster, I know the safety is keeping the trigger safe.

    As long as you TRAIN with a using safety, you can use it easily, quickly, and effectively.

    Reply

  • B Burke

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    I have never said I didnt like the LC9. My wife and I have one each but the rear contrast sights are to low causeing the gun to shoot in the ground at 25 feet with the target at shoulder hight. I tryed to get ruger to do something about it but the told me to send it back to them and they would sight it for us. Nothing doing I fixed the rear sights by re-machining them 3/16 of and in. higher and the gun now shoots perfect as it should in the first place. As far as having any other problems with it we have not……
    Ruger you need to replace the rear sight or front,then you will have a good little hand gun. My wife was feelings were really hurt since she is a great shooter.

    Reply

  • G171926cow

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    As far as the safeties go, I didn’t find them to be any problem at all. I’m not sure why so many people seem to be so put off by them, but I for one wouldn’t consider the safeties to be this guns major issue. And by the way “Pidster”, CA certainly does allow concealed carry. Just do a quick search. Granted CA is one of the most restricted states, but we do have our CCL, and I thought the LC9 would be the perfect choice for a carry weapon. I did a dumb thing for the first (and last) time, and I bought one before I even had a chance to check it out. I ended up returning it (for lack of a better term) after using one at my range. That trigger pull was just ridiculous to me. Maybe it is just because of what I am used to, but it was not only long, it just felt “off” to me. I think with a trigger job I would have really like this gun, but since I was getting it as a carry gun, and I know in CA I can’t carry a gun with a modified trigger, I wouldn’t have had a use for it. If the trigger doesn’t bother you, and the whole “Key to open” thing is ok, then you will probably really like the LC9.Back to the search for me…

    Reply

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