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)

  • dave


    RUGER makes fine guns. can not please everyone. the SR9C & LC9 worked fine for me, before i sold them both. thinking about joining the GLOCK FAN CLUB now. leaning toward a G17 LONG SLIDE or maybe a standard G17. need more research.


  • Sailor eddie


    The long trigger pull on the LC9 can be overcome with a lot of practice.The thing that can’t be overcome is that the front sight has a tendency to move.The more you use it the more it moves.I fixed this with a hammer,a block of wood, and some loctite 271 (red).Everything is fine now.


  • Richard Barnes


    I accidently put the slide back on without the recoil spring. Now the slide will not come off. Its hitting a dead stop and I don’t know how to correct it.



  • bob


    I have a lc9s which is the best , but I have a problem when it come to putting it back together the pin will not go it right very hard what gives


  • Tom Harrison


    Love the size. Hated the trigger pull. The LC9S is a huge improvement.


  • Bill Thedford


    All of the overly safe features of this excellent double action concealed weapon are very easily disabled and the only real drawback for me was the one inch trigger pull and two pound stack which are easily overcome with an aftermarket hammer bar and spring to shorten the pull combined with an aftermarket 20 pound recoil spring and a really good polishing of the hammer bar safety removes all stack for an extremely smooth 3/4 inch no stack trigger I kept the thumb safety on mine a little range time and firing both left and right handed you get used to it I replaced the loaded chamber indicator with a polished modified indicator seems to me there would be a market for fluff and buff modifications pack for this weapon


  • Russ


    Love my LCP. Hate the LC9 for all the extra crap they added to it. Won’t buy it unless they redesign it like the LCP. That’s my voice. And my wallet. In lockstep! 😉


  • Luke


    The magazine safety seems foolish for a carry gun…

    Lets just say that you are attacked… and.. in the tussle the magazine release is accidentally depressed and the magazine drops free from the gun.. Now you have a loaded gun with 1 round the chamber and IT WILL NOT SHOOT….!!

    Sorry, not for me…. I would buy one if it were not for this shortcoming…


  • Ric


    Mike, I don’t really think the safety itself is an issue…Ruger generally puts out a great product, but I think the LC9 needs some revamping… I’ve had one for quite some time now and I’ve switched over to a different weapon for two reasons…

    1) The LC9 has the most horrible trigger pull I’ve ever seen in a gun and I shouldn’t have to buy a kit to fix the problem

    2) The extended mag needs to be seated better…. when practicing combat reloads I pinched my finger way to often to make the LC9 a viable off duty carry weapon.

    My original comments on this gun were favorable, however, over time and much use, the LC9 doesn’t suit my needs.


  • Mike H


    For those that Hate Safeties on Conceal Handguns such as the Ruger Models…..
    Just Don’t flip the safety on
    I have an SRc9 and Bought it based on plenty of Safety built into the weapon.
    That does not mean i have to use the safeties……so the option is there for anyones needs or preferences. I bought the SRc9 because it comes with a 17 round magazine and great safety features.


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