First Impressions: Ruger LC9

One reason Jay and I went shooting the other night was so I could get my hands on his Ruger LC9.

First up, I was impressed. Initial impressions was it was HUGE compared to other mouseguns, but that being said it has about the exact same dimensions as a S&W J-Frame Revolver, so if you carry a J-Frame comfortably the SR9 will carry just as well.

Shooting it was a snap as well. Obviously its a 17 oz pistol chambered in 9x19mm, still this is not very punishing, and its certainly easier on the hands than my J-Frame. Its VERY thin, actually almost too thin, I found that it wasn’t as comfortable to grip as a wider gun, still for comfort of carry, I think we’re all willing to sacrifice a little shooting comfort. The sights were adequate, a little small for my tastes, but still easy to use and see. They’re of a 3-dot configuration which is what I’m most used to anyway.

The gun gives me two fingers of grip on a flush-fit magazine, with a very small sliver of grip for my pinkie. I simply chose to curl my pinkie under the grip where I could offer a bit more support. With the extended finger rest you get a full 3-finger grip.

Now onto what pisses me off about Ruger. The lawyer widgets. This gun is a DAO gun where the hammer is partially charged by the action. It gives a long and smooth trigger pull that is consistent with no stacking. That should be enough for safe carry, but Ruger belts on a thumb safety a magazine disconnect and a flag-style loaded chamber indicator. The LCI is ugly as sin when in the “Loaded” position. I didn’t dissemble the gun to see how it operates, so I’m not sure if it poses any dangers or if it could be a failure point. Overall LCIs are things I don’t get too worked up about, I just ignore them, and clear the gun like a big boy when handling it. I advise everybody handling any gun to no trust an LCI or witness hole to determine the condition of any firearm. Do a brass check on a gun you wish to confirm as loaded, and drop the magazine and open the action, checking both the magazine well, as well as the chamber to a gun you wish to clear.

The thumb safety actually isn’t as big a deal as I thought it would be. When I first looked at it it reminded me of the HORRIBLE thumb safety on the Mass-Approved Kahr PM9 which is both an ergonomic and safety nightmare, on the LC9 the safety actually can be actuated similar to that of an M1911 pistol, including riding the safety in your firing grip. While the safety is low profile and something that probably isn’t likely get bumped on during carry, I think I’d prefer to carry this gun with the safety in the On position and simply practice swiping it off on the draw stroke, and train shooting it in a 1911-style firing grip so no matter what happens the gun will be ready to fire no matter what Murphey’s law throws at you, that being said the long DAO-style trigger is all you need for safe carry, and in a good holster I wouldn’t be overly nervious that an “off” safety would turn to an “ON” (honestly from feeling it, I’d think its more likely an “On” might go “Off”) this gun would be perfectly carried with the safety off.

Last is the Mag Disconnect. As I say all the time, Magazine Disconnects are “Safety Features” that could get you killed. All you need is a little bump of the mag release, or for whatever reason fail to seat the magazine on loading (either in a reload in self-defense, or simply gassing the gun up before you go out in the world) and your gun WILL NOT WORK until you seat the magazine. Also if ever your magazine happens to drop, or you are attempting to top-off your gun, your gun loses all potential of at least having one shot ready to go.

Still this horrible feature seems to come out with great ease.

I’ll say in the face of his little lawyer speech, if a defensive gun of yours has a magazine disconnect I recommend you get a new gun without one, or have it removed by a competent smith. There is NOTHING good that can come from a gun with a magazine disconnect, but some very bad things can happen when you use a gun with a mag disconnect. REMOVE IT!

So yeah the LC9 seems like a cool gun, I’ll further add that I have no idea why Caleb dislikes them. Sure you may not be able to hide an LC9 or a Kahr PM9, or a Kel-Tec PF9 or P11 as easily as a .380 Pocket gun, you WILL have more fire power in cartridge strength, as well as having a little more gun to grab onto. If you can conceal a J-frame revolver, you can conceal and carry a PF9 or similar pocket 9mm pistol.

The big question is “Why Wouldn’t You?”

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0 Responses to First Impressions: Ruger LC9

  1. As usual, blame the great state of California for the adding the magazine disconnect. I doubt it would have been added to the LC9 if it weren’t for that legal requirement for sales into California.

    • Weerd Beard says:

      That is indeed it. I asked straight-out why Ruger insisted on dropping all those added features onto their pistols. They told me “So I can sell them in 50 states right out of the box”. I can’t argue with that.

      Also Massachusetts which is just as bad as California (and actually worse in many senses) has no stipulation on Magazine disconnects. All it requires is a LCI of some sort, and the gun to EITHER have a 10# trigger OR a Manual Safety.

      So the M&P9 is 100% Mass legal so long as it has the “Massachusetts Trigger” which pulls at a smooth and even 10#, and all M&Ps have a witness hole drilled in the chamber hood which is VERY easy to ignore.

      I still wonder why Kahr never attempted to put a 10 pound trigger on their PM9 and forgo all that added crap.

  2. Bill says:

    Thank you Weer’d! Great information, well presented. I’ve wondered about the mag disconnect and simply deleting it.

    I really like the LC9, along with the P238, and a couple others. This probably leaned me more towards the LC9.

    Ammo is easier, cheaper, and 17 ounces!

    • Weerd Beard says:

      Also not sure if you’ve felt the trigger on the P238, but it is NOT like the Colt Mustangs I’ve played with. The ones I’ve played with felt closer to 8 pounds, and while crisp seems a bit unreasonable for a Single-Action gun. Also for a gun that small I prefer to pocket carry rather than bother with a belt or some other holster system, and I don’t know how comfortable I am about putting a single-action gun in my pocket.

  3. Bubblehead Les says:

    There are some Officer Safety issues regarding Magazine Disconnects that were prevalent in the 80’s school of Weapon Retention. Much too detailed to explain now, but I can go into the reasoning why at Jay’s Shoot. As for why Caleb doesn’t like them, well, I think it’s because they’re too Big to be in the Pocket Carry class, but too Small for a Service Pistol. But I remember back in the ’80s that Mas Ayoob was urging the Federales to issue Kahrs in 9mm to every Military Service Person to carry in their BDU Pockets as a Back up to the Beretta. So maybe we should be wearing clothes with bigger pockets?

    Any way, with my size 12 Mitts, I don’t like to carry Single Stack semis anyway, but having lived through the “10 Round Max” Magazine crap, it was very annoying to know that a Glock 17 had to be used with an extra mag, just so you could get close to what should be in the grip in the First Place as far as Ammo goes. If the Anti Gunners get their way, then these 8+1, 9+1, etc 9mms will be VERY POPULAR and expensive.

    • Weerd Beard says:

      I’ve read the Mas Ayoob report mentioning the ability to quickly drop the mag to disable to gun in a retention struggle. It kinda reeks of over-thinking. How do you know you’re about the lose possession of your gun in a struggle? Also if you KNOW you’re losing control of you weapon how do you still have enough control of it to drop the magazine?

      As a guy who wears jeans and cargo pants, and I own several pairs of dress slacks that easily pocket my S&W642, the LC9 can easily be pocket carried in most men’s pants.

  4. 45er says:

    Good read. I’m getting my hands on an LC9 in the next couple of weeks and doing a review of it as well. It was purchased by a friend that has recently gottn into firearms and I wish they had asked me about it first. I’d have probably directed them in a different direction because of some of the extra garbage in those. I’ll be curious about how it works out and after reading this I’ll make a specific point about the mag disconnect when we take it to the range. That’s something I don’t have in any of my guns and something I don’t really think about when teaching.

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