With the rise in concealed carry, there have been a number of compact 9mm Parabellum (Luger) (9×19) pistols to enter the market. Ruger’s entry into this market, the LC9, has become a major competitor in its niche and spawned a number of follow-on models since the introduction…
On its surface, the LC9 greatly resembles the Grendel and Kel-Tec compact pistols. The bobbed and recessed hammer that is activated by a long double action trigger pull sits atop a glass-filled nylon frame. The sights are three dot and small, but the front is dovetailed and can be adjusted using a punch and hammer.
The rear can be adjusted for windage by loosening a set screw and then moving the sight left or right as needed. The slide has rear serrations for a grip area like most pistols. It also has a loaded chamber indicator that is very visible and protrudes upward. The barrel tilts to unlock like many other semi-automatic handguns.
The black polymer frame is checkered in its bottom half and has a Ruger hawk logo set in the middle. The backstrap is checkered as well. The magazine release is a standard push button located behind the trigger where the trigger guard meets the frame.
The trigger is smooth and does not have an overtravel stop or adjustment. The slide hold open is located in front of the manual safety. Both are set up for a right-handed shooter and located on the left side of the pistol.
Mine is the original model, with both a manual slide safety and magazine safety. Some of the newer variants were available without these features. The LC9 PRO does not have the manual safety or the magazine safety so it can be fired without a magazine inserted.
The LC9S is striker fired, so it doesn’t have a hammer and is available with or without a manual safety. The only complaint that I have about the safety is that when the manual safety is engaged the slide is locked shut. In other words, you can’t cycle the slide when the gun is on safe. There is also a built-in internal lock that is located on the top right portion of the frame, it is activated by turning a supplied key ¼ turn.
Disassembly is not too bad for pistols of this type. Once unloaded, a tool is required to push out the takedown pin with the slide slightly rearward. Otherwise, the disassembly is very similar to most other semi-automatics.
The magazine holds seven rounds and is available with or without a finger rest to add a small amount of length to the butt of the gun. Just one magazine is included. The magazine will activate the slide stop when the gun is empty.
The LC380 is the same pistol but chambered in .380ACP. It is the same size as the LC9 but competes with the smaller LCP and LCP II pistols that are offered in that caliber. Ruger has also introduced the EC9, an economy variant of this line.
There are several new models available in various colors and finishes as Ruger often does. These are available as special runs, so if you see something that you especially want, you will probably have to get your local shop to order it from that specific distributor, which can be a headache.
How is it? I love mine. To be completely fair, I purchased mine used about two years ago from a dealer friend of mine. It was traded in when the newer striker fired variant without a magazine safety came out. I personally prefer those new features, but since it was a good deal and was just going to occasionally ride in my pocket, I decided to go with it. Prices vary geographically, but new ones should be around $400 and used $300 or less.
Best Holster For LC9
I purchased a pocket holster that is completely covered with a rubberized outside coating that does not come out of the pocket when the gun is drawn. Mine is from Medusa, but DeSantis makes a similar model called the Nemesis. I highly recommend this style as it has worked very well for me.
I also purchased an extra magazine. Since my gun will not work without it, if I lose the magazine or it breaks, the gun is useless. I believe firmly in carrying spare magazines, but since this is more of a backup gun for me, I don’t carry the spare, I just have it available at home.
I have had zero malfunctions and have put probably about 100 rounds through it. I am not diligent at all about cleaning it and have never had a malfunction with any of the various brands of ammunition that I have tried.
To recreate its probable conditions of deployment, what I usually do is pull it from my pocket and fire one handed into the target from about seven yards or so, very quickly, using the ammunition that I carry in it. Pocket-lint and any dust or contaminates go with it.
My groups are in the 3-4 inch range. The gun will shoot a lot better, and I can too, but trying to simulate the real world gunfight tells me that it is reliable and accurate enough with various loadings of ammunition that I can trust it with my life if needed.
I have always been a fan of Ruger’s products and very seldom seen any problems with them even when I worked in a retail gun shop many years ago. I’ve never received any compensation from them but have been a satisfied customer for many years. They offer a lifetime warranty on all of their firearms and it doesn’t matter if you are the original purchaser or bought it used.
If you are in the market for a compact single stack 9mm, the LC9 is one you should consider.