Back in 2010 I was going through a change in the way I carried due to the training I was taking. After carrying the Ruger LCR for a few years I started looking at the new micro nines that were coming out. They seemed to offer a good balance of cartridge effectiveness, capacity, and size. They were slimmer, allowing for more concealement. More importantly was the fact that they allowed for less weight on my person. Having such good luck with the LCR I decided to give Ruger a try again with their newly released LC9.
My initial thoughts on the LC9 as it compared to the Keltec Pf9 owned by a close friend was that it was a better finished copy of the Keltec.
The Keltec wins in the fact that it is lighter, has no stupid loaded chamber indicator, no external safety and no magazine disconnect. Why on earth Ruger decided to busy up an otherwise great design with all of the overkill safety garbage is beyond me.
The Ruger however, won in quality, strength, and trigger pull which is crisper and more deliberate with a much better reset. All of the parts are pretty identical. The slides almost fit each other and the magazines as well.
Ruger loses with an external safety, that is harder to engage than disengage and can be lived with. A magazine disconnect, which can be removed (writeup forthcoming), but requires beginner to intermediate gunsmith skills and a stupid loaded chamber indicator that looks like a giant red shark fin protruding out from the top of the handgun, mocking your intelligence level by letting you know that you cannot be trusted to verify the weapon is loaded yourself without having your hand held. I am surprised Ruger did not issue a helmet with this handgun to further protect the user from day to day harm.
The Ruger handles recoil better due to the heavier weight and can handle +P if necessary. The Keltec grip flexes in the hand with the mag removed while the Ruger does not, it is very much more fragile or flimsy than the Ruger.
I picked up the same High Noon Mr. Softy holster for the LC9 that I have had great success carrying AIWB with my LCR and got to point shooting.
The weapon is very good quality. It has a much better trigger than it’s competition (Keltec PF9). It shoots well, worked flawlessly even when I got sand and dirt in it and the mag during training and it is easy on the recoil.
It hides well, carrying comfortably AIWB like most of the slimline 9mm handguns I have tried.
Things I didn’t like about it? All of the Ruger “please protect me from myself” garbage. The loaded chamber indicator because we are too stupid to do a visual. The weapon lock because we are too stupid to be responsible enough to lock it up or keep it from children. The mag disconnect safety because we really want to not be able to fire the weapon at least once in a high stress situation if the magazine is disengaged somehow while carrying or struggling. Last but definitely not least the external safety because we really need that on a double action only weapon. Ruger really pisses me off sometimes. Side note for Ruger…. if you design a weapon to be for concealed carry, please include a second magazine even if you have to increase the sale price. One magazine is all it comes with. Really Ruger? You make money hand over fist. Keltec does this as well and I just don’t like it. Don’t make me have to hunt for another mag especially when it is a new firearm and production is limited and everything is back-ordered. it really sucks to wade through all the price gougers on gunbroker just to get a second magazine to carry for backup. I hate waiting.
My training was done with the external safety disengaged at all times and the magazine finger extension removed and the flat base-plate installed. The weapon fired flawlessly. It was accurate, reliable, and easy to get on target and get follow up shots.
In conclusion, while this little guy experienced light primer strike issues with some owners in the beginning, much like the Nano’s extraction issues, and the Shield’s return to battery issues. The manufacturer ended up working it out. As with the micro 380’s, the micro 9’s have tight tolerances and operate at high pressures in small packages. You are going to have issues with small samplings of them. It is just a fact of life. Find one you can live with that is reliable and stick with it. I ended up moving from the 115 grain bullets to the 124 grain bullets to train with and I ended up getting light primer strikes on the Speer Gold Dot +P’s. It was no matter however, because I could not get past all of Ruger’s ridiculous safety features and I ended up trading it off and moving on from it to look for another slim nine. I eventually ended up finding the Beretta Nano a year later. If you can get past the safety features of the Ruger, it is a lightweight, reliable, good shooting package with a great trigger. The trigger got even better when I removed the magazine disconnect safety which I will write up at a later date. It really impressed me with it’s accuracy and reliability. Definitely worth a look if big red shark fins do not bother you.