It didn't take a psychic to predict they'd build it, so it wasn't a surprise when Ruger announced the LC9. I read everything I could get my hands on and from what I was reading, it looked like Ruger had build an amazing little firearm.
Luckily for me, my best friend was looking for a new carry gun to replace his KelTec P-3AT and he fell in love with the Ruger LC9. So, it was easy for me to get my hands on one. Today was cold, windy so we took his brand new LC9 to the indoor range at Shooter's Depot to break it in.
This first thing I noticed was how freaking thin the grip is. It's truly mind-blowing how thin Ruger was able to mold the polymer grip. To keep a small pistol with the recoil of a 9mm, you need an aggressively checkered hand hold, like Ruger molded into the LC9. The thinness makes the pistol disappear when worn inside the waistband (to the wearer and others) even when wearing form fitting clothing. I carried the LC9 for a few days and it's the most comfortable 9mm I've ever carried.
At the range, the little pistol shot really well. There are a few minor irritations that I need to address so bear with me and I'll get back to the good stuff really quickly. First, the trigger pull is really long and must be fully released to reset it. It's not a hard pull, just a really long one. The length of reset makes it really hard to keep the pistol on point during shots over 15-feet and during quick fire drills. It's not impossible, it just requires a little more concentration. In reply to this consistent complaint, Galloway Precision built a $60 trigger kit that is supposed to cut trigger travel in half and it doesn't look all that hard to install. Also, I've read that removing the magazine disconnect lightens the trigger pull. See the video in this review to see what I'm talking about.
My second niggle is that the rough textured grip, that keeps the little gun from squirming around in my hand while shooting, began abrading the skin over the bone at the base of my thumb. I noticed it after just four magazines but it got worse as we kept shooting through 250 rounds.
Lastly, like most all semi-auto pistols, when the magazine is empty it's very difficult to release the slide using the slide release lever. But when the magazine has at least one bullet in it, the slide release is easy to actuate. Not so on the Ruger LC9. Even full of rounds, the slide release is extremely difficult to actuate. This might be due to the stiff newness of the gun but it seemed unusual to me. I'll update this review as time passes. Also, comment below if your experience is different than mine in this respect.
Taurus PT709 Slim, you'd know the it's my concealed carry gun. I love it. So, it was natural for us to compare the two small 9mm pistols that were designed specifically for concealed carry.
Holding the two guns side-by-side, you'll notice that the Ruger feels more solidly built than the Taurus. I have had nothing but perfectly reliable functionality from my 709 Slim, but the LC9 lives up to the solid build reputation that Ruger has earned and feels like a top quality piece of hardware.
A couple other Ruger wins: I've had to buy Pearce magazine extensions, the Ruger comes with both flat and extended base plates. I added a Hogue grip sleeve to increase the texture, the LC9 has plenty of grip. The one nicety that the Taurus has going for it is the trigger pull thing I mentioned earlier.
Both pistols ended up delivering more than acceptable accuracy at defense distances but the Taurus repeatedly gave us tighter groups especially as shot cadence increased. We both took turns testing this at a variety of distances from four to fifteen yards and the results were consistent.
We believe the difference was in the trigger, the fact that the Taurus has had about 800 rounds through it (the Ruger was cleaned only test shot at the factory) and the comfortable Hogue grip I installed (which makes the grip much, much thicker than the LC9 and less concealable). This shooting result surprised me. I truly expected Doug's Ruger to outshoot my Taurus in every test. Needless to say, the pride in my little Brazilian shooter went up a notch but so did my growing admiration for the LC9.
Personally, I feel that Ruger hit a solid triple with the LC9. The gun is crazy thin, it's built like a Hum-vee and it gobbles cheap ammo without complaint. If the trigger reset was shorter and the slide release easier, I'd call it a home run. Would I bet my life on it? Yep. Do I want one? You know, I kind of do.
We've had the Ruger LC9 at the range several times now and it keeps getting better and better. It's got over 300 rounds through it and has yet to have a single failure of any kind. It's funny how much longer it takes to increase shot counts with a gun that has a seven round magazine compared to one that has a seventeen round magazine.
|The Grip Tape WORKS!|
Every time I shoot the LC9 I can't get over how thin the grip is. It's an engineering masterpiece. But one thing that Doug and I both have issues with is the smooth thumb cutout and smooth upper part of the back strap. As small guns do, the Ruger can wiggle around a bit as you work your way though 8-rounds. So, Doug, ingeniously made a paper pattern then traced it onto a piece of left over Tractiongrips grip tape. It's not a perfect fit, but it's close enough and it really, really helps. If you want a perfect fit, Tractiongrips makes a great looking, percut set for the LC9 that can be bought here (LC9 Tractiongrips).
In my opinion, Ruger needs to checker this area but until they do, I think just about every LC9 owner would benefit from some grip tape.