Saturday, February 25, 2012

REVIEW: Ruger SR9

Any time I buy a gun, I always wonder if I'm going to like it over the long term. I've bought a couple that felt good in the store, had great reviews but in practice, don't get much range time. These days, I'm much more critical of my purchase decision and one question I always ask myself is, "Will I want to shoot this gun a lot?" Without actual range time, it's a hard question to answer while standing at the gun counter, but I do think about it.

That's the question I asked myself about the Ruger SR9. Luckily, I had the opportunity to shoot one before I bought one and I really liked it. Now with the SR9c available, I was torn between the two. After critical review, and input from my wife, we went with the full-sized SR9. I initially bought the pistol for IDPA and target shooting with little intent in carrying. Now that I've put it though the ringer, I kind of wish I had bought the SR9c. I'd like to carry this puppy. Kind of. Plus, with the extended magazine, it can "act" as a full-sized shooter from time-to-time, even though the SR9c has a slightly shorter barrel.

 Now that the gun has over 500 rounds though it I feel like I can write a solid review on the product To put it simply, the Ruger SR9 is a solid performer. Watch the embedded YouTube video and you'll see my buddy Doug shoot an amazing group from 15-feet...the first time he picked it up!



Let's start with the trigger. When you pick up an SR9 at the store, the first thing that will make you furrow your brow is the trigger. Unlike most pistols, but like the Glock, the trigger doesn't rebound after you pull it unless the slide is activated. Once the slide is activated, the trigger pops forward. When dry-firing the gun, you'll notice this instantly. It's odd as hell. But in practice, the slide blows back, resetting the trigger, so you don't notice.

Another thing you'll notice is how crisp the trigger breaks. It's amazing. It's obvious that Ruger reverse engineered the Glock trigger but made enough changes to keep the patent police away. The one thing that isn't Glock-like is the trigger weight. It's definitely heavier. So, to remedy that, I installed a Ghost Ultimate 3.5 lb. trigger bar reset on mine. Even for me (no smithing experience), the trigger job was really easy and I highly recommend this set. I searched for a YouTube video that showed how and followed the instructions. It was easy. After installation, I dropped in a snap cap and dry-fired it a few times, initially disappointed in the change. But after 200 rounds at the range, it's definitely 4.5 lbs or less. Notice in the YouTube video, the light trigger catches Doug off guard at one point and results in an inadvertent follow-up shot and a one o'clock flier in his otherwise fantastic standing, freehand group at 15 feet.

The next modification I made was to remove the magazine disconnect. The magazine disconnect renders gun unusable when the magazine is removed. I don't like that feature, so I disabled the disabling. That too was super easy.  I followed a simple, and well done, YouTube video (Click here to see it). Just bear out the guy's initial crude comment, geez.


Another  modification that can be done is removing the loaded chamber indicator. Galloway Precision makes a kit that allows you to remove the indicator and replace it with a black or silver blank. Even though the LCI looks like a shark fin when a round is in the chamber, I'm not removing mine. I like that added level of awareness and since I removed the magazine disconnect, it seems logical for me to know when a live round is in the chamber. If this were an SR9c and I was carrying it? I'd have made the modification.

As for shooting? Sweet. The SR9 is very accurate, reliable and shoots like a dream. It's easy to quickly get the gun on target and keep it there through 18-rounds of fire. The gun is ergonomically sound, the sights are easy to acquire and with the Ghost Ultimate installed, the trigger is a dream.

The fourth time to the range, my friend Brian was shooting it and got a failure to feed. I wasn't watching him shoot so I don't know if it was a limp wrist issue, bad ammo or the gun itself. But it happened once in the first 500 rounds. I think that's acceptable at this point. If it keeps happening, I'll be worried. But for now, I'm not concerned.

Since this isn't a concealed carry gun, I added a Hogue Handall grip sleeve to it and it makes it even better. Without the grip sleeve, the gun is comfortable and easy to control, the grip sleeve just makes it all the better without being too thick.

The SR9 is a pistol that has a few of oddities like the weird trigger, the huge loaded chamber indicator and the magazine disconnect--all of which can be remedied. But it also has that solid Ruger reputation for quality and reliability.

But overall, I'm really glad I bought it and I can tell you, that this gun will get shot on a regular basis. I have a feeling it will push my S&W M&P 9mm to the back of the safe.

I plan on taking it to a practical pistol event soon and I'll let you know how it goes. As you know from reading this blog, I'm not an expert marksman so I need every advantage I can get when the clock is ticking and points are being scored.

If you are on the fence about buying one of these, I'd take the plunge. If you're waffling between the SR9 and SR9c and it's going just be "another 9mm or .40" you have in your safe, I'd go with the compact for it's concealability and convertibility--options. If you're going to compete in practical pistol events, I'd go full-sized. Even though the 9c has extended mags, the mag collars could be awkward when dropping and reloading unless you glued them into place (see this YouTube video where are guy talks about this problem and offer an ingenious solution--at 2:40). Plus, the longer barrel will give you a better sight picture. If you're wanting a solid, daily carry gun, the 9c is the obvious choice.

Like I do with lots of my reviews, I'll post updates are more rounds are fired.

UPDATE #1:
I've been reading and viewing material about cutting 1.5 coils off of the firing pin spring. I've been a little afraid to try it but figured, what the heck, and did it. The Ghost Trigger Bar Reset gave me about 4.5 lbs on a digital trigger pull device and after cutting the spring, the trigger feels even lighter. I have not measured the pull with a measuring device but it's lighter for sure. The next question was, will the mod prevent the gun from firing. Answer: No, it works perfectly. I've gone from liking my Ruger SR9 to absolutely loving it.

From RUGER FORUM:
Here's an easy way to lower the trigger pull on the SR9 if you want to (i learned this trick off of another forum and thought i'd share it, 'cause it works!). it's easy, i'm no gunsmith, but the effect is dramatic... mine went from around a 7+lb pull to around a 4.5lb now, it's clicking sweet, and after hundreds of rounds since, just as reliable as stock out of the box.

(1) take out the striker assembly like you would to remove the magazine disconnect safety.

(2) you'll notice the striker spring... that's what you're after.

(3) either take out the little cross pin to free the striker spring, or as in my case, you can leave the spring on and take apart nothing else (as long as you have a skinny nose, sharp as hell, pair of wire clippers like I had handy...).

(4) clip off only 1 or just a half of a coil off of the striker spring, then reassemble the pistol and try it out with some dry-firing to feel where you're at. after clipping 1 whole coil i recommend clipping more if needed in only half coil increments, reassembling each time to feel the effects... i think i took off maybe 2 and half coils and my trigger pull is at about 4.5-5lbs...

...seems the striker spring in the SR9 is more robust then it needs to be in order to have enough punch to effectively and reliably strike and ignite the primer on a chambered round (compared to a glock or m&p, etc. for comparison), so what you are doing is removing some of the "stacking" weight, while preserving enough spring for the gun to function reliably...

as i said earlier, the effect is dramatic, if you do it right you'll be psyched!
when i get a "just in case" replacement spring from ruger, i'm going to explore the limits of how light i can drop the pull weight without affecting reliable function... for now, it's awesome, and way way better than stock.

cheers.


Video How To here:

12 comments:

  1. The Luger's extractor is in the same position as the loaded chamber indicator on the Ruger and labeled 'GELADIN'.

    I like it on the Ruger.

    Good blog.

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  2. Mine will be here by this weekend. I look foreward to it. Thanks for the review.

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  3. Well I never thought I'd buy a Ruger semi... A wheelgun maybe but never a semi. I've been looking for a polymer pistol to pick up lately, I've always wanted an xd9, of course gocks are glocks which we all know are the industry standard more or less but after doing some research and most recently watching these videos I think the SR9 is gonna be the pistol for me... I was seriously considering the Steyr but I'm in Canada and the second generation ones haven't made there way up here yet and the 1st gens handsome real feeding/extraction problems.

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    1. After Great deal of research I was set on purchasing an SR9c for concealed carry. While atagun show a monthago, atre searching for on for the past six months i came across a table that had both the SR9 and the SR9c. There was so little difference in size between the two that i went with the full size due my desire for increased accuracy shooting targets on the range. Of course I could not find ammo to go shoot the new gun at the range so I bought A-Zoom snap caps and dry fired for the month while getting use to the trigger squeeze. While waiting to find some 9mm ammo I did some more reseach on thr Ghost Ultimate trigger which is supposed to drop the trigger pull a bit and decrease grity trigger pull. So, I went ahead and ordered it and installed it in my new SR9 before ever shooting one round. Again I was in the waiting game for ammo so I continued to dry fire with my snap caps. Finally after over a month I found some ammo and headed to the range with tool to adjust sights if necessary. I used the shoot-n-c targets and put it out at 30 feet. I squeezed off a box of 50 rounds and litterally shot out the bulls eye with a 1.5 inch group and pulled a couple to the right about three inches. I was absolutely elated that i did not have to make any site adjustments whatsoever. I was a pistol expert
      in the Marine Corps qualifying several times over 27 years with a 1911 .45 and Barreta 9mm, but never seemed to shoot as well as I did with this SR9. Bottom line is that i selected a winner based on good reseach.

      Papa

      Sent from my ASUS Pad

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  4. I just got back from the range after firing my new SR9 for first time. 100 rounds with no problems. I don't plan on doing any trigger work, it doesn't seem to need any. very smooth and not heavy at all. I did take out the mag disconnect the other day. excellent shooting pistol.

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  5. Thanks man, I've been looking around for something to replace my G17. I think you've just tipped the scales for the SR9.

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  6. This is my first handgun and after months of research I decided on the SR9. While I have shot several rifles and shotguns, this is the first handgun I have ever shot and I'm very pleased with my decision. This gun is awesome. I have shot my buddies Glock 30, SW M&P and a Springfield XD and I like mine better than all those. It was accurate right out of the box. It is an easy tear down and quick to clean. I will certainly buy another Ruger but this is my favorite. PK in Ohio

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  7. I have the Sr9 and it shot great smother than my. Glock 9 yes I will be putting the Glock in the safe stayed on Target not one flaw shot about 150 rounds still out of the box and not to heavy to carry digger Sr9. Is a very sweet firearm with plenty of knok down power

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  8. reliable, combat accurate, feeds and functions flawlessly, the SR9 is worth more than the $299 it cost me. unbelievable firearm.

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  9. I bought my Sr9 about 8 weeks ago and I LOVE it ! I was waffling between 4 different brands and models, so I went to the range and fired all 4 they had as rentals. All I can say is I walked up front and bought the Sr9 before I left the building.

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  10. I just bought both the sr9 and sr9c and love them both they cost me $380 each and they were new

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