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Old 01-31-2012, 05:09 PM
Mr. Goodbar Mr. Goodbar is offline
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Thumbs up Ruger LC9 Review and range report

I just got my new Ruger LC9 today from Turner's.



My normal carry gun is a Sig Sauer P239 9mm that I have carried for about a year now, IWB in a Crossbreed style holster that I made myself at about 4 o'clock. I find it very comfortable, even when sitting in the car or at the movies for long periods of time. Unfortunately, I am very self conscious about printing, so I often wear a plain t-shirt under a button up. In the winter, a t-shirt and a sweatshirt does just fine for concealment. Unfortunately, I'm really a T-shirt and shorts guy and for the summer here in So. Cal, that gets kinda hot. So I went off in search for a pocket gun.

Here's the LC9 with the Sig P239 by comparison. The LC9 is a lot lighter because of the polymer frame and way thinner as well. The P239 only holds 1 more round.

I came THIS close to buying the Kahr p380, but for ~$700, I wasn't keen on all the problems that people were having. I looked at the LCR as well, but it didn't really disappear well in my front shorts pocket. The LC9 did. My G/F was standing right next to me in the store, looking at it in my pocket, and said she couldn't tell it was there. Sold.

(BTW the only handguns I have prior to this are Sigs; a P239 and a P226R, both in 9mm. So, yeah, I like quality guns, and I'm not afraid to pay for it.)

It comes in a cardboard box with a lock, 1 magazine with both floorplates, the CA safety locking key thing that I'll never use, and a pistol rug (which I probably won't use either). My Sigs both came in hard, lockable cases, which is nice, but if the LC9 came in one, it would sit on the shelf with my other two hard cases and collect dust, so the cardboard box doesn't bother me. The gun rug would probably be nice for someone who almost never shoots, except for the occasional range trip. Me, I have a range bag that my handguns go into when I go shooting.

I picked it up and took it home for a good cleaning before going to the range to 'proof' it, since I am adding it to my permit. I also bought another magazine since I like to carry an extra. Be prepared to pay ~$40 for it though. The gun was covered in oil from the factory, keeping it from rusting. The cover for the takedown pin was a real PITA to get to come down. I wasn't sure at first if I was gonna break it. After the range it was a lot easier to activate. I had a wooden shim on my workbench that I had to use to get it to slide down. After that, the gun comes apart pretty easily. Cleaned up, lubed and then, off to the range.

I brought along some blank computer paper and a sharpie and just drew 1" dots all over the page to see how the sights worked. My Sigs are aimed by lining up all three dots and covering the target with the front sight. Whatever is under the FS is where the bullet goes. The LC9 has three dots also, but this one seemed to aim more like a rifle, lining up the sights with the target being on TOP of the front sight, like a lollipop. OK, no big deal. I'm sure if I wanted, I could change them out for night sights or something that would make it aim more like my Sigs. I was pleased to find how easy it was to pick up the front sight from a draw and when shooting accelerated pairs. Sights were easy to see during 3-4 shot rapid fire strings as well. Everything made it easily into 8" paper plates at 10-20 feet.

Beyond that, and the shots opened up a bit, but this gun wasn't designed to hit a paper plate like my p226 can at 50yds. Still, with good trigger control, its not unreasonable to get good groupings at 15-20yds, if you do your part. Unfortunately, I had the set screw come loose on the rear sight and it almost came off. Not really that big of a deal since I have allen wrenches and loctite, but I think it could have been avoided if it had been done right at the factory.

The biggest gripe I've read about the LC9 is it's trigger pull. Yes, it is long. And that's after the 1/4" take up. That being said, I didn't really think it was all that bad. Compared to a $1500 1911, sure, but for a self defense firearm, I think the DA only pull is just fine. My Sigs are both DA/SA and I have actually learned to stage the trigger during the last part of my presentation, so I just did the same thing with the LC9. I didn't notice any grittiness at all and the break is fairly clean and not at all as heavy as the #10DA pull of my other pistols.

The grips on the LC9 are thin, like they're supposed to be. That's the reason I bought it. I have average sized hands and didn't feel like I was overwhelming the gun at all. The pinky extension helped with this but I also shot with the standard magazine floorplate and still didn't feel like the grip was too small. The checkering, which goes basically all the way around the grips, feels fairly aggressive, but not too much. I do work alot with my hands though and think that maybe they might chew up more sensitive skin after a while. I shot about 150 rounds and didn't get any irritation. The only problem that I had with the grip was the magazine release. I did activate it a couple of times while shooting strong hand only, but I think this is something that can be avoided through proper training. Perhaps the button could have been angled from flush at the bottom to the current protrusion at the top to alleviate this. Again, this is a compact gun, and this is a common problem with smaller semi-autos in general anyways.

The concealablilty was why I bought the LC9 in the first place. If anybody cares to look at the specs, the LC9 is barely bigger that its little brother, the LCP which is chambered in .380 ACP (9mm short). At just under 1"wide and under 1" longer and under 1" taller (without the extended floorplate) I like that it fits into a front shorts pocket without printing. The muzzle end is melted very nicely and the bobbed hammer only protrudes from the rear of the slide when firing. The rear sight seems to be fairly low profile in order to ease drawing the gun and to keep it from printing as much.

A lot of people had issues with the inclusion of the Loaded chamber indicator, the thumb safety, and the Magazine disconnect. The loaded chamber indicator isn't really that big of a deal to me. I think its kind of funny since you can SEE the round in the chamber just above the extractor anyways. It is set into the top of the slide and when a round is chambered, the little finger on it is pushed up thus extending the LCI. I suppose one could hit it with a file so it doesn't stick out as much. I, however, don't see it being a problem.

The thumb safety is sort of superfluous to me, especially on a DA only gun with a mile long trigger pull. I've never owned a gun with a thumb safety so it's new to me. I didn't find it difficult at all to disengage when shooting right handed. Left handers may have an issue with it. Clicking it back on, however, was no walk in the park. I cut my thumb trying to re-engage it. I assume it will break in eventually but right now, it's not easy. This doesn't bother me at all since, frankly, if I need to pull my gun, I'm not really in a hurry to click the safety back on. That said, there's a Youtube video out there of the Ruger rep at the SHOT show saying "If you don't like it, don't use it". Good to know.

The magazine disconnect is a no-no in my opinion. If I drop a mag with a round in the chamber and I need to squeeze one off, I don't have that option. This sucks. I don't particularly care for having some of my options taken away from me, especially by legislators who probably don't know the first thing about guns. That said, I'll have to adjust tactics accordingly.

In the end I think that Ruger did a good job with the LC9. They were able to squeeze a lot of gun into a pretty small package. 3/4 length guide rails, decent sights, and a smooth, albeit long, DA trigger. It does exactly what it's supposed to do and for a decent price. I put over 150rds through it brand spanking new and did not have a single malfunction. I shot el cheapo brass cased 9mmFMJ and even some steel cased FMJ that someone had given me. That stuff really filled the guts up with crap, but the LC9 kept on feeding, firing, and ejecting. That's exactly what I want in a carry weapon. I'll still have to put some SD ammo through, but honestly, I'm not expecting this gun to be picky at all. Overall I'm pleased with my purchase and am glad to have a pocket sized gun that's larger than .380.
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Old 01-31-2012, 05:17 PM
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Nice little gun and nice review congratulations!
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:15 PM
Aurelius Aurelius is offline
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It's not my first choice, but since my first choice isn't on "the list," this one is instead. I've read that someone is producing a trigger that cuts the travel in half.
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:46 PM
Mr. Goodbar Mr. Goodbar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurelius View Post
It's not my first choice, but since my first choice isn't on "the list," this one is instead. I've read that someone is producing a trigger that cuts the travel in half.
Just getting rid of the take up would help, but cutting trigger pull in half would be a huge improvement. Conversely, with the long pull, there is no way in h*ll the trigger is getting pulled unless you mean it. I guess I'm a glass half full kinda guy.

BTW, I've been clicking the safety on and off a few hundred times and it already is smoothing out. The takedown pin cover is getting easier to open as well.
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Old 02-01-2012, 01:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurelius View Post
It's not my first choice, but since my first choice isn't on "the list," this one is instead. I've read that someone is producing a trigger that cuts the travel in half.
There are videos on youtube on how to get the gun to fire with a minimal amount of play, no stacking, it fires closer to half trigger pull instead of almost all the way back, and shorter resets. I did find a site that had a modified hammer and trigger bar, both for $60 which I believe will achieve the same result as the youtube videos without any drilling or modifying. Just swap those two parts and be done.
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Old 02-01-2012, 01:01 PM
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thank you for the pics and informative 1st person report
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:52 PM
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I've posted this on another LC9 thread but this takes care of the long trigger pull. It isn't always "drop in" Watch the video in the FAQ section. A great mod for this little 9mm.

Ruger SR9, Galloway Precision Asheville, NC LC9 performance parts
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akzl View Post
I've posted this on another LC9 thread but this takes care of the long trigger pull. It isn't always "drop in" Watch the video in the FAQ section. A great mod for this little 9mm.

Ruger SR9, Galloway Precision Asheville, NC LC9 performance parts
Thats the site I came across. There might need to be some little tweaks but nothing to bad if you are lucky. Not like the do it yourself mods where you have to weld up a hole, grind it flat then drill a new one, unless you have to weld up part of the trigger lever to add some metal then that would be bad. But I have a welder so not to bad for me.
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Old 02-02-2012, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scott240 View Post
Thats the site I came across. There might need to be some little tweaks but nothing to bad if you are lucky. Not like the do it yourself mods where you have to weld up a hole, grind it flat then drill a new one, unless you have to weld up part of the trigger lever to add some metal then that would be bad. But I have a welder so not to bad for me.
I have two LC9's, one dropped in and the other needed some minor grinding as shown on Eric's website. It is a totally different shooting experience.
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Old 02-02-2012, 08:38 PM
Aurelius Aurelius is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akzl View Post
I have two LC9's, one dropped in and the other needed some minor grinding as shown on Eric's website. It is a totally different shooting experience.
"Totally different" doesn't tell us much. Other than the short trigger pull, how does it differ?
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Old 02-03-2012, 08:55 AM
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Eric's website???
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