Ruger SR9c review: TGtBatU

That’s The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly for the 3 people that didn’t figure out that.  This is part three (and the final part) in our review series on the Ruger SR series of rifles and pistols, and it’s fitting that we close the series with the one Ruger I’ve shot the most, the Ruger SR9c.  The SR-556 review is here, and the SR40 review is here.

Magwell not included

In my opinion, the SR9c is the best gun in the SR pistol series.  It’s hard to compare it directly with the rifle, as there are things I like about both platforms, but I’d have to say if I was picking a Ruger firearm for concealed carry, I’d go with an SR9c.  Which brings an interesting point about – why the LC9?  The SR9c is compact, easy to carry, easy to shoot, and holds a bunch of rounds compared to the LC9.  The whole “pocket 9mm” thing is just a fad that I don’t get.  But anyway, on to the review.

The Good

  • Ergonomics: this gun just handles very well.  The short barrel clears out of the holster in a hurry, it points well, had a low bore axis, and thanks to the dual captive recoil spring is also very mild in recoil.
  • Accuracy: like the SR40, the SR9c is actually quite accurate, especially for a gun so small.  I was regularly impressed with the level of accuracy I was able to squeeze out of such a small gun.
  • Trigger: specifically, the trigger reset.  The reset on this trigger is very positive, and very fast.  With some practice, you can squeeze impressively fast splits out of this gun.

The Bad

  • Once again, the sights.  At the risk of repeating myself, Ruger should have just put Novak or Heinie sights on the gun, instead of coming up with their own proprietary sight that doesn’t fit anyone else’s sight cut.
  • The safety: on the SR40, the safety was ugly.  The .40 S&W had sufficient muzzle flip to make the safety a real flesh-reaper, however on the SR9c it’s just mildly annoying.
  • Ambi mag release: If you hold the gun with your hands as high as possible, and have even moderately sized hands, it’s actually quite possible to accidentally trip the mag release on the strong hand side of the gun with your firing hand.  Combined with the magazine “safety”, this can render your gun dead – there is a round in the chamber, but the trigger’s dead.

The Ugly

  • Magazine disconnect safety.  I don’t like it.  Never have, never will.  I think that across the board they’re a bad idea.

What I’d Change

I have the unique perspective of 5k+ rounds through an SR9c, and most of it in competition where speed and accuracy are everything.  With that in mind, I’d make the following changes to all of the pistols in the SR lineup:

  • Make the thumb safety optional: this part should be something that a user and drop in/drop out at will.  I don’t like it, so I’d get rid of it.
  • Switch to Novak sights: This way a user could replace the sights with any of the many aftermarket types that fit Novak cuts.
  • Delete the magazine disconnect safety entirely.
  • Change the mag release from a “true” ambi release to a reversible release.

I really do like the SR9c though.  I think that this is probably the best gun in Ruger’s SR pistol line-up, since it’s the easiest to carry, very easy to shoot, and generally an all around good little carry gun.  When people ask me for advice on polymer carry guns, my list is always the same: Glock 19, M&P, and Ruger SR9c.  I think that between those three guns if you can’t find what you need, you’re in need of more help that we can provide at Gun Nuts.


  1. The only thing keeping me from buying and SR9, SR9c, or SR40 is the trigger gaurd.

    I have big hands and long fingers. Moving my trigger finger from the side of the frame to the trigger is hampered by the small gaurd.

    If Ruger changes that, then they will have one more customer.

  2. The magazine disconnect is incredibly easy to remove. I would like to see one without the manual safety, but that doesn’t seem to be Ruger’s bag. I’ve got over 2k rounds through mind and it’s been dead accurate and reliable. I also found the sights to be quite good stock on a compact handgun. They do have some available upgrades though including night sights.

  3. I have a SR9c and am selling it. While It usually functions fine with factory ammo, it has the dreaded “Light Primer Strike” disease that apparently plagues some portion of production (Google it…many reports on the forums). It is especially bad with my reloaded ammo.

    I’ve been a reloader for over 20 years and the 9mm ammo I make function PERFECTLY in my CZ75, HiPower, Star BM, HKP7. Happens with multiple case types, primers, powders and bullet types.

    The symptom is 20-30% FTFire. Ruger’s standard fix is to replace the striker and spring. Mine went back to Ruger 2 weeks ago. Showed up last Friday, I had it to the range once with multiple ammo types. Feeds fine, extracts fine…just gives light primer strikes. So…it goes on the auction block at a significant loss to myself.

    I was going to use this gun for CCW and IDPA. I don’t trust a gun that is unreliable and only works with premium defense ammo. Apparently isn’t just me, either, from the reports.


    1. The only ammo that I encountered issues with in my SR9c was fairly light loaded Remington UMC. I generally consider UMC to be junk ammo anyway, so I wasn’t too surprised when it would create issues with the Ruger.

      1. Like you say, all guns have ammo preferences. The issue with the Ruger, though, doesn’t seem to be a specific brand of ammo, though. It also isn’t an “underloaded” ammo issue. The gun is cycling fine, extracting and ejecting vigorously (not dribbling the case out).

        For some reason, the striker either isn’t resetting or is being interfered with. I’ve tried removing the mag disconnect thinking it was dragging on that. No luck. If you read the threads on the link I provided below, Ruger was telling people that it was because their striker channel was dirty.


        I’m sure the vast majority are finely running machines…I just know I got a lemon and apparently there are many others out there with exactly the same problem and Ruger doesn’t know how to fix it. They run them through the shop, replace parts and the issue is still there.

        As Michael Bane’s grandfather (?) said — paraphrasing — “Don’t have no use for no gun that don’t go bang”. I’m not willing to throw this one at my assailant.

        1. I have a sr9c and its the best gun I have ever owned, I am a retired cop who has shot them all and this one I will keep, no lite primer srtikes on my reloads and shoots anything I put in it, sometimes its not the gun but the operator??????????? In that case buy a revolver no one can mess that up, hopefully

  4. Lets ask the police officers that have beened “saved” by a magazine disconnect feature what they think about it!

      1. Well for some of us it is an excellent safety feature. I for one work as a cop in an enviroment where gun grabs are potentially problamatic. My agency requires the magazine disconnect to allow us to enter secure areas without locking up the pistol and to instead drop the magazine. This allows us the option of loading and shooting if necessary as opposed to wishing the pistol was not locked in a box at the entrance to the psych ward.

        I carry off duty a duplicate of the duty gun to include the disconnect. I like the option to have a kill switch on my gun. I have yet to see any significant anecdotes or data to support the removal of the device as problamatic. I can understand preference and agree it should be an option so you can choose what works best for you. In my case the disconnect is a bonus safety feature in my toolbox.

  5. I agree with most of the article. Do the Ruger sights work? If so, then Novak sights is a mute point. The Disconnect Safety can be removed. The External Safety is a plus for me – I can use it or leave it in fire mode, but I see why some would not like it.

  6. Caleb, have to agree with much of your review. Mine lost the mag disconnect safety a day or two after purchase. I’ve also replaced the sights with some proper (read: night sights) sights for a defensive weapon, and my trigger has had some polishing and a few “adustments” made as well (thanks to Galloway Precision).

    @Steve If you haven’t already, check out Galloway Precision. Eric (owner) is a forum member at and has a couple aftermarket springs that may solve your light striking with some ammo problem. Particularly, the CCW kit which contains a heavier striker spring IIRC.

    1. Martin

      Appreciate the referral…I saw Galloway’s stuff when researching the SR9c. I have no problem taking a reliable gun and improving it…but trying to “fix” a gun that is clearly unreliable is NOT something I’m willing to do in a CCW.

      Again, all gun models have lemons out there…I’m sure there are unreliable Glocks. The SR9/SR9c seems to have a significant number that don’t strike the primer reliably and Ruger doesn’t seem to be able to fix it. I wish it wasn’t true but it seems to be.

      Trust Ruger for fugly, clunky, autos? Check
      Trust Ruger for fugly, clunky, revolvers? Check
      Trust Ruger for built-like-a-tank single actions? Check
      Trust Ruger for .22 LR autoloaders? Check
      Trust Ruger for polymer, svelte, CCW guns? Not yet…YMMV

      Me? I’m going to get an M&P…

      1. LOL, unreliable Glocks. The Gen 4 9mm was terrible for Glock. They initially used the same spring for the .40 and the 9mm. This caused some unreliability issues with Glock. So I agree, every Manufacture has Lemons. The Gen 4 9mm Glock was not a well thought out design.
        Ruger also makes Tank Like Double Action Revolvers. You left that off your list.

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