Drinking the SR9c Kool-Aid

I refuse to ever learn that “Caleb is right when it comes to guns”, because my life wouldn’t be full of as many awesome discoveries.  Like the Ruger SR9c.

Ruger SR9c & Comp-Tac Speed Paddle

I was carrying the Model 60 on Monday and realized that I did not want to shoot Tuesday Night Pistol League with a 5 shot revolver.  I still had one of the SR9cs in my bag from a little spiel I’d given to a women’s IDPA course a couple weeks ago about carry guns, so out it came.  I had never shot it before.  Months ago I shot the SR9 and found it fairly “meh” so I really was in no hurry to try the SR9c.

Despite my hesitations I found it to be a pretty neat little gun.  It’s just nice to shoot.  The trigger isn’t too short or too long, it hits where you point it (assuming you’re doing everything right) and it’s fairly ergonomic.  It’s small, comfortable to carry and there’s really nothing to complain about.  Which says a lot, because there are a lot of little guns with plenty to complain about.

This is what gets me: Here Ruger has a great gun that could be competitive in the striker fired concealed carry market, especially given its price point,  and yet they don’t market it to death.  Instead the front page of their website has ads for the LC9 and LCP which both would be better served melted down and made into uncomfortable folding chairs for support group meetings.

I am now a firm believer that the best way to lift the curse of the itty bitty 9 is to make all the people who want to waste their money on an LC9 carry and shoot the SR9c for a week.


  1. Little itty bitty 9mms have a place. That said, the SR9c will never make my carry holster because I refuse to carry a gun with a magazine disconnect. I’ll stick with full size 9mm that go bang when you pull the trigger or a pocket 9mm when I can’t carry the big one.

    1. You know you can remove the mag disconnect really, really easily, right? In fact, to prove a point I just took the mag disconnect out of one of my SR9c pistols in under 5 minutes.

  2. I hear from people that the SR9c has a better trigger than the SR9 which is interesting even if it doesn’t quite make sense to me why it would.

  3. I’m not drinking the Kool-Aid. As I wrote on a previous post from Caleb, my SR9c has a rash of light primer strikes. It went through the Ruger shop and still isn’t fixed. These are with loads that function perfectly in several other 9mm auto pistols.

    While all gun makers have the occasional lemon, it isn’t doesn’t seem to be isolated…here’s a quick bing search that seems to show it is a widespread problem.


    Frankly, there are plenty of other compact 9mm guns out there for same / slightly more that don’t have this history. Glock, M&P quickly come to mind.

    If yours works, cool. Shoot the heck out of it. Me? I’ll make sure my Rugers are single action revolvers. Polymer autoloaders that I trust for CCW? Not so much.

  4. OK fine. I’ll give it a shot. Maybe I can bribe a friend out of his M&P9c for a week or so trial.

    1. Good call, the M&P9c is an awesome gun as well. I especially like the ones with lasers on them but that’s just me.

      At work I have probably recommended the M&P9c as a carry gun more than any other firearm.

  5. I’ll give it another look. The last time I handled one it seemed to have a couple problems in terms of fit. The trigger gaurd seemed to be a bit too small, and the safety was in an awkward place.

    I am not interested in carrying a double stack 9mm – the width is an issue for me, but I am looking for a new IDPA gun … that isn’t a Glock.

  6. 3 or 4? Huh? You guys really are finking Kool-Aid. For every reported problem, there are 10-20 unreported. That’s the way it works in products. There are dozens in the links and I can guarantee many more times that that aren’t sqwacking via the ‘tubes.

    1. No, you can’t actually guarantee that. That’s the problem. What you have is a small number of issues that could have been caused by a multitude of issues, which were reported and remedied. It’s not even a representative sample. What I have is literally thousands of malfunction free rounds through multiple Ruger SR9c pistols in competition and classes. The Ruger also comes recommended by Gunsite instructor Ed Head, Michael Bane, and a couple of other people who know guns and know what they’re talking about. Given the choice between my data, professional recommendations, or the anonymous opinions of some dudes on the internet, I’ll go with the former every single time.

      1. What I objected to was the statement that it was only “3 or 4 guys”. That was a dismissal that was unwarranted.

        I also think you’re missing the point. I never said it was a failed design. I do think there is enough “noise” in the system that there is probably what the manufacturing guys call an “uncontained anomaly” in the manufacturing system. Listen, have worked in engineering and product marketing all my adult life. We routinely get celebrity endorsements. Just because you have had 1000’s of trouble free rounds doesn’t mean that is a statistically significant sample either.

        Kelly Ripa may have an Electrolux fridge that has given her 1000’s of hours of trouble free service and Wolfgang Puck himself may recommend it, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have manufacturing issues that causes them to catch on fire and burn your house down.

        I’ll leave it. It is a fine gun for most people. Me personally, I’ll take a design that is more proven. Fooled once, fooled twice and all that.

        1. I read this thread and I like the dialogue because it brings out the pro’s and con’s of the firearm. From an Engineering standpoint or more specifically a statistical engineering standpoint to build a representative sample on this issue we’d have to first identify what level of confidence we expect to achieve with our finding. Whether it’s 3 or 4 or 30 or 40 I’d argue that if SR9c won handgun of the year in ’10 then probably they’ve sold somewhere in the 100,000 range of units. 100 reported problems out of 100000 is 1000 ppm; not bad considering that no manufacturing process produces 0 defects.

          To Caleb’s point I’ll share that 2 weeks ago I purchased the SR9c at a local gun show for $425 and yesterday 2/18/11 I took it out for the first time and put about 100 rounds through it. Of the 100 rounds my wife who has never fired a gun in her life shot twice. In the 100 rounds we took, we had no jams, I put 96 rounds through the center (red) of my target out to 20 yards and my wife, again who has never shot any weapon, took 2 intentional headshots on a LT-2 target and score 2 made shots to the head. According to my wife recoil was insignificant; I’ll second that comment especially after having owned a shot a SW40VE (nasty gun, nasty recoil = traded). Keep in mind her comments on recoil were made after having shot a gun for the very first time and shooting next a Ruger LCP twice for comparison…(WOW!!)

          Needless to say, I was impressed with the firearm, it’s combat accuracy, and the overall feel in my hand.
          We were shooting 115 gr range bullets; nothing special.

          In summation, probably Steve’s SR9c was a dud but the Ruger SR9c is functionally equivalent if not superior to most compact firearms on the market today.

  7. I still plan on giving the LC9 a good look. I’m looking for something that is a step up from my P-32, has more capacity than my 642, and is a bit smaller than my Colt CCO.

    However maybe the SR9c warrants a look as well.

    Thank you for the review.

  8. “the curse of the itty bitty 9”

    Shelley – have you ever shot an EMP?

    The first time I held one, I knew I had to have it. No doubt about it!

    It took some mods( single side safety, thin Aluma grips, custom flush mags) to get it “just right”, but WOW is it “just right!”

    Anyways, I don’t want to take the show from the SR9c, but I know you like 1911’s.

    Actually, I am interested in the SR9c. It looks like it would fit my hand well and conceal easy.

    How short is the trigger reset on the 9c?

      1. Thanks! That is good to know.

        With handguns, the looks and idea usually draw me in first. Then the way it feels in my hand. But what it really comes down to is the trigger feel and reset. That is usually the “make it or break it” part of my initial interview with a handgun.

        Besides the 22’s, generally when I think of Ruger, I think of crude, rough, blocky/chunky handguns that are dependable. They don’t wow in the accuracy department and they aren’t especially pleasing to the eye. They are very much not refined. Yes though to American and dependable.. Some of these newer guns like the LCR and SR9 look to be changing my view of Ruger handguns.

        I’ve shot the P345? I don’t think that model has made the same transition through the refinement process. Reliable and get the job done? I’m sure it will do that. Is it as enjoyable as it possibly could be to shoot? Nahhh.

        That can go for a lot of good guns though. Glocks for instance took me a while to enjoy shooting. I’ve owned and shot them for over 20 years. Still I keep buying them for their simplicity and strong ability to get the job done.

        It looks to me like Ruger may be paving a new road to better defensive handguns.

  9. The only real things that irk me about the SR9c, and M&P9c for that matter, is that neither are TRUE compact guns. For example, a Glock 19 is a true compact since it has a shorter barrel but a full-sized grip. In the case of either the SR9c or M&P9c both require what I like to call a magazine booster seat. 😛

    As far as the mini pistols go, or the itty bitty 9mm committee, a line from a podcast I listen to comes to mind:

    A gun is meant to be comforting not comfortable.

    For those who are willing to bet the farm on a pistol sized for a Smurf more power to you but me I’ll go with something a bit larger. ^_^

    1. I guess I take a different spin on the whole thing. I don’t need my gun to be comforting, I just need it to shoot people and a .380 will shoot someone just as well a tiny 9mm except I’ll be able to hit them with it more than once.

      I see your point on the Glock thing though, I guess it never really bothered me. I was a 1911 shooter first, I think the mag capacities of the SR9c and M&Pc are great! 😛

  10. From what I’ve heard I don’t see how this gun is any better than your run-of-the-mill Glock. Just the Glock doesn’t have a mag disconnect and does have a lot more years of having worked and has way more available parts and accessories and doesn’t have a dumb safety and the mag release actually doesn’t get in the way and is swappable ambi.

    But the Ruger would be nice if they gave me a free one too.

    1. Better is subjective. For many, obviously, the Glock is better.

      My handling of a full sized SR9 showed me the SR is “better” than the Glock for me. It’s amazingly slim and comfortable in the hand. Glocks, by comparison, are, well, Glocks.

      But if market saturation and after market support are you primary criteria, the Glock is better than the SR.

    2. When I’m holding a Glock I feel like I’m holding a brick, I find the Ruger much more ergonomic at least for my smaller hand size. Then again I carry it with the safety off and have removed the mag disconnect.

      Also, the Ruger retails lower than the Glock. The GunUp estimate on a Ruger SR9c is $269.37 (MSRP $525), their estimate on a base Glock 19 is $612.50 (MSRP $696).

      To a lot of people spending a few hundred dollars less is completely worth it for a comparable firearm.

      1. $269? Can you point me to _anywhere_ I can buy the Ruger for that? I’m not trying to be sarcastic- I’ll buy one today for that. The lowest I’ve ever seen one is $408 at a large discount online store (if I buy with cash). The same store has the 19 for $499. WAY under $612.

        I think $91 is a small price to pay for better resale and not having to worry about accidentally flipping on the safety that I thought I left off. Also- how much are ruger mags? I bet more than glock mags.

        Not to bash the Ruger- it’s just that it’s 1980’s technology that they added a couple of crappy options to (mag disc. and safety) that we’re praising all over the interwebs.

    3. “From what I’ve heard I don’t see how this gun is any better than your run-of-the-mill Glock.”

      Ergonomics. The sr9c feels like a gun in your hand: it points well and the trigger is better. The Glock feels like a 2×4 with a 1×2 atop it……

  11. My setup, Glock 19 IWB and Glock 26 in ankle holster. I can see a place for the mini 9s in ankle or pocket holsters as back up guns. Keep your Ruger SR9C IWB and put an LC9 on your ankle or in a pocket holster. The LC9 is better than going unarmed.

    1. “A gun is meant to be comforting not comfortable”

      Walking around with a 26 strapped to the ankle has to be the epitome of the above statement.

  12. There is no “curse of the itty bitty nine,” as folks previously pointed out at length in the comments to your linked post.

    But with that said, I got to spend some trigger time with an SR9c lately and was much more impressed than I expected to be. Your description of the gun matches my experience. Nice trigger, nice ergos, shootable. I liked it far better than the full sized SR9 I tried a while back.

    Ruger should market the thing head-to-head against the similar S&W M&P9c, which is an excellent CCW gun.

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