December 07, 2015
By Norman Gray
Ruger’s recent successes in the handgun field have been with its lightweight pistols—the .380 LCP and 9mm LC9—and now the company has redesigned the LC9 to create the new Ruger LC9s.
What does the addition of a small “s” on the end of the name mean? Unlike the original LC9 pistol,
which is hammer fired, the Ruger LC9s is striker fired. This translates into a shorter, smoother and crisper five-pound trigger pull that helps improve overall accuracy.
I’ve always said the trigger makes the handgun, and if the shooter can’t pull the trigger easily, he or she is not going to buy it. And trigger pull can definitely be an issue with some seniors, women and younger shooters. Ruger has addressed it with the LC9s, and since the change is internal, the Ruger LC9s will take the same magazines, holsters and lasers the LC9 does.
My sample Ruger LC9s came in a cardboard box; I prefer a plastic clamshell case, but cardboard lowers the cost to the consumer, and a soft carry case is provided. The pistol includes one inert orange magazine for disassembly and one seven-round magazine with a flush-fitting base pad; a separate finger-grip extension floorplate is also provided.
The LC9s is a right-handed pistol made with a blued hardened-alloy steel slide that sits on a one-piece nylon filled frame. Impregnated into the front, rear and side grips is light checkering that aids in gripping the pistol.
The barrel is also an alloy steel and has an inspection port at the rear enabling you to verify a loaded chamber. The sights are bright and highly visible even in low light. The rear is adjustable for windage, and the front is fixed.
There is an integrated trigger safety and a magazine disconnect, and the manual safety and slide release are on the left side for a right-handed shooter and accessible with your thumb. (Ed. note: Ruger recently introduced a new version, the LC9s Pro, which lacks the manual thumb safety and the magazine disconnect.)
The Ruger LC9s’ weight empty is 17.2 ounces, and with 7+1 rounds of Federal 124-grain Hydra-Shok, it increased to only 20.85 ounces.
Because the gun has a magazine disconnect, disassembly of the Ruger LC9s base model is unique. After you remove the standard magazine and ensure the chamber is empty, insert the provided inert magazine in order to pull the trigger—pointing the gun in a safe direction, of course.
Once you’ve done that, remove the inert magazine, push down the takedown plate with your finger or tool and expose the takedown pin. Push the slide back an eighth of an inch and, using a paperclip or punch, push out the takedown pin. Move the slide forward and off and remove the recoil spring assembly and barrel. The process takes but a minute.
On the first sample gun I received, the magazine would not hold open the slide after the last shot. I tried a different magazine, but that failed to address the problem. Ruger customer service quickly replaced the pistol, and the replacement gun performed flawlessly. I never experienced an ammunition-related stoppage with either gun.
The first few shots made me really appreciate the striker-fired action, and none of the young or old shooters I had fire the gun had issues with trigger pull.
My general experience with the Ruger LC9s was gratifying. The striker-fired mechanism is a vast improvement and makes the LC9s a great handgun for CCW work. And depending on where you live and what kind of restrictions your state places on handgun designs, you now also have the Pro option, which will better suit some people.