Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ruger SR9c Compact 9mm


When I first saw the ad for the Ruger SR9c (for compact) my first thought was “It’s about time; what took you so long”.  Ruger’s new leadership touts that they are listening to their customers and trying to give them what they want.  Well back when I reviewed the full sized SR 9 I wrote “The SR9 is a great pistol and I hope that the Ruger team can produce a compact model…oh say one with a 3.5 barrel and a shorter grip with a 13 round magazine.  I would think it would be a hot seller for those with a concealed carry permit—I know I would line up for one” and I followed it up with an email to their president but I never heard back from Ruger on that email.  But obviously the Ruger engineers went back to the drawing board and made the concealed carry SR9 a reality.


My Second thought was “Why hasn’t the little brown UPS truck pulled up to my front door to deliver, oh…say…serial #2 in appreciation for giving them the idea?”.  Maybe because they couldn’t make it work with a 13 round magazine they didn’t feel the idea was worth reward or, more than likely, several thousand customers asked for a compact model as well and Ruger could not afford to give one to everybody.  So, let’s look at the specifications:

Ruger SR9c Specifications
Caliber
Height
Length
Barrel Length
Width
Capacity
Sights
9mm
4.61”
6.88”
3.5”
1.27” across the frame to include the ambidextrous safeties 0.90” across the grip frame
10+1
Adjustible 3 Dot

Ruger SR9c At-A-Glance






Handling
Terrible
Poor
Acceptable
Good
Excellent
Fit & Finish
Terrible
Rough
Acceptable
Good
Excellent
Sights
None
Too Small
Useable
Good
Excellent
Trigger
Terrible
Poor
Acceptable
Good
Excellent
Power Scale
.22LR
.380 ACP
9mm
.40 S&W
.45 ACCP
Carry/Concealment
Too Large
Compact
Ultra Compact
Micro Compact
Pocket Pistol
Reliability
Unreliable
Somewhat Reliable
Fair
OK
Completely Reliable
Accuracy
Poor
Fair
Acceptable
Combat
Bullseye



Let’s examine the individual characteristics of the Ruger SR9c:






Handling
Terrible
Poor
Acceptable
Good
Excellent

Because of the abbreviated frame I found the perceived feel of the grip to be a little too vertically straight, like it is at a right angle to the slide.  The full sized grip on the SR9 gives me a different feeling because the grip extends into the slight diagonal of its full design.  I am probably not providing a very exact explanation but hopefully you get the gist of what I am trying to get across.  Nonetheless, just like its big brother the compact model is very comfortable to hold.  Ruger measures the width of the pistol from one ambidextrous safety to the other and lists that the pistol is 1.27” wide.  To me that is an impractical measure because the safeties are not going to affect the feel of the grip nor hamper the ability to conceal the pistol.  Measuring the width of the grip frame you find yourself holding a handgun that is less than an inch thick and that is quite a feat for a double stack pistol.  Both the safeties and the slide release are very practical and by that I mean that they are small enough not to be in the way and large enough to be able to find and utilize quickly.






Fit & Finish
Terrible
Rough
Acceptable
Good
Excellent

Fit and finish are good and about what you would expect.  The slide is stainless steel that is nicely polished on the sides.  There seems to be a trend with some manufacturers of stamping their name or model name on the sides in letters as large as can fit on the slide.  Being a traditionalist I could do without the large “SR9c” inscribed on the left side of the slide.  The frame is glass filled nylon and contains a removable checkered rubber backstrap allowing you to modify from a straight to curved back strap.  My preference is to the curved.  The grip frame is nicely checkered around the sides & front strap and sculpted where your thumb and trigger finger would make contact.






Sights
None
Too Small
Useable
Good
Excellent

The sights are low profile but highly visible and have the usual 3 dots for easier sight alignment.  The rear sight is fully adjustable and if it contained tritium vials I would consider the sights to be “excellent” but since night sights are absent I will rate them as good.






Trigger
Terrible
Poor
Acceptable
Good
Excellent

When the SR9 debuted the trigger was fairly heavy, spongy, and gritty.  It was acceptable but not the trigger that anyone would really want on their pistol.  When the pistol was recalled for possible discharge problems Ruger tweaked the trigger system and returned the pistol with a better pull.  It was still not very good.  I am happy to report that the SR9c now comes with a much better trigger pull than its bigger brother.  Ruger got this one right.






Power Scale
.22LR
.380 ACP
9mm
.40 S&W
.45 ACP/GAP

It’s a 9mm; not the most powerful, but the current military standard in most countries of the world and has certainly shown itself to be a good cartridge especially with modern hollowpoint ammunition of the +P variety.  My favorite is Speer 124 grain Gold Dot Hollowpoint +P (when I can find them in stock).






Carry/Concealment
Too Large
Compact
Ultra Compact
Micro Compact
Pocket Pistol

I think we’ve already established that is a fairly small, very concealable pistol.  Not too tall, not too long, not too wide, and low profile sights and well rounded to make concealed carry as easy as possible.  What I don’t understand is the magazine offering with the pistol.  It is supplied with two magazines.  The first on is a 10 rounder which fits flush with the bottom of the grip.  A finger grip extension base plate is included so you can swap it with the flat one supplied.  This is the configuration I used and it worked quite well without inhibiting the ability of concealing the pistol.  The second magazine is the full-sized 17 rounder supplied with the larger SR9 pistol.  A grip adapter is included to make the grip longer and accommodate the full-sized magazine.  Putting the 17 round magazine on the pistol does make the grip frame more difficult to conceal.  Some of the advertising material I have seen indicated that Ruger assumes your will carry the 10 rounder in the pistol and use the 17 round magazine as your reload.  While I understand the desire to carry more ammunition, the full-sized magazine is going to require a lot of thought be put into how you will be concealing it.  In a trend that began with the Ruger P345, the SR9c has a loaded chamber indicator in the shape of a triangular pennant that protrudes from the top of the slide whenever there is a bullet in the chamber.  When shopping for holsters it may be a good idea to take a 9mm snap cap along to make sure that your SR9c and still fit in your chosen holster when the loaded chamber indicator pops up.  






Reliability
Unreliable
Somewhat Reliable
Fair
OK
Completely Reliable

Not a whole lot to comment on here.  The SR9c ate up both hardball and the few hollowpoint defensive rounds that I could spare.






Accuracy
Poor
Fair
Acceptable
Combat
Bullseye

I am giving the SR9c as a solid “Combat” rating for accuracy.  For shooting out to 35 feet the accuracy is all you would need.  However at 50 and 75 feet the accuracy began to spread.   For reasons that I cannot remember I did not save the 50 foot target but did make note of the spread.  As you will see in the 75 foot targets it looks like it was hit with a shotgun. 

Two targets at 21 feet:


 30 Feet:



35 Feet:


75 Feet:


Now I know that you may be saying, "hey you still hit the silhouette at 75 feet" but that was standing rock still under no stress.  Add movement and the stress of a shooting situation and I would be concerned about how many shots are going to go off target. 

If Al-Queda comes bursting into your neighborhood strafing everything in sight with their fully automatic AK-47s you might have a hard time keeping up with your SR9c, but if this scenario comes to pass you’d better have a more capable long gun at hand.   The good news is that most defensive shooting situations in this country pit handgun against handgun and occur on the close side of 50 feet making the SR9c a good choice for self-defense carry.  

40 comments:

LowTax said...

Hi Joe, I'm fairly new to concealed carry and have been looking at the Taurus PT709, which you reviewed a while ago, and the Kahr CW9. I'm 5'5" and have trouble hiding bigger guns so I've been looking at something fairly thin. Could you provide any comments on how the 709 stacks up against the Ruger SR9c? I've heard a lot of people complaining about the reliability of their 709s and wonder if the Ruger might be better in that regard. Any thoughts you have as to which one you would rather carry would be appreciated.

Average Joe said...

LowTax,

Welcome to concealed carry. All of the pistols you mention are fairly slim and well made. I believe the Taurus 709 is the smallest of the three mentioned. I like the trigger on the Taurus and the fact that it has fully adjustable sights. I shoot Kahr's well while standing still but add stress and movement and their longer trigger pull causes me to throw shots. I have not had any reliability problems with my Taurus and I think that of the 50 or so people who responded all but two have not had any problems either. The advantage of the Ruger SR9c is the 10 round magazine allowing you to carry 11 rounds with one in the chamber. Another excellent value priced small pistol is the Taurus PT111 Millenium Pro which holds 12 +1 rounds of 9mm.

I am a firm believer that if the pistol feels comfortable in your hand it will probably shoot pretty well for you too. I would suggest you find a range that offers these pistols for rent and give them a try to see which one works best for you.

Thanks for reading.

LowTax said...

Thanks Joe - that makes sense. I've shot the Kahr at the range and could see where the long trigger pull might be an issue. I also lean toward a manual safety...

BigHoss said...

Just got this gun. It was an early model, so I had the associate show me how to disassemble for cleaning. Gun slide would not lock all the way back. I told him "early models had spring issues". We compared it with another model from a later run, and you could see the faulty coils in the spring. He said, "wait here a moment", and returned after speaking with Ruger. Since he is a dealer they shipped the spring out the next day. Bought the gun today and everything works great. The trigger action felt good. I like the trigger safety, and a manual one. I put 100rnds through and the gun fed fine. The biggest problem was the tight spring caused me to not completely chamber the round properly. This action is not for sissy's! The gun felt great in my hand, and once I get it sighted accuracy will go up. Once i figured out how to compensate my groupings were better. I got everything I wanted at an affordable price. This will be my main carry weapon! Thanks for your review!

Rich said...

WHAT A DISSAPOINTMENT. The double Recoil Spring is so stiff that it is rediculously hard to pull the slide back. Put 500 rounds through on the range and no change. NOT FOR person who wants to defend themselves.
BUY Something friendlier.

Rich said...

SHOT THIS PISTOL BEFORE YOU BUY IT. Spring way too stiff.

S. Crabtree said...

I own both the Ruger SR9C and the Taurus slim 709, I can't make my mind up as to wich one I like the best. The Taurus is slimmer and smaller, the Ruger is a little "blockier" but not by much, and you gain additional rounds with it compared to the Taurus. So far I feel that the Taurus suits me better in the t-shirt days of the hottest part of the summer, I NEVER have the fear of this one "printing". On the other hand if I am wearing a buttom up shirt, which is just slightly heavier than a t-shirt, I choose the Ruger.
Zero malfunctions from either pistol in my case, with hardball and Hornady hollow points, something I can't say for my Kimber 9mm 1911, go figure. And interestingly enough, I am confused as to how people could complain about the recoil springs, I really have not noticed it to be so hard and it has not been a problem for my wife. All in all I would choose......both! thanks.

Justin From Mass said...

I am thinking of getting the Ruger sr-9c for my wife, who is a good shot but has trouble pulling the slide on my S&W40c .40 cal. Would this be a problem for a woman to function properly? Also, how would you rate this pistol vs the MRI Baby Desert Eagle?

Average Joe said...

Justin,

The Ruger SR9c uses a double recoil spring therefore it is more difficult to retract the slide than larger pistols that employ a single recoil spring. I would suggest your wife accompany you to the guns shop and see if she is comfortable is operating the slide. She can also try other small pistols that they have and find one that she is able to operate properly and fits her hand well. I generally find that if the pistol fits the hand well then it will probably shoot closer to point of aim. In terms of comparison with the MRI Baby Eagle that is kind of tough. The Baby Eagle is manufactured by IMI in Israel. Magnum Research lost the import rights to Charles Daly a couple of years ago and Daly has since gone out of business so the Baby Eagle is no long being imported. The Baby Eagle is based upon the CZ 75 platform which is a design that I like quite well. I found that the Baby Eagle was very ergonomic for me and I shot it well but not as good as my CZ pistols of the same size. I would not hesitate to buy a Baby Eagle as they were well made, seemed to be sturdy pistols, and were valued priced.

Anonymous said...

i bought a sr9c blackend slide and its chiping cuz the barrel is hitting it and sometimes u will pull the trigger and it will go cilck even with really good ammo this gun is useless i hate it. so beawear of this!

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous; ruger does have a defect warrenty there smart guy

Ron said...

I have 6 Ruger handguns and am extremely satisfied with every one. Just aquired an SR9c. It eats everything I have fed it so far.

I'm not sure how much weight I'd give to an anonymous person who can't be bothered to type complete words or construct a useful sentence (or thought).

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone, just wanted to put my two cents in about this gun. I am a Federal LEO and carry several different guns off duty.

This little SR9c is becoming one of my favorite carry guns because it can be concealed with any style of clothing and it is very accurate.

With 11 rounds of +P or +P+ and 17 rounds in your spare, you are most likely covered.

Also, I have had people on the range that could not shoot the Glock 19 Gen 4 (small grip) because their hands were just too small yet were able to shoot the SR9c just fine. Someone mentioned the recoil spring being to tough. It is a tough spring but I haven't had anyone yet that could not rack the slide. In terms of defense, you should load one in the chamber and top off your mag for carry.

When you are fighting for your life, every second counts and you may not have time to rack the slide before the fight starts. After all, this gun has a safety that works great and is in the proper location.

With all the features and accuracy, anyone considering a 9mm should take a look. I didn't even know about this gun until I rented it a the range. I liked it so much that I bought one the next week.

Happy shooting.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great review! I just ordered one, can't wait to get it.

Anonymous said...

I bought the SR9-C yesterday and put 100 rounds through it today with zero issues. My wife loved it - she shot about 40 of the rounds. Great little gun to carry. Slide definitely was a little hard for her to pull until she got the hang of it, but it shoots great.

Robert said...

I bought my sr9c about 6 months ago. My first time out to the range I put about 75 rounds through it. It felt and shot nice, BUT, out of the 75 rounds, I had 6 misfeeds. The spend rounds ejected OK but the fresh round failed to feed and jamed the slide. Is this a problem with my gun or is this something that will work itself out? Afraid to carry this gun until I can be sure it will feed every time.

Average Joe said...

Robert,

Many pistols do require a break-in period of between 200 to 700 rounds. That said I have never seen Ruger list a break-in period in their manuals. Make sure that your wrists are locked tight so the slide has a firm support to recoil against. Failure to lock your wrists can cause the slide to not have enough recoil energy to properly chamber the next rounds. Once you are sure that is not the problem and are still still having issues after 200 rounds then it needs to go back to the factory for a tune-up.

Anonymous said...

i agree the spring is quite stiff, even after 400+ rounds. but the front serrations help get a good grip when cocking it, and if you abide by the "cocked and locked " code, it shouldnt be an issue. like the man said, action not for pussies. the cycle feels very crisp and reliable when firing.

im no gun reviewer, but i know what shoots well.

-ruger sr9c
-'66 s&w chiefs special
-remington 870 express magnum

Royal said...

I have owned my SR9-c for about one month and I think its one of the best handguns I have shot.. The first weekend I had it I put 450 rounds through it and only had one round that didn't fire in the first 20 rounds.. Now that its well broke in I don't have any problems with it.. I couldn't have made a better choice buying this handgun..

Dale Mincks said...

Awesome site. Most people that get paid to do this cannot do what you do. Just read your review on the Ruger SR9c and loved it. i am buying one this week. Thankyyou. I just added your site to my favorites.

Anonymous said...

Hello. I don't have much experience with guns since were I live we need special permits in order to own a gun but I have owned the SR9c for over a year now with over 6,000 shots (its the only gun i have) always using American Eagle or Remington bullets (the cheapest ones I can buy in my shooting range) without any failure.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the comments on the SR9C, going to the range tomorrow to test and hopefully buy!

Foggy said...

'Lo Joe,
At the gun store today I was pondering over a M&P, SR9C, and a HK USP (compact). I'd owned Taurus' before, and I asked the pro his opinion about the current products. He told me that once Taurus was a great weapon, some thought as good as S&W, but in the past few years they have drug bottom. He claims that customer returns of Taurus outnumber the rest put together.

He wasn't trying to steer me to a certain weapon, because this store doesn't work on commission, and I'm sure he could care less which one I bought. Have you heard anything about Taurus quality hitting rock bottom?

Thanks,
Dean Livelsberger
p.s. I bought the Ruger.

Average Joe said...

Foggy,

You are going to like the Ruger. After a few sessions getting used to it the pistol will become an extension of your hand. As for Taurus; I have never had a problem.

Best I can recall I have owned 10 Taurus handguns since 2004 and never had a lick of trouble with any of them. Nor have I heard of any recent return problems. The staff at my local shop/range recommends them highly.

Aaron Daniel said...

Joe, I own a Springfield XDm 3.8 in 9mm, and LOVE IT! I'm looking for a more concealable carry gun, though. I'm torn between the S&W M&P 40c and Ruger SR9c. Any advice?

Aaron Daniel said...

Joe, I currently own a 9mm Springfield XDm 3.8 and LOVE IT! However, I'm looking for a more concealable carry gun. I'm torn between the S&W M&P 40c and the Ruger SR9c. Any preference/insight?

Average Joe said...

Aaron,

If you can find a range that has both rent them and shoot them. If not go to a shop that has both and hold them one after another. Which one feels the best in your hand and which one come up on target for you the best? That is the one that will shoot the best for you.

Anonymous said...

I purchased the Ruger SR9c several months ago. I would recommend this pistol to everyone to purchase. Never had any problems. A far as accuracy this pistol can not be beat. At approx 25' firing 50 round I blow the center out of the target. The center is appx 3" round. As to concealing this pistol I found the 16 round magazine dug into my side. The 10 round magazine is comfortable.

Doug said...

I own two SR9c's. A very good gun, accurate for me out to 25yds. A very good trigger and lite recoil. The complaints re: the recoil spring surprise me.. Most compacts have a dual spring and are "tight." Possibly newer gun owners. I recommend the pistol highly. I own XD's and one XDM. I own 8 Kruger's, I might be biased. In one word. RELUABLE.

Doug said...

I own two SR9c's. One stainless, one black. I found the weapon to be accurate,(to 25yds), rugged, over 600 rds, no failures, and simple to clean and maintain. Also, it is very concealable. I have worn both simultaneously under a leather jacket..no bulges or patterns. With the RUGER guarantee you can't miss.

SecAmend75 said...

I just got back from the range and put my first 200 rounds through my new SR9c. I absolutely love it! Out of the box the sights were pretty much right on which was nice needless to say. The trigger is very nice and the gun handles beautifully. I am still undecided on the large loaded chamber indicator but other than that I have no quarrels. I definitely want to get back to the range soon but this SR9c could very quickly replace my Sig P250 Compact as my primary carry gun. Well done Ruger.

Doug said...

I have two SR9c's, I bought a stainless first, I liked it so much I purchased a black one as well. I have carried both without printing or any issue. With over 500 rounds between them I have only had one failure and it was a soft wrist,(my fault).
My wife has fired the pistol and though she carries a .380, Bersa,(another under rated gun), she liked the SR9c.
I recommend RUGER weapons, the company stands behind their products.

Roundel90 said...

I have owned my SR9c for over a year now. I use it both for CC and range duty. I have even used it for competitive league shooting. I agree that initially, the springs made for a difficult slide rack, and even tougher slide release. But after 100 or so rounds, I found it on par with the rest of my arsenal.

One thing that I discovered early on was that while using the 10 round magazine, I would pull the trigger and nothing would happen. I did some online research and found others had the same issue. Speaking for myself only, I removed the magazine safety (in less than 5 minutes) and have not had any issues of the sort at all.

My wife loves borrowing my SR9c at the range, the relatively low recoil and comfortable grip allow her to shoot 3" groups at 25'.

As for durability, I have over 3000 rounds through it, mostly 115gr FMJ, but also plenty of Federal Hydra-shok, as that is my carry ammo of choice for all of my guns. I clean it after each range session, and haven't had to replace either of the springs yet.

I can't speak highly enough of this gun. It isn't perfect, but it does so many things so well that it is certainly worth a look, especially for the price.

Kim Young said...

I spent the morning trying 3 CC pistols (Kahr CW, Riger PC9 and the Ruger SR9c) I chose the SR9c.
I have small hands and medium hand strength. Trying them out is the way to go. Just holding all three the Kahr was my original choice.

Phillip said...

I am looking for my first handgun. I will be turning 21 in about a month and I have been searching for that perfect fit. I have the curse of being left handed so I am somewhat limited by the controls on many guns. What would be my best option? Would you recommend the SR9c as a first?

Average Joe said...

Phillip,

The SR9c is a great pistol but I'm not sure is it one to start off with because it is smaller and smaller = a little more difficult to shoot. If you have, or are getting a concealed carry permit this would be a good choice. Hopefully there is a range near you that rents a variety of different pistols. It is always best to see how they fit your hand and shoot for you.

Anonymous said...

I have had my Sr9c for about 6 months. First trip to the range, I had a slide lock spring malfunction after about 50 rnds. I sent it in to Ruger for repair at their expense. I had it back in 5 days. Customer service was very apologetic and polite to deal with. Since I got it back, I've put about 1200 rnds through it, without a single hitch. The gun is a pleasure to shoot, very accurate, and easily concealed. I think the early malfunction may have been due to a high demand quality oversight. Love the gun, would recommend it highly.

Anonymous said...

Or lift some weights and get strong. Jesus, man. The spring isn't that tough. Maybe you should take up painting or something. Or get a revolver. Just make sure you can cock back the hammer. Those double action triggers can be HEAVY.

Anonymous said...

I loved my SR9c for four years.
I recently developed a problem with my SR9c. The safety has become loose to the point that it comes off safe just by walking with it in both my ITW or belt holster. When I called Ruger they stated since it is 4 years old and I train by using the safety switch, it is not covered by their non-written warrenty. I have owned multiple Rugers over the years and have never had a problem with any of them. How can they sell a self defense (EDC) pistol then hold it against you if you train with it? So now I have an SR9c with Crimson Trace laser and night sights that I cannot carry confidently so I bought a Smith and Wesson Shield. Thumb safeties are a personal issue but I prefer and train with them. This has soured me on Ruger. The old man (Bill) would be ashamed of his company.

Anonymous said...

Bought the gun on 3/10/15. Took it home cleaned it and to range on 3/15. It handled like Butter beautiful About 200 rounds accurate not much recoil. Dialed the sites in for me. Just like BUTTER!!!!