Ruger’s SR9c model features a modern through-hardened stainless steel slide…

Ruger’s SR9c model features a modern through-hardened stainless steel slide and high-performance, glass-filled nylon frame. Note that the trigger is in the at-rest position.

When Ruger introduced their SR9 semi-autopistol, it was a solid step into the world of combative firearms. While several of their current and former guns could be used for such purposes, this was the first time Ruger had decided to court those who wanted a gun for tactical applications (though Ruger did flirt with the sub-machine gun for a short time in the 90’s). The first SR9 I liked a great deal. It was slim, had a reversible backstrap so it felt good in the hand and it had a nice short action trigger that was easy to control. I didn’t care for adjustable sights on a fighting handgun but as others pointed out to me, the SR9 could be a plinker and weekend target gun as well, so the adjustable sights did make some sense.

Unfortunately an SR9 recall began not too long after the gun was introduced. It seems the SR9 could accidentally discharge under some circumstances if dropped. Ruger did the right thing and pulled back all of the guns at their expense, installed new triggers and gave everyone involved a free magazine for their trouble. As sometimes happens, the new trigger was better than the old so I chose to look at the situation as an “upgrade.” The SR9 has been popular due to its slim profile and low cost, though not nearly as popular as the .380 LCP and .38 Special LCR which followed it. Ruger noticed the high popularity of these two compacts, a level of popularity that could not be ignored, and noted their one common trait—they were light, compact, easy to carry concealment handguns. Thus, it only made sense to introduce a sub-compact version of the SR9 service-size pistol.

Gun Details
ruger-sr9c-btifRear sight is fully adjustable for both windage and elevation. The two-dot rear sight will be familiar to most shooters. Trigger has a safety lever in its face that keeps the gun from firing unless it is depressed. Magazine release and safety are ambidextrous.

Ruger is certainly on a roll with their new line of combative-grade handguns. Their latest addition to the series is gun is about 0.75 of an inch shorter in length and an inch shorter in height than the full size model, making it similar to other popular sub-compact pistols intended for concealed and off-duty carry. It is chambered in 9mm which is fine as shooting these small guns chambered in the .40-plus calibers can be difficult for many. With a street-proven 9mm load rapid incapacitation is certainly possible if the shooter does their part. The adjustable sights are back but this is not a concern as several aftermarket sight manufacturers are preparing to introduce aftermarket tritium sights for the SR9 in the first quarter of 2010.

The first to get these on the market is XS Sight Systems and I was able to secure a set for testing on the SR9c. While front sight focus will probably be debated until red dot optics are standard on handguns, it is hard to argue the “visibility level” of the XS Big Dot sight. Some claim they are not “precise” enough but in many cases these folks just don’t understand how to look at the sights. To use them properly, the Big Dot covers the point of impact out to about 15 yards, then the point of impact shifts to the top of the sight. I saw Phil Motzer, Chief Firearms Instructor at Crucible Training hit a 12-inch diamond-shaped steel target with his XS equipped Glock 19 at 100 yards which I think is pretty precise. As Gunsite’s Operations Manager, Ed Head proclaims, “If you have trouble seeing your front sight, the XS Sight is the one you need.”

A closer look reveals that the SR9C is more than just a “chopped down” pistol as a few features have actually been improved. First, they replaced the standard recoil spring and guide rod with a dual spring plunger system to get the gun to run reliably with full power 9mm ammo—the loads that bring the 9mm up from a “poodle shooter” to an effective cartridge. Less slide means less weight and mass, and this must be compensated for in the gun’s design. Also, the round magazine release button(s) have been replaced with a D-shaped style that enhances thumb placement. The trailing edge of the button is flat which adds more engagement surface to the thumb and remains ambidextrous. Also, forward cocking serrations have been added which some will like and others will not. I admit to liking these serrations as I regularly chamber check my semi-autos. While the SR9c has a loaded chamber indicator, I admit to being old fashioned and prefer to visually confirm that a round in the chamber. This procedure should be performed slowly and carefully to keep your hand behind the muzzle so I do worry about using forward cocking serrations for a “press check.” While the loaded chamber indicator is a nice feature, I can see a piece of lint or other debris from a concealing garment lodging in the slide and showing the gun as loaded when it is not. The slide just forward of these serrations is nicely beveled, which gives the slide a racy, contoured look.

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