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Review of the Ruger SR9c


Review of the Ruger SR9c
By: John B. Holbrook, II
November 29th, 2010

I’ve written many product reviews in the past, and have made a career out of writing technical photo reviews of luxury mechanical watches in magazines and online  (which you can read  over on my wrist watch enthusiast community WATCH TALK FORUMS).  But I’ve never done a review on a firearm – that is until today.  While I’ve been a life time gun owner, I’ve really gotten serious about training with firearms over the past six months.  During this time, I’ve researched several different guns and, thought I’d share my thoughts on the SR9c, and why I selected it has my personal carry weapon.

The Ruger SR9c is a striker fired 9mm semi-automatic pistol with a 3.5″ barrel that’s based in part on Ruger’s successful SR9 design.  But the SR9c (the “C” stands for compact) isn’t just an SR9 with a shorter barrel but rather an entirely new design.  The SR9c comes in two versions – one with a stainless steel slide, and the other with a Nitrodox Pro Black finish slide, designed to resist holster wear.  The lower body is constructed from glass filled nylon.  The gun is designed to be a defensive/tactical weapon that’s ideal for the conceal carry permit holder, and competes with similar models from market leaders like Glock, S&W, and Springfield Armory.  Now let me talk about what I like about the SR9c.

While aesthetic considerations seem extraneous at best when talking about a life saving device like a firearm, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how much I like the looks of the gun.  I’m a big James Bond fan, and the SR9c very much looks like a 007 sidearm.

I was also attracted to the safety features of the SR9c – it has more safety systems in place than any other hand gun I’m aware of.  In the above photo, you can see two of the safety systems – the trigger safety and the frame-mounted safety switch.  The SR9c also has a pop-up loaded chamber indicator which makes it very easy to determine if you have a round in the chamber:

Now, there are some schools of thought which say that the frame-mounted safety switch on the SR9c is completely inappropriate for a defensive weapon because it’s too easy to forget the safety is on which could get you killed in an encounter.  Admittedly, 95% of the time when I carry my SR9c, I completely ignore the safety.  But there have been a couple of situations where I did put the safety switch on and was happy my SR9c has this option available to me.  I like options, so I’m happy that the SR9c has this feature.

Versatility is another key feature of the SR9c which I really appreciate.  The gun ships with two difference magazines – a 10-round magazine, and a 17-round SR9 magazine, with a plastic sleeve which fills in the gap on the extended magazine:

Here’s a photo of the SR9c with the high-capacity magazine installed:

I like the idea that I can use the 10-round magazine when I’m carrying the gun, and keep the 17 round magazine in reserve, or use it as the primary magazine when I’m at home or at the range – very flexible.  I do wish the gap-filling plastic piece on the 17-round magazine was fixed in place – because the gap-fill piece slides freely up and down on the magazine, it get’s slightly annoying when you go to add this magazine in a stressful situation, as I’ve found while shooting in competition.

For me, the the size and weight of the SR9c is an ideal choice for a carry weapon.  Sure, there’s smaller and lighter single-stack firearms out there.  But at about 23 oz, the SR9c is light without being so light that it jumps out of your hand when you fire it.  For the sake of size comparison, here’s a photo of the SR9C next to my “full size”4.5 inch Springfield Armory XD(m) 9mm:

The shorter barrel and, more importantly, the shorter handle make it very concealable.  I have a a very nice kydex holster (which you can read about by clicking here) for my SR9c, but during the colder months, I find myself just slipping the gun into my coat pocket. The form factor also makes it easier for both my 15 year old son and my 4’10” wife to shoot.

The SR9c has several enhanced features which make it an absolute joy to shoot.  Firstly, Ruger really went to work on the trigger of the SR9 when they designed the SR9c.  The trigger is light and crisp with absolutely no perceptible take up or “slack.”  In my book, you won’t find a better stock trigger from any other manufacturer.  Ruger also created a brand new dual captured recoil spring and guide rod designed specifically for the SR9c to reduce recoil.  As a result, I can’t tell any difference in recoil between my SR9c and my above mentioned Springfield Armory XD(m).   And I shoot quite nearly as well with my SR9c as I do with my XD(m) too.  The high-viability three-dot sights are excellent, and make the quick acquisition of a clean, clear sight picture very simple.

Because I do shoot it often at the range, I clean it often too – Ruger has designed the SR9c to be very simple to field strip. Just remove your magazine, lock the slide back, and push on the break down pin located on the front half of the polymer body, and pull it out from the other side as shown the below two photos.

Once the break down pin is removed, you can depress the slide release and bring the slide forward to remove it from the polymer body:

You can then remove the spring and barrel from the slide for cleaning.

It was only after I purchased the SR9c based on it’s tremendous feature set and great looks that I realized that it’s also a bargain relative to the other competitors in the marketplace with an MSRP of $525.00.  That and the fact that my wife can shoot the gun well made it an easy decision to buy a second SR9c – one for my wife’s bedside table drawer, and one for me to keep in the car and carry.  The SR9c is now a daily use item for me and I don’t like leaving the house without it.

Included here is the video supplement to my written review.  If you enjoy this video, please do subscribe to my YouTube channel:

About John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of, as well as and *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.

  1. I purchased the SR9c a few months ago. I have really enjoyed it. Very nice and well written article. I couldn’t agree more.

  2. So do you like it better than your XDm? Wow, you’re pocket carrying it? I don’t think I’d trust myself to do that and not accidentally shoot myself with nothing covering the trigger.

  3. That’s because you don’t have a gun with a safety. 🙂

  4. And in the struggle and stress of trying to get the gun out of your pocket to protect yourself you are going to forget to turn the safety off and get shot or stabbed.

  5. NixieTube says:

    Nice review, follow it up with some live shooting results, those would really round it out. Also some impressions of shooting the gun in terms of ergonomics.

    I have a Gen 1.1 SR9 and most of the things you cite here on the 9c are true on the 9. I like the safety features. With a defensive weapon or a house gun (which is what I use my SR9 for) in the dark, in the rain, in the middle of a hurricane, you want to know whether the chamber is loaded wihout even having to look and without making a sound. And I like the manual safety a lot. If you’ve ever had (for one reason or another) to sleep with a loaded gun under your pillow, you appreciate that feature. I’ve done it a couple of times because I’ve had to, for my safety, and I slept very well knowing that the SR9/c has a set of redundant safety features that don’t inhibit or slow down the use of the gun by anyone trained to use it.

    They’re high-value guns. They’re not Sigs and they’re not competition guns but you get a lot for the money and almost all of it is excellent.

  6. A little late to the thread as I just got my LTC A in Boston last weekend.

    I purchased the SR9c as a home defense weapon, outfitted it with a Crimson Trace laser sight as my wife is uncomfortable but understanding of the need to have a gun in the house. Overall I love the gun and agree with much of what you’ve said. However, as I’ve come to realize, this is not the ideal weapon for home defense for us because of the laws of our city and state regarding the keeping of loaded firearms in the house. The issue isn’t a lock box in which to store the weapon – I have a quick access box to store the gun. The issue is that in our state we are NOT allowed to keep a loaded gun at all unless we’re in direct control (ie not in a safe box), and in Boston the LTC is restricted meaning the weapon can only be used for hunting and target shooting, so unless I’m travelling to do one of those two things no mag in the gun at all and no CC whatsoever.

    Bad laws, I know, but that’s where this particular gun comes up short. Because I can’t have a chambered weapon in the house or even a clip in the gun, in a home invasion situation I would have to unlock the weapon, put in the clip, and chamber a round. You know what? The double spring on this gun is so unforgiving that I, a 6’2″ gym rat, have a tough time chambering a round in this gun. My wife? Forget about it. The spring is just ridiculous. Because of this I’ll be getting the Ruger LCR as the go-to home defense weapon and the SR9c will act as, well, something else. What a shame.

  7. That’s a shame Aaron. My 4′ 10″ wife can chamber a round in here SR9C.

  8. Dan Schumacher says:

    If Aaron is living in Boston, or anywhere in the state of Massachusetts, he will NOT be getting a Ruger LCR as he stated. They are not approved in MA.

    The selection of 9mm compact/sub-compact pistols that are MA compliant is rather limited. Personally I find this firearm to be one of the better choices. Particularly if you are looking to add a laser – in this case the Crimson LaserGuard.

  9. Mike Williams says:

    Great, great weapon. A bargain for the money(got mine for $390)and I shoot it better than my Glock 26/27 and I love Glocks. Watch out Glock and Co.

  10. I will be purchasing one of these soon. This is nearly a perfect pistol. I only have 2 other Rugers which are the 22/45 model. I don’t own a compact pistol but I have several full size 9mm and .40 pistols. These are $389 in my area.

  11. Would really love to hear more about the accuracy of this pistol. Astetically and functionally I am sold on this one. But would like to know how it sizes up to other firearms.

  12. I’m nearly as accurate with this pistol as I am my full size XD(m) 9mm. No accuracy concerns.

  13. I bought mine a few weeks ago and with only one range visit so far, it has only 200 rounds through it. The spring is still pretty tight but I honestly do not understand why people find this to be difficult to rack.
    Yes, it’s tight but compacts with double recoil springs are all going to be tight. Grab and slide… I find it pretty easy to do over and over again.

    If it’s going to be for range and home protection only, go full size. With a different spring setup, they’re much easier to rack. My P89 is super easy in comparison to the SR9c.

    I’m in MA also and I’m not worried at all about being at the ready with my SR9c, if ever in a SHTF situation.

    Stay safe!

  14. To check out the accuracy of this handgun, check out hickock45’s video review…
    He does pretty well with it and was actually quite impressed.

    I know I found it to be every bit as accurate as my full size 9’s as well.
    Recoil was less than expected from a gun this size which made follow up shots easy to group closely.

  15. I am looking to buy a handgun for home defense and recreation in the next few weeks. I really like the look and feel ( haven’t shot it yet) of the SR9c: one of 5 compacts I have narrowed my search to. my questions are does the loaded chamber indicator obstruct siting at all and does it pop up every time the chamber is re-loaded? If so, isn’t it distracting when on the range?

  16. The LCI does not obstruct, nor dd I find it remotely distracting.

  17. Thanks. That is what I hoped was the case . I just watched the video that Scott recommended and it was not only very informative but towards the end the guy shot another round of clips and you could see the LCI but it did not seem to impair his siting as he hit his targets more often than not. I think the only other handgun that has my real attention is the Sprinfield XDm9 compact. Thanks again!

  18. The indicator cannot be seen while looking down the sights, even when loaded.
    It can only be seen from the side when a round is in the chamber.

  19. I have owned the SR9c, the LCR in 38 special and the LC9. I traded the LCR for the LC9 – a big mistake because they are not too different in size or hideability. I love the SR9c for ease of use, accuracy and carry-ability. For concealed carry I can use an Uncle Mike’s pocket holster for all three, but I prefer the SR9c. I can even use the same holster with the Crimson Trace laser that is made for this pistol. If you buy the Crimson Trace laser, they also sell a belt holster that fits both.

  20. I agree with everything said in this review. I have had an SR9c for 3 months and with 400 rounds thru it have had no issues. Just make sure when you first get it you strip and clean and oil it. Then rack the slide 100 times. Very nice shooting gun.

  21. The SR9c is one of the most comfortable firearms I’ve shot in a ling time.The versatility of this wepon is outstanding. I’m looking to get another one for my wife. I bought her an LCP thinking a 9mm would be too big for a 5.2 woman, was I ever wrong. Thank you Ruger!!!

  22. Alex, Indianapolis, IN says:

    I purchased my SR9c around last September. I love the look, feel and trigger-squeeze – but (for me) the rear sights are too far apart. I have to align the front sight close with the right-rear to put lead on target where I aim.

    Anyone with a similar experience have any advice?

  23. 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.

  24. I also no longer own my SR9c. I prefer M&P.


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