For those whose occupation has the potential to put them in harm’s way, or for someone who feels the need for the added stopping power of a 9mm over smaller-caliber concealed carry sidearms, these three pocket-sized powerhouses—the Ruger LC9, Sig Sauer P290 and Kimber Solo Carry—are at the top of the list.

Ruger LC9

Ruger’s new LC9 is based on the highly successful LCP .380, only in a slightly larger package with several additional features that make the 9mm version a very competent sidearm for both law enforcement and civilian use. The LC9 offers compact dimensions measuring 6 by 4.5 by 0.90 inches, combined with a comparatively high capacity of eight rounds (7+1, the highest standard capacity of the three) and light carry weight of 17.10 ounces empty. The LC9 is built with a composite frame of high-performance glass-filled Nylon supported by an aluminum grip frame (subframe), a through-hardened steel slide, and 3.12-inch steel barrel.

The LC9’s contours render a gun that ideally fits the average hand, placing the trigger finger directly alongside the triggerguard with a natural recess for the first joint to rest before moving to engage the trigger. On the left side, the contoured grip frame places the thumb in position for a single-handed hold. The LC9 has a loaded-chamber indicator that rises upward from the top of the slide and is clearly stamped “LOADED WHEN UP.” It’s a very obvious tell, so bluffing is off the table. This is a well-balanced gun that is slightly muzzle-heavy, an asset in managing recoil.

One of the biggest advantages is its adjustable three-dot sights. The taller, easily acquired white dot sights add 0.19 inches to the overall height of the gun, but the tradeoff seems well worthwhile for improved sighting. The size, weight, and feel of the LC9 are very good, and while the trigger pull is exceptionally long, 1.2 inches, it remains smooth and consistent, allowing for quick follow-up shots. This is a function of both safety and the nature of the LC9’s internal hammer design. Simply put, discharging the LC9 is like firing a DAO revolver. The trigger pull on our test gun averaged 7.41 pounds. The Ruger LC9 also has a magazine disconnect and will not fire a chambered round with the magazine removed.

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