Deciding on a concealed carry weapon is often fraught with compromises, either in terms of size or cartridge capacity, weight or means of carry. Today, the favored gun for concealment is the subcompact .380. The .380 offers many advantages, despite its smaller 9mm caliber and average 6+1 capacity. The best case would be a semi-auto the size of a .380 but chambered for the more powerful 9mm cartridge. And better still would be a gun with a full 7+1 capacity. Wishful thinking only a couple of years ago, Ruger has made all of this a reality with the new LC9 (Light Compact 9mm) pistol.

Gun Details

The LC9 is based on the highly successful Ruger 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 (6 by 4.5 by 0.9 inches) combined with a comparatively high capacity of 8 rounds (7+1), and light carry weight of just 17.1 ounces empty (21.5 ounces with 8 rounds). The LC9 is built with a composite frame of high-performance glass-filled nylon supported by an aluminum grip frame, a through-hardened steel slide, and 3.12-inch steel barrel. It is a combination of durable synthetic materials and steel components that have already proven themselves in the .380 LCP since its introduction in 2008.

The strength of the glass-filled nylon frame and its well-designed contouring 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 an ideal position for a single-handed hold, or to be supported by the off-hand thumb for a rock solid two-handed grip. As an added safety measure, the LC9 has a loaded chamber indicator that rises upward from the top of the slide. It is clearly marked in red and the top is stamped “LOADED WHEN UP.” There is an external (key set) locking system that renders the gun inoperable for storage. The same key is used to remove the takedown pin for field-stripping/cleaning, and to change magazine floorplates.

The LC9 is well balanced but slightly muzzle-heavy, an asset in helping to diminish recoil with standard 115-grain 9mm FMJ loads. An elongated (oval) triggerguard leaves ample room to move in and out of engagement with the trigger, which has exceptionally long travel. This is a function of both safety and the nature of the LC9’s internal hammer design, which requires a longer stroke to cycle than a striker-fired semi-auto. Simply stated, discharging the Ruger is like firing a DAO revolver with a shrouded hammer.

One of the biggest advantages of the LC9 is the addition of adjustable, dovetailed three-dot sights. The taller, easily acquired white dot sights add 0.18 inches to the overall height of the gun, plus edged surfaces that can potentially snag on fabric during a pocket draw, but the tradeoff seems well worthwhile for improved sighting. The grip side panels, backstrap and frontstrap all have fine diamond checkering molded in, as does the front of the magazine floorplate extension. The extension adds further stability, though at the cost of some concealment capability.

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