Ruger LC9s Review
Part 1 - Introduction, Specifications and Summary
January 25, 2015

The LC9 pistol is a key component of Ruger's Light Compact (LC) pistol series and has been a integral part of Ruger's success over the past years.  In March of 2012, I completed a review of their LC9-LM Pistol (LC9 with LaserMax laser) and have been very pleased with this handgun.  Actually, I was so pleased with the LC9 that I trusted it to be one of my daughter's self defense pistols.  Earlier this year, when Ruger introduced their new LC9s (striker fired version), the LC9s took me by surprise.  After pondering this new release, I started thinking that folks at Ruger were brilliant.  The LC9 was and is a great handgun, but the one area that I thought could use some improvement was the length of the trigger pull.  Although the LC9 has a smooth double action trigger pull, it has a hard time competing in markets against the pull of the other striker fired pistols on the market.  Hence, Ruger now offers their own LC9s striker fired pistol.  The LC9s has the same look, feel and performance as the LC9, but has a shorter and lighter trigger pull.   The figure below is from Ruger's LC9s Brochure and the graph gives you a good idea on the differences in trigger pull.  As data points to verify the chart numbers, the LC9 I reviewed in 2012 had a trigger pull of 6.9 lbs and broke at 0.73".  The LC9s used in this review had a trigger pull 4.8 lbs broke at 0.41".  These values closely match the graph below.  Each person will have to decide for themselves which is the right trigger pull for them because there are pros and cons for each and I'm sure they will be debated in the future.  For me, I can already see I like the shorter lighter pull.

 

Figure 1

Since I was preoccupied with other things this past year, I didn't have a chance to do this LC9s review as soon as I had wished.  So, shortly after I acquired this LC9s pistol for review, Ruger released a new Pro model of their LC9s pistol called the LC9s Pro which has no external manual safety or magazine disconnect.  I can see that this Pro model will appeal to another sector of consumers who want the minimum safety features to minimize the chance of fumbling around in a critical situation.  This is another brilliant move on Ruger's part and proof they do their research into what consumers want in a handgun.

One of the first things I did after my initial inspection of the Ruger LC9s was compare it to my original LC9-LM and these next photos give you an idea of the similarities and differences in these two pistols.  Please ignore the fact that my original LC9 has the LaserMax laser installed, but this might be a good time to point out that Ruger states that the LC9s "Uses all existing LC9 accessories including lasers, holsters and extended 9-round magazines."

In this next photo, you can see that Ruger changed the profile of the backstrap area on the polymer frame.  Although both pistols felt good in my hand, I found the new profile of the LC9s was able to fit slightly lower and more snugly in the web of my hand between the thumb and forefinger.  Also, you can see that Ruger included a trigger safety on their new LC9s striker fired pistol and omitted the key lock on the LC9s.

Figure 2

Other than changing the model name location, the features on the left side of the pistols look the same.  Although it is not completely clear in the photo, there is also a difference with the guide rod assembly that is apparent when you look at the front of the two pistols.

Figure 3

From the rear, you can see the top is a hammer fired pistol and the bottom is a striker fired pistol.  Also note that Ruger decided to drop the "Loaded When Up" indicator to a simple inspection port on the LC9s.

Figure 4

This next photo shows the bottom of the grip and I have removed the lower hammer spring pin cover on the original LC9.  Since the LC9s does not require a hammer spring, no cover is required on the LC9s and this area of the grip is integrally molded as one piece.

Figure 5

When you consider these differences above, along with the fact that Ruger reduced the number of parts from 56 in the LC9 to 46 in the LC9s (including magazine) and that there are only 19 parts common between the two pistols, the LC9s is a significant redesign yet maintains the same popular form and features of the LC9.  The table below shows the common parts with green text.

Parts List for the LC9s Pistol
Key No., Part Name, Part No. Key No., Part Name, Part No.
1 Frame Insert CF00250 24 Magazine Latch Spring CP02700
2 Ejector CF00900 25 Slide CF00100
3 Manual Safety CF01500 26 Rear Sight CP03300
4 Trigger Bar CF01700 27 Striker Blocker CF02110
5 Trigger Pivot CP06710 28 Striker CF01101
6 Blocker Lifter CF02120 29 Striker Sleeve CF02450
7 Sear CF03100 30 Striker Spring CF01860
8 Blocker Lifter Spring CF06420 31 Striker Keeper CF02475
9 Pivot Pin CF01250 32 Guide Rod Assembly CF02600
10 Trigger CF03900 33 Striker Cover CF02300
11 Inner Trigger CF03940 34 Rear Sight Screw CP08001
12 Trigger Spring CF03011 35 Striker Blocker Spring CF05601
13 Trigger Assembly Pin CF03945 36 Blocker Keeper CF04675
14 Slide Stop CP03700 37 Front Sight CP03200
15 Slide Stop Spring CP03720 38 Extractor Spring SC06450
16 Sear Spring CF00400 39 Extractor Plunger SC04600
17 Trigger Pin CP03950 40 Extractor CP01400
18 Trigger Spring CF00450 41 Barrel, 9mm CF00600
19 Manual Safety Spring CF05411 42 Takedown Pin CP03750
20 Magazine Disconnect CP05000 43 Frame Insert Pin, 2 Req’d CP06305
21 Magazine Disconnect Spring CP05600 44 Take Down Plate CP03760
22 Grip Frame CF00200 45 Magazine, Complete, 9mm CP00500
23 Magazine Latch CP02600 46 Magazine Floor Plate, Extended CP01010

The last thing I wanted to compare between these two pistols was the price.  Both the LC9s and LC9s Pro have the same MSRP as the original LC9 which is $449.  On the internet I found the LC9s pistols (regular and Pro) between $339 and $399 so make sure you shop around for the best price.  Expect to pay a little more in the store, but being able to inspect the actual pistol you purchase can be worth the extra expense.

The above should be enough of a comparison between the two pistols to give you an idea on their differences, so the rest of this review will focus on the Ruger LC9s Pistol.  During my reviews I like to compare my results to the manufacturer's claims where possible so the following text in colored italics was taken directly from the Ruger website on 12/30/14 and gives the Features and Specifications for the Ruger LC9s Pistol.  The , and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos, commentary or both.

Features

  • Striker-Fired: Striker-fired version of the award-winning LC9® has a short, light, crisp trigger pull for faster, more accurate shooting.
  • Existing Accessories: Uses all existing LC9® accessories including lasers, holsters and extended 9-round magazines. Available at ShopRuger.com
  • Compact: Slim, lightweight and compact for personal protection, just slightly larger (less than 1" taller and 1" longer) than the popular and incredibly compact LCP®.
  • Rugged Construction: Features blued, through-hardened alloy steel slide and black, one-piece high-performance, glass-filled nylon grip frame.
  • 3-Dot Sight System: Dovetailed, high-visibility 3-dot sight system with windage adjustable rear sight and fixed front sight.
  • Checkered Grip: Checkered grip frame provides a secure and comfortable grip.
  • Finger Grip Extension Floorplate: Can be added to the magazine for comfort and grip.
  • Safety Features: Safety features include integrated trigger safety, manual safety, internal striker blocker, magazine disconnect, inert magazine (model 3235 only) for safe disassembly and a visual inspection port that allows for visual confirmation of a loaded or empty chamber.
  • Also Includes: Soft Case, one 7-round magazine and inert magazine (model 3235 only).

Specifications

  • Model Number: 3235
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger +P capable on a limited basis
  • Slide Material: Through-Hardened Alloy Steel
  • Slide Finish: Blued
  • Barrel Material: Alloy Steel
  • Barrel Finish: Blued
  • Barrel Length: 3.12"
  • Length: 6.00"
  • Width: 0.90" across the slide
  • Height: 4.50" with the standard magazine floor plate installed
  • Weight: 17.20 oz.
  • Sights: Adjustable 3-Dot adjustable in windage only
  • Capacity: 7+1
  • Grip Frame: Black, High Performance, Glass-Filled Nylon
  • Twist: 1:10" RH
  • Grooves: 6
  • MA Approved & Certified: No
  • CA Approved: No
  • Safety Option: Standard Pro version does not have a manual safety or magazine disconnect
  • Suggested Retail: $449.00

This review is broken down into multiple parts with this page providing links to each part along with an overall summary of the specifications, pros and cons, and my final "bottom line" comments.  Make sure you take time to checkout the other parts of the review because they contain many photos and lots of commentary.  Also, there is an extreme amount of detail in those parts which is not covered on this page.

As you read these Pros and Cons below, keep in mind that it is hard to keep my particular preferences from creeping in the equation.  Therefore, it is important that you take the time to look at the other parts of this review so you can decide yourself on items which may be more of a personal preference.

Pros:

  • Just like the LC9, the LC9s has a sleek (almost aerodynamic) attractive look with the it's smooth lines and curves on the frame and slide.
  • The single stack 7-round magazine helps to keep the grip slim and aids with the pistols conceal-ability.
  • The LC9s used in this review had an average trigger pull of 4.8 lbs based on 10 pulls with Lyman Digital Trigger Pull Scale and the trigger broke at about 0.41" of travel and felt very crisp.
  • When I pulled the trigger for my first round shot at the range, it really surprised me when the pistol fired and throughout my range tests I was continually impressed with the trigger pull on the LC9s.
  • The LC9s has great accuracy potential and the point of aim of the sights was dead on for point of impact at 7 yards.
  • I'm fan of the three dot sight picture and found it to work great at the range.

Pro/Con/Comment (you decide)?:

  • Disassembly was simple and easy, although a small tool was needed to press out the takedown pin and once the pin is out it becomes a small loose part.

Cons:

  • The pistol only comes with one magazine.  As a carry weapon, many people will only use one magazine, but I feel all pistols should come with at least two magazines.

 

Bottom Line:

The Ruger LC9s is a great pistol and the striker fired trigger pull is a real improvement for those not wanting the long smooth double action only trigger pull of the original LC9.  Both of the LC9 pistols I have reviewed have had great accuracy potential for a light compact carry pistol and this striker fired version will improve the accuracy of most shooters under real defense shooting conditions.  There are safety considerations associated with having a pistol with lighter and shorter trigger pulls, but as long as you practice good firearm safety this shouldn't be an issue.  This version of LC9s still has a trigger safety, manual safety and magazine safety, so I wouldn't get too concerned about the safety of this pistol.  If you are interested in a good compact carry pistol, make sure you checkout both the LC9 and LC9s the next time you are at the gun store and decide for yourself which trigger pull you prefer.


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