Ruger LC9s Review
Part 3 - External & Operational Features
January 10, 2015

Ruger LC9s Review

In this part of my Ruger LC9s Pistol review I cover the external and operational features of the Ruger LC9s pistol.  For comparison, you can see the similar details on the original LC9 by going to this link.


These next several photos give you some isometric views of the LC9s.  Just like the LC9, the LC9s has a sleek (almost aerodynamic) attractive look with its smooth lines and curves on the polymer frame and alloy steel slide.

Figure 1                                                              Figure 2   
Ruger LC9s Iso View  Ruger LC9s Iso View

Within these photos I want to point out the grip of the LC9s.  The LC9s grip includes a checkered pattern on all four sides of the grip and the combination of the checkering on the front and rear of the grip provide the best surfaces for keeping control over the LC9s when firing the pistol.  Also notice in these photos the scooped out area on the sides of the grip.  For my hand size (medium palm, long fingers), I'm not sure if these scooped areas are of any real benefit other than styling.  Perhaps a smaller hand would be able to make the side surfaces have better contact with your hand and finger tips.

 Figure 3                                                                 Figure 4
Ruger LC9s Iso View  Ruger LC9s Iso View

I included these next photos from Part 2 because they give you a good view of each side of the LC9s.  The external dimensions of the LC9s match that of the LC9 which are 0.90" in width across the slide, 6.00" in length, and 4.50" in height with the standard magazine floor plate installed.

Figure 5
Ruger LC9s Top View

The right side of the frame has the standard Ruger warning "READ INSTRUCTION MANUAL BEFORE USING FIREARM" and the grip area has the "RUGER" name and logo on each side.  There is an oval window in the side of the frame that exposes the serial number engraved on the aluminum frame insert.

Figure 6
Ruger LC9s Right View

Figure 7
Ruger LC9s Bottom View

The single stack 7-round magazine helps to keep the grip slim and aids with the pistol's concealability.

Figure 8                                                Figure 9                                                      Figure 10
Ruger LC9s Front View  Ruger LC9s Left View  Ruger LC9s Back View

The LC9s weighed in at 17.3 ounces empty and 20.6 ounces with 8 rounds of Hornady 115gr FTX ammunition.

Figure 11                                                          Figure 12
Ruger LC9s Weight Empty  Ruger LC9s Weight Loaded

I'm a fan of the 3-dot sight configuration and the gap between the front post and the sides of the U notch in the rear sight is only slightly smaller than that shown below when at arms length.

Figure 13                                                          Figure 14                  
Ruger LC9s Sight Picture  Ruger LC9s Sights

The sights are held in place with a dovetail slot and set screw configuration.  The rear sight is intended to be adjustable for windage only and there is no elevation adjustment.  To adjust the rear sight, loosen the set screw using a 5/64" Allen wrench and then drift the sight laterally in the direction you want the shots to move on your target by tapping the rear sight with a wooden or plastic headed hammer.

             Figure 15                                                              Figure 16
Ruger LC9s Rear Sight  Ruger LC9s Front Sight

The exposed portion of the barrel around the chamber has "9mm LUGER" stamped on it along with the proof mark which ensures the firearm was proof tested at the factory.  The LC9s is capable of 9mm +P ammunition but Ruger clearly states "Although the RUGER® LC9s™ pistol is capable of functioning with +P ammunition, a steady diet of +P ammunition will shorten the endurance life of this pistol."  My recommendation is practice with value ammunition and shoot enough of your desired self defense ammunition to be comfortable with how your pistol recoils with the self defense rounds.  The slide also shows the laser etched (I think) Ruger name and manufacturing location "RUGER · PRESCOTT, AZ · USA".

Figure 17
Ruger LC9s Ejection Port

Ruger decided to shift away from their "Loaded When Up" indicator to a simple inspecting port to show that a round is inside the chamber.  The two photos below show the chamber unloaded and then loaded with the Hornady Critical Defense ammunition.  Personally I like both of these methods for indicating a loaded round, but for different situations.  The flag is a great way for a new shooter to quickly know the state of their pistol and it also helps their friends or instructor keep an eye on the shooter.  The flag also gives a tactile way to know if the chamber is loaded.  For the LC9s, the inspection port takes effort to see that the chamber is loaded, but most likely this configuration is preferred for the more experienced shooter and those who carry a handgun regularly.

Figure 18                                                       Figure 19
Ruger LC9s Loaded Chamber Indicator  Ruger LC9s Loaded Chamber Indicator

The LC9s has a fixed ejector (A) and spring loaded extractor (B) as shown in the photo below.

      Figure 20                                                         Figure 21
Ruger LC9s Breech Face  Ruger LC9s Magazine Loaded

These next several photos give you a look at the pistol with the slide locked in the rear position.

Figure 22
Ruger LC9s Top View

Figure 23
Ruger LC9s Slide Back

The slide on the LC9s is made from a through-hardened alloy steel and has a blued finish.

Figure 24
Ruger LC9s Slide Back Side View

The 3.12" alloy steel blued barrel has a 6 groove 1:10" right hand twist.

Figure 25
Ruger LC9s Barrel

This next photo shows the slide hold-open lever locked in place.  Releasing the slide with your thumb is possible, but extremely difficult.  Ruger recommends releasing the slide by pulling it rearward so the spring loaded hold-open lever will automatically shift down out of position.

Figure 26
Ruger LC9s Slide Locked Open

The features on the left side of the pistol are the takedown pin cover, slide hold open, manual safety and magazine latch.  The manual safety has a white dot indicating the safety is in the safe position.  When in the safe position, you cannot put the trigger to release the striker, nor can you pull the slide rearward.  Pressing the magazine latch causes the magazine to drop free with a slight spring loaded action.

Figure 27
Ruger LC9s Manual Safety

The manual safety also has a red dot indicating when the safety is in the fire position.  In the fire position you can pull the trigger to release the striker and also pull the slide rearward.  Also note that this version of the LC9s has a magazine disconnect that prevents the trigger from being pulled when there is no magazine in the pistol.

Figure 28
Ruger LC9s Manual Safety

I took this photo below from the Ruger website to show the configuration of LC9s Pro which has no manual safety or magazine disconnect.  You can see the absence of the manual safety and they added an additional warning on the slide which states "GUN WILL FIRE WITH MAGAZINE REMOVED."

Figure 29
Ruger LC9s Pro

The LC9s pistols include a steel trigger and trigger safety.  Pressing the trigger safety rotates the upper portion so that it will not contact the frame insert when the trigger is pulled.  The LC9s used in this review had an average trigger pull of 4.8 lbs based on 10 pulls with a Lyman Digital Trigger Pull Scale and the trigger broke at about 0.41" of travel and felt very crisp.

Figure 30
Ruger LC9s Trigger

Since the difference in trigger pull is so significant between the original LC9 and the LC9s, I thought it was worth showing the graph again so you can see the comparison.

Figure 31
Ruger LC9s Trigger Pull Chart

The grip has a very slight chamfer on the inside of the magazine well to aide in inserting a magazine.

Figure 32
Ruger LC9s Magazine Slot

The LC9s comes with one single stack 7-round magazine that also fits the LC9.  Ruger also makes a 9-round extended magazine if you can find one.  At the time of this review, they appear to be out of stock at Ruger and other retailers.  The online price for the 7 or 9-round magazines seems to be in the lower to mid $30s.

Figure 33
Ruger LC9s Magazine Front

One thing I noticed was that the finish on the magazine for this pistol is the dull appearance shown below.

Figure 34
Ruger LC9s Magazine Left

Figure 35
Ruger LC9s Magazine Rear

Next I noticed that this magazine says "Made In USA," whereas the previous magazines were made in Italy, not that this matters as long as the magazine is reliable.

Figure 36
Ruger LC9s Magazine Right

These next photos compare the shapes of the finger extension.  Personally, I like the extension because it allows me the ability to get my little finger on the front of the grip and not below the grip.

Figure 37                                                         Figure 38       
Ruger LC9s Magazine Floor Plate  Ruger LC9s Magazine Floor Plate



Just like the LC9, the LC9s seems to be a stylish well built pistol that would make a good carry pistol.  The trigger pull on this striker fired version is a significant improvement over that of the double action only version.

For more detailed photos and commentary, make sure you check out the other parts of this review and feel free to leave comments on my Reader's Comments page.  The following links are provided to help you see other parts of this review. 

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