Ruger SR9c Review
Part 1 - Introduction, Specifications and Summary
February 28, 2011

For a while, I have been planning to get one of the new compact semi-automatic pistols as my new conceal and carry weapon.  Call me "old school" if you want for waiting this long to step up from a revolver, but it is hard to dispute the simplicity of a S&W Airweight 38.  Since I'm updating to a new pistol, one feature I specifically wanted was a compact pistol with extended grip capabilities so that I can enjoy the best of both worlds (compact and full size grip).  This narrowed the field of possible pistols.  Next I wanted to venture into the world of double action only (DAO) striker-fire pistols because at some point I figure I have to try to keep up with the rest of the world.

Back in October of 2007, Ruger introduced the Ruger SR9 9mm pistol.  In January 2010, they introduced the Ruger SR9c compact 9mm pistol.  There were several items that sold me on getting the Ruger SR9c pistol.  The first was Ruger's release of the Ruger SR40 pistol in October of 2010.  I know this sounds odd, but bear with me.  Ruger now has three pistols all built on the same basic platform.  If this platform were not a winner, I don't think Ruger would have put the money and effort into the SR40.  My guess is that a SR40c is already in the planning.

The next item that sold me on getting the SR9c was the number of other positive reviews you can find on the web for the SR9 and SR9c.  Now for those of you who have checked out some of these reviews and saw they had a recall, yes they had an issue early on that they quickly corrected.  As far as I'm concerned, that issue is water under the bridge.  I've been working as a Mechanical Engineer for over 20 years and I know that it is hard to come out with a perfect design from day one.  The true test of a company is how they stand behind their products and Ruger did on the SR9.

The last item I want to mention that swayed me in the direction of  the Ruger SR9c was that this gun won the 2010 Handgun of the Year from the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence.  When you couple all of these together, I feel like I made a good selection in the SR9c and my hopes are this pistol lives up to my high expectations.

The Ruger SR9c comes in two basic models and also 10 round state compliant versions for both.  The model 3313 has a Brushed Stainless Steel Slide shown on the left below and the model 3314 comes with a Nitridox Pro Black Alloy Steel slide shown on the right.  Just to be clear, some of the video reviews on the web state that the black version is also stainless steel, but this is not true based on Ruger's website.  Both models have a black glass-filled nylon frame.

Brushed Stainless Steel                                               Nitridox Alloy Steel
  

Both Ruger SR9c pistols have an MSRP of $525, but you can find them in a range from $380 to $450 depending on whether you are willing to purchase online or if you prefer to go to your local retail store.  This review shows the model 3313 Brushed Stainless version but should also apply to the model 3314 Nitridox Alloy Steel version.

 

The following text in colored italics was taken directly from the Ruger website on 2/15/11 and gives an Overview, the Key Features, and the Specifications for the Ruger SR9c Pistol.  The , and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos, commentary or both.  I may also add commentary after these marks as necessary to explain some items if needed.

Overview:

  • The SR9c compact pistol weighs in at 23.40 oz. and features an overall length of 6.85" , a height of 4.61", and the same slim 1.27" grip width (across safety levers) as the full-sized SR9.
  • It comes with two magazines that provide options in both capacity and grip size.
  • The standard magazine holds 10 rounds and features a flat bottom butt plate; a finger grip extension floor plate is also included.
  • The second magazine features a grip adapter and holds 17 rounds, instantly transforming the smaller, compact grip into a full-sized 9mm grip.
  • The 3.50" barreled pistol features an integral accessory rail that accommodates most lights and lasers. Since the compact version has a shorter barrel and frame, the rail is shorter so you need to be a little more selective on the length of your rail accessories or you will end up with a non-compact setup (see Part 3 of the review).
  • The SR9c compact pistol utilizes the same adjustable, high-visibility 3-Dot sight system as its full-sized predecessor, setting it apart from many compact pistols that rely on fixed sights.
  • New serrations are located on the front portion of the slide, making it easier to both manipulate the slide and to press check the chamber.
  • The SR9c is available with a glass-filled nylon frame and through-hardened slide in either a brushed stainless or blackened finish.
  • State compliant variations are available where necessary and ship with two 10-round magazines.
  • Just like the original, full-sized SR9, the SR9c is loaded with modern safety features like a 1911-style ambidextrous manual safety, internal trigger bar interlock and striker blocker, trigger safety, magazine disconnect, plus a visual and tactile loaded chamber indicator.

Features:

  • High-Visibility 3-Dot sight system features a raked-forward front sight for easy removal from the holster.  Rear sight is windage and elevation adjustable and front sight is windage adjustable.
  • Ruger's unique reversible backstrap is adjustable for flat or arched fit.
  • Ambidextrous thumb safety and D-shaped ambidextrous magazine release are easy to reach and actuate.
  • Built-in accessory mounting rail provides space for mounting lights, lasers and other tactical accessories.
  • Additional retraction grooves on the front of the slim and ergonomic slide provide a sure grip.
  • The SR9c comes standard with a 10-round magazine, with interchangeable flush (4.61" overall height ) and finger grip extension (5.23 overall height ).  An additional 10- or 17-round magazine is also included (depending on State Compliant or not).
  • 17-round models feature a grip extension adapter (5.58" overall height) for a full-sized feel.
  • Accepts most full-sized SR9 accessories and all full-sizes SR9 standard magazines.

Specifications:

  • Catalog Number: KSR9C
  • Model Number: 3313
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger also stated as 9 x 19 mm
  • Slide Material: Stainless Steel
  • Slide Finish: Brushed Stainless
  • Grip Frame: Black, High Performance, Glass-Filled Nylon
  • Sights: Adjustable 3-Dot
  • Barrel Length: 3.50"
  • Overall Length: 6.85"
  • Height: 4.61"   with flat floorplate,  5.23" with finger grip floorplate and 5.58" with 17-round magazine
  • Width: 1.27"
  • Weight: 23.40 oz. for the empty 10-round magazine and about 24.30 oz. for the empty 17-round magazine
  • Capacity: 17+1 10+1 in the compact configuration
  • Twist: 1:10" RH
  • Grooves: 6

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 and is definitely worth checking out.

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:

  • The adjustable high visibility sights are clearly a big pro on this pistol.
  • Comes with the ability to be a compact pistol (10+1) or full size grip (17+1)
  • Light weight at 23.4 ounces in the compact setup
  • Slim grip profile
  • The loaded chamber indicator makes it clearly obvious that a round is in the chamber.
  • The pistol I reviewed was 100% reliable shooting a range of ammo from value 115 gr. FMJ to defense 147 gr. JHP.
  • Accurate and easy to shoot

Pro/Con?:

  • Includes both a trigger safety and manual safety.
  • Also includes a magazine disconnect safety (pistol can not be fired without a magazine inserted).

Cons:

  • You can not easily release the slide by pushing down on the slide stop, but this seems to be breaking in and getting easier with use.

 

Bottom Line:

I think I would have to put the Ruger SR9c pistol into the "great value" category.  You get a light weight, compact, reliable and accurate pistol that includes adjustable sights, and you get all this for a competitive price.  I believe the items that people will debate about with this pistol are the redundant safety features.  Depending on your intended use for a pistol, you may or may not want these features.  Personally, I liked having all of them, especially considering I take unskilled people shooting on a regular basis.  In Parts 3 and 4 of this review, I show nearly 100 photos of the inside and outside of the pistol and was pleased with what I saw.  The real test of the pistol was at the range where it was 100% reliable for 300 rounds of ammo before I called it a day.  It was very easy to shoot and I believe a newcomer to this pistol could become proficient in a short time (my 15 year old son did).  If you are looking for a striker-fire double action only pistol, you need to greatly consider the SR9c as a potential candidate.


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