Ruger SR9c Review
Part 3 - External Features
February 19, 2011

In this part of the review I'm going to cover all the externally visible features of the Ruger SR9c Model 3313 Stainless Steel Pistol.  I plan to cover disassembly and internal features in Part 4.  The next several photos give you overall views of the pistol.  I have chosen to show the pistol with the 10-round magazine installed along with the floorplate finger extension.  Unless you have small hands, I feel this would be the most likely carry configuration.  Remember that you can click on a photo to bring up a high resolution image allowing you to see the details even better.

To recap some of the external features of this pistol, it has adjustable sights, integrated frame rail, both trigger and manual safeties, slide stop, ambidextrous magazine latch, loaded chamber indicator and reversible back straps.

Figure 1
Ruger SR9c Review

The length, height and width (6.85" x 5.23" x 1.27") matched Ruger's specification for this configuration.  Ruger added serrations to the front of the slide to allow for additional ease when working the slide.

Figure 2
Ruger SR9c Review

  The maximum width is across the safety levers and is the same as the full size SR9 pistol.

Figure 3
Ruger SR9c Review

Figure 4
Ruger SR9c Review

Figure 5                     Figure 6
Ruger SR9c Review   Ruger SR9c Review

Figure 7                                                                Figure 8
Ruger SR9c Review   Ruger SR9c Review


The Ruger SR9c includes high visibility 3-dot sights as shown below and these are the same sights used on Ruger's full sized SR9 pistols.

Figure 9
Ruger SR9c Review

The rear sight is both windage and elevation adjustable.

Figure 10
Ruger SR9c Review

To adjust elevation, you rotate the slotted screw clockwise to lower the rear sight and counter clockwise to raise the sight.  I was pleasantly surprised that there seems to be detents, similar to a rifle scope, so as you make the adjustment you can feel distinct clicks.  The windage is adjustable by loosening the lock screw forward of the elevation adjustment screw and then drifting the sight to the left or right as needed.  All of these details are covered on page 33 of the Instruction Manual.

Figure 11
Ruger SR9c Review

The front sight is raked forward to allow minimal resistance when removing from a holster.  The distance between the front and rear sights is 5.4".  Overall, I feel the sight system on the Ruger SR9c is a premium system that you don't find on most compact pistols.

Figure 12
Ruger SR9c Review

Loaded Chamber Indicator

The Ruger SR9c also includes a loaded round indicator and I think Ruger has made it extremely clear for someone to know when the pistol has a round in the chamber.  The indicator is clearly labeled "LOADED WHEN UP".

Figure 13
Ruger SR9c Review 

Figure 14
Ruger SR9c Review

When the indicator is up, Ruger didn't just rely on the statement "LOADED WHEN UP", they included red on both sides of the indicator to give you the message. Also notice how high the indicator comes up.  Even with gloves on, I was able to identify that a round was chambered.

Figure 15
Ruger SR9c Review

Manual Safety

When you compare the Ruger SR9c to other compacts on the market, I think you will find that the safety features are a little different on this pistol.  Originally, the manual safety was the the only safety on the SR9 pistol.  The trigger safety was later added due to an issue with the original design of this platform, so this manual safety may be considered redundant by some people.  On the other hand, there are many people who will consider this additional safety a nice addition.  When the safety is engaged, you can not pull the trigger or actuate the slide.  The safety is ambidextrous and the photo below shows the left side safety in the up "Safe" position.

Figure 16
Ruger SR9c Review 

The photo below shows the left side safety in the down "fire" position.

Figure 17
Ruger SR9c Review 

Since the safety is ambidextrous,  the position for the safety (up/Safe, down/Fire) is the same on the right side of the pistol.  Ruger did not add the color markings (red and white) to indicate the condition for the right safety lever.

Figure 18
Ruger SR9c Review 

Figure 19
Ruger SR9c Review 

Striker Status Indicator

The striker area is open to allow you to see the end of the striker shaft.  In the photo below on the left, you can see the striker is fully forward and is in a released position (un-cocked).  The  photo on the right shows the striker in the semi-cocked position which is the position the gun is  in whenever loaded and ready for action.

Figure 20                                                                      Figure 21          
Ruger SR9c Review    Ruger SR9c Review

The photo below on the left shows the same striker position as the one in the photo on the right above. The photo below on the right shows the position of the end of the striker as you pull the trigger and just prior to release of the striker.  The reason I feel it is important to show this is that there seems to be some controversy on various forums on whether this pistol has a single or double action trigger.  I think these photos show proof that the striker is cocked further when pulling the trigger.  Honestly I feel there should be a different name for this type of trigger because I feel it is a hybrid of both.  You can not pull the trigger and fire the weapon from a fully un-cocked state, nor is the striker fully cocked when you start to pull the trigger.  I believe the current term of Double Action Only (DAO) most closely applies, but I still think this causes confusion.  If I were to invent a term it might be Partially Cocked Action (PCA).

Figure 22                                                                            Figure 23
Ruger SR9c Review    Ruger SR9c Review

Accessory Rail

The Ruger SR9c comes with a short frame rail on the front of the frame.

Figure 24
Ruger SR9c Review

The rail is integrally molded into the frame and measures approximately 0.85" and has a single slot.

Figure 25
Ruger SR9c Review

The Instruction Manual states "The Accessory Rail accepts most lights and sighting devices designed to fit the M1913 Picatinny Standard Rail."  I agree with this statement, but in the case of the SR9c compact, I think you should be very selective on the length of your accessories since this is a compact pistol.  The photo below gives you an idea of how making the wrong choice may look.  I don't plan on using these together, but I think it gets the point across.

Figure 26
Ruger SR9c Review

Trigger Guard, Trigger, Trigger Safety, Takedown Pin, Magazine Latch and Slide Stop

Since these are all in such  a close proximity, I'm going to cover them with the same set of photos.  The trigger guard is advertised as an oversized trigger guard.  I didn't compare this against other similar models by Springfield or Glock, but I did compare it against some of my other pistols.  The guard may be slightly longer forward of the trigger than the average pistol, but not by much.  The average trigger pull measured 7 pounds 3.5 ounces (7.2 pounds) after 10 pulls using a Lyman Trigger Pull Gauge.  The trigger also includes a trigger safety which blocks the striker preventing it from moving forward to contact a cartridge unless the trigger is pulled.

Figure 27
Ruger SR9c Review

In the photo above and below you can see the D-shaped ambidextrous magazine latch.  This is a one piece latch (or button) that passes through the frame, so pushing in on one side causes it to move out on the other side.  Using my trigger pull gauge, I was able to measure that it took about 6 pounds of force to disengage the latch.  To put this in relative terms, I compared it to my Beretta which measured 6.75 pounds.  Overall I like the crisp feel of this magazine latch.  Also in the photo above you can see the end of the takedown pin which is the largest of the four pins shown.  The photo below shows the large flat looking item which is the other end of the takedown pin.

Figure 28
Ruger SR9c Review

The slide stop holds the slide open and is activated automatically when the last shot is fired as long as a magazine is in the pistol.  You can also activate the slide stop manually by pushing up on the stop after pulling the slide back.  This slide stop seems to be an area of controversy. When you have the slide back and locked and insert a loaded magazine, you would typically push down on the slide stop to release the slide.  This is extremely difficult (although possible) on the Ruger SR9c and especially difficult on a new and tight pistol.  In Ruger's Instruction Manual (page 20) they state the proper way to release the slide is "by pulling the slide fully to the rear and release it."  I think Ruger is trying to prevent wear on the slide and slide stop so that they will always function properly.  For those of you who want to release the slide by pushing down with your thumb on the slide stop, only time will tell if this ever becomes and issue.  Although I don't know first hand, I understand from other reviews that in time, the slide stop does become easier to push down.

Figure 29
Ruger SR9c Review

Grip and Reversible Backstrap

The grip is relatively thin and measured about 1.18" at it's thickest point which is just above the checkering on the side of the grip.  It also measured about 2.02" from the front checkering to the back of the backstrap in the low profile configuration.

Figure 30
Ruger SR9c Review

It is difficult to see in the photos, but there are sculpted areas on both sides just in front of the Ruger logo to allow a thinner front so your fingers can wrap around that edge more comfortably.

Figure 31
Ruger SR9c Review

The SR9c includes a reversible backstrap that can provide more arch to the back of the grip if desired.  You reverse the backstrap by pushing out the pin, sliding the backstrap down out of the slot and then, flipping it over, sliding it back in and replacing the pin.  Doing this is a very quick and simple task.

Figure 32
Ruger SR9c Review

The next two photos show the backstrap in the two possible configurations.

Figure 33                                                             Figure 34     
Ruger SR9c Review   Ruger SR9c Review

Since the magazine can be such a critical part of the grip, I have shown the pistol in the three possible magazine/grip configurations below.

Figure 35                                                      Figure 36                                                      Figure 37
Flat Floorplate                                      Floorplate Finger Extension                                   Magazine Adapter
Ruger SR9c Review   Ruger SR9c Review   Ruger SR9c Review


The Ruger SR9c comes with two magazines; 10-round and 17-round (two 10-round magazines for the state compliant models).  These magazines are manufactured in Italy by Mec-Gar who makes quality magazines for a wide range of firearms manufacturers.

Figure 38                                                                 Figure 39
Ruger SR9c Review   Ruger SR9c Review

Figure 40
Ruger SR9c Review

Figure 41
Ruger SR9c Review


The various empty weights for the different possible configurations is shown below.

Figure 42                                                 Figure 43                                                 Figure 44
23.30 ounces                                           23.45 ounces                                           24.30 ounces
Ruger SR9c Review   Ruger SR9c Review   Ruger SR9c Review

I also wanted to check the fully loaded weight using ammunition suitable for protections purposes.  I used Remington Golden Saber Bonded 147 grain Brass Jacketed Hollow Points (GSB9MMC). The 10+1 and 17+1 configurations weighed as follows.

Figure 45                                                Figure 46 
28.80 ounces                                          33.15 ounces
Ruger SR9c Review   Ruger SR9c Review


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