The Sturm Ruger LC9-CT Review

The Sturm Ruger company is arguably one of the best and most successful small arms manufacturers in the world. They opened their doors in 1949 and never looked back. Today they offer everything from rifles, to shotguns to handguns. We are going to concentrate here on their handgun line, and specifically the LC9. Released in 2011, this is one of the best offerings made for concealed carry.

The box contains the gun, two 7 round magazines, a lock, instruction manual, a key and a soft zippered carry case.

The LC9 is a nice middle ground between the LCP and the SR9c. It’s slightly larger than the LCP, and a fair amount smaller than the SR9c. If you intend to carry concealed, this is probably one of the best small framed guns I’ve seen yet. Officially weighing in at 17.7 oz, my scale showed it weighed 17.9 ozs (+/- .5 ozs). It weighed in at 18.4 ozs. With the 9 round magazine inserted. It has an overall length of 6” and a height of 4.5”. The width is claimed to be less than an inch, at 0.90”, which, for any gun, is narrow. It has a single-stack magazine capacity of seven 9X19MM rounds or alternatively 9 rounds with a separately purchased optional magazine.

Three Dot Sight System

Three Dot Sight System

It comes equipped with a windage adjustable three dot sight system. With this model, I opted for the Crimson Trace laser sight. I have one attached to my SR9c and it works. The laser is activated by pressure applied by your middle finger on the front of the grip. It falls there naturally, so you never have to think about activating the laser. Grab the grips in the proper hold, and it’s on. It is that simple.

Like it or hate it, Ruger’s handguns all have controls in the same places and operate on the same principles. Once you own a Ruger, you can pick up nearly any other Ruger and the controls and feel will instantly be familiar to you. Personally, I like this kind of consistency. That’s not to say other manufacturers don’t follow this theme (as I know Glock does, for example), but not all manufacturers do. Ruger includes a manual safety, slide release, loaded chamber indicator and a take down pin. I know that sounds like a lot of stuff, but in fact they all have a purpose.

LC9 Loaded Chamber Indicator

LC9 Loaded Chamber Indicator

In particular I like the loaded chamber indicator. It pops up behind the ejector port to let you know there is a round in the pipe. It is painted red on both sides to provide a further visual aid, and because it sticks up slightly, a quick sweep on the top of the gun in the dark lets you know you don’t have to make noise racking the gun and drawing attention to yourself unnecessarily. This gun is also equipped with a magazine disconnect, which, in my opinion I don’t particularly care for. However, that feature makes the gun compliant in some of the gun unfriendly states (California). After all, the loaded chamber indicator should take some of the stupid out of gun handling. Nanny states….

Ruger LC9 Laser Activation Button

Ruger LC9 Laser Activation Button

The usual Ruger fit and finish is evident everywhere on this gun. The lower section of the gun is glass filled nylon and the slide is made from hardened alloy steel. The nicely scalloped grips are contoured to fit one’s hand like a glove. There is checkering in all the right places, and overall, this is just a good-looking gun. All of the gun’s surfaces have been beveled to provide better holstering/drawing ease. The included 7 round magazine comes with a pinky extension, which I like a lot. Ruger also includes a flat base plate if the extension is not to your liking. For me, I appreciate the extra real estate and left mine in place. As mentioned above, you also have the option of buying extended 9-round magazines. The part number is 90404 and they sell for $44.95. I bought two and they are great for the extra rounds and extra surface for your grip. But, from the factory they are a little tricky to insert, you have to apply a little extra force to seat them properly. I didn’t experience that with the included 7-round magazines. The slide is nicely tapered at the barrel end, which eliminates any sharp edges at the front end. The rear of the slide has the usual scallops on either side to aid in gripping it for racking the slide.

LC9 Finger Extended Magazine

LC9 Finger Extended Magazine

LC9 Flat Plate Magazine

LC9 Flat Plate Magazine

LC9 9 Round Magazine

LC9 9 Round Magazine

 

This is a hammer fired pistol, and as mentioned earlier, double action only. The hammer does not extend beyond the back of the pistol, so there is no danger of snagging it on clothing. The gun does not have a double-strike capability, meaning that if it misfires, you cannot pull the trigger again, you must cycle the slide manually to reset the hammer.

One thing I really don’t like about this gun is the L-O-N-G trigger pull. My scale shows the force needed to depress it at 6 pounds. While the trigger is smooth through the entire swing, it starts somewhere in Texas and ends in North Dakota. Did I say LONG? I know this is a double-action only gun, but, really? At the range I had three examples of Ruger excellence to work with. I took the SR9c, the new SR 45 and this LC9. The trigger on the LC9 was so different from the others that I couldn’t pick it up and use it with any consistency after using one of the other two. While I fully understand that this was designed as a defensive carry gun and not a range gun, I still believe that Ruger could have done with a little less swing in the trigger. It breaks almost at the absolute bottom of the swing within the trigger guard. It resets somewhere near the top.

At the range this gun was great when it came to reliability and accuracy. I spent some time zeroing in the laser at about 10 yards. Once the firing started, I did not experience a single misfire, ejector fail or jam. I shot 200 rounds through it on the first day, and to my surprise, there were no issues whatsoever. My SR9c wasn’t that good out of the box. Accuracy was spot on. The laser was pin-point accurate and never failed during my tests. It remained lit no matter what angle the gun was at, or how rapidly I fired it. I practiced a few double-taps just to see how it fared. Needless to say, I was very satisfied with it. Normally, a short barreled gun tends to have a fair amount of recoil management to go along with it. The LC9 was easy to keep on target. The three dot sights are great, but having that laser made a tremendous difference in accuracy. I found myself using the laser exclusively and not utilizing the iron sights. This, in my mind gives credence to the utility of the laser sights. That is not to say that the iron sights are useless, on the contrary, I like these sights very much. Even though there is a short sight radius, these are easy to pick up when looking down the barrel. I found it very easy to acquire a good sight picture. Even performing double-taps with it, the recoil was manageable and I could pick up the sights for the second shot very easily.

Taking the gun down for cleaning is relatively easy. There is a take-down pin that is held in place by a little switch plate on the left side. Sliding the switch down allows access to the pin. Moving the slide slightly rearwards allows for removal of the pin by pushing it out from the right side. From there the slide comes off the front of the gun. You have to remember to put that switch back in place when reassembling the gun. For those of you who’ve already lost this pin, you can find it on Ruger’s website for $2.00. The part number is CP03750.

I bought a pocket holster from Amazon.com from Federal Holsterworks. This is a great little holster. I found this gun extremely easy to carry concealed. Since it is so small, it makes it very easy to conceal in either my pocket holster, or a hybrid holster. At no time did I find it to be uncomfortable and no one seemed to notice it even when it was stuffed in the front pocket of my jeans. I carried inside my coat pocket as well. It is just easy to carry. I’m not much for ankle holsters, but I imagine this would be just as comfortable there. I found myself reaching for this when heading out the door more often than my other daily carry.

Overall, this is a quality offering from Ruger. It’s easy to conceal, easy to fire (despite the long trigger action) and best of all, it works reliably right out of the box.

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  • Gregory Lesniewski

    Just bought this for my wife and got the spare magazine today! She really likes it! And we both really like Ruger! Great gun!

    • Grandpa

      I have had my LC9 for a while, and we like it so much, I bought one for my wife. They are GREAT concealed carry weapons.
      If you want to do something about the long…… trigger pull, check out Galloway Precision Works. I have done the trigger modifications done on both of our LC9s. It cuts the trigger pull in half, and lightens the pull too. The difference is amazing!

  • likemindead

    I have an LC9 with the LaserMax & I like it. I bought it new & have put a good 800 rounds through it without any problems. I actually enjoy shooting it.

  • MRDeadhead

    Bought one 5 days ago…glad I did. Ext mag and no laser. Bought my girlfriend a Shield 9 for xmas, and she’s jealous of the LC9’s conceal-ability. Shot 6″ low out of the box with 115 gr. Am Eagle target ammo. Nice grouping at 10 yards…2 1/2″. Not wild about the gadgetry needed for field stripping, but it’s a minor inconvenience. Highly recommended.

  • David

    I must have gotten a fluke because my LC9 after 200 rounds stopped firing because of a broken firing pin. Also been a week and still waiting on either a firing pin or a shipping label from Ruger’s customer service

    • MRDeadhead

      Was this with +P ammo?

      • David

        No, I have never shot +P with it.

        • MRDeadhead

          Just wondering. Sounds like an isolated incident. Rugers are legendarily tough.

    • ILikeRush

      My LC9 quit firing after about 200 rounds because if the trigger bar.

  • Pat

    Excellent review. Thank you. However, I hate to be “that guy”, but I think it is important for novices reading these types of articles to get correct information. You state, “Ruger includes a manual safety, slide release, …” While the little button can, indeed, be used to release the slide – it is in fact a slide lock. The problem with encouraging operators to use the button incorrectly, results in the face of the mechanism becoming worn and rounded; leading to unintended release and/or a complete failure to hold the slide open. Naturally, this leads to owner complaints, warranty claims and dissatisfaction with the gun and/or manufacturer. I just feel we need to be accurate in this regard. Let the bashing begin.

    • MRDeadhead

      Right you are. Hard habit to break…until that habit breaks the gun.

    • cawpin

      What? Slide stops have been used to release slides for a long time and are meant for that. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be there.

      • Pat

        I don’t wish to be argumentative – I only pointed out this fact as a friendly caution. I am not an engineer or gun designer. I also imagine that some manufacturers do indeed design their semi-autos with the slide lock intended for double-duty as a release. However, it is my understanding that this is generally NOT the intent. While you may indeed be correct that “Slide stops have been used to release slides for a long time…”, that does not make the practice correct; and most certainly releasing the slide is NOT what they are meant for – they are meant to hold the slide OPEN.

        Furthermore, making it a habit to release the slide by depressing the slide lock could have disastrous results during a reload in a self-defense situation. Under the stress of a self-defense situation, one of the first things the human body loses are fine motor skills. Good luck finding and depressing that tiny button with your thumb when seconds count. In the alternative, you retain gross motor skills. Consequently, the preferred method of releasing the slide appears to be the grasp-push/pull-and-release method in most [if not all] self-defense courses. However, don’t take my word for it – do your research. Be safe.

        • cawpin

          It most certainly is what they are meant for. That’s why they are serrated or checkered on the top most of the time. The are made from hardened materials that will not wear quickly enough to be a problem.

          • Pat

            Not to beat a dead horse (well maybe a little) – the following is directly from the LC9 operator’s manual:

            “Slide Hold Open: This allows the user to manually lock the slide open. Note: when the last shot has been fired and the magazine is empty, the slide hold open
            automatically holds the slide open. If a loaded magazine is inserted in the pistol
            when the slide is closed and the slide is then retracted fully, the slide hold open
            will not automatically hold open the slide. The user can actuate the slide hold
            open mechanism to hold the slide open at any time by retracting the slide and
            pushing the slide hold open up.

            The slide hold open can be released by drawing back slightly on the slide. When
            the slide is released, it will move forward under pressure from the recoil spring.
            The slide hold open is held in place by a spring. Therefore, when there is a loaded magazine in place and the pistol is jarred, the slide can fly forward and chamber a cartridge. For this reason and as an essential safety practice, the user should always be careful to keep fingers away from the trigger, and always keep the pistol pointed in a safe direction.”

          • cawpin

            And, yet, nowhere in there does it say that it shouldn’t be used to release the slide.

          • Pat

            …and from Wikipedia:

            [Caption to a photo} Slide stop in its “up” position, locking the slide of this Glock pistol in its “back” position. Pressing down the switch can release the lock and cause the slide to spring forward but this may accelerate wear and should not be used in a defensive situation.

          • cawpin

            That is a simple factual statement followed by an opinion. It is metal rubbing on metal, of course doing that is going to “accelerate” wear. But it isn’t going to accelerate it to the point that it will cause the stop to not work unless you do it 10s of thousands of times repeatedly.

  • jar1807

    I’ve never tried the Ruger LC9-CT but, I’m sure it’s great. I stopped looking for new guns after I bought the Ruger SR9C. For me (the best gun is a personal judgement), it is the best handgun I own or have ever tried without doubt. I swoon when I hold it and, even more so, when I shoot it.

  • mic

    I love my rugers (p95&sr9), but my buddy bought one of these (and quickly sold it) and I’m not impressed at all. First you are correct as it has a long trigger pull but you forgot to add that its trigger reset is all the way forward too. Its also a wrist breaker, as its a lot more snappy than a woman or someone who doesn’t shoot a lot. For its price vs function the sr9c is a better option.

  • Ed

    Excellent review, Rob. May I toss in my opinion? A bit long winded it appears – sorry. I like my LC9CT a lot – I’ve had it a little over a year. I carry it in a pocket holster (DeSantis Superfly Glock 26 LC9 with Laserguard Black) from Amazon. I also carry a spare mag in a holster in the other front pocket. I only have 2 pair of jeans with pockets large enough to carry this so it might be considered borderline. It does fit nicely into the front pocket of Cabela’s 7 pocket hikers so I have several of those. Cabela’s puts the spare pocket right on top of the main pocket so it offers extra camouflage. I don’t have any problem at all with the long pull or reset though if I go from this gun to my XDs(9), SR9c, P89, etc, I have to pay attention cause the pull is way different for sure. As mentioned, there is a trigger kit available if you want as well as a fix for the magazine disconnect which I don’t like either. The safety isn’t needed with the long DAO. I’ve got probably 7 or 8 hundred rounds through it and had about 3 FTEs during 2 sessions around the 300 round mark. A little dirty? I don’t know but it hasn’t had any trouble since. I’m not as confident but I still carry it – I keep it clean. Also had the mag fall out on me repeatedly but Ruger was very good and fixed me up with a new mag. The red laser works well except in bright sunlight. I feel better knowing I can pinpoint a target even if I’m on the ground in an awkward position (or falling down?). I do wish I had a master switch on the laser though. Just sent off for my free batteries for life replacement. I compared the CT and LaserMax in the store and the CT was noticeably brighter. Using Critical Defense 115 gr FTX, the rounds have some trouble chambering unless the slide is pulled all the way back and allowed to slam forward. I never use the slide lock as a release so I don’t know if the round would chamber or not – might need that extra fraction of an inch? I bought the stainless guide rod and beefed up recoil spring. Don’t notice much difference but I feel better without a plastic guide rod. I bought a Pachmayr grip which I loved but it interfered with the laser button (and magazine unless positioned just right – it moves while shooting) and I ended up tearing it while trimming. I miss it but the Talon grips help some with what I feel is a skinny feeling handgrip. I might consider carrying the XDs but I haven’t had it long. The LC9CT is a good carry gun, like Rob said.

  • silvercliff_46

    My wife just bought the LC .380 same as the 9 except in the .380. She loves it. I got her LCP and use it to walk around the house with or back up pocket gun (thanks honey). She is a bit recoil shy, but not with this one. She has the extended magazine (7 +1). It is a little heaver (then LCP), affords her a better grip and has good sights. This a darn good women’s gun, coupled with Hornady Critical defense ammo, it will do the job.

  • LC9FanBoy

    I have carried an LC9 operationally for 2 years now and I could not be more pleased with it. At least now. And I agree that the major shortcoming of the platform is the horrendous stock trigger assembly. I fixed that completely by sending my LC9 to Galloway Precision, wherein they lightened the pull and shortened the pull to break and shortened the reset. And in the process they also got rid of that stupid PRK magazine disconnect so-called-safety. Now the trigger is beautiful … smooth, medium light, crisp at the break, and much shorter. Just the way I like it, and the way Ruger should have shipped it from the factory. Ruger seems to be creating an entire cottage industry of small shops focused on fixing all those stupid errors that Ruger has burdened us with over the past decade. Oh well.

  • ILikeRush

    I like the LC9 but the trigger pull is too long.

  • Tracy Simeone

    I really like the trigger. A lot of shooters start out shooting striker fired guns, shooters a generation ago learned on revolvers for the most part. The DA pull on a revolver requires a smooth steady pull of a 10 lb trigger over a long travel (compared to a strikerfire) while keeping your sight picture on target. The striker fired gun are producing a new generation of shooters who never learned the the art of a good trigger press. I’m not saying they are not good shots just when they shoot anything that does not have a short striker pull, they get flustered and blame the trigger. A good shooter can shoot a gun like the LC9 with a less than perfect trigger …LOL yea the LC9 trigger is long, but it is far from a horrible go pedal.
    P.S.I ‘m don’t “really like the trigger”, and it could and should be better, but it is not a deal breaker for me, I shoot it just fine.

  • Tracy Simeone

    I really like the trigger. A lot of shooters start out shooting striker fired guns, shooters a generation ago learned on revolvers for the most part. The DA pull on a revolver requires a smooth steady pull of a 10 lb trigger over a long travel (compared to a strikerfire) while keeping your sight picture on target. The striker fired gun are producing a new generation of shooters who never learned the the art of a good trigger press. I’m not saying they are not good shots just when they shoot anything that does not have a short striker pull, they get flustered and blame the trigger. A good shooter can shoot a gun like the LC9 with a less than perfect trigger …LOL yea the LC9 trigger is long, but it is far from a horrible go pedal.
    P.S.I ‘m don’t “really like the trigger”, and it could and should be better, but it is not a deal breaker for me, I shoot it just fine.

  • Ray A Miller

    My boys (grown sons) gave me the Ruger LC9CT 9MM W/CRIMSON TRACE for Christmas. One of the best gifts I have ever received. I had been using a .38 Colt Detective Special revolver and not only love it, I am a good shot with it (I used it to qualify for my CWP). The Ruger is a great conceal carry weapon and I can shoot as good as the .38 plus, the Ruger is lighter and easier to conceal. I plan to get my wife to practice with the .38 (she knows how to shoot it. I just want her to be able to hit what she is shooting at) and get her the CWP. She knows how to hit what she aims at with my shotgun but, it is not easy to conceal (lol). Best wishes to all and, let’s be careful out there. l live in SC so, I got qualified for the Utah CWP to enable me to carry in more states.

  • Ray A Miller

    My sons got a Ruger LC9CT for my Christmas present. I took the laser sight off; it was distracting. Other that that, I love the gun.

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