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Ruger LC9S Review [2020]

Ruger manufactures an excellent selection of firearms. This includes bolt-action, single-shot and semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, single and double-action revolvers and semi-automatic pistols.

In this Ruger LC9S review, we will take a look at their single-stack, striker fired 9mm pistol. This compact handgun has certainly been a big hit with shooters. This tells us that anyone in the market for an easily concealable pistol that is light, reliable, and well-priced will do well to take a look at this model.

Ruger LC9S Review

So, let’s go through it and find out why?

Models – Three of a kind

Our review will concentrate on the Ruger LC9S model, but first, let’s take a look at its origins.

Ruger’s first pistol in this line was their LC9. This was introduced in 2011. It was hammer-fired, and although a solid offering, it did have a difficult trigger pull.

As is their habit of listening to customers, Ruger went back to the design table. The result was the introduction in 2014 of a striker-fired, lightweight replacement in three variations – The LC9S models. These models are the…

  • LC9S – With a manual safety, magazine disconnect, and drift-adjustable sights.
  • LC9S Pro – With no manual safety, no magazine, and drift-adjustable sights.
  • EC9S – With a manual safety, magazine disconnect, integral sights, less but wider cocking serrations, and black oxide finish option.

Note: “E” on the final model stands for “Essential.”


Ruger LC9S Specifications

Before looking at the features and functionality of the LC9S pistol, let’s list out its specs.

  • Chambering – 9x19mm.
  • Weight (with empty magazine) – 17.2 ounces.
  • Trigger Press – 5.20 lbs.
  • Barrel Length – 3.12 inches.
  • Barrel Diameter – 0.500 inch.
  • Overall length – 6.00 inches.
  • Overall Height – 4.50 inches.
  • Grip Width – 0.90 inches.
  • Trigger Reach – 2.75 inches.
  • Magazine capacity – 1 x 7-round included – 9-round available with finger extension.
  • Magazines supplied – 1 x Steel, 1 x Inert Dummy Mag (dry fire use).
  • Safety features – Magazine disconnect, striker block, trigger safety, right-handed manual thumb safety.
  • Carbon alloy steel sights – 3-dot – Windage adjustable rear.
  • No accessory rail but does accept lasers.

Why is the LC9S pistol so popular?

There are good reasons that shooters have taken to this pistol. So, let’s break our review of the Ruger LC9S into bite-sized benefit chunks to find out what they are.

Ruger LC9S
Photo by James Case

Quality Construction

Ruger are renowned for the quality material used in all of their weapon manufacture. The LC9S model is no different. Its rugged construction has been achieved through the use of…

  • A hardened steel slide.
  • One-piece, high-performance glass-filled nylon checkered grip frame.
  • Blued, alloy steel barrel.

The frame has a checkered grip. This is designed to give a more secure feel and added comfort when holding the pistol. In addition, included in your purchase is also a finger grip extension floorplate. This can be added to the supplied magazine. Its intention is to further enhance comfort and improve grip.

Sights

Bearing in mind that the LC9S is a close-range pistol, the sights more than do justice to your aiming accuracy.

The dovetailed, high-visibility sight system offers a fixed front sight and a more than adequate carbon alloy steel, windage-adjustable (drift) rear sight.

Trigger pull

We mentioned that the original model in this line (LC9) was of good design, but the trigger action and pull was something shooters were not keen on. Well, Ruger certainly addressed this issue with the LC9S model. This striker-fired pistol comes with a short, light and very crisp trigger pull

What does this mean to you?

The trigger pull functionality means there is very little take-up and no creep. These factors give users the ability to shoot faster and more accurately.

As stated above, the trigger press comes in at 5.20 lbs. Having said that, many owners feel it is even lighter thanks to the smoothness of action.

Recoil

When it comes to recoil vs. size of handgun, many shooters may think the opposite of what actually occurs when firing their weapon. In general, smaller size, concealable weapons offer up a stronger felt recoil than larger handguns, not the other way around.

This means that if you are used to using a larger weapon, or it is your first foray into the concealable world, adjusting to this greater recoil is a must.

The Ruger LC9S certainly has a noticeable recoil, but it is one that is quite easily managed. However, to ensure you achieve repeated accuracy shot after shot with this lightweight handgun, you will need to practice with it on a regular basis.

Safety features

Before going through them, we just need to mention that we do applaud the worthy safety features this pistol offers.

These include…

  • A trigger safety.
  • Striker block for drop safety.
  • Manual thumb safety – note this is ‘right-handed’ use.
  • Out-of-battery safety.
  • Magazine disconnect safety.

Worthy points to note on these safety features

Let’s expand and add to the above bullet points. This will hopefully help you determine that safety is certainly a thought-out feature of this pistol.

  • The manual safety feature is optional.
  • The out-of-battery safety works in a similar way to other weapon safety features of this kind. If a round is not completely seated in the LC9S chamber or it is not completely closed, then the pistol will not fire.
  • The magazine disconnect safety can be removed.
  • The external safety feature. This must be ‘down and off’ in order for you to rack the slide.
  • The Ruger LC9S cannot be fired unless there is a magazine attached.

How concealable is it?

Anyone who is looking for a lightweight, easily carryable, and very easily concealed weapon is looking in the right place. As we have already touched on, the LC9S weighs in at just 17.02 oz (without magazine). Size-wise it has an overall length of 6 inches with an overall height of 4.50 inches. These factors make it ideal for concealed carry.

Ruger LC9S Concealable
Photo by MJ Kreyzer

It has also been designed with smooth, rounded edges. The benefits here are two-fold:

  • There are no sharp edges to scratch or cut your hand on.
  • You will not need to worry about the pistol catching on clothing while concealed or in the event that you need to draw it out quickly.

Concealed Carry Holsters/Purses

If carrying the LC9S with the supplied 7-round magazine, it will fit comfortably into a pocket or IWB (Inside Waistband) holster. Those shooters who opt to purchase a 9-round magazine will find an IWB holster more convenient.

IWB is perhaps the most popular method for concealed carriers. This is due to the fact that your weapon can be close to the body without exposing any part of it below the waistline. Well designed IWB holsters also offer ease of weapon access should the need arise.

More on an ideal Ruger LC9S IWB holster later!

It is completely understandable that women who purchase the LC9S may not always want to conceal the pistol under their clothing. This is no problem at all, as there is a good selection of concealed carry purses for them to choose from.


A factor to be aware of – Takedown is not the easiest

Our LC9S review has so far given many positives of this pistol. Here’s a comment on something that is not the easiest task and a couple of ways to get around it.

Disassembly and reassembly of the Ruger LC9S can be a challenge. Taking the pistol apart for cleaning and then putting it back together again is not the easiest procedure you will ever come across. However, it is something that should be carried out on a regular basis.

Here’s our take on it…

When disassembling, you need to move the take-down lever/gate downwards. This reveals the take-down pin.

To push this pin out, take a small screwdriver (a straightened paperclip will do!) and, from the right side of the pistol’s frame, push the pin out while moving the slide backwards around ⅛ inch.

There is no doubt that this exercise will take practice, and ‘lockups’ should be expected until you get it right.

One important point to bear in mind and a tip

The take-down pin is an integral part of disassembly. Do not lose it. When you have removed, this pin put it somewhere safe while continuing with disassembly/cleaning.

A Tip – The guide rod has two recoil springs. Don’t worry too much about which direction you place these back onto the guide rod. They fit in whichever direction you place them.

Takedown Assistance – Two Choices Here

  • Ask a friend who has experience of disassembling the LC9S to ‘walk you through’ how it is done.
  • Take it to your local range or gunsmith and ask if they can instruct on how it is done.

The first option may ‘cost’ you a drink, the second a few dollars, but both will be worthwhile if you are not familiar with takedown procedures.

Ruger LC9S Review Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Easy and comfortable to Carry.
  • Excellent Trigger Pull.
  • Compact Design.
  • Modest Recoil.
  • Easy To Use.
  • Resets In About Half Inch.

Cons

  • Accessories tend to be more expensive than for similarly priced pistols.


Other 9mm Options

If you’re looking for other quality options to the Ruger LC9S, check out our in-depth reviews of the SCCY 9mm Review and our SCCY 9mm CPX-2 Review.

Three Ruger LC9S Accessories worthy of purchase

The Ruger LC9S is a well-priced, easily concealable pistol in its own right and is certainly fully functional ‘as is.’ However, there are also reasonably priced accessories that can make it even better. So, here are three accessories we feel give added benefits. Each one is worthy of consideration for those who want to make the LC9S even more user-friendly.

1 Truglo TFO Handgun Sight Set

This accessory is particularly useful for those LC9S owners who tend to be out at night. After dark is certainly a time when self-defense awareness needs heightening. These sights will certainly give you an advantage in the event you need to draw your weapon after dark. It should also be noted they will help during daylight hours.

The Truglo TFO offering comes as a pair (front and rear night sights). They are two quality inserts that are placed at the rear sight and one insert placed at the front sight.

This day/night sight addition has been specifically designed for the Ruger LC9 series of pistols. To match the smooth use of your LC9S, the quality tritium insert housings are also snag resistant. You can expect visibility and a glowing point of accuracy, whether used during day or night. The design is also suitable for the majority of standard holsters that take this pistol.

Pros

  • Manufactured to high quality.
  • Will certainly help in any self-defense ‘after dark’ situations.
  • Visible use day or night.

Cons

  • Needs professional installation/de-installation (unless you have specific tools).
  • Inserts will eventually require replacement, but tritium material is long-lasting.

2 IWB Concealed Holster

We have already mentioned the fact that the Ruger LC9S pistol is a good choice as a concealed carry weapon. With this in mind, here is an IWB holster that is an excellent accessory addition.

The IWB Kydex Holster by Concealment Express has been specifically molded to fit the LC9S. Made from hard-wearing Kydex, this material will hold its shape for a long time to come. It is also suitable for both men and women, no matter how tight the clothes you are wearing.

The polymer belt clip easily adjusts through two retention screws. This allows cant (carry angle) adjustment that best suits your carrying style.

With between -5 to +20 degrees of adjustment, you can perfectly position the holster for your appendix (AIWB) strong side. The choice is yours, place it in the cross draw or behind the hip position. There is also a retention screw at the trigger guard, and this holster has an audible posi-lock click to ensure correct seating.

IWB Concealed Holster
Our rating:4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Pros

  • Durable.
  • Molded.
  • Effective adjustable cant.
  • Low profile.

Cons

  • Some shooters may find leather holsters more comfortable.

For more holster options, check out our reviews of the Best Cross Draw Holster, the Best Small of Back Holster, and the Best Ankle Holsters currently available 2020.

3 Magazine Speedloader

Any shooter looking to make the reloading of their Ruger LC9S easier and more convenient should take a look at the MakerShot Custom Magazine Speedloader. While it was specifically designed with the LC9S in mind, it will serve many compact and subcompact pistols.

Made from very long-lasting and durable black polymer, this speedloader is straightforward in design. It is also shaped for ease of thumb use during the magazine loading process.

Small, lightweight, and easy to carry, this speedloader offers a cheap, effective solution when reloading is necessary. It also gives your thumb a well-earned break!

Just one thing to note: This is NOT a universal speedloader. When ordering make sure you select the ‘Ruger LC9S and 9mm caliber’ options. You then have the perfect speedloader for your pistol.

Magazine Speedloader
Our rating:3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)

Pros

  • Very affordable.
  • Speeds up loading time.
  • Easy to store/carry.

Cons

  • An additional item to carry.

Ruger LC9S Review Conclusion

In terms of a compact concealed carry pistol, the Ruger LC9S will suit many. It’s round, smooth edge design means snagging on clothing is not a concern.

The LC9S is highly reliable, keenly priced, and with its 9mm caliber, offers a good punch. You are buying into a trigger press that comes in at around 5 pounds with a trigger stroke covering just over 3/8ths of an inch. These factors are quite rightly praised by many users.

Regardless of user hand strength, both the trigger and recoil afford ease of handling and control. The final positive to mention is the fact that for such a small, lightweight pistol, the accuracy is also commendable.

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