Ruger LC9 in 9mm *NRA Edition* REVIEW

Ruger LC9 in 9mm *NRA Edition* REVIEW

The BUY USED GUNS Team review the Ruger LC9 Lightweight Compact semi-automatic pistol chambered in 9mm



The Ruger LC9 is a compact pistol designed for concealed/open carry, to that there is no doubt. Its stand-out features include a thin frame, short length and height, ease of use and many safety’s which all point to the concealed/open carry market (pro-dominantly in the US).

You are probably asking yourself why the Buy Used Guns Team are reviewing a pistol designed for concealed/open carry when laws allowing this practise do not exist in Australia. The answer? Because we love guns no matter the purpose and these types of pistols can easily be obtained on certain licences in Australia.


What do I get for my money?

Basically everything in the below photo which is standard for a newly purchased pistol. You get the Ruger LC9 with one magazine with two different base plates, soft gun case, a padlock, small key for disassembly, manual and assorted brochures. You also get a nice white cardboard box.

You also get a fired 9mm case inside a small envelope. The label on the envelope provides some specs of the pistol and signed by 'Tom Martin'.




There are actually quite a few variants of the LC9 including quite a few ‘distributor exclusives’ which leads us to believe this is a very popular pistol. The Ruger website lists the following models in their ‘lightweight compact pistols’ range;

  • LCP Chambered in 380 Auto (The LCP is even smaller than the LC9)
  • LC9s (Striker-fired version of the LC9 in 9mm)
  • LC9 Chambered in 9mm
  • LC380 (LC9 sized pistol chambered in 380 Auto)


The LC9 we are reviewing is a distributor exclusive, namely the ‘NRA Edition’. Basically this means the receiver is coated in a nice camo coating and there are NRA logo’s on both sides of the slide. It’s a nice touch if you wanted something a bit different besides the standard all black LC9.




Size and Weight

In real world terms, it’s a small lightweight gun. The pistol has been designed for shooters to carry comfortably and easily conceal. It is a small gun and when you pick it up and start shooting you will certainly know. You will also notice how THIN the pistol is. Another nod to the concealed/open carry market.

You can follow this link and navigate to the Ruger LC9 listed specifications. You can also quickly scroll to the bottom of this review for the dimensions and weight as measured by us.



Shooting the Ruger LC9

We will mention this straight away to highlight the only real negative of the pistol, the trigger pull is LOOOONG! It is so long you might even think something is wrong the first time you squeeze the trigger. We are unsure on the idea behind the long trigger pull. We can only speculate it has something to do with the concealed carry/defensive nature of the pistol, but we really don’t know. You can see in the photos below how far the trigger needs to be pulled to fire.




Along with the long trigger pull, the trigger must be returned roughly two thirds of the way back before the pistol will reset ready to fire again. Does the long trigger pull really matter if you were ever required to use this pistol in a self-defence scenario? Maybe, maybe not. Longer trigger pull aside, the trigger is actually quite nice and has a smooth, not-to-heavy pull. In the below photo we have paused the trigger at the point where it resets.



Shooting the LC9 was fun and we found the recoil and size of the pistol quite manageable. Due to the size and dimensions of the pistol, you may struggle to shoot it comfortably if you have large hands. One of the magazine base pads supplied extends the grip just enough for you to rest your little finger on. This does make the pistol more comfortable to hold and shoot. The checkered grip also provides a nice secure feel. We had a young female shooter with small hands hold the pistol and she found it quite comfortable.

The three dot sights are simple and we found obtaining a sight picture to be easy enough. The dovetailed front sight is fixed and the rear dovetailed sight is adjustable for windage. We found the serrations on the rear of the slide to be nice and helped when racking the slide. The slide was quite stiff initially but seems to have loosened up a little with use.

We did not experience ANY malfunctions/stoppages/jams of any kind whilst shooting this pistol. This is typical of the reliability we have all come to expect from Ruger, (to be fair however we didn’t fire ALOT of rounds). Loading and unloading the LC9 was a straight forward process and no different from most semi-auto pistols. Insert your loaded magazine, rack the slide and start squeezing the trigger. This is of course provided you don't have any of the safeties activated.



We will only touch on this subject due to a number of factors, namely we did not fire a lot of rounds through the pistol, the shots were fired from a new barrel and we used cheap ammo.




The results speak for themselves. The pistol is more than adequate at hitting a human sized target at a reasonable distance. The squares on the targets represent one inch.



We won't go into war and peace on this subject. Disassembly is quick and easy by using the supplied key to push one pin out. The slide comes off and the barrel and recoil spring come out easy enough for cleaning. The same key can be used to remove the magazine base pads to swap over or clean the magazine internals. Once you have done it a few times you could probably do it blind folded.




The Ruger LC9 comes with 4 safety features which may seem excessive however they do not detract from the use or effectiveness of the pistol. They can also not be used should the owner wish to do so. The first and most obvious is the manual safety. This is simply a lever just under the right side of the slide. The user simply flicks the lever up with their thumb which prevents the trigger being pulled. It also locks the slide in place.



The second most stand out safety feature is the loaded chamber indicator (Ruger MKIII owners will be familiar with this one!). Basically a small tab on top of the slide pops up showing a small amount of red warning/telling the user there is a round in the chamber.

Thirdly there is an internal key activated lock on the right side of the frame. Activate this lock with the provided key (which is also used to disassemble the pistol and magazine) and the pistol will not fire when the trigger is pulled. This is a handy feature for when the pistol is not being used and in storage.

Lastly we have the magazine disconnect safety (Ruger MKIII owners again you will be familiar with this) which prevents the pistol from firing WITHOUT a magazine installed.



There are no negatives to discuss in relation to the quality. The fit and finish are excellent which is again typical of Ruger. The frame has a bit of a 'plastic' feel to it but that is to be expected. Ruger advertise the frame as a one piece nylon grip frame reinforced with long glass fibre (sounds fancy?). The slide and barrel have a sleek blued finish and it seems quite durable.

Provided you keep the pistol clean and well-oiled it will no doubt last you a lifetime.





We would be hard pressed to recommend this pistol for anything other than concealed/open carry. This really is the whole point of the pistol. It was fun shooting the little Ruger but it is no range or duty firearm. This certainly limits the market in Australia however it may still appeal to collectors and occupational shooters.

If Australian laws permitted the use of carriage of firearms to defend ourselves we would certainly give the Ruger LC9 consideration. Especially as a day-to-day carry with minimal discomfort to the user whilst still packing a punch.




  • Quality
  • Compact and lightweight while still able to fire a decent calibre
  • Plenty of safety features (even a message on the pistols frame tells you to read the manual first!)



  • Trigger! Long pull and long reset. Aftermarket kits are available
  • Not very accessible to the Australian market (mainly due to barrel length)


Specifications (as listed by Ruger)

  • Barrel Length - 3.12 inches
  • Overall Length - 6 inches
  • Width - 0.9 inches
  • Height - 4.5 inches
  • Weight - 17.10 oz
  • Capacity - 7 + 1
  • Twist - 1:10
  • Slide/Barrel Finish - Blued


Dimension Specifications (as measured by the Buy Used Guns Team)

  • Weight - 491 grams (with empty magazine and regular magazine base pad)
  • Height - 113mm (including sights and regular magazine base, extended magazine base will add a few mm)
  • Width - 26mm (if you exclude the manual safety which protrudes a few mm you have an overall pistol width of about 23mm)
  • Length - 150mm



We hope you enjoyed reading our review of the Ruger LC9, we certainly had fun shooting the little pistol and writing this review. If you have any questions about this or other reviews don't hesitate to send us a message!



Good read although would like to see more reviews on guns most Aussies can actually own.

Daz79 04-13-2015 05:35PM

I would like to know more about small hand guns ,and prices.
I am interested in personal and family safety,especially in the present day climate. Prevention is better than cure.

Sylvia McBride 05-11-2016 07:55PM
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