Ruger LC9s Pro – Small Enough to Carry, Big Enough to Shoot

 

The Ruger LC9s Pro comes with two magazines and a soft carrying case, and without an external or magazine disconnect safety.

If you are attached to the firearms industry in any way whatsoever, even if you are merely a guy with an opinion and the determination to convey it to anyone that will listen, you will eventually have a lot of guns. Collecting guns for pleasure, sport, defense, hunting, and just for its own sake is almost a requirement if you want to call yourself a gun writer or sustain a gun channel on YouTube. Another by-product of the culture and vocation is that you will, over time, carry a great variety of different handguns for self-defense. If the clear purpose of a handgun is that it be carried concealed for defensive purposes, then I like to do just that with it for some amount of time and under a variety of circumstances before I offer an opinion to the reader or viewer about it. The Ruger LC9s Pro is a pistol that I purchased a few years ago for the purpose of testing it out as a carry alternative and giving my review. I’ll be darned if the little bugger hasn’t found its way into my heart, my holster, and my pocket! Let me tell you why.

Details of the LC9s

First and foremost, because it is small. Beyond small – it’s tiny. Secondly, because it holds seven rounds in the magazine. That’s eight rounds in a loaded carry gun, with another seven in the pocket or pouch (and maybe seven more elsewhere, depending on your preferred level of preparedness). Third, because it has an incredible trigger – but more on that in a bit. Fourth, it has good ergonomics for a gun its size and decent sights. Lastly, because it has demonstrated itself to be reliable, durable, and accurate. Now, let’s take a look at each of these criteria in more detail.

Let’s start with its size. LC9s Pro has an overall length of just six inches. And while I will often tell you that length is the least important dimension of a concealed carry gun, it does become important for deep concealment – or pocket carry. The latter of those is a method I frequently employ when weather and/or clothing options dictate. I have more than one DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster that I use as my “go/no-go” gauge for pocket carry. The LC9s Pro fits into it – and my pocket, perfectly. Next, it has a height of just 4 ½ inches, which is the important dimension for inside-the-waistband (IWB) carry. Technically, it is also important for OWB carry, but if you’re carrying outside the waistband you’re likely wearing ample concealment garments to negate printing. Carrying IWB is the most common method used for concealed carry, but the one that brings with it the most challenges. A couple of critical measurements of the carry gun for IWB carry are height and thickness. Thickness is important because the gun and its holster have to fit inside your pants and still allow you to exhale occasionally. This tiny Ruger adds only 0.90” of extra companionship to your love handles. But remember, the holster adds to that. So, while the most comfortably constructed holsters imaginable (and I always consider Stealth Gear to top that list) might be your first choice, you could find your pants no longer fitting unless you’ve oversized them. However, with a razor-thin Kydex holster, you are adding very little thickness to the package and can often get away with closer to regular sized fit pants. In my favorite Multi Holster rig, I’m adding only 1.1” to the waist.  The point is that the key to comfortable IWB carry starts with the thinnest gun possible, and the LC9 is about as thin as they come.

Capacity

The flush mount magazine helps to better conceal the pistol, but the “pinky extension” baseplate provides a fuller feeling grip. Capacity is the same either way.

Back to the height – just 4 ½” with a flush magazine. This means minimal chance of printing when carried IWB or in the pocket. And amazingly, Ruger has managed to squeeze seven rounds into the magazine. With one in the chamber, which is the proper way to carry, you have a class-leading eight rounds of 9mm in the gun. That’s the same capacity as the best-selling M&P Shield and one more than a Glock 43. Because the magazines are so thin and small, there is no excuse not to carry that reload – or two. So, you get capacity without the sacrifice of size. And if you don’t think that extra round per magazine makes a difference, then you’re not reading enough after-action reports about shootings. You want all you can get.

Trigger

The long trigger pull helps compensate for the pistol’s light weight trigger. The author strongly recommends extra training with it before carry.

I mentioned the trigger and said it was a good one. For this pistol that bears some further explanation and some words of caution. The trigger on the LC9s Pro is light and crisp with a fairly long stroke. The latter is what redeems the pistol from being one I would scream at you to stay away from. When I say the trigger is light, I mean really light. Every time I take it out at the range for some live fire practice, I surprise myself with the light trigger break. On the flip side of this is the fact that many people that don’t have a great deal of hand strength can run this gun and make good hits, where much heavier and grittier triggers give them extreme difficulty and often send their shots wild. Worse, bad triggers often make it painful or intimidating to shoot the gun – so they don’t practice with it, and possibly even avoid carrying it. The redeeming feature, as I said, is the long trigger pull.  The trigger on my copy of the LC9s Pro measured an average of 4 lbs. 13.6 oz. from five pulls with the Lyman digital gauge. That is still heavier than many 1911 and 1911 variant handguns that are routinely carried. The key difference here is that the “Pro” designation of the LC9 means that there is no external manual safety – which takes me back to my words of caution that if you plan to rely on this pistol for defense, you need to train with it extensively. Having said that, I would say that the LC9s Pro has likely the best trigger of any pistol in its class. For most shooters, this will translate to better accuracy, which can mean it is safer to carry.

Specs

Ruger LC9s Pro

  • Chambering: 9mm
  • Barrel: 3.12
  • OA Length: 6″
  • Width: 0.90″
  • Weight: 17.2 oz
  • Grips: Glass Filled Nylon
  • Sights: 3-dot
  • Action: Striker Fired
  • Finish: Blued
  • Capacity: 7+1
  • MSRP: $479.00

 

 SHOOTING THE LC9s Pro

A pistol as small and light as this one, chambered in 9mm and loaded with top brand self-defense rounds is likely to be snappy. And this little Ruger is – but in a more manageable way than I expected. You can’t change the laws of physics, but you can use those same laws to your advantage if you are a clever firearms engineer, and it seems they have some of those at Ruger.

The heavy recoil spring and a low bore help mitigate recoil and make the gun easier to shoot. The grip angle (about 72 degrees) and ergonomics of the pistol give the shooter a slightly canted wrist, which adds strength to the body’s resistance to being pushed around by the small gun’s kick. This by no means indicates that there isn’t recoil, but with proper grip and stance, it is a non-issue when shooting the gun. I also find that the shooter’s palm is not ferociously beaten by the backstrap, as can be the painful case with many micros. I carry SIG Sauer Elite Performance V-Crown 124 grain hollow point ammunition in my 9mm carry guns, and other than the expense of it, I could practice with a couple hundred rounds of it and not feel abused. Luckily, SIG makes FMJ ammo to the same specs and velocity, which is affordable for doing just that and training with what you carry from almost every perspective. I actually find the V-Crown ammo to be slightly more accurate than the ball.

Best group at 20 yards was printed with Speer Gold Dot LE.

Speaking of accuracy, it is good – not excellent – but most importantly it is consistent. At 20 yards out, the best group I shot on the day I did long-shot tests was over 3 inches (5 rounds of Speer Gold Dot LE, 115-grain GDHP), with the best three of those shots at just over an inch. Routinely over the past couple of years, shooting offhand at distances of 7 yards or so, I can shoot tight groups all day. That’s all I ask of a tiny carry pistol. I think the thin front sight blade combined with the wider rear sight notch contributes to this. At distances, there is too much air space on either side of the front post, and being off by just a little will translate to an inch or more downrange. I would prefer larger combat sights with much less air space.

Just my Opinion – CARRYING THE LC9s Pro

The LC9s Pro makes a great balance between easy concealment and adequate capacity. A good quality Kydex holster adds almost no thickness.

Because I frequently let the circumstances determine not only what gun I will carry, but how I will carry it – the LC9s Pro fits many needs. That statement is bound to light up the switchboards with calls from all those who chant the mantra, “same gun, same location, same gear, every time”.

Fire away guys – you obviously live in a one climate area and dress every day in tacticool garb. Not mad… jealous maybe. But those of us that live in a temperate zone and have jobs, social functions, and sometimes like to be comfortable in shorts and tee shirts require a bit more – or less – from our EDC. Inside the waistband in a thin Kydex holster, or in the pocket in a good pocket holster, and even tucked in deep cover using a compression tee shirt with ‘holster pockets’, the LC9s Pro can often go where other guns cannot. And it does so without sacrificing capacity. Eight rounds in the gun and seven more in a second magazine makes for an adequate level of preparedness for most days. The magazines are so razor thin that just dropping one into a pocket (left pocket with no other items, or sometimes cargo pocket) it virtually disappears and is easily retrieved. Because this pistol is slim, short, and light, it makes it one that you can carry when you might reconsider with that larger gun. We can all agree that the one you’ll carry beats the one you won’t every time.

This little Ruger is not just one that could, it’s one that can, and does.

For more information about Ruger firearms, click here.

***Check out GunsAmerica for your next Ruger LC9s.***

 

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • Pocketgunner March 30, 2018, 4:38 am

    You say most shooters will do better with the Light Trigger. I am a range rat that has owned and shot the LC9S since it first came out. Sorry, I will not carry that gun. The trigger is just too darn light, and as I say, I am no rookie. That trigger at around 4lbs on second stag breaks like glass and it breaks quickly.
    Funny thing is, I went and recently searched for a different single Stack 9mm. I found the Nano and have to say I fell in love with the gun. The trigger was not too long, not to short and right around 6lbs. of pull which is still light. And as impressive is the fact that it is much milder to shoot, less recoil and less muzzle flip. I even surprised myself to find that even though I was good with the Ruger, I am much better with the Nano.
    The internet is full of the new fad of Light triggers with short breaks and resets. I do not find this necessary for a combat gun that is not meant for long range shooting.
    You want a glass trigger, fine. But for me, I will not take a unnecessary risk when I do not have to. It has been proven that under stress the finger will go on the trigger as a natural “Check”, all the small muscles in the hand will tighten and now you have a recipe for disaster.
    I know of many other very experienced shooters that feel the same way, but what you do have is a ton of New Shooters reading about light triggers and wanting one as light as possible. I give a warning to them. Get use to a little longer and stronger pull and you will shoot just fine and have a extra margin of safety. Do not let the word “Pro” full you. Just a marketing gimmick. Be careful out there.

  • Alex L March 28, 2018, 4:05 pm

    The LC9, LC9S & LC9S PRO are all discontinued by Ruger. Replaced by the new EC9 which has heavier trigger, and redundant safeties.

    • Mark Wynn June 5, 2018, 1:50 am

      Where is evidence that the EC9 trigger is “heavier?” I read the trigger is unchanged from my LC9s.
      After reading reviews from several experts, and owning an LC380, I purchased the discontinued LC9s because I wanted the removable sights, as I’ve had tritium sights installed on all my pistols. I opted for the LC9s vice the LC9s pro because I didn’t want to put a hole in my leg while drawing from a pocket. The thumb safety take two hands to click on, but thumbs down and off easily. I like the light trigger on my LC9s. It doesn’t feel too light as I primariy shoot a Colt Series 70 (original) Gold Cup with a wonderful, light trigger.

  • Guido March 26, 2018, 6:39 pm

    Hello, Clay
    As usual, an informative and thoughtful review.
    I thought it somewhat ironic that you rave about the SR9S Pro trigger. I have two SR9C pistols (one for me, one for wifey) that almost became the first firearms I ever sold, and the hideous trigger(s) were the reason. Neither myself or my wife could shoot them without disgust.
    I then scored some aftermarket trigger-fixes similar to upgrading a Glock (connector links, the triggers themselves, couple other parts) from somebody that I can\’t recall, and it transformed the little pistols. Did away with half of the travel, decreased the reset distance, and provided a reasonably clean break. I think the \”C\” models were a tad larger than the \”S\” models, but otherwise likely pretty similar.
    The real reason for this post was your comment about the SR9S\’ smallish grip and light (albeit somewhat long) trigger pull being easy to shoot for those with small hands and maybe weaker hands as well. That pretty much sums up my wife (always seek one with small hands….) but got me thinking about the wife vs. guns topic.
    Seems to me that your common sense, minimal BS approach to firearms, not to mention vast experience, would make you a great candidate to review handguns for guys\’ significant others. I would hope this might point to their wife or girlfriend(s), but hey, who am I to judge.
    I\’ve been through the mill trying to find a concealable carry pistol for my wife. Many she enjoys or at least tolerates shooting, but often they are too difficult for her to rack the slide. We went through revolvers, she\’s not comfortable shooting them in DA mode, so if it has no hammer she\’s not shooting it. And generally speaking, revolvers with exposed hammers are not the greatest carry pieces.
    Now, I\’m not complaining so much, because for every pistol I score her that she doesn\’t like, well, someone has to care for it and shoot it, right?
    I\’m just thinking that somebody such as yourself, with all the industry contacts etc. could compile a pretty comprehensive list of how easily various handguns could be manipulated, shot, loaded, whatever might be considered important.
    And thanks for what you do.
    Great book, Sir.

    • Mark Wynn June 5, 2018, 1:53 am

      This review is not about the SR9c or SR9s pistols. This review is about the more compact, LC9s Pro, Thanks

  • 9MMAN March 26, 2018, 3:37 pm

    For those who love the LC9s and Lc9s Pro models and maybe those on the fence……
    The LC9s Pro is my CCW of choice for the past couple years and I took my time choosing my preferred EDC and tested a lot of pistols before choosing the LC9s Pro. My second choice was the Glock 19 Gen 3 but because of the size difference in comfort of carry I went with the Ruger. Although I also purchased the Glock because of it\’s magazine\’s versatility of use in other weaponry, amount of rounds the Glock mags hold and it\’s superior dependability.
    I carry IWB appendix position with a Sticky holster for most comfort – 365 and the Sticky allows me to carry the LC9s Pro deeper with the grip riding right on top of my belt. I have full range of movement from bending over putting on my socks and shoes and sitting comfortably to active daily movement and it stays right where I wear it all day long. I am active in fitness and keep slim for my 210lb frame so the appendix carry is easy for me and I have not needed to upsize my pant waistline to carry this thin EDC comfortably.
    My training is versatile from target shooting up to 20 yards out for longer distance accuracy to close quarter tactical drawing from either my conceal position or depending on the training I may switch to my OWB paddle holster at 3:00. One daily practice I recommend to everyone that carry\’s concealed or not is this; After I get dressed in the morning and have placed my pistol in my conceal position, I am generally standing in front of a dressing mirror or not. I take a minute or so to practice drawing with the shirt or garment that I am wearing that day for usually 5 to 10 draws or until I feel that I have executed my draw smoothly quickly and efficiently with the clothing I\’m wearing that particular day. Not only am I practicing my draw from my conceal position omitting snags but I am also implanting muscle memory into my brain. So, if I ever have to defend myself in a life/death situation I will operate more efficiently under muscle memory rather than counting on my brain to remain clear, my dexterity not impaired, my adrenaline spiked and my heart beat pounding in my throat. My philosophy is that if I\’m not practicing the basics daily or a lot, I may not be ready in the moment when I have to defend myself or my family at a split seconds notice. Just good common sense.
    I have put 1,000\’s of rounds through my LC9s Pro over the past couple of years without any issues until just recently. About 2 months ago the slide lock broke so it wouldn\’t hold open the slide on the last round and then just last week the striker safety in the trigger fell out. The tiny pin that holds it in broke. I consider these items \’normal\’ wear and tear considering the amount of shooting I do with this pistol. I use this pistol 100% of the time in my EDC practices and daily training and my Glock 19 9 as my back up weapon. I carry it with the extended 9 round Ruger mag and carry one extra 9 round mag in my front left pocket with the NeoMag magnetic pocket clip. If you haven\’t tried or heard of this clip before, it keeps a mag in position in your pocket with the bottom of the magazine right at the top inside of the pocket nicely concealed. With my thumb and forefinger the mag comes out like melted butter when accessed for reloading. This clip can be used with a variety of mags and I love it!The good news; With the repairs needed on my current LC9, I just ordered a back up LC9s Pro from Centerfire Systems FFL (ffl@centerfiresystems.com> 1-800-950-1231) yesterday for $274. with free shipping. When I read above that Ruger may be discontinuing the LC9s Pro I called them again this morning and ordered another one because this is my CCW of choice and I don\’t intend on changing it anytime soon.
    Also, I found on MidwayUSA the 9 round Ruger mag for the LC9s and Pro models for $21.99 on sale and today its at $24.24 each. Be sure to buy the Ruger extended mag and not other makes.
    Food for thought; My call sign 9MMAN is because I have taken all of my weaponry and converted most of it to 9mm, including my AR\’s. My reason is simplistic and designed for efficiency; 9mm is cheaper, mags hold more 9mm ammo increasing my overall fire power than larger calibers. In a crisis moment if I have to grab and run my decision on weaponry is already decided and I\’m not having to worry about multiple calibers, which gun is which and everyone in my household is trained on the same weaponry. Good common sense.
    I grab one 2 rifle bag with two sighted 9mm rifles in it, my Glock pistol, one or two boxes of 9mm ammo, one box of loaded 9mm mags and my backpack in seconds. My LC9s Pro is on my person. There\’s something to be said about simplicity and the tools of choice for me is the multi-versatile 9mm kind. I\’m not paranoid, just prepared… You?

    • 9MMAN March 26, 2018, 5:55 pm

      Researched gun.deals and found the LC9s Pro for a bit less in the mid $260\’s range with shipping..

  • KO March 26, 2018, 2:10 pm

    “if you plan to rely on this pistol for defense, you need to train with it extensively”
    Not a negative. This statement is true for every gun and every person, ever.

  • Pandaz3 March 26, 2018, 12:39 pm

    I own both the LC9 and the LC9s Pro. I do carry this gun only when I need to use Pocket carry option. Great gun in my opinion, I have a custom molded leather pocket holster that works for both but really I carry the Pro 99%. I do have a matching dual magazine holster, and I carry a pinky mag and a extended mag (9 rds).

    I am a 9MM naysayer so I normally carry a 3″ 40 AIWB, but I will carry a 9 or 380 or 45 or 22 Magnum. I have trained with external safeties extensively, but I do not like them. I use the 40 as it is the most accurate for me …and it starts with a 4.

  • Douglas Folsom March 26, 2018, 11:29 am

    I have one of these guns and I have thought about getting rid of it. Almost every time I shoot a box of ammo through it I get a blood blister on the end of my trigger finger. I did not get one from the last session so I still have the gun.

    • Bob Lindsey March 26, 2018, 6:59 pm

      I also find this to be a minor problem with this gun (getting blister on finger tip), if I fire more than a couple boxes of ammo through it at the same time. However, I won’t give it up. I have a very small hands with small fingers and it fits great and has minimal recoil. I find the more I shoot it, the blister problem goes away (but it is annoying).

  • AJ SquaredAway March 26, 2018, 9:59 am

    Okay review, but I’d like to add two cents, especially regarding the first paragraph. In my experience, it isn’t just gun writers who collect firearms. Many enthusiasts tend to do so, and I often hear fanciful (and even comical) lists. Handguns, ammo, holsters, etc. for different carry situations (e.g. with a tux, with a Speedo, for a bar mitzvah, for Tuesdays, for vacation, for car travel). That may be fun, but a long time ago I observed something about men who actually emerged victorious from gunfights, and it is this: they tend to find a set up and stick with it.

  • UncleNat March 26, 2018, 9:54 am

    It’s tempting, but I’ll keep my hammer fired, thumb safety, heavy as hell trigger pull LC9 for CC purposes. I’m a’feared I’d shoot myself in the foot (or worse) with that thing. Concealed carry does not always equate to easy access. Add to that the need for speed should deployment of the firearm become necessary, an accident could occur with a light trigger and trigger safety only. With practice a thumb safety becomes second nature. JMHO

    • Bob Lindsey March 26, 2018, 7:08 pm

      Not having an external safety concerned me as well at first, but after using the gun and taking several shooting courses with it (in stressful situations), I did not find it to be a problem. Also, I find the 9 capacity magazines to add very little to the height of the gun and I exclusively use them when carrying in a holster (owb) and as spares in pockets, but not when carrying in a pocket. While the flush mount magazine is nice, I prefer to use the pinky grip magazines, either in 7 or 9 capacity, to give my hand full purchase on the gun. It is a great little gun for the price.

  • Greywolf March 26, 2018, 9:46 am

    Idk, where’s the velocity and energy figures?

  • Eric March 26, 2018, 7:48 am

    It would truly be a shame if Ruger has discontinued the LC9S, especially the PRO model. After much research, I chose the PRO and it’s IMHO, the perfect pistol for EDC.
    I have large hands so the pinky extension is a must and added Houge Handall grips for better feel and control. Sights were upgraded to TruGlo TFO and with this combination I routinely get 2” groups at 7 yards, more than accurate enough for its purpose. Granted, it takes some practice to get used to Mr Snappy but once you do, it’s a dream to shoot. The trigger is fantastic.
    I carry OWB in a Kusiak Leather Outsider holster that keeps the LC9S high and tight for minimal printing, even with the added grips.
    If Ruger is dropping the LC9S PRO and it’s one you’re considering for EDC, but one now!

  • Eric March 26, 2018, 7:46 am

    It would truly be a shame if Ruger has discontinued the LC9S, especially the PRO model. After much research, I chose the PRO and it’s IMHO, the perfect pistol for EDC.
    I have large hands so the pinky extension is a must and added Houge Handall grips for better feel and control. Sights were upgraded to TruGlo TFO and with this combination I routinely get 2” groups at 7 yards, more than accurate enough for its purpose. Granted, it takes some practice to get used to Mr Snappy but once you do, it’s a dream to shoot. The trigger is fantastic.
    I carry OWB in a Kusiak Leather Outsider holster that keeps the LC9S high and tight for minimal printing, even with the added grips.
    If Ruger is dropping the LC9S PRO and it’s one you’re considering for EDC, but one now!

  • Dr. Strangelove March 26, 2018, 7:10 am

    Field stripped, it sure looks a lot like a Kel Tec PF-9. I have a reliable KT P -11 that I find easy to carry in almost every situation. I wouldn’t buy an LC-9, but I do like my Ruger revolvers.

  • driving directions March 13, 2018, 2:48 am

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  • Ken March 6, 2018, 5:11 am

    I had one of these until the day I reached for my gun and all the bullets fell out the bottom of itI dropped the mag and reached for my spare but as I was putting in the mag the same thing happened the bottom of the mag popped open and all of the rounds just fell out.I called ruger and a lady told me I should have checked my mags .I told they were brand new and I check all of my equipment. Then this woman started to give me instructions on how I should check all of their mags and what to look for and how to repair it.she told me how the mags sometimes come out of the factory installed wrong.Oh Great enough said and enough of Ruger for me.

  • Matthew July March 2, 2018, 8:42 pm

    Not just the Pro, but the LC9s. This is the reply I got.
    Thank you for contacting Ruger Customer Service.
    Your Customer Service Issue # is 10062003

    Hello Matt,

    What is listed on the website is what is currently in production. The LC9s (except distributor exclusives) and the LC9S pro are not currently in production. Distributors still have them in stock. here is a link to Davidson’s Gallery of Guns: http://www.galleryofguns.com/genie/Default.aspx?pg=list&index=0&mfg=Ruger&mdl=LC9s&cat=1&type=Pistol%3a+Semi-Auto&cal=9MM&fin=&sit=&pid=&inv=

    Ruger Customer Service

    • srsquidizen March 26, 2018, 7:37 am

      Probably because they recently came out with the EC9s with lower MSRP. There are a few cost-cutting features (e.g. fixed non-removable sights) but it’s pretty much the same gun as the standard LC9s for purposes that matter to most CCW buyers. I suspect this is to compete better price-wise with pistols like the Taurus 709 Slim.

      FWIW I have both a 709 and a LC9s. The Ruger has a superior trigger and smoother lines. That’s about it. Obviously they kept the latter. I wonder if they also kept that exceptional trigger that borders on being a little too light for inexperienced shooters.

  • Matthew July February 28, 2018, 7:58 pm

    I just purchased one, then found out they are discontinued. Only the distributor exclusives are currently in production. I received an email from Ruger confirming this today.

    • Ton E March 2, 2018, 1:00 pm

      Ruger discontinued the Pro???

      • Mark Wynn June 5, 2018, 2:06 am

        Yes, but currently great prices on LC9s and LC9s Pro. In May I bought an LC9s for a hundred fifty dollars less than I paid for an LC380 two years ago.

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