Ruger LC9s Pistol Review ~ Striker Fired Concealed Carry Pistol

by Col (Dr) Ben Findley
Col Ben puts the Ruger LC9s Pistol to the test to see if it meets his standards as a concealed carry weapon for everyday carry.

Ruger LC9s 9mm
Ruger LC9s 9mm
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

USA – -( The Ruger LC9 is a double-action-only, single stack 9mm compact hammer-fired pistol with a solid reputation as a reliable platform for concealed carry that has been around for a few short years.

Some shooters have complained about its long, heavy double action trigger press, the length of the trigger stroke, and the reset of the LC9. Because the LC9 is lightweight, it was a challenge for some to manipulate the trigger and handle the recoil.

Ruger LC9s Pistol

Ruger took note and made some changes and introduced the LC9s and the Ruger LC9s Pistol Pro versions. They claim they have greatly improved the trigger and the design. They claim the LC9s’ new striker design (no hammer like the original LC9) allows for a shorter, crisper, lighter, and consistent trigger press for every shot. Several claim that the internal striker gun has the advantage over the hammer-fired gun because it is easily cocked by the power of the recoil spring making it ready to fire when you rack the slide.

In a striker-fired design the striker is either partially or fully cocked as the slide comes back into battery.

I believe that any handgun design is a tradeoff with pros and cons to consider for your purpose and personal preferences. So for my concealed carry purpose, I must answer for myself if the new LC9s has improved the trigger greatly and if it is a viable concealed carry (CC) self-defense handgun. To me, the most important qualities of a CCW gun are: accuracy; reliability; smooth, light, and short trigger press; ergonomics and comfort; rounded edges; compact design, lightweight, and slim grip; and safety features. The Ruger LC9s Pistol has an external manual thumb safety that I like, given its light trigger press. For others that do not like an external thumb safety, the LC9s Pro is available.

So I want to shoot and handle the LC9s myself to decide if it meets my requirements. I hope this will help you with your CC handgun decision.

SPECIFICATIONS: Ruger LC9s Pistol STRIKER-FIRED 9mm, Model 3235:



Weight with Empty Magazine

17.2 ounces

Trigger Press

5.20 pounds

Barrel Length

3.12 inches

Barrel Diameter

0.500 inch

Overall Height

4.50 inches

Overall Length

6.00 inches

Grip Width

0.90 inches

Trigger Reach

2.75 inches

Magazine Capacity


Magazines Supplied (2 Base Plates- flat & pinky extension)

1 (Steel) + 1 Inert Dummy Mag (for Dry Fire)

Magazine Disconnect Safety


Striker Block Safety + Trigger Safety


Manual Thumb Safety

Yes (Right Handed)

Sights (Carbon Alloy Steel)

3 Dots- Windage Adjustable Rear

Guide Rod Assembly (Steel)

Dual Springs

Accessory Rail

None- but accepts Lasers

MSRP (as of July 2014)

$449. US

FEATURES for the Ruger LC9s Pistol from the Ruger website:

Ruger LC9s Pistol Box and Contents
Ruger LC9s Pistol Box and Contents

I don’t like that the Ruger LC9s Pistol comes with only one operational 7-round magazine. My comparable in size S&W Shield 9mm Pistol comes with both an 8-round and 7-round magazine. But the LC9s does come with flat and finger extension floorplates. It also comes with a nice soft zippered carrying case, an orange inert magazine for dry fire practice, a lock, chamber flag, fired casing, and manual. The sights on the LC9s are smaller than those on my Shield, but consider that these both are closeup short-range shooters.

Before heading to the range to field test the new Ruger LC9s Pistol, that I bought in the general market for about $350., I disassembled it and thoroughly cleaned it. One thing I noticed was that it was more difficult to take down that I expected. I should have known given my time-consuming disassembly experiences with my older model Ruger Mark III; a fine gun, but it takes time to disassemble it. I quickly learned to understand the manual for the LC9s. You must first move the take-down lever down to reveal the take-down pin. My age is showing. I appreciate that Ruger emphasizes safety in all of their guns. Then you insert a small screwdriver or paperclip from the right side of the frame to firmly push the pin out, as you move the slide about 1/8″ rearward. After several lockups and attempts, I was able to do it. My learning curve quickly improved after a few more times.

Now it is a “piece of cake” for me to do. The take-down pin is integral to disassembly, so do not lose it if you buy the gun.

The all steel and very strong dual-spring guide rod assembly is very nice and, as I discovered, really helps the cycling, accuracy, and recoil control for this small gun. I learned that it does not matter the direction you place the recoil spring onto the guide rod, since either direction works.

Ruger LC9s Pistol with Pinky Extension Floorplate for Mag
Ruger LC9s Pistol with Pinky Extension Floorplate for Mag

Ruger LC9s Pistol RANGE TEST:

After cleaning the LC9s, I headed to the range to shoot it. It felt so good in my hand, an almost perfect fit for me and it is so very comfortable; I had high hopes it would shoot great. I took American Eagle 115 grain and 124 grain 9mm ammo, Blazer Brass 115 grain, and some remanufactured reloads to really give it a trial for possible malfunctions and stoppages and accuracy. I took about 200 rounds to give it a try and ended up shooting all the rounds.

For concealed carry, I rotate among various high-quality 9mms, but wanted to see if the Ruger LC9s Pistol would be a good gun fit in my CC rotation.

Well after shooting a box of 50, I could not believe the fine results with the LC9s and they are not paying me to state this.

So I anxiously shot the other 150 rounds and was sorry I did not bring more rounds with me to shoot. I was surprised at the very controllable recoil and the excellent trigger on the Ruger LC9s Pistol. Now I am not a great shooter, but do shoot a little with IDPA. My first 7 shots out of the gun standing with a two-handed grip at 5 yards in rapid fire were a little less than a three-inch group. The recoil was very manageable, there were NO malfunctions or stoppages whatsoever. The slide was easy to rack because of the dual springs and the trigger press was very short, smooth, and soft but crisp, somewhat similar to my 1911s.

I measured the trigger with my Lyman Trigger Pull Gauge and over 8 trials it averaged about 5.2 pounds. The reset was also short.

Next I went out to 7 yards for my next 7+1 shots and had very similar results… a 2.5-inch or so group. I continued and had fun firing 200 rounds without a single malfunction, misfeed, stoppage, or problem. Others have reported a minor problem with the slide locking back, but I did not experience this. I have decided to add this gun to my CC rotation.

Ruger LC9s Pistol in 9mm - Range Test
Ruger LC9s Pistol in 9mm – Range Test

Ruger LC9s Pistol Conclusions:

In my opinion, the LC9s is a very nice compact, smooth, safe, accurate and reliable pistol for CC. The trigger press of about 5.2 pounds is excellent and it is sized right for my medium-sized hands with a narrow .90″ width for easy concealment. This press is one of the best of all my 9mms. The trigger stroke covers just over three-eighths of an inch and positively resets with the same distance of travel. The trigger and recoil are easy to handle and control, even if your hand strength is weak. For such a small gun, the accuracy is very good.

The Ruger LC9s Pistol weighs only about 17 ounces with an empty seven-round magazine. Its edges are very rounded and smooth to prevent snagging on concealment garments and it has no sharp edges to cause cuts to the hand. The pistol has very good windage-adjustable rear sights made of carbon alloy steel. The carbon alloy slide and polymer frame have a matte black finish. It is designed to accommodate lasers.

The very slim width allowed me to have a very good comfortable hold on the pistol for positive control. Its out-of-the-box accuracy was very impressive and it shot to point of aim. I do not like that it ships with only one magazine, but it does come with a flat floorplate and a pinky finger-extension floorplate to help with the gun purchase. I bought a second mag for only $30. Some think the magazine disconnect is a negative, but it is not for me given practice, safety concerns, etc. The Pro version does not have a mag disconnect.

The Ruger LC9s Pistol is very safe and there are several safeties: trigger safety, striker block for drop safety, manual safety (which you do not have to use), out-of-battery safety so if a round is not all the way seated in the chamber or it is not completely closed, it will not fire (like others), and a magazine disconnect safety (which can be removed if desired, but investigate whether this affects the warranty.) The external safety must be down and off to be able to rack the slide. The gun will not fire unless a magazine is in the gun.

I hope this review and my opinions help you make a decision that is appropriate for you and your personal preferences and needs.

Continued success!

Ruger Contact Information:

  • Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.
    • 200 Ruger Road
    • Prescott, AZ 86301
    • Phone: 928-541-8892
    • Website:

Photos by author and Ruger.

This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney in your state or jurisdiction for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense, stand your ground law, and concealed carry. This is not legal advice and not legal opinions. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.

© 2016 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at [email protected]

Col Benjamin Findley
Col Benjamin Findley

About Ben Findley:

“Col Ben” is retired with 30 years service in the U.S. Air Force, with joint services Special Ops duty and training, and is Air Force qualified as “Expert” in small arms. Ben is an experienced NRA-Certified Pistol Instructor, NRA Range Safety Officer, and FL Concealed Carry License Instructor.

Ben recently wrote the book “Concealed Carry and Handgun Essentials for Personal Protection” with 57 comprehensive Chapters about concealed carry and handgun principles, techniques, and tips for both experienced and new shooters.

His reference book is endorsed by several organizations and is available on his website at Contact him at [email protected]

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Great, well thought out article. I am new to the industry and appreciate good information provided by well-experienced people. I just found the LC9s on sale for $260. I also like the Glock 43 for a CCW, but for half the price and compared to all the reviews between the two (and the Shield), I’m going for the Ruger.

Thanks and keep up the great work!


Where did you find them on sale at?


At gun show in Denver ,co the all three options were at great prices. The lcp9s was $329 as well as the pro version. The economical vertigo was $260. Same gun but non adjustable sights,no safety

H. Johnson

I’ve had my LC9S Pro for over a year, It shoots as well as I do and has never malfunctioned in any way. It’s flat, light, fairly small and easy to conceal and carry. This is my first ever Ruger purchase and I’m impressed. I’ve owned and carried Glocks since ’96, so the lack of a safety is no problem for me…don’t put a finger in, on or near the trigger guard until you want to shoot…pretty simple.

Jim Hall

Don’t overlook the LC9S Pro. It’s harder to find but if you want simplicity in an accurate pocket pistol it’s hard to beat. My first CC pistol was an LCP and I carried that for over a year, trying different carry methods, some safety training, etc before I felt confident my gun wasn’t printing and that no one could tell I was armed. It turns out no one is really looking but I didn’t know that when I started. When ready for something larger, I wanted something like the LCP only in a 9mm and was surprised the LC9S was… Read more »

Dave Brown

Good Review, only one thing I would like to mention, there is a safety there for a reason, and telling people they don’t have to use it could get you in trouble. The way I see it this pistol has a reasonable light and short trigger, yes it has the trigger blade safety, but I would strongly suggest one uses the manual safety. Think of it like this, there are a lot of real nice SA guns like say a 1911 that the safety adverse will never shot or at least they won’t carry er cocked and locked as they… Read more »

Roger A.

I am downsizing my handgun numbers, and have thought of buying the Ruger LC9. I have lots and lots of duty type ammo (115 & 124 gr. JHP + P) that I carried as a LEO and shot out of my Sig P228 and a Glock 19. My question is, what will this new LC9 handle as far as a maximum load? Or, do I give away the ammo should I make the purchase.

Russ Elwood

As a Range Safety Officer at a local indoor range I have had the opportunity to place between 2400-3000 rds a month thru my LC9s. I have done this for at least 12 to 18 months. I am reasonably good at placing groups in the less than 1 inch square at variable distances. I carry everyday, everywhere I go, and in my mind this is an Outstanding Firearm. For me the litmus test for a CCW is a low profile on the hip. The LC9s if worn properly is almost completely hidden from view of the public. Unlike larger pistols… Read more »

Chuck M

Hello col, I have the older lc9 pre trigger safety, and the lc380 that are the same gun, just different calibers, and when taking them down for cleaning I found that once you pull the take down tab down, I’m left handed so I grip the frame with my left hand, and with my right hand I grab the slide like I’m going to rack it, but wiggle the slide back and forth about a sixteenth of an inch over my cleaning towel, and the pin comes right out. The pin will come out either side. Also on the lc9,… Read more »

John Bremer



The LC9s seemed to me close to being the perfect concealed carry gun when I bought it. Unfortunately the second time at the range after just having put about 200 rounds through the gun it jammed big time. The cause, a broken recoil spring. Center Target in Post Falls ID contacted Ruger and a new recoil spring was promptly provided. This was supposed to be my permanent CC Gun. After this incident my confidence with this firearm has definitely been shaken. Especially since it is such a new gun from a reputable manufacturer like Ruger with lots of positive reviews.… Read more »