Ruger LC9s Compact Striker-Fired 9x19mm Semi-Automatic Pistol

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

July 30th, 2014


Click pictures for a larger version.









Very good set of steel sights.







Manual safety (top), slide lock (center), magazine release (bottom).











It has been three and one-half years since Ruger introduced their excellent LC9 semiautomatic pistol. That 9x19mm pistol has sold very well, proving to be a reliable and accurate compact auto-pistol. The only real complaint that I have ever received about that pistol is that some shooters do not like the long trigger pull. While the resistance was not excessively heavy on the LC9, some shooters had a problem with the length of the trigger stroke, as well as the reset. Having large hands, it never bothered me any, but with the new striker-fired LC9s, Ruger has dramatically improved the trigger on this latest pistol.

The LC9 has an internal hammer to fire the weapon, but the LC9s uses a striker, eliminating the hammer, and allowing for a shorter, slightly lighter trigger stroke. The trigger pull on the LC9s prototype that I fired at the Mayodan, NC Ruger factory a couple of months ago was so light, that the engineers had to increase the pull weight for safety reasons. That dandy little pistol had a trigger pull resistance in the two and one-half pound range! The production pistols have increased that weight to just over five pounds resistance, but it is still a butter-smooth, delightful trigger pull, which to me feels even lighter than it measures on my scale. Perfect.

Back to my visit to the Mayodan factory; I was there for another reason, but Ruger CEO Mike Fifer was there as well, and he brought the LC9s prototype with him, and allowed me to coon-finger the pistol for a while, as well as allowing me to fire it outside the plant in the adjoining woods. The LC9s is built at Ruger's Prescott, AZ factory, but I am glad that Mike had brought one with him to North Carolina to show me, as I had at that time heard of, but not seen the LC9s.

Like the LC9, the LC9s is a compact, smooth, reliable little pistol, which is sized just about right for easy concealment, whether in the pocket or a holster. The LC9s weighs just slightly over a pound with an empty seven-round magazine in place. The pistol wears a very good set of windage-adjustable sights that are, thankfully, made of genuine carbon alloy steel. The carbon alloy slide wears a matte black finish, which matches the polymer frame perfectly. The grip is slim, but allows a good hold upon the pistol for positive control. The magazine base is flat, but the pistol also ships with a finger-extension magazine base plate, which gives purchase to the little finger of the firing hand. The magazine release is exactly where it should be, and is easily operated by the thumb of a right-handed shooter or the trigger finger of a left-handed shooter. The trigger incorporates an articulated safety lever in the center. After about one quarter inch of lighter take-up, the trigger stroke covers just over three-eighths of an inch, and positively resets in the same distance of travel. While perfectly safe, this trigger is easy enough for anyone to use comfortably, even if the hand strength  is weak. Again, perfect.

The exterior of the LC9s is very smooth, with no sharp edges to cut the hand nor any roughness to abrade clothing. With a seven-round steel magazine, the LC9s can be carried safely with the chamber loaded, for a ready capacity of eight cartridges.

Critical specifications for the LC9s pistol are listed in the chart below. Weight is listed in ounces, and includes the empty magazine. Linear dimensions are listed in inches. Trigger pull is listed in pounds of resistance, as measured with my Lyman digital trigger pull scale. Height includes sights and magazine base with the flat magazine base in place. Maximum width is measured across the frame, including the manual thumb safety.

Chambering 9x19mm
Weight with Empty Magazine 17.3 ounces
Trigger Pull 5.25 pounds
Barrel Length 3.12 inches
Barrel Diameter 0.500 inch
Overall Height 4.45 inches
Overall Length 5.98 inches
Grip Width 0.945 inch
Frame Width 0.878 inch
Slide Width 0.901 inch
Maximum Width 1.05 inches
Trigger Reach 2.75 inches
Magazine Capacity 7
Magazines Supplied 1
Magazine Disconnect Safety Yes
Thumb Safety Yes, Right Handed
Accessory Rail None
MSRP, as of July 2014 $449 US

I fired the LC9s with a variety of ammunition over the chronograph to check velocities, with the results listed in the chart below. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second. Bullet weights are listed in grains. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint bullet. DPX, Buffalo Bore Lead Free, and Double Tap Tac-XP  are hollow nose homogenous copper bullets that are made by Barnes Bullets. Guard Dog is a FMJ with a soft plastic core to promote rapid expansion. FP is a frangible, pre-fragmented flatnose bullet. FMJ is a full metal jacket roundnose bullet. FMJ-FN is a full metal jacket flat nose Buffalo Bore Penetrator bullet. PB is Pow’RBall, a specialty bullet from Cor-Bon. Glaser is a pre-fragmented bullet. Velocities were taken at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with an air temperature of eighty degrees Fahrenheit, and a relative humidity of forty-one percent. Velocities were recorded at ten feet from the muzzle.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Double Tap TAC-HP +P 115 1128
Double Tap FMJ +P 147 1046
Remington Home Defense 124 1121
Atomic HP +P 124 1187
WCC NATO FMJ 124 1122
Fiocchi FMJ 115 1051
Buffalo Bore FMJ-FN 124 1267
Buffalo Bore JHP 115 1276
Buffalo Bore +P+ JHP 115 1363
Buffalo Bore +P JHP 147 1065
Cor-Bon Glaser +P 80 1623
Cor-Bon JHP +P 115 1318
Cor-Bon PB +P 100 1319
Cor-Bon +P DPX 115 1147
Cor-Bon JHP +P 125 1287
Stryker JHP 115 1023
International Cartridge FP 100 1054

The LC9s, as expected, performed flawlessly. The pistol fed, fired, and ejected each of the ammo types listed above, without fail. The slide never failed to lock in the open position on an empty magazine. The smooth, short trigger pull allowed me to utilize the pistol's inherent accuracy to its fullest, making head shots offhand quickly from ten yards on a human silhouette was easy to do, as was keeping all hits tightly clustered at fifteen yards, and keeping all hits in the vitals of a full-sized human silhouette at twenty-five yards, all standing and shooting with a two-hand Weaver hold.

The LC9s is as safe as any mechanical device can be, incorporating a manual safety, trigger safety, and magazine safety. Included is an inert orange plastic magazine to use for disassembly and dry-fire practice. It also has a visual inspection port at the rear of the chamber, which allows the operator to visually check for a cartridge in the chamber, without retracting the slide.

The LC9s uses the same holsters, magazines, and laser sights as does the standard LC9, so these accessories are readily available from Ruger and aftermarket sources. The LC9s, from a shooter's perspective, can be viewed as an improved LC9. It weighs the same, and feels the same, but the LC9s has a much-improved trigger feel, making it much easier to operate for most shooters. The LC9s is made in the USA, and ships with one magazine, finger-extension magazine baseplate, soft case, inert magazine, Ruger decal, and instruction manual. As of the date of this review, the suggested retail of the LC9s is $449 US.

Check out the new LC9s and other Ruger products at

To buy extra magazines and accessories for the LC9s, go to

For the location of a Ruger dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at

To order the LC9 online, go to

To order quality 9x19mm ammunition, go to,,, and

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.





LC9s comes with both extended and flat magazine bases.







Pistol comes with inert (dummy) magazine, for disassembly and dry-fire practice.



Disassembly is very quick and easy.