Gun Review: Rohrbaugh R9S Stealth

In my ongoing quest to avoid buying and carrying the snub-nosed, hammerless revolver that is likely my destiny, I took my Rohrbaugh R9 to the range for a little quality time. I purchased this R9 used with about 150 rounds on the clock. Prior to this, I’d run about 100 rounds through it with no failures at all except when shooting Aguila ammo. The R9 simply could not light off the primers of the Mexican ammo. Yesterday, I just wanted to get a feel for the gun again, so I purchased a box of each of Wally World’s finest: Federal, Winchester White Box, and Tula ammo and headed to the range. I set the target at five yards and let fly with slow, two handed fire . . .

With the WWB ammo, my first group was tight: about six inches across. I followed this with a six-shot group through one ragged hole with one flyer. For the second mag, I loaded the Rohrbaugh with the Federal ammo. I experienced one failure to extract on the second mag. I tried the Tulammo and found that, again, the R9 could not light off the primers. So no testing with that ammo then; I’ll feed the leftovers to the extremely un-picky Glock.

I ran through 60 rounds, alternating ammo, and did a couple fast strings, emptying the mag quickly. The pistol ran well, but I did have a failure to extract in one of the later mags, again with the federal ammo. The recoil is stout, but not unmanageable, I don’t think I would want to put 200 rounds through the gun in a range session.

Our esteemed senior editor likes to call the R9, the gun you aren’t supposed to shoot. Actually he is correct. The Rohrbaugh HQ recommends you shoot it enough to get familiar with it, and be sure your carry ammo works in it, then stop firing and carry it. Run a couple mags through it when you are at the range shooting the other guns, to refresh the ammo, but otherwise: shoot little, carry much. The factory recommends recoil spring change ($5) every 200 rounds.

On the carry issue: The Rohrbaugh R9 is the smallest, lightest pistol chambered for the 9mm Parabellum round that I know. As such, it carries like a dream. The R9 is as smooth as a used bar of soap, and would be about as slippery if wet I imagine. It is very comfortable for carry, and easy peasy to conceal in pocket or in waistband. It is designed purposely without a slide lock, safety, or mag release on the side so nothing would catch from pocket deployment. In fact, the pistol originally had no sights, but they were added by customer request, and it is available either sighted or sight free (R9S or R9 respectively).

Handling the pistol is natural for me. Doing dry fire exercises from a draw found the pistol pointed naturally and finding the front sight was a breeze. The grip is a bit short and very smooth, making it a bit hard to hold on to.  I have seen many videos of shooters of this gun adjusting their grip after each shot.  I was able to make things a bit better with a ghetto mag extension solution.  The mag extension is from Pearce and made for single stack 9mm Kahrs. It just needs a little modification in the form of a notch cut in the back of it to allow use on the R9.  I also went at it with a Dremel until I liked the fit.  Beautiful custom Al mag extensions are sometimes available on the Rohrbaugh forums for approximately six times the price of the Pearce extensions.

R9 is not as light as the plastic Pocket .380s from Kel Tec and Ruger, but is about the same weight and size as the Sig P238 and the newly re-introduced Colt Mustang Pocket Lite. I expect the Bersa Thunder .380 is about the same. By most accounts, the former pistols are not a reliable as the Rohrbaugh, and the latter heavier pistols are more shooter friendly than the R9.

I typically carry the pistol in my pocket in either a Desantis Nemesis Holster, or a Recluse pocket holster. My default is the Nemesis, but the Recluse is nice when I am worried about printing (it prints as well, but prints “wallet” not “gun”).  I like both designs, but the Nemesis is just a touch lighter and feels more balanced.  The Recluse draws faster.  I have a custom kydex IWB holster that allows for occasional belt carry.

The R9 is built with a steel slide on an aluminum frame and carbon fiber grip panels. It comes in two finishes, stainless or “Stealth” which is a darker tint. Technically, my model is an R9S Stealth.

The R9 barrel is short, as expected, but the 9mm cartridge still probably produces 50% more energy than an equivalent .380 ACP load, along with a heavier bullet. This should lead to better penetration and bullet performance. In the real world, does it make any difference? I think .380 +P loads would narrow that difference even more.

About that +P thing: the R9 should not be run with +P loads. Not designed for it, not recommended.

The trigger is double action perfection. Ultra smooth, with a very sharp, crisp break and zero stacking. I can not tell at all when this trigger will break. Reset is long, and you shoot it like a revolver with quick, smooth, full strokes of the trigger. The magazines are held with a Euro type heel magazine release. Don’t expect to swap mags quickly.

The R9 has good support both from the factory and at the independent Rohrbaugh Forums. The forums are filled with friendly, enthusiastic, helpful and knowledgeable folks. They recommend Speer Gold Dots as carry ammo, and I had zero failures of any kind when running through 50 rounds of this ammo.

Summary: It is a nice pistol clearly built well to tight tolerances. It is as accurate as its pilot. It is easy to carry. It does suffer some of the same flaws as other small, light, powerful weapons: Ammo preferences, difficult and or painful to shoot, reliability issues, and general lack of robustness.

SPECIFICATIONS

Caliber: 9X19mm standard pressure
Barrel: 2.9″
Overall length: 5.2”
Capacity: 6+1
Weight: 15oz unloaded with mag, 18oz loaded with 7 rounds.
Operation: Locking recoil
MSRP: $1195

RATINGS (Out of Five Stars)
Ratings are based on other similar firearms. Final rating is not calculated from the constituent ratings.

Accuracy: * * * * *
For what it is, this thing is as accurate as the user and ammunition allow.

Ergonomics: * * * *
Superb to hold and carry.

Ergonomics Firing: * *
Slippery when firing.

Reliability: * * *
Chokes on some ammo. Reliable in its role firing two magazines once in a while. Owners should find ammo the gun likes and stick to it.

Customization: * * *
Not a lot of options for this niche firearm. Mainly grip replacement.

Overall Rating: * * * *
This pistol fulfills its intended role of allowing 9mm power in the smallest, lightest package possible. Think of it as a 7 round 9mm revolver, without the lack of maintenance.

comments

  1. avatar Alex says:

    While beautiful, this pistol is awfully expensive for what you get. It is extremely small and beautifully constructed, but I would never drop that kind of coin for something so delicate. There are simply too many slightly larger but much cheaper options.

    1. avatar Eric says:

      I think that is a very valid critique.

    2. avatar Pete says:

      Those of us that own and understand the R9S would not part with them. “Shoot little carry always”

      1. avatar Faith Helmin says:

        One slide test with the R9 compact at the dealer proved that this is a great choice for my cc. It worked, no questions asked! I have smaller female hands, so in testing other carry options like the Smith & Wesson, Diamondback, etc…the slide release, long triggers, break-in and the slow magazine release on other smaller guns were frustrating. I like the stealth carry. I gladly paid the price tag at a new smaller dealer who recently opened, not going to a big box dealer. I want to note this is a also going to pass down to my daughter(s). I was not interested in a firearm with sights, laser, etc…besides, I know plenty of people who bedazzle their Sigs and other choice machines to at least the cost of this little R9 compact, so cost is subjective. This is a great bug for a shotgun, lol.

      2. I could get a 1911 and a glock or 2 glocks and a hi point or 4 sccy cpx-2s for the same price. and all of these are more reliable and easier to shoot not to knock a rohrbaugh

  2. avatar michael says:

    Does not seem to be good value, considering other options and its performance.

  3. avatar Van says:

    The price. I don’t get it.

  4. avatar LC Judas says:

    The over $1000 price tag is rather steep. Though the pistol is unique in offering no sights and typically a pocket gun is bad breath time point and click so I understand. For the purpose of pocket defense at that price it shouldn’t have a “please don’t shoot this if you can help it” tag though. The more I pay for something, the more I tend to want usability and reliability and neither of those seems to shine over the SIG 290 that Ralph reviewed in the least.

    However, when price is no object, the weapon will perform and it does boast the best pocket profile of the micro 9mm genre and that alone will justify the purchase for some buyers. That and the exclusive nature of it that some purchase weaponry for.

    Nicely reviewed.

  5. avatar TTACer says:

    Think of it as a 7 round 9mm revolver, without the lack of maintenance.

    lulz

    Nice review. You can get a Kahr and an Airweight for the price of one though.

  6. avatar 2Wheels says:

    First, tiny little thing… I think you mean Sig P238 above, not Sig P380.

    Second, just give in to the snubbie. You’ll save so much time and money…

    1. avatar Eric says:

      Thanks, corrected.

    2. avatar es says:

      I think he did mean the P290 from Sig. Sig recommends changing recoil springs every 5000 rounds. I can’t imagine paying that much for a gun, only to worry about shooting it too much. Pocket pistols require practice. I’ll stick with my p290. No reliability issues.

  7. avatar HSR47 says:

    Honestly, I fail to see the point of this gun — there are SO many compromises that it just seems to be some kind of elitist more-money-than-sense toy.

    I mean, I get that it’s tiny — it’s a 9mm that’s just barely larger than the LCP/TCP/P3AT/DB380, but it has crappy sights, no slide lock, an idiotic turn of the century European magazine catch, and to top it off, the thing costs north of 1,000 USD.

    As it stands, I’m seriously considering a BUG for EDC, and at the moment the DB9 is at the top of my shortlist (at least as soon as I’ve actually put a few hundred rounds through it)….

    1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      If you plan on using the DB9, Federals ran through it with no trouble. I also had the trigger fail at 400 rounds or so. Not back from the factory yet.

      1. avatar HSR47 says:

        So far I’ve got 200 Federal (150 Champion, 50 American Eagle), and 10 Hornady Critical Defense through mine. A handful of misfeeds, and a stovepipe were the only issues I experienced.

        Nothing has broken yet (that I know of), no pinwalking that I could discern. On the whole, I must say that I’m rather impressed. Sure it isn’t as smooth to fire as my P238, but it certainly seems to be a trustworthy BUG.

        Now to find a proper holster.

  8. avatar Ralph says:

    First, this was a nice review, Eric.

    the snub-nosed, hammerless revolver that is likely my destiny

    The famous Smith & Wesson “hammerless” snubbies like the M642/M442 have a hammer — albeit an internal hammer. Nevertheless, why fight fate? For the price of the delicate R9S, you can buy not one, not two, but three Airweights and enough ammo to keep them all well fed with +P hollowpoints. And — hold on to your hat — you’re actually allowed to shoot them all you want. Imagine that. A gun you can actually shoot. Holy moly!

    1. avatar 2Wheels says:

      I actually just bought my first revolver, a VERY lightly used S&W 442, to add to my carry rotation. Only cost me $320. And it’s probably going to replace my P238 most of the time when I pocket carry.

    2. avatar Drew says:

      And will never break or malfunction,is safe as houses, has second strike capability, has a jillion accessories and great resale. It’s just such a no brainer… I just don’t get why folks just have to have a semi. Makes no sense to me.

      1. avatar Bob H says:

        Some of us just don’t like revolvers. I despise the horrendous triggers and the way they throw flaming debris out of the sides.

        1. avatar Jarhead1982 says:

          Try the Ruger LCR in .357, you will be pleasantly shocked with its out of the box trigger!

        2. avatar I_Like_Pie says:

          Valid, but still doesn’t defer the fact that an argument can be made for the 442 being a much better choice. At 1/3 the cost of the gun being reviewed.

          And mine just so happens to have a trigger that is much better than a LCP, Kahr, P3AT, or Rohrbaugh. Most gunsmiths will slick up the internals for less than $50.

    3. avatar Phil H says:

      I’ve had a model 442 S&W (bought new, but without that damned internal lock) for almost two years now, and it’s been great. After a little instruction, I can now put a cylinder of +P .38 into a pie plate at 20 feet very quickly. It’s in my pocket holster most of the time, and I never, never, never have to worry about whether it will go bang. Whenever any S hits the F, it’s going into my pocket.

      I can see the benefit of a larger pistol (as soon as my significant other finishes a long-delayed undergraduate degree there WILL be a 1911 under my personal Christmas tree), but I cannot understand the benefit of a pocket auto. The damned things do not reliably work. As such, they are essentially useless.

      It is SO easy to buy a pocket handgun that works, and if I were to strap my 442 into a Ransom Rest, I think we’d all be astonished by the results…

      1. avatar Drew says:

        I just broke down and got my first Smith (new 27 classic) with the internal lock. I’ve been avoiding it, but since so few makers still offer blue/wood DA revolvers I felt I should support ’em. Looks great, trigger is nice and smooth and 500 rounds of full house 158’s later I haven’t had a problem. Easy enough to remove if need be. I think I’ll even pick up a 57 to go with it.

    4. avatar Eric says:

      Oops again. I guess I meant “bobbed” hammer or something. Whatever you call it when the thumb part of the hammer is missing and the gun is true DAO?

      I swear I am going to hold one of those things in the next week or so.

      1. avatar TTACer says:

        I think they just call them “hammerless” even though it’s not really accurate (no pun intended). Bobbed means bobbed, the hammer spur is rounded like a 1911. Shrouded is almost as snag-free as hammerless but there is an exposed section of the hammer so you can go SA.

        1. avatar HSR47 says:

          Spurless.

  9. avatar matt says:

    Isnt a PF9 technically lighter? Per their websites, 12.7oz unloaded vs 13.5oz unloaded. And more importantly, not $1000, nor is it a gun that self destructs after 200 rounds. Also I thought Rohrbaughs had a problem stove pipeing on the last round?

    1. avatar Eric says:

      Some folks on the Rohrbaugh forum have run springs much longer and think they have better life than the 200 round limit. But really, $5? Why not?

    2. avatar HSR47 says:

      I don’t pretend to defend the price, nor the pistol itself, but the spring is a wear part, and it is CERTAINLY not fair to compare the R9 to the PF9, the latter of which is almost a full inch longer and taller. The R9 is minutely larger than an LCP, but in 9x19mm and not 9x17mm. Given this, and the design of the guiderod/spring, the spring has an AWFUL lot of work to do, and not a lot of space to do it in. Also, the 200 round number is a *recommendation* by the manufacturer — it’s PREVENTATIVE maintenance; it could almost certainly work beyond that number, but with less certainly.

      As for issues with stovepiping on the last round, this is almost certainly due to the magazine, more specifically the follower. One of the magazines that came with my P238 occasionally does weird things on the last round (first version mag, more or less a direct copy of the Colt Mustang magazine), while the other (third version mag) has never failed to function properly.

  10. avatar percynjpn says:

    This review is like others I’ve read for this gun: not reliable and basically unremakable, except for its ridiculous price, yet the reviewer ends up giving it 4 stars anyway. Maybe it’s the slippery carbon fiber grips that make R9 owners love it so much, but I don’t get it.

  11. avatar Joe nobody says:

    When I first heard of the need to change the recoil spring every 200 rounds I thought it was ridiculous, but I never realized they only cost $5. I think thats doable.

    1. avatar Patrick Carrube says:

      “I think thats doable.”….

      Really? I have 6000+ rounds through an XDm-40 and haven’t have to change anything get. It is as reliable today as it was 3 years ago when I bought her. Best part, not $1000+, nor do I need to keep parts “stocked” in my garage…

      1. avatar HSR47 says:

        To be honest, it’s not a fair comparison — you’re comparing a supercar to a minivan.

  12. avatar Stephen says:

    Carried mine for about 6 months.Could never get the thing to really digest ammo with TRUE reliability.Very light primer strikes could cost you your life when the gun is needed.Sold mine locally for almost what I pain ($1250).Bought the Kahr CM9 for less than half the money. Not a SINGLE failure with the Kahr; even during the break-in period.Kahr has MUCH better trigger and ergonomics.Just one owners experience.

  13. avatar davvehall says:

    nice review.

  14. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

    $1200 for a delicate pistol which may or may not fire the ammo of your choice?

    “Surely, you can’t be serious.”

    1. avatar porschespeed says:

      I am serious.

      And don’t call me Shirley…

    2. avatar Bob says:

      It’s not delicate. You need to use the ammo recommended by the manufacturer. Also understand this gun is meant to be a very reliable CCW. Have carried mine for 9 years any nobody knows it’s there. As far as the springs. Again understand this is an extremely compact 9mm , which means the springs are small and will wear faster than a larger weapon. Wouldn’t trade mine for the world…

  15. avatar anon says:

    Any chance we can get a size comparison between this and Kahr MK9?

    1. avatar HSR47 says:

      Put a Ruger LCP on top of the Kahr, and you’ve pretty much got your size comparison.

      Here’s what my google-fu shows: http://lh4.ggpht.com/__aOb6FymfWk/TQAdBzAcYqI/AAAAAAAAAiY/evEFJlzIXNY/s800/IMG00431-20101208-1639.jpg

  16. avatar Common Sense says:

    A 1200 dollar gun that wont take +p, (in a short barrel for defensive purposes, I’ll take all the power I can get thanks), experiences multiple fte’s and light primer strikes on multiple brands of ammo, presumably occuring in less than 200 rounds fired. Cant be shot regularly, rediculous maintainance standards (regardless of cost) and features no grippable texturing whatsoever ( I’ve got sweaty hands even when I’m not about to die or defend my family)….. Where is the money going? Carbon fiber? I’m offended and at that price, you all should be too because it’s a swindle if ever I’ve seen one.

  17. avatar Arnold Davis says:

    A $1,200 gun you can’t shoot often? I’ll pass.

  18. avatar John Smothers says:

    given that a $250 twisted industries .22lr unit makes the PF-9 the only DAO .22 auto out there that has an extractor, it has to be the practice gun for rimfire shooters. I am as of yet undecided as to whether or not to go with a Kahr CM as the main gun, as vs the PF9. gotta shoot both of them a lot more. Some people have had to due fairl extensive fluff and buff jobs in order to have this .22 unit be reliable, but mine is flawless. If shtf, I want both a silenced .22 pistol and a front pants pocket rig for my 9, because it stays out of the way of both the backpack and the rifle. The Rorbaugh’s price is ridiculous

  19. avatar Ira Chandler says:

    Most of you are missing the point. — 1. The pistol is DESIGNED for specific ammo and has the tightest tolerances that you will find. Speer GD works 100% reliably and has documented stopping power. This is not a Glock. Reporting that it does not work with ammo it is KNOWN not to work with does it a disservice. I have had ZERO FTF/FTE with Speer and the other recommended loads. Just like in EVERY firearm, MY ammo of choice is EXACTLY what works reliably. That has been established. Reviewer: “I had zero failures of any kind when running through 50 rounds of this ammo.” — 2. The entire purpose of the design is for CARRY. No levers, hooks, buttons, sights, or ANYTHING to catch on your clothing when you actually NEED it. — 3. No +P is for a reason. It is not needed for defense, and is too much for such a small pistol. This is not a Glock – which I own several of, and love. — 4. The ergos are fine. I added some tape to the front strap and it works with my very long hands. — 5. Carry lots, shoot little. Just makes sense. DUUHHH. It is not a recreational experience to shoot such a small pistol. It is VERY high precision steel, and can handle plenty of shooting. The reason for not shooting lots is NOT because it cannot handle it. — 6. The recoil spring is simply so small/short that it simply will wear out. While it CAN last for plenty of rounds, 200 is preventive medicine. Consider how short it is and the intense load it handles. Even leaf springs on a car flatten out… — 7. The trigger is simply GREAT. Smooth like buttah. Blows away my S&W 642.8. The money goes into some REALLY FINE machining. The piece is simply beautiful, well designed and well made for carry. I have spent as much on other arms that did not have NEAR the quality. — 9. So far as the S&W M624 etc, I have them. They DO NOT CARRY like the R9. CARRY is the key word. They are larger in most every dimension and clunky in a pocket or pouch. They shoot great, yes. But they don’t compare in the carry. Until you have dropped the R9 in a pocket, you just cannot understand. Or strap one on your ankle. — 10. Comparing R9s to Glocks and XDs and 642s is apples and oranges. Next time you are in a Fun Store, just hold one. Drop it in your pocket.

  20. avatar gunfighter 2012 says:

    Yes, I can see the point of these “boutique” pistols for carry. I had and enjoyed a .32 Seecamp a couple of years ago. It’s like owning a Rolex (had one of those too). After getting my Seecamp and enjoying all the oohs and ahhs from my gun savvy friends, it got old really quick. A very expensive, very finicky .32 can really wear on your brainpan after a while. It’s more of a miracle of modern engineering than a modern engineering miracle. I sold that finicky but beautifully made Seecamp and bought an LCP. Love my LCP. It’s lighter, more effective and less “difficult.”
    And in the long run less difficult will win out pretty much every time.

  21. avatar Caligula says:

    I can’t reasonably plop down $1,200 for a tiny pistol that the manufacturer suggests not to shoot to much, and change the recoil spring after 200 rounds. I’ll keep my Kel-Tec PF-9 with the same recoil spring after over 1,000 rounds of flawless functioning.

  22. avatar mike warg says:

    As an owner of the company I just need to post some info since there is dis and misinformation out there.
    First: I personally have placed 3ooo rounds with changing my recoil springs as needed. I have actually forgotten to change them at times so I have surpassed my round counts and still worked flawlessly.
    Second: This firearm is made from METAL, it is not a bic pen (polymer gun if you haven’t figured that out). the machining is flawless and time consuming.
    Three: the miniturization required to make this firearm is amazing. We have taken the 9mm to the smallest size that physics allow-

    I think you people who are those amazing pundits who know everything about guns should get off their own lazy … and design, manufacture , distribute and sell their OWN firearm. When you do all of that, they you are free to add your own 2cents

    1. avatar Jeff says:

      No Mike, we firearm users are pretty much free to slam or praise a product for whatever reason we see fit; be it price, fit or finish, performance, usability, etc. It is the reader’s responsibility as to whether to assign any weight to a review or opinion – great concept, huh?

    2. avatar Jake L. says:

      I can hardly believe that one of the inside guys at Rohrbaugh would actually insult customers on this site. A higher up in a gun company telling potential customers that they should not criticize a gun is worse than bad customer service in warranty.

      The same thing happens with Patriot firearms, Sccy firearms, and the now-bankrupt KBI/Charles Daly. Unprofessional management not taking their job serious while stagnating in old technology. Put more into engineering and less into worsening your rep.

    3. avatar Tom M says:

      Mike,

      Insulting little Rant there sir.
      I will have to rethink doing business with your Company.

    4. avatar Bob says:

      Wow Mike, I have always been open to the possibility of purchasing a Rohrbagh until this arrogant and insulting rant of yours.

    5. avatar frogmouth says:

      Or we could choose to spend our hard-earned money on products made by companies whose owners don’t berate potential customers.

  23. avatar johnp says:

    Wow. I was looking at this gun as possible addition to my collections.
    Thanks Mr. Warg for helping me with my decision.

  24. avatar MotoJB says:

    I LOL’d at these comments. It seems that this Rohrbaugh discussions get almost “religious” and “personal”. Everyone trying to rate the gun and engage in positioning to support THEIR decision and what they spent their own $$ on. I for one would be similarly “insulted” to have people chiming in, comapring my golden apple to a prune…and ultimatly insisting that my Rohrbaugh spend was a waste.

    I understand the pride that Rohrbaugh must have behind their high-quality, hand made, precision pistols. I also understand others that can’t justify the high price for thier needs. Everyone must keep in mind that what Rohrbaugh set out to do – they accomplished. The SMALLEST, finest, highest-quality 9mm pocket pistol available. This doesn’t come without certain drawbacks and you simply have to keep it all in perspective.

    If you want a 9mm that you can completely forget about while carrying and is reliably able to protect your life – the Rohrbaugh accomplishes this in a way no other has. You simply have to find the ammo it likes and stick with it. You have to undertstand the purpose is a super concealable, “shoot occasionally, carry always”, effective caliber application. NO other handgun except for the Rohrbaugh have I found provides me with the features/characateristics I desire for that application.

    For that admittedly narrow niche, it’s a clear winner. For those that can afford the high price tag for the hand-made/fit engineering produced by Rohrbaugh, why not? My J-frame .38 just doesn’t work in some sitautions where my soon to own Rohrbaugh will. Hats off to Warg and others at Rohrbaugh for producing something the big manufacturers’ can’t or refuse to supply. I for one think we need other high-quality US made options. Rohrbaugh is a fine example.

    I can understand the pride and somewhat overly defensive position from Mr Warg but don’t take it personal. Some will “get it” and some won’t. With your price tag, you just won’t appeal to a large percentage of buyers. With that said, to have people constantly comparing a Rohrbaugh to a cheap, plasticy, horribly-triggered POS would annoy me as well.

    1. avatar Jake L. says:

      MotoJB, it looks like a lot of companies make similar guns with good quality, such and the SIG P290 and P938, the Kimber SOLO, several different 9mm model Kahrs, the Ruger LC9, and the Beretta Nano. It looks like the Rohrbaugh beats the Kahrs by .1 inches, but the Rohrbaugh is in good company for comparable pocket nines.

      As it goes now though, I haven’t heard any unusual problems with any of these comparable pistols, and I definitely haven’t heard any company owners disrespecting other companies by calling their guns “bic pen[s].” I would never compare a Kahr PM9 or other reputable gun manufacturers’ polymer-framed guns to a pen, because it’s simply hating to do so. As features go, most all of the competition offers more options like large tritium sights, different grips, and +P compatibility.

      Another point is Rohrbaugh’s recommendation to not fire your carry weapon very much. It is a very dangerous and lazy habit to get into. I never expect my P290 to be as accurate as my P226, but I do expect it to be as reliable out to 10,000 rounds before noticeable internal wear.

      One more point: many polymer framed guns have a steel chassis which the slide rails connect to. These extend the life of the pistol to about the same as a steel framed gun. On this point, the aluminum frame of the Rohrbaugh will probably wear the same or faster than comparable guns.

      The Rohrbaugh is simply a fair-to-OK pistol with a high price tag and the PR of a crap gun company (thus why I compared them to Sccy and Patriot arms). I see it as sticking to old hydra-shoks instead of upgrading to bonded gold-dots or PDX-1’s–outdated engineering with less performance and the same price tag.

  25. avatar franklin says:

    Is anything being done to address the light primer strikes? I’d be a bit concerned with the issue relating to a firearm I plan to use for self defense.

  26. avatar Ray says:

    I will bet real money that, if longevity and price are minor considerations, I can build an even smaller 9mm auto than Rohrbaugh. Just don’t insist that one can shoot it a lot. The people at Rohrbaugh deserve a dope slap.

  27. avatar Shawn L says:

    Wow, Mike,

    Your from Rohrbaugh? You sound so unprofessional. And your logic doesnt make sense. So you’re basically saying if you dont design, manufacture, distribute the product you use, then you cant negatively review it?
    Then no one should review cars, restaurants, phones, computers, laptops, unless they build it as well… that makes no sense.

    FLAME DELETED

    1. avatar Ray says:

      Haha wow, look at the backlash! good job rohrbaugh!

  28. avatar LT says:

    Holy ****… I thought Eric posted an extra digit on that price. ****.

    I think I’d rather spend the money on an M&P Shield in 9mm, .40 S&W, and an SCCY CPX-2 CB, along with some range ammo.

    I wouldn’t spend $250 on a gun I couldn’t shoot at least occasionally with +P rounds, let alone $1k. I would say “**** this gun and the company making it” but I’m pretty sure the market will be taking care of that.

  29. avatar uncle wayne says:

    I have a 32seecamp and a ruger lc9 and a 38smith body guard and about ten other hand guns. and gun of this size whould be my gun of choice of carry. being a tool maker and working with tight torlances +_ .0001 i know quality when i see it like my seecamp you have to keep it clean and use the right ammo. but i want a rohrbraugh r9s. and its not a range gun but a pocket gun that you could you can carry any where. and its a 9mm . cant wait to buy one.uncle wayne

  30. avatar Larry says:

    I kinda like my Rohrbaugh. With 800 or so rounds thru it over the past couple of years I’ve never had an issue using 115gr Gold Dots. While not a pleasure to shoot, it is reliable, rather accurate at 7 yards and tiny. That tiny part allows me to stick it in my pocket at a moment’s notice with no bother…..something that doesn’t work for me with the Shield, P290 or Nano.

  31. avatar Chuck says:

    I own two Rohrbaugh R9’s and have found both of them to be flawless with the selected ammo. I can understand that this gun is not for everyone but as stated above it does exactly what it was designed to do. It carries in a front pocket without printing and draws easily. The lack of +p ammo doesn’t bother me as any short barreled gun will not make use of the additional pressures. The gun is beautifully engineered and all the components are of the highest quality. Detractors scoff at having to replace the recoil spring after 200 rounds but it’s a whopping 5 bucks! You can spend that on a McDonalds lunch and not think twice. I have a Kahr CM9, a Beretta Nano, a S&W Bodyguard 380, and a Ruger LCP. It front pocket carries MUCH easier than the Kahr and Beretta. It has better ballistics than the Ruger and S&W. I carry it every day with total confidence. I guess each to their own.

  32. avatar Steve says:

    I love my rohrbaugh. I wanted something to carry in my fancy jeans that printed less than my cellphone and wallet. And even with the price deflating my wallet the gun STILL prints less. Metal gun….9mm…pull the trigger it goes bang…last line of defense while your screaming nooo!!…please!! no!! I think it will serve it’s purpose.
    Countering a review with another gun that is NOTHING like a rohrbaugh is hilariously stupid. IE: Why use an iPad when you can use a powerful desktop computer. It’s faster and half the price. lol what? I don’t need to go on.

  33. avatar J Edgar Hoover says:

    All mini-autos are ammo sensitive – you need the right ammo or you will get sick of the gun. I got a Seecamp 32 and all I use is Speer Gold Dots …. they ain’t 200 round a session range guns ….. too expensive, and all you get is a sore finger

  34. avatar Ted Talbert says:

    I have a Rohrbaugh R9 and love it. I carry it in a Crossbreed Supertuck holster and it is not noticeable at all. It functions very well with Home Defense loads. It is not one to take to the range and shoot all day but I know it will be reliable when and if I need it for self defense.

  35. avatar C Step says:

    @ Mark Warg…and you New Yorkers wonder why we don’t like your attitude when you visit Pennsylvania? My final decision comes not due to your product unreliability, rudeness or nasty attitude. But rather that I’d rather support a local company that makes a great product namely Kahr which has decided to move here to Pike County, PA. I simply will never ever buy another product from NY ever again. Sorry.

    1. avatar Oloff says:

      That’s just stupid.

  36. avatar Rey says:

    Okay, Rohrbaugh is great. Looks like a gun I can carry all day and may even forget I even have it. A thousand bucks? I guess if I want a quick draw shoot and hide or run gun, then this is the one. But I can do that with a Kahr or any of the 380 caliber pocket pistols. Oh, not enough power? I used to think that but now I wonder if I really need that much power. And high capacity is never a requirement. I want one I can defend myself with, not join the war. What I mean is, I don’t want to get in a firefight and live to tell or not. I’m not gonna go up against bank robbers like those in LA, or the OK Corral. I’ve decided Kahr PM9 when I have the money, CM9 when I come up short, or when I hit the lottery, the Rohrbaugh R9S maybe Stealth.

  37. avatar S_J says:

    Meh, it may be the ultimate super-deluxe 9mm mouse gun but I like actually shooting the pieces I buy. Don’t own a handgun yet but I imagine a grand will buy 2 or 3 surplus Makorovs/P-64’s or S&W J-frames in nice shape and plenty of ammo, and those are common CCW guns for a reason.

  38. avatar jimbob says:

    So over 1k – the price of a Kimber, USP, or Five Seven, and you get – a mouse gun that fails to feed a few times in one range session and is almost as good as a basic snubbie except the snubbie won’t fail to feed when you need it? Why again?

  39. avatar caligula says:

    Stupid expensive. The value proposition sucks. Not reliable with most ammo. No thanks.

  40. avatar Jack W. Harris says:

    Intrested

  41. avatar Stub Shloober says:

    The Diamondback DB9 is lighter, though a little longer & higher — not that anyone would choose a DB9 over the R9, except for wallet reasons.

    1. avatar dick says:

      Pass on the DB9 and go for quality in a Kahr CM9.

  42. avatar Phat Phocker says:

    Actually, I can afford any pocket gun I desire. Due to the d***head attitude of Mark Warg, I’d sooner carry a HiPoint than your over-priced snob gun.

    I’m quite happy with my TCP in .380 as a BUG. i’d prefer the DB9 to this gun, simply due to a**hole Warg’s commentary.

    Light primer strikes and picky on ammo. Give me a ******* break.

    1. avatar JJ says:

      TCP IS a great little gun… as is the even lighter Kel-tec P32 for BUG. The Diamondback will get you killed.

  43. avatar Richard Neva says:

    I like it but that price is staggering. I am married to the Kahr 45 and that will have to do for me. Not much bigger but that 45 round is a barrel of fun for the intruder that crosses me!

  44. avatar JJ says:

    With the issues… I would bail on this expensive toy and go with a Kahr PM9 Black Diamond… better ergos, more accurate and you can actually shoot it!!! Great trigger too… Lightly used should be around $500… mine didn’t require break in, some do.

  45. avatar dick says:

    If looking for a small 9mm one would do well in purchasing a Kahr CM9.
    At the time of this posting I purchased on for $325 new and it does not choke on the hard primers of steel case Tulammo.

  46. avatar James @ Direct Hit Firearms says:

    SHOOT LITTLE CARRY OFTEN….Dumbest thing ive ever heard when it comes to concealed carry…PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE…Thats my slogan…If you don’t practice you should NOT carry…If you are not familiar with your firearm you are a liability..We hope the day never comes needing to draw and fire our weapons but if you are not prepared you will panic and end up not knowing what to do..
    I have no hands on experience with the R9 but I don’t want a gun that requires parts replaced no matter the cost with so few rounds through it and picky about types of ammo too…..Plus its way overpriced…
    I have three carry guns…A SIG P938 SAS 9mm…A Smith 637 38 +P revolver and a Colt Defender 45acp…All are workhorses I would easily put up against the dainty R9 and are much less expensive..

  47. avatar Ruger says:

    $1200 for a gun that needs the spring replaced every 200 rounds and is picky about ammo? I have 5000 rounds down the tube of my S&W M&P shield and nothing replaced!

    Gotta tell ya I’d buy a $200 Kel-Tec PF-9 before I’d ever entertain the idea of purchasing that gun.

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  49. avatar old coot says:

    I don’t find the Rohrbaugh maker’s comments nearly as inflammatory as those of too many critics here – most of whom have not apparently handled, much less fired the R9. Primary reality checks for any CCW intended gun should be, does it handle defensive ammo flawlessly, does it go from conceal to firing with a minimum of complications, hang-ups? Not in the same, but nearby ballpark, the Rohrbaugh 380 in the form of the newer, affordable Remington RM380 looks to handle varieties of ammo much better than most other compacts, has very easy slide action, with a stiff trigger – vs Kahrs that appear to jam a lot on many defensive loads, have an awfully hard slide, but better trigger. What is a deal-breaking specific – potentially jamming in actual life-or-death use, or harder trigger, or hefty price tag? Most smaller guns all have some trade-offs, and tarting them up with lasers and/or night sights and purple grips, which make negligible difference in real-life defensive situations, doesn’t make them better choices than simpler streamlined reliable ones.

  50. avatar R94Life says:

    The best TRULY pocket defensive semi automatic pistol ever designed, and in a 9mm – the caliber that the so-called ‘experts’ almost all now recommend. I have owned and carried one (the $2K ‘Covert’ model) for the past six years. I carry it in a Recluse wallet/holster which allows for an extra magazine to be positioned in the wallet with the pistol. Have put probably over 200 rounds through it, all Speer Gold Dots in 115 and 124 grain. I don’t really count the rounds. Have replaced the spring once. When I am at one of three ranges I shoot at, I simply put two magazines through it (15 rounds total), and visit a range once every three months (the kind where you can draw from a holster and shoot, and also shoot tactically). Flawless. No malfunctions. And if you can hold the R9 properly, you can hit what you are aiming at out to ten yards, including head shots, easy. It can go anywhere, and it can come out of hiding faster than almost any other concealed carry method, thanks to the Recluse holster. Hell, it can even hide in your hand if you can master the technique, so you could preposition it, if required, and the bad guy would likely never know it was about to be ready, set, go time. I even once took the recuse holster/wallet out of my back pocket because I had forgotten it was there, and was in a security checkpoint. Sailed right through with a technique I perfected by simply watching how the check point ran. With any other pistol, no way I could have done that. Security never even suspected I had a gun, let alone a 9mm. The guys criticizing the Rohrbaugh have never owned one or shot one, and honestly are not good judges of quality. They are preparing to fail in a CQB gun fight. Hell, 75% of them do not carry on a daily basis. 98% of them can’t shoot accurately under ANY kind of stress. Their handgun is usually in their vehicle/pickup truck, because they can’t carry at work, or whatever. They don’t carry everywhere because of the numerous, layered constraints they are faced with, and the majority of them sure as heck don’t TRAIN with the handgun they carry, if at all. If they do it is at a square range, and they never train with their carry ammo. These guys just buy what the other guy told them to buy and then hoard ammo. That’s the truth no one wants to admit about the majority of American gun owners. Most are incapable of recognizing genuine quality, and are hyper controlled by peer pressure, advertising and media influence. But they sure know how to complain like silly, little sad bitches. I own, shoot and have carried Glock, Beretta, Sig, Walther, FN, HK, Kimber, Wesson, you name it. I own them, train with it and have shot them all, alot. But I carry that little-engine-that-could Rohrbaugh R9 everywhere I go. Sometimes it is a primary and sometimes it is a back up … and you better believe it can come out to play faster than anything you carry under that XXL shirt, it ain’t gonna jam, and you won’t have time to criticize it, because you won’t ever know it was there. Weapons are meant to be felt, not seen.

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