LH9 1

A few months back, Nick Leghorn reviewed the Lionheart LH9 9mm, which is a modern update of the South Korean Daewoo K5 military pistol. Nick ended up giving it a dismal one-star rating, going so far as to declare it “unsafe.”  Since I had some experience with the Daewoo K5 as a result of my time overseas working with the ROK army, I simply could not believe that this update of a classic military pistol could deserve that kind of rating. Could the entire ROK military have been wrong in adopting a pistol that’s unsafe? And then keep using it for 20+ years? Nah, fat chance. So I asked Nick to send the gun to me so I could take a second look . . .

Here at TTAG, our mission is to tell the truth about guns. And yet on matters of personal preference, we can only provide our opinions. American orator Wendell Phillips (1811-1884) once said that “[t]ruth is one forever absolute, but opinion is truth filtered through the moods, the blood, [and] the disposition of the spectator.” After spending a couple of months with the LH9, I’m in almost complete disagreement with Nick’s take on this pistol. In my estimation, the Lionheart is superb: an upgraded, improved version of the excellent Browning Hi-Power and S&W 39/59 series pistols on which it’s ultimately based. 

 LH9 2

My first thought about the Lionheart LH9 when I saw it for the first time? It’s a drop dead sexy gun with great ergonomics, based on a pistol with a proven record of military service. What’s not to love? Shown above is the LH9 alongside my personal ROK Special Forces beret (presented to me by the ROK Special Warfare Command), my engraved Gerber Mark II, (an informal unit-level award), and my old Gen I Gore Tex jacket that I wore during my tours in country. The LH9 is a looker, right?

Some Americans can be funny about foreign-made guns, especially if the country of origin isn’t Germany or Austria. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard some OFWG redneck type say something along the lines of: “If it ain’t designed by Samuel Colt, John Moses Browning, or John Garand, it ain’t worth owning.” To those knuckle-draggers, the thought of owning a Korean-made pistol would be downright treasonous.

But I’ve never been afflicted with such shortsightedness. Quite the opposite, in fact. When I was in the Army (circa 1990), it didn’t take long for me to figure out that the Korean Daewoo K2 rifle was an advancement over my Colt M16A1s and A2s. The “Woo” basically takes an M-16 lower and mates it to an upper featuring an AK-47 style long stroke gas piston and an FN-FAL gas regulator. Brilliant! Why blow hot, dirty gas into the bolt carrier group if you don’t have to?

Oh, I know…because you love taking an extra 2-3 hours to clean all the carbon and junk out of the action, right? In addition, the piston/tappet rod allows the buffer assembly to be drastically shortened, which, in turn, allows for a folding stock. Accurate and utterly reliable, the Daewoo K2 is an impressive weapon system.

LH9 3 copyright Kish Kim

 

LH9 4 copyright Kish Kim

Likewise, I was envious to see my Korean counterparts toting their (then) new K-5 pistols. My issue Beretta M9 (aka: 92F) was a beautiful pistol, but it was needlessly large and bulky. It featured the kinda-lame Walther P38 style decocker and a painfully long first shot double action trigger.  In contrast, the K-5 was compact and featured a 1911-style safety that allows the pistol to be carried holstered in Condition 1. The K-5 reminded me of my first pistol, my beloved Novak custom Browning Hi-Power. The ergonomics were similar, and the K-5 featured a slim front end that made it point very quickly and easy to conceal.

Perhaps the biggest irony surrounding the K-5: though made in the ROK (aka: South Korea), it’s heavily influenced by American designs. Let me explain:

Parental Family Tree:  Browning Hi Power & Walther P-38  S&W 39 / 59 Daewoo K5  Lionheart LH9

LH9 6 copyright Adams guns

The genesis of the Lionheart LH9 ultimately stems from the Browning Hi-Power, a gun that was based on John Moses Browning’s last pistol design. Engineers at Fabrique Nationale Herstal finished the design of the Hi-Power after Mr. Browning’s death in 1926. Released in 1935, the Browning Hi-Power took the world by storm, and became the most widely used 9mm in the world over the next 60 years. In my extensive travels around the world (over 70 countries), I can confirm that there were few places I visited where Hi-Powers were not represented in the arsenals of the police and military. Even today, the Browning Hi-Power is still one of the widely issued side arms for police and militaries around the world. They show up everywhere.

After WWII, the U.S. Army toyed with the idea of moving to a 9mm to replace the 1911.  Smith & Wesson was anxious to score a big government contract and developed the X-46 in response to Army solicitations. Inspired by the Browning Hi-Power and the Walther P-38, the X-46 attempted to take the best features of both designs and incorporate them into one pistol. The Army ultimately dropped the project, however. Nonetheless, Smith and Wesson continued development of the X-46 into the Model 39, in an effort to attract law enforcement sales.

The Model 39 utilized the tilt-barrel locking cam system of the Hi-Power and combined it with the double action and decocker features of the P-38. The Model 39 eventually evolved into a number of different generations of Smith and Wesson handguns, including some with aluminum alloy frames (e.g., Model 59, Model 459, Model 5903, Model 6906, etc.).

LH9 8 copyright kish kim

The Daewoo K5, which is the standard issue sidearm of the South Korean defense forces, is based on the S&W 39/59 series of pistols. The Korean Ministry of Defense and Daewoo Precision Industries designed and tested the K5 over the course of four years starting in around 1985. It’s a combat-proven sidearm currently being carried by South Korean soldiers in places such as Afghanistan, Somalia and Lebanon.

LH9 9

Daewoo Precision Industries is a turnkey Colt factory, built by Colt in the 1970s as the South Korean Arsenal. Daewoo has produced millions of licensed M16s, as well as M203s, M60s and other American Mil-Spec weapon systems. They eventually developed their own designs, which are widely regarded as improvements to the host guns on which they’re based. Much of the machinery that’s used to manufacture the LH series, such as the drop forge, is Colt’s original tooling.

The K5 was imported into the U.S. in the 1990s under the name “DP-51.”  Importation stopped when the Daewoo conglomerate was dismantled by the Korean Government in 1999. The weapon proved to be light, highly ergonomic, and well balanced. The DP-51s had a well-earned reputation for reliability and accuracy. The only common complaint that you hear about them today is the lack of parts and magazines. However, that’s been addressed by Lionheart Industries. Also, you can use S&W 59 series mags.

Improving a Proven Design: Enter Lionheart Industries

Lionheart Industries was founded in 2011 to import and manufacture innovative firearms and accessories. Lionheart is not a subsidiary of Daewoo, but an independent American owned company with exclusive import and distribution rights in the U.S. market. According to Mr. Josh Whi of Lionheart, they chose to work with Daewoo due to the high quality and innovative nature of their firearms.

Lionheart has taken the proven K5 design and upgraded it with modern features. They started by adding more aggressive serrations on the slide. Mr. Whi told me that it took many attempts before they settled on the current depth and spacing between serrations that they felt was optimal for grip, without being too sharp or abrasive. I think they got it right.

LH9 10

Next, they changed the old spur type hammer to a rounded commander style hammer, which harkens back to the original Browning P-35. This was done so that the hammer could be easily manipulated and operated with confidence. In my opinion, the commander style hammer is more comfortable to carry, less prone to snagging and easier to conceal than a spur hammer, making it a welcome addition.

LH9 11

The original K-5s/DP-51s featured a black oxide slide coating and anodizing on the frame. The look of the original finish left a bit to be desired, so Lionheart choose to use a Cerakote finish for the LH9. Not only is it attractive, it comes in various colors and its ceramic base allows a semiautomatic pistol to function without much lubrication. Cerakote’s durability, corrosion and chemical resistance is well known in the firearms community.

LH9 12

Lastly, the grips have been improved. Lionheart tested three different designs before settling on the signature polymer “diamond grips.” The legendary designer behind Surefire, Paul “PK” Kim, designed these grips. They’re not only functional, but their unique patterns stand out compared to standard checkered grips.

One important thing they thankfully did not change: the full size LH9 is still compatible with S&W 59 series magazines and the LH9C (compact) takes S&W 69 series mags. The Korean-made OEM factory magazines are high quality steel with polymer bases.  The finish of the magazines is not nearly as nice as the Mec-Gars made for the S&Ws, but they are functional and rugged.

LH9 13

Various sight options are available for the LH9. I tested two different slides, one with fixed sights and one with genuine Novak Lo-Mount 380 sights with the optional big dot tritium. The stock LH9 ships with black wide-notch rear sights and white dot front sight. Having the single white dot on the front allows for quick target acquistion and the superb accuracy that Novak’s is famous for. For customization, fiber optic sights as well as brass and gold bead options are also available through Lionheart and Novak.

Comparison to Smith & Wesson Pistols

LH9 14

The photo above shows the Lionheart LH9 compared to two Smith & Wesson pistols: an all-steel Gen-3 (Model 5906) and an aluminum-framed Performance Center version of the Gen 3 Model 6906, known as the “Recon 9.” The family genetics should be fairly obvious from the photo, particularly in regards to the 5906. The Lionheart LH9 features a more rounded palm swell, a feature originally found on the Walther P-38. See Photo Below. I find the shape of the LH9’s grip feels very similar to modern SIG-Sauers and Walthers.

LH9 15

So my question to the naysayers is this: if the S&W pistols get high marks – and they do – shouldn’t an updated version of the same pistol that drops the decocker in favor of a 1911-style safety also get high marks? The only real difference is the safety and the “Tri-Action Trigger” (aka “Double action plus +” trigger). But more on that later.

A Closer Look at the Internals

LH9 16

The LH9 is slightly more complicated to disassemble than the modern Wonder-Nines like a Glock, Steyr, Caracal, or Walther PPQ and PPX.  The process is similar to disassembling an HK USP. But it’s easier than taking down a 1911.

Once pulled apart, the operator is rewarded with a full-length steel guide rod, a forged slide, and a hammer-forged, chrome-lined 4150 steel barrel. That steel is the same used in mil-spec M4s which are rated for full-auto fire. Yes, everything about the Lionheart is first class.

Untitled

The LH9 continues to use the original Browning design of dual annular locking lugs with corresponding slide indentions cut into the underside of the slide. This locking system is more expensive to build as compared to the modern breechblock design, but those who appreciate the classics will enjoy this feature.

The “Double Action+” Action

Untitled2

In his review, Nick seemed to like everything about the Lionheart except the “Double Action plus+” action and the small-ish manual thumb safety. When I read his complaints about the action, I was surprised, and his conclusions didn’t mesh with my recollection of the merits of the system.

What I love about the Daewoo K5 (and by extension, the Lionheart LH9) is the flexibility it offers. Want to carry it in condition one like a 1911? Check. Want to carry it hammer down on a loaded chamber, safety off, relying on the heavy DA trigger as a safety? Check.

But the big disadvantage of a traditional double action system has always been that first shot heavy trigger pull. Most shooters can’t hit their first shot with double action. As discussed below, the Daewoo “Double Action plus+” system bridges that gap. But before turning to that mode, let me state that the LH9 double action trigger pull is one of the smoothest I’ve ever felt. Better than either of my SIG Sauers, my HK USP-T or my old Novak Hi-Power. The only DA gun that’s in the same league is my $1200 S&W Performance Center Recon 9, although TTAG writer Chris Dumm’s SIG-Sauer 250 has an near flawless DA trigger as well.

As Nick noted, you can use the “Double Action plus +” system a third way: by loading the pistol, racking the slide, activating the manual safety, and then pushing the hammer forward on a loaded chamber. That moves the trigger forward to the same position as if it were not cocked. (Note: Although not mandatory for operation, Lionheart advises users activate the manual safety first before operating the weapon in any of the three modes.)

Once so configured, the operator only needs to lightly pull the trigger back ½ inch, and the hammer will snap back under spring tension. At that point, the trigger is in the same position as a two stage single-action trigger; continuing with the pull a short distance more reaches an obvious wall. Another three pounds of force trips the sear and fires the pistol.

Though the pull will be as long as a traditional DA trigger pull, at no point do you need to use heavy, accuracy robbing 10+ lbs. of force. Also, note that contrary to what the bubbas will tell you out in internet land, you don’t have to pull the hammer back using the trigger. You can just as easily use your hand to re-cock the hammer. Thus, this system is flexible, and provides all the benefits of single action (accuracy + speed) with the safety of double action (longer trigger travel).

Nick saw it differently. He states: “In theory, this gives you all the benefits of a single action trigger and a double action trigger combined. In reality, though, it’s more like you get all of the drawbacks of both.” Which seems like a “glass half empty” view. In my opinion, the LH9 is a “glass is full” affair. Again, opinions will vary based on personal preferences and prior training. But one thing is for sure: there’s nothing inherently “unsafe” about the action.

Drilling down on specifics, Nick didn’t like the “long but light” characteristic of the ‘third’ trigger mode. As he said, “Since the “double action +” pull is lighter than a normal double action gun’s, you need to use the frame mounted safety.” Well, yes and no. You don’t have to use the safety if you don’t want to. It’s certainly true that the third (double action+) trigger mode doesn’t offer the same degree of heavy resistance as a traditional double action trigger.  But the trigger pull will still be long, which in itself provides a degree of safety.

Certainly, a Glock with a standard 5 Lb connector isn’t any more “safe” in this respect.  I’m currently testing the Walther PPX – which has no manual safety and an even lighter DAO trigger pull than the Lionheart. My advice: if you do want to carry the Lionheart in the pre-cocked, hammer down mode without a manual safety, then you MUST always carry it in a quality holster made specifically for this particular gun that completely covers the trigger guard. Of course, you can still back up the trigger with the manual safety, as Nick points out. Again, Lionheart recommends that.

In sum, the LH9 gives you options. You can carry the LH9 in various conditions depending on the situation and shooter preference: single action with safety on, double action with safety off, “double action +” with safety on, and “double action +” with safety off. 

The Safety

LH9 19

Nick’s second concern was what he described as a “small safety.” See photo above, comparing the LH9 (right) to a modern 1911A1 (left).  Nick complained that the LH9’s safety is “roughly the size of a Tic-Tac” and that “even under the best of circumstances, it’s tough to find and flip it at the range.”  Continuing, Nick wrote, “And in my opinion, the safety is impossible to use under stress. It’s simply too small to hit with any certainty when you’re hustling to take a shot.” I beg to differ.

LH9 20

While the Tic-Tac comment is only a slight exaggeration, I don’t understand the complaint about not being able to find the safety. Personally, I like the smaller, out of the way, ambidextrous safety lever. Guys like Nick get used to their oversized “competition” add-ons, but all of those bigger-than-stock features diminish the ability to carry the weapon concealed. Although sufficently positive to not flip off accidentally, the LH9’s safety is designed to switch off easily and instinctively on your drawstroke. In a tactical draw, it’s a simple process to deactivate the safety as you clear the holster and bring the weapon on target. My thumb finds the safety without any problems, day or night.  Reactivating the safety requires slightly more effort, but it’s not annoyingly difficult. It’s certainly a better option than the decocker on the Beretta M9.

Thus, while it’s true that the safety isn’t as large as the oversized safeties you encounter on some modern 1911s, it’s large enough to serve its purpose. It’s certainly easier to disengage the safety on the Lionheart than it is on many other firearms; including traditional WWII era 1911s. Those of you familiar with those 1911s will know that the safety on those old guns are only about half the size of a Tic-Tac!

The Soft Case

LH9 21

These days, many manufacturers are cutting costs by only providing a marginal to crappy plastic hard case with their pistols. You know, the ones that you end up ditching in your closet because they suck.  The only pistol I own that came with a really nice case is my HK USP-T, and that puppy cost me almost a cool grand. Thus, Lionheart certainly takes it to the next level with their OEM soft case. The case has a high-quality feel to it, with room for five extra mags, a box of ammo, and cleaning supplies. The case includes:

  • A small tube of FrogLube
  • 1 brass bore brush
  • 1 steel cleaning rod
  • 1 cleaning brush
  • 1 trigger lock
  • Manual
  • Warranty card

LH9 22

While a case isn’t going to be the reason you buy a Lionheart, it should factor into whether you think $600 is a fair price for this pistol. Which leads to the question of value . . .

Value

When the DP-51 was first sold in the U.S. in the 1990s, the price was $325.00. Based on that price point, the perception was that the DP-51 was an ‘economy line’ gun. In reality, it was a total steal. Twenty years later, inflation has caused pistols to become more expensive. Even so, the fixed sight Lionheart LH9 retails for $615. The Novak sight LH9 lists for $715. That makes it cheaper than a SIG-Sauer, Browning Hi-Power, or HK USP, but puts it squarely in the price range of guns like the Walther PPQ, Glocks and Springfield XDs.

Nonetheless, the quality features of the Lionheart – forged frame and slide, hammer forged 4150 barrel, excellent machining, Cerakote finish, (usually a $150-$200 custom coating job), smooth trigger, Novak sights, and the proprietary grips make this pistol a great value for the money. If you can find another firearm with all that, please let me know in the comments. The only other firearm that I found that is similar is the SIG Sauer Scorpion line that cost $1000+ MSRP.

Warranty

Often, you can gather all you need to know about a pistol by looking the warranty. These days, one- and two-year warranties are common, even among well-respected gun manufacturers. In this case, Lionheart is offering a limited lifetime non-transferable warranty on its guns and is providing full parts, magazines, and servicing from their headquarters in Redmond, WA. According to Josh Whi of Lionheart: “Great customer service and customer satisfaction is very important to us.” I hope Lionheart is here for the long haul. Maybe with any luck they will bring back an updated version of the “Woo” K2.

Conclusion

In his review, Nick says, “this gun is an accident waiting to happen.” I emphatically disagree. The South Korean military has been using this pistol for over 20 years and there is no unusual history of accidents. Besides, from the external safety, the LH9 has an internal firing pin block. It’s impossible for the LH9 to fire unless the safety is off and the trigger is pulled. If you want an “accident waiting to happen,” buy an old school 1911 – before they added drop safeties.

Nick recommended that potential LH9 buyers “stick to a Glock.” But the Lionheart is so completely different from a Glock that I suspect the two guns will attract totally different buyer demographics. The LH9 is a professional grade firearm intended for users who will train regularly with their weapon. Those who appreciate the pointability of a Hi-Power or a Walther P-38 and who like to carry in “condition 1” will really appreciate the Lionheart. As will anyone who has trouble warming up to the concept of a plastic gun.

Bottom line: the LH series of handguns is a top-quality military-grade firearm which is produced without cutting corners and without regard to saving manufacturing costs. I’m hoping that the Lionheart LH9 is well-received because it’s an excellent design. In fact, I like this pistol so much I am planning on adding it to my personal collection.

Specifications:

Manufacturer: S&T Motiv (formerly “Daewoo Precision Instruments, Inc.”)
Model: LH9
Calibers: 9mm,  (.40 S&W and .45 ACP versions are in the works)
Action: Semi auto, short recoil, locked breech.
Barrel length: 4.1 inches
Barrel Twist:  6 groove, 1:13 twist
Overall Length: 7.5 inches
Weight: 28 ounces (1 lb, 12 oz.)
Sights: Many options (See Below)
Finish:  Cerakote
Capacity:  9mm = 13 or 15 rds; .40 S&W = 13 rounds
Suggested Retail Price: $ 615 (MSRP)   Novak Sights $715 (MSRP)

Ratings (Out of Five Stars):

Accuracy: * * * * *    
Outstanding, pure and simple.

Ergonomics: * * * * *
The Lionheart is a bird dog – a natural pointer. If you like the ergonomics of the S&W 5906 and the Browning Hi-Power, and appreciate the palm swell of a Walther P-38, you’ll like the LH9.

Reliability: * * * * *
I experienced no malfunctions of any kind. This thing gobbles up all types of ammo like Rosie O’Donnell does Little Debbie snack cakes.

Durability:  * * * *  
I didn’t torture test this gun and, frankly, 500 rounds is hardly enough to give much indication about the long-term durability of a firearm. Having said that, after 500 rounds I didn’t see any signs of weakness in the materials or design. The Cerakote got scratched in one spot where the external trigger bar rubbed against the frame.

Customization: * * * 
Most holsters made for S&W 59 series pistols should fit the LH9. S&W 59 series mags will work as well. Novak’s tritium, fiber optics, gold and brass beads are available for this pistol.

Overall Rating: * * * * ½
I’m thrilled with this handgun. Again, even if you don’t like the “Double Action plus +”  trigger system, it’s merely an option. If you want to run your LH9 in regular double action mode, you can. Prefer single action, cocked and locked? Nothing is stopping you.

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184 Responses to Gun Review: Lionheart LH9 – Take 2

    • I have to say, that one sentence soured me to the counter argument before it even began. Protip: If you’re trying to convince an audience that prior information is incorrect, try not to insult them out of the gate. Even if you make valid points, they won’t give a damn.

      • I kept reading, but the “flyover people are knuckle dragging xenophobes” opinion was definitely noted.

        • I agree with the author’s opinion. Too many of the OFWG redneck types are too willing to dismiss something because it isn’t made in ‘murica or has some kinda crazy new feature going on. Hell, go see how many people flame Toyotas simply because they aren’t American. Pretty much every experience I’ve had at an NRA meeting.

        • I’m a Redneck (and proud of it) from Fly-over NC country, and I own mostly foreign made firearms. I don’t own a S&W, and My wife drives a Honda Odyssey. Thanks to Hollywood and the mass media, most people on the East and Left coasts think Southerners and other rural occupants are ignorant and closed-minded. I find that conclusion strange since some of the most ignorant people I’ve ever encountered were from New York City and Chicago. I lived (survived) in both cities. Both are also filled with assholes.

      • “Protip: If you’re trying to convince an audience that prior information is incorrect, try not to insult them out of the gate.”

        Are you saying you are a redneck? Methinks good ole Joe thought that he was not talking to rednecks. Maybe he was.

        • That does not matter. I doubt if I made ethnic slurs about Mexicans, japanese, Chinese, Haitians, Pakistani etc that they would be allowed to remain.

          Either its in bad taste or its not. Either its allowed here or not. If having a stereotype of backwardness, fiercely anti education, steadily anti progress, there is a couple hundred million people in the middle part of earth who want to live like its the year 900-1100.

          So you agree then. We can. Slur them. Do not delete this mods. I did NOT actually names a people or country.

      • I have to agree that some are looking for reasons to be offended. Been through a flame war with people who perfectly match the OFWG description. To them, if it’s not a Glock it’s garbage. To others, if it’s not a Sig Sauer it’s garbage.

        To those who insist this gun over priced just because part of it’s made in Korea: get a clue. Quality is quality, and where part of the gun is manufactured has nothing to do with how well it functions or how accurate it is. The price point is the price point. Buy it, or don’t buy it. But dissing a gun you’ve never seen, held or shot is just plain ignorant.

        This gun has well over 25 years of battle proven worthiness under its belt. No recalls for reliability or safety. Quite simply, it’s a good gun and for what you get it’s an absolute steal.

        Back in the 1980’s when this gun was introduced, the price was ~$350 and it was considered a steal at the time. In today’s dollars, $350 translates into nearly $750. With an average sale price of $680, there are still people out there crying about the price? Really?

    • I don’t even know what OFWG stands for. Why do journalists need to use abbreviations? Ever heard of writing classes in college and high school? Besides, why would any American think higher about a German/Austrian gun than a Korean one? I don’t want either country’s crap in my collection.

      Which brings me around to this pistol. Its a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy. Seriously, this thing is based off of a Korean pistol, which was based off a S&W, which was based off the Browning Hi-Power and the P38. Why would I want this, when I could buy all of the originals? And I don’t even want the originals…

      • OFWG = Old Fat White Guy.

        it’s a stereotype of the “traditional” American gun owner who worships the M1 Garand, 1911, et al.

        • Copy of a copy? So you’re still driving an original Model T right? No other brands or updated “copies”? You pretty much proved his point.

      • Craig, if you have any Pre-64 Winchester Model 70s or Springfield 1903’s in your “collection,” you better send ’em to me. You wouldn’t want any of that German designed crap in your collection.

      • I would agree. I have no idea what all these abbreviations mean. When I took technical writing at my university we would have achieved a failing grade after such usage without distinguishing it in parentheses first. Even so, we were discouraged in their usage as it made us appear lazy.

        Regardless of the abbreviations, this gun looks nice and I wish I had one – or several.

        • My Lh9 runs like a champ 1400 rounds as of today and not one issue; not even with cheap reloads either. Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Kia, Hyundai, Nissan, Panasonic I could go on.
          We make some good guns in America and I’m proud of them; furthermore, LionHeart Industries is right here in good old Washington State putting Americans to work. Nuff said.

    • I didn’t know that rednecks were a “race” or an ethnic group. Listen, you guys need to quit with the PC nonsense and put your big boy pants on. I’ll bet that you want your kids to get a trophy even when their team loses. Do you want the Washington Redskins to change the name of their football team, too?

      • Not a race but, redneck and OFWG do meet the dictionary definition of ethnicity. Though you’d be hard pressed to make a case for affirmative action out of it.

      • effing A right!pc has ruined our nation get over it!if you dont like it then dont read it and move on is all.

      • Agreed. Lighten up. Put on some Big Boy Pants! Sarcasm & humor are legitimate tools. Otherwise join the socialist party that controls words & thoughts (and major league team names) with so called politically correct speech which is dangerous censorship. Learn how to think, reason, and interpret language in context. There is a difference between hate speech, useless inflammatory rhetoric and satire.

        • Thank you thank you thank you Rhino Ranch. More thinkers like you and less like “my kid needs praise too” and we’d be a better country.

          If it doesn’t matter who wins and loses why do they keep score
          ~ Vincent Lombardi

      • The comments did not bother me at all, the fact is there are plenty that say exactly what he quoted, go to any gun forum and look at the “General Discussion” section…..heck I’m a red neck but not a namby pamby on. Enjoyed the article and look forward at giving one of these handguns a try-out. When I have run 10K rounds through one I will report back.

        Lets get back to talking about the darn gun people…enough of this PC whining.

        Thanks for the review.
        Semper Fi

      • They are a race. What other race of people can even get a red neck. Your argument makes as much sense as say I g the n word is not an insult because it means black, and no one is really black. So it does not even apply to anyone one. Better let the tv censors know, they no longer need to bleep it.

      • ‘Redneck’ is a slur for poor, secluded, rural people. There are many claims for the origin of the term, but one of them relates directly to my cultural heritage.

        As the story goes, the ‘rednecks’ were miners and sympathizers who took up arms to free the miners who were basicaly slaves in the southern West Virginia mines.

        So call me a redneck if you want, but the truth is I’m not nearly tough enough to deserve the label.

      • 1st off Thank You Tim U. Now I don’t have to contact my son so he can tell me what OFWG means! Haha

        2. I served in the military AND helped get the majority of our meat growing up with either a bow or a gun. So here is my two bits, which in today’s times won’t get you SQUAT! But back when I was a teenager, I could get a couple of gallons of gas and still take my gal out. Now I personally don’t give one rat’s ass what country a gun comes from! Shoot fire, if Playdoo started to manufacture Playdoo guns and they were reliable, accurate but most important just felt really good and natural in my hand (like it was an extension of my body instead of something I just picked up), well then I wouldn’t care if it was hard to conceal because I would make it work! There are so many different ways to conceal weapons nowadays it is simply ridiculous. I personally own 2 Sigs (P938, SWAT 556) a H&K USP 45, Walther P99 (made in Germany), plus some “‘Mercian” made weapons. And I hope to locate one of the Lionheart LH9 at my local FFL in the near future.

        3. Now to YOUR EXTREMELY INSULTING COMMENTJoe Grine!
        In REGARDS to your comment about having the name of the Washington Redskins name changed. I just would like to let YOU know that it was MY reservation (The Rosebud Reservation) that went and filed the Federal lawsuit and also Won the case! We are the Sioux Nation in case you wish to make derogatory and racist comments! This way you can be sure you are making them to the correct people. You of course have the right to your own opinion sir but please respect the rights of the Native Americans also and their wishes. And in case you are wondering, I remember signs in people’s yards saying no dogs no Indians, and the segregation where none of my people were allowed in the white man’s stores, business and schools nor were we allowed to use the swimming pool in the town actually it was dangerous for any of us to be off the reservation or close to the edge of the reservation where people to grab us and entertain themselves (always at my people’s expense including my father who was just another roadkill because the law enforcement back then did not consider us human beings.)
        We grew up being hated spit on cussed out, having my left hand broken by a nun in 1st grade because I was “using the devil’s hand” while I was trying to learn English. But yet I volunteer for the military when I could have gone to college as I was one of the few back in my day that actually graduated from school and college is free esp considering both my dad and mother were full blood Native Americans. I was a Sioux warrior and even though America hated me, I still joined up and then was shipped to a place called Vietnam in 1963. I did close to 4 tours before I got my welcome with pigs blood at the air port. Yet I still love this country and my oath never will expire

    • There are OFWGs, and very opinionated ones at that. It is a stereotype, but stereotypes are based in reality. If not, we would see no variations in race or culture in the real world. A quick look at crime rate or pregnancy rates by race would show considerable variation.

      I took Hunter’s Safety classes taught by the exact type of person that he is referring to. If we said the components of a cartridge in the wrong order, it was a failure. I see no reason for that. That was a class near West Bend, WI around 1990, and the instructors there has opinions like those mentioned in this article.

      For me, the bottom line is that the article contains excellent factual information, with apt comparisons to current design and previous design evolutions. A quick slightly offensive comment barely blips my radar. I’d rather learn about guns than worry about such trivial matters.

      • Accur81, I see you mentioned West Bend. You still round these parts? I’m just down the road from there.

      • You can’t let the enemy define the a rguement and constantly change it. Either racial, ethnic, religious slurs are ok all the time. Or they are wrong all the time. End of story.

    • Author worked overseas with the ROKA so likely all the slurs all the time. Also, if you are an old fat white male redneck then what the author is articulating isn’t really an isult is it? Unless you take offense at someone stating the obvious. In general are OFWG rednecks, as a group, predesposed to liking this pistol or not? Stereotypes exist for a reason and given that people, in general, make generalizations all the time your cries of hypocrisy fall flat. At what point does the author even begin to hint at how he defines his personal moral standards which allow for an assessment of the authors hypocrisy?

        • ROKA = Republic of Korea Army = the people who will be the first to react if Kim Il Caligula decides to invade the “Criminal Empire” to the South of his own People’s Paradise. Saying these people are tough (the ROKA) is like saying good Chili is hot or Coffee that won’t let the spoon stand up in it (while dissolving it at the same time) is worth drinking.
          If they authorize a weapon, it’s better than good. The .45ACP version is gonna be an A** kicker, right next to J.B.’s 1911. I just may get me two of them; use the 9mm for target practice and the .45ACP one for social occasions. I definitely won’t feel undergunned.

      • Great review, and just for the record some of my best friends are OFWG Rednecks. I happen to be and OFACG aka Old Fat Afro Cuban Guy LOL!

    • Cut the guy a break, he was just trying to lighten up his article. What, now everybody is sensitive to the term OFWG? I don’t mind if I am, and every day my knuckles get lower and lower (it’s called aging). Maybe the site needs to become ‘The truth and Sensitivity About Guns”, hahahahahah.

    • He’s not wrong. That’s exactly the type of people who bash a gun without ever firing it.

    • Really?? I know this is an older article, but I was not aware “Redneck” was an ethnicity or a race. The author’s desciption of the “type” of people that would dismiss something just because it isn’t made in America is accurate. Thanks for the laugh though ;-D

      • ‘Redneck’ may not be a nationality or skin color, but it is most certainly a cultural group. As a West Virginian, pop culture has considered me a backwoods, backwards redneck my entire life.

        eth·nic
        [ éthnik ]

        1.sharing cultural characteristics: sharing distinctive cultural traits as a group in society
        2.of group sharing cultural characteristics: relating to a group or groups in society with distinctive cultural traits
        3.of particular origin or culture: relating to a person or to a large group of people who share a national, racial, linguistic, or religious heritage, whether or not they reside in their countries of origin

    • if you don’t like the site, don’t visit. Everybody has a freedom of speech and their opinions. Joe expressed his own, based on his experience. For sure not every southern man that is living in rural environment is close minded etc. , but unfortunately the stereotypes are not based on nothing. So if somebody does not want to be perceived like that, change the stereotype.

    • I was aware that the term “redneck” was considered a racial slur. Man, we are getting sensitive. Even on a gun site.

    • People have been using racial slurs since there were people. This is not unique to OFWGs. OFWGs just tend to use ones in English, which means they’re more commonly encountered and understood in North America. I’m sure there is a litany of racial slurs used against OFWGs (including “OFWG”) if you broaden your cultural and language horizons a bit. But that would spoil the fun and sense of superiority, right?

  1. Great review–detailed and quite exhaustive. I may need to have a nice little nappy after reading all of it. It’s an intriguing pistol with an attractive design I do not buy ‘ugly’. I have a Daewoo K1 carbine, and love it. It certainly has improvements on the M16. Fun to shoot old school–no rails, or optics.

    • Oddly enough, the current generations of K1s are all railed out, with optics, etc. I would love to own a K1 and a K2

  2. Dan, thank you for this very informative and interesting review. I had my sight set on buying a CZ later on this year. Now I will also be considering the Lionheart.

    • Me bad. For some reason I thought Dan had written this review. Sorry Joe. I gotta remember: Do not post comments until after I have finished my coffee.

    • Cz all the time, all the places.
      I have my P01, 97b, and carry both depending on occasion, I wish my p01 was a 75 compact, but otherwise would not trade them for anything.
      I can make ragged holes with either at ranges I practice with, and I’ve handed it to better shooters than I who have made groups I’m jealous of at 50 meters.
      I will say that I want a lionheart, but I’ll complete my Czollection first, 75 compact, 75, and an sp01.

  3. Great Review. People who recommend Glocks and then complain about the safety of a pistol like the Lionheart are speaking from prejudice. (Sorry Nick, it’s true) The Glock has one of the highest ND rates of any pistol. Check the IGOTD winners who were awarded the prize for a spectacular ND if you don’t believe that. I don’t think I have ever seen an ND reported for a XD with it’s grip safety. I don’t know whether I would buy a Lionheart if I was in the market for a full sized 9mm but I would give it a look based on its heritage alone..

    • It’s worth noting that Nick himself is partial to 1911s and Sigs, according to posts he’s written in the past. He is of the fuddish opinion that all metal guns are superior to dem tupperwar gunz.

      So him recommending a Glock over the Lionheart is sort of an insult and accidentally solid advice.

      I don’t think I have ever seen an ND reported for a XD with it’s grip safety.

      I have. Google is your friend.

  4. How would this compare to a Cz 75 SP-01? I use one as my USPSA pisol but love the ergos to death. If the compact version compares I might have a new carry piece in mind

  5. Some thin skins out there!! I am a OFWG….so what. As far as the “redneck type”?? Well, guys, you sure get your little feelings hurt when someone hits close to home!!

    Funny, with the issues today, you get your panties in a wad over that.

  6. Wow, dueling reviews on TTAG? I liked this one, though… if nothing else, for the extensive history and Grine’s detailed discussion of where the LH9 evolved from. I’m usually a big fan of Nick’s reviews, so I very surprised he disliked the gun so much.

    Reading this review definitely gives a more balanced perspective.

    Well done, Mr. Grine.

    • Agreed. Good review.

      I’d like to see a lot more dueling reviews here — the truth about reviews is that they’re mostly just opinions. Expert opinions can differ for very good reasons. I figure I can get a lot closer to the truth (or at least the things that matter most to me) by seeing where well-reasoned opinions diverge.

      I like the way that gun looks. I’d really love the opportunity to shoot one. Not sure I’d buy one, though. Aside from having no money, I worry about the complexity of those controls — too many options. I own Springfield XD’s partly because they’re a great combo of simple and safe; no confusion about what mode you’re in. If you’re not holding it, the grip safety ensures that you can’t accidentally fire it. If you’re holding it, you’re ready to fire.

    • Agreed, I live the second opinion reviews. Reminds me of that Hi-point C9 review and counter review. Too bad there’s no counter review to the Taurus 651 review.

    • 28 oz is pretty impressive. I think I want one. Slip some 20 round Mec-Gar S&W59 mags in and she’s good to go.

  7. Anyone who thinks “redneck” is equivalent to a racial slur needs professional level panty unwadding.

    This Fox News driven woe-is-me-I’m-the-real-victim hyperventilating would be hilarious if it weren’t so pathetic.

    • While I agree that “redneck” is not a racial slur, I’ve worked for both city and state governments whose handbooks specifically equate it on the same level, along with age-discriminatory names like “old-fart” and “dinosaur”.

      • I proudly subscribe to all of the above: OFWG Redneck, old fart, and dinosaur. You gotta be what you is!

      • As an old fart, OFWG and recovering redneck I was not insulted by the use of the terms. If I live a few more years I may also adopt the dinosaur title.

        It’s been my experience that the white guys that make a fuss about these terms are just guys that miss the days of “Seperate But Equal”. Which were not, of course.

        Never used the Korean pistol but I was found of the S&W 39. I’ve always preferred single stack autos to double stack, they fit my hand better.

    • When someone uses it derisively it smacks of cultural condescension.

      Don’t think Joe meant it that way, though. After all, why intentionally insult a huge portion of your readers?

      >;P

    • That silliness aside, I thought the Lionheart looked like an interesting piece and was disappointed by Nick’s assessment of it. It’s interesting to hear someone else’s take on it.

      Interesting article, well written. This moderatelyO FWG redneck done learned somethin.

    • “But one also finds in the human heart a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to want to bring the strong down to their level, and which reduces men to preferring equality in servitude to inequality in freedom”

      Political correctness is a progressive act which seeks to shape language to reinforce the notion that all are equal in being.

    • Fox News drives “woe-is-me-I’m-the-real-victim hyperventilating”?

      What the hell are you talking about?

      Usually when I see such stupid claims, it’s called Faux News. While Fox is far from perfect, when compared to the other three letter networks (or five), Fox is the only game in town.

      Personally, I earned the “OF” part. The “WG” part just showed up. And “redneck” should be a badge of honor. Farmers and others who worked out of doors had the skin on their necks burned by the sun, thus the term. I could do a lot worse.

      • Like n word rigged is a compliment? Meaning the poor guy with no resources managed to fix X with no good tools etc cool.

        So I can start using that on here?

  8. I used to think redneck was an insult. Now I’m marrying into an arguably redneck family. You live, you learn.

    OT, great, detailed write up. Love seeing the disagreement between you and Nick; not for the sake of seeing y’all fight, but seeing differing views and opinions.

    • Also, the mechanics of the + trigger seem interesting. Not solid on the terminology, but after the hammer is cocked, does the visible hammer disengage somehow from the spring portion to move forward? So the long + pull is just pushing the hammer back into place with no spring resistance?

  9. Having served with the ROKs as part of First ROK Army (FROKA) in the mid-80s, I’ve got to agree with you. The ROKs take their personal weapons very seriously. They are still at war with the north and don’t have time for pretty looking, almost good, weapons.
    They are also serious about their freedom. The most mellow ROK officer I worked with wanted to kill every communist he could get his hands on. And he was the laid back one.

    • absolute truth. my dads retired ROKA officer. he hates communism with a passion, it tore apart his family. and it is also true that the south korean military takes its military tech VERY seriously. they will not settle for “good enough”. glad to see i was correct in my assessment of the dp51 aka LH9. will be acquiring one as soon as financial constraints will allow. glad to see the new ones still take S&W mags also.

  10. The LH9’s safety looks a heck of a lot bigger than the FNS- 9’s safety…just say’n. I’ve got the FNS-40 and it’s safety is probably smaller than a tic tac and hard for me to engage quickly.

  11. I applaud Grines usage of “Knuckle Draggers” to describe everyone that disagrees with his lofty assessments. A class act like Joe needs no further kudos or accolades bestowed upon him by the diminutive readership of TTAG then to acknowledge his clear moral superiority that place him so far above our collective insignificance.

    • Learn how to read more carefully: I ascribe the term “knuckle dragger” only to the point of view that Colt, Browning and Garand are the only three guys that knew how to make guns. If you fall into that category then sorry you got butt-hurt, but its true: there is a whole world of excellent firearms that are made somewhere else.

      • I love it Joe, you get called out for being an ash in print and your response is to verify the fact and then double down.
        Very Professional-move

      • Thank you Joe, for your excellent review. Nick’s review had turned me off the LH9 but you’ve made me reconsider. Your LH9 review has been one of the best reviews on this site. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

        To back up what Joe said about the “knuckle draggers,” I absolutely agree with you. I’ve grown very tired of the near religious fanaticism afforded to the JMB/Garand/Stoner crowd who attribute near mythical properties to the firearms designed by these excellent American icons but have clouded reason with patriotism and fable. Yes, the M1911, M1 Garand, etc., are superb firearms. But there are many non-American firearms just as good, or even better out there. But to disregard reason and fact for sheer bias is absurd. Sadly, many have that attitude still, and they deserved to be called out for what they are: “knuckle draggers.”

  12. But will it still work if you bury it with the Kimchi for months? I wonder how tenifer would hold up to pickling?

  13. If I wasn’t already heavily invested in other platforms that were here before this one, I would seriously consider this for a “service” type pistol.

    • I agree. Being able to use glock 17 magazines in the 19 and 26 make it tough to leave.

      This one does look a lot classier though.

    • Actually, that is the furthest from the truth than you could get. Nick is an impressive guy in all respects. I consider Nick a friend, and you will note that I was careful not to insult his opinion, even if I disagree with it. Just because you disagree with someone on a specific topic does not mean that you don’t like them.

        • The irony is that I tried really hard to write the article in a manner that would not lead to that perception. Hopefully, I did not fail in that regard. Surely, there has got to be room to have disagreement on a topic without making it personal. This is especially true when so much that we write about is a matter of personal preference.

  14. Great review, Joe, and thanks especially for the history lesson. My concern about this pistol is the same that I would have for any product from a new company, namely, will the manufacturer support the gun? Customer service is a big deal to me.

    I loved RF’s compact Caracal, but in my review of it I said that I wouldn’t buy the pistol until it had a track record. When the Caracal-C was recalled, RF was SOL for many months. That’s hideous customer service. Not knowing what to expect from Lionheart, this pistol would be a no-go for me.

  15. What is with the recent trend of increasingly politically-correct thinking and whining going on in the TTAG comments? The comments at this site used to be almost exclusively manly and thick-skinned, and not comments expressing hurt-feelings and sentiment. For those OFWG whose panties are all bunched up by this post stop wearing girls panties and go buy a kilt. I’m definitely going to go buy a Himalayan Imports Gurkha Knife I’ve been considering along with some coconuts the size of human heads and start chopping away.

    Once again, Joe great post. I’m interested in possibly buying this gun.

  16. Oh gosh darnit, please take “c0cked” out of the spam filter! The non-0 version. Or at least less us know when the post got eaten and why.

    Third times a charm. Okay, so, I’m rusty on the terminology, but I’ve been trying to figure out how the + trigger works. After you’ve pulled the hammer back and compressed the spring, does the hammer disengage somehow from the spring when you push it forward? So when you pull the trigger, the only added resistance/distance is pushing just the hammer back into position and reengaged with the spring before the sear trips and the whole shebang goes forward?

    • The LH9 features a unique two piece hammer design where the backstroke of the hammer cocks the spring and then it is free to move forward without decocking the spring. When the trigger is pulled, the hammer moves back into single action mode with a long light trigger pull. If you would like a more detailed, technical explanation please review the original Daewoo patent: US5166458A.

      If the manual safety is on, the safety completely disconnects the trigger.

      Even if the manual safety is off, the firing pin is completely blocked. In order to disengage that mechanism the trigger must be pulled to engage the lever that releases the firing pin block.

  17. I work at a gun range that rents about 50 different handguns. If it can break, we see it here. The owner brought two Lionhearts into the rental fleet about three months ago. We read Nick’s review before they arrived and had some preconceived notions about the guns. Boy, were we wrong! These are quality handguns that are really accurate! The trigger system is a little quirky but once you understand it, it works extremely well. So far, no malfunctions or any problems with the rental guns. I only wish they were at a slightly lower price point. Despite the obvious quality of the LH9 and LH9C, it’s tough to fight the consumer bias to buy something they’ve heard of (Glock, M&P, XD) over something new. That said, all rental customers like the Lionhearts.

  18. OFWG, are those the folks that BHO calls the bitter clingers? With the great issues before us, how is it one can take the time to be offended by OFWG?Perhaps more effort is needed to focus on what really matters to each and every one of us, our freedom.

  19. I think this is a much more credible review than the other. Thank you. It was hard to believe that a weapon was as bad as he described it.

  20. For a book-length review that concludes with a 5-star, “Outstanding, pure and simple” accuracy rating, you’d think that a person might be able to find something about the level of accuracy with various loads, perhaps even a list of loads tested along with distances and group sizes IN THE REVIEW. Now, I didn’t read the previous review, so perhaps it was covered there, but as this was supposed to be a “corrective” review, I wouldn’t think that depending on any aspect of the previous write-up would be considered logical.

    No one would have missed half of the history lesson, and some solid info on accuracy of the gun under review would have been far more useful, IMO. 5-stars is a top-of-the-line rating; it would have been nice to actually hear/see what it took to earn it.

    • You make a valid point. I guess when I wrote the article I was doing so in the context of a rebuttal to Nick’s article. Nick did post some photos showcasing the accuracy of the pistol, and since we did not disagree on that point, I assumed that Nick’s photos and text would suffice. I will try to update the article and get some of my photos as well.

  21. Seems like a handgun for people who aren’t comfortable with either a 1911 or a Beretta 92. In practice the DA+ mode should work like my (personal carry weapon) Taurus PT709 which precocks the striker then there’s a light 1/2″ of take up before a short throw that engages the trigger safety and fires. It has a safety and I wouldn’t carry it without one.

    But I’m a big fan of safeties. The way I see it most people get a little too worked up about a potential quick draw situation that is statistically extremely unlikely to ever occur. If you practice even a little bit, disabling the safety should be automatic, even on the Beretta 92 (you just flick your thumb up – I don’t see what’s so hard about that). That 1/10th of a second it takes would be significant in one gun fight out of a million, and the odds any of us will be involved in a gun fight in the first place is pretty remote. The odds that you will have a brain fart with your booger finger is significantly higher.

  22. Does the gun have a conventional decocker? Or if you want to carry it in DA do you have to drop the hammer by hand?

      • How do you carry in DA mode then Joe? I just ordered one of these from Bud’s and I can’t for the life of me figure out how this pistol can be carried in conventional DA mode. Great article too, thank you.

      • Nevermind, I figured it out. Duh, just let the hammer down carefully by pulling the trigger. I guess I was so caught up in the new DA+ system that I ignored the basics.

    • Dropping the hammer manually puts it in DA+ mode I think, which isn’t the conventional DA mode. I’d prefer to carry in DA mode with the safety off but if that’s not an option I can carry it like a 1911, cocked and locked.

  23. Author is spot on in his assessment, and some of you guys need to get real. Going after him because of the OFWG blurb is just silly. Reading comprehension is important.

  24. Awesome! Bout time people got past that line of thinking. I own colts, Brownings and garands but they are not the end all be all of gun design. Now if they would get over that line of thinking of preserving firearms in a state of decay. Saying a firearm is worth less because it was refinished or restored and is not original is weird.

      • Are they announced?

        I live in Brazil so I can`t buy 9×19 firearms for sport-shooting. (IPSC – Production [not uspsa])

        • Not formally. The guys at Lionheart told me that they will be out by next year or so.

      • Did the reps say whether they have to rework the weapons at all to accommodate the higher pressures of .40 and the size of .45? I.e., are they going to use the same frame for all three weapons, or is retooling required?

  25. Outstanding review!

    I really look forward to your PPX review too. I picked one up recently and have been very pleased with it

    I’m also a happy model 39 owner and enjoyed see it referenced in this article.

  26. I’ve owned the DP51C compact version of this pistol for about 15 years, back when it was imported by Century (which was about the 4th importer, after KBI, Kimber, and a couple of others). I’ve carried it in a Galco paddle holster marked for the S&W 69 series, fits perfectly. The hammer-down/precocked feature was derived from the FN “Quick Action”/SFS system for the Hi-Power, and is a real benefit, very quick into action, IF you’re willing to practice enough to develop the unique trigger discipline it requires. I always use the thumb safety when carrying, and have never found it too small or hard to hit (you just lay your thumb along the slide and sweep down). Having said that, I’m right handed, but the ambi left-hand safety lever is only about 1/2 the size, so might be a problem for lefties. Last thing, I only use stainless S&W factory 12-round 69-series magazines, which actually fit a bit better than the 10-round Clintonized Daewoo mags, but you MUST swap out the Daewoo followers into the S&W mags for the slide stop to lock open when last shot’s fired, the S&W followers have the surface to lift the slide stop lever positioned too low to engage the Daewoo slide stop. Swap followers and everything is fine.

  27. Based on reading this review, and re-reading Leghorn’s earlier review I am much more inclined to ignore the rating that Leghorn initially gave to the Lionheart.

    Honestly, it’s all three stars and up until BAM! Nick no like safety! Then all the good points, the accuracy and reliability, the trigger, all of it goes out the window. Right alongside Nick’s objectivity.

    I’m forced to conclude that Leghorn had himself a FUDD moment when reviewing this firearm now that there’s something against which to compare it the line of reasoning that led to a one star rating is obvious.

    New -> unique -> unfamiliar -> evil and unsafe!!!

    Ridiculous effort by an otherwise reliable source.

  28. Yes, I am an OFWG, Old Fart, and a dinosaur. That’s because I have lived long enough and consumed enough adult malt beverages to earn those titles. BTW, the dinosaurs were the most successful group of fauna since the beginning of life on Earth. (Top of the heap for twice as long as they have been gone, and if you consider birds to be dinosaurs they aren’t gone yet.) Just because I light incense on my JMB shrine doesn’t mean I think guns made somewhere else suck.
    Back when they were imported I had the chance to shoot a DP-51 and wanted one very much, but money issues meant it was not to be.
    Now, we need to convince Lionheart to take up production of the K2 rifle.

  29. Nice review Joe.
    I had an eye out before this gun came out and was able to test one, and I can say, it is a quality firearm. There is nothing about it that makes you feel they cut corners or tried to save time or money, much like a Sig. Machining is top notch, as slide to barrel and barrel to slide fit is fantastic. I personally like the trigger setup, and the DA+ action may confuse many people by description, but once you use it, it makes perfect sense.
    Nick’s review also had me a bit confused, so Im glad to see you respond. He does have a huge bias against anything that doesnt have a giant paddle as a safety, if it has one at all. The LH9’s safety was easy and natural to click off upon draw from a holster, I had no issues finding it or using it, but my carry gun has a similar sized safety in roughly the same place, so I have trained to do so.
    As for the accuracy comment(s)…the LH9 is a *very* accurate gun that points naturally.
    While im not a huge fan of the $700 price tag, it should come down in time, just as the XDm’s did (650+ down to $540ish)
    I do love that they Cerakote them though, the color along with the grips and slide serrations make for a very attractive gun IMO.
    Anyone who had interest in this gun prior, I can say from personal experience dont base your decision off Nick’s, if anything, try and see or fire one in person, because I would also give the LH9 at least 4 stars.

  30. I’ve actually shot both the LH9 and the LH9c. I did better with the compact. My girl shot the compact as well. She hasn’t shot a pistol in a few years, and she shot a straight up and down column with a spread about 5″.

    I didn’t mess with the Double Action +, I was just trying to get comfortable with the gun. Without the extra feature, it’s a fine gun, you’d never notice anything different.

    The price may be a tad on the high side, but the Cerakote and carry bag are a definite improvement over most other offerings. The folks at Lionheart are great. They also have (or had) a survey on which would be the next LH caliber; I believe .45 is the next release.

    I suggested to DJ at LH to offer special Cerakote colors for universities. I wouldn’t mind a Purple & Gold LH9c. 😀

      • My first thought was the UW Huskies, but the gold combo says LSU.

        Either way, wrong choice. 🙂

        Crimson and gray is the only way to go. If you really want to do it right, engrave “Go Cougs!” on one side of the slide and “509” on the other.

        • Go Cougs indeed!

          Crimson and gray would be a sexy combination on that gun.

  31. Great review Joe! You gained a fan because of your style, the comparisons and history…… plus your sense of humor….. some people just don’t get it….. like many, I never heard of Daewoo firearms…. until yesterday when held one at my LGS. liked thefeatures and the way it felt, so it went home….. I have a nice Firestar 40, but my wife is unable to cycle it…… she is able to operate the DP51 and had more confidence in its safe operation… Thanks again for your review for the Lionheart! Dan

  32. After a long search to find something that fit my big hand, but also wouldn’t require my wife to start body building training, we purchased a Lionheart LH9C in early April, 2013. A few days after I purchased it, I read Nick’s review of the LH9 and thought to my self that I had probably made a big mistake. We took it to the range shortly there after and I was not only pleasantly surprised with it’s performance, but I wondered where Nick had his head when he wrote his viewpoint. Ammo being what it is to find, I was lucky to find some cheap stuff and crossed my fingers all the way to the range. We put 100 rounds downrange and not one problem. It was kind of like the old Polaroid cameras…. Point and shoot. Very accurate, and I was surprised how smoothly everything worked. My friend was with us with his Walther PPK 380 and that little gun kicked a whole lot worse than my LH9C.

    I don’t regret my purchase at all. I like the double action+. I pull the hammer back with my thumb and slide the safety off and I’m ready to fire. Using the trigger to reset the hammer is going to take a little practice and a lot more than a 100 rounds to get use to. My wife was very impressed with it and her targets revealed that I might need to practice a little more if I want to keep up. Thanks Joe for the great review…. You got it right!!!

  33. I suppose the make or break factor for me is, can you use this as a plain double/single action pistol? Or are you limited to “double action+” and single action? I personally don’t see any use for the “double action+” and feel it’s little more than a gimmick. My local range has several of these in, and they do feel quite nice in my hand. I’ll have to fond… I mean look at them again next time I’m in.

    • As I said in the article, you can use it as a single action or a double action, whatever you prefer. The “double action +” is strictly optional.

  34. I’m glad to see a second opinion on the LH9. No disrespect to nick but his review seemed a contradicting with the safety issues he was worried about. I hope lionheart gets to expand and continue bringing over high quality guns from Korea. From what i saw in the test firing target that came with my LH9C it looks like there are plans for an LH40 and LH45

    http://imgur.com/LcgHcur

  35. I couldn’t care less about the OFWG thing, what I want is simple. Will someone, anyone, for the love of god, PLEASE tell me what the trigger reset on the LH9 is like? It’s advertised as having a “short reset trigger”. Are we talking short reset like a Sig SRT? Or are we talking something more along the lines of a stock CZ 75b / Sig 226? The trigger reset is the only thing keeping me from placing an order with Lionheart Ind.. Any advice or experience would be appreciated.

    • Mike,

      The trigger reset on the LH9 is about the length of the Sig Sauer Short Reset Trigger (SRT). It is much shorter and crisper than standard Sig Sauer, CZ and Beretta triggers. It’s one of the best stock trigger resets on the market today. If you have any other questions, please feel free to email us at wecare@lionheartindustries.com or call us at 888-552-4743.

      Best,

      Josh

  36. The “Double Action Plus” sounds like an improvement over what Jeff Cooper called “Crunchentickers” AKA pistols with DA/SA heavy trigger pull first round trigger systems which were intended to somehow compensate for a lack of training when Issued to military personnel, and this mindset still exists today as evidenced by the US military’s choice of the DA/SA Beretta 92 as it’s service pistol.

    But I’d be interested in one if they chambered it in 40 S&W since I have no need for any other 9mm pistol besides my model 19 Glock which has had it’s DAO striker-fired trigger re-worked by a master gunsmith and certified Glock armorer,.

  37. Sure were a lot of butt-hurt pansies posting here.
    I somewhat resemble the OFWG remark, but don’t care about it.

    I have a DR200 and a DP51.
    Both are fantastic guns. Both are improvements over their predecessors.

    The Jamomatic 15 and Block fanbois are missing out.
    Too bad for them. Good for me.

    The DP isn’t my #1 favorite CC piece, but it is in the top 3 (for autos, anyway. I usually CC revolvers)

    Excellent write-up and review.
    Maybe I should get mine Cera Coated and put some LH9 grip panels on it.

  38. I totally agree with the author, Joe Grine. And unlike most of the whiners who seem to have trouble with fact based reality, I speak from first hand experience. I own a Lion Heart LH9. It is super piece and well worth possessing. If I only had one 9mm hand gun in my collection, this would be my weapon of choice.

  39. 2014 Update: Bought a Lionheart LH9 and I’m far from disappointed… very impressed with both the gun and the customer service from the company. Great pistol!

  40. The author is correct about this weapon platform. I purchased a Daewoo DP51 back in the 90’s on the recommendation from a retired Army Gunny. He said ‘If you want a great pistol for a great price, that most will overlook, buy a DP51’. At that time, I had a 5906, Browning HP, and an RSR 6590 (of which, I still have). The pistol I carry, and take to the range, is the Daewoo. It is lighter, more accurate, and never fails to function. And I have never had an issue with the ‘triple action’ mode. My only regret with this weapon is that I did not buy two more before they were discontinued. I paid $298 out the door, with (2) 14 round mags. I will buy a lionheart soon if it is truly better than the DP51.

  41. I read the first review on this gun, the one star and was totally floored! I had a DP51 and it was a totally decent gun, in fact, it made me want to buy my first 3rd Gen S&W, a 5906, which led to the 4506, 4006, and a 6906. I don’t have the DP51 any more, but the Lionheart looks like a pistol I will be adding to my collection one of these days.

    • I called and asked LionHeart about the safety and was told by them: You can remove the safety if you don’t want one. Or you could simply opt to not employ it. Regardless, the gun functions perfectly with or without one. It all boils down to your preference. If you physically remove the safety, the gun still functions, it’s just that the safety feature would be disabled.

      Hope that helps.

  42. I am the owner of a LH-9 and it is a very nice pistol, I only have the 13 round magazines, but 15 round mags are available on Lionheart’s website . The gun shoots well, recoil is light as the gun is mostly steel and heavy for it’s size. I am just warming up to 9mm (I was still in the Army when we went to M-9’s) I never cared for the big Beretta, but this LH-9 is a lot nicer. The safety is bigger than Ruger’s LC-9, and is fine with me

  43. How do you carry it in DA mode? If you have to rack the slide to load one in the chamber and the hammer is back, how do you decock the FH9 to get it in DA mode (and not DA+ by just pushing hammer forward)?

  44. Was looking into getting a new pistol and was already looking at Lionheart, and after this review and a few others, I’m probably getting it. As to the people complaining about his “stereotyping”, get over it. I’m from the south, grew up in the woods, have a strong southern twang, and have NO problem with him using it. If it offends you, apparently you’re not proud of your heritage and are not deserving of the title redneck. Keep up the good reviews they’re enjoyable to read.

  45. After reading the review I fully agree with it, I have a K5 one of the original imports and it is a dream to shoot, never ever gave me a issue ever in all the years I have had it thou it is older still looks good the finish needs a little help but other then that it is great.

    I have found out it somewhat likes 115gr more then NATO 124gr but still even with 147gr HP still give me about 2.5″ group at 15 yards. It is my 2nd EDC and will always be.

  46. It’s not the author’s bigotry that’s the
    issue. The issue is the bigotry of others on this site is censored. Very unAmerican to play the “special snowflake” game. Enforce the rules, or don’t. Stop being selective little assholes.

  47. Leave it to a Glock fan to review a great non-Glock and then tell you to stick with a Glock… I’ve got several of these guns and they’re all fantastic. Not only are their guns great, but their customer service is truly phenomenal. On one of my MKII’s the trigger pull was “off” compared to others (heavier), so I called up LionHeart and they offered to look at it for me. I sent out my beloved MKII and tracked it via the UPS software. It was received and then sent out the same day. I received it a couple days later. New box, gun sent in sealed plastic bag with desiccant inside. Fixed and good as new. Who does that? Seriously. Other manufacturers will make you wait weeks, if not longer. When you call them up, you get a real human on the other end.

    I can’t recommend this gun highly enough.

  48. Oh lighten up. I am an OFWG. I am almost totally as he described, I love my 1911, my BHP and my Colt Mustang. But I have to say this pistol intrigues the hell out of me. I took no offence to any of his remarks. Those easily offended surrender too much power to those whom they claim offended them.

  49. Follow up to my first comment. The LH9 has not sold well for us. We’ve only sold 3 in almost two years. We rent it all the time but Lionheart still doesn’t ring a bell with anyone so they don’t sell. We had them for $599, then $545 and still couldn’t sell them. The owner wants them gone so we’re hoping to blow them out at $100 below cost. I’m going to pick one up myself. It’s only 4 oz heavier than my Glock 19 and feels much better in my hand.

    • They don’t sell themselves. I’ve sold over 80 of them myself in the last 10 months. Almost 100 in my store overall. If you include them in your presentations of guns for the prospective buyer, you’ll have much better success. I won’t say “you’ll have better luck” because once the person learns about the features of the gun, they seriously consider it. If you know enough about it as a buyer, you like it. If someone doesn’t know enough about it, they think the worst.

      It’s a great gun and I’m happy with mine. Enjoy yours!

      Best,

      Todd

  50. The LH9 was on sale for $399 and I would have considered but for two reasons. One is that it was not offered with a 10 round mag (I live in the Peoples Republic of New York), and two, the warranty. When Taurus, RIA and Bersa offer a life time warranty with their product, at the sam or lower price, why should I go to LionHeart?

    • Because Hi Points have a lifetime guarantee. That goes to show you that you can slap a guarantee on a piece of crap, but all you’ll have is a guaranteed piece of crap.

      Go for the LionHeart. Even at $600-700, it’s a steal.

  51. Nice gun and good price; however, their customer service is terrible. I have been trying to resolve a firing pin issue with them since November. They don’t allow you to speak to anyone if you call and they don’t respond to email. Based on their ridiculous service I would suggest going with a reputable company. I have never had any issues with Smith & Wesson or Sig Sauer. Better guns, better customer service.

    • They have always answered my questions and resolved my issues immediately. They answer the phone and respond immediately to emails. Everyone else I know who’ve dealt with them has had the same experience I did.

      As far as I know, their company is very reputable. They’re growing so fast now that they’re probably having some growing pains, but they’re anything but unresponsive or uncaring about their customers.

  52. Dear Sir,

    I have been carrying the DP-51 and it’s Big Brother, the Dh-40 (in 40 S&W) since they came out, (Before that, the 1911 and the P-35 Browning). They are my first choice as carry weapons in combat. They have never failed me and I trust them with my life. The magazine situation is true and reliable. A little jb weld on the follower will fix the slide stay open issue. Rugged, accurate and reliable, they fit the hand perfectly and offer a sense of security and familiarity. A real bargain, since you are getting the benefit of every major handgun success rolled into one. The trump card is that the DP-51 and the DH-40 are identical, so there are no cross-training issues to deal with.

    Thank you for a well written, honest, insightful article on what may be the most underrated pistol in history.

    I also would like to thank all the Red-Necks out there for taking the time to have their Ma-Ma’s read the article to them and for their candid and entertaining responses, which had us gafawing, and slappin our knees for hours.

    Your Obt. Svt.
    Col Korn,
    Chief O’ Mayhem in the Great WW-2 (And the Cold War)
    Now Chief O’ Security, Sanitation (And the Complaint Dept.)
    OXOjamm Studios.

  53. I’m a bit late to this party, but I wanted to comment that I had a DP51 years ago when they first came out. Loved the design and function of the pistol, but it proved to be the single most inaccurate handgun I ever owned – until I bought a tiny two-shot 9mm derringer last year as a training aide for NRA classes. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting as Lionheart, because it appears my DP51 may have been a fluke. I remember my brother owning a Daewoo carbine with the side folding stock, but he sold it to somebody else without first offering it to me. I would have taken it in a heartbeat. One of the neatest AR designs to ever come down the pike. I only just recently discovered the Daewoo Walther PPK/S clones. They too seem quite clever. Whatever became of them?

  54. Thanks for doing a follow up. That review by Nick was junk. Sad but true. It was different so he didn’t like it.

  55. The butthurt is strong in the comments here. I fully expected more comments on the gun, but really got bored with all the comments crying over OFWG.

    I just picked up the DP51 for a great price as they gun just drew me in for quite some time.

  56. Ok so why flame the guy for his “redneck” or “knuckle-draggers” comments? While it’s certainly not very “professional” it’s a gun review. Real people have real opinions and some of those opinions won’t be compatible with everyone. But if you prefer sanitized, politically correct reviews then Guns & Ammo is a good place to start.

  57. What color was the LH9 that you reviewed? Patriot Brown? FDE? Burnt Bronze? Thank you! Im gearing up to get one as soon as the black friday deal comes alive!

    Thank you

  58. Pretty sure it is Patriot Brown. Its definitely NOT Burnt Bronze, because that is a metallic color that has a bit of shimmer to it. I own a Sig P229 in Burnt Bronze, so I know what that color looks like. My LH9 pistol is a very flat color. I hope you enjoy yours. They are truly a joy to shoot.

  59. So one guy gives it a one-star, the other a 4.5-star rating. That hurts the credibility of the TTAG’s brand, don’t you think?

    I read both of the reviews and understand where both of your are coming from, and I was a bit surprised at NIck’s final rating but when it comes to safety, I appreciate him erroring on the side of caution.

    Perhaps, in the future you guys can go to a peer-reviewed process before your final postings? Today I left a bit confused and as a result have decided NOT to buy the MKII.

  60. I found a deal on a (lightly) used LN9 w/3 extra mags in the factory case and all the original supplies except the Froglube for about $500 including shipping and paperwork. I ordered an IWB holster from Lionheart and was pleased with their customer service and rapid shipping. While I had to do some slight modification to make the holster a bit more comfortable ( not their fault), I’d say they are great to work with. The pistol itself points as well as my Hi-power, better than my S&W39 and has been totally reliable with everything I’ve put through it so far . I have an issue with the standard sights (Getting too old for small std sights) but Lionheart Service says they are working on an optics-compatable slide and I’ll get one when they come out. A fine gun from a great company. Get one, you won’t regret it!

  61. As a proud OFWG in Va, lemme weigh in, so to speak. I own a DP51 I bought new in 1993 at a gun show, paying about $325 or so as stated. The DP51 is outstanding! 1000+ rounds thru her in two decades of practice and concealed carry. Weapon has NEVER FTL, FTE or misfired in any way, shape or form.

    To give a frame of reference as for autoloaders I own all steel as well as plastic fantastics – well more then a dozen Rugers, multiple CZ75’s, Glock 23, M&P 40C, XD45, Bersa Thunder Pro Ultra Compact 9, as well as numerous owned and sold auto pistols and I still have my DP51 and will NEVER part with it.

    The “triple action” works flawlessly. Lock & load, flip on the safety and drop the hammer to rest. When ready to fire flip off safety and just barely touch the trigger and the hammer drops all the way – effortlessly – to ready to fire. Touch the trigger again and boom! just like a beautiful Glock or any other double action pistol. The first shot is as accurate and easy as every other subsequent shot.

    Ergonomically this pistol got it right and is a beauty to look at. She operates flawlessly and I carried her for some time as an armed cash courier and did so with complete confidence. Handles +P ammo without a hiccup too.

    I am sure the Lionheart is everything and MORE and will prolly drop 6 bills to get me one sooner rather then later. Looking forward to adding the bronze beauty to the arsenal.

    • Forgot to add….I also used to own a Daewoo K2 which is the proprietary Korean made civilian variant of the K2 used by the ROK. The K2 was a fabulous “sporting rifle.” It really is the best of the AK, the AR and the FN/FAL. Uses AR mags, dead reliable and accurate as all get out. I will tell on myself here to prove my point.

      I was in the woods in the 1980’s practicing survival/patrolling techniques with a couple like minded sorts when we stopped deep in the woods to eat lunch. Put our sentries and I was one as the others ate. 55-60 yards away I could hear a woodpecker going to town. I looked over and saw him and his bright red head on muted speckled brown/tan body.

      One of the boys eating said “Jimbo, shut that SOB up, will ya.” I grinned and said “I’ll try.” Brought up the K2, sighted in the back of the bobbing head as he plowed into the bark and squeezed the trigger slowly…best shot of my life…from 55-60 yards I head him dead center in the back of his inch wide red head. Could not believe I made the shot. I was so excited I ran to the dead bird and brought him back to show off. Round hit him dead center – exactly where I aimed. I’ll bet that K2 was a 1.0 MOA in the hands of a good shooter.

      So ends my tale and my tattling on myself for uselessly killing a bird to show off. Still, the K2 was as good a “sporting rifle” as I’ve ever owned. Hate that I sold it – I’m a dummy. It was pre-ban and today it’s worth about $1500 because it has the folding stock, but I sold it back in ’90 I think for about what I paid for it…$450.00. I would kick myself if I could get my leg back around to my backside.

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