The Ruger LC9s is my Goldilocks gun. It isn’t the sexiest gun (too hot!), it isn’t the most “operator” (too cold!), but it’s just right for me. I’m 5’7” and reasonably slim. I started with a Kel-Tec P3AT (seen peeking down from the top of the photo) that I still pocket carry and take on runs. I’ve read some scathing opinions on the gun, but mine has given me nothing but reliable feeds and fires. I then procured the .357 magnum Smith & Wesson 640-1 (no lawyer lock) in the pic. I still carry that gun from time to time, but I wanted something thinner, lighter, and in 9mm Luger. Lao Tzu famously said, “The journey to the perfect carry gun begins with a single click.” Or something like that. So I took his advice and went to that fortress of truths we call the internet . . .
I like to think of myself as data-driven, so I chose the gun that met all my criteria: smallest footprint, handles +P ammo, good reliability. That gun was the SIG SAUER P290. It’s a good gun, but there is such a thing as too small – rather than a two-fingered grip, I was lucky to get one-and-a-half on that gun, and I have small girly hands. Plus, it just didn’t carry right for me.
That’s when I decided to “man up” and get a GLOCK 26. Again, the data and thousands of satisfied users favored the Baby GLOCK, and my wife’s preference for a GLOCK 19 sealed the deal. But again, it didn’t feel right. Whereas the P290 felt too small, the GLOCK just felt too…intrusive. I now understood what people meant when they compared GLOCKs to bricks and two-by-fours. (Plus that damnable Pearce grip extension pinched me every effing time I shot it!) So I found myself carrying the P3AT more and more.
Then I walked into my local gun store and saw the LC9s. Ruger had just announced its release a week earlier, so I was skeptical of buying a 1.0 model. But when I broke the gun down and looked at the internals, I knew this was my new EDC gun. Ruger had fixed everything that kept me from buying an LC9 – they had removed the pop-up loaded chamber indicator, added a robust recoil spring to handle +P loads, and installed a smooth, crisp trigger that spanked the GLOCK’s six ways to Sunday.
I reluctantly left the gun behind, combed the interwebz for some initial reviews (all glowing), then returned that afternoon and plunked down my Visa. I took it and the Glock 26 to the range with three friends. They all agreed the Ruger shot better than the GLOCK and exhibited better inherent accuracy. I sold the G26 and didn’t look back.
How does the LC9s shoot and carry? Truth be told, I shoot the Ruger about as well as I shot the GLOCK 26. Both are very light and let you know it when striker meets primer. But the LC9s is easy to control and keep on target, and I feel 100% confident with it. As for carrying, the LC9s is taller than the G26 and SIG P290 and only slightly slimmer in the slide. And yet it carries very well on my body and disappears even under slim-fit shirts, possibly due to the sloped rear profile (unlike the squarer-than-Huey Lewis GLOCK).
I alternate between a NorCal Kydex Humboldt holster and a Mitch Rosen Clipper, depending on my mood. I can even carry it in the pocket easier than the SIG. Maybe the extra length and width distribute the 17 ounce (unloaded) weight better. Who knows? What I do know is the numbers don’t tell the whole story. I also know I’m at the end of my quest for the perfect carry gun, which makes me a little sad. Then again, there is the LC9s Pro….
(See the rest of the posts in this series here. Send your What I Carry and Why submissions with a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org with WICAW in the subject line.)