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Competition in the 10-plus-round capacity micro-compact concealed carry pistol market just keeps heating up! Earlier today we released our full review on the S&W M&P9 Shield Plus, which naturally drew comparisons to the SIG P365 and Springfield Hellcat.

Well, Ruger has also thrown its hat into the mix (announcing mere hours ahead of Smith) with the MAX-9. Expect a four-way heads-up test soon!

In the meantime, the MAX-9 sets itself apart from the competition with a tritium and fiber optic front sight and an optics-cut slide as standard items, all with a low MSRP of just $499 (keep an eye on Brownells HERE for MAX-9 inventory). The MAX-9 holds 10+1 rounds with a flush-fitting magazine and 12+1 with its extended mag. It’s available either with or without a manual thumb safety.

Expect more info and a TTAG review soon. In the meantime, Ruger’s press release follows:

Ruger Introduces the MAX-9 Pistol

buy now

Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE: RGR) is excited to introduce the MAX-9™ – a pistol with all the features of a full-sized handgun in a size that is comfortable for everyday carry. Chambered in 9mm Luger, the Ruger® MAX-9 has an impressive 12+1 capacity. It measures just 6″ long, has a slide width of less than 1″, weighs 18.4 ounces, and is equipped with a 3.2″ barrel. This micro-sized pistol fits comfortably in an inside the waistband holster or pocket holster, or conveniently in a concealed carry purse.

The MAX-9 features a tritium fiber optic day/night front sight that adapts to a variety of light conditions, and comes optic ready for direct mounting of co-witnessed JPoint™ and Shield-pattern micro red dot sights. The 10-round magazines fit into a comfortably sized, medium-textured grip and 12-round magazines not only provide additional capacity, but also increase the surface area of the grip. Standard models are available with an ergonomic and intuitive thumb safety that operates similarly to those found on 1911-style pistols, and Pro models are available without the external manual safety lever. All models feature an integrated trigger safety and a loaded chamber viewport that provides visual indication of a cartridge in the chamber.

“The Ruger MAX-9 is a game changer,” said Ruger President and CEO Chris Killoy. “With industry-leading features at a highly competitive price, this American-made handgun will provide a versatile option for consumers looking for a superior offering in the popular micro-compact market.”

Like many Ruger pistols, this striker-fired pistol is built on a precision-machined, rigid aluminum fire control chassis and fitted with a durable, through-hardened steel slide and accurate hammer-forged barrel. The MAX-9 ships with two E-Nickel Teflon® coated magazines: either one 12- and one 10-round, or two 10-round magazines.

For more information about the extensive line of award-winning Ruger firearms, visit To find accessories for Ruger firearms, visit or your local independent retailer of Ruger firearms.

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  1. I’m a huge Ruger fan, but I won’t be buying one. However, if this is what it gets for more people to exercise their 2A rights, then I hope it sells well.

  2. So Ruger took the trigger chassis (the serialized part) from the LC9s/EC9s and put it in a new frame for new mags with a new slide. The trigger, slide stop, takedown, and (somewhat) the safety are all the same. I would love for someone to see if they could use the upper (slide, barrel, recoil spring) from a LC9s on this and vice-versa. If so, it would be incredibly cool if Ruger offered the frame or slide alone so those with a LC9s/EC9s could upgrade without having to buy a new ‘gun’.

    • I read the NRA review and they stated that Ruger started out simple as you say, but, ended up with an entirely different gun. There are no interchangeable parts. If you don’t already belong to the NRA join and get the facts. The gun and the review were released on 3/15/21. Get some.

      • Why on Earth would I join an organization that’s done more to hurt gun owners than it has ever done to help them.

        Tell you what. They get rid of Wayne and his cronies, and start taking a hard line stance against the erosion of our rights – not one fucking inch, and maybe I’ll reconsider.


        • The pro-gun lobby organizations, especially the NRA, are confusing to me. They claim to want to fight for individual gun Rights yet somehow always seem to go along to allow there to be more and more restrictions on this individual Right to keep and bear arms.

          But if I understand correctly, under our system of law, the Constitution (like any other document) when amended is permanently altered as the amendment overrides and supersedes what is in the original document. And so regardless of what original portions of the Constitution the government may rely upon for their claim of authority to regulate the firearms industry, the very clearly expressed command directive of the Second Amendment that states; “Shall Not be Infringed” not only overrides and supersedes, but also in cases of controversy over what is in the original document and what is in the amendment, it is always the provisions and the directives of the amendment that must and shall prevail.

          That’s the way the law works in every other instance. But why has no one ever argued that point in a case involving individual gun Rights.

          Remember, the only way to change what is in an amendment is by passing another amendment. It took passing the 21st Amendment to end the mistake of Prohibition created with the 18th Amendment. An act of Congress or presidential executive order could not cut it, as only via the constitutional amendment process can the Constitution be lawfully changed.

        • AC, that is the way I read the situation as well, but then I am not a lawyer. We must understand that actual lawyers have attended several additional years of education specifically intended to allow them to ignore the obvious and lie with a straight face.

    • You are correct that the machined aluminum “trigger chassis” (Ruger calls it the “Frame Insert”) is the restricted piece, and the plastic “Grip Frame” is an unrestricted part. Reading the press release articles, they describe that the Frame Insert assembly used in the Max-9 is mostly the same as the LC9s, possibly tweaked a little, probably identical dimensions.
      Some of the problems with changing all the parts over, is going to be availability. Slides have always been a factory-only-installation item for Ruger. The only exception, and a surprising one, is the 9mm conversion kit for the older LC380 (not striker fired). Also, Ruger has the Grip Frame (which is just the plastic handle) flagged in the owners manual as not available for purchase. So they are not going to offer a kit to update a LC9s.
      That said, LC9s parts, and Grip Frames are popping up available as used parts from gun dismantlers. The catch is going to be that the Grip Frame is made of glass filled nylon. Nylon pretty much can not be welded. If it was something like ABS, you could chop the lower part of the grip handle up, snap in a 10 round Max-9 magazine, and plastic weld it back together. Sand down the imperfections, slip on a duck tail grip that Hogue will certainly release for the Max-9 in the coming weeks, and you have a 10 round LC9s.
      Could be a 3d printing project. Scan the original Grip Frame form the LC9s and the Max-9, merge the two files, and 3d print a new Grip Frame.

      • Thanks for the reply!

        I did quite a bit of on-line comparison between the LC9s and the Max-9 in the last day. The back of the frame and the “Frame Insert” (just below where the slide & frame meet at the back of the gun) is not the same between them. The LC9s uses 2 pins to hold the “Frame Insert” in. It appears that there is only 1 pin for the Max-9 with the rear of the “Frame Insert” slightly changed to catch on a possible ‘shelf’ in the Grip Frame (that is my own guess). If one compares the back of the 2, one can see more plastic on the Max-9.

        As a 3D printing project, this would be something I could get behind. Print a new ‘grip frame’ to accept the new mags and use the ‘Frame Insert’ and complete upper from one’s LC9s/EC9s to upgrade their firearm.

  3. Is this gun noticably smaller than the Security 9 compact? I have one of those, and it is pretty decent. Still quite a bit bigger than the old P11 kel-tec which runs a flush fit 12 round mag (but trigger sucks).

    • Looking at the Ruger website, and this is smaller than the Security 9 compact. Half inch less length, 0.1 thinner, and 3.4 oz lighter. That is noticable, and probably gets it into the pocket carry range. Might replace my pocket 642. Similar size and double the capacity. I really do love the 642 and will keep it forever anyway.

      • 642 has fewer rounds, but for pocket carry is shaped much less like a brick and lacks the sharp angle at the back of the slide that loves to try to hook into pocket fabric when drawing.

  4. I do really like it. Just not at $500 plus, with options out there. I likely would spring for a Glock 43 or Something, last I seen the 43 was on sale for about $450, though a Few months have passed. There is Lots of great CCW niche Pistols.
    Some Used some New.. great Prices.

  5. I hope this pistol is thin. That one photo (which could be totally misleading) seems to show that the slide is wider than necessary.

    If you are going to produce a “compact” or “micro-compact” single-stack pistol, make that bad boy as thin as possible.

    • Article states that the slide is just under 1″, which is just a hair thinner than even a G43. So that’s pretty slim.

      I like my G26, but it’s rather bulky at 1.25″ width compared to my G43. This Ruger seems like a good choice for CC.

    • It will probably have less felt recoil if the grips are a little wider than the LC9 which is a good thing. I felt like the LC9 had quite a bit more recoil than the old SR9C which is the same size as the current Security 9 compact, but with slightly slimmer grips.

  6. If this gun is just an upgraded double stack LC9s, then the $499 msrp is about $100 too high. I paid $299 for my Security nine compact.

    • MSRP on the Security 9 is $380. Add tritium fiber front sight, optic cut, and two more rounds. I’m not in the market, but this new pistol sounds like a good deal.

      • Good deal at a street price of $350-375, possibly $399.

        Frankly this gun fits a different niche than the Security 9 compact. The S9C competes with the G26, while this competes with the P365.

        Just a thought, but I wonder if Ruger has ever considered making a 10 round thin double stack LCP2. That would be a great pocket gun.

        • “this competes with the P365.”

          I agree.

          I paid $575 for my P365 before the COVID Pan . . . ic. Midway now lists it for $599 (pre transfer fee or dealer markup).

        • Ummm…
          The P365 has the fancy Sig name. Ruger has the “solid guns at good prices” reputation. We Ruger fans want good pistols under $400. 👍

          Also, since I have a ton of guns already, I don’t need to pay covid adjusted prices (though I may have to carry my inferior 642, XD9S, Security 9C, LCP, or G19 for a while longer).

          On the other hand that new $1400 nonsense money needs to go somewhere. Maybe some should go to Ruger.

        • Ummm
          Also, you may have over payed a little bit for that P365. Pre covid, my local shop had them for $499. I wanted one but couldn’t bring myself to buy one since I am a little on the cheapskate side (Ruger fan).

        • Art,
          I agree completely with your second point. I’ve actually been selling off guns and kits I don’t use.

          You may be right about me overpaying too. There’s one real gun shop in town, and I tend to value my time (round trip to the city) more than money .

          I certainly wouldn’t argue with a better street price either! Ruger’s pricing approach is interesting. Their revolvers have grossly outpaced inflation since I bought mine (1995), but they still offer good rifles and semiauto pistols at good prices. I also think their current pistol offerings are big improvements over the slide-safety clunkers they made back then.

        • The bickering over $25-50 bucks is amusing. If you like the gun buy it. When a box of ammo is selling for over $20 bucks why obsess over a few bucks in purchase price?

      • Ruger uses steel rather stainless steel, perhaps because the barrel and slide are primarily investment cast. These parts are not nitrided but rather just have an oxide finish.

  7. I’ve been looking for a semi-auto pocket carry alternative to my J-frame. If this is truly a practical pocket carry, I’m interested.

    • “Mock Man” is a hysterically-accurate description of a fvckwit like yourself.

      Look what others say about you :

      “Some random guy on the internet hurt your feelings once and you just can’t get past it. You’ve been doing this for well over a year. What is wrong with you? Seriously you have a psychological problem. I hope you find the help you need.”

      “Dude, you’re the epitome of “living in your head rent-free.” You don’t even wait for your “nemesis” to post something that you can criticize. How much time in a day do you obsess over someone you’ve never met and probably never will? Let it go and live your life. You’re not convincing us to hate GTG — you’re posting non-sequitors that makes us dislike you.”

      And there’s Mr. Ing, who said :

      “What a sad little man.”

      I bet you are ‘little’, where it counts the most.

      *snicker*… 😉

      • You make an excellent point…for a Trump University dropout/sentient crash test dummy.

        Seriously though guns are awesome (excepting of course the NAA mini revolver, what a pos that is!).

  8. Geez did I open the floodgates earlier? I watched several YouTube vids 1&2 daze ago & was impressed. Also watched S&W’s new offering and was a bit meh. I’ll never buy a new gat from HS Produckt er Springfield. This looks good! Already selling on Gunbrok(as well as S&W and Tauruses G3’s optic ready guns. Get em before slow Joe & the Dims go fuller retard…

  9. I need 499.00 worth of ammo at pre-shortage prices a lot more than I need a new handgun. If I wanted a new handgun. I certainly wouldn’t buy one from anyone who couldn’t also sell me at least 500 rounds of ammo for it.

  10. Ruger rained on the Shield Plus parade on day 1 of S&W’s new pistol release by offering a really good trigger, fiber optic/tritium front sight, AND MOS ready ALL as standard features on the Max 9 backed up by Ruger’s industry leading quality control and customer service at a lower MSRP.

    If the Ruger quality holds true and street price settles around $400 or less, the Max 9 will be a strong contender in the pocket 9 market and a serious competitor that will cut deep into P365, 43X, & Hellcat sales.

  11. Something in me says it has to have a down side to be so much cheaper than the competitors… and yet I want one because it has everything onboard already at that price point. The Shield Plus has the edge of I already own a holster for it, but a $40 holster is still much cheaper than the gun cost difference when you factor the need to buy a more expensive variant to get the optic mount.

  12. I wish the optics plate would fit the RMR and Holosun sights, or at least Fastfire sights. The Trijicon RMR is awesome and unbreakable, the new Holosun sights (which use the RMR footprint) are nearly as awesome, and the Burris Fastfire III is a real bargain. But instead, it fits the less popular Jpoint and Shield optics — why? Did Ruger get a kickback from the makers of Jpoint or Shield sights? If it accepted RMR sights (and also Holosun, same footprint), a lot more people would be interested in it. If it accepted Burris Fastfire III sights, it would give buyers an affordable sight for an affordable gun.

  13. Derringer Dave, the RMR (etc.) is TOO WIDE FOR THE SLIDE of this pistol. If you think a gun should be built around the optic and you have your heart set on a full-sized reflex red dot, then get a bigger gun than a micro compact.


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