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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 [email protected] with WICAW in the subject line.)

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    • The manufacturers regularly run 15,000 + rounds through modern ccw designs before they ever get anywhere near the marketspace. That’s a good 50% higher than full frame revolvers tend to go. I just ran a rep’s 1.5 yr old Remington .380 prototype at the range with over 12,000 on it and it’s not even warmed up yet. It’ll still be another year before you even officially hear that it exists. Make you a deal, .. you go actually shoot an LC9s apart and we’ll get a crowdfunding page together to buy you a ‘good’ gun.

      • I dont need any charity from you, already have plenty of Glocks. LC9s are junk. They did a quiet recall on all the slides on the first batch. Ruger can kiss my ass ever since the old man jumped on the Clinton AWB bandwagon in 96.

  1. +1 on the LC9s Pro. Great edc gun and I find myself shooting it a lot more than any other carry gun I’ve had over the last 20 odd years.

    • Yep. My next gun buy. It sure looks like Ruger knocked a home run with this one. Hickok45 gave it a very positive review.

      • I just started the clock running on buying one (Thank you People’s Republic of Illinois for a 72 hour wait for even private sales).

        Tried the non-Pro version and loved it except for the magazine disconnect. I liked it better than the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9, which (to me) had a not great trigger feel and a really odd reset. The magazine disconnect made me think twice, but a quick search found many examples of people removing it.

        This’ll actually be my first, and will be the one I use for my CCW class early next year.

        • I think you will like it. And it is not hard to remove the disconnect, but patience is your friend as you take the gun apart and put it back together. 🙂

        • In rereading, I see I left out that I found a pro model. Had been waiting for an answer from an armslist seller about a non pro, and the pro popped up for sale today. From initial listing to sold in just a few hours.

          I’m pretty well mechanically inclined, so I don’t think the mod would have fazed me too much. Just would have to get a few tools – especially a soft tipped hammer. Not the claw hammer I saw one guy using. 🙂

        • Empty Jay, you screwed up big time. You are supposed to get the WRONG gun first, then spend the rest of your life seeking out the perfect replacement. For me, the LC9Spro was the end of my search, at least for the EDC part of it…

  2. I just added one to the corral recently as a potential replacement for my LCP for every day carry. Haven’t had a chance to get to the range to wring it out yet due to some medical issues, but I’m sure looking forward to it.

  3. My wife has an LC9s. It is a very well built, and very shootable pistol. The safety is easy to disengage, and very intuitive. I am not a fan of the mag disconnect, but it only took about 15 minutes to remove the first time I to it apart to clean it. 😉

    • I love my lc9s, I like having a safety that is pretty easy to disengage while removing from the holster which I practiced about 1000 times. The only thing I don’t get is why people don’t like the magazine disconnect? I am new to guns and this is my first edc but I can’t figure out a negative to the mag disconnect but it seems in missing something, can someone kindly point it out? Thanks.

  4. I have average (large glove size) hands and I can get 2 3/4 fingers on my P290 with the grip extension on the 6 rounder.

    • I had the pre-RS version without the added grip extender. When you say 2.75 fingers, are you counting your index (trigger) finger, because I wasn’t.

  5. These WICAW articles are beginning to look like they should be printed in a weird red font and starting with: (Ruger sponsored content). /sarc

    • Above all else, a carry gun should be reliable. I shot a buddy’s LCP that jammed once. It hadn’t been cleaned in three years though. I cleaned it and it ran fine after that.

      Every gun manufacture has lemons from time to time, but some brands (Kel-Tec and Taurus are probably the two biggest) are known for spotty reliability. Others are known for durability and dependability. Ruger falls in the later camp.

  6. I have a plain ol LC9 and shot enough to mastered the trigger everyone complains about…yes for what it’s worth…I’m a legend in my own mind

  7. I was training an old friend last year on a variety of small pistols. The only one he consistently stayed on target with was the LC9s, and it was because of the trigger. Not everyone may like it, but always go with what works best for you. If Ruger ever blended the LC9s with the Kel-Tec P11 magazine, I would consider it the zenith of 9mm pocket carry. Again, it wouldn’t necessarily be for everyone, but it would be right for me.

  8. Just purchased a LC9s pro about a week ago. Haven’t had a chance to take it out and fire it yet but just dry firing the trigger is one of if not the best striker fired pistol triggers I’ve ever pulled. That said I have tried them all but this one would be hard to beat.

  9. A carry gun needs 4 things only, comfortable for the carrier to carry , practice & shoot enough power or quality ammo to do the job, reliable and most important TO BE CARRIED.

    Its not a barbecue gun it is to save your life or another’s simple.

  10. Really considering this one. I just got an SD9VE back in July and I love it. I think I’ll be fine carrying it, but would like a smaller option to be more discreet at times.

  11. Just picked up an LC9s Pro a couple of weeks ago for $320 including tax. Added a Sticky Holster and hace a Remora on the way. Love the size and how I can pocket carry with ease or appendix carry or ar 4 o’clock without worrying about printing.

    It’s really much more comfortable than my XDm 3.8.

    • It’s a lock built into the gun’s frame or slide, usually a small, round hole. Inserting and turning a small key allows you to disable the gun. Bersas and Tauruses often have them, and some Smith & Wesson models had them as well. We call them “lawyer locks” because other than rendering your gun useless when you need it, their only purpose is to mollify corporate and personal injury lawyers, not to mention lawmakers in states like California.

  12. I LOVE my LC9s Pro with my Remora holster. Now I keep reading reviews that validate my choice. It’s nice to have bypassed the buyer’s remorse cycle for once.

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