Ruger SR9c Compact 9mm Semi-Auto Pistol


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

January 4th, 2010




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Ruger's SR9 auto pistol has been on the market for more than two years now, and has had the design tweaked a bit to improve safety and performance. The SR9 is a very slim 9mm auto that really feels good in my hand. It points very naturally, which makes hitting the target easier. The SR9 design is very controllable to fire, and best of all, it has an ambidextrous magazine release and an ambidextrous thumb safety. The sights are adjustable and easy to use, and the magazines are reliable and made of steel. With the early bugs worked out of the SR9, shooters have been asking for a more compact, more concealable version, and here it is; the Ruger SR9c.

The SR9c follows the design of the full-size SR9, just in a more compact package, with internal design changes made to make the compact design run well, such as the dual captured recoil spring and guide rod. The SR9c still has the ambidextrous magazine release and thumb safety. The SR9c also has the magazine safety which prevents firing unless the magazine is in place. Like its big brother, the SR9c has a reversible backstrap, allowing the user to change the shape and feel of the backstrap from a curved to a flat backstrap. I prefer the curved, but making the change is quick and easy, and there are no extra backstraps to store. It is fully self contained.

The SR9c is pretty much the same slim design as the full size SR9, but has a shortened grip and slide, with corresponding shortened magazine and barrel. The barrel on the SR9c measures three and one half inches long, compared to slightly over four in the SR9. Comparisons are listed in the chart below. The weights are listed in ounces, and linear measurements in inches. The grip and frame widths were measured at their widest parts, which is the slight thumb rests on the grip section and just above the trigger on the frame. The maximum width is measured across the safety levers. Height includes the sights and magazine base. The trigger pull on both pistols is very good, with a smooth release. The trigger pull is listed as pounds of pressure.

SR9 SR9c
Weight 26.6 23.2
Height 5.52 4.51
Length 7.55 6.8
Slide Width 0.92 0.92
Maximum Grip Width 1.18 1.18
Frame Width 1.15 1.15
Maximum Width 1.265 1.265
Trigger Pull 6.75 5.2

The SR9c handled very well, both in shooting offhand at targets of chance such as rocks, shooting a steel plate, and shooting paper silhouette targets. No benchrest shooting was done, as this is purely a defensive pistol, and was treated as such. The SR9c came in a hard plastic case with magazine loader, lock, and two magazines. One magazine is a ten-shot version that fits even with the bottom of the grip, and the other was a full-size seventeen shot magazine, with an adapter to make it fit the compact grip of the SR9c. This makes sense. Carry the pistol with the ten shot mag in place for better concealment, and the spare magazine might as well hold a full seventeen shots. There was also included a magazine floorplate with an extension to accommodate the little finger, and I attached it to the ten shot magazine. I like the way it feels. It makes for a better hold, and does not compromise concealability. I fired a variety of ammunition over the chronograph to check velocities, with the results listed in the chart below. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second. Bullet weights are listed in grains. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint bullet. DPX is a hollow nose homogenous copper bullet. FP is a frangible, pre-fragmented flatnose bullet. FMJ is a full metal jacket roundnose bullet. Velocities were taken at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with an air temperature of twenty degrees Fahrenheit.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
WCC NATO FMJ 124 1128
Buffalo Bore +P JHP 115 1349
Cor-Bon +P JHP 115 1303
Cor-Bon PowRBall 100 1405
Cor-Bon +P DPX 115 1211
International Cartridge FP 100 1190

All ammo tested ran perfectly through the SR9c. There were no failures or stoppages of any kind. Every cartridge tried fed, fired, and ejected flawlessly. Accuracy was very good firing upon paper silhouettes at distances from five yards to twenty-five yards, standing with a two-hand hold.  Keeping the shots where intended was easy, as the SR9c is very controllable, even with Plus P combat ammunition.

The SR9c is one of the better concealed carry pistols on the market now. It is slim and light weight but not excessively so, having enough heft for good controllability under recoil. The pistol is easy to handle, very reliable, and accurate. It disassembles easily without tools for cleaning. The stainless/polymer construction is low-maintenance, and unlike most polymer pistols on the market, the SR9c has a thumb safety in addition to the trigger safety and firing pin safeties. The manual safety is good to have, and it sweeps downward naturally with the thumb. There is also a loaded chamber indicator that is easily seen and easy to feel. It rises above the slide when a cartridge is in the chamber. I know of no other pistol that has more safety features than this SR9c. The only improvement that I would like to see is the option of tritium night nights. Trouble usually comes after dark, and night sights are a good option to have.

I like the SR9c better than the full-size pistol for my needs. It is slim and easy to conceal, holds eleven rounds of Plus P 9mm ammo, is built right, and built in the USA.

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Jeff Quinn

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SR9c comes with a ten-round magazine and a standard SR9 magazine with adapter, where permitted by law.



Magazine extension offers a better hold for large hands.



Magazine loading tool.







Author tested the SR9c with a wide variety of ammunition.



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Click pictures for a larger version.


Ruger SR9C compact 9mm semi-auto pistol.



Rear sight is adjustable for elevation, and both front & rear are adjustable for windage correction.





Ambidextrous magazine release.



Ambidextrous thumb safety.



Slide release.



Accessory rail.



Loaded chamber indicator.





The compact SR9c has dual captured recoil springs, compared to the single spring of the full-sized SR9.



SR9c compared to the full-sized SR9.