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Compact 9mms Head to Head: New Ruger LC9 Vs. Kel-Tec PF9

We dug down into the innards of both guns to see what the similarities were. To us, Ruger’s LC9 looks mighty like a copy of Kel-Tec’s PF-9, but we didn’t think the Ruger was as good.

In our June 2008 issue we compared Ruger's then-new LCP 380 with the established Kel-Tec P-3AT, and it seemed to us that Ruger had simply cloned the little Kel-Tec. While the two guns obviously had identical designs, and some of the parts would

Three years ago we compared Ruger’s then-new LCP 380 against the Kel-Tec P-3AT, and we commented that the two guns obviously had identical designs, and some parts would interchange. Now, in the snow at left, Ruger’s LC9 goes up against the Kel-Tec PF-9, with both being slim, single-stack, easily concealable DAO 9mm handguns. But the $110 premium that the Ruger 9mm commands over the K-T is a big red flag. Here, the PF-9 wears a flat floorplate that can be swapped out with one that has a finger ledge for a better grip. We tried both and much preferred the flat one. The PF-9 was smooth all over, with almost no protrusions. The new Ruger has several features that the Kel-Tec didn’t have, but they add weight. The empty Ruger weighed 2.5 ounces more than the Kel-Tec, 17.1 vs. 14.6 ounces.
interchange, there were some significant dimensional differences that distinguished the pair. But to us, there was no doubt Ruger had simply copied the Kel-Tec 380's design with enough changes to avoid legal problems.

Now it appears Ruger has done it again, this time with its LC9 going against the Kel-Tec PF-9, both slim, single-stack, easily concealable DAO 9mm handguns. But now, instead of a $6 difference in price…

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