September 22, 2013

Ruger LC9 Model 3200 9mm Para, $443

We tested three small 9mm concealable pistols in the November 2012 issue. Hereís an excerpt about Rugerís LC9.

The idea of a backup pistol is an old one, going back to the days of flintlocks. Modern shooters want something more useful than a single- or double-shot pocket flintlock, and there are lots of modern pocket pistols available, particularly in semiautomatic persuasion. Weíve been looking at small 9mm pistols over the past year or so, and this month weíve added a few more to the list. These three are the new Sig Sauer P290RS ($758), Rugerís LC9 ($443), and the Kel-Tec P-11 ($377). Some time back (April 2011) we wrung out a Ruger LC9 against the Kel-Tec PF-9 (which Ruger apparently copied), and the Kel-Tec won. We wondered if the ten-shot Kel-Tec P-11 would do as well as the slimmer PF-9.

These three test guns were all DAO, which means you canít cock them to get a light trigger pull. You simply have to heave on the trigger until the gun fires. This does nothing for helping you put your shots where you want Ďem, so that tends to make these guns best suited for close-range work. In short, we had our work cut out for us during our 15-yard accuracy testing.

All three guns locked their slides back after the last round. The Sig and Kel-Tec could drop their hammers a second time if the first strike failed to fire the round. Rugerís design required working the slide to eject the unfired round and load a new one, which tactically might be the better solution. If you have a bad round, get rid of it instead of beating a dead horse. We tested with Black Hillsí 147-grain JHP, Cor-Bonís 110-grain Pow-R-Ball, and with the Ultramax 115-grain RN lead-bullet loads. In addition we tried several unreported types of ammo. Hereís what we found out about the Ruger.

We could not fault the reasonably priced Ruger. If you don't like its finger extension, which lets you get your whole hand on the gun, there's a flat bottom included with the package. This gun had the easiest trigger, which we all liked. The gun was slim and trim, and except for a glitch with the sight screw, it worked perfectly.

Ruger LC9 Model 3200 9mm Para, $443

Rugerís LC9 was slim and trim, with a single-stack magazine that held 7 shots. Only one mag came with the gun. The overall look was pleasing, mixing a matte-blued slide with a glass-filled nylon frame having essentially the same finish color. There was molded-in checkering on front and back straps and on the side panels.

We thought the Rugerís slim grip was the most comfortable to the hand, and it also had the best sight picture. The sides of the windage-adjustable rear sight tapered to a narrow flat top, and the three white dots made lineup fast and efficient. The gun also had the most pleasing trigger pull. It broke at 5.8 pounds, and was long, but smooth and easy. It made accuracy testing easiest of the three. The magazine was easy to load, easier than that of the Sig.

The front sight was steel, dovetailed and contoured nicely into the slide. The rear sight was adjustable for windage and held in place by an Allen screw. This screw let us down halfway through our testing, and our shots drifted drastically to the right. We tightened the sight and had no further problems with it. The impact height of all our test ammo was just fine, as it was for all three guns. We thought all three types of test rounds from all three guns struck close enough to the center of a 5-inch bull at 7 yards.

The Rugerís takedown was similar to that of the Kel-Tec PF-9, which Ruger copied, and of the Kel-Tec P-11. Clear the gun, and then press down on the ďdoorĒ to the Rugerís takedown pin, located on the left side of the frame. Push the slide slightly back to align the pin with its tunnel and, using a suitable tool like one of the two keys that come with the gun, press out the pin. Ease off the slide and the rest of the takedown is identical to that of the K-11. Inside the Ruger, we found excellent workmanship throughout. Nothing to be ashamed of here. Reassembly was easy. This field-stripping procedure is so much easier than the Sigís that there is no comparison, and the Kel-Tecís was even simpler.

The takedown is odd in that you have to open a little door, then align the slide with the pin, shown just below the recoil spring, and press it out. This was easy, but requires some sort of tool to get the pin out.

The Ruger had a small safety lever that could be pushed up when a round was chambered. The Ruger could be locked with a key for storage, as needed. Two keys came with the gun. Also, the extractor popped up to indicate a chambered round by feel or sight. On the range we got decent accuracy, made easier by the friendly trigger pull. Our best group was 2.3 inches with the Cor-Bon Pow-R-Ball. Rapid fire we were able to place our shots in the center of the 5-inch bull at 7 yards with relative ease.

We could not detect any significant speed difference between the Sig and the Ruger. The Ruger seemed faster to shoot than the stiff-triggered Kel-Tec P-11.

Our Team Said: We had no problems with the Ruger at all except for the loose sight. It did what it was supposed to do every time. The recoil was a bit more noticeable than that of the Sig, as was expected, and some shooters might not like the kick, but we all thought it was by no means severe nor objectionable. We liked the Ruger with its slim grip and smooth, relatively light trigger pull. Compared to the others here, itís an A gun, though some of us still prefer the lighter Kel-Tec PF-9.

Comments (39)


Posted by: Cecil B | December 12, 2013 9:08 PM    Report this comment

This is also where I'm in agreement with the majority of cardiologists and the nutri

Posted by: vegan | November 13, 2013 8:13 AM    Report this comment

This is also where I'm in agreement with the majority of cardiologists and the nutri

Posted by: vegan | November 13, 2013 8:13 AM    Report this comment

This is also where I'm in agreement with the majority of cardiologists and the nutri

Posted by: vegan | November 13, 2013 8:08 AM    Report this comment

Guess they never heard of Wyatt Earp. Check your guns at the jail guys.

Posted by: Cecil B | October 4, 2013 12:50 AM    Report this comment

Well, Cecil, one thing's for certain.....They won't let another crisis go to waste, and they'll make some sort of noise about it. That said, however, how do they rationalize that both of the DC shooting incidents occurred in one of the largest "gun-free zones" on the east coast? Aren't the criminals supposed to leave their weapons outside of those places?

Posted by: canovack | October 3, 2013 8:47 PM    Report this comment

Speaking of getting off track, wonder how The Bloomies and the rest of the anti-gun nuts are going to spin today's event in D.C. and turn it into a gun issue?

Posted by: Cecil B | October 3, 2013 4:00 PM    Report this comment

Hey, ChiefChuck.....Welcome to the forum. Don't worry about getting off the subject too much. Most of we who've been at this for awhile find our minds and our comments wandering wherever they may take us. It's all done in the spirit of exchanging information and opinions, so we all benefit.

Posted by: canovack | October 3, 2013 2:38 PM    Report this comment

Got the wife a LC380, which is a LC9 with a small spacer in the mag. Had same problem with rear sight. Going to trade it on something else. Like my Bersa 380 much better. I know I got off subject a bit, sorry. But the rear sight has been a problem more than once.

Posted by: ChiefChuck | October 3, 2013 1:23 PM    Report this comment

OK "CAN", my apologies for trying to make you a "Carnivore"! LOL At one time I was very close to Sig upper mgt and know for a fact that 290 was specifically created to compete against PM9, a CM didn't exist at that time. However, 290 is 1/3 heavier than PM: but can't remember about trigger? Hope you have a great one? I like the CT laser on PM, as if grip slightly relaxed it doesn't come on, so tighten grip if you're going to shoot, it comes on!

Posted by: ordnance outsellers | September 30, 2013 12:09 PM    Report this comment

Hey, ordnance outsellers.....'Nice to hear from you again.....and I see that you still are intent on calling me caRnovack instead of canovack.....Just pullin' your chain. Anyway, thanks for the info. Since I'm not a Glock guy, I'll pass on most of it. My PM9 works well, now that I have gotten a few hundred rounds through it.

The latest SIG I've acquired is a PM290RS. It's a great little piece to have on the belt when just relaxing around the house. SIG even gives you a kydex belt slide for it, and tritium night sights, along with six and an eight round magazines. A really neat feature is that SIG sells a very nice trigger guard laser for it that attaches in a very unique and sturdy manner.....through a hole in the dust cover that makes for a rock solid mount. The On-Off buttons are located on the side of the laser right where the trigger finger naturally rests when not in the trigger well. The kydex holster also accommodates the laser. Mine happens to be the so-called "Liberty Edition" that has a sort of reverse scrimshaw rendition of the Statue of Liberty on each of the removable grip panels. It's only a tad larger than my Kahr PM9, so if I chose to, I could put it in the same pocket holster I use for the PM9, and carry the SIG as a back-up.

Posted by: canovack | September 30, 2013 10:54 AM    Report this comment

carnovack, this is Ordnance Outsellers, your fellow PM9, Sig, and Glock lover! I'm one of those who dropped off due to spam. Hard to beat my older PM9 of 8 years ago; but triggers of new ones are exactly same as much cheaper CM, so little reason to buy much more expensive PM. My buddy, certified Glock Armorer can really do a number on Glocks for a very reasonable price and has helped a couple of close friends by doing their PM's, all for very reasonable prices. Don't know if there is any way to legitimately post an email for anyone to contact me for Dave's information? I have no financial interest in this "tuning", just want to help! Wish Glock would do a "slide melt" and have small picatinny for new " mini lights/lasers now available? Particularly on Glock 26 and 27 would be much more comfortable for often preferred IWB carry for small pistols?

As former USAF, "Nam vet", hope you guys get your VA stuff straightened out!

Posted by: ordnance outsellers | September 30, 2013 6:31 AM    Report this comment

When he first started out, he was funny and even though he has always been political, he wasn't over the cliff. NOW, I watch it for just the reason you stated "....your enemies closer". I never thought of myself as particularly smart but even I listen to what he and some of his guests say and I am absolutely amazed at how reasonable people could draw some of their conclusions from life's experiences. My "Enemies List" gets longer and longer.

Posted by: Cecil B | September 29, 2013 2:57 PM    Report this comment

Well, OK, Cecil.....The question that now begs answering is.....Why do you watch Maher? I'd guess that I might figure you do it for the pleasure of watching an ass-hole do/say stupid things, or your motives might be to "hold close your friends.....your enemies closer". Now, with all of that said, I just have better things to do with my time than to devote any of it to turds of his ilk.....

Posted by: canovack | September 29, 2013 10:35 AM    Report this comment

And Bill Maher had the balls to say, last night, that we should all mimic California, that they are so progressive out there and Jerry Brown has his shit together, blah, blah.
Might be the last time I ever watch him.

Posted by: Cecil B | September 29, 2013 12:02 AM    Report this comment

Well, yeah, bear1. Of course, when I commented about seeking assistance from your legislators, I foolishly neglected to remember who your two senators are. If your Congressman is really trying, I'd recommend staying in contact with him.....not bugging him, but thanking him for what he does and reminding him, at the same time, of your needs. With the flack that the VA is presently taking for its shoddy handling of VA claims, you may get some sort of break soon.....

Posted by: canovack | September 28, 2013 4:51 PM    Report this comment

As far as my two Senators from Boxer and Fienstien they could realy care LESS about the Vets, unless you are one of their supporters. I am now working with my second congressman, the first was more of a rhino than anything else. Now that they redistricted us I have a good congressman that is a Retired Marine,thank God and is really trying to help. But as usual the VA are still trying to us the back log to hold things up, big time.
God Bless America and Our Troops Past Present and Future. Get the US out of the UN and the UN Out of the US.

Posted by: bear1 | September 28, 2013 4:38 PM    Report this comment

I sicked a congressman on the VA 20 years ago when I was selling a house to a really nice kid, ex-Marine and the VA was jerking him off and turned him down without even looking at the house. One letter to Henry B. Gonzales and we closed in 3 weeks. They hate to get calls from legislators cause they can't ignore them like they can a Veteran.

Posted by: Cecil B | September 28, 2013 12:15 PM    Report this comment

Yes, Cecil.....I have purchased some stuff from Natchez, and it's turned out pretty well. Also another good place to shop online is I have even gotten some gun parts by bidding on EBay.

Well, bear1, we're pulling for you and your lady. It appears that you are a true prisoner of the bureaucracy. Have you tried getting any help from your US Congressman or US Senator? Once upon a time in another life with another wife, I had occasion to ask for my Congressman's help in settling a problem for the ex-wife's VA educational benefits. At that time, I was stationed in the Panama Canal Zone, and my home of record was Michigan. John Dingell (Southeastern Michigan) made some things happen very quickly, and she managed to get her VA benefits to complete a bachelor's degree from Florida State University in the Canal Zone.

Posted by: canovack | September 28, 2013 12:05 PM    Report this comment

That is called being between a shit and a sweat bear. Hope you get the VA crap straightened out at any rate.

Posted by: Cecil B | September 27, 2013 10:57 PM    Report this comment

CecilB, beleave me we are trying, but are having to wait on my claims with the VA, because we can,t sell the house here because we are on an Indian Reservation and and my better half wants it and her assiment to go to her son when she is got to see the Great Spirit and needs it to fall back on if I go before her and we just havn't been able to find someplace yet,even though I still have my VA loan

Posted by: bear1 | September 27, 2013 9:08 PM    Report this comment

Also, a place with ammo is Some outfit in Mississippi but they seem to have access to ammo. Also, lots of gun parts.

Bear1, you need to get the hell out of Ca. I see that your dipshit governor signed a bill allowing transgender high school students to use the girl's restrooms. I just don't understand the world any more.

Posted by: Cecil B | September 27, 2013 8:08 PM    Report this comment

Canovack, both Momma Bear and I have a 22mag o/u derringer made by two different co. but look just alike and are both nice guns. I also carried a Ruger single six 22mag in the tunnels along with my 1911 .45 so I wouldn't blow my ear drums out, used the .45 if things got real bad, just had to make my shots count, good shooting gun and well placed shot did the job just as good as the .45.
God Bless America and Our Troops Past Present and Future. Get the US Out of the UN and the UN Out of the US

Posted by: bear1 | September 27, 2013 7:25 PM    Report this comment

Yeah, bear1, that little Taurus M941 .22Mag is a nice little piece. I have one too, and I liked it enough to buy the M94 in .22LR as well. Speaking of .22Mag, I still have the High Standard O/U .22Mag Derringer that I carried in my boot in Vietnam, and it's in damned good shape as well. I'd guess that since most of my fighting was from the air, it never got doused in a rice paddy or slopped in the mud. A while back, I lucked into a Kel-Tec PMR-30 .22Mag pistol. It's a real pee bringer with two 30 round magazines. 'Looks a bit odd with a big hand grip and skinny barrel and slide, but it is a very interesting piece. I got mine for $499 two years ago, and now, if you can find any at a gun show, they're going for $800!

Cecil, I have purchased quite a few items from Sportsman's Guide. The prices are always quite reasonable, and their stuff is of pretty good quality. I haven't purchased any ammo online for quite awhile, so maybe I'll give them a look.....

Posted by: canovack | September 27, 2013 6:57 PM    Report this comment

At least you are getting a good price on 22 ammo here in commforia rebublic of if we can find any it's over 5 bucks or more a box of 50 and still limited to 2 boxes. Also my other little back up I like is my Taurus 22 mag snub nose, you would be surprised at how accurate it is and at even longer ranges than some.
God Bless America and Our Troops Past Present and Future. Get the US Out of the UN and the UN Out of the US. Don't forget that john Kerry the traitor signed the small arms treaty, Wed.

Posted by: bear1 | September 27, 2013 4:58 PM    Report this comment

I concur Colonel. You might want to log onto Sportsman's They don't have much .22 stuff right now but when it becomes available, I feel certain that they will act responsibly. I have bought more than a few things from them and they are very honest folks. But, I am like you, too hard headed to be robbed.

Posted by: Cecil B | September 27, 2013 2:17 PM    Report this comment

Hey, bear1.....It's great to hear from you too. 'Sorry to hear about your Vietnam Vet friend.....We're all getting up there in age, and what might not have been particularly threatening maladies in our younger years seem to have a more pronounced effects on us now. I agree with your assessment of the little Bersa pistols. They are well made; they always go "bang"; and they are quite reasonably priced.

Cecil, our Academy store has been keeping pretty good stocks of ammo, too. I've been steadily amassing supplies of their .223, .308, and 7.62x39. .22LR is still challenging, but I can usually get a couple of boxes when I stop in to see what they have. Now.....Speaking of .22LR ammo, the prices on that stuff have gone through the roof! Academy limits purchases to two boxes, and at $2.11 per box it's a good deal. I'd certainly buy more, but they won't sell any in bulk packs. That said, imagine my surprise at the gun show last week end at Travis County Expo..... Figuring that if Academy sells .22LR for $2.11 a box, I might find some bulk packs at the gun show for a good price. No way! The ammo dealers at the gun shows are scalping folks for everything they can a bulk pack of 500 rounds for $70-$80! So.....I figure if I can stop by Academy every so often, at $2.11 per box, I can ultimately end up with a 500 round bulk pack for $21.10. It might take more time to buy it that way, but I be damned if I'm paying some hustler $80.....

Posted by: canovack | September 27, 2013 10:53 AM    Report this comment

Just goes to show bear1. I got a letter the other day, addressed to my Dad, from the VA, announcing some sort of crap. My Dad died in 2007. Makes you wonder who, if anyone, is in charge.

Posted by: Cecil B | September 26, 2013 11:18 PM    Report this comment

Good to see ya'll back on here again, was statin to worry about you you I been looking in now and then, but really tied up with the fight with the VA and the Gov. on my disability cases, and then just lost another Vietnam Vet friend earlier this Month. As for my back up is my Bersa thunder 380, good little gun even got one for the other half.
God Bless America and Our Troops Past Present and Future.
Get the US Out of the UN and the UN Out of the US

Posted by: bear1 | September 26, 2013 10:07 PM    Report this comment

Think you are correct Colonel. It was David B before. Guess all those guys got very annoyed with the spam stuff, so they gave up. Too bad.
There were some interesting folks in that group. In the BTW department, Academy is beginning to stock more ammo. I found some 5.56, Federal for $10 for 20 rounds. Not too bad. And Wal-Mart does occasionally get in .22. Right now, I am doing doggie dental, 4 of them need cleaning and 2 need vasectomys, so not buying any more guns for a while. I am doing my rain dance.

Posted by: Cecil B | September 26, 2013 9:09 PM    Report this comment

@canovack, I concur, my best shooting is with a 1911 in 9mm reworked by Wilson Combat. A 39 oz (unloaded) all-steel 1911 barely rocks in the hand when launching 9's and its clean single-action trigger is a fine aid to accuracy, albeit size and weight make it a bit impractical for CCW.

The quirky Glock trigger (neither really single- nor double-action) is not much of a detriment to accuracy for me, however, even with the stock 5# connector (although the 3.5# "Ghost Rocket" version is much nicer).

Posted by: David C | September 26, 2013 8:37 PM    Report this comment

Oh, by-the-way, Cecil.....If the weather prognosticators can be believed, this week end may see a 60% chance of the wet stuff. I surely hope so, since every time I water just my front lawn, my utility bill jumps by around $25.00. Front and back can get pretty pricey.

Posted by: canovack | September 26, 2013 7:22 PM    Report this comment

Well, Cecil, every now and again I check this website to see if there's anything on which I can make some sort of comment. David C.....I don't suppose you are the David with whom we used to have so much conversation in this forum. I think he was David B, but as I get closer to age 73, I sometimes wonder what I think. Any thoughts on that Cecil? Anyway, we welcome your comments. In my experience of packing handguns for over 50 years, I have found little difference between the performance of striker fired and hammer fired pistols. I have several of both types, and I find them equally able to do what I want. I have found, however, that when it comes to precisely aimed shooting, the ability to thumb cock the hammer on a pistol can make my shots more accurate, since they are made with a lighter, single action trigger pull. I just recently renewed my Texas CHL, and the pistol I used for the range qualification is an old and trusted SIG P228. For each string of shots I fired only in single action mode, and aced the course. I figure if I'd taken the first of each string in double action mode followed by subsequent shots in single action, I'd likely have pulled the shot slightly off of where I was aiming. Of course if one is shooting a DAO pistol, consistency can be the result with considerable range time. My favorite carry piece is a SIG P229 DAK. For those unfamiliar with DAK, it is the Kellerman trigger system that fires from a hammer-down position, but the trigger is very light. I can usually keep everything in the center of the chest cavity of any targets I shoot with the P229 DAK. If you are familiar with the Para Ordnance Light Double Action (LDA), the SIG DAK is quite similar.

Posted by: canovack | September 26, 2013 7:18 PM    Report this comment

I love my LC9. Great backup/pocket pistol and, in 100+ degree summer Texas heat, it becomes my primary. I did calm the recoil a bit with the Galloway guide rod/recoil springs. Closed my shot group down to making 4 out of 5 rapid fire head shots at 15 yards (at the range, the only place I would try such a shot).

Posted by: jacqueeagonsr | September 26, 2013 6:31 PM    Report this comment

I forgot to mention, most of these little pistols have recoil springs so strong that many women can't operate them. The Glock 26 is not too stiff for most women to retract the slide, which is another benefit of that model. Felt recoil from the thinner, single-stack pistols is also greater than with the GL 26.

Posted by: David C | September 26, 2013 4:44 PM    Report this comment

My preference is for striker-fired small pistols. At least in my experience they are more reliable. The S&W Shield is probably about the same size as this Ruger (and similar price) and offers striker-fired reliability. The standard, as I see it, is set by Glock's 26. While a bit tubby, it maintains Glock's reputation for reliability and readily accepts larger-capacity mags. A man is prepared for much if carrying a Glock 26 and a single spare 15- or 17-round magazine from one of its big brothers.

Posted by: David C | September 26, 2013 4:41 PM    Report this comment

Tried one of these...terrible trigger...bought a Sig that's a pistol! You get what you pay for!

Posted by: joshooter | September 26, 2013 3:15 PM    Report this comment

Glad to see you back and commenting Colonel. You have much to teach this Grasshopper. Pray for more rain though.

Posted by: Cecil B | September 26, 2013 1:56 PM    Report this comment

The variety and numbers of these small pocket pistols indicate a pretty wide acceptance of them as handy, functional tools for concealed carry. As one who has routinely carried a small pocket pistol in a pocket holster as a back-up to my primary belt-carried pistol, I have acquired a number of .380 versions of these. That said, however, I much prefer the 9x19mm versions of these same guns, since the 9mm cartridge can be counted on for a bit more power than the .380. My constant companion back-up pistol is a Kahr PM9, carried in a Galco Pro 460 pocket holster. While my usual belt carried pistols are full sized duty guns, usually in .357 SIG, when I'm at home relaxing in the evenings I have discovered the SIG Sauer P290RS to be an extremely handy, small, and comfortable pistol to have on my strong side hip. Equipped with a SIG-TAC laser, it is about the fastest little pistol into action that I have ever had the joy of carrying.

Posted by: canovack | September 23, 2013 11:02 AM    Report this comment

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