April 2011

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 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 and not much different about the operation of the two 380s, there’s a $110 extra charge for the Ruger 9mm, a third again the cost of the Kel-Tec. As we’ll see, there are some notable differences.

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