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Old June 10, 2012, 12:27 AM   #1
RBid
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Ruger SR9c Journal (extended review)

Ruger SR9c Journal
This thread is intended to share my experiences with this weapon, in the hope that it may be helpful for others who are considering buying an SR9c, or weapons that may share some relevant similarities.

Further additions, thoughts, etc:
- post #14, Musings on Accuracy and Confidence, relating to CCW choice.
- post #30, Range Trip #2, and 3 barrel pics.
- minor edits to post #30
- post #31, Thoughts on ccw type, and my back up plan


I. What came before...
While I am all for making purchases for fun, this particular one was not a 'want' purchase. I have my Concealed Handgun License (Oregon), and carry full time. My previous dedicated carry weapons were a Ruger LC9, and then a Kel Tec PF-9.

When I bought the previous carry weapons, my priorities were:
a) 9mm+ caliber
b) extreme ease of concealment-- I was looking specifically for single stack, subcompact 9s.
c) reliability
d) ease of accuracy

The LC9 was GREAT for the first 3, and failed miserably with the fourth criteria. My results were so spectacularly inconsistent that I traded the weapon in after 3 weeks, and 350 rounds.

I had done a lot of research before I bought the PF-9, but I wasn't yet educated about what to look for. When I bought it, I was under the impression that I would basically get an LC9 with fewer safeties, and a little better ease of accuracy. Sure enough, I had a considerably easier time being accurate with it, if I took time on my shots. On the other hand, the PF-9 kicks like Mirko Cro Cop, is loud, and falls head over heels in love with casings. Over my last 100 rounds, I had 53 failures to extract.

Clearly, it was time to get a new CCW.


II. Research!
During my misadventures with the PF-9, I figured a few things out, and added a couple of things to my research. My process for selecting a new CCW was:

a) change my priorities! They were now:
1. Caliber
2. Reliability!
3. Ease of accuracy. I wanted to be able to control the weapon while firing quickly, with one hand. I also wanted to be able to consistently make accurate aimed shots, given 1-2 seconds.
4. ease of concealment

This opened up my search to some double stack, compact 9s.

b) Based on the above criteria, I narrowed my focus to: S&W M&P9c, M&P Shield 9mm, Walther PPS 9mm, Kahr CW9, Kahr CM9, Springfield XDm 3.8" 9mm compact, and the Ruger SR9c.

c) with that short list in hand, I started going to the dedicated fan forums, and looking for trends in the first 5 pages of threads.

I also ran YouTube searches like, "SR9c problem", "Shield Problem", "PPS Problem". Then, I watched standard reviews. LOTS of standard reviews, of each gun on the list.

While I was doing this, I looked for problems that showed up consistently, and paid attention to how things were resolved by customer care.

Results of SR9c research...
The themes that came up with the SR9c were:

Pros:
1. It eats everything. Problems that were cited almost never had to do with cycling. More on this in 'Cons'. LOTS of "very reliable/no trouble" sentiment.
2. Well loved trigger. No take-up, crisp break, quick reset. This was a key point for ease of accuracy.
3. Great ergonomics, including a "slim, for a double stack" grip.
4. Lots of, "it's really accurate" comments. To me, this really means, it's EASY to be accurate with.
5. Something unexpected, and awesome: lots of comments on how soft-shooting the gun is. The dual recoil spring came up a few times, and the minimal felt recoil came up very frequently.
6. Ruger customer service
7. I have heard it said that Rugers are known for beefy extractors, and big ejection ports. After my PF-9 experiences, this was a HUGE draw.

Cons:
1. It really is bigger than the single stacks I was looking at, and kind of falls about half way between a CM9 and my Walther PPQ.
2. It is also heavier than those single stack subs, and barely lighter than my PPQ.
3. mag release safety and loaded chamber indicator got a lot of negative remarks
4. 2 noted instances of people reporting pins wiggling out... each of these 2 guys pointed out the SAME 2 pins, though this pin wiggle produced zero failures, and was easy to manage.
5. A small sample of people citing loading failures with guns taken to the range without cleaning. Comments about this seemed to universally focus on the RIDICULOUS amount of grease that the gun is shipped with. Note: In post #5 of this thread, tahuna offers an alternative possibility for failures attributed to gun grease. Reference his post for more information.
6. Thumb safety?!
edited to add:
7. A good few reports of barrel peening. I will not enter the debates around the subject. Instead, I will offer two things: a) pictures of my barrel, after 250 rounds fired. b) The reason that the reports of peening didn't deter me from buying an SR9c is because I never saw any of these reports actually lead to issues of any sort with functionality. To research the matter for yourself, Google: sr9c peening
8. Some owners reported trigger reset issues. Refer to posts in this thread by ScotchMan, or Google: sr9c reset

To be blunt, the only negatives that seemed like serious concerns were the size and weight. The rest were either "who cares?" points (LCI, mag release safety), or easy to work around (training with thumb safety, maintaining pins, etc).


III. Purchase
I went into Northwest Armory in Portland, Oregon a couple of times, and got to hold and dry fire each gun. When I went in to buy, I took the PF-9 that I was trading in, and held it up next to the SR9c. I really took pause, and considered the size and weight differences.

...and then God, or dumb luck stepped in. The SR9c was on sale, for $20 off, which put it at $389. While the sale was small, my gut was already urging me to take the SR9c home, and that $20 off put it at exactly the same price as the CM9. I was standing there thinking, "More gun for the exact same cost? Yes, please!"

IV. Unboxing, First Impressions
In the box:
- the gun. Mine is black-on-black, for practical purposes (avoiding glint, in case my clothes shift).
- lock, sample casing, manuals-- the universal truths of gun boxes.
- a 10 round mag, with the pinky extension installed
- a flush plate for the mag, in case you want to change it out
- a 17 round mag, with a friction based cuff/grip extension. The cuff on my 17 rounder is very loose.

This is the Gina Carrano of pistols. It is beautiful, but also looks like it can take a beating. Dry fire confirmed the "no take up" comments about the trigger. When you squeeze, the trigger break is right there. It feels great in the strong hand, and I was surprised to find that my support hand falls into place intuitively. Thanks to the pinky extension, I am able to get all 3 fingers on the grip, and have very good purchase.

I also want to give a "thumbs up" to Ruger, for the metal guide rod.

A note about the grease...
If you get one of these, CLEAR THE GREASE. It is insane how much grease they pack in this thing. It looks like a snail used the slide for a shell, for a good 20-25 years. It is no mystery how this causes problems for some people who shoot it without opening it up, first. It IS a mystery how this doesn't cause any mechanical issues for most who shoot it without opening it up.


V. First trip to the range
I was expecting to be more consistently accurate than I was with the LC9 or PF-9. I also expected some potential trouble, if I hadn't done a good enough job of cleaning out the grease.

I put 150 rounds of Federal 115 gr FMJ through it, 10 rounds at a time, with zero hiccups.

Felt recoil was... pretty much nonexistent. It has less muzzle flip than my PPQ (though the PPQ's flip has never bothered me, I did notice), and control of the weapon is automatic. Shooting it, you feel like you don't have to try.

My first run of 10 rounds was all over the place, while I got used to the instant trigger break. By my second run, I was consistently hitting inside the 9 and 10. By my final run, 7 rounds went through the 10, with the "flyer" of the 10 rounds being about 1.5" into the 9. <edited to add: this 150 was shot from 50 feet>

I am nearly as accurate with this gun as I am with my PPQ, with which I have over 2,000 rounds fired, and a lot of dry fire practice, with snap caps.

VI. Post 1 wrap-up
I recognize that some of my enthusiasm may be attributed to the rush of taking a new gun out, for the first time. Rather than forming any conclusive opinions at this point, I will leave it at, "I am very encouraged by my experience, to this point".
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Last edited by RBid; June 13, 2012 at 11:06 PM.
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Old June 10, 2012, 12:42 AM   #2
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Notes about concealment, and attempts to link pictures:

My preferred carry method is to use a Belly Band, with the gun riding at 4 o'clock. I wear the BB low, so the weight of the weapon is supported by the BB, and by my belt. It rides as though it were in a low profile, IWB holster.

Here are 4 pictures, with the weapon carried in this way, in my typical wardrobe. I am also carrying the spare, 17 round mag in these pictures.



[IMG][/IMG]



[IMG][/IMG]
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Old June 10, 2012, 11:06 AM   #3
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great write up. Your experience at the range pretty much mimics mine. I have had mine since early 2010.
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Old June 10, 2012, 11:46 AM   #4
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Thank you, iamb!

I am encouraged to see that you still have yours. It is also encouraging that there were no follow up 'but...' comments regarding malfunctions.

I would love to hear an estimate of your round count, and experiences with reliability!
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Old June 10, 2012, 11:58 AM   #5
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my SR9C has only been through about 1200 rounds at this point and Ive had it since new years eve but I would just like to point out that I didn't clean it when I first got it. I did have a few light strikes within the first 25 rounds which had me worried since this was supposed to be my primary concealed carry gun. after removing the mag disconnect though it has yet to see another hiccup. I also went through 500 rounds before I cleaned it for the first tim and that was kind of a nasty affair. if people were having issues with their new SR9s it was probably due to the mag disconnect rather than all the gunk that ruger stuffs in them. these guns are built like tanks.
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Old June 10, 2012, 12:08 PM   #6
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Tahuna,

Thank you for the note about the mag disconnect. When I get home tonight, I will include an edit to reference your comment. I appreciate the contribution!
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Old June 10, 2012, 01:03 PM   #7
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I shoot my SR9c at least once a month in IDPA, sometimes twice a month. I have conservatively, 10,600 rounds with zero malfunctions. I had one bad primer from some GECO 124gr NATO rounds. I put this round through my gun 4 times, with no ignition. There was a deep striker mark on the primer. I also have been working up competition loads and found 124gr FMJ loaded with 5.4gr of WSF powder will give me close to 1300 fps with great grouping and only the slightest of over pressure signs. I use 4.2gr of titegroup for my comp loads that give me 1075 fps. I don't clean my pistol much. Usually between 600 and 1200 rounds depending on how dirty the test loads get my gun. I have gotten lots of sand in my pistol, due to my range being in central florida, we are sometimes required to place are guns on the ground when transitioning shooting postions in matches. No ill effects from the sand. I have dumped more than a tablespoon worth of sand out of my gun on a few occasions. In fact, my mags right now are gritty with sand and never have any issues.

There was a small bur that developed on the front and back of the chamber where the slide rubs the barrel. This is a non problem, and is not peening. It is just the surface mating due to the tight fit of the lock up. This is what the majority of the "peening" reports are. This comes from people lacking mechanical and metallurgy knowledge. I fully expect to triple this round count over the next couple of years. A guy I shoot with has double my round count and has the same reliability as I have had. I did removed my mag safety and have only shot with it in, a few times. So I cannot comment if it actually affects reliability. Everything on my gun is original and there is no signs of needing anything to be replaced.
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Old June 10, 2012, 01:52 PM   #8
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iamb,

Awesome post, sir! Thank you, for taking the time to include so much relevant information. The details you provided are exactly the kind of things that I like to know when I am considering a purchase. I suspect that those pieces will be value points for at least a few other people!
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Old June 10, 2012, 02:07 PM   #9
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Great post. One question for you on your new criteria---what good is caliber if the gun doesn't go bang every time? I'm not trying to be a a##; I just believe reliability is #1 for carry/HD guns. Thoughts?
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Old June 10, 2012, 02:15 PM   #10
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I will take a 9mm club over a 6mm airsoft gun that goes "pfft" everytime
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Old June 10, 2012, 02:53 PM   #11
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Good choice and a nice write up. Mine has been flawless. It's the best deal out there for the money.
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Old June 10, 2012, 03:32 PM   #12
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Great write up. Very thorough, and I think pretty objective. It's clear that you really like this weapon though you aren't overlooking some flaws and touting it as the greatest pistol ever created. Kudos, sir. I've looked hard at the SR9, and this definitely helps. My buddy carries an SR9 and loves it. He's had a few light strikes but doesn't clean his guns terribly often or well. Perhaps a dirty firing pin?

This isn't necessarily related to the weapon itself, but is there a reason why you prefer the belly band over an IWB holster?
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Old June 10, 2012, 05:33 PM   #13
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Plouf,

I agree completely with what you said. The only reason that caliber works as a first filter is because of the large pool of reliable platforms produced in each caliber. It's basically, "I want something that I can trust with my life, within the pool of 9mms".


Verdun59,

Thank you, sir! I am already very impressed with the value point. These seem like they would be a great value, even at a cost of +$100 over current pricing.


TRK,

Thank you, sir! The light strikes issue is interesting to me. The only other instance that I have heard of this was attributed (wrong or right) to gunk around the firing pin.

As far as my use of the BB goes...

I love the comfort, convenience, and utility of it. It has two gun slots, so it easily accommodates a variety of firearms. It has a spare mag slot, and a place for my emergency cash. Unlike belt mounted holsters, there are no worries about wrestling with the gun when you open your belt. You don't need a gun belt to support it (the BB, waistband of pants, and standard belt support the weight). It also costs less than many holsters. I can also rotate it easily, to find that 'sweet spot' angle for concealing. If I change from my work clothes into other pants, there is zero fuss-- I often wear gym pants on lazy days off, and can still carry.

There are drawbacks, of course. Some people may not feel as comfortable in it. Re-holstering after a draw is a pain (that will only come up in a post-emergency scenario). If you wear it in a way that doesn't have additional support from a belt, the elastic can stretch out over time. Some guns may sit in it in a way that makes the draw awkward.

I have carried a PF-9, PPQ, and SR9c in it, and love how it has worked. I tried to situate a CZ 75BD in it... not such a great option, with heavy pistols.

I hope that response was helpful!
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Old June 10, 2012, 11:13 PM   #14
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Musings: Accuracy, confidence

I. "Is it accurate?" and "Most guns are more accurate than we are."

These are two things that we hear a lot. I bring them up here, because my experiences with my LC9, XDm 9, PF-9, PPQ, and SR9c have left me in the early stages of forming a possibly concrete opinion on these subjects.

Most of us know that it is true that "most guns are more accurate than we are".

The real question isn't "Is it accurate?" No, the REAL relevant question is, "Does it really matter if the gun is more accurate than I am?"

The answer to this question depends entirely on how easily you are able to squeeze accuracy out of the firearm. Is the weight of the trigger pull consistent throughout? Is the pull gritty, or does the weight of pull change during squeeze? Do the sights line up so that POI = POA? Is the grip so small that your hand shifts during trigger pull? The answers to each of these questions may impact your ability to shoot the gun at a level of accuracy close to it's maximum potential.

The LC9 and the PF-9 that I used to own may have been every bit as mechanically accurate as my SR9c. In the end, the mechanical accuracy of those guns is absolutely irrelevant, because I had to work hard to be able to shoot them half as well as I effortlessly shoot my SR9c.

I have started to look at the posts of many new gun folks from a different perspective. Rather than answering the question, "Is it accurate?" with the canned response about mechanical accuracy, I have started to ask myself, "Based on what this guy/girl is saying, how likely are THEY to be accurate with the gun?" It is often pretty easy to give a ballpark prediction, based on knowledge of a platform's trigger and ergos, and a little bit of a shooter's background. For example, if someone says, "I have an M&P9, and I shoot pretty well with it. I have decided to buy something else, and I am looking at an XDm. How accurate are those?", then I have an instant ballpark. Generally speaking, XDm triggers are credited with being a little better out of the box than stock M&P triggers. Each gun has an intuitive natural point. Ergos are fine on each (OK, M&P guys... the M&P's ergos are very good. Relax!). Assuming comparable factors in every other area, it is a safe bet that this shooter will at least be comparably accurate with the XDm. On the other hand, a new shooter transitioning from a PPQ to an LC9 is probably going to produce groups that look like he got drunk, and threw a fist full of rocks at the paper.


II. CONFIDENCE!!!

Scenario:

You are at the mall with your significant other, in the food court. You get up to use the restroom. While you're in there, you hear distored noise, and someone rushes in, yelling that somebody is shooting at people in the food court.

Do you hide in the bathroom, call 9-1-1, and hope that your other half is able to escape safely?

Do you call 9-1-1, then draw your firearm, and decide that it is worth the risk to try to prevent this madman from killing anyone else?


I'll be honest, here. When I had the LC9 or the PF-9, that choice wasn't a choice. At any range outside of about 7 yards, I would not have had a chance to make the shot. I'm not just talking about raw accuracy, here. I'm talking about quickly getting on target, and delivering an accurate shot, with the engagement possibly beginning across the length of the food court.

Looking at your current carry weapon, are you confident that you could make the shot? Are you confident enough in your ability to do so, that you are able to view the above scenario strictly from an ethical standpoint?


How about this? Try firing through a mag at a quick cadence, while moving sideways, with a one-hand grip on a single stack 9mm pistol, with a DAO trigger. Naturally, this isn't going to be easy to do accurately with anything, but I think it's a safe bet that most of us perform better in this scenario with an M&P9c, SR9c, XDm 3.8" 9mm compact, or G26 than we do with a PF-9, LC9, or Beretta Nano.


After my first range trip with my SR9c, I am wondering if I will ever go back to a smaller pistol. My capability with this gun far exceeds what I could do with my old CCWs. Since I'm already concealing it with no trouble during the warm season, I can't really see a reason to step back down in size.

What are your thoughts?

With what you're currently carrying, could you make the shot?

I'm not asking to lead this anywhere. I am asking for the sake of conversation, and I am asking with an open mind.


Thank you, for checking in.
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Old June 11, 2012, 06:14 AM   #15
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Surprised you didn't turn up comments about the trigger reset issue that happens around 300-400 rounds. Also barrel peening. Both are very common and widespread.

Mine had both. I also had the one pin behind the trigger wiggle out every 100 rounds or so. I liked the gun and all but it struck me as being a couple steps below all the other choices on your list, except maybe the Kahrs.
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Old June 11, 2012, 07:27 AM   #16
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D'oh!

ScotchMan, you are correct. I found those in forum thread discussions, but not in video or blog style review, and stupidly forgot to include reference.

I'll have to add an edit after I get home from work.
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Old June 11, 2012, 08:44 AM   #17
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Ruger

WOW!!! My experience with the SR-9 is a little different. I purchased a NIB SR-9 and liked the pistols ergos etc. UNTIL I PULLED THE TRIGGER. Absolutely the worst trigger I've ever pulled. I'd guess 15 lbs. or so - much worse than any double action revolver I've seen. So bad the pistol was immediately unacceptable. Long story short, I owned it one day, and never fired it.

I traded it for a USED SR-9c with no box or papers etc. and gave $50 cash difference. I figured it would cost me $60 to Fed Ex the SR-9 back to Ruger and tell them the abomination of a trigger was totally unacceptable. Then wait several weeks for them to fix it. The SR-9c is only barely acceptable. Much worse than Glock, Springfield's and other plastic pistols I've owned. What on earth is Ruger thinking with these pistols triggers?? I really like Ruger products, even the Ruger pistols I've owned (probably 20 or more ie all the P series pistols, including the P345 which is a very good pistol). How can Ruger copy Glock's trigger and even make it much worse.
I haven't fired the SR-9c yet, just dry fired it (with mag in). It's a very long way from an XD or MP or Glock trigger. Your mileage may vary.
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Old June 11, 2012, 08:46 AM   #18
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Quote:
The real question isn't "Is it accurate?" No, the REAL relevant question is, "Does it really matter if the gun is more accurate than I am?"
Bingo. I find myself saying/posting this all the time. 99% of guns made today are more accurate than 99.9% of shooters (more accuate than me for sure). I shoot some guns more accurately than others because of ergos or the fact that I'm more experienced with them, not because the gun is per se more accurate than others.
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Old June 11, 2012, 09:04 AM   #19
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mes228,

While I have never fired the SR9, I know that the trigger was improved with the SR9c. The trigger pull is typically credited with a 5.2-5.5 pound pull. Mine feels right at that weight. No grit, no take up, just pressure = BANG!

I like the trigger better than the one on the XDm that I had before.
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Old June 11, 2012, 09:17 AM   #20
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Yeah that is strange about the trigger. That is the SR9c's biggest selling point in my opinion. The Glock has a more defined reset, but otherwise the Ruger is superior. Mine has 1,400 rounds through it though, so it probably wasn't as nice out of the box.
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Old June 11, 2012, 11:01 AM   #21
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It will be a bit before I am at my pc to update about peening and trigger reset issues that came up during research.

For those interested, Google:
sr9c peening
sr9c reset

I recommend reading all the way through threads that you find. They typically have happy endings, and much of the 'peening' chatter is chatter about superficial wear. You'll be hard pressed to find actual malfunctions related to peening.
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Old June 12, 2012, 10:59 AM   #22
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My youngest daughter and my girlfriend kept me away from the pc last night, so I haven't had a chance to do those edits yet. That is still on the agenda.


Also: I realized this morning that I have field stripped the SR9c twice, and forgot to push the extractor down at least one time, probably both. I feel a little silly, since I did know to do it. I have spent a lot of time in the guts of my other pistols, and haven't adapted to that, yet. I may 'burn it in' later, by stripping and reassembling it a dozen or so times. I find that I am able to program myself to instinctively make the right movement for the weapon in my hand, once I associate process X with gun X, etc. For example: I have no trouble transitioning between the PPQ mag release w/ index finger and the SR9c mag release w/ thumb. The right movement just happens.

I hope that I haven't done anything to this point to cause problems down the road.

note on field stripping:
I'm not what you'd call a survivalist or prepper, but I do believe that some level of consideration is a good idea.

I mention this, because that view has lead me to a bias toward easy, tool-free strips. Given the choice, I prefer a Glock style of process. Simple, fast, etc. My PPQ is this way, and I love it.

The SR9c field strip is easy, but not quite as practical. It has a takedown pin, which you have to keep track of. Easy on a table, less easy in a (probably hypothetical) field scenario. It is also easiest to do with a tool of some sort. As many (most?) of us carry knives, that's also not a big deal, but it is still less desirable than a Glock style takedown.


carry note, after a few days of constant carry:
The step up in weight and size from my PF-9 is not bothering me, at all. This is substantially more comfortable for carry than my PPQ, which I carried while shopping for my replacement CCW.
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Old June 12, 2012, 11:40 AM   #23
cetanner
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Join Date: February 19, 2012
Posts: 95
I have both the SR9C and more recently purchased the PPQ9. I have fired over 1100 rounds through the SR9C without a single failure using ammo I purchase at my local range. It has been great. I like the trigger. I use the SR9C as my CC weapon. I purchased the PPQ9 to use as my new range gun. Fired about 200 rounds through it. No problems. It is larger than the SR9C and I don't think I would enjoy using it for CC due to its size vs the SR9C. IMO both are great handguns. Enjoy your SR9C and thanks for your detailed writeup.
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Old June 12, 2012, 12:06 PM   #24
stantheman1976
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Join Date: March 8, 2012
Location: Gautier, MS
Posts: 90
Nice honest review. I got my SR9c 3 weeks ago. I've only had the chance to out about 250 rounds through it but I think it's a great gun overall. I did a lot of research before I bought it. I also got the LC9 at the same time. I alternate between the 2 depending on what I'm wearing.

Just like thunua001 I had a couple light strikes at the very start. I was using the 17 round mag and the very first shot was a light strike. Then halfway through the next mag I had one more. Both times I put the round back in after the clip was empty and it fired. Both times were WWB ammo also. I know that I did not clean the gun properly beforehand though. When I got the pistol I stripped it and used Ballistoil all in one to clean it but did not remove the striker mechanism so I know some seeped into there and I mistakenly used too much oil. This was the Saturday after I got it.

I cleaned it right after that first trip and shot it another 100 times or so the next day and had no problems.

I haven't been able to shoot it again since then due to bad weather or no free time so I'm hoping if the rain holds off some this weekend in MS I'll be able to get it broken in some more.
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Old June 12, 2012, 03:20 PM   #25
mes228
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Join Date: July 19, 2005
Posts: 608
SR9c

Well crap, two for two BAD ONES. Prior post in this thread on my SR9 being totally unacceptable because of the trigger. Traded the new unfired SR9 for a used SR9c and gave $50 difference. Just returned from the range and TRIED to fire a couple of boxes Federal Classic HP's. Absolutely NO GO. The trigger would not reset when fired. Hand rack the slide and it would re-set MOST of the time. Who needs a single shot semi-auto, certainly not me. The SR9c was relatively accurate, ergo were good, sights OK, trigger acceptable, BUT THE DARN THING WOULD NOT RUN. I've probably owned well over a 100 pistols and this was the first time I've encountered a "trigger reset" failure.

Long story short, the Gentleman in the shooting lane beside me bought my "as new SR9c". He got a bargain and I got relief from FedEx-ing the Ruger back and waiting several weeks for them to repair it. I'm sure it will turn out to be a fine pistol IN THE END. Frankly I'm glad to be rid of the things. Please don't think I'm a Ruger basher as I generally like their products. In fact the P345 I had was when I owned a H&K USP and I honestly preferred the P345. At any rate two for two is a first for me. If the thing had run I would have liked the pistol. Best regards and have a great day.
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