On October 18, 2007, Ruger Firearms introduced a new high-capacity, polymer-frame, striker-fired 9mm pistol called the Ruger SR9 pistol. The new pistol has a capacity of 17+1 rounds (17 in the mag +1 up the pipe).
This is welcome news, since DefenseReview happens to like high-capacity, polymer-framed, striker fired pistols in general. We also like the 9mm Parabellum a.k.a. 9mm NATO round (9x19mm), provided you're using quality factory hollowpoints. Why do we like 9mm, because it tends to be less expensive than .40 S&W and .45 ACP and produces less recoil, making it easier to shoot accurately in rapid multiple-shot strings. The lower ammo price and recoil generation make a weapon in this caliber easier to practice with without breaking the bank or your wrist(s) over time. 9mm is simply more pleasurable to shoot, especially if you're shooting a lot. And, with the right factory hollowpoints, it can get the job done for defensive and tactical applications.
Jeff Quinn at GunBlast.com wrote an interesting review of the SR9 on November 1st, 2007, and reported that he was impressed with the gun, saving a few druthers. One of the aspects he wrote about is the SR9's trigger-pull weight, which he measured at 7 lbs, 10 oz (ounces), which is a little too heavy in Defense Review's opinion. We here at DefenseReview like the approx. 5.5-lb (pound) trigger-pull weight on our carry Glock 19(s). Five and a half pounds should be heavy enough to preclude accidental discharges (ADs) due to stress during a confrontation, while bing easier to shoot quickly and accurately in multiple-shot strings than a Seven pound, ten ounce trigger.
Trigger travel on the SR9 is approx. 1/3rd inches (.33 inches). We're not sure how this trigger-pull length compares to the Glock 19 (G19), but the Glock 19 has a very short trigger reset length for follow-up shots, significantly shorter than the initial trigger pull length for the first shot. We don't yet know whether or not the SR9 pistol offers a similar short trigger reset aspect. We'll try to find out.
DefenseReview was also a little disheartened to read the following from Mr. Quinn:
"Ruger warns SR9 owners to not dry-fire the pistol without the magazine in the gun. The SR9 has a magazine safety, which is located in the slide. When inserted into the pistol, the magazine pushes the magazine safety upward, allowing the striker to hit the primer of the cartridge in the chamber. Without the magazine in place, the striker rubs on the mag safety, creating a harder, gritty trigger pull, which over time if done repeatedly, will degrade the SR9’s trigger pull."
We here at Defense Review do not like that aspect of the SR9, nor do we like magazine safeties in general, especially when the pistol already sports a frame-mounted manual "sweep-down" thumb safety like the SR9 does. They're just unnecessary and potentially life-threatening. We believe that magazine safeties are perhaps good for attorneys, but not for people who are using a pistol in a gunfight.
The primary beef we have with magazine safeties, aside from the fact that they're unnecessary, is that they prevent the shooter from firing the pistol (round in the chamber) if he/she has to do so while conducting a tactical reload during a gunfight, or if he/she has somehow lost his/his magazines and now just has some spare bullets or finds some spare bullets laying around. Now, some may contend that a magazine can save the owner's life if his gun gets grabbed, and he can, in that split second, release the magazine so the assailant can't use the gun against him. Possibly, but A) the owner having the presence of mind to remember to do that in a split second is low, and B) if the weapon has a manual safety like the SR9 does, said manual safety can give the owner the necessary time to escape or take the gun back (with proper training, of course).
Some may also contend that the likelihood of a person having to fire the weapon in the middle of a tactical reload is extremely low, or that tactical reloads are a bad idea (we don't agree), or whatever, and that the latter case of losing their mags is virtually nill. We (DefenseReview) don't care. We want to be able to fire the round in the chamber while conducting a tactical reload (or one round at a time with no magazines in sight), and that's that.
For the record, we do like the SR9's 1911-style frame-mounted manual thumb safety (sweep-down), provided that it proves just as easy to sweep down as the 1911's, and is designed in such a way that the shooter can't accidentally re-engage it (i.e. sweep it back up a.k.a. "on") with his/her thumb while firing the weapon.
Note: At the very least, Ruger should offer SR9 purchasers with the option to buy the pistol without a magazine safety in it. Choices are good, magazine safeties are bad.
Like Mr. Quinn, we would like to see the Ruger SR9 pistol offered with a black coating/finish on the slide, instead of, or in addition to, the current matte stainless steel finish. All of our defensive/tactical pistols have black slides, and once you go black, you never go back.
The above said, we like the SR9's 17+1 capacity, striker-fired aspect and corresponding low bore axis and muzzle flip a.k.a. muzzle rise, slim profile (slimmer than a Glock 17), including the grip, chamber-loaded indicator on top of the slide (provided it doesn't hamper weapon reliability or durability), low weight at 26.5 ounces empty, fully-supported chamber (to help prevent "Kabooms"), reversable grip/backstrap insert), and the fact that it's made in the U.S.A. We really like that last point.
In our opinion, the SR9's ambidextrous magazine release button is superfluous, since we've never had a problem engaging a righthanded / single-sided mag release with our thumb or index finger of our left hand. However, we don't see anything wrong with it either, and it's probably a plus, provided it can't be accidentally engaged and doesn't cause any discomfort to the index finger or middle finger while firing the weapon, under any circumstance.
There is one useful ambidextrous mag release button, and that's on the HK P7 series pistols, including the HK P7M13 pistol, which was my first carry gun. The ambidextrous mag release button, specifically on the right side of the frame on the P7M13, can potentially enhance speed reloading of the weapon, since the mag release on the P7M13 (and P7M8) works be sweeping it down, rather than pushing it in, and I found this motion very easy to do quickly with my index finger.
Mr. Quinn reported that the pistol functioned flawlessly without any malfuntions during his testing, however we don't know how many rounds he fired. We do know that he test-fired the SR9 with four different brands of ammo with multiple bullet types (including hollowpoints) and grain weights. Accuracy wasn't great: approx. 3 inches at 25 yards for some loads, and opening up to about 4.5 inches for others.
One last aspect of the Ruger SR9 pistol that looks interesting is the flush-mounted takedown lever on the lefthand side of the pistol. We'll try to get specifics on the SR9's takedown/field-stripping procedure.
Assuming that Ruger tweaks the SR9 a little bit according to our preferences--i.e. lighter trigger, no mag safety, and blackened slide--the SR9 may be the first Ruger autoloader to make it into DefRev's pistol collection. We'll see. We expect to a compact version of the SR9 at some point (unconfirmed/unverified), as well as .40 S&W and .45 ACP version of it. We're guessing they'll be called the SR40 and SR45, respectively.
Ruger released this a bit back
We have determined that some Ruger SR9 pistols manufactured between October 2007 and April 2008 can, under certain conditions, fire if dropped with their manual safeties in the "off" or "fire" position. The pistols will not fire if the manual safety is in the "on" or "safe" position.
We will retrofit all Ruger SR9 pistols starting with serial number prefix “330” (330-xxxxx) with these new parts at no charge to our customers.
In order to ensure correct fitting, the new parts must be installed at our Ruger factory in Prescott, Arizona. We will remove the old parts and install the new trigger group promptly, at no charge, and will return the pistol to you. The old parts will not be returned.