I Carry: Ruger Max-9 Pistol with a Holosun Red Dot Sight

posted on August 6, 2021

Firearm: Ruger Max-9 (MSRP: $559)

We’re taking another look at Ruger’s new Max-9 double-stack micro 9 mm pistol this week, combining it with a new red-dot sight. The Max-9 was released in the first half of 2021 amidst a number of other new micro-9 double stack pistols, and represents a new direction for Ruger in the market. While Ruger has long had a single-stack subcompact 9 mm, starting with the LC9 over a decade ago, the Ruger American Compact 9 mm was the smallest double-stack in the manufacturer’s offerings.

With the Max-9, though, Ruger jumped into the red-hot micro 9mm market with a solid offering. With styling reminiscent of the LCP series of pistols, the striker-fired operation of the American series and a generous magazine created specifically for the Max-9, this joined a growing field that started with the SIG Sauer P365 and expanded with the Springfield Armory Hellcat, Smith & Wesson Shield Plus, Taurus GX4 and others. Hallmarks of this group of handguns include 10- or 11-round capacity in the flush magazine, barrels between 3 and 3 ½ inches and actual, usable sights.

Ruger’s Max-9 brings quite good dovetail sights to the equation, with a day/night front sight paired with a flat-black rear. Much like the Hellcat, the Max-9 also contains a slide cut for a red-dot sight, and while it’s compatible with the RMSc footprint, it’s suitable for others, too. Controls on the Max-9 are minimalist, with a right-handed slide stop, reversible magazine release and takedown pin the only controls, although a version with a manual safety is also available.

Fans of Ruger’s super-reliable semi-automatic handguns will appreciate the addition of the Max-9 to the lineup. For those looking for their first micro-9 mm for concealed carry, there’s a lot to like about it as well. The Max-9 is positioned, size-wise, to be a great back-up option for someone who carries an American every day – or it could be a primary with an LCP II as an option. The beauty of the Max-9 is that it really is a “middle” offering in the Ruger lineup.

Holster: DeSantis Pegasus Slim-Tuk (MSRP: $34.99)

One of the downsides to offering a brand-new pistol in a red-hot market is the availability of ancillary gear. Spare magazines, particularly those that are brand-new to the market, and holsters can be rather difficult to find. Fortunately, the folks at DeSantis Holsters have a robust line in the company’s Pegasus series and are extremely responsive to new offerings on the market.

The Slim-Tuk we have today is designed for the Max-9 with an optic attached, which makes it even rarer. While the general size of the Max-9 makes it suitable for some ‘one size fits many’ options, the addition of an optic greatly reduces that field. The Slim-Tuk offers a form-fit, single-sheet Kydex holster that’s ambidextrous, adjustable for cant and retention and relief-cut for an optic. All for less than $40, too. 

Optic: Holosun HE507K X2 (MSRP: $341.16)

Released in 2021, Holosun’s HE507K X2 brings a host of upgrades to the company’s tiny red-dot sight. Using a footprint similar to the RMSc, the HE507K X2 mounts to SIG Sauer P365-variants as well as the Ruger Max-9. The HE507K X2’s footprint does not include space for the rear mounting pins of the RMSc footprint, which in the case of the Max-9 are removable. Quite fortunate, that. Simply torque the sight in place and it’s secure. Adaptor plates for Glock’s MOS pistols and RMR footprints are available, and other adaptors should be available shortly.

The HE507K X2 has a host of impressive features, too. Lock Mode allows the brightness buttons to be locked out, preventing accidental changes in LED level. The buttons have also been lowered on the optic to further reduce the likelihood of pressing them without meaning to. Shake Awake turns the dot on with any motion, while the Super LED presents a bright, clear dot. Both a 2-MOA center dot and a 32-MOA ring can be used separately or in tandem, should that be desired. Ten daylight and 2 night-vision settings are available, while a single CR1632 battery can power the HE507K X2 for up to 50,000 hours.

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