Firearm: Ruger MAX-9 (MSRP: $499)
New for 2021 is Ruger’s new MAX-9 micro-compact, double-stack 9 mm pistol. It’s pretty obvious what market and competition the MAX-9 is targeting, on several levels. Clearly the runaway success of the SIG Sauer P365 and Springfield Armory Hellcat have caught the attention of the firearm world, with different manufacturers scrambling to either adapt existing products to fit this mold – like the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus – or to add comparable models to an existing product line, as Ruger has done with the MAX-9.
Fitting in somewhere between the Ruger American Compact and the EC9s for size, the MAX-9 is quite close in dimension to the Hellcat. Overall length and height are within hundredths of an inch, while the weight difference is in tenths of an ounce. The only spec where the Hellcat bests the MAX-9 is overall capacity—the MAX-9 offers 10 rounds in the flush-fit magazine and 12 in the slightly extended. The MAX-9 wins handily in price, though, with the optics-capable MAX-9 coming in a full $100 less than the Hellcat.
For controls, the MAX-9 offers a manual safety activated like a standard 1911—push up to engage, swipe down to disengage—as well as a magazine release that can be swapped for left-hand operation. There’s a slide release and takedown mechanism on the left side of the pistol, and the same bladed-safety trigger that’s become standard for Ruger. On top of the slide are dovetail-mounted sights, with a flat-black, ledge-style rear sight and a green fiber-optic pipe with tritium up front. There’s an optics cut for the RMSc platform as well.
In the end, the Ruger MAX-9 is another option for those looking for a micro-compact, double-stack 9 mm handgun. It’s easily concealed, light and has the ability to accept a red-dot optic, all at a quite affordable price. It’s a smart, savvy move by Ruger, and shows that the company is paying attention to market forces and adjusting accordingly.
Holster: Galco Scout 3.0 (MSRP: $92)
One of the problems facing new releases is the availability of gear. In the case of the MAX-9, its size gives it a bit of commonality, such that holsters like Galco’s Scout 3.0 Holster offer a ready fit. Constructed of rough-out steerhide, the Scout 3.0 is designed to be carried by either right- or left-handed shooters in a wide variety of positions, from appendix to strong side to even crossdraw. Two belt clips are shipped with the Scout to fit 1.5- and 1.75-inch-wide belts.
Please note, however, that the Scout 3.0 will not work if a red-dot sight is attached to the MAX-9. If you are planning to add a red-dot sight to the MAX-9, a different holster option will be needed. Check with the holster manufacturer to be sure of fit.
Knife: LA Police Gear Rescue EDC folding knife (MSRP: $19.99)
When it comes to your EDC knife, there are several schools of thought. There’s the buy once, cry once school of thought – get what you want without scrimping on price, pay for quality and don’t look back. Another take, however, is that a pocketknife can be “borrowed,” lost or discarded in a worst-case scenario, so look for the best tool at a price you can walk away from. LA Police Gear’s Rescue EDC folding knife is solidly in that second camp.
There’s a lot to like about a decent knife you can pick up for less than $20. In the case of the LA Police Gear Rescue EDC, though, you’re not even compromising all that much. The 3.5-inch, drop-point, 8Cr14MoV steel blade can be had in serrated- or plain-edge, and opens with either a thumbhole or flipper mechanism. It’s assisted-opening, but on the slower side and is held in place with a liner lock that’s actually pretty easy to use. There’s a glass-breaker edge at the bottom of the handle and a belt-cutter molded into the middle for the “Rescue” portion of the knife. Scales are G10 and can be had in a variety of colors.