It appears to be official; a modern “pocket” 9 mm must be striker-fired. Only a few years after introducing its ultra-compact, hammer-fired LC9, Ruger has redesigned the pistol and now produces a striker-fired version called the LC9s. A quick external view will not reveal many visible changes on the new gun. Most noticeable is the “double trigger,” basically a lever inside the trigger. The gun cannot fire unless the lever is pressed into the surface of the trigger. More on that later. The original LC9 had a loaded-chamber indicator on top of the slide, which provided a tactile confirmation that the gun was loaded, whereas the LC9s has a view port that allows a glimpse of the cartridge. The LC9s Pro goes a step further and eliminated the external thumb safety along with the internal magazine disconnect. Other than that, both of the guns look identical. Furthermore, all accessories (magazines, holsters and lasers) are totally interchangeable.
All LC9 models use the same glass filled-nylon frame with a hardened-aluminum insert. The grip frame is checkered on both sides—plus the frontstrap and backstrap—an important feature when shooting a gun this small chambered in a potent caliber.
The slide and barrel are steel, with both front sight (fixed) and rear sight (windage adjustable) dovetail-mounted in the slide. The sights are the standard three white-dot system and look quite rugged. The empty weight is slightly more than 17 ounces, almost double that of Ruger’s LCP in .380 ACP, but much appreciated when you fire the higher-pressure 9 mm rounds, especially +P loads. Ruger emphatically states you should not use +P+ ammo in any of the LC9 pistols. The Pro is a locked-breech, tilt-barrel, recoil-operated, single-strike pistol. There is a slide lock you can operate manually, but functions automatically after firing the last round in a magazine. It is an easily concealed pocket pistol that speaks with some serious authority.
The coolest thing about the LC9s Pro is its great trigger pull. When the slide cycles rearward, it fully cocks the striker, which means you don’t have to finish cocking it by pulling the trigger. The Pro has a lighter, shorter trigger pull than I can remember on other pocket 9 mms. After taking up the initial slack, which requires negligible effort, it takes about 4 pounds of pressure and perhaps a quarter-inch of travel to release the striker. There was absolutely no “sight picture shake” during the trigger stroke. Also, the trigger resets after returning forward about that same quarter-inch, which is a great benefit.
Another cool feature deals with magazine options. There is a basic seven-round magazine that can wear either a flush base pad or finger extension spur. As the names suggests, the spur gives a space for the pinky finger of your shooting hand, while the flush pad makes the gun more compact/concealable. An aftermarket magazine with a large bumper pad that holds nine rounds is also available and makes the Pro almost as comfortable to shoot as a service-size pistol. Choose the magazine that best suits your needs and lifestyle, but whatever magazines you select, make sure you buy extra.
Ruger’s Pro went through range time like a champ; there were no malfunctions of any kind and accuracy was solid at defensive distances. While Ruger says the LC9 is designed to handle +P ammo specifications, you may want to stick with standard-pressure loads. Recoil, while not abusive, is a bit snappy from this slender CCW pistol. If engaged in a fight involving multiple rounds fired, you might be more effective with standard ammo. Either way, this is an excellent pocket pistol.