Ruger’s long-anticipated striker-fired pistol is finally here! The polymer-frame SR9 semiauto 9mm represents an entirely new design platform for Ruger pistols, and gives Ruger a product that will be a strong competitor for existing powerhouse firearms in the personal defense and law-enforcement markets such as the Glock, S&W M&P, Taurus 24/7, and Springfield XD. Ruger enthusiasts and fans of these other modern-standard pistols are really going to like the SR9. It offers all the features users expect from current state-of-the-art polymer DAO duty-pistol designs, plus a variety of unique Ruger innovations.
In brief highlights, the SR9 is a full size striker-fired 9mm with a slide-activated cocking mechanism, and an integral trigger safety. The semiauto mechanism is a conventional cam-block recoil-operated tilt-lock, with a full-length recoil spring guide rod. The polymer grip frame has the same basic hand-pleasing contour as Ruger’s popular P345 hammer-fired pistol, with the slimmest, flattest grip profile in its class–in spite of the fact the steel magazine hold a hefty 17 rounds.
A cushiony rubber grip backstrap insert can be easily removed and reversed to allow either an arched or a flat grip contour, depending on user preference. The design also features a fully-ambidextrous (not merely reversible) magazine release, and a frame-mounted ambidextrous manual thumb safety system that allows “cocked-and-locked” carry in addition to the integral “must be pulled to the rear” trigger safety.
There’s also a visible/tactile cocking indicator at the rear of the slide, and a visible/tactile loaded-chamber indicator atop the slide behind the chamber. All the operating mechanisms–magazine release, safeties, slide lock/release–are low-profile, and conventionally positioned in traditional “M1911″ locations.
The three-dot SR9 sights are drift-adjustable for windage (front and rear) and the rear sight is also click-screw adjustable for elevation–the only pistol of this type to feature elevation adjustment on a low-profile combat sight. The bottom front of the frame features an integral equipment rail for attachment of a tactical light, laser aimer, or other accessories. All exterior surfaces are contoured and rounded to minimize holster wear or clothing snag in concealed carry.
The gun is constructed in modular components, with separate self-contained fire control module, trigger module, and cam block inserted into the polymer frame. This greatly streamlines the manufacturing and assembly process in the factory, and makes for an extremely straightforward and easy disassembly/reassembly process for user maintenance. To disassemble, you merely remove the magazine, clear the chamber, and lock the slide to the rear with the slide lock lever. Then use your fingertip to push out and remove the takedown pin from the frame, and just pull the slide/barrel assembly forward and off.
The barrel and captive recoil spring guide assembly can then be removed from the slide. It’s not necessary to manually hold the slide in any special rearward alignment to remove the takedown pin, just lock it back. Nor is it necessary to pull the trigger prior to removing the slide–an important safety feature that many other striker-fired pistols don’t have. To reassemble, you merely replace the barrel and recoil spring assembly into the slide, place the slide onto the frame and lock it back with the slide lock lever, reinsert the takedown pin, and let the slide go forward. Simple, easy, and safe in the extreme.
My personal favorite feature of the SR9 is the fact its magazine disconnect safety can be user-deactivated. As with a majority of today’s semiauto pistols, the SR9 comes from the factory unable to be fired with the magazine removed. However, unlike any other pistol of its type, the SR9′s disconnect can be deactivated simply by plucking out the disconnect link while the gun is disassembled, enabling a chambered cartridge to be fired even if the magazine is inadvertently dropped or damaged. I believe this is an essential feature for ANY personal defense or duty sidearm.
I’ve had the opportunity to extensively fire several first-production SR9s at the Ruger facility in Prescott, Arizona, and find it to be a reliable, accurate, and extremely good-feeling shooter. The new Ruger SR9 is a fine piece of design work, well worthy of the Ruger brand, and will be a welcome addition to the marketplace.