Ruger is really killing me now. They have too many great options for concealed carry and I don't have enough cash to buy them all. So, I must decide.
Ruger has had the SR9c out since the beginning of this year. I really didn't pay much attention to it at first since I was still a hater on the full size SR9. But ever since shooting my big SR9, I have fallen in love with the platform.
I still wasn't paying much attention to the SR9c because I was focusing on the option of buying a compact wheelgun for concealed carry applications. However, I'm on the fence now because for some reason, I decided to do a little reading on the SR9c and see what all the hype was about. Fueled by my own experiences with Ruger's fullsize wonder weapon, I read review after positive review about the SR9c's concealability, reliability, and firepower.
I didn't know this until last night, but the SR9c can accept a fullsize 17 round magazine, included with the weapon! In fact, Ruger also sends the fullsize magazine with a built-in grip extension so you have fullsize control after a reload. I guess the idea is that if you need to reload, you probably need to have some more control because of a target-rich environment; I don't know. But I do know that the option of going 17 rounds in a compact weapon is cool! You get the best of both worlds. You get the concealability that a smaller grip with 10 rounds give you, and the firepower of a fullsize reload, without affecting concealability! You can hide a 17 round magazine easily. Having that much firepower at your fingertips is certainly a tempting thing. Already, I can see the advantage that 10+1, plus a fast 17 round reload in the SR9c would have over the 5 rounds of the LCR with a more difficult 5 round reload. Having mastered both styles, I do prefer a quicker magazine change over a more dexterity-driven wheelgun reload.
Oh the conundrum!
Okay, so here are the specs of the SR9c, so you can get an idea of what I'm talking about.
Slide Material: Stainless Steel
Slide Finish: Brushed Stainless
Grip Frame: Black, High Performance, Glass-Filled Nylon
Sights: Adjustable 3-Dot
Barrel Length: 3.50"
Overall Length: 6.85"
Weight: 23.40 oz.
Twist: 1:10" RH
Suggested Retail: $525.00
$525 seems a bit steep, but lets remember that realworld prices will be in the $450 range, which is about how much I imagine a LCR .357 magnum will cost.
The dimensions are similar to my SP101, and the weight is familiar too. The small grip makes concealability simple. When it comes to concealing a handgun, you want simplicity - not complexity. This isn't rocket science here. The SR9c weighs about 5 ounces more than the LCR .357, but also offers 6 extra shots, which can be the deciding factor in the outcome of a potential crime being committed or whether or not you become a victim.
So, why not talk about the differences between .357 magnum and 9mm? Okay, we shall.
.357 magnum packs a punch, but out of a short barrel, as is the case with any snubnose revolver, you will see dramatic power losses as well as the speed in which the bullet travels. Out of a 2" barrel, though, the .357 magnum still has devastating firepower and 5 shots on your side is a formidable ally. The weight of the gun plays into this as well. A lightweight gun, such as the LCR, chambered in .357 magnum will probably hurt the shooter as much as the person being shot. Firing full load .357 loads through my SP101 is thrilling. The LCR could be downright scary. But c'mon. That's half the fun! Without having had the opportunity to shoot the LCR .357 magnum, I don't know what it would do. I can control my SP101 with accuracy, but it also weighs 5 ounces more. Will the 5 ounce loss in weight really affect the LCR that much? I doubt it.
9mm is a much weaker round than the .357 magnum, but there are loads, such as +P and +P+ that can bring that value up considerably. To some, the 9mm is underpowered. To me, however, all pistol loads are underpowered! Please, the pistol isn't a medium bore rifle. We carry pistols because they are handier than rifles and shotguns. We also understand that in a desperate situation, pistol on the hip beats a rifle in the safe. Additionally, my mentality is this: a pistol is used to fight your way to a rifle. If you have a rifle in one hand and a pistol in the other, chances are the pistol will be holstered in favor of the more powerful and more accurate rifle. Only when the rifle runs out of ammo or malfunctions does a pistol come back into play... unless you don't have a rifle to begin with. How many people do you see at the grocery store with rifles on their shoulders? None, I would imagine. But how many people do you see with concealed handguns? Well, if you see me, assume that I'm armed with one. Now with that said, I personally feel that 10 rounds of 9mm in the gun is more advantageous than 5 rounds of .357 magnum.
Follow-up shots are just as important as the first shot. If you can't get your second shot on target, then you can subtract 1 more round from your gun. The SR9c weighs more and shoots a much less recoil-exhibiting round; and there are 11 of them in the first volley (10 in the mag, one in the pipe). The LCR weighs less and fires are round that will sting the hand and may jump. You may need to readjust your grip to fire the follow-up shot.
I will say that I can put 5 rounds of 9mm down faster and more accurately than 5 rounds of .357 magnum. Hey, I'm only human, right?
But then there is the respect of a powerful wheelgun. Nobody messes with a revolver, especially a powerful one. There are just some things in this world you don't do, and one of those things is to mess with a man pointing a wheelgun at you. You know, just as well as he does, that he only has 5-6 shots. Don't think for a second that if you find yourself drawn down upon by a guy holding a revolver that he doesn't know what he is doing. He has likely mastered that gun and knows all its quirks and knows just how it ticks. He practices shot placement because in the revolver world, shot placement is key. Don't get me wrong, shot placement is vital with any gun, but the man wielding a revolver is intimately aware of this issue.
There is also the reliability of a wheelgun. I won't say a revolver will always go BANG when fired, but there is a 99.99999999999999% chance that it will. And if it doesn't, the shooter just squeezes the trigger again and puts the next round in line down the hole. Automatic don't have that luxury, but don't let that fool you. Any competent auto shooter knows the tap, rack, bang drill. But that takes time, and in a critical situation, time is not on your side. It's much faster just to pull the trigger again, get the cylinder rotating to bring a new round to battery and BANG!
So, we see the dilemma here. Do I go SR9c or do I go LCR?