In the world of self-defense, we’re always watching for the perfect answer to concealed carry. For many gun owners, this comes down to capacity. For others, it’s all about being tiny and highly concealable in non-permissive environments. This means when something new hits the market everyone turns an interested yet critical eye to its design and specifications in an attempt to decide whether it’s good for them.
Here’s the thing about EveryDay Carry (EDC) guns, though: there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all gun. What works ideally for your instructor or for your best range buddy may not work for you (what works for a gun writer might not work for you, either). There’s only one way to find out. Check out the details of the newest concealed carry option from Ruger, the Max 9.
The Ruger Max 9 is a striker-fired micro pistol chambered in 9mm. Its frame is noticeably lighter-weight than the slide thanks to its being made from high-performance, glass-filled nylon. The slide is through-hardened alloy steel with a black oxide finish. Through-hardened means the steel was rapidly quenched to give it consistent hardness from its surface to its core, a process that gives it greater durability and wear-resistance. Slide serrations are located at both the forward and rearward portions of the slide.
Other features include tritium sights, an optic-ready design with a removable plate, and a capacity of either 12 +1 or 10 +1 depending on the model. The Max 9 has an overall length of 6.0 inches, a height of 4.52 inches, and an empty weight of 18.4 ounces. It’s available with or without an external thumb safety.
Out of the box, the gun first appears to be a simple model: small black pistol, 9mm, recognizable Ruger grip texture. Once you take a closer look you realize it comes standard with a tritium fiber front sight and a drift-adjustable, blacked-out rear sight which takes care of our usual desire to change sights on our carry guns. Then there’s the removable plate that makes it optic-ready, something we wish more manufacturers would offer on all handguns, but especially those intended for concealed carry.
This gun has promise.
The weight of the slide is evenly distributed so even though the frame is much lighter than the slide it should be reasonably balanced. Then there’s the fact a heavier slide will negate felt recoil, minimize muzzle rise, and create the opportunity for better accuracy.
The texturing on the grip, which is quite similar to the texturing on the LCP2, will certainly give shooters a firm grip even with sweaty hands. And if you do choose the model with the external thumb safety you’ll find the safety is easy to manipulate without adjusting your grip whether your fingers are long or short.
The Ruger Max 9 is small enough to conceal well while remaining larger enough for a greater number of shooters with varying hand sizes to run it effectively. This doesn’t mean it’s the perfect gun for you but simply that it’s worth trying out.
Ruger has a history of producing pistols that become popular for their reliability and usefulness and the Max 9 seems poised to join the trusted ranks of that firearms family. Time and rounds sent down-range will tell. In the meantime, check out the specifications and images but be sure not to form an opinion without actually putting your hands on the gun for yourself. It has already been shipped to dealers, so go take a closer look. We think you’ll be glad you did.
Ruger MAX 9 Specifications
Capacity: 12 +1 or 10 +1 models
Slide Material: Through-Hardened Alloy Steel
Slide Finish: Black Oxide
Slide Width: 0.95-inches
Safety: Standard Model comes with External Thumb Safety; Pro Model comes without External Thumb Safety
Grip Frame: High-Performance, Glass-Filled Nylon
Barrel Material: Alloy Steel
Barrel Finish: Black Oxide
Barrel Length: 3.20-inches
Front Sight: Tritium Fiber Optic
Rear Sight: Blacked-Out, Drift-Adjustable
Magazines Included: One 12-round, one 10-round (with 12-round model)
Overall Length: 6.0-inches
Weight: 18.4 ounces, empty
Twist: 1-in-10 RH
MSRP: $499.00 (at the time of this writing)
Kat Ainsworth Stevens is a long-time outdoor writer, official OGC (Original Gun Cognoscenti), and author of Handgun Hunting: a Comprehensive Guide to Choosing and Using the Right Firearms for Big and Small Game. Der Teufel Katze has written for a number of industry publications (print and online) and edited some of the others, so chances are you’ve seen or read her work before, somewhere. A woman of eclectic background and habits, Kat has been carrying concealed for over two decades, used to be a farrier, and worked for a long time in emergency veterinary medicine. She prefers big bores, enjoys K9 Search & Rescue, and has a Master’s Degree in Pitiless Snarkastic Delivery.
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