For quite some time, I owned both an SR9 and an SR9c, having first purchased the full size pistol. After a few months of settling in to see which one I would pick up over the other, it came down to the SR9c, hands down, and it was not at all a question of size alone. In fact, I so overwhelmingly preferred the SR9c that I simply didn't even take the SR9 out at the range. Here's what I found... Velocity
: The smaller SR9c pistol shot velocities within 15 fps of the larger barrel, and never less than 20 fps, so that essentially eliminated that point of comparison, for practical consideration. The 9mm Luger cartridge is quite efficient with short barrels. Accuracy
: Shooting at all ranges, including 50+ yards, each shot over a bag with the same accuracy, using a variety of factory and handloaded ammo. This is not surprising, as they have barely discernible differences in sight radius. Having said that, the SR9c actually performed with greater practical accuracy offhand, due to its superior crisp trigger. Trigger
: I reiterate; the SR9c had a noticeably crisper trigger, with a sharp, clean, safe break at a uniform 3.75 pounds. The SR9 dragged along with a very rough and heavy 5.5 pound pull, that destroyed accuracy potential. If I were not a pistolsmith, I would perhaps say that this comparison was between individual pistols. However, after reviewing the trigger pulls of a number of other SR9 and SR9c pistols, and reading extensive reports of other owners, I found that this is the case with no exceptions that I found. While variations exist within samples of each, I will not hesitate to say that the worst SR9c trigger I found was substantially better than the best SR9 trigger that I encountered. Let me say that they are NOT the same pistols internally. While they share similarities of design, there are subtle differences that account for the differences in trigger pull. The SR9c trigger mechanism does not stack the striker with nearly as long a pull. This is immediately apparent even by measurement of the striker movement at the rear of the slide with a depth gauge. Certainly, an SR9 trigger can be fitted with a "quicker" aftermarket trigger bar to entirely correct this difference, but as an out-of-the-box gun, as designed, my professional opinion is that the smaller SR9c comes better equipped. Handling
: Of course, the luxurious full size grip of the larger version gave the immediate impression of being a more worthy and substantial target pistol, and its slightly greater mass and weight did indeed make the gun handle more pleasantly with heavier ammo, when the SR9c was compared in its natural foreshortened mode with the ten round magazine. Having said that, the SR9c is a delight to shoot in either mode. In fact, the case can be made that the rounded butt of the extended magazine has advantages in two-handed combat style shooting. I wear an XXL glove, so I consider myself to be the acid test for smaller frames. Even with my pinky wrapped under the magazine, it nevertheless shoots superbly and permits rapid fire, with sure, full control. While some may like the accessory magazine finger hook extension, and while it may indeed provide a modicum of greater control, it simply contradicts the abbreviated frame of the SR9c, and makes it neither fish nor fowl. I recently shot a bowling pin match just for fun at my local club against mostly .40 S&W and .45 ACP shooters, and I did it with my wee SR9c carry rig, from the holster, just to see how long I could stay in the game.
The SR9c was lightning fast and was able to make up what it didn't have in oomph with sheer speed of fire, and I held my own through all heats. A very competent shooter finally wiped me out in the final with his .40 S&W, simply outgunning me with a fast, clean takeaway that left me with one pin hanging. After the match, he came over and asked me, "what are you shooting?"
When I showed him my little SR9c rig, he was totally amazed that it was so competent in such a class of pistols. Now, please don't write me to tell me how absurd it is to compare the 9mm to the .40 S&W for such contests. There was no question that the 9mm was grossly outclassed, and had it been another day, I would have been eliminated in the first two heats. I did this simply because I was in it for the fun. Having said that, the SR9c takes a back seat to no 9mm pistol on the market.
My go-to gun for pins is my SR1911 with big Roman nosed 230 grain flat points. Appearance
: I think the SR9c is a drop dead looker. It is simply the cutest pistol on the market, and far sexier than its larger sibling. But, that's my taste in legs. Function Reliability
: I have never, ever
had a failure with either model, and I've done my share of shooting with them under all conditions that would have revealed any hidden tendencies. Superb Ruger engineering. (Please--as it says in the manual--clean the protective factory goop thoroughly from your new Ruger, or you will join the list of shooters who think that Ruger sent them a bad pistol.) Conclusion
: Both are fine models, and I wouldn't hesitate to have either, and I rank them over all other striker fired pistols for many reasons that would be too many to enumerate here. (Hint: price and being made in USA are a good start)
However, the SR9c will do anything the SR9 will do, with a better trigger, more compactness, equally fine handling, and superb carry attributes. I carry mine daily (or I'm carrying my Ruger SR1911!)