Ruger, unlike some other companies, doesn’t seem to give a lot of notice before they drop a new product. You just wake up one day and Ruger has a new handgun available, this seemed to be the case with the Ruger Max-9 which sprang to life seemingly overnight earlier this year. The Max-9 is clearly aimed at offering a low-cost option to the burgeoning micro-compact pistol market. I got a chance to lay my hands on a Max-9 and have put just over 100 rounds through it and these are my first impressions.

Ergonomics and Specs

For being a micro-compact concealed carry gun, this fits the hand very well. With the extended magazine in the gun, I can get a full and secure grip on the gun and it leaves a little space for the support hand as well. The grip texture is a minimal texture that is carried over from some of Ruger’s other lines such as the Ruger-57. While it’s not my favorite grip texture - I would like a little more grippiness - it’s still good enough to get the job done.

Ruger Max-9 Grip Texture
The Ruger Max-9 borrows its grip texture from some other popular Ruger models like the Ruger-57. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/

All the controls are easy enough to access and manipulate with a single hand which is a big plus. I had difficulty dropping the slide on an empty mag but with a round in the mag, I didn’t seem to have any issues. The mags drop free and Ruger ships both a 10 round and 12 round mag with your purchase. 

Check out the other specs below for how this gun stacks up:

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 10+1 or 12+1
  • Barrel Length: 3.2 inches
  • Overall Length: 6 inches
  • Weight: 18.4 ounces
  • Width: 0.95 inches
  • Height: 4.52 inches




The Big Pros of the Max-9

There are a few areas where the Max-9 really wins. The first is the sights that come stock with the gun. This pistol features a black-out rear sight and a really nice fiber optic front sight. The sights are certainly appreciated, and the front sight picks up really quickly when getting on target. On top of being really bright, the front sight is also quite large. This all added up to getting on target quickly and accurately.

Ruger Max-9 Sights
The stock front fiber-optic sight picks up quickly and is really nice. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/

The second big positive the Ruger Max-9 has going for is its red dot ready with options for direct mounting JPoint or Shield Sights mounted optics. While other companies, such as Springfield and Sig, have released micro-compacts that are red dot compatible they come with an additional price tag, whereas the Max-9 is ready to go out of the box.

Ruger Max-9 Sights
Another big plus about the Ruger Max-9 is that it comes red dot ready out of the box with direct mounting options for JPoint and Shield Sights. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/

The last big positive of the Max-9 is the slide serrations. These are again carried over from other popular Ruger staples and I think they are good stock serrations. Are they the best, most aggressive ever? No, but for a budget-friendly pistol, they are really good and more than capable of getting the job done. When compared to the other micro-compacts out there today I think these are the best among the competition.



Trigger Time and the First 100 Rounds

Let’s get to the good stuff, the trigger time. Let me start this by saying that I’ve never been overly impressed by a Ruger trigger, and there have been some that I have downright hated, but then again these are marketed as budget pistols, so I shouldn’t expect the moon. The Max-9 comes in with a trigger that once again isn’t overly impressive but certainly better than the LC9s series of pistols.

There’s a bit of mush to get through at the top of the trigger pull, nothing egregious, but it’s there and should be expected on a budget pistol. Once you hit the wall it breaks cleanly and doesn’t take any effort more than what it took to get through the mush. The reset isn’t the shortest, but it does provide a nice tactile feel and audible click which is always a positive for any concealed carry handgun. The trigger is curved and also features an integrated trigger safety. 

Ruger Max-9 at the range
The first mag at 25 feet proved to be accurate enough. Shooting PMC Bronze124 gr (Photo: Seth Rodgers/

Accuracy for the first 100 rounds was certainly good enough for concealed carry work. While I can group some of the other micro-compacts on the market a little better, I had no issues at all placing groups inside what would be vital areas at 25 feet. This qualifies the Max-9 to be more than accurate enough for concealed carry work right out of the gate. Adding a red dot up top and a little more time with the gun and I think I can get the groups to tighten up a little more.


A hundred rounds aren’t nearly enough for me to definitively say whether I would carry or recommend carrying this gun but it’s enough for a good first impression which is what the Max-9 left me with. If you’re looking for a micro-compact concealed carry pistol with a price that's easy on the wallet, then the Max-9 may just be the gun for you. Stay tuned to as we continue to run this little handgun through its paces. 


revolver barrel loading graphic