The search for a new gun started with looking for a new carry New Gun Search Problems. Something a little smaller than the ppk/s; thinner mainly. Something I can conceal better when wearing a shirt tucked in. After searching for a while I decided against smaller. The ppk/s is plenty small enough, I enjoy shooting it, and after having it a while I'm not that bad with it.
So the search changed to a larger carry. Something in a 9mm that was larger than the ppk/s but smaller than my M&P9 full size that I could conceal easily under a large t-shirt. There are a lot of pistols that fall in that range so I thought I would spend a little time online looking through a bunch of different makes, narrow it down and then go to the range to rent a few. The online search left me with these: the Ruger SR9, the Ruger SR9c, the Glock 33 (ruled out because of the cost of .357 Sig ammo is crazy), the Glock 26, the Glock 19, and the M&P 9 Compact.
So, in one day I fired the Glock 19, the SR9, and the M&P. Since I couldn't shoot them all, I made the assumption that the 19 would similar in a lot of ways to the 26 and the SR9 would be similar in many ways to the SR9c. My impressions of each:
The Glock and the Ruger have very similar triggers and I like them a lot. Very crisp with a very obvious reset. The Glock trigger pull was a little shorter but, not significant. I liked them more than the M&P trigger; it is very crisp on the pull but not quite as crisp as the other two and the reset is hard to discern. The pull force is similar for all three; the 19 is 5.5lbs, the SR9c is 5.2lbs and the M&P is 6.5lbs. Even though the M&P has a higher force according to the specs, it somehow seemed lighter. For a striker fire carry gun that I would probably carry with the safety off, I actually prefer the harder trigger.
Being used to the smaller ppk/s, I felt that I had a good firm grip on all three. The Glock has a more severe angle from grip to slide and would take a little getting used to. The SR9 is closer to the M&P in that angle and feels better to me; maybe because I have the full size M&P and I am more used to it. The M&P and the Glock 19 (not available with the 26) have the advantage of having the interchangeable back straps to allow you to pick what personally feels better.
All three are good guns and they were accurate at about 10 yards and fired smoothly. Of the three, I thought I would best with the M&P; being used to the gun in its larger version already. I was surprised to find I was more accurate with the SR9. I had the most trouble with the Glock; probably due to the angle of the grip I spoke about earlier. The Glock had the normal "U-dot" and the M&P and Ruger both had fairly large 3-dot sights. All can be changed out for something better like fiber optic sights.
The only one I fired at a longer range was the M&P so I won’t compare on that. But I will note that the M&P was pretty darn accurate at about 20 – 25 yards.
Winner: Ruger (with the M&P a very close second)
All three had very little recoil and were easy to get back on target for a quick follow up shot. I would have expected the M&P to be harsher because of its smaller size but it was not noticeably different. Knowing it will be worse for the smaller 26 and SR9c than in the larger versions that I fired I think the recoil with the M&P is best.
Winner: M&P (until I can fire the 26 and SR9c to compare better)
Model - Length - Width - Height - Weight - Barrel Length
ppk/s - 6.10 - 0.98 - 4.30 - 22.40 - 3.35
SR9 - 7.55 - 1.27 - 5.52 - 26.50 - 4.14
SR9c - 6.85 - 1.27 - 4.61 - 23.40 - 3.50
Glock26 - 6.54 - 1.18 - 4.17 - 19.68 - 3.46
Glock19 - 6.85 - 1.18 - 5.00 - 20.99 - 4.02
Shield - 6.10 - 0.95 - 4.60 - 19.00 - 3.10
M&P9c - 6.70 - 1.20 - 4.30 - 21.70 - 3.50
Based on the specs, the M&P and the SR9c are more what I was looking for.
Winner: the M&P and the SR9c
Glock 19 – $539
Glock 26 – $539
SR9 – $529
SR9c – $529
M&P – $448
Glock 19 – (extended mag available with +2)
Glock 26 – 10 (extended mags available for +1 or +2)
SR9 – Comes with a 10 and a 17 round extended mag
SR9c – Comes with a 10 and a 17 round extended mag
M&P9c – 12
Shield - 7 or 8
I already know the M&P very well. The Glock I have stripped before and it is very easy as well. I’ve only seen the Ruger field stripped in videos and it looks a little more cumbersome but, it doesn’t seem difficult either. I don't think I’ll rate a winner here as I don't see a drastic difference in the three. Since these were rentals they were already pretty dirty and it is hard to tell which was worse after about 50 rounds each.
After watching review videos for a few hours I can tell you something you already knows; all these guns have there fans and their haters. All have folks saying how reliable there gun is as well as people complaining about problems. In the end, all three of these are from reputable makers and will most likely be good, reliable guns and will likely have the customer service to fix any issues.
It’s not the most important factor but, admit it, it matters a little. Let's face it, the Glocks aren't pretty. But there is something attractive to me about a plain gun without a lot of stuff cluttering it up. The M&P looks just like a miniaturized version of the full size and I like the lines and the serrations on the slide are better. The Ruger is very pretty, especially the version with the stainless slide. Only thing I do not like is the loaded chamber indicator; it’s awful. I don’t like the version of this feature where the indicator pops up from the top of the slide; just something else to catch on the holster and it’s ugly. I prefer the peep hole version like on the M&P.
So after all this I decided on the SR9c, just barely above the M&P. It was essentially a tie and I went with the SR9c mainly because I already have 2 S&W pistols, I've never owned a Ruger, and, with the exception of the chamber indicator, I really like the look of the gun. This past weekend I went to the gun show fully intending to make an offer on one. I saw a few and was pricing them. They were marked for anywhere between $469 and $429. I was hoping to get one for about $350.
Then I looked at the new M&P Shield; the gun I was looking at before I decided to go for something bigger. Then I held the Shield. Game over. After all the online research and range time I want the same one I wanted before any of it. The Shield is awesome. It is about an exact miniature of the full size M&P I already have. It is almost the same size as the ppk/s but a little slimmer in the grip and a little lighter. It holds and points beautifully. It is very comfortable in the hand and it’s a 9mm over the .380. Unfortunately the guy at the gun show wouldn't budge from his price, $447. I think I will be able to find it cheaper and since I am still happy with the ppk/s, I can afford to wait a while. Not sure I will be able to now that I know what I want and how nice the gun is, but if I can get it for $100 or so less, it's worth a shot.
A pic of the final choice