March 15, 2021
By David M. Fortier
The Concealed Carry market is thriving with more people than ever choosing to carry a handgun for personal protection. Ruger carefully researched the market to find out exactly what American’s are looking for in a pistol they intend on carrying to protect themselves and their family. The result is their new 9mm MAX-9 pistol. A light, compact and easy to carry polymer frame pistol, the MAX-9 is well-suited for its intended task. After examining Ruger’s new design I picked out 5 features prospective buyers will want to know about it.
Gone are the days of a full-size steel frame M1911A1 pistol being considered an “ideal” carry gun. Today, your average person interested in personal protection is interested in something smaller, lighter and which holds more cartridges. They want a pistol they can carry all day without noticing they have it with them. At the same time most are looking for a step up from a .380 ACP pocket pistol, and they want more than what a single-stack magazine offers. The Ruger MAX-9 meets these demands. Size-wise it is in the Glock 43 and SIG P365 range, meaning it is compact and easy to carry/conceal. The slide width is just 0.95-inch, so it’s quite narrow. It is fitted with a 3.2-inch barrel, has an overall length of 6 inches and is only 4.5-inches high. Weight comes in at just 18.4 ounces. Overall length is just a tad shorter than a Glock 43 and smidge longer than a SIG P365. One distinct difference between the Ruger MAX-9 and the SIG P365 is the Ruger’s grip fills the hand a bit more. Some people feel the grip on the SIG P365 is just a bit too small, not an issue with the Ruger.
12+1 Magazine Capacity
The downfall of the Glock 43 is its single-stack 6-round magazine. Today people demand more from a compact 9mm than what a typical revolver offers. Ruger responded by providing their MAX-9 with a flush fit 10-round magazine and a slightly longer 12-round magazine. The 12-round mag allows me to wrap my pinky, without it hanging in space. This provides a capacity of 12+1 rounds of 9mm Luger. Personally, I would carry the Ruger MAX-9 with a 12-round mag in the gun and carry a spare 12 rounder. 13 rounds of 9mm should allow you to solve any problem that can be dealt with using a pistol. A spare mag allows you to immediately remedy a malfunction if Murphy rears his ugly head.
Red Dot Ready
Let’s face it, modern shooters are moving towards red dot sights, even on carry pistols. At the least they want that option. Ruger’s MAX-9 is red dot ready out of the box. This is a great option, especially for older shooters who simply cannot see the front sight like they used to. Let’s face it, sooner or later everyone has to deal with this age-related issue. The MAX-9 is equipped with an easily removable plate which allows a red dot sight to be quickly mounted. Better still, you retain your iron sights with the red dot mounted, so you have the best of both worlds. A variety of compact red dot sights can be mounted, adding very little size to the pistol. Overall, this is a nice feature many demand.
Manual Safety, Or Not
Some people prefer a manual safety, some do not, Ruger gives you either option with the MAX-9. Ruger’s MAX-9 3500 comes with an integrated trigger safety, internal striker blocker and an inspection port to visually check the chamber PLUS a manual safety. Many will like the option of having a manual safety. For those who believe a manual safety is a thing of the past, Ruger also offers their MAX-9 3503 without the manual safety. So, you can have it your way.
Tritium Fiber Optic Front Sight
There was a time when sights were an after-thought on small pistols. Some didn’t even come with sights. Those days are long gone. Today’s educated consumer demands good, usable sights on a pistol intended for personal protection. Ruger responded by equipping their MAX-9 with a Tritium Fiber Optic front sight and a plain black drift adjustable rear sight. The green front sight is very quick to pick up in bright daylight. Thanks to its fiber optic it glows brightly. In a lowlight scenario the Tritium glows making it visible. The end result are a set of sights well-suited for personal protection.
I began this article by stating I would list 5 positive points regarding Ruger’s MAX-9. Well, here is a sixth, price. MSRP on the MAX-9 is only $499, so it’s affordable and within reach of your average blue collar worker. For $499 you also get a short, smooth trigger pull with a positive reset, medium-textured grip, cold hammer-forged barrel and a reversible mag release. All in all the Ruger MAX-9 appears to have all the features you would want in a modern pistol intended for conceal carry and personal protection. Watch for a full review coming in the pages of Firearms News magazine. For more information visit www.Ruger.com
Ruger Max-9 Specifications
Caliber: 9mm Luger
Capacity: 10+1 or 12+1
Operation: Short-Recoil, Tilting Barrel
Grip Frame: Glass-filled Nylon
Red Dot Ready: Yes
Front Sight: Tritium Fiber Optic
Rear Sight: Drift Adjustable
OAL: 6 inches
Barrel Length: 3.2 inches
Width: 0.95 inch
Height: 4.5 inches
Finish: Black Oxide
Manual Safety: Available as an option
Manufacturer: Ruger, www.Ruger.com