The New Ruger 9E… A Low-Cost Ruger SR9

Based heavily on its higher-end cousin, the SR9, the company has announced the release of the full-size Ruger 9E 9mm handgun. The visual differences between the two models are subtle, but if you take a close look we can see how Ruger squeezed $100 off the MSRP.

As a gun company, you can reduce costs by typically two methods: materials and/or machining. Looking at the changes from the SR9, Ruger used both for the 9E. The most obvious change is the slide serrations. The 9E has wider cuts requiring less machine time. Second up is the sights. The 9E uses smaller dovetails (again, less machine time). On the subtle side, the slides are only available as a matte “Black Oxide” finish instead of the more robust (and expensive) semi-gloss Black Nitride finish. Finally,  Ruger no longer has a loaded chamber indicator, now opting for a small visual-inspection port.

The 9E

The 9E

The SR9 for comparison. The differences are minor.

The SR9 for comparison. The differences are minor.

Internally, many of the components are shared with the SR9. To hit cost targets, Ruger further removes small accessories and a magazine (the 9E only includes one). The loading tool is gone and the pistol does not ship in a hard plastic case, instead using cardboard.

You can see the cut into the chamber to inspect if the pistol is loaded.

You can see the cut into the chamber to inspect if the pistol is loaded.

The 9E is available in standard 17+1 and state-compliant 10+1 configurations, sharing magazines with the SR9. The pistols are already loaded in the major distributor’s systems (I checked, but all out of stock) with an MSRP of $429. Looking at dealer price, expect a street price around $350.

The 9E keeps the reversible backstrap. It can be flat or raised.

The 9E keeps the reversible backstrap. It can be flat or raised.

The 9E is not yet California or Maryland approved, but I would expect it will be soon with reduced-capacity magazines and (user removable) magazine disconnect.


Slide Material: Alloy Steel Slide Finish: Black Oxide
Grip Frame: Black, High Performance, Glass-Filled Nylon Sights: 3-Dot
Barrel Length: 4.14″ Overall Length: 7.50″
Height: 5.53″ Width: 1.27″
Weight: 27.20 oz. Capacity: 17+1
Twist: 1:10″ RH Grooves: 6
MA Approved & Certified: No CA Approved: No
Magazines Included: One Suggested Retail: $429.00

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • John

    Was kinda hoping they’d get rid of that manual safety and go the way of a glock

    • Jon R.

      That was the first thing that came to my mind when I read the title of the article.

      • Mark N.

        And as a result the number of guns on the California is steadily dropping, now down to 986 revolvers and pistols. Ruger is one of the most vociferous opponents of the microstamping mandate, as the California DOJ has now decided that any “material” change in a firearm includes a change in the material from which a component is made. Consequently, a cost saving measure of changing a component from forged to MIM means that a gun is required to incorporate microstamping tech. The California Attorney General, Kamala Harrris, is a dyed in the wool gun banner, and the microstamping mandate is one of several measures she has imposed to limit the availability of firearms. The NSSF has filed an action (in which Ruger and S&W are parties) challenging microstamping, but their motion for preliminary injunction was denied because the plaintiffs had not demonstrated that it was “impossible” to comply with the mandate.

        • Sulaco

          So CA cops will not be able to get guns either, right? snark

          • Nick

            I realize you were probably joking, but I think the cops are exempt from a lot of the gun laws in california. Like they don’t have to comply with the microstamping.

          • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

            It’s one of the reasons the politicians in CA are able to pass the gun control measures that they do. Any time they don’t exempt LEO’s, you have massive opposition to the laws, so they just exempt them every time and the LEO groups shut up.

            Sadly, it means those groups are not on our side. As long as they get their exemptions they couldn’t care less what gun control BS gets passed in CA.

          • Nick

            It really sucks that you guys have to deal with stuff like this. I’ve never understood how they can all justify these things to themselves. When you look at the gun legislature in california logically, it all falls apart. When statistics directly from the justice department says that about 10% of violent crimes are committed with firearms and then of those, 98% of the guns used are unregistered, there’s really no way microstamping could aid the police. It would just create more confusion and more shit for them to go through to reach a dead end. On top of that, the guy who invented microstamping says it’s ineffective. To base policy on a technique that the creator admits is stupid takes things to a whole other level.

          • Cymond

            Yup, and it just proves that the banners are never satisfied. The national-level politicians say they want us to be “reasonable” about “common sense” legislation. We already have that “common sense” stuff in CA, but the banners just keep pushing. It’s a great example to throw up to the opposition, to prove that we’re not just fighting against today’s issue but against the issue we KNOW they’ll throw at us next.
            Sorry, I stumbled pretty deep into politics there.

          • Cymond

            Correct. Microstamping is just one part of the ‘Safe Handgun Roster’. Law Enforcement Officers are exempt from the roster, even for personal purchases. Fortunately, we can still legally acquire off-roster pistols through various methods.

          • Nick

            Wait, you’re serious? They can buy PERSONAL guns that don’t have to meet those requirements? that’s serious bullshit. I don’t understand why people place LE on a pedestal. They’re the same as every other average joe, they just happen to have a badge. It doesn’t make them any less prone to human reactions to situations or mean they’re capable of the same bad shit that everyone else is.

    • valorius

      I like a manual safety.

      • Cymond

        I do too, but I handled an SR9 when they first came out and were being hyped heavily. Something about the shape and placement of the safety bothered me when racking the slide.
        In the end, I bought a Springfield XDM-9 which was also new and heavily hyped. It was a bit heavy compared to some guns but it felt the best to me by far. Since then I have also purchased a 9mm STI Spartan which felt great and was super accurate, but it was only reliable when clean, greased, and fed the right ammo. I moved to California traded the Spartan for a Glock 34. It feels archaic compared to the XDM, but at least I’m allowed to have it’s 10-round magazines here.
        My personal ideal pistol would have the trigger and thumb safety of a 1911 without being so frickin picky. It was a great pistol back then, but modern guns are more reliable and more affordable.

  • john huscio

    Why? The sr9 was already a $350-450 gun (if that).

    • Paul White

      around here they retail at about 425-450+ tax.

    • BlindBatG34 .

      My first thought was, “When has the SR9 ever been considered an expensive gun?” The SR9 is averaging right around $400 buy it now on Gunbroker. I actually like the looks of the 9e serrations over the SR9 and good riddance to the hideously ugly, red “LOADED WHEN UP… NO REALLY IT IS, NOT IN THE COOPER SENSE, THERE’S ACTUALLY A ROUND IN THE CHAMBER” indicator. The rear sight looks better than the SR9’s weird adjustable monstrosity. Too bad they kept the rear dots and changed the dovetail. It would have been nice if the SR9 aftermarket sights fit the 9e. Why is it so hard for gun makers just to install Heinie Slant style sights. Does anyone who has shot more than 50 rounds actually like the 3 dot system?

      • HSR47

        I’m no machinist, but the rear sight on the new model looks a LOT like a Novak cut….

        If it is, it would seem to be a HUGE improvement to me.

    • Xyz

      May be in a month or two this will be a sub $275 Gun. At that price why buy a high point.

      • Aaron Brooks

        Just saw one available for $300 shipped. Sounds pretty damned good to me!

  • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

    You will never see this in a CA-compliant configuration. Besides the lack of a loaded chamber indicator, it does not have the microstamping also required by CA law.

    • Guest

      Actually it does have a loaded chamber indicator. There is a bar on the top of the slide that lifts up when there is a round in the chamber… Now microstamping, thats a whole different beast to comply with.

      • avconsumer2

        “Finally, Ruger no longer has a loaded chamber indicator, now opting for a small visual-inspection port.”

        So, you’re saying it does actually have a loaded chamber indicator?

      • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

        The article flat out states that it does not have a loaded chamber indicator. It has an “inspection hole/port”. That would not been the CA legal requirements as a loaded chamber indicator.

      • Nick

        Even if it did, it still wouldn’t be sold in california. Ruger and Smith and Wesson are ending futurer sales in the state of California thanks to the whole microstamping legislation, I believe. It would suck to live in California right now…

        • valorius

          People should move to america.

        • Cymond

          Ruger and S&W are not exactly ending sales voluntarily, from what I understand. The problem comes from each small revision they make to their guns. California interprets those as significant changes and requires the gun to be resubmitted for approval. Of course, approval is impossible with the new microstamping requirement. The end result is that Ruger and S&W guns are being rapidly removed from the roster by CA bureaucracy.

          • Nick

            That’s my understanding as well. In truth, I doubt they’ll be the last gun manufacturers to make this decision. The bastard legislators might actually get what they want this time and drive all the manufacturers out of CA. Shortly to follow will be people moving out of state to find somewhere with more reasonable laws, I hope. Either way it should be interesting to see how this all plays out. If that does happen, I’ll be curious to see how they scramble to undo the damage and bring people back/make everyone happy again. I just feel bad for the people who have to live there right now. I wouldn’t want to live there.

    • FourString

      “Implementation of AB 1471 is currently on hold pending investigations into the feasibility of microstamping and patent encumberment.” Microstamping is not enforced atm in CA i think

      • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

        The DOJ in California officially declared that the microstamping requirement is no longer incumbered by the patent/technology hurdle and it is now law. It is no longer on hold. This is as of May 17th 2013.

        • FourString

          Well fuck.

        • Abraham Collins

          Someone will sue California and win. This is a defacto pistol ban.

    • FourString

      Agreed on the LCI though. You’d have to SSE this into the state

  • raz-0

    SO lets see. the slide is faceted rather than radiused. Which is a good thing if it is actually lighter due to less reciprocating mass.

    Ditched a useless loading tool.

    Looks like it might actually be a supported dovetail for the rear sight.

    Ditched the loaded chamber doohickey.

    Bigger more pronounced serrations.

    Looks like they might have actually improved it a bit IMO.

    • Paul White

      I’m debating picking one up just to so my wife has a full sized 9mm. Was thinking of a CZ 75 but if this is really 250 dollars cheaper but still decent….

      • avconsumer2

        SR9c is also heaps of fun to shoot. Throw a few downrange on one of those if you get a chance.

        • Paul White

          I use one as my EDC 🙂 And you’re right, they’re a *lot* of fun.

        • Bill

          I can’t speak for the SR9, having never shot one, but I can vouch for the SR40C my brother recently purchased as his new summertime CCW. Darned thing shoots like a house on fire. FAR more accurate than any other .40 I’ve fired. 100% reliable so far. Beyond the too small safety (for me), it’s a great little boomer.

      • Dan Atwater

        Gotta go with the CZ on that one.

    • avconsumer2

      I actually used the loading tool often on those new mags till that spring loosened up a bit. Just heaps easier/faster.

      • HSR47

        Personally, I find the UpLULA to be a much better and more versatile tool…

      • BuzzKillington

        Just get yourself an UpLula and it will be good for any handgun magazine you’ll ever use. No more relying on multiple, simple mag-specific loaders.

    • Cymond

      They also ditched the hard plastic case that most people throw in a closet and never use again.

    • Ross

      I just purchased a 9E today, it is a heck of a gun. I have now shot both sr9 and a 9e ……. Both great guns

    • Tony

      I think it’s around an oz. heavier. And shhhh! If you go around saying it’s actually an improvement, they’ll raise the price. And I agree with you, though.

    • MikeDH

      I concur

  • Zachary marrs

    If they could get rid of that glock trigger, that would be perfect, it would also reduce cost

  • justme

    Not too shabby Ruger.

  • Laserbait
  • Adam

    “Everything you need (except spare magazines), nothing you don’t” (except a mag disconnect, manual thumb safety, and internal key lock)


    • HSR47


      It sounds like they’re also using an inferior slide coating….

    • sauerquint

      If you want a glock, buy a glock, this isn’t a glock.
      glock glock glock

      • Adam

        A dislike of superfluous features and needless complexity does not a Glock fanboy make.

    • Geodkyt

      Of course, some people LIKE having a manual safety (especially on striker fired guns) and the magazine disconnect was purley a “lawyer mod” and apparently expressly DESIGNED to be removed “for cleaning” (and the gun will function just fine without it).

  • PatrickHenry1789

    I chose the SR9c over the Glock. I liked the way the Ruger felt in my hand that much better.I had a P89 that I sold to buy the SR9c. It was a good shooter and very reliable as well. It was just way to heavy to suit me, and didn’t fit my hand near as good as the SR. Accuracy is WAY better with the SR9c. It has performed flawlessly every time I’ve been to the range with it..

  • Lt Donn

    For 350 I would rather have a police trade-in Glock-19…but Ruger makes a good “clone”

  • Kevin Hebden

    Wait! No chamber loaded flipper?! SOLD!

    Seriously! that worthless extra tab of metal that got in my way* has kept me from getting an SR9 for years!

    *I shoot two-eyes open, thus I can see silly things that are supposed to be covered by the rear sight. Also, an extra “feature” that tells me what I already know is worthless to me.

    • Geodkyt

      I wonder if you can buy the slides seperately in a few years. . . I’ll bet they drop RIGHT on a standard SR9. . .

      As for people complaining about the “cheap” finish, keep in mind that the “cheap” finish is probably more protective than a “quality” bluing job from only 25 years ago.

      If you want pretty, buy pretty. This isn’t intended to be pretty.

      And no, I’m not a fanboi — I like Ruger’s 10/22, MkII and MkIII .22 pistols, and their way overbuilt magnum DA revolvers. Their centerfire semiautos leave me all, “Meh.” Generally damned good guns, but they do nothing for me – just like Glocks.

      • Kevin Hebden

        I agree about the finish, it’s plenty pretty. It seems like it has the same finish as my LCP.

        While you may not be a Ruger fanboi, I am. I own plenty of their products and I wanted a full size pistol to go along with them. Though, when the SR9 came out, I felt insulted that Ruger had included such a nasty “feature” as a chamber loaded “Safety cone”; a “feature” that would tell me something that I’d already know for a pistol that would spend its time as a defensive arm/competition pistol/range toy. There is no room in my life for a “feature” that reminds me of the fact that my pistol is almost always loaded. It’s always loaded… Done!

        • Jim

          It is VERY easy to file down and it will never bother you again. I actually like it.

    • Abraham Collins

      I took a file to my chamber indicator so it doesn’t pop up any more. It’s so stupid.

      • Kevin Hebden

        Well, that’s all well and good. Removing the problem is never a bad idea. My issue that there was a problem in the first place. That was the main issue that I refused to buy an SR9 in the first place; and that was a hard choice because I was watching the development of the SR9 for some time. It seemed to be the perfect answer to the Glock, which I dislike, up until Ruger had the silly idea to add such garbage as a pointless feature to appease the gun apologists that are sad to admit that we have the rights to own private property.

        Now that the “Discount” version without such nonsense is available, I’m now saving up for it as I type this. This is the version I was waiting for for many years now.

        • Jim

          Ut-o, watch out. I like the LCI !!

  • valorius

    I’m imtrigued….if they come out with a low cost version of the sr9c, im in!

  • Chris

    For a minute I thought the image showed a new larger model of the Ruger SR22 pistol. I recently got mine out to a private range and very quickly fell in love with Ruger’s little .22. It’s my favorite gun to shoot by far now. If they made a long slide/target version I’d buy that in a heart beat.

  • hoplophobiadoc

    Ruger took out that second blade sight above the breech face? I was just learning to shoot well with that thingy. What will they take off next? …….That tiny tongue sticking at the shooter before it fires?

  • Mark

    The slide on the 9E is heavier than on the SR9, as less metal is machined off.

  • Abraham Collins

    If they would have omitted the manual safety I’d make the jump. With it on there it’s nothing more than a range toy.

  • mongo

    I don’t see the point of the E version, By the time you buy a spare mag and get a case for it you just about spend what the regular SR9 costs.

  • spauldo33

    Just got mine a week ago, put 100 rounds through it with no problem. Smooth, accurate and fun to shoot. This is my first pistol and I am very pleased with how it felt in my hand. It just felt, well, right. Always knew Ruger was a quality gun and reasonably priced. Even better since my dad works there and got me his almost 50% off discount.