TFBTV: Ruger SR9 versus Glock 19 Mud Test:

    Having noticed a recent trend of competitive (sub-$400) pricing with the Ruger SR9, James, a former SR9 owner, buys an SR9 again to revisit the platform.  Coincidentally, James also has a brand new in the box Glock 19, so, in addition to offering his observations about the Ruger SR9 generally, James also has an opportunity to compare the reliability of the two pistols after each is immersed in a bucket of mud. How does the SR9 stack up against the Glock?

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    The full transcription of the video is below …

    – Hey guys, it’s James again for TFB TV.

    So, the other day, I see a Ruger SR9 for $350.

    For those of you that don’t know the SR9, it’s Ruger’s full-size, 17+1 9mm pistol.

    It’s a good gun, I used to have one.

    It has a very low bore-axis, helps with the recoil mitigation.

    It was accurate, it was reliable, sights are pretty good, 17+1 capacity.

    But I sold it, because at the time I had Glocks and SIGs, and the Ruger was kind of redundant, kind of one-off.

    I did like the gun, but seeing this one for $350, and by the way, I’ve noticed that there seem to be a lot of cheap Ruger SR9s around right now.

    So I thought it’d be interesting to maybe take it out here and give it a little test, but to spice things up a little bit, I also have a brand new, in-the-box Glock 19.

    I figure we could stack them up against each other.

    This won’t be a torture test, per se.

    I brought 300 rounds out for each of them.

    This is all, by the way, as with all these TFB TV productions, nobody’s financing us.

    I bought the Glock, I bought the SR9, I bought the ammo out of my own pocket.

    So I figure, bring it out here to the Louisiana swamp and try this Glock 19, brand new, in-the-box, the gold standard for reliability, against this Ruger SR9.

    There’s a bunch of fun stuff out here, we got some nasty mud.

    I think I’m going to gunk these guns up a little bit, shoot them, and document it all, and we’ll see how they perform.

    Since we’re all about fairness here at TFB TV, I think the best way to start this out is with a little non-chlorinated brake cleaner.

    Get all that lube that came from the factory out of these guns, and that copper stuff that comes in the Glock slides.

    We could start from square one and maybe shoot a box or two through these, completely unlubricated, see how they do, and then we’ll go from there.

    Alright guys, first up, we’ve got the Ruger SR9.

    I’m gonna run a box through it.

    Completely dry, no lube, and let’s see how it does.

    Well, there’s the first 17 down.

    Did just fine.

    The trigger actually is great, recoil mitigation’s great.

    Like I said, it has a very low bore-axis.

    I don’t know if I’m right or not, but it feels like the bore-axis is lower than that of the Glock, and that’s a nice touch.

    So, so far, so good.

    Here I am firing the second and third magazine from the first box through the SR9, and I’ve got to say, the trigger, it’s pretty good.

    There’s a little bit of stacking towards the very end, but for the most part, it’s a nice, uniform, crisp pull.

    We’re all familiar with the Glock trigger, and how there’s some slight take-up before that stacking, right at the end of the trigger pull.

    You don’t have that with the Ruger.

    To be perfectly honest, I think I prefer the SR9 trigger.

    But so far, so good.

    50 rounds down, completely dry.

    Let’s get a little muddy.

    Unsurprisingly, the SR9 and the Glock 19, completely dry, all the lube removed with brake cleaner, they performed flawlessly through the first box.

    Now, we’re going to step it up a little bit, and we got some of that.

    There we go.

    We got some good-looking Mississippi mud here.

    Actually, I don’t know what kind of mud this is, it’s just sludge we got out of this pond.

    Probably got some kind of gross skin infection from touching it, but yeah, let’s go ahead.

    This is going to break my heart a little bit, but gonna do it anyways.

    Here we go.

    Ohhh, oooh.

    That’s pretty gross.

    Alright, Ruger.

    Of course, you’re going to check this for bore obstructions, to make sure I don’t blow my hand off whenever I shoot these things.

    Give it a nice little, you know what, I’ll just leave them in there for a second.

    There we go.

    I’m not too optimistic about this.

    The Ruger had a difficult time chambering this first round.

    Let’s see what happens.

    The magazine won’t stay in now.

    (clicking) Nothing.

    Won’t feed.

    Yep, falling apart.

    (chuckling briefly) I’m just going to load this first round manually and we’ll see what happens.

    (clicking) Yeah, this isn’t working.

    Dude, this things (bleep).

    – [Voiceover] You talking to me? – Yeah.

    – [Voiceover] What did you say? – This thing’s (bleep) Alright, so we completely struck out with the SR9, unfortunately.

    It’s really tight.

    That grit really got in there, and I might have to rinse it out.

    The Glock feels like it might be functional.

    The SR9 was (groaning briefly) Wow, that feels terrible.

    The SR9 was in pretty rough shape.

    The slide wouldn’t even reciprocate whenever we got it out.

    Glock’s looking pretty strong.

    It looks like the SR9, at this point, is pretty much toast, unless I completely break it down.

    I might blast it out with more brake cleaner, see if I can get it back in the game, but it looks like it’s done for.

    Let’s go ahead and give this Glock a try.

    (click) Uh, striker fired, but nothing.

    (click) Nothing.

    There it is.

    Got one off, failure to eject, perfect stovepipe.

    (click) There we go, and I think we cycled.

    (click) Nope.

    Alright, we got a round in.

    Failure to feed.

    Failure to feed.

    There we go.

    Fired again, another stovepipe.

    Wonder if we’ll ever get two rounds out of this thing.

    Probably not.

    Oh, oh! It just fed! That was the first time we’ve had two in a row.

    The SR9 I think is dead.

    I sprayed it out with some brake cleaner, sprayed all the guts with some brake cleaner.

    Not exactly the best way to clean up a gun, but I was hoping that it would get some of the gunk out.

    The SR9 is just, she’s refusing to eat and refusing to function.

    Now the Glock, so far, not so far so good, but it’s at least firing.

    Dude, that Glock just went through that.

    – [Voiceover] Nice.

    – [James] The Glock hasn’t been cleaned up at all.

    Okay, the Glock’s been shooting itself clean, for lack of a better term.

    It’s been working, it’s been feeding, and I haven’t done anything to it as far as rinsing it off or putting any oil on it, anything like that.

    You’ve got a question, whether or not there’s a bell curve of performance, where it’s filthy and it starts to shoot itself clean, and then the fowling gets it to taper off in terms of performance.

    After all that, you probably expected me to conclude, “There you have it, once again the Glock proves “that it’s a better gun.” I’m not going to do that.

    In fact, I’m going to split the baby on this one and say, from a pure shooting experience, the SR9 was actually the better gun.

    The ergonomics are better.

    Like I said, subjectively, the recoil mitigation felt better, and almost objectively, the trigger was better.

    It’s a smoother, more uniform trigger than the Glock by a large margin, and that’s just out of the box.

    Of course, there are plenty of after-market options for the Glock.

    I did like shooting the SR9 better, and I feel like if you can get one for under $400, you should do it.

    You should absolutely do it.

    As far as what that test proved with the mud, a lot of you would probably conclude, correctly, that it didn’t prove anything, because we’re talking a sample size of one and a non-scientific test.

    However, it’s my opinion, being familiar with Glocks, being familiar with the SR9, having done this, when you feel that Glock slide rack up positively after you’ve drenched it in mud, whereas the Ruger, you couldn’t even get to cycle, it really reaffirms your faith in that platform, and you see why Glock has that golden reputation for reliability that it does.

    My personal opinion, whether or not it’s with a good basis, is that the Glock is the more reliable gun, and that may matter more to some of you than the better shooting experience that you get out of the SR9.

    On the other hand, the SR9 is, right now, $150, $200 cheaper, and that was really the point of this video, is there were so many of them that were cheap.

    It was somewhat topical, and I think that’s a great buy.

    A few other observations.

    We did about two hours’ worth of video, and the Ruger did eventually start running again, but that was only after we really drenched it with water, with clean water, and sprayed it out with some Rem Oil.

    Then it started working again, whereas the Glock, towards the end of the day, as you saw in that clip, it was shooting full magazines, not being cleaned at all.

    It literally shot the grit out of itself, it shot itself into reliability.

    The big problem for the SR9 was grit in the trigger mechanism.

    The trigger felt like it was about 20 pounds, and then compounding the problem would be grit in the firing pin channel.

    So if you did actually manage to get that trigger mechanism working and get that firing pin to go forward, it would come forward so pitifully that it wouldn’t even put a ding in the primer.

    So those were big problems.

    Also, a really weak point in the SR9, the magazine release.

    I’m going to see if I can put a shot of it in this video, but the magazine release spring is not nearly as robust as the Glock.

    With the Glock, you could get that mag in, it would lock positively into place, you would depress the magazine release, and it would shoot back out.

    It would return to its normal position, whereas with the SR9, if you hit that magazine release, there just wasn’t enough spring pressure for the magazine release to return to its normal position.

    As you saw, I had a comical amount of trouble with the magazine firing the SR9 after it had been dipped in the mud.

    I guess, in conclusion, these are both good guns.

    Ruger as usual, putting out an excellent product and Glock living up to its reputation for utmost reliability.

    You can’t go wrong with either one, but especially with the Ruger prices, the SR9 prices being what they are right now, if you can pick one up for under $400, you’re really getting a steal and I would advise you do it and give it a shot.

    For that cheap, it isn’t like you’re going to be losing money.

    Anyways, thanks for watching, guys.

    I really do appreciate it, and if you like this video, please subscribe, leave comments, whatever.

    If you don’t like this video, then go somewhere else.

    Nah, I’m kidding.

    You can leave your comments to whatever.

    But thanks again for watching, I really do appreciate it and I hope you guys enjoyed the video.

    I’ll see you guys soon.

    James Reeves

    • NRA-licensed concealed weapons instructor, 2012-present
    Maxim Magazine’s MAXIMum Warrior, 2011
    • TFBTV Executive Producer
    • Former Regional Sales Rep, Interstate Arms Corp., MA
    • Champion, Key West Cinco De Mayo Taco Eating Competition
    • GLOCK® Certified Pistol Operator, 2017-2022
    • Lawyer
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