Tag Archives: Ruger MAX-9

Of My Time with the GX4

Taurus announced the new micro-compact semi-auto pistol, the GX4, in May, billed as an 11+1 shot 9mm that was roughly the size of a traditional .380 pocket gun that had half the capacity. The specs of the polymer-framed striker-fired handgun– 5.8-inches long with the small backstrap installed, about an inch wide, and 4.4-inches high with the flush-fit magazine inserted– put it in the same boat as the Ruger MAX-9, Sig Sauer P365, Smith & Wesson Shield Plus, and Springfield Armory Hellcat line.
I’ve been kicking around the new Taurus GX4 over the past couple of months, having run some 500 rounds through it, and have some things to say about it.

The 11+1 shot Taurus GX4 is definitely compact. Micro compact, you could say.

Ruger May Have Just Changed Pocket Carry Forever

For better or worse, I have practiced pocket carry off and on for almost 30 years. Sure, while in uniform I had a duty holster and a BUG on my ankle because my pockets were tough to get into due to my duty belt, and today I most often carry IWB concealed at about the 3 o’clock position, but I have always thought that pocket carry has its place at times and have defended the practice.

Speaking of this, one of my all-time faves for pocket carry was the S&W Centennial series (Model 642, specifically) but the Ruger LCP got my attention when it came out in 2008. I mean come on, a 9.4-ounce 6+1 .380 that disappeared in your pocket, who wouldn’t like it?

I liked the original LCP so much for pocket carry that I bought one of the early ones in 2009, had it Cerekoted FDE before it was a factory option, and installed Mag-guts spring kits to gain a 7+1 capacity in a flush-fitting mag.

Then came the LCP II a few years ago that changed the profile to make it easier to handle, and added an ounce to the frame and slide, but didn’t change the footprint.

However, the introduction of the current crop of “Micro 9” pistols, double-stack subcompacts– like the Sig P365 or Springfield Hellcat– that carried over 10 rounds in a flush-fitting mag, has swept the carry market.

To that, Ruger has replied with a Micro 380, the new LCP MAX, which is the same rough size as the LCP II, but carries 10+1 rounds in a flush fit or 12+1 rounds in an extended mag, and still fits in a pocket holster.

Nice.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Have $400 and Want a Micro 9 with Change Leftover?

Taurus is looking to take on the big boys with its new micro pistol, which is designed to deliver maximum concealment without sacrificing capacity or ergonomics – the GX4.

Getting the specs out of the way, the 11+1 shot 9mm is the size of popular .380 “pocket guns,” using a 3.06-inch barrel to tape out to a maximum 6.05-inch overall length. The gun is slender, at just over an inch wide, and it is 4.4 inches high at its tallest. The unloaded weight is 18.6 ounces. Fully loaded with 12 rounds of 147-grain JHPs, I found my test gun to hit the scales at 23.9 ounces.

Compared to other recently introduced micro 9s, such as the Ruger MAX-9, Sig Sauer P365, Smith & Wesson Shield Plus, and Springfield Armory Hellcat, the GX4 is a dead ringer as far as size goes. Plus, its flush-fit mags hold one extra round over the Sig or S&W’s comparable magazine while being on par with the Springer and one less than the Ruger.

However, where the GX4 cleans house is the price: $392. That’s the MSRP, meaning that “actual” prices at your local gun store will probably hover closer to “Three Fiddy.” 

More in my column at Guns.com.

The Micro 9 Race is Heating Up

Every 25 years or so, handguns catch a big developmental wave. For instance, the last one prior to modern times occurred with the “Baby” Glocks of 1994, when the company debuted subcompact 10+1 shot pistols to make the most of the federal assault weapon ban. Those guns proved so successful that Glock now makes a subcompact model in all of their calibers– including the only company that makes a 10mm Auto pocket gun– while others have increasingly tried to imitate, duplicate or one-up the concept.

This brings us to 2018 when Sig Sauer brought their new “micro-compact” P365 to SHOT Show. Even smaller than the Glock G26 but with the same magazine capacity, it was a smash. Since then, Springfield Armory has brought their Hellcat to the market, with much the same concept, as had Taurus with the G3C.

Well, on the same day this week, both Ruger and Smith & Wesson announced their own separate P365/Hellcat/G3C competitors, the MAX-9 and the Shield Plus, respectively.

Ruger’s new MAX-9 Pistol, which, importantly, is optics-ready for under $500.

S&W M&P Shield Plus

Here is a snapshot of who they stack up when it comes to specs:

As for how they compare against each other in real life, the jury is still out on that one.