Ruger SR40c Review: Powerful Compact Pistol

Ruger SR40c


Like it’s full sized progenitor, the SRC has a low barrel axis to reduce recoil, muzzle flip and improve accuracy.

It also inherited the obvious loaded chamber indicator that is easily visible as well as readable by touch in the dark.

Optional manual safety models were offered as well as blued and stainless slides, but all models were equipped with “Glock type”, or cam style, trigger safety, a recessed “cocked” indicator on the back of the slide and magazine safety, the benefit of which must be determined by the end user alone.

Its biggest benefit remains the price backed by a well known and established company.


There are fewer Ruger after-market products than on the more commonly adopted service pistols.

Ruger’s affordability also tends to ironically work against it when compared to the pistols with more service use and exposure. This does not detract from the quality of the gun, just the public response to it.

The SR series is a vast improvement over the older P series, and the Compact version does a grand job of distilling all the positive features into a smaller package.

Therein lies the rub, it is a compact pistol in .40 S&W. Ruger P series’ reputation for big and clunky would actually be a benefit on the slimmer, smaller pistol in this caliber. At least to those who are recoil sensitive.

While managing recoil rather well, there is no getting around it being a small gun firing one of the more aggressive calibers in standard usage.

This is best for

Someone who has an SR40 but needs something that is smaller. 

All the controls are the same, and the larger magazines may be used with the C. Ruger are still wonderful for shooters on a budget. While there are many affordable polymer pistols available, few have the name, respect, legacy and track record of Ruger.   

Ruger SR40c Review: Look Closer

Like many firearms manufacturers, Ruger offers a “compact” version of its primary sidearm. Not necessarily a “concealed handgun”, in the sense of pocket pistol or the ultra compacts, it offers the same controls and feel of the full size in a more concealable product by simply lopping off a nominal half to full inch on the height and length.

Ruger SR40c - 1

The SR40 was introduced in 2011 for improved concealability yet with the common features, including magazine use, of the full sized pistol. The SR series was hailed for ergonomics, affordability and dependability, yet was never adopted in large numbers by law enforcement. It remained, however, a popular civilian and private security option for its heralded features and the vast improvements over Ruger’s earlier P series of pistols.

The SRs were Ruger’s first striker fired pistols and first to use a polymer frame, departing from the alloy frame and embarking the company on the “Wonder 9” highway: the explosion of lightweight and concealable pistols to answer public demand. The SR40 has all the qualities of its 9mm older but not bigger sibling, though with a marginally wider slide to accommodate the larger cartridge and pressure. Its Compact’s compatibility with the full size made it an attractive concealed carry option for those who already had the full sized model, or for those who simply wanted a smaller option as the compact grip could be augmented with grip extensions on the shorter magazines.

Sight plane

The length of the Ruger SR40c Compact pistol is 6.85” offering approximately 6.5” of a sight radius. This is not designed to be a target gun but a “get off me” gun. However, given its size limitations, such as they may be considered as such, the pistol offers all it can.

Barrel Length

The compact shaves a little over half an inch off the standard barrel and comes in at 3.5”. This inevitably includes the chamber so a 3” length of rifling is the result.

Ruger SR40c - 2

Grip frame size

The reversible backstrap that is offered with the full sized pistol to go from a straight grip to one with a palm swell is also offered for the compact.

Balance of the build

As with most all polymer framed pistols, one of the heaviest components is the slide itself and that is also the part that has the most dramatic movement when firing. This becomes particularly relevant when reducing the overall size of the handgun: there is less for the shooter to hold onto as well as there being less mass to absorb the recoil. Doing so with the more robust (compared to the faster but lighter 9mm and larger but slower.45 acp) .40 S&W cartridge just adds more pepper to the sauce. It is a careful balancing act to have enough weight to soak up the recoil of the cartridge without it being too heavy and creating a type of torque in the hand that can result in sending empty casings into the face of the shooter. The Ruger SR40c, like the SR40, has a slightly wider slide to both accommodate the increase in cartridge diameter as well as pressure which unsurprisingly brings up the weight, but still achieves an impressive balance to maintain as manageable a recoil that can be expected from the .40 S&W cartridge in a smaller platform.

Ruger SR40c - 3

Sight choices and accessory options

Unlike many compact versions of standard for “duty” or service grade pistols, the Ruger SR40c offers the same accessory rail for lighting options that comes standard on the full sized models. There are also aftermarket options, albeit not many, for sight replacements, including the installation of a reflex sight which would completely nullify the point of having a concealable, or “compact”, pistol, and different trigger models.


The Ruger SR40c magazine is 9 rounds though the pistol is capable of feeding off the standard SR40 magazines of 15 rounds. In restricted areas, the gun can ship with two 9 round magazines with optional extended base plates to give the shooter’s pinky a place to relax. It should be a given that such extension comes at a cost of extending the length of the grip and detracting from the pistol’s overall concealability, however.


Rugers can be trusted to work. That has remained a company rule, it seems and a standard acceptance among the firearms industry. A compact .40 is not purchased for plinking or target shooting, but because it is a hard hitting caliber in the smallest size possible. This must be balanced with as much comfort as possible while maintaining the ability to safely fire the robust caliber. The Ruger SR40C does that successfully for a reasonable price. That makes it an ideal back up piece from any perspective.

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