Ruger Charger with red dot sight

Ruger Charger review (9mm)

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First off, let me say that I really enjoyed the Ruger Charger. It was fun to shoot and easy to carry around, since there was no buttstock to get in the way. (Having said that, you could attach a brace – the mount is there).

With dual-magazine capability (Ruger and Glock), you could have a lot of loaded mags at the ready. Add in the long rail on top and any sort of optic could see its way to being installed on the gun.

In terms of similar guns, I like Ruger’s other, longer, 9mm PCC – check my review of Ruger’s 9mm PCC here. It seems that the 9mm cartridge just lends itself to being shot out of firearms other than pistols. I include submachine guns in that group as well…look at the history we have of the 9mm being chambered in the MP40, H&K MP5, the Uzi and myriad others (Wikipedia lists 120 9mm submachine guns from various makers) through the decades. It’s a good balance of power vs. portability. This Charger is no exception. I like the Charger concept – I reviewed H&K’s rimfire version here. The guns are handy and accurate…

This Ruger Charger

So, what about this gun? What does it do that either a pistol or a carbine can’t do? To be honest, not much. The gun is a compromise between a handgun and a long gun. But, it does combine what I consider to be the best features of each type of gun. There’s the portability factor of pistols coupled with the long gun’s longer barrel and its increased sighting options. These combine to make the Charger a winner. Attach a shoulder brace and open it up to even more uses. The gun is definitely handy. I keep saying that – the gun is handy – but what does that mean? Well, I know what I mean when I say it, and it may not be the same for you. All I mean by “handy” is that this gun is readily brought into action, doesn’t weigh much and is easy to get accurate rounds downrange quickly with.

Why buy the Ruger Charger?

We’ve mentioned how easy the gun is to bring into action – now, what about some specific uses for it? I’ve mentioned before that I am a retired guy on a budget so that any guns I buy I have a particular use for. I don’t just buy guns because I have an empty spot in my gun safe. I know guys who buy guns “just because” and I’m fine with that for them, but that’s not me. So, why might we buy this gun?

Plinking. Okay, let’s just get this one out of the way. We all know that many, many guns are purchased for no other reason than to use to ventilate tins cans and for similar activities. Plinking is fun and is how many shooters get their start in the hobby. Nothing wrong with that at all!

Pest Control. Those of you who have read many of my reviews and articles know that I live in the boonies. I’m blessed to have a 100-yard range in my backyard. One venture that my wife and I have gotten into within the past year is raising chickens. We have a couple of coops with a large fenced-in area for our birds to recreate in. We recently added more incentive for the local coyotes and bobcats to visit the yard by adding 20 or so more birds to the mix. Now we have a whole lot of chickens sitting smack-dab in the middle of coyote and bobcat populations. Matter of fact, I have a Diamondback DB9R 9mm AR-15 sitting at the ready, with a green light hanging off the rail for nighttime encounters. The gun is perfect for the task, with its collapsible stock keeping it compact and ready for action. That’s how I see this Charger. Add a shoulder brace and suitable optic and you’re in bidness, as my uncle George used to say. Have a couple of Ruger 17-rounder mags (or, with the Glock insert, a couple of 33-rounders) at the ready and you are set for more than just pests. You are also good to go for the two-legged variety of varmint that may want to do you bodily harm in your home. Pests come in many shapes and forms and the Charger is up to the task of dealing with them.

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Competition. There are some competitions set up for pistol-caliber carbines and similar guns – more today than ever before. The Charger is accurate, and with the proper shoulder brace and optic, you would be set. Again, add in some extra mags, the right hearing protectors and eye wear, ammo and a decent range bag with which to carry it all and you are set. Talk about a fun way to spend an afternoon!

Truck Gun. I have to mention this use for the Charger, since it seems to be a natural for this role. If you are in the habit of carrying a gun in your truck (or other vehicle), the Charger may not be a bad choice. With its slightly-longer barrel than a pistol has, you will benefit from the increased ballistics in case you might have to shoot through your window or whatever. Add in a folding shoulder brace and you basically have the equivalent of a short rifle in a very small package. Fit this package into your vehicle and carry with impunity (where legal, of course).

We’ve briefly looked at four uses for our Charger, and I know that more are out there – you are limited only by your imagination. The point is, a pistol-caliber carbine can be a very versatile firearm…there are several reasons to own one, and if you’re going to own one, you can’t go far wrong with Ruger. Speaking of Ruger, they are America’s largest firearms manufacturer. For a brief history of the Ruger company, check out my review here.

One unique feature that allows this gun to be transported easily is its takedown feature.

Close up shot of underneath the Ruger Charger

Here’s what Ruger says about taking the gun down:

“Easy takedown enables quick separation of the barrel/forend assembly from the action for ease of transportation and storage. Takedown is as simple as locking the bolt back and verifying that the pistol is unloaded, pushing a recessed lever, twisting the subassemblies and pulling them apart.” This would allow you to carry a smaller package in your vehicle, but still have fast access to your gun since it goes together so easily. This is a nice feature and it does work well – they use this on a few different guns and it helps to be able to take them apart easily…

Handguard:M-LOK® Attachment Slots
Capacity:17 (Ruger mags; Glock adapter included)
Weight:5.2 lb.
Barrel Length:6.5", 1:10” twist
Overall Length:16.5"
Stock Option:Takedown
Sights:None, full-length rail included
Trigger Pull:5 lbs., 2 oz.
Barrel Feature:Threaded, ½”-28 pattern
Barrel Material:Alloy Steel
Barrel Finish:Blued
Receiver Material:Aluminum Alloy
Receiver Finish:Type III Hard-Coat Anodized
Suggested Retail:$799.00

Close up shot of the Ruger Charger on the right

Gun, right side. The natural lighting makes the black finish look almost gray, but it’s really black.

Close up shot of the Ruger Charger muzzle

Muzzle with thread protector and hand stop. Add a suppressor for some quiet(er) fun.

Close up shot of the Ruger Charger magazine and Glock adapter

Ruger 17-round magazine in place with Glock mag adapter beside it.

Engraving and rail of the Ruger Charger

Logo engraving.

Close up shot of the left hand side receiver of the Ruger Charger

Receiver, left side. Note the 10/22 style of safety button.

Close up of the shoulder brace attach of the Ruger Charger

Shoulder brace attachment point.

Close up shot of the left side bolt of the Ruger Charger

Position on left side of receiver for bolt handle – it’s moveable for us lefties…

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Shooting the Ruger Charger

It’s a bit difficult to make a case for the accuracy of the guns I review when I am extremely limited when it comes to ammunition. I would like to be able to post shots of target after target, with an accompanying Excel table of velocities, energys, etc. But – alas, it is not to be right now, at least for me. I am fortunate to have some ammo that was sent to me by Fiocchi a while back, which I will use for gun tests as long as I have it. I am thankful to them for what they’ve sent me. And, when the ammo situation gets closer to normal, you might want to check out Fiocchi ammo. It’s not expensive and it’s accurate. Anyway, I shot two loads – the aformentioned Fiocchi load, a 115-grain Training Dynamic FMJ and my venerable favorite 9mm handload. That consists of a cast Lee 124-grain roundnose, powder-coated bullet over 4.8 grains of Long Shot powder. This load has proven to be accurate and consistent.

Here are the 25-yard targets…

Close up of a target shot by the Ruger Charger using a Fiocchi 115-grain Training Dynamic FMJ

Fiocchi 115-grain FMJ – it shot low and right, due to the Tru-Glo Ignite red dot sight I put on the gun for testing. I didn’t want to adjust it to print higher since the gun didn’t belong to me and I just wanted the shots on the paper. Not bad at all!

Target shot by the Ruger Charger with a 9mm handload

My handload.

Both of these loads would bear further experimentation. Once the sight was zeroed to the middle of the target, I could see this gun putting most all of its rounds in the orange square after a little more work. A good rest, some decent ammo and a reliable red dot would set you up for a great range session. I like that Tru-Glo Ignite sight – it’s a 2-MOA red dot with a built-in riser and different levels of brightness. It works well.

One thing that you have to get used to when shooting this gun off a bench without a shoulder brace is that it does feel out of balance, being barrel-heavy since there’s no stock to help balance it. You can get used to it, but you need to be ready for that unbalanced feeling. It’s not very bad but it does make you pay attention to your hold on the gun. In terms of recoil, there is very little. A 9mm round out of a 5-pound gun doesn’t kick much. That’s part of the fun of shooting this gun… you have the noise and punch of a 9mm which is more than what comes from a .22, but it isn’t enough to ruin your day with recoil and blast. I can equate it to the truck I test-drove today – it had Thrush mufflers. The sound of the 5.3 liter engine revving through those mufflers is not unlike the thrill you get shooting a centerfire cartridge in a short-barreled gun – not quite the same as shooting a .308 but more fun than a .22. Just like that Thrush muffler – not the same as a full-blown MagnaFlow system but a bit of, a taste of, some real power and noise. Sorry to combine two separate worlds here but similarities do exist.

Summing Up

Looking for a new 9mm? Want more than a pistol? Why not check out this Charger? It was fun to shoot, seems to be accurate with what ammo I had and is easily brought into action. Add in the modularity that the top rail brings to the table and I think you have a winner. Stick an SB Tactical shoulder brace or other brand on the rear and start popping targets way out there. Or, fold that brace to the side and stick the gun in your car or truck for its trip to the range or plinking field. I think you get it – this is one versatile gun and one that won’t spend much time laying idle on the shooting bench. Once ammo comes back, I’d bet that you would be grabbing this gun more than others in your gun safe when it came time to do a little fun shootin’. This doesn’t take into account the other uses we looked at above. I don’t think you can go wrong with it – it’s reliable, it’s accurate and it’s a Ruger. Do you own one of these? If so, write below and tell us how you use it and what you like about it. As always, keep ‘em in the black and stay safe!

  1. Quite a review Mike. Since the majority of my time’s spent at the indoor range I’m a member of, it may be a while before I see, let alone have opportunity to fire Ruger’s newest offering. PCC’s are a “NO” at our range. It’s a bit frustrating because this gun wouldn’t have the velocity leap a 16″ barrel would have, but rules is rules.
    When I was younger and revolvers were still the bee’s knees, I always wanted to get a Marlin or Winchester in .357 mag. Unfortunately, finances didn’t allow me to, but I’ve always liked the idea of having a carbine or rifle that used the same cartridge as a pistol. The convenience of only having to keep one caliber available for use by either. It just makes sense, especially for homestead/ranch/farm use, or gadding about countryside.
    I like that Ruger’s kept the price modest on the Charger. Before I reached the cost listings you added, I was expecting closer to a grand, so I was pleasantly surprised that I was too high. Incidently, I like that about Sniper Country reviews, it gives a fella an idea of about how much you’ll spend before your jaw hits the counter at the LGS.
    Thabk you

  2. Bemused, too bad you can’t shoot these at your range. It would be nice to own, though. I appreciate your comment about my “real-world” prices – I like to read that in reviews, so I put it out there for my readers. Thanks for writing again!

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