When I first got into guns, Ruger made excellent revolvers and they also made clunky, chunky, inexpensive but dependable semi-auto pistols. They had a semi-auto centerfire rifle that was a copy of the M1/M1A. So, in essence, I thought of them as one of those companies that made classic (read: old semi-outdated designs) guns and had made a half-assed effort at getting into the semi-auto market, but wasn't too interested in it.
Meanwhile, dozens of companies were making light, concealable firearms to meet the demands of the American Public and the building surge of concealed-carry. Ruger wasn't.
Dozens (maybe even hundreds) of companies were getting in on making better modern semi-automatic rifles. Ruger wasn't.
Many companies were getting police and military contracts for duty sidearms. Ruger wasn't.
And it was all because of Bill Ruger, their CEO. Bill was as anti-gun as a CEO of a gun company could really be.
And then Bill Ruger died.
Suddenly, Ruger explodes out of the gate with new MODERN designs. I almost wonder if they'd been designing things in secret behind Bill Ruger's back, preparing for the day when the guy would pass on.
The LCP not only took the gun market by storm, but it made most semi-auto pistol makers rush to develop their own pocket .380 ACP. Not even the recall could dent the public's enthusiasm for it.
The SR-556, while relatively expensive, was an excellent upper-end AR-15.
The SR9/SR40 series has become a credible challenger of the Glock, S&W M&P, and Springfield XD.
The LCR wasn't just modern, it was a design that I felt was too modern for the market; that old codgers would spit and curse at the idea of a "plastic revolver." And, yet, it's been selling well enough that it's become an entire series.
All in all, Bill Ruger dying was about the best thing to happen to the company, as awful as that statement is.
Ruger has a lot going for them, but, IMO, they're still holding themselves back in some ways. Most of their new semi-automatics have the redundant obsolete on/off safety lever. While, yes, there will always be a portion of the market that doesn't understand that there are internal safeties inside the guns, the market has moved beyond putting Fail Levers on guns. I can't imagine what possessed them to put a magazine disconnect on the LC9.
What Ruger needs to do, now, is take themselves a little further into the modern market. Offer a version of their SR9/SR40 and LC9/LC380 without the on/off lever and tout the internal safeties, for example. It's my opinion that the only thing keeping LE agencies from making huge duty weapon deals with Ruger is that on/off lever that could get bumped on. Yes, I know that if an LE agency asks for 100,000 SR9s without on/off levers, Ruger will make them that way for them, but they may not *know* that's an option.