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With its compact size and high capacity, the Ruger Security-9 is an excellent choice for everyday concealed carry. Its hammer-fired mechanism makes its slide more manageable when racking than that of a striker-fired pistol. And there is more. It also has some additional qualities that may make it appealing to many shooters.
Today, we’re going to take a look at the Ruger Security-9 and give you our thoughts on it. We will discuss its features, design, and accuracy. Now, let’s get started.
Ruger Security-9 Pistol Pros and Cons
- Reliable: Its size and clever design makes it an excellent gun to use for concealed carry or home defense.
- Accurate: The big sights and decent trigger makes it capable of defensive use.
- Easy to Use: It’s a great beginner gun as it features simple controls, and easy maintenance.
- Affordable: It costs less than $400, and has plenty of features for the money.
- Ergonomic: It provides usable grips that can keep your hands steady on the gun while you shoot. However, the grips could be more textured.
The Security-9 came out on December 2017. It was popular among shooters right from the start. Ruger took their LCP II action with its enclosed hammer (not really internal, as you can look at the back of the slide and watch it operate as you pull the trigger) and what they call their Secure Action fire control system and put those into a slightly larger gun and chambered it in 9mm.
They have since gone on to make a compact version of the Security-9 with a 3.4″ barrel and 10+1 capacity. The Security-9 is a hammer-fired, compact 9mm. Sporting a 15+1 round capacity, the pistol is aimed at the concealed-carry crowd. Essentially the same size as the venerable Glock 19, the Security-9 is a continuation of Ruger’s Security appellation from the 1970s.
The Security-Six was Ruger’s initial entry into the double-action revolver business and was made from 1972 to 1988. It was produced in both .38 Special (photo below) and .357 Magnum, in different barrel lengths with either a square or round butt frame. You could get one in blue or stainless.
Aimed at the various police, military, security agency, and civilian markets, the gun was popular and sold decently. The gun utilized a one-piece frame which made it a bit stronger than guns with removable side plates, according to some I’ve talked to. The Security Six was also the basis for the Ruger Redhawk, which came along in 1980. It was used by several governmental agencies including the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Postal Service, the Border Patrol, and several police agencies.
Civilians bought a bunch of them, as well. The gun was built to be strong and was priced in such a way that law enforcement and other agencies could afford it. After determining that some of the .357-chambered Sixes were being worn out prematurely by steady use of .357 Magnum ammunition, Ruger went the next step and designed the Six’s replacement, the GP-100.
The GP-100 was built in such a way that continuous use of .357 Magnum ammo would not shoot it loose prematurely. (Most shooters who own .357 Magnum revolvers practice with the cheaper, less-powerful .38 Special cartridge. This is easier on both the gun and the shooter). The built-like-a-tank GP-100 revolver is in production to this day and is a premium revolver at a premium price.
Now that we know a little bit of the Security name backstory, we see that the Security-9 is a semi-automatic update to Ruger’s tough Security-Six .357 Magnum revolver line — a well-built utilitarian gun for the working man or woman that is reliable and won’t break the bank. The Security-9 fills that niche quite well as it updates the Security moniker and takes it into the 21st century.
Before we go any deeper with our Security-9, let’s check the specs. I’ve also included some of the Glock 19’s numbers, just for the sake of comparison since both guns are meant to fill the compact-but-not-too-small 9mm carry gun role.
Ruger Security-9 Review: Specs
|Caliber:||9mm +P (limited use of higher-pressure ammo; see below)|
|Width (Slide):||1.02" (measured)|
|Weight:||24.3 oz. (weight on my digital scale)|
|Capacity:||15+1, 2 alloy steel magazines|
|Action:||Pre-cocked, hammer-fired double-action-only|
|Trigger Pull Weight:||5 lbs., 6 oz. (measured)|
|Safeties:||Trigger blade; manual thumb lever hinged at the front; hammer catch to only allow firing when hammer is pulled|
|Barrel:||4", alloy steel, blued finish|
|Grip Frame:||High-performance, glass-filled nylon with full-length guide rails; three-slot Picatinny rail|
|Slide:||Through-hardened alloy steel, black oxide finish with forward serrations|
|Sights:||Steel; dovetailed high-visibility interchangeable sights with drift-adjustable, white-outlined U-notch rear; white-dot front; night sights and fiber optic sights available|
|Other:||Viridian E-Series red laser; lifetime warranty; no ambidextrous controls|
And, by way of comparison with the Gen 5 Glock 19:
|Glock 19||Ruger Security-9|
|Weight Unloaded:||23.99 oz.||23.75 oz.|
In terms of +P ammunition, Ruger doesn’t specifically tell you not to use it in their owner’s manual but they do warn you about some types of ammunition:
This is disclaimer is fairly standard among pistol manufacturers. Just use some common sense and you should be fine.
Ruger Security-9 Review: Range Report
I shot the pistol at my backyard range, both from a bench and standing. The gun handles like a dream. It’s ergonomic, so it’s quite pleasant to hold and shoot.
However, there is one area that I believe could be improved upon, though. Before you shoot a gun, you pick it up. When I first pick up the Security-9 before I shoot it, I find one area that I think might need a little attention: grip texture. The grip is textured, somewhat — I could use more tractability here. If anyone has handled or shot the new Taurus G3c, either full-size or compact, the grip texture on those guns stands out.
Roughly akin to 400-grit sandpaper, your hands don’t move once you’ve locked them onto the gun. Another real-world example of decent grip texturing from the factory is the Sig P365. That little gun has usable texturing without going over the top. By way of explanation, I like rough grips. I tend to stipple polymer grips that don’t make the grade in terms of abrasion. If you could sand a 2×4 with your pistol’s grip, then that grip’s just about right for me. The Ruger could stand to be a little more aggressive in the texture department, to suit my taste.
The Security-9 follows the current pattern of texturing that Ruger has applied to several of its newer-model pistols. The six-panel textured areas on Ruger’s grips are well done and are placed right. They just need to be a bit stickier, in my opinion. At any rate, that is a subjective call as not everybody wants their pistol grip to feel like skateboard tape on steroids.
Ruger Security-9 Review: Ammunition Notes
If you’ve read many of my 9mm gun reviews, you know that I like my home-cast Lee 124-grain powder-coated round-nose bullet over 4.8 grains of Hodgdon’s Long Shot powder (here is a guide on handgun powers).
This shotgun powder works very well as as a mid-burning-rate pistol powder, like other powders that originated for shotguns but work as well or better for handguns. That load is of the target or practice variety, in terms of velocity. It pushes the Lee bullet to 1003 fps out of my Taurus G3c’s 3.26-inch barrel, and gets closer to 1100 fps out of a longer barrel. It is accurate, and economical to put together.
One factory load I shot was from Fiocchi, a 115-grain FMJ load. I am truly pleased with Fiocchi ammo, overall. I learned, when I researched the brand for my review, that they make all sorts of shotgun, handgun and rifle ammo in many calibers, and not just rimfire. Plus, everything they make for the American market is made here in the U.S.
The third load I tried was the Winchester white box 115-grain FMJ, which is usually a decent performer. The gun did alright in the accuracy department. Although not a tack-driver, the gun displayed more than enough potential accuracy for its intended role. Also, I admit to not being the best shot. A more-capable pistolero could no doubt improve upon the targets I show here. So, the gun was not the issue.
Ruger Security-9 Review: Sights & the Laser Effect
I specifically requested a Security-9 with a laser. You can get the gun in one of several variations, so I opted for the laser model. The Viridian laser helps. The bright red dot sure helps direct your sight to the target and the specific impact point you’re aiming at. It allows your eyes to concentrate on one plane, not two. This one’s red light is bright. Usually, a red laser doesn’t show up as well as a green one in daylight but this one was visible to around 20 yards in daylight.
The stock sights are patterned after standard Glock sights. Here are a couple of shots of the Glock sights and then the Security-9’s.
As you can see, the Ruger sights are very similar to the ones on the Glock. They are very usable, but the laser helps older eyes focus quickly on the target’s aiming point. I tried to focus on the Glock front sight and the Ruger rear, for what it’s worth. The sights are nearly identical. The only thing about this type of sight is that the goal post is pretty wide. These sights are not made for precision shooting, but for quick sight acquisition and sight picture.
Ruger Security-9 Review: Thumb Safety
Ruger’s thumb safety works a bit differently than what you might be used to. It’s hinged at the front, not the rear. (If you don’t want to muck about with a thumb safety at all, buy the Pro model — you get no thumb safety and an extra, 3rd, magazine with it). Here are a couple of shots of the safety. I’ve taken the slide off to make the lever more visible.
As long as you’re clued into the fact that it works backward, you’ll be good to go. It did take a law-enforcement-type friend of mine a minute or two to figure it out. If you’re not a thumb safety fan, order one without it.
Ruger Security-9 Review: Photos
Here are some photos I took of the Ruger. I tend to take the same types of photos for each gun I review — I figure that way, if you wanted to compare, say, the underside of the slide of Gun A with that of Gun B, it’s an easy comparison. Here you go.
Ruger Security-9 Review: Shooting Impressions
In terms of how the gun shot, I was generally pleased. I do not have a large stash of factory 9mm ammo lying around during these lean times at the ammo counter, so I had to make do. Also, Icould not shoot target after target because I just don’t have the ammo to do that. I do reload, though, so I tried my favorite 9mm load.
Overall, I was happy with the Security-9. There were a couple of areas or characteristics of the gun that I felt could be improved on or changed that become apparent when you shoot it. I’ve already mentioned the grip texturing issue. Also, the wide-open, coarse sights didn’t contribute to fine-point accuracy, but since this is a carry gun (don’t forget to check out our self-defense insurance guide) that is a moot point. Also, other sighting options are available from the factory.
Now, let’s look at some targets. I’ve never had a Ruger not put lead downrange in a less-than-acceptable way and this gun was no exception. I shot these at 20 yards.
So, we see that I am no Jerry Michulek or_________ ________ (insert your favorite shooter’s name here). One takeaway from this is that if I had more types and brands of ammo to try, I would have undoubtedly found a load that shot a tighter group closer to the point of aim. I didn’t use the laser, as it was way out of adjustment at the distance I shot and I didn’t want to shoot a lot of ammo trying to sight it in.
If I had a Ransom Rest or similar, I could lock the gun in and shoot a few shots. I then would be able to follow the shots, moving the laser to coincide with the holes in the paper (if I could reach the adjustment screws with the gun secured in the rest). That saves ammo, but I didn’t have a way of locking the gun down. The gun would be a shooter with the right ammo. The Rugers I’ve owned have not had a problem in terms of accuracy.
Ruger Security-9 Review: Takedown
After shooting, I took the gun apart to clean it as I do with any gun I shoot. In terms of takedown, this gun and the LC9/ EC9/ LCP IIs all use a removable takedown pin. You must use a cartridge rim or (preferably) a screwdriver to pry the pin out of the gun, and when it comes out, it really comes out, all the way — it is not captured.
The pin is small and would be easy to lose. In my recent review of the Ruger LCP II. 22 LR pistol, I mentioned this issue. I wish Ruger would do away with the loose pin and install either a swinging takedown lever like Sig uses, or at least use Glock-style takedown tabs. You shouldn’t have to hunt some tool or other to use to take your pistol apart in order to clean it.
Here’s a bit from its owner’s manual.
Not scratching the slide is the key. You may want to invest in that armorer’s tool (or something like a stiff plastic screwdriver) to keep your slide in pristine condition.
With the Security-9, you don’t have to pull the trigger to separate the slide from the frame. The take-down process is not hard — I just wish you didn’t have to pull a pin totally out of the gun in order to take it apart. It’s not a deal-breaker. So, just watch what you’re doing and hang on to that pin.
Speaking of takedown, here’s the drill.
- Remove the magazine and double-check the chamber — make sure it’s empty.
- Pull the slide back a tiny bit — line up the takedown pin with its relief cut in the slide.
- Using your screwdriver, pry the pin loose and then pull it out. (see illustration above)
- Slide the slide forward, and separate the barrel and recoil spring. Clean away.
- To reassemble, reverse the process. Just make sure you have the pin lined up properly.
Ruger Security-9 Review: Wrap Up
Ruger has established a reputation over the years for good, serviceable firearms built tough. I do know (firsthand) that the Ruger American pistol is one tough hombre due to my experiences with one of those guns and I see nothing less in the Security-9.
If you are looking for a 15-or-so round 9mm pistol and are on a budget, there are several guns out there that fill that requirement. This Ruger, the new Stoeger STR-9, Walther’s PPQ, Taurus G3 (or G3c with extended magazine) and others.
If you are able to go up a bit in price, that brings in the Glocks, Springfields, S&Ws, etc. We have never had so many really nice guns available for such reasonable prices — this is truly a golden age for pistols. If you are on a fairly strict budget and you’re a fan of Ruger’s quality and reputation, then there’s a gun for you that fits those criteria — the Security-9.
If you have one, please feel free to comment below. As always, keep them in the black and stay safe.
Had a Ruger security six.357 many years ago, bought it not long after I got out of the Army. Paid around a $150 for it, (used). It was during the time that police departments were starting to switch to wonder 9s, lotta good deals on used wheel guns. ( Although now that I think about it, that was about a month’s rent, at the time). No longer have it, and really wish I did. Great pistol, very accurate, totally reliable, tough as hell. Coulda hammered nails with it.
Steve, yeah, I remember how tough those guns were. And, you’re right – there were lots of great deals on wheelguns back then when police switched to semi-autos. Thanks for writing!
Mike, thank you for your usual comprehensive review, in this instance of the Ruger Security 9. I do not own this pistol, but I want to explain why I did not choose it. I own a dozen Ruger handguns, nine of them revolvers. I was interested in a Ruger 9mm compact pistol and investigated the Security 9. Although Ruger has impeccable customer service, and their firearms are typically overbuilt, the Security 9 is not fabricated for a steady diet of 9mm +P ammo. Additionally, I was not enamored that the field stripping process was similar to my Ruger EC9 with the non-captive pin that must be pried out of the body before removing the slide. I found the Ruger American 9mm Compact to be a better choice for me. At the time it was only $30 more than the Security 9, offered a captive lever for field stripping, and was rated for continuous 9mm =P ammunition. Additionally, with an extended included magazine, it held 17 = 1 in a very concealable package. As such, I opted for the Ruger American 9mm Compact (I also own the Ruger American duty sized semi-auto in .45acp with a single stack 10 round mag, and was impressed with the construction of this series). There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the Security 9. But if one desires a more robustly constructed pistol from the same manufacturer, the Ruger American is the better choice.
John, I agree. Many pistols accept +P ammo but their owner’s manuals will tell you to use it sparingly. I had an American – it was really tough. I can see why you like it. I appreciate your comments!
I agree with you on the gun it is my ever day carrie and so far I have been lucky not to lose my take down pin but when I clean I usually have several to do so I have my area well organized but I do see the possibility of it getting lost that said I enjoy mine very much and for the price paid well that just makes it better. Thanks for the article
William, sounds like you’re organized enough to not lose the pin. I just wish Ruger would do something different than use that pin. Thanks for writing!
I was wondering if they make magazine extensions for these and if so what brand/model works the best? I’d like to get a +5 but anything will work as I just want more then 10rds?The configuration I ended up with runs 10rd mags?So that’s what I got since I didn’t see any at the time with a higher capacity? The one reason ,since I already have a Glock19Gen4 I knew I needed at least a 2nd 9mm handgun so I went with the trusted Ruger. Don’t get me wrong I love my Glock but I’m not one to buy two of the same gun in different models. I just like variety!?! :>)
Michael, a quick Google search showed that Galloway Precision (gallowayprecision.com) makes a +2 extension for 15 round mags, I’m sure there are others out there – a quick search would turn more up. Or, you might call Ruger and ask them – they’ll know who makes them. Are you in a restricted (10-round mag) state? If so, you might have a bit of trouble finding one. Glad you have your G19 and the Ruger – sounds like a winning combo. Thanks for writing!
Great article- love reading about new firearms and Mike is a smooth, well written writer.
Mark, I truly appreciate the kind words. I just write reviews in the way that I would like to read them – sometimes I go a bit long but I figure more is better than less. Thanks for taking the time to write!
Hi Mike, as usual you provide the reader with an unbiased review. I still have one of the 1st guns I ever purchased over 35 years ago- the .357 Mag. Security 6 in Stainless Steel. I changed out the grips to Pac for less recoil but what a cannon !!. I also have an old LC9 as a home defense gun placed in 1 of my rooms, along with several other Ruger AR’s, and my wife’s EDC is either a Ruger 5 shot wheel or a Glock 43, depending on her purse. I will DEFINITELY check out the Security 9. Thank you for your review ! Bill
Bill, glad you got something good out of it. It is a nice gun, and built like Ruger builds them-strong. Thanks for writing!
I have 3 Ruger Security 9 pistols. Two have gone back to Ruger several times for repair. The first one went back for a broken firing pin and a broken hammer. It went back a second time for a broken firing pin. The Ruger tech suggested that I cut way back on dry firing. The second one went back because the slide stop did not function properly; I had never fired it. My two Ruger EC9s have been returned for repair 5 times, and my LCP II has been sent back twice for repairs. All pistols purchased after February 2019. All are functioning fine now, and Ruger’s customer service is superb. And, no, I do not mistreat my guns.
RugerSturmer, I agree with you about their CS – it’s top-notch. Sounds like they’re treating you right. Thanks for writing!