A short while ago I reviewed the Ruger Security-9 full-size 9mm pistol and just last week, Ruger introduced their new Security-9 Compact model. I appreciate the excellent performance and features of the full-size gun, so I wanted to try their new short-barreled compact pistol for concealed carry use. Was it equally impressive and would it work for concealed carry? How would it measure up to my ten criteria, especially its accuracy, reliability, and concealability? This is my evaluation and field test of it.
Ruger Security-9 Compact Review Plan
First, I will give the specifications and features for the new Ruger Security-9 Compact. Then I will compare its specs to some of the full-size pistols I previously reviewed, followed by a comparison to five similar guns in the market. Next, I will give some suggested IWB kydex, OWB leather, and pocket holsters for the new compact, as well as a leather belt option. Look for the 20% Discount Code provided. Then I will offer the ten criteria that I use to evaluate all guns. Finally, I present my range test results (using my included free Concealed Carry Drill), analysis, and how I specifically evaluated the gun against each of my criteria to recommend or not recommend it. As always, set your own criteria and priorities, do your own research and check my data, information, etc. with yours, for your very personal selection process. You can compare this new gun’s features and my analysis to my Top 21 Concealed Carry guns in my book “Concealed Carry & Handgun Essentials.”
The Ruger Security-9 Compact has the same “Secure-Action” hammer-fired system that the full-size Ruger’s Security-9 pistol and their successful LCP II use. The trigger is crisp, short, and soft and the gun uses an internal, shrouded hammer, rather than a striker-fired bar, which helps make slide racking easier. This pistol has the fine proven features of the Security-Six revolver, which represent basic performance, excellent reliability, value, and fine ergonomics. It is not meant to be a uniquely revolutionary semi-automatic pistol with highly-advanced design, but rather a consistent-performing, moderately-low priced, and comfortable pistol that meets the fundamental requirements for concealed carry.
Not a True Single Action and Not a Traditional Double Action Trigger
This gun is not a striker-fired gun, but instead has a “single-action-like” trigger with a pre-cocked, hammer-fired double-action-only system. This pre-cocked short and soft trigger reminds me of my single-action guns, and I like that. Many will think it is a single-action trigger since it is softly fired while finishing the trigger press that cocks the hammer. For safety, the Ruger Security-9 has a trigger safety, manual thumb safety, and a recessed hammer catch that prevents the pistol from firing unless the trigger is pressed. It has a Browning-type, tilting-barrel lock-up. This solidly-built value pistol has features normally found on much more expensive pistols and does not feel “cheap.” The hammer, like the striker in striker-fired guns, is cocked part way back by the rearward motion of the slide. Pressing the trigger completes the hammer’s cocking cycle to fire the pistol. This results in a single-action-type trigger feel with a short and crisp reset point while being a double-action pistol.
Comparing the Ruger Security-9 Models and Selected Other Pistols with Similar Barrel Lengths
Below I give both the full size and compact Security-9’s dimensions and some comparison specifications for just a few other brand models with similar barrel lengths between only 3.39″ and 3.50 “. The new Security-9 Compact ships with two 10-round, flush-fit steel magazines, but can use the 15-round mags that come with the full-size pistol. Also included is one finger grip extension floorplate for added control. Extended, 15-round mags for the compact are available for purchase. Each of these pistols below has its own advantages for personal preference.
|Ruger Security-9 Compact||Ruger Security-9 Full-Size||Walther PPQ M2 SC||H&K VP9 SK||S&W M&P Compact||Glock 43||Glock 26|
|Approx. Retail Price||$379||$379||$499||$448||$369||$529||$599|
|Weight Unloaded||21.90 oz.||23.75 oz.||21.20 oz.||23.07 oz.||21.70 oz.||17.95 oz.||21.70 oz.|
Through-Hardened Steel Process
Both the slide and barrel are constructed of through-hardened steel, which means that the steel is hardened throughout all surfaces in the manufacturing process, rather than just hardening the exterior surface and keeping the interior surface relatively soft. In the through-hardening process, there is a high level of carbon added to the iron mix. When the component parts are heat treated and through hardened, all the component parts are hardened and strengthened all the way through from the surface to the core. The goal is to extend the life of the treated parts. The chrome-moly steel slide which is through hardened is finished matte blue. Both the full size and compact chassis are made of hard-coat anodized aluminum and include full-length rails. The serialized chassis for both guns rests in a slim-profiled, but durable frame fabricated from glass-filled nylon. The not-too-aggressive texturized on-all-sides polymer grip is slim, strong, and very impact resistant. For me, it provided a comfortable and sufficient grip purchase to help with control.
Disclosure and Review Goals
Thanks to Ruger for loaning me this compact pistol for testing and evaluation purposes. Know that I am not on their payroll, have not been paid by them for this article nor influenced to say certain things about the gun. I want to be honest and straight-forward with my opinions and ideas the way I see the pistol to help folks sincerely. Specifically, I wanted to know how accurate it is out of the box, without modifications? How heavy was its trigger press? Is the trigger smooth and crisp? What about the reset distance for follow-up shots? Is it reliable? What are some of its pros, cons, and special features? Are there any issues or concerns that would prevent me from carrying this gun? Is this a gun I would recommend for concealed carry and home defense?
Ruger Security-9 Compact Specifications
|Ninja Column 1||Ninja Column 2|
|Other||Lifetime Warranty- from Date of Original New Purchase; No Ambidextrous Controls|
|Grips||Textured; Stippling Not Too Rough; Glass-Fiber-Reinforced Nylon|
|Safeties||Manual Thumb Safety: Small size; Left-Side Only-Hinged from Front so Move the Back of Safety Lever to Engage; Bladed Trigger Safety|
|Weight||21.90 oz, Empty Mag|
|Magazines / Capacity||10 Rounds; 2 Steel Mags;|
|Trigger Press||5.50 lbs|
|Trigger - Type||Double Action (Pre-Cocked) ; Polymer; Has Safety Blade Trigger Stop|
|Slide - Finish - Type||Blued; Through-Hardened Chrome Alloy Moly-Steel; Slide Front and Rear Serrations; Small Slide Lock Lever|
|Frame / Material||Polymer; High Performance Glass-Filled Nylon; Serialized Chassis|
|Sights||Steel; Drift Adjustable Rear Sight with White Outlined Notch; Dovetailed into Slide; Snag Free; No Rear-Sight Ledge; White Dot Front Sight; Night Sights and Fiber Optic Sights Optional|
|Barrel Length / Type||3.42"; Alloy Steel Material, Blued Finish|
|Model Number||Model #3818|
Ruger Security-9 Compact Features
- Very Nice Ergonomics with Thin, Nicely-Textured Grips
- Low Bore Axis to help Reduce Muzzle Flip
- Short, Light, Crisp Double-Action Trigger with Positive Reset; Pre-Cocked; Similar to Single Action
- Slight Bevel at Upper Edge of Grip for Strong Thumb
- Precision Machined, Anodized Aluminum Chassis with Full-Length Guide Rails
- Accessory Rail
- Front and Rear Nicely Scalloped Slide Cocking Serrations
- Easy Takedown with No Special Tools or Trigger Pull Required
Kramer Handgun Leather OWB Belt Scabbard Holster and Gun Belts
Kramer Handgun Leather makes a beautiful, high-quality OWB Belt Scabbard Horsehide-Leather custom holster for this Ruger Security-9 Compact. This classic “pancake” design has great workmanship, is very comfortable, extremely durable, has fine gun retention, covers the trigger, and conceals well. The Kramer Leather OWB holster has an optional high-riding FBI forward cant or tilt for easy draw. It is designed for wear on the strong side hip, securely fits my body, and works well for concealment, for the range, competition, and for home use.
Kramer also offers high-quality, double-thick horsehide leather gun belts, as seen below. They are offered in mahogany and black colors and are custom handcrafted of strong horsehide leather. Two layers of horsehide are border stitched and bonded together for strength and durability. It distributes the pistol’s weight well. Their fine belts are about 1/4″ thick and provide the lateral rigidity necessary for superior concealment performance and comfort.
Kramer Holsters wants to offer my readers a special 20% Discount off all purchases through June 6, 2019, for their high-quality holsters and belts. When ordering, mention Col Ben and use the Discount Code “COLBEN-USACR20.”
Clinger Stingray V3 Kydex IWB Clip Holster
Clinger Holster makes a strong and durable IWB kydex Stinger holster custom fit for the new Ruger Security-9 Compact pistol. It is shown below. Their Clinger Stingray V3 Kydex IWB holster has adjustable retention, a full sweat shield, three different cant options, a sturdy belt clip, and a small and lightweight footprint for easier concealment. The Stingray has two adjustment holes for the belt clip, from a zero-degree cant to a 15-degree cant. Clinger’s kydex holsters are guaranteed for life. The Stingray V3 is reasonably priced at $39. Be sure and mention you read Col Ben’s review with this pistol and holster on USACarry.com.
Clinger Comfort Cling Pocket & IWB Holster
Clinger’s Comfort Cling Pocket and IWB Holster uses a soft gel-like cushion material for extra comfort. Its design uses friction to hold the holster inside the pocket or IWB comfortably. It easily swaps from left-hand to right-hand and has a full sweat shield to protect the gun. And it protects the trigger, helps maintain the correct gun orientation in the pocket, and stays put in the pocket upon draw, for a special price of only $19. Be sure and mention you read Col Ben’s review with this holster on USACarry.com.
My Criteria and Considerations
Here are just ten of my criteria and factors I use for evaluating any handgun, so I will use them for the new Ruger Security-9 Compact pistol. In addition to my criteria, there are other subjective features that may be appealing for some, like flared mag well, front and back fine-line checkering, smooth rounded corners, mag release location and type, action, caliber, appearance, number of mags included, type of sights/modifications, grip angle, bore axis, non-porting or porting, included extras like a holster and pouch, customer service, etc. So, I combined these into my last Miscellaneous criterion. I must admit that all gun-choice decisions involve tradeoffs, but I really want all of my criteria to be met. I assigned a total possible point score of ten points for each of my ten criteria for a total possible score of 100 points. You can certainly add your own additional criteria, preferences or subtract any of mine.
Recognize that there are several features, characteristics, pros and cons, and personal criteria to include and consider and you make your own tradeoffs according to your priorities, preferences, defined needs, and use.
Range Test Results and Special Considerations for Ruger Security-9 Compact
To determine how well the gun cycled and handled different loads, I used high-quality Sig Sauer Elite V-Crown JHP ammo in 115, 124, and 147 grain weights and some in 124 grain FMJ. And about 25 rounds of American Eagle 115-grain FMJ rounds I had on hand. I only fired about 260 rounds total to evaluate this gun to decide if it would be a solid, value gun for concealed carry. I wanted to determine if it would get the job done close-up for concealed carry defense at 7 yards, as a reliable budget gun. Below are my evaluations for each of my ten criteria for the Security-9 Compact for my concealed carry purpose. I wanted to test its reliability and accuracy specifically. I put the gun through its paces and checked it thoroughly for malfunctions, stoppages, and performance with JHP ammo and FMJ rounds from Sig Sauer and Federal. I want to thank Sig Sauer for providing several rounds of various Elite Performance ammo to test and evaluate the Security-9 Compact.
The Security-9 Compact in 9mm has fine ergonomics. The slim grip felt good in my and my wife’s hands. It was comfortable, and it had a low bore axis which helped reduce felt recoil and prevent muzzle flip. I was able to grip and operate the gun well with its just-right grip texturing. My pinky finger slightly dangled below the 10-round flush-fit mag, but this was not a problem for me. It fit my wife’s hands perfectly with no pinky dangle. The ergonomics of this gun were very nice for a value-priced pistol. And the two, steel 10-round mags included were of high quality. The pistol’s grip stippling and rounded corners were perfect for me and just right. I could easily reach all the controls. The slide was very easy for my wife and me to rack, and the felt recoil and muzzle rise were very manageable for this compact pistol and its smaller barrel. My wife also liked its ergonomics and shooting it.
One thing I did not like was the small size and stiffness of the manual thumb safety, similar to the full-size model. It was difficult to locate solidly and to engage, but with more use, it will soften some and not be as stiff to operate. But, the small size is another consideration. Some prefer not even to use an external safety, even if it is included, so it depends on your preference. You do not have to use the thumb safety even though it is there. So there are pros and cons, a lot related to personal preference, to consider for your use. Below I will get into these factors and my ideas for each of my criteria after my range testing.
I used my standard “Col Ben’s Concealed Carry Drill” to test and evaluate the Security-9 Compact after I initially thoroughly cleaned it. You can use my Concealed Carry Drill to test and evaluate your handguns. I like the realistic 5-yard, 7-yard, and 10-yard distances best to match common distances for personal defense.
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You can Download and Print “Col Ben’s Concealed Carry Drill” and targets by clicking on the Link at my website’s Articles Page at www.FloridaHandgunsTraining.com
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Range Routine with “Col Ben’s Concealed Carry Drill” and Various Ammo
I started at the 3-yard distance to warm up and get used to the trigger and recoil. No problems at all here. The grip was very comfortable and textured just right for me. While the trigger press was just slightly longer than I prefer on this value-priced pistol, it was not a problem, and I did get used to it quickly. The performance was there and no malfunctions or concerns at all.
I used my above standard Concealed Carry Drill at 3, 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 yards and performed two iterations at each distance. I easily and quickly landed all 15 rounds on the five circle targets from a draw on target at 3, 5, and 7 yards. At 10 and 15 yards, I missed some shots and got 14 of 15 on target. The smaller 2.5″ circle gave me fits at 10, 15, and 20 yards. At 20 yards, I missed two of three shots on target, but still squeaked by to qualify with 80% hits. But, at 20 yards I only got 1 of 3 shots on the small 2.5″ target but passed overall with 12 of 15 hits. I did not make the time limit of 20 seconds overall at 20 yards the first two times I tried. However, I did make the time on the third try, after an additional two practice rounds. So, I must practice more and get a new set of eyes for my aging ones.
I used my preferred self-defense ammo, Sig V-Crown 115 grain JHP, 124 grain JHP, and 124 grain Ball FMJ rounds. Fourteen of 15 rounds hit in the five circle targets for each type of ammo. The 147 grain worked without malfunctions but was not as smooth performing like the others in this short-barreled pistol. I did three iterations of my Drill using the different grains and types of ammo, JHP, and FMJ rounds, after some practices.
You can use my Drill at various appropriate distances for yourself, e.g., 3, 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 yards to challenge yourself and assess skill-level improvements, as you progress. At first, do not time yourself but safely practice, until you feel comfortable and safe with the Drill. Be careful with your draws from your holster. Hope my Drill helps you.
Range Results with Opinions and Evaluations for Each Criterion
1. Accuracy and Reliability – Score: 9
The Ruger Security-9 Compact’s accuracy was excellent for a short-barreled, value-priced pistol. My wife and I did fine at close and medium distances of 5, 7, 10, and 15 yards, typical self-defense distances. Despite my less than average eyesight, colorblindness, and average marksmanship, this senior guy was able to shoot decent groups. No problem out to 15 yards, with the gun’s intrinsic factors helping. All of my groups for my drills of 15 shots each at the various distances were about 2.5 to 3 inches or so, drawing from my Kramer Leather and Clinger holsters and with one mag change for this 10-round pistol. I used my Modified-Isosceles Stance, a two-handed grip, and shot various 115 grain FMJ and 115 grain, 124 grain, and 147 grain JHP ammo. I had no problems with Sig V-Crown or Federal hollow points loading or ejecting. No malfunctions or stoppages whatsoever. And I had no feeding, ejection, or extraction problems with any of the excellent Sig Sauer or Federal FMJ rounds. The gun functioned fine with all ammo brands and weights. But, the 147 grain JHP did not perform as smoothly for me in this pistol.
2. Trigger Press – Score: 9
Out-of-the-box, the trigger press averaged 5.50 pounds without modification for the Ruger Security-9 Compact 9mm, with ten readings with my Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge. This press was nice and soft and just slightly longer than I prefer, but certainly a very acceptable press for a value-priced gun. After more rounds downrange, I think it will smooth out more, and the press should lighten some.
3. Trigger – Score: 10
This excellent double-action-only trigger had a consistent and very similar press each time. It felt very similar to a single-action press, given its pre-cocked hammer operation. This value-priced, hammer-fired gun had a crisp, smooth, and clean trigger. It was not gritty or mushy. The press was good and just a little long, but with minimal takeup. It had a short reset, for quick follow-up shots, and it was solid and very identifiable. If the pistol is dropped and receives a strong physical shock to disengage the partially-cocked hammer from the Sear, the Hammer Catch prevents the hammer from contacting the firing pin, unless the trigger is fully depressed.
4. Barrel Length: Score: 10
The blued 3.42″ barrel was Through-Hardened which creates a very tough exterior over existing metal. The barrel and slide are both nicely blue-finished, nice quality, look great, and the barrel was machined from alloy steel. The barrel of this value pistol has an integral feed ramp and uses the proven Browning tilt-barrel dynamic to unlock and then re-lock as it cycles. The barrel has traditional land-and-groove rifling with a witness hole located at the top of the barrel hood to confirm if a round is in the chamber.
5. Sights – Score: 9
The medium-to-small-sized white-colored front dot was of sufficient size for me to pick it up in the rear white U-Notch sight, but it did take me some time to get used to it. I prefer a little larger front sight. However, this sight system works. Sadly, my old eyes like fiber optic green sights, so wish this value-priced gun had them, but for the price I understand. If I buy this gun, I would probably change the front sight to a green fiber optic to help. Optional Night Sights for Concealed Carry can be considered.
6. Proper Gun Weight – Score: 10
The Security-9 Compact weighed exactly 21.9 ounces empty with an inserted mag, as the Specifications state. This is a nice lightweight gun for concealed carry, along with the compact’s thin width of about 1 inch and its shorter height of 4.35 inches. It conceals nicely. The weight of the frame, barrel, and slide contributed to manageable felt recoil and stability for me for this solidly-made budget compact.
7. Caliber – Score: 10
The Security-9 Compact in 9mm caliber was easy and fun to shoot, my wife and I both handled it well, and it was accurate for us. Shooting 9mm ammo is much less expensive than most other calibers and modern ammo with improved ballistics like the kind I used here to get the job done. I prefer the lessened recoil and reduced movement for improved accuracy with the 9mm caliber.
8. Capacity – Score: 9
I like the 10-round mag capacity of this short-barreled pistol. And the two included mags are steel. One mag is flush fit, and the other has a pinky extension, which I prefer for a three-fingered grip. I prefer at least two and like three mags to be included as standard, but I understand that this adds cost for everyone to this budget package. The mags have helpful round indicator holes. Just wish the mags held 12 rounds, like some others this size do. Note that the mags for the Security-9 full size and compact size are interchangeable. They have polymer followers and baseplates. Note that this pistol does not have a Magazine Disconnect Safety, so the pistol will fire if the trigger is pressed when the mag is removed. Practice Safety First!
9. Ergonomics – Score: 9
The Ergonomics of this Security-9 Compact gun overall are very nice. My wife and I with our different hand sizes were easily and comfortably able to reach all controls, like the thumb safety, slide lock lever, and magazine release. The value is there, and this pistol has the quality craftsmanship you expect from Ruger. It is American made. This gun and its narrow grips seemed as if it were customized for my medium-sized hands… and for my wife and her small hands. The slide, frame, barrel, and other parts are all tightly fit to enhance accuracy and reliability. The slide-to-frame fit is very solid and it was easy for me to rack the slide. There are nicely-contoured cocking serrations on the front and rear of the slide which are easy to grab for cocking the slide and chamber checks. The grip is textured just fine, is not too aggressive, and should fit a variety of hands.
NOTE: The Security-9 Compact pistol has a Slide Lock, rather than a Slide Release. According to Ruger representatives, this means when the slide is locked to the rear, and there is an UNLOADED mag inserted, using a slingshot method or engaging the Slide Lock will not move the slide forward. The shooter can depress the Slide Lock and also pull the slide back slightly to get the slide to release forward, however, when the mag is unloaded. This is not necessary when the mag is loaded. And the gun locks back after the final round is fired.
10. Miscellaneous – Score: 9
The Security-9 Compact’s frame is made of a specific class of polymer, called Nylon. The glass-filled Nylon has strong glass fibers added to increase its tensile strength and stiffness over the usual polymers. It is also a very good protectant against solvents and the weather. The recoil assembly of this budget gun does have a plastic guide rod. The Slide Lock Lever is small, hard to get to, and somewhat hard to push up to hold the slide back. This small size Slide Lock Lever means you must practice with it and get comfortable in your manual of arms with it. I easily disassembled and re-assembled the Security-9 Compact before I shot it. Just catch the lip of the Takedown Pin with a brass shell casing and pull it out. And you do not have to press the trigger. A cardboard case is provided rather than a polymer one to save you from paying extra money upon purchase. Included are 2 steel mags, a lock, an extra baseplate, and Instruction Manual. This pistol is an accurate and very reliable handgun that is value-priced just right. When I called Ruger Customer Service with questions to clarify some features for this American-made pistol, the representatives were quick to respond and went out of their way to get specific answers for me and provided excellent service.
Total Points = 94 out of 100 Possible.
This new Security-9 Compact pistol is designed as an economical concealed carry pistol. This Compact with its 3.42″ barrel is ideally positioned to fit right between the 4″-barreled Security-9 and a subcompact pistol with a 3″ barrel. The barrel length is long enough to enhance handling and accuracy while being short enough to help its concealability. It has a steel barrel, slide, sights, and magazines. It is worthy of your consideration for personal defense and carry, especially given its light weight, narrow width, short barrel, and short height. This Compact is lighter and more concealable than its full-size counterpart. Its sights are drift adjustable in the rear, and the barrel and slide are quality made of Through-Hardened alloy steel. This rugged, reliable, comfortable, and excellent budget-priced pistol can be bought for near $300 in the market now. And it meets the fundamental personal protection goal for most folks. It also meets the basic operational and comfort needs of a pistol for a new shooter. In my opinion, this gun meets the basic requirements for an accurate and reliable personal defense pistol for concealed carry and home defense. It is an excellent budget-priced, very concealable pistol with some very decent features for the price.
I certainly Recommend this pistol and its 3.42-inch barrel and features for your concealed carry consideration. The solid fit, basic functions, and nice handling are very evident for this budget gun. I was also very impressed with its accuracy, reliability, and its very controllable recoil for a compact small-barreled 9 mm. The basic steel sights served their purpose, but this old Mr. Magoo prefers a green fiber optic front sight. After a total of 500 rounds down range demonstrating these same results and performance, I would bet my life on this excellent pistol. I probably will buy this fine new Security-9 Compact pistol and include it in my carry rotation.
As always, these are just my opinions, and you should try it and any gun for yourself. Be sure to use the Discount Code mentioned above for fine Kramer Handgun Leather holsters and belts and consider the suggested nice Clinger IWB kydex Holster. I hope this review of the Ruger Security-9 Compact value-priced 9 mm has helped you gain some information for your decision. Consider that this is just my point of view with limited live-range fire and using about 260 rounds of fine premium Sig Sauer FMJ and JHP ammo. I recommend that you shoot any handgun yourself before you purchase it and have at least 500 rounds break-in range time through it for yourself. Try Before You Buy Any Pistol. Decide on your criteria, how you will primarily use the gun, and what’s important to you ahead of your range live-fire time. Then critically evaluate the gun yourself per your criteria and purpose, with various ammo types and brands, and over an extended break-in period.
Kramer Handgun Leather holsters
Tacoma, WA 98411
Sig Sauer Ammo for Elite V-Crown 9mm JHP-FMJ ammo
Newington, NH 03801
Van Buren, AR 72956
Photos by Author and Ruger.
* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.
© 2019 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at ColBFF@gmail.com.
Ruger Security-9 Compact
Read our detailed review of the Ruger Security-9 Compact to find out if it is good for concealed carry or home defense. Holster recommendations included.
Accuracy and Reliability
Proper Gun Weight