Defensive 9mm Firepower For The Masses
By Will Dabbs, MD
Photos: R. Jones/The ImageSmith, LLC
The Ruger Security-9 is arguably the best value in a domestically produced defensive handgun today. This new Ruger pistol sports plenty of whiz-bang features along with a price that will just drop your jaw. The Security-9 is purpose-designed for the concealed carry holder who’s serious about packing heat.
I came of age in the 1980s and missed out on most of what are generally understood to be the truly heady days of American shooting and gun collecting. Machine guns were cheap, but this didn’t matter because I didn’t have any money. By the time I actually got seriously into the game gun bans and unfavorable market forces had conspired to excise most of the really great deals out of my little corner of the shooting world. My first 9mm pistol cost me more than $500 back in 1986. Corrected for inflation I’d really sooner not think about it too hard today.
Talking to the old guys who had the means to amass a proper gun collection back in the 1950s always elicits a sigh. Vets were selling bring-back Lugers for beans and the DCM would ship a 1911 to your door for the cost of postage. It wasn’t really quite that egregious, but to hear them talk it feels like it was. Those were indeed the salad days for American shooters, or were they?
Good Old Days, Now?
I would assert those old guys had it all wrong. These are the salad days, my friends. Now we’re settled into the rhythm of a Trump White House and it’s a buyer’s market for defensive firearms. Nowhere is this axiom better manifest than in the new Ruger Security-9.
Enduring eight years underneath the boot of the most relentlessly anti-gun President in American history paradoxically caused the defensive firearm market to explode. Every time President Obama stood before a teleprompter and uttered the words “AR-15” he pumped another quarter million of the things into the general population. I’d be genuinely curious to know if he realizes this fact today. As a result, however, literally countless non-shooters became shooters. American gun companies subsequently made unprecedented capital investments to ramp up production and push innovation.
Now the perceived threat of a sweeping gun ban has abated. Pressure has been released and the American gun market is flooded with brilliantly conceived and reasonably priced defensive guns. Your gun dollars go further now than ever before.
Roughly one in 20 Americans has a concealed carry permit. This number would’ve been the realm of pure fantasy a mere generation ago. As a result, while the artificial demand for black rifles and bannable sorts of guns has indeed dropped, the market for concealed carry handguns remains strong. Though some of us pack full-size combat pistols and others pocket-scale mouse guns, the optimal concealed carry piece seems to be a mid-size autoloader with compact dimensions and a decent magazine capacity.
The GLOCK 19 is focused on this niche and has filled it ably and well for decades. However, the GLOCK is expensive as is most of its direct competition. Now Ruger steps in to dominate this particular mission at a price substantially less than the other guys.
The Security-9 is a mid-sized gun. It chambers the ubiquitous 9mm Parabellum cartridge and feeds from a 15-round box magazine. The gun comes with two of these. The Ruger mags are strangely maybe 3/8″ shorter than a comparable 15-round magazine from other manufacturers. I’m not really sure how Ruger pulled this off, but they nonetheless run like a scalded ape.
The frame is glass-filled nylon with an aluminum chassis molded inside and plenty of rough grippy stuff on the outside. The slide and barrel are through-hardened alloy steel, and there are racking grooves both front and rear. Everything is nicely rounded for a smooth, seamless draw.
There’s the expected blade safety built into the trigger as well as a manual safety on the side of the frame. Use it if you want, ignore it if you don’t. I like the option. The gun disassembles easily, and the trigger need not be pulled to do so. You will need the rim of a case or a screwdriver, but it’s not tough. Most professional gunmen with whom I am acquainted say trigger pulling on disassembly isn’t a big deal. However, I am personally aware of five instances wherein LE officers had negligent discharges with service weapons lacking a manual safety and requiring a trigger pull for disassembly. None of this applies to the Security-9.
Dovetailed high-visibility sights are fixed up front and drift-adjustable for windage in the back. There are more colorful replacements available if desired. The magazine release is a simple button in the expected place. There is also the expected length of Picatinny rail molded into the dustcover.
For starters the Security-9 isn’t a striker-fired handgun. It uses an internal hammer adapted from the Secure Action design of the Ruger LCP. This ignition system offers a smooth trigger pull with a brief crisp feel and positive reset. This internalized hammer system provides plenty of primer-popping horsepower yet allows for an appreciably easier slide racking experience over many competing striker-fired designs. As women shooters make up the fastest-growing portion of today’s burgeoning gun market, slide-racking force becomes a big deal.
In addition to the bladed trigger safety and manual safety device, the Security-9 sports a neutrally balanced sear with substantial spring tension. The action is designed to prevent the hammer from contacting the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled. Whether the gun is dropped, groped, stomped or thrown, it’s designed to stay safe until intentionally activated.
The grip on the Security-9 is left thin and svelte. Interchangeable grip inserts are great, and I have used my share. However, the Security-9 is designed for both carrying and shooting, not just shooting, and it is therefore left as thin as possible. The trim grip makes the gun easy to pack underneath light clothing, while the double-stack architecture still adequately fills the hand.
The Security-9 is also intentionally crafted with a sort of generic geometry so many existing holster solutions will service it. This may seem a small thing, but disused holsters can stack up over time if your gun addiction runs as deeply as does mine. Everything about the Security-9 is optimized for concealed carry and close combat. By balancing tactical features and a modest rounded chassis the good folks at Ruger have hit the sweet spot between portability and function.
How’s She Run?
I pack a gun underneath surgical scrubs every day at work, and the capacity to hide beneath what are essentially pajamas has always been my yardstick for a successful concealed carry arm. The Security-9’s modest weight and smooth sultry dimensions make concealment a breeze. So long as I’m not sitting on the thing I can forget it’s there.
The melted edges and no-snag sights do indeed make for a fast, seamless draw, and the manual safety is there if you want it. It took me maybe a magazine to take the measure of the trigger, and I like it. The pull is heavy enough to be safe and light enough to be accurate and fun. The Security-9 is an imminently shootable firearm.
The gun is plenty accurate for defensive purposes, and it points well. The grip-to-frame angle mimics the beloved 1911’s, so corn-fed American shooters will feel right at home. Recoil is agreeable with minimal muzzle flip and a quick return to battery. The trigger reset is perhaps a bit longer than is the case with some striker-fired guns, but I really didn’t notice it much on the range.
We run our guns fast for fun, and the Security-9 is indeed fast. You can burn through a magazine, drop the empty, and have its replacement back up and running in less time than it takes to describe. The magazine release is big enough to use yet small enough to stay out of the way. Additionally, the Security-9 offers precision when called upon. Where many deep carry guns employ a long heavy trigger pull, the Security-9 keeps the trigger pleasant. Just keep your finger off of the trigger until the gun is pointed at something you dislike and you’ll be fine.
The new Ruger Security-9 is a fine defensive handgun at any price. However, with an MSRP of $379 and a street price that will undoubtedly be lower the Security-9 represents a remarkable bargain as well. We Americans can spend our cash on some of the silliest things these days. However, the Ruger Security-9 offers a whole lot of handgun for the money.
It’s in our natures to wax nostalgic about the way things used to be. The simplicity of youth and bucolic nature of childhood can conjure an unrealistic sentiment regarding times gone by. In the case of gun stuff, however, these are indeed the Good Old Days. We live in an unprecedented age of availability, and our gun money goes farther today than has ever before been the case.
According to Google the purchase price of a new Security-9 equals about $43 in 1950 dollars. This fact really does put this fine defensive gun in the same arena with those vet bring-back Lugers and surplus DCM 1911 pistols. If you are in the market for a superb defensive carry pistol at a really sweet price, the new Security-9 from Ruger is all that and more.
For more info: https://americanhandgunner.com/company/sturm-ruger-co/