OK, for a long time, the firearms world has been awash in striker-fired 9mm hi-cap pistols—which is good, because they work, and they stand up to abuse. But, a vanilla-plain G19 can run you anywhere from $550 to $600. That’s a lot of money for a product made from a nickel’s worth of polymer and a $5 chunk of steel. Ruger thinks you don’t have to spend as much money to get a product that is just as good, just as useful and offers other advantages.
ENTER THE SECURITY-9
The Security-9 is the Glock-killing 9mm pistol that is the “new Security-6”—Ruger’s 20th-century inexpensive revolver for carry, duty and security. It is a G19-sized pistol that holds the expected 15 rounds of 9mm ammo. But it is more than that. On top, the slide is a through-hardened piece of steel, machined for all the parts and features you’d expect on a pistol. The sights are windage adjustable in their transverse slots. Ruger being Ruger, the dovetail dimensions are already known to aftermarket sight makers, so if you want something a bit snazzier than the ones Ruger sends, you will have plenty of choices for replacements.
The slide is slab-contoured, with big bevels on the top to take away sharp edges that can be uncomfortable to carry and abrasive to your hands. The slide features a big hook extractor, capable of convincing even the most reluctant empty cartridge case to take a hike.
“The Security-9 is the Glock-killing 9mm pistol that is the “new Security-6”—Ruger’s 20th-century inexpensive revolver for carry, duty and security.”
The slide is machined with cocking serrations fore and aft, with a small “V” shape to them. They are not so aggressive that they will slice up your hands, but they are grabby enough that you can use them for cocking.
The front of the slide has the outside corners beveled off to make it easier to re-holster. By creating a wedge-like shape on the front end, you will have fewer problems re-holstering. The slide does not use a separate bushing to hold the barrel. The front end is machined to hold the barrel in place and let it tip to cycle without a bushing.
Inside, the barrel is also through-hardened and provided with a rifling form that does not care what kind of bullet material you use. If you want to get in the lowest-cost practice by using reloaded ammo with lead bullets, you won’t lead-up your bore—at least not with properly sized and lubed bullets.
After all, Ruger can’t be responsible for poor reloading habits. The barrel, as we have come to expect from modern pistols, has an integral feed ramp and uses the Browning tilt-barrel dynamic to unlock and then re-lock as it cycles.
Why is through-hardening a big deal? The method of hardening that is known by a slew of terms—Tenifer, Melonite, salt-bath nitriding—is a surface-hardening process. It creates a very hard, tough skin over an otherwise not-hard metal. Sure, the metal underneath can be hard, but the process doesn’t harden to the core. Through-hardened steel parts are heat treated to be as hard throughout as they need to be to provide the longest and best use. They can then be surface hardened if the maker so wishes.
The frame is not just a polymer frame. It is a nylon-family polymer, strengthened with the inclusion of long fibers of glass. The nylon part of it makes it easy to mold, impervious to solvents and the weather, while the glass fibers provide stiffness and strength. Yes, those of you who are thinking “rebar in concrete” are right on point. This provides a stiffness to the material that makes it less “flexy” and a better base to hold the internals.
“…if you haven’t studied the Security-9 beforehand, you’ll have a surprise: There’s a hammer in there.”
The frame is textured in all the right places, with nonslip grip panels on the front, sides and back. The frontstrap rises up behind the trigger guard, which is angled at its insertion to the frame for clearance. This allows your hand to get higher on the pistol and reduces muzzle rise in recoil. The frame also incorporates an accessory rail on the front of the dust cover, on which you can mount a light, laser or combo unit. One detail the Security-9 lacks is grip panels—as in, ones you can change. Yes, it is all the fashion to have grip panels to change the size or shape of a pistol, but (and I have been a bit guilty of this myself) very few people actually need such things.
A properly-proportioned and sized grip is one that will work for the vast majority of shooters. If you happen to be one of the people in the small percentage on the extreme ends of the hand-size scale, the Security-9 might not be for you. For the rest of us, it will work just fine, and the costs savings are a big bonus.
The grip frame holds the chassis, which, itself, contains the firing mechanism. The chassis is aluminum, adding more stiffness to the assembly and providing an added plus: a crisper trigger pull. With the moving parts held securely in metal, the firing mechanism can’t move when you press the trigger. Instead of the squishy feel of some pistols’ trigger pulls, the Security-9 is much cleaner and crisper. The chassis is held in the nylon frame by means of a pair of cross pins. You really don’t have to take out the pins to clean the Security-9; you can do all the hosing and scrubbing of the frame and chassis you need to do with just the slide removed.
KEEPING IT SIMPLE
The controls of the Security-9 are also a big deal. First of all, there is a thumb safety on the left rear of the frame. This is clearly meant for right-handed shooters; and, by not making it ambidextrous, Ruger has kept down the cost of the Security-9. Ahead of it is the slide hold-open, and that part is shielded by a molded-in fence running around the tab. There is a small steel tab forward of that, and it is the takedown pin. The idea behind the Security-9 is to provide an entry-level gun, compared to Ruger’s feature-laden American series.
The Security-9 will replace the 9E and P-series as Ruger’s price-point pistol. Again, to make things simpler and keep the cost down, Ruger has made the takedown easy. Unload the Security-9. Hold the slide slightly back so the head of the takedown pin is lined up with the clearance notch in the slide. Push the other end of the pin, and the pin will pop out. It will, unfortunately, fall to the floor or bench top, so make sure you have accounted for that. Once the pin is out, you simply run the slide forward and off the frame. When you do so, and if you haven’t studied the Security-9 beforehand, you’ll have a surprise: There’s a hammer in there.
“It is a G19-sized pistol that holds the expected 15 rounds of 9mm ammo. But it is more than that.”
Yes, that’s right. The Security-9 is a hammer-fired 9mm pistol. Why? For a bunch of reasons. For one, this design, which Ruger calls the Secure Action design, not only provides a brisk strike to the primer, it also makes it easier to work the slide. Also, with a hammer, you don’t have to dry-fire the pistol to remove the slide when disassembling it—a feature comforting to some.
The Secure Action design comes to the Security-9 by way of the LCP Ruger. Ruger owners have so loved the LCP design that Ruger has put it into the LCP II and now, the Security-9. One detail that explains the very nice trigger pull is the hammer spring. It is a long coil spring inside of the backstrap. By making it long, Ruger has spread out the force needed to drive the hammer. The firing mechanism has more than just the thumb safety at work. There’s a blade safety in the trigger, itself, blocking trigger movement unless your finger is pressing on it.
There’s what Ruger calls a “neutrally balanced sear,” meaning it can’t get out of the path of the hammer unless your trigger finger tells it to. In addition, a hammer catch is there to intercept the hammer if it decided to go forward without instructions from you. As any good pistol knows, it won’t shoot until you tell it to!
The best part of the Security-9 is the steel magazines, and you get two of them. They’re made by Checkmate, and Ruger is proud of the job they’ve done on these American-made magazines. Polymer won’t rust, but when it comes to magazines, steel is king. They are similar to, but not the same as, the SR9 magazines. The Security-9 magazines will work in the Ruger PC Carbine (meant for SR9 magazines) but not in the SR9. You can’t have everything.
The combination of all this makes for a compact, lightweight, sturdy 9mm pistol for EDC that is hard to beat for feel and function. And, best of all, it has an MSRP of $379. No, that is not a typo, and yes, you’ll probably be able to find it in gun stores for around $300. By my calculation, you could then buy a Security-9, and 1,000 rounds of factory 9mm ammo.
A pistol and practice ammo beat a pistol and no ammo any day of the week.
BUT THIS ONLY WORKS IF THE PISTOL WORKS. SO, DOES IT?
Of course, it does—it is a Ruger. Don’t be silly. The trigger is very nice and makes shooting a breeze. The takeup is clean, there’s a little bit of squish, and then, the hammer falls. The design does not allow for re-strikes, but there is also no magazine safety. So, if you want to practice your draw and dry-fire, you can easily make sure it is unloaded, leave out the magazine, and get to work in the basement with a timer. The magazines load easily, as expected, because they are Checkmate designed. As with all new magazines, the last couple of rounds were a bit tough to insert, but once I had loaded them a few times, that eased up.
The slide locked open after the last round every time, and it was easy to get it going again with a fresh magazine by sling-shotting the slide. The slide hold-open is a bit tough to use, especially in cold weather. It is well-protected by the small fence around it and, in the single-digit temps I was testing in, I could hardly feel the tab, let alone depress it. But, that’s why we use the slingshot method to get the slide closed. It works with every pistol, no matter where the slide stop is located. I’d rather the slide stop be fenced and hard to get to than out there in the breeze, getting bumped and locking the slide back prematurely. The thumb safety is small, but well-located, and I never had any problems using it. It will only go up to “safe” when the hammer is cocked.
“… this is a pistol so rugged and reliable that it will continue to function, even after you’ve really abused it…”
AT THE RANGE
The groups the Security-9 produced were entirely acceptable, even though they might not be viewed with great enthusiasm by a bulls-eye shooter. Part of that might be the weather. As I mentioned, it was single-digit temps (the thermometer read 6 degrees when I got up that morning), and by the time I got to the range, the snow was coming down sideways—that is, when the existing drifts weren’t kicking up billows of fog. (I kid you not: The weather can be that bad here in the Midwest.) All in all, they might not be bragging groups, but there’s nothing to worry about here. So, we have another market-defining product from Ruger here—a 9mm pistol so inexpensive that you can buy it, stash it some place where you might need it years later and not shed a tear if it gets grubby or even rusty from the storage conditions; an inexpensive pistol that won’t break the bank of a new shooter but offers everything they’ll need, regardless of purpose: a fun day at the range or a security guard shift.
And yet, this is a pistol so rugged and reliable that it will continue to function, even after you’ve really abused it. And, because it is an inexpensive EDC pistol, you won’t be heartbroken if you’ve sweated on it during a sweltering August weekend at the lake. How does Ruger do it?
|Super Vel 90-grain JHP||
|SIG Sauer V-Crown 115 grain||
|Hornady Critical Defense 115 grain||
|SIG Sauer 115-grain FMJ||
|Hornady Critical Duty 135 grain||
Remington Gold Saber 124 grain
|Wilson Combat XTP+P 147 grain||
|Federal Premium Hydra-Shok 147 grain||
|Winchester Ranger T-series 147 grain||
NOTE: Accuracy results the average of five five-shot group, over a Sinclair shooting rest at 25 yards. Velocity is the average of 10 shots measured by a Labradar chrono that was programmed to measure velocity 15 feet from the muzzle.
TYPE: Hammer-fired, self-loading pistol
CALIBER: 9mm Parabellum
BARREL: 4 inches
OVERALL LENGTH: 7.24 inches
WIDTH: 1.29 inches (slide: 1.02 inches)
HEIGHT: 5 inches
WEIGHT: 24 ounces
FINISH: Black oxide
GRIPS: N/A—glass-filled nylon frame
SIGHTS: Notch-and-post dot and white outline
TRIGGER: 6 pounds
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the April 2018 print issue of Gun World Magazine.