Gun Review: Ruger Security-9 Compact 9mm Pistol
Dan Z for TTAG
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Some things can’t really be improved upon. Take, for instance, Jeremy’s review of the full-size Ruger Security-9 9mm pistol we published last January. He pretty much nailed it. Ruger’s now making a compact size model and from re-reading his take, I can confidently echo virtually everything he had to say about the bigger handgun.

Gun Review: Ruger Security-9 Compact 9mm Pistol
Dan Z for TTAG

Well, almost. Because while the Security-9 Compact is basically a bobbed version of its semi-automatic bigger brother, that brings some changes into play in both its use case and how it compares to its smaller competition.

Gun Review: Ruger Security-9 Compact 9mm Pistol
Dan Z for TTAG

First, the features. The Security-9 Compact is, in fact, a shortened version of the full-size gun. No surprise there. It’s clearly intended as a medium-capacity compact carry pistol. 

Compared to the full-size Security-9, the Compact is about an inch less in length, .6-inch less in height, and has barrel that’s .6-inch shorter. As you’d expect, it weighs a couple of ounces less, too. But like the original, it’s still a shrouded hammer-fired, single-action (basically, a scaled-up version of the proven LCP II) sidearm with a Browning tilt-barrel design. Many 9mms in this class are striker fired.

The reduction in height and length mean it’s much more concealable than its bigger brother. It also makes this a two-finger pistol (above) when using one of the two flush-fit 10-round magazine that Ruger includes with the pistol.

Gun Review: Ruger Security-9 Compact 9mm Pistol
Ruger Security-9 grip texturing with magazine finger extension installed (Dan Z for TTAG)

If you want a full three-finger grip, that’s not a problem. Ruger also throws in an extension you can install on one of the stainless-steel magazines. Installation is simple, too. All you need is a punch and you won’t have to worry about launching your spring and follower across the room, either, thanks to the magazine’s internal floor plate.

Gun Review: Ruger Security-9 Compact 9mm Pistol
Ruger Security-9 with bladed trigger safety and reversible magazine release (Dan Z for TTAG)

Jeremy thought the Security-9 could have done with a more aggressive texture for a sure-er grip. That wasn’t my experience. Even when my hand got sweaty, I didn’t have any trouble maintaining a good hold on the handle. However, the Ruger lacks a selection of back straps for tuning grip fit. The angled cocking serrations are sharp enough to get a good grip on the relatively easy-racking alloy steel slide, too. And I don’t expect it to chafe (well not much) if carried under a shirt against bare skin.

While the magazine release is perfectly positioned, I could have done with a slightly bigger (taller) button. Then again, my hands are unusually small. The average shooter will have no problem dropping a mag without adjusting their grip.

Gun Review: Ruger Security-9 Compact 9mm Pistol
Dan Z for TTAG

The American-made Security-9 is equipped with the same thumb safety as the original. It’s definitely on the small side. That’s good because it keeps the compact pistol’s overall width down and won’t snag on anything during the draw. It’s big enough, however, that swiping it off with your thumb is quick and easy.

Engaging it, however, is neither. Unlike, say, a 1911 safety, the Security-9’s lever is hinged at the front for some reason. That means you can’t easily engage it (put it into ‘safe’ mode) one-handed or without re-gripping the gun. I don’t find that to be a big problem — disengaging it is always the much more urgent task — but some users may.

If you object to a safety-equipped carry gun, as Jeremy pointed out, you could always remove the safety lever. But removing a safety feature is never a good idea liability-wise if you ever find yourself using the pistol in a self-defense or home-defense situation. Better to leave it be. It takes enough effort to engage the Security-9’s safety lever that you won’t be flipping it up accidentally.

Gun Review: Ruger Security-9 Compact 9mm Pistol
Dan Z for TTAG

The 3.4-inch barrel is just long enough for a short length of Picatinny rail to attach a light or laser.

Gun Review: Ruger Security-9 Compact 9mm Pistol
Dan Z for TTAG

The Security-9’s front end is nicely sculpted to let it easily glide into a holster. It’s far less chunky-looking than some of its 9mm handgun competitors.

Gun Review: Ruger Security-9 Compact 9mm Pistol
Dan Z for TTAG

Takedown is easy enough, but could be easier. Just align the slide with the top of the takedown pin and…use something (a small screwdriver works well) to pop the pin out a fraction of an inch. From there you can slide it the rest of the way with your fingers.

Gun Review: Ruger Security-9 Compact 9mm Pistol
Dan Z for TTAG

The good news: The hammer-fired Security-9 doesn’t require a trigger pull to disassemble. The bad news: It’s really hard to take it down without some kind of tool. You can’t pop the pin out from the other side. That’s less than ideal.

Gun Review: Ruger Security-9 Compact 9mm Pistol
Dan Z for TTAG

The GLOCK-like sights, with that rear sight U design, work well enough with a good amount of room around the front sight post to see your target. The low-slung rear sight is angled in the front, which means you won’t be able to use it to rack the slide one-handed if necessary.

Gun Review: Ruger Security-9 Compact 9mm Pistol
Dan Z for TTAG

Unlike GLOCK sights, the rear sight is easily drift adjustable. It’s dovetailed and all it takes to adjust it is an Allen wrench. No sight pusher required. 

Don’t like ’em? Not a problem. Since the full-size version has been out there for over a year, there are plenty of aftermarket options (such as three-dot sights, fiber optics or night sights), and it’s easy to swap them out yourself.

As for how she shoots . . .

Gun Review: Ruger Security-9 Compact 9mm Pistol
Dan Z for TTAG

We ran the gun with more than 500 rounds using a variety of gun food. That included range ammo from Armscor and Winchester as well as JHP rounds such as Federal HST and Hydra-Shok, Remington Golden Saber and Hornady Critical duty. The Security-9 will, after all, be carried frequently and used in an everyday carry personal defense role.

That group of 10 was shot at seven yards in the normal two-handed manner with Hydra-Shock.

Gun Review: Ruger Security-9 Compact 9mm Pistol
Dan Z for TTAG

That’s five shots of Federal Premium HST at seven yards, braced and aimed at the question mark. That group is a hair under one inch. The best groups we got at 25 yards were just over three inches. Not bad at all from a concealed carry pistol.

The verdict: The Security-9 is plenty accurate for self-defense work as is. It would be even more accurate with a better trigger. That’s not to say the factory bangswitch is bad, but no one will ever describe it as being crisp. It’s fairly mushy and while there’s a tactile, positive reset, it’s almost all the way out to the fully-released position.

But you can’t look objectively at the Security-9 without taking into account its price point. This is an extremely affordable gun that compares very favorably to some very popular competitors that cost many more samolians. To wit:

Gun Review: Ruger Security-9 Compact 9mm Pistol
Security-9 Compact (top), G43 (bottom) Dan Z for TTAG

Size-wise, the Security-9 is very slightly bigger than my GLOCK G43.

Gun Review: Ruger Security-9 Compact 9mm Pistol
G43 (left), Security-9 (right) Dan Z for TTAG

While the published specs say the Security-9 is a mere .04″ wider than the G43, that’s slide width. In reality, the single-stack G43 carries thinner than the double-stack Security-9.

Gun Review: Ruger Security-9 Compact 9mm Pistol
The G-43 is virtually the same size silhouette as the Security-9 (Dan Z for TTAG)

Then again, the Security-9 gives you four more rounds to carry. That size/capacity trade-off is one lots of gun buyers are more than willing to make.

With its 10+1 round capacity, the Security-9 Compact will also inevitably be compared to the SIG SAUER P365, too. Here’s a handy-dandy table showing the three guns’ relevant specs (all prices from Brownells for comparison):

Security-9 GLOCK G43 SIG P365
Height 4.35 4.25 4.3
Length 6.52 6.26 5.8
Barrel Length 3.42 3.41 3.1
Width 1.02 1.06 1.0
Capacity 10+1 6+1 10+1
Weight (loaded) 21.9 20.64 21.15
Retail Price $329 $449 $499

Is it the best compact 9mm? The Security-9 isn’t a perfect gun. What gun is? Its trigger isn’t as good as the GLOCK’s or the SIG’s. You need a tool to take it down. And some shooters won’t like the manual safety (while others will insist on it).

Then again, it gives you more rounds than the G43 and costs $170 less than the SIG (to be fair, the P365 comes with standard night sights).

Gun Review: Ruger Security-9 Compact 9mm Pistol
Dan Z for TTAG

For a lot of buyers, that performance and savings will be more than enough to justify those compromises.

Armscor ammunition advanced tactical


Specifications: Ruger Security-9 Compact

Caliber: 9mm Luger
Action: Hammer-fired single action (Ruger Secure Action hammer provides easier racking, strong ignition force, and hammer catch for safety)
Capacity: 10+1 (optional 15-round magazines available)
Barrel Length: 3.42″
Overall Length: 6.52″
Weight: 21.9 oz.
Slide Width: 1.02″
Height: 4.35″
MSRP: $379 (about $330 retail)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style: * * * 

It’s another polymer frame 9mm pistol. None of them will stop traffic. But it isn’t overtly ugly.

Ergonomics: * * * * 

Surprisingly good, especially for someone with small hands (like yours truly). I’d like a little larger mag release, but you probably won’t have any problem at all. And I’m not sure why the safety is hinged at the front.

Reliability: * * * * *

Perfect. It ran everything from cheap range stuff to first-run defensive loads without a complaint.

Customize This: * * * 

Plenty of choices out there already, thanks to the full-size version being on the market for more than a year. A quick search showed plenty of holster options out there already from Crossbreed, DeSantis, Alien Gear and more. With its internal aluminum chassis (that’s the legal “gun”) look for various colored grip frames, too.

Overall: * * * * 

The trigger’s OK and the safety’s strange. I’d also rather not have to use a tool to take it down. But those are minor gripes in a compact 9mm pistol that’s 1) perfectly reliable, 2) packs 10+1 in a compact form, 3) plenty accurate, and 4) does it all for at least $125 less than fancier competitors. The Security-9 is a lot of concealed carry gun for your hard-earned dollar.

Looking for the best concealed carry 9mm handgun? Check out other TTAG coverage of similar pistols:

Gun Review: Taurus G2C 9mm Pistol

Gun Review: SIG SAUER P938 Legion Micro-Compact 9mm Pistol

Gun Review: Beretta PX4-Storm Full Size, Compact, and Sub Compact 9mm

Gun Review: Walther PPQ Sub-Compact 9mm

Gun Review: Springfield Armory XD Mod.2 9mm Sub-Compact

Top 3 Most Underrated Sub-Compact 9mm Carry Pistols (GLOCK 43, Springfield XD-S, Smith & Wesson M&P Shield) 

Gun Review: SIG SAUER P320 Compact Carry Nitron 9mm

9mm Subcompact Pistol Roundup (Kahr CM9, Kahr PM9, Beretta Nano, Ruger LC9, Sig Sauer P290, Diamondback DB9, Kel-Tec PF9, Kimber Solo Carry, Smith and Wesson 9mm Shield Subcompact)

Gun Review: Bersa BP9CC 9mm Handgun

Gun Review: SCCY CPX-2 9mm

Gun Review: GLOCK 19 Gen 5 9mm

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  1. I handled one of these side by side with a Ruger SR9C. The dimensions seemed identical except for the width. The Security 9 was a bit wider.

  2. I wish they had not making the SR9c. From the reviews I read it was supposed to have a very good trigger. I was never able to save up enough money to get one though, hard to do with just a disability check. Hoping to get something soon.

  3. Need to throw this out there. I managed a gun shop for years until the first of this year and retirement. I sent more Rugers back for every reason imaginable. Safety broken, bolt actually too thick to fit the action, how did that get pass QC, a LCP 380 disintegration in the range, AR gas blocks walking out, etc. All Ruger brand…

    • When the pistols are assembled they are checked for fit and function and each one is tested with one mag of fmj ammo. This includes a proof round. When the SR40c first came out two ten round mags were fired in every pistol. The more time spent on testing and checking the price will go up. Sometimes sh*t does happen but in any manufacturing it’s the rule not the exception. If you think Rugers are just cheap look what happened with Sig and the drop test issue.

    • EWWWWW. good to know.
      The guys and gals in the shop
      have alot of experience they can tell.

      Yup, go with the know!

      • Glad for the comparison and update as this is a strong competitor for a slot on my pistol license. Thanks for the review I will have to try and rent one next time I am in PA (or anywhere outside of the people’s republic)

      • Hi Dan –

        If you’d like to add a column for the Glock 26 (gen 5), here are numbers:

        Height 4.17 in
        Length 6.42 in
        Barrel length 3.43 in
        Width 1.3 in
        Capacity 10+1
        Weight loaded 26.07 oz

        I couldn’t find an MSRP on, but I believe it’s about $569

      • The Glock 26 is not significantly wider than the Ruger Security 9. Manufacturers are playing games with specifications because thin is in. Ruger lists only the slide width of the security 9 as 1.02 while Glock lists the slide width of the Glock 26 as 1.0. Glock also lists the “width (overall)” of the Glock 26, which includes controls as 1.26 while Ruger does not list that. I suspect the actual width of both are very similar with maybe a slight edge to the Glock 26.

  4. Rabbit fever. Oh look another plastic 9mm. I removed the safety from a 54-1 , it’s safer without it. I could put it on safe and keep squeezing the trigger and the safety would slip off, also upon firing it I would sometimes push the safety on due to the recoil. I kinda wish there would be a modern pistol designed around the 7.62X25 , it’s a hell of a fun cartridge and with 110 so’s pushed to 1650fps it kicks some ass too

  5. I never considered these to be aesthetically pleasing weapons until just now, seeing it next to the Glock. Maybe if someone is kind enough to spike the punch I’d bring one home from the dance.

  6. Ummm…OK. Man there’s a helluva lot of small 9’s. I wonder why THIS wasn’t released before the standard size Security 9? I’m interested but most of my meagre gun budget is rolled into my AR…

      • I picked up the Ruger Sec9c and had to buy it on the spot. 290 .While I’ve happily replaced my RugerSR pistols with S&W M&P pistols- this compact is now in the line-up. I like this safety, that will not accidently engage.

  7. Good article sir – and equally good photos. I wants one! The safety is the biggest benefit for me. I know the tactical types are already looking down their noses at me – but my top defense priorities are common sense and situational awareness. It would be nice to have one of these Rugers more-safely carried with a round in the chamber and on-safe.

  8. I have the original size. The author doesn’t seem to like the trigger action, but that is one of my favorite things about the gun. The trigger itself feels like lightweight cheap plastic, but has held up well so far.

    I would love to see more aftermarket cistomizations available. Maybe a better SS barrel. Guide rod, springs, etc. These have tons of potential for personalization along those lines.

    • Not so much a tool as a kinda long fingernail, spent brass, knife tip, edge of an NRA membership card, or your favorite anti gun credit card. Just about anything that can grab that slot. Also might polish that pin slightly and put a drop of oil on it to ease takedown further. I had a full-size until I traded it in on my CZ P10C.

    • I’m guessing one could use the rim of a cartridge to pull the pin. Other manufacturers do the same (SCCYs break down that way, for example).

      That said, go watch how to break down a Ruger LC9s / EC9s / LC380 to see what a pain using a tool can be.

    • Don’t need a tool, just the lips on the mag,the rim of a 9mm round…you prefer a take down lever aka Beretta 92 or Sig Sauer my guess that means more machining therefore higher price point???

  9. I truly LOVE Ruger products. With all the blessings the Security 9 has, its damnations include a magazine disconnect (pure cowpies) and a corrosion-prone slide finish.

  10. Actually, it seems closer in size to the Sig p365XL, and like the XL it should be made to accept one of the mini red dot sights. The price is only a bargain, once one has the finished price (factoring in sights, milling, etc.).
    I do really like my LCP2 (with Viridian reactor lase) though, and it is rather accurate, even with the laser off.
    Cheers, Tony

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