Is the Ruger Security 380 a Good Gun?

When you start looking at concealed carry guns, there is no shortage of choices. In fact, sometimes that abundance of choices can make it more difficult to pick something out. We often help students pick out a gun and have a good sample of the options for them to try before they decide. We also try to shoot different guns ourselves so that we have a better idea of what is out there. One of the guns that I tried this year is the Ruger Security 380 and it turned out to be a big deal.

Who is Ruger?

Ruger is an American success story. It went from 2 guys in a small, rented machine shop in Southport, Connecticut to the biggest firearms manufacturers in the US. It is #2 in pistols (behind Smith & Wesson) and #2 in rifles.

Ruger is well known for their shotguns, hunting rifles, and revolvers, but they aren’t as well known for their semi-automatic pistols. The brand is often regarded as a good value, but a little on the budget end of the scale. Still, I’ve owned several Ruger firearms over the years, even as duty weapons, and I’ve never been unhappy with any of them.

What Led to Trying the Ruger Security 380?

For the past few years, my wife has used a Glock 43 as her everyday carry gun. (Pic below. The gun is cerekoted in lavender, so naturally it is named Lilly) It’s a perfectly good gun. Reliable, easy to find accessories and holsters, and easy to conceal. It is, however, a little snappy for her to shoot. She can shoot it well, but after about 30 rounds or so, a flinch starts to creep in. Overall, it starts being a less enjoyable experience. Less enjoyment means less desire to practice more. So we started to explore other options. One of those was the Security 380.

Glock 43

About the Ruger Security 380

The Ruger Security 380 is a micro-compact pistol chambered in .380 acp. The pistol is a polymer-framed gun with a fiber optic front sight and a blacked-out rear sight. Both sights are drift adjustable. Unlike a lot of currently popular pistols, the Security 380 is a hammer-fired gun, not striker-fired. It has a small accessory rail on the front to add a light if you want.

The gun primarily competes against the Smith & Wesson 380 Shield EZ and the Glock 43X. (Note that the 43X is a 9mm, while the Ruger and Smith & Wesson are chambered in .380) When you look at the Ruger, it looks like a kind of chunky gun, but the looks are deceiving. Here is a comparison:

 Ruger Security 380S&W 380 Shield EZGlock 43X
Overall Length- inches6.526.76.5
Barrel length- inches3.423.683.41
Width- inches1.021.041.1
Height- inches4.355.055.04
Weight- ounces19.718.518.7
Capacity10 (15 round mag inc)810

Ergonomics

The Security 380 has some pretty good ergonomics built into it. First, both the Security 380 and the Smith & Wesson 380 Shield EZ are designed as “lite rack” guns. This means that their springs are lighter and the gun is designed to allow people with limitations to their hand strength to manipulate the slide easier. In the case of the Ruger, the slide is quite easy to work. (I am not a fan of the Smith & Wesson EZ pistols, but that’s a different discussion)

Another thing that contributes to the ease of use is the slide itself. The Ruger has built-in “ears” on the rear of the slide, giving you a little more to grab. The serrations on the slide are deep and positive. There is also a built-in indentation just in front of the chamber that gives you a good place to do press checks.

Ruger Security 380 slide
Front indentations and rear “ears” for better grip

The trigger on the Ruger Security 380 has a long take up, but a clean break. I measured the trigger consistently at just under 4 pounds. The reset is somewhat long, but tactile and audible. The trigger had a blade safety dingus (yes, that’s a word) on it, similar to many other guns on the market. As a self-defense gun, the trigger is perfectly acceptable to me.

Shooting Impressions of the Ruger Security 380

This gun is soft shooting and shoots like a big gun. Part of that is due to the use of the .380 cartridge. Part of it is due to the size of the gun. The Ruger Security .380 allows me to get a full grip on the gun with the 10-round magazine. There is room to spare with the 15-rounder in it. The slide also has some lightening cuts in the front, reducing the weight as it cycles. All of this works together to make a gun that is very pleasant to shoot. Recoil management is super easy, barely an inconvenience. The high-definition fiber optic front sight draws the eye to it, allowing you to pick it up quickly.

Shooting the gun is where it really starts to shine. Looking at it, one could easily think the gun is clunky and will shoot strangely. 5 rounds in and you will see the difference. I was very impressed with the accuracy of the gun and the shootability.

My wife also found it easy to shoot the gun accurately and her shooting was more consistent than with the Glock 43. Normally, with the 43, she is pretty much tired of shooting it after 50 rounds. That’s not the case for the Ruger Security 380. She was ready for another box.

A Few Minor Things

There are only a few things that I would improve on the gun. First is the texture. The grip texture is okay, especially for a gun that has such low recoil, but it could be better. There’s not a lot of texturing and what is there isn’t super grippy.

I don’t have any problems with the blacked-out rear sight, but my wife doesn’t like it. She’s a 3 dot girl and we’ll probably end up changing it to something she likes better. The gun is not cut for a red dot.

Ruger Security 380 sights
Front fiber optic and blacked-out rear sights are standard.

The gun does come equipped with a frame-mounted manual safety. I’m not a fan, but if you are going to use it, this one takes some getting used to. The safety is small and stiff to operate. It does go to the off position positively, but you have to hit that skinny lever. Putting it on is not that easy. However, the safety is only on the left side of the gun, so as a left-handed shooter, it’s really not helping me. The slide release is also not ambidextrous.

Read our First Shots review of the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus

But It’s a .380

I have to address this at some point. Yes, it’s a .380. Yes, the 9mm is more powerful. But, with the proper ammo selection, the .380 is reliable enough that I am comfortable with it as a self-defense round. The ammo is a little more expensive than 9mm, but not any more expensive than other options like the .40. I buy a lot from Bereli. Their practice ammo is about 3 cents a round more than 9mm. Defensive ammo is reasonably priced as well.

But while we dork out with gelatin testing, depth of penetration, or wound cavities, we miss an important part. A shooter like my wife enjoys shooting it more (not as much as the Springfield Echelon, but that’s a different story). That means she wants to shoot more often and shoot more rounds, and that has turned into increased skill. That’s a win in my book.

There’s also a boost in capacity. Her 43 holds 6 rounds in the flush fit magazine and 8 in the extended magazine. A total of 14 rounds. The Ruger Security 380 holds 10 in the flush fit magazine and 15 in the extended. So, she picks up 11 more rounds. I think that can bridge the small amount of stopping power that was lost.

What should you modify on your gun first?

Ruger Security 380

Do I Recommend It?

Two thumbs up! The Ruger Security 380 is a great gun. It shoots well and has been 100% reliable for us so far. I have zero hesitation about letting my wife rely on it for her protection. Since she likes naming things, she decided to name this one Heidi (because it’s concealed. Heidi. Hiding. Get it?) The Glock 43 (Lilly) still has a role if she needs a smaller gun because of attire or event, but the Ruger is the new go-to choice.

Would I carry it? Yes. I often carry a Ruger LCP Max (a smaller gun), so this wouldn’t be a step down at all. Although it’s considered a micro-compact, the full grip allows the Security 380 to flex into a home defense role if you are in a situation where you need one gun to do it all. The accessory rail in the front allows you to add a light, so that also helps. I’ve let some students shoot it and they chose to buy one for themselves.

The pistol is a very affordable option. At the time of this article, Palmetto State Armory is selling it for $269.99. That is over $100 less than the Smith & Wesson 380 Shield EZ and $180 less than the Glock 43X.

Overall, this little gun is a sleeper hit. It looks chunky and less elegant than some others but is actually small and well thought out. It is worth a look if you are in the market for a concealed-carry gun or want something that shoots a little softer.

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Have you shot the Ruger Security 380? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.

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