Tested: Ruger Security-9 Compact

posted on September 13, 2019

Working with the Ruger Security-9 a while back turned into a trip down memory lane. One of the most notable changes between the company’s latest semi-automatic 9 mm offerings and the 20-year-old P95 is a reduction in the overall size while maintaining a 15-round magazine capacity. The new Security-9 Compact, which is actually a subcompact size pistol, is even smaller and lighter for easier concealed carry.

Like the slightly larger version, the Security-9 Compact is a pre-cocked, hammer-fired double-action with a polymer frame. It employs a passive trigger safety and a Browning-type, tilting-barrel lock-up. The recessed hammer is partially cocked by cycling the slide. Pressing the trigger completes the cocking process and then drops the hammer to fire the pistol.

The grip frame and slide have been shortened by about half an inch. This model ships with two blued steel double-stack magazines that hold 10 rounds and fit flush to the two-finger size grip. One finger extension base plate is included. The shorter grip frame of the Compact will accept the 15-round magazines of the Standard Security-9. Ruger offers a polymer sleeve for the 15-round magazines, which serves as a grip extension when they are used with the Compact model.

The polymer sight system features a white-dot blade front sight and a low-profile, white-outline rear sight with a screw that allows for windage adjustments. The through-hardened carbon steel slide is milled with angled front and rear cocking serrations and given a blued finish. An enlarged ejection port is fitted with a heavy duty extractor claw. The top edges of the slide and the muzzle have angular bevels but the rear of the slide is gently rounded for a smooth draw.


Disassembling the Security-9 reveals a blued carbon-steel 3.42" barrel that has traditional lan-and-groove rifling and a witness hole in the chamber that acts as a loaded chamber indicator. The recoil assembly consists of a flat-wire spring captured on a steel guide rod. A CNC-machined one-piece aluminum chassis, with a hard-coat anodized finish, is pinned into the polymer grip frame and topped with 4.15" rails to support the slide. The chassis also contains the majority of the moving parts, including the trigger group and external controls. The pistol's serial number is stamped into the right side of the chassis, which is visible through a port in the grip frame on the right side of the pistol.

All of the external controls can be found on the left side of the polymer frame, including the takedown pin, slide stop, thumb safety and magazine release button. All of these controls have a minimalist profile which is well-suited to concealed carry while remaining easy to reach and operate for the most part. The slide stop lever locks into the slide quite tightly. So much so that pressing it is not a practical way to close the slide, especially in a defensive situation. In other words, you're going to have to pull back on the slide in order to release it. The thumb safety fulfills two operations when pressed into the “safe” position. It blocks the rotation of the sear and it locks the hammer in place. It should be noted that the Security-9 Compact does not have a magazine disconnect safety and will fire if the trigger is pressed while the magazine is removed.

The polymer trigger sports an integral trigger safety lever like those commonly found on striker-fired polymer pistols. The trigger pull is listed at 6 lbs. but the Security-9 Compact I worked with had a trigger pull of 4 lbs. 6 oz. with a little takeup before the break. The trigger reset is short, with an audible and tangible click. The engineering effort that has gone into giving the pre-cocked hammer ignition system a smooth trigger is clearly evident.  

The frame is molded from long-fiber, glass-reinforced nylon, a polymer material which has proved to be a durable and reliable option for pistols. The molded-in, 3-slot accessory rail is fairly short at 1" but it's enough to work with for a variety of lights and laser modules. The squared-off and undercut trigger guard provides plenty of room for gloved fingers along with a textured finger rest along the front edge. Indentations located behind the trigger make it easier to reach. The somewhat stubby grip frame features panels of molded-in, semi-coarse texturing along all four sides. It's a just-right texturing that provides plenty of good purchase without grinding at skin or clothing like sand paper.

At the range, this Security-9 proved to be reliable and relatively comfortable to work with. Hot 9 mm ammunition can produce snappy levels of felt recoil in light weight pistols like this one and a shorter grip can make the gun feel even more jumpy. But the Security-9 Compact was manageable with all loads tested. While this pistol series is safety rated for all SAAMI specification ammunition, including +P loads, they will wear out more quickly if fed a steady diet of hot ammunition. Do not ever use +P+ ammunition with this platform; it's too hot to use safely.

This pistol did not experience any malfunctions, mechanical or ammunition related, in the course of informal and formal testing. It ticked right along like a metronome producing satisfying groups at defensive distances. Benchrested accuracy testing was conducted at 15 yards using the pistol's factory installed sight system. It can be more challenging to manage a pistol with a 2-finger grip, so I left the finger rest extension for the 10-round magazines in the box.

Gorilla Ammunition's
Silverback Defense 115-gr. all-copper segmented hollow points printed a best 5-shot group of 2.21" with a five-group average of 2.37". Inceptor Ammunition’s Preferred Defense 65-gr. ARX fluted poly-copper solids tapped out a best group of 2.51" with an average of 2.73". Winchester W Train & Defend 147-gr. jacketed hollow points produced a best group of 2.42" with an average of 2.61".

Although the Security-9 Compact leans towards being a more utilitarian pistol, it's got a sleek styling and level of fit and finish that are comparable to Ruger models with larger price tags. It offers the same well-balanced package of features as its predecessor but in a more concealable package. If you want to save yourself the step of hunting down a laser sight for this pistol, Ruger has just released a version that ships with a factory installed Viridian red laser sight. I came out the other side of this test and evaluation liking Ruger's just as much as the original, and slightly larger, Security-9.

Sturm, Ruger & Co.
Model: Security-9 Compact (#3818)
Action: Pre-cocked Double Action Semi-Automatic
Caliber: 9 mm
Slide: Blued Through-Hardened Chrome-Moly Steel
Slide Serrations: Front and Back
Chassis: Milled Aluminum, Hard-Coat Anodized
Frame: Textured Long-Glass Fiber Reinforced Nylon
Front Sight: Dovetailed Polymer White Dot
Rear Sight: Dovetailed Polymer White Outline
Barrel Length: 3.42"
Overall Length: 6.52"
Height: 4.35"
Slide Width: 1.03"
Grip Width: 1.17"
Trigger Pull: 4 lbs. 6 oz. (As Tested)
Weight: 24 oz. with Empty Magazine
Capacity: 10+1 Rounds
Twist: 1:10” RH
Rifle Grooves: 6
Accessories: Two Magazines, Extended Base Plate, Cable Lock, Owner's Manual
MSRP: $379

Additional Reading:
The Ruger P95 vs. the Security-9: 20 Years of Evolution 
NRA Gun of the Week: Ruger Security-9 Compact Pistol
First Look: Ruger Security-9 Compact
Tested: Ruger's PC Carbine and Security-9 Pistol


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