Ruger EC9s, by Pat Cascio

For as long as I can remember, I’ve carried a second (or backup) handgun to my main handgun, and these days we have quite a selection of small, compact handguns to pick from. We’re looking at the new Ruger EC9s 9mm handgun today. It is one super, little, concealed carry piece.

Ruger- Affordable Handguns

I’ve stated this before, but I will say it again; for the most part, Ruger is producing guns that are for us blue collar workers. Now that’s not to say that they aren’t producing some outstanding upper-end firearms, because they are. However, many of the handguns produced by Ruger are in the very “affordable” price range, if you ask me, and that’s a good thing. I’ve been a fan of Ruger for more years that I can remember, easily more than 40 years.

I don’t believe that you have to spend a lot of your hard-earned money to get a lot of handgun from Ruger, far from it. Many of Ruger’s semiauto pistols are rather “plain Jane” looking, if you ask me. Then again, who really cares, so long as the gun is accurate and goes “bang” when you pull the trigger? I know, I know; save the hate mail.

While I enjoy a fine-looking firearm as much as the next guy, I’m not one for showing off my gun collection. First of all, I don’t collect guns, and I don’t have a gun collection per se. So, I simply don’t show off my guns to just anyone, period!

A Gun That Looks Ready To Go To Battle

I like a hard-looking gun for some reason. I’m not saying all of Ruger’s firearms are “hard-looking”, far from it. Some are a real masterpiece and a sight to behold. However, I like a gun that looks like it is ready to go to battle. Many of Ruger’s semiauto handguns fall into this category, in my humble opinion, too.

Ruger EC9s, 9mm Pistol

We’re taking a very close look at the new Ruger EC9s, 9mm pistol today, and it has everything you need and nothing you don’t need. First off, the EC9s is striker-fired, not hammer-fired. This makes for a much lighter and faster trigger pull, and that means more accuracy, too. This little gun has a 3.12-inch barrel, which is about as short as one can go and still have a gun that functions 100% of the time and has enough accuracy, too. The little 9mm, and I have to keep reminding myself that this is a 9mm and not a .380 ACP, is slim. It comes in at under an inch in thickness. I had to compare it to my usual backup handgun– a Ruger LCP in .380 ACP. The EC9s is only an inch longer and about an inch taller than the itty-bitty LCP.

Grip, Safety, Trigger

The grip frame is made out of glass-filled nylon, keeping the weight down. Its slide is through-hardened stainless steel, and even the black-coated slide is stainless steel. The grip frame has nice checkering for a secure grip on the gun. There is also a manual thumb safety, plus the little lever in the center of the trigger that is also a safety. If you don’t pull the trigger, depressing that little lever, the gun simply won’t fire. There is also a magazine disconnect safety. The gun won’t fire without a magazine inserted in it.

Sights, Weight, Magazine

The sights, front and rear, are machined into the slide. On the older model, the rear sight was adjustable, which I don’t think is needed for a “belly gun” that will be used at short distances. (I have more on this later.) The rear face of the front and rear sights have serrations, and this cuts down on glare and is a very nice touch. There are no white dots, and this isn’t a real problem for my aged eyes. I simply painted the front sight with some red nail polish so I could pick it up faster and easier.

The gun includes one, just one, 7-rd magazine. Now you have to realize how small this gun is; yet it still holds 7+1 rounds of 9mm ammo. That’s incredible. The little EC9s only weighs in at a mere 17.2 oz too. Overall length is six inches and height is 4.50 inches. The gun is small! The magazine comes with two floor plates– one that is flush and one with a “pinky” catcher, as I call it, that allows a full grip on the gun.

My Wife

I picked up my EC9s in a trade, but it was marked for $249 on the price tag. I actually got into the gun for a lot less money. My wife liked my new handgun so much she asked me to get her one from Ruger, but she wanted one of the limited distributor models– one with a bushed stainless steel slide, no black coating, and a turquoise colored frame. The gun is really eye candy, if you ask me. It’s very eye appealing.

Now, you have to understand my wife’s idea of a perfect handgun. If it doesn’t fit her hand just perfectly, she doesn’t care what kind of gun it is, she doesn’t like it, end of story. The little EC9s, with the pinky catcher mag floor plate installed, fit her to a “T”. She loves it.

Fired A Lot of Rounds

My lovely wife has already fired her EC9s more than I’ve fired mine, and I mean she’s fired it a lot more than I’ve fired mine. It was nothing for her to burn through 50-100 rounds of ammo during one shooting session. She had one failure to feed during her first mag through the gun, and that was my bad. I didn’t get a chance to inspect her gun and lube it; it was bone dry. We added some lube, which I always keep in my range box, and her gun hasn’t had any problems since.

Now, because this is such a very small 9mm handgun, I limited my +P 9mm ammo testing through this little gun. I know it can handle it, but still I don’t want to abuse the gun. I loaded some +P in my wife’s gun, and she noticed the increased recoil but said it didn’t “bother” her at all. She just “noticed” it during a string of fire.

Ammo From Black Hills Ammunition

From Black Hills Ammunition I had the following ammo we ran through both pistols: their brand-new HoneyBadger 100-gr all-copper, fluted non-hollow point +P load; their 125-gr HoneyBadger subsonic non-hollow point load; 115-gr FMJ, 115-gr EXP JHP, 124-gr JHP +P; and their 115-gr Barnes EXP-TAC +P load. So, we had a pretty good mix of various 9mm to test in both guns.


For accuracy testing, we placed the target out to ten yards– a fair enough test for such a short-barreled 9mm handgun. If I was on my game, I was getting 2-inch groups, and that’s mighty fine accuracy from such a short barreled little gun. That is easily a head-shot! I was surprised that the subsonic HoneyBadger 125-gr load functioned; it even locked the slide back after the last round. I’ve had a few problems with this load in full-sized guns when it wouldn’t lock the slide open after the last round. I was hoping the new HoneyBadger 100-gr +P load would be the most accurate out of the bunch, but it came in second place. First place went to the 115-gr FMJ load. If I did my part all the time, my grouping would be around two inches, and I shot a number of accuracy groupings in this little gun. I just wanted to be sure what it was capable of. The HoneyBadger came in dead on at two inches, and the rest of the loads were just a tad over that, and I mean it isn’t worth mentioning the difference in the groups. They were all that good, if I did my part.

Holster For EC9s

I am waiting on a leather holster from Blackhawk Products for my own EC9s, but in the meantime I tested the Blackhawk one-size-fits-all belt slide holster. To be clear, it doesn’t fit all sizes of handguns. No holster does. However, it fit the EC9s perfectly. I also tested the Blackhawk ankle holster, and this is my preferred holster for this little gun. It will serve as a backup to my main gun, and it is only slightly bigger and heavier than my Ruger LCP, which is chambered in .380 ACP. Keep in mind, the EC9s is chambered in the more powerful 9mm. What’s not to like here?

Retail Prices

The all-black Ruger EC9s retails for $299. I don’t have prices on the Distributor gun I got for the wife, but I suspect it is a little bit more but not much more though. So, if you’re in the market for a very small, Every Day Carry 9mm handgun, or one as a backup to your main gun, you’d be wise to check out this newest offering from Ruger. It’ll get the job done, no doubt about it.


  1. I prefer lower priced handguns for concealed carry as long as they work. I think that, if I ever had toi use one, the authorities might take it and not return it. I would rather lose a $200-$300 gun that a $600-$900 gun. All that I want is a gun that goes “BANG” every time I pull the trigger. I think I would like this little Ruger!

  2. I absolutely love my LC9s for summer-concealed carry. Paired with a DeSantis Intruder IWB holster, it tucks in tightly enough that even a paranoid “printing” freak like me almost forgets it’s there. Accurate, reliable, and easily concealed. I’m sure the EC9s carries on that tradition.
    I can’t say enough good things about Ruger customer service either. Two years ago, my LC9s developed the infamous “unintended magazine release” problem after about a year of ownership. A quick call to Ruger and I had 2-day FedEx shipping paid both ways and the repairs (they replaced the entire lower frame) was completed in 4 days. Flawless ever since.

  3. I used to appreciate Ruger firearms. But after buying brand new guns and inspecting the insides, and discovering metal shavings everywhere, that was the last straw. How difficult can it be to use compressed air to blow the machining filings out at the factory? Shoddy, cheap manufacturing, from yet another company where the bottom line is more important than basic quality. They lost a once loyal customer.

  4. Pat, we love your reviews, no matter what it is, it make the start of our Monday.
    I wish you might comment when you do your Semi-Auto reviews on how much effort it takes to “rack the slide. We are both 72 years olsd and my wife doesn’t have a lot of strength. She can just slide our Glock 19, and cannot rack the baby Glocks in 9MM.
    I want to buy her a small 9mm for Christmas that she can use.

    1. A bit older than you guys, but with the same situation. Solved it by adding a couple of small pieces of skateboard tape to the slide. Solved it beautifully and works like a dream. Try it.

  5. Dweezil. Thank you I have been thinking about this model since I read up on the round. I have an old S and W. 32 S w Long revolver and S and W did make a model 632 that the. 327 Federal Magnum is used in. They have a ported barrel I liked that the revolver can use a few rounds including the. 32 S and W long that I like. They did stop making the gun and the used ones I’ve Sen go for almost $2,000! So I had been looking at the rugar. Thank again! And yes aside from the round I like I know it holds 6 instead of the 5. Only one but it may matter.

  6. I’m a Ruger fan myself and my concealed carry that I go to the most is my LC9s Pro (no safety). I looked at some of the EC9s and to me they are just a slightly less machined/finished version of the LC9s. I think they make a great backup gun at a good price. I prefer the LC over the EC, but sometimes price points dictate what you get and for $250.00 you get a great gun with the EC9. This would be a gun I’d look for used at a $200 or less price to keep in the truck at all times. That way if it is stolen from the truck I would not be out a lot of money. It could also be a gun to put in my get home bag that says in the truck. That way when I need to grab the bag an go, I have a ready to go firearm.

    1. “This would be a gun I’d look for used at a $200 or less price to keep in the truck at all times. That way if it is stolen from the truck I would not be out a lot of money.”

      The loss of money would be the least of your worries, IMO. If it is stolen, then due to your leaving a gun in the truck to suit your convenience, a criminal with who-knows-what intentions is now walking the street with your gun.

      I would think that if it wound up being used to kill someone, you’d have a heck of a lot more than the loss of a $200 on your mind. Namely being personally responsible for enabling whatever crime the gun was involved in.

      Think about it.

  7. Magazine disconnect! That is a turn off! Lose the magazine and you have a paperweight! Do a tactical reload and you have a pistol that will not shoot until you insert another magazine!
    SHAME ON RUGER! And shame on you, Pat.

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