Ruger Security 9 Endurance Test, by Pat Cascio

Back in February 2018, I tested the then fairly-new polymer-frame Ruger Security 9  handgun. It was a stellar pistol, and very affordable, as well. I liked that gun so much that I added a second one to my modest collection. The first one resides in our bedroom, it is my “nightstand” gun – even though it isn’t stored in a nightstand. My second Security 9 has a trigger guard mounted laser on it, and that is the only difference between the two guns.

Look, we all know that, anything can be broken, under the right circumstance, and I stopped doing “to destruction” testing on just about everything I test. I’ve had more than a few firearms almost self-destruct without doing that type of testing. On the Ruger Security 9, I just wanted to put an obscene number of rounds through it, before it stopped working. Needless to say, no easy task, since we are still in the worst ammo drought in history. The nice folks at Black Hills Ammunition supplied me with a lot of the ammo used in this testing. I also purchased a lot of 9mm ammo out of my own funds, and quite a bit was donated to me – my local FFL often gets ammo in a gun trade – usually partially full boxes, and sometimes they get ammo in plastic bags – they’ve donated quite a bit of ammo to me over the years.

As stated, I wasn’t about to do an article or test to see if I could destroy the little Ruger Security 9, I just wanted to run a lot of ammo through the gun, without cleaning it or lubing it, after I first inspected the gun out of the box – at which time, I lubed it with Breakfree CLP and didn’t do any cleaning after that. I was going to terminate my testing, when the Security 9 had a gun-induced malfunction.

Practically every time I went out shooting, either for an article, or for pleasure, I’d take this Security 9 with me. I didn’t sit down and run thousands of rounds of ammo through it in one sitting. Sometimes it was just a box of ammo, other times a couple boxes. And, I had some helpers too – they always enjoy shooting when someone else supplies the ammo.

We used a Mag Lula magazine loader, and that sure makes loading magazines a lot easier and faster – your thumb gets sore in short order loading a lot of magazines.

I planned on shooting up some of the donated ammo first, and it was tossed loose in a .50 cal ammo can. I’d simply reach into the can and come out with a handful of ammo, and start loading magazines. I never paid any attention to what brand or make of the ammo – and some of it was really dirty and corroded too. I loaded the first 15-round magazine, and fired the first round, when I tried the second round, I saw that the slide hadn’t gone completely into battery. Not a good start to an endurance test. It took quite some effort to get the slide retracted and get that round out of the chamber. Turns out, it was some really bad reloaded ammo – it wouldn’t fully chamber in the Security 9 or any of my other 9mm handguns – so, this wasn’t the fault of the gun – it was an ammo issue.

We kept a close count on the number of rounds we fired during each shooting session, most of the time, it was myself and my lovely wife doing the shooting – this testing lasted for over a year. During the first shooting session, we fired 200 rounds through the gun, and we had six Ruger factory-made magazines that we kept loading. The gun did get hot – VERY hot – but we kept shooting. No further ammo related problems, in that shooting session.

We also tested the Viridian laser that I installed on the gun. I kept it turned on during our shooting – it would turn off automatically after about 2-minutes, so we kept turning it on – it never failed – we did replace the battery once in our year-long testing, though. I had a small amount of Buffalo Bore +P+ ammo, and this is some hot stuff. Many guns, even full-sized guns, won’t reliably function with this hot ammo. And, all gun makers state that you should not shoot +P+ ammo in their guns. There were no problems, the Security 9 just perked along without any problems. I had quite a bit of Black Hills +P 9mm – and the Security 9 never missed a beat.

A lot of the ammo we tested was reloaded, and much of that was FMJ – no problems after the very first malfunction from the first magazine. I had all manner of JHP from Black Hills – and the gun loved it all. Even their HoneyBadger ammo, in 100-gr +P and their 147-gr Subsonic ammo functioned with each pull of the trigger.

We also loaded magazines with a mix of different brands and types of ammo, and this is always a good test – if a gun will malfunction, it will do so with mixed ammo in it – never missed a beat again, the Security 9 loved it all.

During my shooting sessions, I’m forced to sit when I shoot – osteo-arthritis in my lower back, won’t allow me to stand much longer than 5-6 minutes, so it was great having some helpers with the shooting. My wife enjoys shooting a lot, but she was determined to hit “something” every time she pulled the trigger, so her shooting sessions look a little longer. Good on her – she worked on improving her aim and shooting stance during this time.

Our shooting lasted about a year – not shooting every day, nor every week…around the 2,300 round count, I noticed the slide was sluggish – to be expected when a gun is shot that much. We still kept shooting, and did NOT clean or lube the gun. It was right around the 2,405 round mark that we had a malfunction – a round didn’t fully chamber – we shot a little more and had quite a few failures to fully chamber a round. We stopped shooting after that. When I got home I disassembled the Security 9, and needless to say, it was caked with a lot of soot, and a lot of unburned powder granules.

It took me the better part of an hour to really get the gun completely cleaned up and lubed. I inspected the gun closely, but didn’t find any cracks in the slide or frame – the gun was just “dirty” from neglect. We had thought about lubing the gun on the range when we were shooting, but elected not to. We wanted a real test to see how long the gun would keep going without any care.

When I owned a gun shop, I used to get a lot, and I mean A LOT of customers who brought in their guns, saying they were “broke” – tuned out all the guns needed were a good cleaning and they were like new once again. Many customers were stunned, that they only needed to clean their gun and lube them on a regular basis. As a rule, when I go out shooting, I clean my guns when I return home – or the very next day. Much easier to clean a gun then, than to do it later on, after more shooting sessions. I only charged customers $18.50 for a through cleaning, and no one complained – some were more than a little embarrassed that their guns only needed to be cleaned and lubed.

The Security 9 would be a great choice for an everyday carry gun. And if it is all you can afford, it would be a great End Of The World handgun. Of course, you would be better served with a long gun of some type, but don’t discount the Security 9 – it can reach out there 100-to-150 yards and hit a man-sized target, and it would sure make a bad guy wish they were someplace else once the lead starts flying.

Like most folks, I always look for “value” when I purchase just about anything, and when it comes to firearms, I’m really picky. We live paycheck-to-paycheck most months, with very little left over for “toys” like firearms. I don’t call what I have a gun “collection” – not enough guns for that. When I worked for the late Col. Rex Applegate, he had over 850 guns in his firearms collection. Now that is what I call a gun collection. I worked my entire life to get the firearms I now have – no easy task, when there were times I sold practically every firearm I owned when we needed some cash to pay an overdue bill.

I highly recommend the Ruger Security 9 and they are still affordable these days, local small box discount store has been selling them for $350 – $375 the past year, but I expect prices will go up. If you want a rock-solid shooter, then check out the Security 9. You could do worse!