Gun Review: Ruger EC9s

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Sturm, Ruger & Co. is synonymous with the gun industry in the United States. For many people, their everyday carry firearm is a Ruger pistol. Regardless of your size, gender, or your experience with guns, Ruger has a firearm for any person who wants to safely carry to protect themselves, their homes, and others in this ever-changing world. Today, we take our look at the Ruger EC9s subcompact personal protection pistol and see how it rates.

 Ruger EC9s 
 Capacity 7+1
 Grooves 6
Twist  1:10 RH
Basic Specifications


The Ruger EC9s pistol is a subcompact personal defense pistol. This pistol is designed to be a concealed carry pistol due to its small size and low profile. It fits perfectly in a front pants pocket or a purse. The EC9s has a dual safety setup, there is a standard safety (thumb-switch, right-handed), and a trigger safety. This provides a “double insurance” mechanism for people as they learn that their finger is the first safety on the firearm. The shorter barrel length does place the firearm in the categories of personal protection (short range) and backup firearm (if you are carrying something larger). Experienced carriers can effectively use this as a “formal gun,” something you can wear when you do not want a bulky holster showing but still need the protection carrying a firearm provides. For new users to the market, the combination of safety and size can help people get used to carrying without conducting the “newbie” pat, to always check that the weight in your pocket is your firearm. One slight issue this firearm presents – which is common with compact and sub-compact pistols – is that the grip is too small for large hands. It did bite one of the testers on the range who insists on his pinky being on the grip. The broad base of the market for this firearm, and the easily concealable size, earns the EC9s a 7 of 10 for market.

 Height 4.5″
 Width 1.21″
 Weight  18 Oz

Ease of Use

The EC9s is a very easy to use firearm. The safety features are nice for new users, which is really where “ease of use” is needed. First of all, the safety physically locks the slide of the firearm. This is both an internal safety (pin) and an external safety (slide). In combination, it protected the users while the gun is holstered, whether in a purse or a pocket. Further, if you carry without on in the chamber, this prevents the “1 in 10,000” accident of a firearm cambering in your pocket or purse (not commenting on carrying with an empty chamber). The trigger safety provides that extra level of protection should the thumb safety be bumped off by something in your pocket. (Always have your firearm in a holster when in your pocket or purse and keep it in a pocket or purse pocket with nothing else in it.) Once drawn, the slide moves easily to chamber a round, if you do not already carry one chambered. The magazine release moves smoothly and allows for reloading quickly, which can be use full because of the small capacity.

For new users, this is not a distance gun – this is a firearm for up close and personal self defense. With the barrel only being a little more than 3.12″ long, this is not a great “target” gun. While the accuracy is quite good for the length of the barrel, for new users who want to shot the gun at 25′ or 25 yards at the range, you will likely not have the pattern you would like. This gun is for closer range, when shooting targets generally stay in the 5-10′ range to ensure optimal placement. Unfortunately, the same is true for self defense: you will be within “tackle” range if you wait for the attacker to be in optimal range (and remember, you only have 8 rounds (assuming you carry chambered), so missing is less than ideal. Regardless, for what it is made for, the gun is easy to use. 8 of 10.

Type of Use (Formerly Usability)

So, what type of environments are ideal for the use of this firearm? As mentioned above, personal defense is the key use of the EC9s. For people with small hands who want a low profile firearm for their own protection, this gun shines. Because it is made for close range use, this is ideal for people who are not “long range” shooters (i.e. people who do not get to the range as often as they should). Another excellent use of this firearm is for hiking and as a backup firearm for hunting. Because the unit is lightweight, it does not add a lot to your supplies weight while hiking, which can be a lifesaver. While a 9mm is not an effective weapon at close range against a bear (though it may scare it off), smaller predators and snakes can be dispatched or chased off effectively. This also makes a good (not excellent) backup firearm for hunting. Once again, predators may get close without you knowing, which makes long guns difficult to use. While the 9mm is not the ideal cartridge for larger threats, dispatching snakes, diseased canine (wolves, coyotes), or even predatory cats is possible.

Home defense is another area where the EC9s can be an effective tool for your safety. Because of its small size, it can easily be stored in a bio-metric safe (small) or a magnetic furniture holster to keep it away from children. When access is needed, both of these mechanisms can be opened quite quickly. The small size allows you to keep one hand free while you clear a danger zone. If both of your hands are stabilizing a firearm, it is susceptible to an aggressor taking control of both of your arms and the weapon with one hand or attack. The small size allows you to have a secondary weapon in the other hand (such as blunt object). This is not a tactical firearm (really not even for a backup). The short barrel may allow it to be used as an ankle gun, but once again this gun is for “up close and personal.” This gun is excellent at what it does, so it can be used in most situations where a self defense handgun is needed. 9 of 10.

 Slide Hardened Alloy Steel
 Barrel Alloy Steel (3.12″)
 Grip Glass Filled Nylon
 Sights Irons (Integral)

Utility (Accessories)

Subcompact pistols are notorious for lacking accoutrements that you can purchase to enhance your firearm. As the firearm does not have a rail on it and the sights are integral on the slide, there are not a lot of add-ons you can place on the firearm to increase the efficacy at close or long range. Ruger does offer a laser attachment for the EC9s, which clips on the frame at the front. Likewise, you can purchase a tactical light (which also clips on the frame). Unfortunately, it looks like you cannot have both at once. You can buy an extended magazine (which give a little longer grip), which increases the capacity to 9+1.

Because it is a Ruger, there are a plethora of holsters that fit the firearm, both from Ruger and from third party vendors. Ladies, there are also “official” garter holsters if you like that slimline look under your dress/skirt. There is also a limited selection of grips that can be use to change the feel of the firearm (some people like softer grips, some people like harder grips). Once again, these can be bought from Ruger or from third party vendors. 6 of 10 for accessories.

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Cool Factor

This gun is a Ruger – so it has that going for it. It is also a standard looking subcompact firearm. This is not the firearm that you pull out to show your friends; this is a working self defense gun. It is unobtrusive, effective at close range, and designed specifically not to get the liberals talking about it. Because of the small capacity, it can be used stock in California and other states that have unconstitutional magazine guidelines. The safety suite on the firearm is excellent. It does not come with a lot of flash, and that is OK. Not every gun needs to Dirty Harry’s gun or James Bond’s gun, it just has to be effective and the EC9s is definitely effective. 5 of 10 for cool factor.

Overall Review

I like this gun. It is a small, unobtrusive firearm that is effective for self defense and home defense. This gun is not a tactical gun, nor is it a target gun, but it never claims to be either of these. This firearm does its job quietly without all the fanfare of some flashier models. Ruger did an amazing job of designing a gun that can be easily concealed to provide people the maximum personal protection without drawing attention to the fact that they are carrying. With anti-gun nut-jobs out there who will “pull mace” when they see someone carrying, it can be nice to have a firearm that you do not have to answer the “how would you feel if I were carrying a gun?” questions. With a total score of 35, this gun is a real trooper for a sub-compact. It is small, sleek, easy to use, and gets the job done. If you are looking for a small concealed carry firearm for yourself or your spouse, take a trip to a local gun shop and see if you like the way it feels in your hand and the weight. If you do, take it home – it is a great little gun.

Christopher W Smithmyer
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