Ruger Concealed Carry Family of Guns

— Jason MosherCADRE Dispatch

Ruger has been making guns since 1949. That isn’t as long as other companies, but they are not new to the trade either. Ruger has put a great deal of focus on compact and micro-sized guns that are reliable and affordable. With prices increasing across the board, people are on the prowl for affordable quality guns, and the lineup of Ruger concealed carry family of guns does not disappoint. 

Ruger makes a wider verity of CCW handguns.
Ruger makes a wider verity of concealed carry handguns. [Photo: Jason Mosher]

Years ago, finding a small compact gun was not so easy, especially if you wanted a light-weight model. Metal frame guns ruled the kingdom until Glock introduced polymer frames to a reluctant world. But there was no stopping the polymer revolution and eventually it took over. This made it possible to make a lightweight duty/combat-size gun. It also opened the door for lightweight compact guns as well. The market shifted to smaller guns that people could conceal without wearing a shirt three sizes too big. 

Ruger focused on this and produced the LCP and LCR, better known as the Light Compact Pistol and Revolver. I remember the first time I saw Ruger’s polymer revolver. I was skeptical — about as skeptical as those who were skeptical of Glock when it introduced the G17. Since then, my opinion has changed. Since the release of the LCP and LCR, Ruger hasn’t stopped making some great concealed carry guns. Here is a quick review of what they have to offer.

LCP .380

In 2008, Ruger introduced the .380 LCP at SHOT show, and it was one of the smallest pocket pistols at the time. At 9.6 oz, the 6-shot, pistols are not just reliable, they are about as small and light as they come. Price is another factor that makes them stand out. The LCP can be found as low as $199 making it more than a bargain. Many choose the LCP when they want the most compact gun for concealed carry. It is 5.16 inches long and only .082 inches wide. When you’re carrying a handgun in warm weather and need to conceal it with only a T-shirt, this is a great choice.    

Ruger LCP .380 pistol.
Ruger LCP .380 pistol.

LCP II .22 Training Pistol

For those who choose to carry the LCP for self-defense, the Ruger LCP II is a great addition for training purposes. The LCP II provides the same configuration and ergonomics as the .380 LCP but is much cheaper to shoot. A box of .22 ammo is much cheaper than .380. Recoil is much lower and racking the slide is easier on the LCP II, making it more comfortable to shoot on the range. Ruger calls this the “Lite Rack” pistol because it is perfect for anyone regardless of their hand strength. 

Ruger LCP II, .22 caliber pistol.
Ruger LCP II, .22 caliber pistol.

LCP Max .380 

The LCP pistol has remained one of Ruger’s most popular line of pistols, but the LCP Max combines size and ammo capacity for an ultimate concealed carry gun. While the grip is wider than the LCP Max, it is still under one inch wide and weighs less than 11 ounces. Because of the wider grip, it holds 10 rounds in the flush-fitting magazine. A 12-round magazine with an extended finger grip floor plate is also included. Ruger used their “Secure Action” trigger as a safety feature and reversible mag release for left-handed shooters. Additionally, the gun comes standard with a front Tritium sight that has a white outline for easy target acquisition.     

Ruger LCP MAX, .380 pistol.
Ruger LCP MAX, .380 pistol.

LC380 

This gun was released by Ruger as an option for those wanting a larger frame than the LCP but lower recoil than 9mm. The LC380 is the same size as the EC9s, making it ideal for those needing a low-recoil concealed carry gun. The manual safety, internal lock, magazine disconnect, and loaded chamber indicator are all safety features of the LC380. While this gun is larger than the LCP line of guns, it’s still just under one inch wide. It is heavier because of the larger frame and weighs 17.2 ounces. Because it’s heavier than the LCP versions but is still chambered in .380, it has less felt recoil.  

Ruger LC380, .380 caliber pistol.
Ruger LC380, .380 caliber pistol.

Security-380 Pistol

At the end of 2022, Ruger introduced the Security-380 pistol, which is slightly larger than the LC380 but has more features. One of the most notable features is the Lite Rack system, like the LCP II has. This provides a lighter recoil spring than the LC380 making it easier to manipulate the slide. Ruger also added some slide cutouts and serrations to assist in gripping the slide and reducing weight. Two magazines are included with the Security-380, one 10-round and one 15-round extended mag. At 19.7 ounces, it’s the heaviest version of the .380 pistols but also has the lowest recoil. For someone wanting a .380 concealed carry gun, this one tops the list. 

Ruger Security-380
Ruger Security-380, a larger .380 caliber handgun.

EC9s 9mm

Ruger’s first 9mm pistol in the lineup is the EC9s. It holds seven rounds in the magazine and higher capacity mags are available with a grip extension. The EC9s is known to be reliable, but it does have a strong recoil spring which requires more strength to rack the slide. This also puts more pressure on the slide release which requires more to operate as well. It weighs 17.2 ounces which is light for a 9mm handgun and is still just under one inch wide like the Security-380. A manual safety and magazine disconnect are among the safety features on the EC9s. Suggested retail is $349, but the EC9s can be found for about $270 at most retailers. 

Ruger EC9s, 9mm handgun.
Ruger EC9s, 9mm handgun.

MAX-9 

When Ruger released the MAX-9, it was a great improvement over the EC9s and has proven to be a reliable compact gun that offers a lot of features. A removable plate for a handgun optic is one such feature, making it Ruger’s smallest optics-ready handgun. Modeled after the LCP MAX, the MAX-9 has the same texturing and shape of the frame but in a larger size. The MAX-9 comes with a Tritium Fiber Optic Day/Night front sight and a drift-adjustable rear sight. Magazine capacity is 10 with a flush-fitting mag and 12 with the extended mag. Overall the MAX-9 is a great concealed carry gun with a high capacity and removeable optics plate.   

Ruger MAX 9, 9mm handgun.
Ruger MAX 9, 9mm handgun.

LCR .38 Special Revolver 

For those wanting a revolver, Ruger’s legendary LCR is a great choice for concealed carry. With a polymer frame, the LCR offers an ultra-light 13.5 oz version in .38 special. This is perfect for those who prefer a revolver over a semi-auto handgun. The only drawback, however, is the recoil. Because the revolver is so light, there is much more recoil than a steel-framed revolver. If you want a different caliber, Ruger is now offering a 9mm, 327 Federal Mag, 357 Mag, and .22 LR. This gives plenty of options to choose from. 9mm revolvers are becoming more common because of the popularity of the caliber. This is a good choice for those who own 9mm handguns and want to carry the same ammunition for both guns.   

Ruger light compact revolver.
Ruger, LCR revolver. Available in multiple calibers.

Hitting the mark

Ruger offers more options for those wanting mid-compact and full-size framed guns. But for conceal carry, these seven models (not counting the .22 caliber training gun) provide an option for just about anyone. Of these six, my favorites are the LCP, LCP-Max, and MAX-9. However, the Security-380 would be a great choice for those needing the lowest recoil and slide that is easy to rack.

From low prices to caliber and magazine capacity, this is an excellent line of concealed carry guns. Holsters are easily available including the Safariland Species IWB Holster that accommodates an optic. Safariland is a leading manufacturer of law enforcement and military holsters, which makes them an excellent choice for concealed carry holsters.

Regardless of your need, Ruger hit the mark with this lineup of concealed carry guns that are sure to fit anyone’s needs.   

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