TFB Review: Ruger’s New Security-380 Lite Rack Pistol

Ruger’s New Security-380 is a pistol they bill as a good beginner’s centerfire handgun.  Building off the Security-9 Compact Frame, they integrated their Lite-Rack System and a chambering of .380ACP to make this a soft shooting, easy-racking, manageable handgun for those just getting into shooting and carrying centerfire pistols.

Ruger @ TFB:

Ruger Security-380 Lite Rack

Ruger Security-380 Lite Rack

The heart of the Lite Rack system is a light recoil spring, but racking is aided by plenty of gripping points, including the rear sight.  The Security-380 also comes with both a 10-round flush fit and a 15-round extended magazine.  In keeping with making this pistol accessible to new shooters, Ruger has priced the Security-380 at an MSRP of only $369, which is $100 less than the Security-9 compact and $300 less than the Security-9 Compact Pro.

Pistol Disassembled

Pistol Disassembled

Specs, Per Ruger:

    • Capacity: 15+1
    • Overall Length: 6.52″
    • Barrel Length: 3.42″
    • Barrel Material: Alloy Steel
    • Barrel Finish: Black Oxide
    • Magazines Included: One 15 Round and One 10 Round
    • Front Sight: Fiber Optic
    • Rear Sight: Drift Adjustable
    • Weight: 19.7 oz.
    • Grip Frame: High-Performance, Glass-Filled Nylon
    • Slide Material: Through-Hardened Alloy Steel
    • Slide Finish: Black Oxide
    • Slide Width: 1.02″
    • Height: 4.35″
    • Grooves: 6
    • Twist: 1:10″ RH
    • Available in CA: No
    • Available in MA: No
    • UPC: 7-36676-03839-8
    • Suggested Retail: $369.00

First Impressions of the Ruger Security-380

The Security-380 comes in the standard Ruger cardboard shipping box, with a plastic insert holding the gun, two magazines, one extra baseplate, and a magazine loader.  An extra baseplate is an option for those who don’t want the pinky extension baseplate on their 10-round flush fit magazine.  The magazine loader is a nice extra to aid new shooters or those with less wrist and hand strength to easily load the magazines.

How the Security-380 comes in a box

How the Security-380 comes in a box

The Security-380 looks almost exactly like the Security-9 Compact Pro, except with different slide contours and “speed holes” (love ’em or hate ’em).  Out of the box, I noticed the baseplates on the 10-round magazine have a little bit of play fore and aft when unloaded, but this goes away once the spring is under tension.  The Lite Rack system is everything it claims to be.  Not only does racking the slide require very little effort when gripping the slide properly, but it is also easy from just grabbing the two cocking “ears” at the rear of the slide with your thumb and forefinger.

The Ruger Secure Action trigger measured out at an average of 4lbs, 10oz.  This trigger, combined with the internal hammer, was just as good on the Security-380 as it is on the many other Ruger pistols equipped with it, no surprises here.  It has a slightly mushy initial pull but breaks and resets crisply, and the reset is short as well.  Overall, it’s a very good trigger for any pistol in this price range.

Rack ’em

The Security-380 has budget-friendly drift adjustable fiber optic front and plain, but drift adjustable and locking screw secured rear sights.  However, Ruger gave the Security-380 the same rear sight profile as the Security-9 Pro Pistol’s Tritium sights.  This means that the rear sight has a slightly forward-canted surface that one can rack off of just about anything with the slightest edge to it.

Due to the Lite-Rack recoil spring and the rear sight profile, I was able to one-handed rack this pistol off of my pockets, belt, barriers, tables, cardboard boxes, and even a couch cushion.  It’s really that easy.  The sights are also pretty good for a budget pistol.

The front fiber optic is discernible in all but the darkest lighting conditions indoors or outdoors, and there’s the appropriate amount of daylight between the u-notch of the rear sight and the square front sight in the sight picture.  If one decides to use this as a primary carry pistol inside or outside the home, however, a laser, light, or tritium front sight may be warranted upgrades.

Safety considerations

Though Ruger’s secure action trigger is quite safe in keeping with the introductory pistol theme, the Security-380 is fitted with a small manual safety on the left rear of the frame.  It is very stiff and the control lever is very small, but it is an option for beginners and others who may be nervous about carrying a pistol without a manual safety.

Another safe facet of the Security-380 is the disassembly procedure, which does not require one to pull the trigger.  What may be tricky for new shooters, however, is that one has to use a tool to start the takedown pin out of the frame while simultaneously retracting the slide back 3/16″.  It’s easy for most folks, but may be a bit tricky for beginners.

Range Time with the Ruger Security-380

My range time with the Ruger Security-380 Lite Rack commenced with initial shots on an obnoxiously cold and humid morning.  I had left the pistol outside for some time while loading magazines and setting up targets.

By the time I got back outside, there was a layer of frost on the slide, but the pistol ran through the first two magazines just fine without a single malfunction.  This trend continued through the rest of the 250 rounds of PMC 90gr FMJ and Black Hills 90gr JHP ammunition I put through the Security-380.  It earned perfect marks in reliability, no matter which baseplate I used.  Despite my wearing XL gloves with a compact pistol, the trigger guard of the Security-380 was generous enough to accommodate my gloved sausage finger.

Despite my large hands, thanks to the pinky extension, I was able to get a full purchase on the Security-380 with both the 10 and the 15-round magazine.  With the flat baseplate on the 10-round magazine, my pinky was off of the frame.  It’s a double stack gun, with a frame width of 1.17″ so it has plenty of real estate to grip onto.  The lightly stippled grip texture is just about perfect as well.

But was it accurate?

Accuracy was adequate for a compact pistol in .380.  My first shots from 7 yards seemed to be the sweet spot for the Security-380’s sights, but all 50 first shots out to 15 yards were solidly in the middle of the A-zone of an IPSC target.  Despite the light recoil spring, the diminutive cartridge matched up with the generously sized frame to produce very light recoil.  The sights hardly move off-target at all, making rapid follow-up shots easy.

The Security-380 was a bit hard to keep on target once I moved out to 25y, but once I figured out the hold I was able to ring (but not always swing, .380…) my 3″ diameter dueling plates with every trigger press.  My best efforts off of a bag at 25y put rounds into about a 3″ circle as well, but this is no precision pistol.

Accuracy at 25 yards is somewhat more difficult with this pistol

Accuracy at 25 yards is somewhat more difficult with this pistol

I tried operating the manual safety in a few of my draw strokes, and it is just a bit too small and stiff for my liking.  It’s best left as an option for new shooters who might need the extra assurance of manual safety.  Riding the safety with one’s thumb in a high thumbs-forward grip is also not recommended, as this can lead to the slide not locking back on an empty magazine due to the proximity of the slide release lever.

I did some dynamic shooting with the Security-380 as well.  Shooting on the move advancing and retreating from 3-15 yards over icy ground, I was able to keep all but five out of 75 shots in the body and head A-zones of an IPSC target.  I was also sure to belt or pocket rack the slide each time I reloaded to take advantage of the amusingly easy Lite-Rack system.

Results of a dynamic shooting drill from 5-15 yards

Results of a dynamic shooting drill from 5-15 yards

Overall Impressions of the Ruger Security-380

The Ruger Security-380 represents a strong contender for a budget-friendly introductory centerfire pistol for any new handgun shooter.  As of the writing of this article, .380 Auto is back down to around .22-25 cents/round on average, and one can put more towards the ammo budget with the low MSRP of this pistol.

Objectively, the Ruger Security-380 was flawlessly reliable, had nice bright sights, decent capacity for its size and displayed adequate accuracy.  Subjectively, I think the Ruger Security-380 accomplishes all of Ruger’s Goals for this little budget centerfire.  It’s easy to use, easy on the wallet and has nice capabilities and features for an entry-level handgun.  If you teach a lot of new pistol shooters or are a new shooter yourself, you may want to give the Ruger Security-380 Lite Rack a look.

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Pros:

  • Budget-friendly price
  • 100% reliable in my experience
  • Decent capacity for its size
  • Good feature set for the price
  • Lite-Rack is Lite

Cons:

  • Manual safety is small and stiff
  • Thumbs-high grip may cause the slide to not lock back
  • .380 has its weaknesses
  • Manual safety is not easy to operate


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