Rambling Thoughts, the Ruger American Compact vs the Ruger Security 9. Range time and conclusion.
by Greg Ritchie
The two pistols were shot at a local indoor range from the 5, 10, and 15 yard line. a final round was shot with the target all the way against the back stop which is just short of 25 yards. In an effort to keep a level playing field and round counts the same, magazines were loaded with only 10 rounds. The ammunition used was Remington green and white box 100 round value packs, and all shooting was done offhand. Both pistols were cleaned and greased before the range trip.
At 5 yards the American Compact Pistol kept all 10 rounds in a group that measured 1.378 center to center between the two farthermost points. The group was well centered in the bottom half of the bullseye. At 10 yards the group more than doubled to 3.17 inches, likely the fault of the shooter. The group was still centered but higher, around the top of the bullseye. At 15 yards the group was 5.46 still centered and with a called flier that struck low and right. Without the flier the group would have been 4.14 inches.
The Security 9 printed a 1.92 inch group at 5 yards strung vertically in the left of the bullseye, at 10 yards the group opened to a respectable 2.45 inches, centered, but still strung vertically, and at 15 yards the group exceeded the capabilities of my calipers, but was an estimated 7.55 inches.
Next I simulated a zombie attack. I placed Todd, the Zombie Series Target at 10 yards and in keeping with the range 1 second rule fired off 10 rounds in 10 seconds. Neither of the Rugers kept me alive. With the American Compact I got 9 hits and 1 clean miss. With the Security 9 I again got 9 hits and 1 miss. The 10 shots were still strung vertically. Why am I stringing shots with the Security 9?
Finally I set up silhouette targets at the extreme limits of the range. None of the rounds from either pistol was outside of the 8 ring, but again, the Security 9 had the 10 rounds strung from the bottom of the 8 ring to the top of the 8 ring. The American Compact kept them all in an area from the center of the 10 ring to the top of the 9 ring. The group was left of center though and a couple of shots were in the 8 ring on that side.
The remainder of the rounds were fired at the plates and dueling tree. Each of the pistols were fed 150 rounds and both were 100% malfunction free.
My impressions of the pistols? The American Compact just had a better feel. I don't know how to describe it other than to say the American Compact had a quality feel, and the Security 9 just had a cheaper feel. That said I did like the way the Security 9 fit in the hand. The security 9 is built for the right handed shooter while the American Compact is ambidextrous, except for the take down lever. The controls on both pistols were easy to find but the controls on the Security 9 were just a bit more natural for me to operate. I really think the Security 9 just fit my hand better.
There were two controls on the Security 9 that i did not like though. First is the manual safety. Its just about impossible to engage with the shooting hand. And it was impossible to operate without my having to break my grip. I found it more convenient to engage it with my off hand. It was easy, however, to disengage with the shooting hand without changing the grip. In the end I found it easier to just ignore the manual safety.
The other control I had an issue with is the slide catch / release. Some say it is not a slide release, but a catch. On my pistols it is both, and I have to think that Ruger feels the same because the control is textured on both the bottom and top side. Regardless, the slide is virtually impossible to release using the control. I was able to get the slide to release twice by pressing the control when there was no magazine inserted, but never was able to get the slide to release with a loaded magazine inserted. Slingshot method for this one. Also i would like to note that neither of these pistols sent the slide home by forcefully inserting a magazine. I did not make an effort to really slap the base of the mags exceptionally hard, but I did insert them with authority.
The triggers I believe are almost equal. I did not have access to my trigger scale, but I would place both of these triggers at between 5 and 6 pounds. The Security 9 trigger was slightly lighter feeling, but had just a bit of creep, as it is not a true single action trigger. The trigger has to move the hammer back slightly before it trips, and if you pay attention you can feel it. The American Compact trigger, after a slight amount of take up has a crisp break.
Finally the sights. I like the rear outline sight of the Security 9 the best. My aging eyes just seem to be able to put the front dot in the rear cup easier than lining up three blurry dots.
So which one do I prefer? Despite my like of the feel of the Security 9 in my hand, the way the controls are just where they are supposed to be, and the ease my eyes have in seeing the sights, I would have to choose the American Pistol. I obviously shoot it better. And it is a better built handgun. I like the steel sights, trigger, and guide rod over the plastic one the Security 9 has. Is it $200 better? I think so. The American Pistol is a duty pistol. But that's not what the Security 9 is supposed to be. It's a pistol built on a price point. A working pistol for the working person. A pistol that will no doubt provide yeoman's service for anyone that chooses it.