Concealed Carry

Range Report: Ruger Lite Rack Security-380

Woman holding a Ruger Security-380 .380 ACP pisstol at a low ready at an outdoor shooting range

The pistol covered in this review is easily among the most welcome introductions of the year. For many shooters, it is the ideal piece for personal protection. I cannot imagine a person of average strength having difficulty manipulating and firing the Ruger Lite Rack Security-380.

Some folks have injury, age, or arthritis against them. I have all three, but manage to work out, hike, and engage in defense drills. It isn’t easy and gets more difficult. My blessed mother-in-law is well over 80 years old. She lives alone and some time ago traded her snub nose .38 for a small .380 that she doesn’t like much, but she can handle the recoil.

Ruger Security-380 top, Glock 43 pistol, bottom
The Ruger Security-380 compared to a Glock 43 for size illustration.

Features

She finds the Ruger Security-380 much more to her liking. The magazines are not difficult to load to full capacity. The slide is easily racked. After all, this isn’t a micro size pistol demanding a heavy recoil spring.

The slide isn’t difficult to rack. Recoil of the .380 ACP cartridge is modest in this size pistol. I must admit, I completely enjoyed firing this handgun. Most small .380 ACP pistols don’t impress me. The Ruger Security-380 is not only reliable, but also very easy to shoot well.

Accuracy is in the service pistol class. I burned up a good bit of my modest cache of .380 ACP ammunition while testing and evaluating this handgun. Actually, the evaluation was finished in less than 150 rounds. I knew exactly what the pistol was capable of. I fired another 100 rounds in accuracy testing — far beyond the distance the pistol would be used at and firing at range debris and dirt clods.

The Ruger Security-380 is fun to shoot. That means something in personal defense. My wife and mother-in-law both enjoy the pistol. A .380 in the hand beats a 9mm they don’t practice with. My wife’s number one handgun is a SIG P250 9mm and she does well with it. But the Ruger Security-380 is more pleasant to fire. In a few years, perhaps it may replace the SIG 9mm.

The pistol is a new introduction but based on the existing Ruger Security 9 9mm compact. The Security-380 is redesigned from locked breech to straight blowback operation. The soft shooting .380 ACP in a pistol this size is simply docile. Control is much easier. Accuracy is at least comparable to the 9mm compact version.

The .380 ACP cartridge isn’t as powerful or effective as the 9mm, so don’t kid yourself on that count. However, the .380 ACP is more powerful than any .22 or .32 and offers a reaosnable choice for many shooters. Accuracy may make up for power.

The trigger action is a unique, and useful action, known as the Secure Action. An internal hammer rides inside the slide. The hammer is partially cocked when the slide is racked. Trigger action does the rest. The result is a controllable, relativley light, trigger action. Control is good and reset is rapid.  

The pistol has good safety features including a blade safety set in the trigger face and an ambidestrous safety lever. The pistol also features a modern drop safety locking the firing pin until the trigger is pulled fully to the rear. The safety is frame mounted and falls under the thumb in a natural manner, as the hand grasps the handle. Hand fit is good, and trigger reach doesn’t stretch the hand. Let’s look at some important dimensions.

Ruger Security-380

Overall length: 6.52 inches
Barrel length: 3.4 inches
Weight: 20 ounces
Magazine capacity: 10 or 15 cartridges

The Ruger Security-380 features a nicely machined chassis (in the modern manner) set into a glass-filled nylon grip frame (receiver). The frame features a rail for mounting a combat light or laser. This makes the Ruger Security-380 a serviceable choice for home defense.

A .22 LR bullet with two .380 ACP upset bullets
The .380 ACP offers good wound potential for its size and low recoil. These expanded .380 ACP bullets are compared to a .22 caliber bullet.

The slide, true to the Lite Rack designation, is easily racked. The magazines are easily loaded. Quite a few modern high-capacity 9mm handguns are difficult to load to full capacity. The Ruger Security-380 is supplied with two magazines. One is a flush fit 10-round magazine and the other an extended 15-round magazine. Neither is difficult to load to full capacity.

The sights are excellent designs for personal defense. The rear sight is drift adjustable, and the front sight features a bright fiber optic component. The magazine catch is positive in operation.

Takedown and field stripping isn’t my favorite but neither is it difficult. Be certain the pistol is unloaded. Remove the magazine and lock the slide to the rear. Next, insert a fingertip into the chamber to be certain the chamber is not loaded.

Pull the slide slightly to the rear and bump out the disassembly pin. Remove the slide from the frame, and the recoil spring assembly and barrel are easily tilted up and out of the slide. Maintenance, cleaning, and lubrication, are simple enough.

I fired a more diverse assortment of ammunition than usual in the Ruger Security-380 — after I lubricated the slide rails, barrel hood, cocking block, and muzzle. I had accumulated several partial boxes of ammunition. This included FMJ loads from Armscor, Federal, PMC, Remington, and Winchester. I also fired the Hornady Critical Defense and Federal HST hollow point.

Range Results

The Ruger never failed to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. The FMJ loads were about as accurate as the other. Recoil is difficult to describe. Certainly, it was greater than a .22 or .22 Magnum, but there was less felt recoil than any other .380 ACP I have fired. As a matter of fact, it was less than a service size 9mm Luger.

A 90-grain JHP at 950 fps or a FMJ/900 fps load isn’t a hard kicker. Disregard claims for extreme high velocity in the .380 ACP — they are not borne out by the chronograph. The greatest recoil exhibited came from the Federal 99-grain JHP. This load is a ‘hot’ number at 1,013 fps.

Ruger Security-380 with Inforce weapons light, CRKT pocket knife, and leather IWB holster
For daily carry, a light, reliable handgun is a comforting companion.

I drew and fired quickly. The pistol gets on target quickly. X-ring hits were easily accomplished at 5, 7, and 10 yards. The Ruger is tractable and moves along a line of man-sized targets quickly. At 10 yards it wasn’t difficult to put a magazine full of ammunition into a tight pattern.

After firing more than 100 cartridges through the Ruger, I was not tired and my wrists were not sore. I have enjoyed several similar range sessions. I also test fired the pistol across the benchrest for accuracy.

I fired first at 15 yards getting several 2.0-inch five-shot groups with Winchester FMJ loads. I decided the good sights, trigger action, and fit and feel, demanded a 25 yard test — outrageous for most .380 ACP pistols. Results were excellent with five shots falling into 2.2 to 3.0 inches.

Ruger Security-380 with Inforce weapons light, right profile
With an Inforce combat light mounted, the Ruger Security-380 makes a reasonable home defender.

Conclusion

The Ruger Security-380 is a nice shooting pistol. It is designed for those who have difficulty racking a slide, loading magazines, or handling heavy recoil. On that basis, I find no fault with the pistol. It meets all criteria set forth. The pistol is accurate enough for much enjoyment in marksmanship training and informal target practice. Ruger has a winner with this handgun.

Have you made the switch to a lower caliber, easier to operate handgun for home defense or concealed carry? What’s your take on the Ruger Security-380? Is it a viable option, or do you think there is a better pistol? Share your answers in the comment section.

  • Top view of a drift-adjustable rear sight on a gun
  • Forward cocking serrations on a Ruger Security-380 pistol
  • Ruger Security-380 top, Glock 43 pistol, bottom
  • A .22 LR bullet with two .380 ACP upset bullets
  • Woman preparing to shoot a Ruger Security-380 .380 ACP handgun
  • Green fiber optic front sight on a pistol
  • Woman holding a Ruger Security-380 .380 ACP pisstol at a low ready at an outdoor shooting range
  • Ruger Security-380 with fiber optic front sight and spare magazine
  • Woman's hands holding a Ruger Security-380 on the firing bench at an indoor shooting range
  • Ruger Security-380 with Inforce weapons light, right profile
  • Ruger Security-380 pistol in a Bullard leather IWB holster
  • Ruger Security-380 with Inforce weapons light, CRKT pocket knife, and leather IWB holster

About the Author:

Wilburn Roberts

When Wilburn Roberts was a young peace officer, he adopted his present pen name at the suggestion of his chief, as some of the brass was leery of what he might write. This was also adopted out of respect for families of both victims and criminals. The pen name is the same and the man remains an outspoken proponent of using enough gun for the job.

He has been on the hit list of a well-known hate group, traveled in a dozen countries and written on many subjects, including investigating hate crimes and adopting the patrol carbine. He graduated second in his class with a degree in Police Science. It took him 20 years to work himself from Lieutenant to Sergeant and he calls it as he sees it.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (14)

  1. Definitely a step up from the LCP line. A .380 you can actually wrap your fingers around without them hanging off. The problem with those micro subcompact is they are a pain to shoot. Which means they are inaccurate and since they are not fun to shoot no one puts in the time at the gun range. Plus it is a weak round and not that many shells in the magazine. That is why I like the Ruger Security line. It fixes the main problems of their other .380 without adding that much size.

  2. I am not selling any of my 45’s, 9’s, 357’s, or 38’s yet, but I am aging and have some spinal cord issues restricting strength and mobility. So I am trying to prepare for the inevitable.
    Ruger is selling these for 260 to 300 bucks. I trust Ruger. For me, buying one was a “no- brainer”. One more thing taken care of before it is absolutely required. Note to Ruger? Improve the magazines.

  3. I doubt if this is a straight blowback action. A blowback design pistol has the barrel solidly attached to the frame and It does not interlock and move backward with the slide at all. This pistol could be called a delayed blowback action, which is the common design for most pistols. Stay safe.

  4. From the factory manual:

    Action: The strong locked breech action of the RUGER® SECURITY-380®
    pistol utilizes a tilting barrel design in which the barrel and slide are locked
    together at the moment of firing. After firing, the barrel and slide recoil to the
    rear a short distance while securely locked together. After this initial movement,
    the barrel is cammed downward from its locked position, permitting full recoil of
    the slide and the extraction and ejection of the spent cartridge case. Upon return
    of the slide to its forward position by the recoil spring, the barrel is cammed back
    upward into its locked position in the slide

    This doesn’t sound like a straight blowback.

  5. One, that might have been almost fifty years ago, but it was a real chronograph– and the variation was determined to be volume of displacement in the short barrel pistol. Upon ignition and as the bullet was beginning to separate from the the case the case was moving rearward with the volume of the gas column increasing result was that the pressure was lower than a locked breech round, and the delayed blowback flutes meant it maintained pressure and thus had a higher velocity. Basically, it held a tiny bit more pressure a tiny bit longer The early Super Vel was somewhat hotter than normal, and if I remember correctly, it was reduced for the blowback system.

    Every time you learn something it is relevant, and data from a one hundred year old plus gun would be useful in design and evolution of the next generation The HK4 (9×17/.380) had a delay opening fluted barrel, and was an amnomallity in testing.

  6. Mr Stone

    Your figures are not even close to reality.
    All blowback pistols generate much the same velocity with minor variations due to barrel length.

    Chronographs are so affordable these days we dont have to accept ridiculous manufacturer’s quotes.

    At any rate Cor Bon is simply not relevant and neither is an out of production handgun.

  7. Thanks– but back then the Super Vel was 1255-1265 fps over a hundred rounds out of the HK4, but in the other guns the same ammo was 1150-1200 fps, and to me, that was the delayed blowback sealing it for just a shade longer.

    And yes, that was way, way too many years ago. If you could borrow a good HK4 and try it with the newer BRASS CASED ammo, and see how they compare the delayed versus straight blowback, and how they feel in your hand– that is a fifty year jump and would be interesting

  8. Living in SoCal, a part of the country where people do not have to wear heavy clothing, I feel fine with a .380(or a .38) for protection. I do not have a CCW(it is very hard in LACo to get one issued to you), so my self defense firearms are limited to the inside of my home. A .380 is just as effective as a 9mm inside of any home I can afford, a .380 handgun is smaller than a 9mm and is easier to handle.

    YMMV

  9. Mr Stone

    The HK 4 was a fine handgun within the limits of a double action first shot pitol.

    Very well made.

    As for Super Vel it really isnt much faster than the rest- about 30 fps faster than some and with less velocity and energy than the new Federal HST loading. Besides Super Vel has been out of business for many many years. This load- and the thousands of Cor Bon rounds still floating around- should be shot up. They are too old to trust.

  10. It’s hard to beat the S&W M&P .380ez. My wife recently started shooting. It took time to find an auto pistol she could easily rack, and the S&W met the requirement. We rented the pistol at a local range to help her actually decide, after firing, if the pistol was the one for her. We purchased the Performance Center model as it was fine tuned and came with fiber-optic night sights. She has really enjoyed shooting this pistol and has become pretty accurate with it. There is little recoil, very reliable functioning, and the enhanced sights have made it easy to quickly pick up a good sight picture. The only down side is magazine capacity (eight rounds) and ammunition cost. I have added .380 dies to my reloading set-up, as .380 ammo seems more expensive than 9mm.

  11. I am curious– have you ever used an HK4 with SuperVel? The delayed blowback design works, and the SuperVel was really high velocity, but it was also ONLY brass case, not aluminum or steel to make the delayed blowback work, and trying steel case could damage the pistol.

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