The Best Ruger for EDC?

Ruger Security-380 pistol in a Bullard leather IWB holster

Ruger’s been producing handguns suitable for everyday carry for many years. In recent years, it has stepped up to offer more models. In this article, you will find a rundown of the many models that Ruger currently offers that are suitable for everyday carry.

LCR/LCRX Revolvers

The LCR is a small, lightweight revolver that was designed to compete with the Smith & Wesson J-Frames such as the 642 and 442 series. The LCR was made using modern manufacturing technology and a hybrid aluminum and polymer frame. These small Airweight revolvers come in at a more reasonable price than the classic steel S&W firearms.

Ruger LCR with shrouded hammer and LCRX with exposed hammer
The Ruger LCR with shrouded hammer and LCRX with exposed hammer are lightweight pocket guns offered in a variety of calibers.

The original was a .38 special that weighed 13.8 ounces. Later, a magnum model was introduced that weighed a little more and used a steel frame instead of the aluminum original. Ruger has continued to introduce various models of the LCR and added the LCRX which has an exposed hammer.

The LCR and LCRX differ from their competitors because of how they are made. The lower part of the frame of the LCR is made of polymer and holds the trigger, grip, and hammer. The upper portion is made of aluminum in the lower calibers and steel in the magnum models. The frame holds a barrel insert which is different from most of the other revolvers on the market.

The capacity of the Ruger LCR series depends on the caliber you choose. The .22 variant holds eight rounds, but the .22 magnum only has six rounds. The .327 Federal Magnum version has six rounds. The .38 Special and .357 Magnum versions only hold five rounds.

The Ruger LCR has some of the better sights on the market for small revolvers. The Ruger LCR has a fixed front sight with the rearview being just a groove in the back of the frame like most other revolvers. What sets the Ruger LCR front sight apart is that it’s painted and has a white stripe on the front. The rear sight is a groove in the top of the frame.

The Ruger LCRX and its three-inch variant have a target-style sight. That sight is adjustable for elevation, and the front sight also has the same high-visibility white stripe on the front sight as the LCR. Either of these revolvers, the LCR or the LCRX, will work as a primary carry gun or backup gun carried either in the pocket or an IWB holster.


The SP101 is a small frame, all-steel construction, double-action carry revolver with a five-shot (.38 Special, .357 Magnum, or 9x19mm Parabellum), six-shot (.327 Federal Magnum or .32 H&R Magnum), or an eight-shot (.22 LR) cylinder. Available barrel lengths are 2.25, 3.0625, and 4.2 inches with full underlugs. Some 4 and 4.2-inch barrels feature a half underlug. SP101 revolvers have a transfer bar safety mechanism, which results in the firing pin being mounted in the frame. Sights on some of the pistols are fixed, others feature adjustable rear sights.

Ruger SP101 revolver, right profile
The Ruger SP101 lineup features a metal single/double-action revolver in calibers from .22, .327 Federal Magnum, .32 H&R Magnum, .38 Special, and .357 Magnum.

The triple-locking cylinder is locked into the frame at the front, rear, and bottom for a more positive alignment and dependable operation. The SP101 has a cushioned rubber grip with black synthetic or hardwood insert and no exposed metal in the backstrap — making it extremely comfortable. It is available in a satin stainless steel or blued finish. I have two of these, one in .327 Federal Magnum and the other .22. I find both to be a delight to shoot. Their size makes them an easy EDC revolver.


The GP100 is slightly larger than the SP101 but still within the realm of being an effective EDC gun. The Ruger GP100 double-action revolver is among the most comfortable shooting double-action revolvers — second only to the Colt snake guns. Its rugged, medium-sized frame and cushioned grip system permit repeated firings with minimal shooter fatigue.

The GP100 was an evolution of an earlier Ruger double-action revolver, the Security Six. It was introduced in 1985 as a second generation of the Ruger double-action, exposed-hammer revolvers intended to replace Ruger’s Security-/Service-/Speed-Six line. The GP100 was made stronger with the intent to fire an unlimited number of full-power .357 Magnum rounds.

RUger GP100, right profile
The GP100 is a modern-day replacement for Ruger’s well-liked Security Six revolver.

The GP100 is manufactured in .327 Federal Magnum, .357 Magnum, .38 Special, .22 Long Rifle, .44 Special, and 10mm Auto calibers. Available barrel lengths are 2.5, 3, 4, 4.2, 5, and 6 inches with partial or full-length underlugs. Blued steel or stainless-steel finishes are available.


The Ruger LCP semi-auto pistol is a compact pistol that was designed to be concealed just about anywhere. With a length of 5.16 inches, height of 3.6 inches, width of .82 inch, and weighing only 9.5 ounces, the LCP truly is a small pistol that is at home in a pocket or holster. The Ruger LCP is a good choice for an individual in search of a dependable backup or primary personal defense carry pistol.

Ruger LCP .380 ACP pistol
The LCP (Light Carry Pistol) is Ruger’s first semi-automatic pistol designed for easy concealment as an everyday carry pistol.

The LCP is ideal for all-day carry and easily at hand when you might need it most. It’s available in .380 only. Caution, if you’re going to depend on a pistol this size for EDC, shoot it a lot to ensure you’re comfortable with the recoil coming from a pistol that doesn’t have a lot to hold on to.


Ruger engineers worked a marvel with the LCP Max. It holds 10+1 rounds of .380 ACP. Yet, it’s essentially the same size as the LCP. It weighs a couple ounces more. With 11 rounds of .380 on board, I have no trouble identifying the LCP Max as a defensive carry pistol for a competent shooter. For a new shooter who wishes to carry the LCP Max I say, “Practice, practice, practice, and don’t let too much time go by before you practice, practice, practice some more.”

Ruger LCP Max .380 ACP semi-auto handgun
Updated engineering has resulted in an LCP Max pistol that can hold 10+1 rounds of .380 cartridges.

The gun operated trouble-free for me. I tried several different brands of .380 — both ball and JHP. At close ranges, the .380 cartridge should do a decent job of stopping bad guy activity, if you do your job handling the gun. However, don’t be complacent. You need to shoot this gun a lot to be proficient with it.


Now for a 9mm. The EC9s features a molded, high-strength, glass-filled, nylon-grip frame, and a pinned-in, metal, locking block insert. The sides, front, and rear of the grip frame (including the front of the finger-extension magazine baseplate) are checkered. The grooved, contoured, magazine release button protrudes just far enough for positive engagement but not so much to catch when drawing the pistol from a holster or a pocket.

All corners and edges are beveled and rounded for non-snag draw and reduced holster wear. The sights on EC9s are integral to the carbon-steel slide, machined right into it. The EC9s is larger and heavier than the LCP which gives the EC9s more grasping surface and weight for better controllability when firing 9mm ammo. In size, the EC9s is 6 inches long, 4.9 inches tall (with the finger-extension magazine baseplate), and 1.07 inches thick at the thumb safety. The slide is 0.9 inch thick and so is the grip. Grip circumference is 5 inches.

Ruger EC9 with integrated sights
The EC9s, available in many colors, is essentially an upgrade to the LCP with sights that are integral to the slide.

The pistol weighs 17.2 ounces and fits in the hip pocket just fine. The main difference between the EC9s and the LC9 is the sights are integral to the steel slide. They are black, and both the front and the rear sights feature horizontal striations. This gun is very affordable, retailing for $299 or less. And, like Joseph’s coat, it comes in many colors.

Security 9

The Security 9 is an affordable midsize personal defense handgun that offers a light weight for concealed carry in a mid-size. The frame is glass-filled nylon. The grip is textured and feels good in your hands. It will help you hold the gun and does not hurt your hands during shooting.

Ruger Security 9 striker-fired pistol
Security 9 is a mid-size, hammer-fired pistol that holds 15+1 rounds. There is a compact version that holds 10+1 and 15+1 in an extended magazine.

The slide has cocking serrations front and back and is nicely rounded all around for easy holstering and to prevent printing. It is a steel slide with highly visible drift-adjustable sights. There is a loaded chamber window on the right side at the rear of the ejection port. A Picatinny rail is forward of the trigger guard, which is elevated at the rear to facilitate a high grip. It comes with one 17-round and a 10-round magazine.

Security 380

The Security 380 has the same body size and shape as the Security 9 with a few enhancements. It has a Lite-Rack system that includes refined slide serrations, pronounced cocking ears, and a lighter recoil spring. The lightweight slide features lightening windows on both sides of the front part of the slide, drift-adjustable steel rear sight with a vertical edge, and a bright, fiber-optic front sight for improved visibility.

RUger Security 380 semi-automatic handgun
Security 380 has the same form factor as the Security 9. However, it has several features that make it easier to load, rack, and shoot for people with hand strength issues.

The Security 380 comes with one 15-round and two 10-round magazines. Shooting the 380 is pure delight — even for recoil-sensitive shooters. The .380 cartridge is light on recoil to start with, and the Security 380’s grip and slide recoil springs make it so much easier to rack than most semi-automatic pistols. The price is under $400.

Max 9

The Max 9 is the pistol you see NRA spokesman Colin Noir with in all the advertisements and promotional videos. It’s in my carry rotation for three reasons: size, capacity, and the new Ruger Red Dot that requires no batteries. The Max 9 is a mere 6 inches long and weighs 18.4 ounces. Capacity is 12+1 with a 10+1 magazine included.

The Ruger Red Dot is extra, but is designed for the Max 9 and fits it with no mod required. This new red dot takes advantage of ambient light to brighten a fiber-optic, which is reflected onto the screen in perfect alignment with the front sight. It’s really cool, but it won’t be there for you in darkness. That’s okay because the front sight is a big dot lined with tritium.

Ruger Max 9 in a Phalanx Defense Systems holster
The Ruger Max 9, shown here riding comfortably in a Phalanx Defense Systems holster, represents Ruger’s entry into the double-stack micro market.

The Max 9 is striker-fired with a short, smooth trigger pull, clean break, and positive reset. It has a glass-filled nylon grip frame and hardened, alloy steel slide. The texturing on the frame provides a secure and comfortable grip. I mentioned this already, but a tritium fiber-optic day/night front sight is there for high visibility, and the rear sight is drift adjustable. Safety features include an integrated trigger safety, internal striker blocker, and inspection port that allows for visual confirmation of a loaded/empty chamber. It’s priced at just under $500.

Ruger American

There are three variations of the Ruger American: The Compact and Competition models, and the Duty model. The Duty model has a thumb safety and weighs 30 ounces. It is 7.5 inches long with a 4.2-inch barrel. It is 5.5 inches high and 1.05 inches wide. The frame is one-piece, glass-filled nylon with an ergonomic wraparound grip module, all black. The slide is stainless steel with a black Nitride finish.

An inspection port allows for visual confirmation of a loaded or empty chamber. The capacity is 17 rounds in the magazine plus one in the pipe. The gun ships with two nickel, Teflon-plated steel magazines plus small, medium, and large grip modules. The sights are Novak Lo-Mount Carry 3-Dot.

Ruger American with ReadyDot red dot sight
The Ruger American is Ruger’s duty-sized pistol, though it also comes in a compact version.

Multiple design features make the Ruger American a pleasure to shoot. Ruger’s operating system, with its pre-tensioned striker and a barrel cam that distributes recoil over a longer time, reduces felt recoil. The combination of the trigger and grip ergonomics also contributes to the reduced felt recoil.

I find myself recommending the Ruger American to friends for several reasons. One is the heft. Pick up a loaded Ruger American. It feels perfectly balanced and does nothing to interfere with a natural draw and point of aim. Yes, it weighs 30 ounces. However, to me at least, it feels much lighter. It has front strap checkering that consists of small, raised diamonds. The diamonds enhance the grip without tearing up your fingers. The trigger has a smooth, easy pull that you hardly notice.

Ruger SR1911 Commander

I have a particular fondness for the Ruger Commander-sized 1911. It is the gun that won me over and converted me to being a 1911 fan many years ago. I now have Ruger Commanders in .45 ACP and 9mm. They utilize the classic, original 1911 fire control system. Manufacturing is done with a precision CNC-controlled machining process which results in a superior slide-to-frame fit and smooth slide travel. Positive barrel lock-up allows for superior accuracy out of the box. The traditional design has replaceable grip panels and a checkered backstrap.

Ruger SR1911 Commanders in 9mm and .45 ACP
The author credits the Ruger SR1911 Commander as being the gun that won him over as a 1911 fan. He now has both .45 ACP and 9mm versions of the SR1911 Commander.

The lightweight, aluminum, skeletonized trigger provides a crisp, no creep, light trigger pull with a quick, positive reset. The gun has a skeletonized hammer and titanium firing pin for faster lock time. The oversized beavertail grip safety provides positive function and reliability. An extended thumb safety and slide stop lever assist offer positive manipulation. The integral plunger tube for slide stop and thumb safety is not staked but will never come loose of the controls.

There’s an oversized ejection port and extended magazine release to further assist in operation of the pistol. An inspection window at the rear of the ejection port allows for visual confirmation of a loaded or empty chamber. A flat mainspring housing and rear slide serrations ensure a positive grip. The Ruger SR1911 accepts most standard, aftermarket 1911 parts and accessories. The guns ship with two spare magazines and a barrel bushing wrench.

The author compiled quite a list of Ruger pistols and revolvers? Did your favorite make the list? Share your favorite Ruger for concealed carry in the Comment section.

About the Author:

David Freeman

David is an NRA Instructor in pistol, rifle and shotgun, a Chief Range Safety Officer and is certified by the State of Texas to teach the Texas License to Carry Course and the Hunter Education Course. He has also owned and operated a gun store. David's passion is to pass along knowledge and information to help shooters of all ages and experience levels enjoy shooting sports and have the confidence to protect their homes and persons. He flew medevac helicopters in Vietnam and worked for many years as a corporate pilot before becoming actively involved in the firearm industry.
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 (16)

  1. Rich, you are correct the Security 9 is hammer-fired. I apologize for incorrectly calling it a striker-fired gun in the caption associated with its picture.

  2. Ruger makes solid products. I bought my first Ruger pistol in 1970, a standard auto 22LR, for $47.50. I used to hit soda cans on fenceposts at 100 yds. It took 2 or 3 shots to hit them. Not too bad. The most impressive Ruger was a Redhawk .44 MAG. It had an excellent S.A. trigger right out of the box. It was very accurate, too. I bought a Super Redhawk thinking it would be just as good. Not so. The trigger was so bad I couldn’t get off a decent shot to be able to tell if this revolver had potential accuracy. I put in a Wolfe spring kit, but there wasn’t much difference besides causing light primer strikes. Because it is very heavily built It could be a desirable handgun for 45-70 or heavier loads, in my opinion. Stay safe.

  3. I have a number of Rugers, but have to note that this “article” reads more like an “infomercial” for the Brand’s carry models. As someone else noted, I too don’t do Ruger plastic.
    Also of note – I have had an order open with my local dealer for an SP101 in .327 Federal for more than a year, only to notice – prompted by this article – that the model ordered is “currently unavailable”.

  4. I own a GP-100 and have to say it is my mst favorite, Accurate right out of the box, Low recoil, even my wife loves to shoot it. Best wheel gun I own..

  5. Mr. Freeman: I believe that part of the Wiley Clapp “package” included slicking up the action at the factory. It sure seems smoother than any other GP-100 I’ve shot. I too rarely fire the weapon single action because it is so smooth in DA. I think it is one of the finest revolvers ever produced and I will keep mine until I end.

  6. KANIKSU KIDD, My Wiley Clapp GP100 in .357 is by far the best double-action revolver I own. Every two years when I have to requalify as an LTC instructor I have to shoot the 50 round shooting proficiency test with both a semi-auto and a revolver. I always use the Wiley Clapp for the revolver qualification and I shoot the entire test double-action though there is time to cock the hammer, there is just no need to.

  7. Been a Ruger fan for decades, but for some reason, and I cannot define it, I just don’t care for Ruger’s plastic line of pistols. On the brighter side, the SP101 in .357M and 2.25 barrel is about as strong as the brick of steel it was carved from, dependable, accurate, but not for the timid in the hand, as even with just 38 special loads, it lets you know who’s boss, even with the aftermarket finger groove grips. I was never a fan of the 1911, until the Ruger SR1911 Government. Right out of the box I believe it can compete on even ground with custom 1911 costing multiple times as much. Head shots at 25+ yards out of the box should be expected, and I don’t remember it ever having any kind of malfunction. Installing the Hogue finger grips in black, give the SR1911 a more business look, and the only better trigger, is on a well worn Ruger 22/45. TruGlo Pro, night sights, seem to make it even more accurate than it already is, if that is possible. For me, the single most important improvement any company could make on the 1911, is to get rid of the safety slide lock, so the chamber can be loaded and unloaded with the safety on. I believe the 1911 may be the only firearm that hangs onto this unnecessary, and unsafe, feature.

  8. The Ruger SP101 in 3” barrel is an excellent EDC pistol. The illustration used in this article was an odd choice as it does not capture the pistol’s EDC utility.
    The steel frame helps to reduce felt recoil. Firing .38+P in the .357 model seems the optimal choice.
    I also highly recommend replacing the factory grips with either the Hogue® Rubber Monogrip – Item Number: 84138 ( my personal favorite) or the
    Pachmayr® Diamond Pro Grips – Item Number: 19995 – both are offered on the Ruger website. These finger groove style grips dramatically improve controllability.
    My only wish is that Ruger would offer a “bobbed” hammer, as hammer spurs are notorious for catching on clothing when drawing a revolver from a concealed holster.

  9. Rugers are great handguns. Never having much interest in the current trend that 9 MM is the only handgun caliber in existence, I carry a Ruger SR40C. I think it is a fantastic combination of caliber, capacity, and concealability. It is also very accurate. Why in God’s name did Ruger quit making it or why not make something comparable?

  10. I carry my LCRx in a Kydex IWB holster. I like it much more than any S&W J frame I have ever used. The LCR series uses a unique cam system in the trigger linkage that is much smoother and easier to control than any S&W. I also own a GP-100 Wiley Clapp .357 which is my favorite “big” revolver of all time and is on my hip most of the time I am tramping around the woods of N. Idaho and NW Montana. Loaded with 6 rounds of Underwood fluted solids I rarely feel undergunned. The only semi-auto Ruger I use is a SR-1911 .45ACP Lightweight Custom with a nitride slide and factory night sites that is my favorite 1911. So Yeah, I like Ruger handguns too.

  11. I’ve carried an LCP Custom (red skeletonized trigger enhanced sights) for about 10 years bad trigger and all and no slide back after the last shot). A couple of years ago the frame cracked. Ruger, unable to repair the crack, replaced the pistol at no cost even to going to the lengths of giving me the Custom model which is no longer made. Wonderful customer service to say the least. To tame the recoil of that small gun I put on Hogue grips made specifically for the 1st gen model which is pinned to the frame. Better grip less recoil. I have had trouble with the front sight coming loose and found a Glock hex tool works at tightening the front sight nut. It is an easy all day carry and reliable.

  12. My favorite is the LC9pro.This gun fits my hands like a glove and feeds anything you put in it and is very accurate.I carry it in my pocket holster (by recluse holsters) which covers the entire profile of the weapon so you don’t see any printing of a pistol.

  13. David.

    I have been a Rugerfan since the 70’s. Short of the long is, I’d purchased my GP-100 back in the mid-nineties and has been my competition and personal protection go-to pistol. The EC9s is a perfect ccw on a daily basis, sometimes so much that I literally forget about it. But, what caught my attention of your article was something I thought was unique only to me. The first time that I picked up and fires an SR1911, it blew me away. Not only was it palatable to shoot, it was ultimately comfortable and easy to control for a .45 ACP. I do, and will, stand by Ruger/Marlin firearms, being a lifetime fan and advocate through and true. Bill.

  14. I have consisteny found Ruger handguns to be the most reliable in the world, albeit with really crappy triggers in the P series.

    I think of Rugers as being the AK of handguns. Triggers might not be as good as the more expensive competion, but you can have absolute confidence thst a Ruger handgun will always fire when you need it fire!

  15. Yes, you are RIGHT… but wish you would not bring up. The demand for this weapon has hurt availability and cost… BUT HANDS DOWN IS A PERFECT WEAPON IN 327 Fed Mag….load with 32 long or HR Magnum.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.