Ruger EC9S: Affordable Firepower for Personal Defense

America's Concealed Carry Revolution greatly expanded the market for small powerful handguns.  With millions of new customers, firearms manufacturers have produced a broad variety of new semi-automatic pistols, derringers and revolvers that cater to this growing market.  The Ruger EC9s 9mm semi-auto is one of these new guns, and it reflects Ruger's philosophy of building rugged, high-quality and affordable firearms for the general public.

 

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Ruger's EC9S is a small and inexpensive concealed carry pistol that holds eight rounds of 9mm stopping power.

 

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The EC9S is about the same size and weight as the S&W Shield, but the Ruger's MSRP is $68 less.

 

The EC9S Concept

 The Ruger EC9s is a no-frills concealed carry handgun which has all of the basic features that a close-range defensive handgun should have and some features that are usually only found on more expensive pistols.  For example the EC9S has an excellent set of large and easy-to-use black fixed sights.  They have a snag-resistant design and are serrated to reduce glare in bright sunlight.  It also has a tough black oxide matte finish on the slide which closely matches the finish on its black high-performance nylon-filled checkered grip frame. In addition, the EC9S has a through-hardened steel slide which has no sharp edges just like the most expensive carry guns.  It also has a large beveled ejection port and a one-piece feed ramp that is designed to feed hollow-point ammunition. The forward end of the barrel has a raised area that ensures a tight lock up with the slide and consistent accuracy.  Lastly, the striker-fired EC9S has a smooth .375" trigger travel, a short trigger reset and breaks cleanly at 5 lbs.

 

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The Ruger EC9S comes with an orange polymer magazine well insert which is used in the disassembly of the pistol.

 

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This magazine of this new pistol from Ruger comes with two different floor plates.  This feature helps the user to adjust the grip to the size of his or her hand.

 

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The top of the EC9S slide has large fixed sights with serrated rear surfaces and a matte finish, both of which contribute to accurate shot placement by reducing glare.

 

How can Ruger provide all of these features in a gun that has an MSRP of just $299?  It's because Ruger uses the latest in computer-controlled multi-axial milling technology, a long history of designing glass-filled nylon grip frames and years of experience with the ultra-modern cellular assembly, a process which includes many quality checks.  The effect of this experience is the ability to produce a quality pistol that is priced as much as $180 below that of other sub-compact 9mm pistols.

 

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The Mission Statement displayed in the Ruger factory in Prescott, AZ where the EC9S is made says it all.

 

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Modern computer controlled milling machines like these in Ruger's Prescott manufacturing facility help keep costs down and produce quality parts at the same time, benefiting the consumer.

 

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Ruger's facility in Prescott uses a cellular assembly system in which workers sitting at u-shaped benches serially assemble parts & perform quality checks at each step of the assembly process.

 

Ready on the Firing Line

The EC9S is designed to provide consistent performance from a full-power concealable handgun.  Since most criminal assaults occur at 7 yds. or less, three basic tests were conducted from the 7 yd. line using four different loads.  Two of them were JHP defense loads and two were FMJ practice loads.  The defense loads were Speer's 124 gr. +P Gold Dot and SIG's 124 gr. V-Crown.  The practice ammo was the 115 gr. Winchester Service Grade FMJ and Sellier and Bellot's 124 gr. FMJ.

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Two defense loads and two practice loads were used to test the EC9S.  All of the loads proved to have good combat accuracy and controllable in this short light pistol.

 

The first test involved chronographing five shots with each load to ensure that the combination of gun and ammo produced consistent 9mm level performance from a short-barrel.  The data from the chronograph indicated that all four loads delivered good performance from the pistol.  Average velocities ranged between 1069 and 1086 fps. and no load exhibited an extreme velocity spread of more than 35 fps. In test number two, two five-shot groups were fired at a full-size silhouette target from a two-hand stance.  This is the way the gun would most likely be fired during a critical incident.  The average groups for each of the four loads ranged between 1.75" and 3.4", which is clearly sufficient for personal defense at that distance. The final test involved timed fire.  When the timer beeped the Ruger EC9S was drawn from a concealed holster and a two-shot body armor was fired from an isosceles stance.  This was repeated five times for each load. Average times for the four loads ranged between 5.16 sec. and 5.47 sec.  The fastest times were generally fired with the lower-recoiling standard pressure 115 gr. Winchester ammo. The Winchester load also turned in the best score of 90%. Given this, a standard pressure 115 gr. JHP would most likely offer the best balance of controllability and terminal performance for personal defense.

 

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The author tested the Ruger LC9S by firing two-shot body armor drills from concealment.  The average score for all loads was 80% and the average time was 5.32 seconds.

 

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 This target fired from the 7 yd. line with the EC9S is representative of the groups fired by the author during body armor drills.

 

Real Value

Ruger's EC9S is a small sturdy lightweight 9mm pistol that delivers solid performance for a very reasonable price.  And, that's what a lot of people are looking for.

 

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Ruger EC9s Colored Frames

 

Credit: Dr. Martin D. Topper

Martin Topper

Martin D. Topper, Ph.D, is the owner of Martin D. Topper, Ph.D. Consulting, LLC in Daytona Beach, FL.  He is a freelance writer and consultant who has published over 300 articles on firearms, tactics, disaster survival and ammunition over the last 27 years. His specialties include the psychology of critical incidents, urban insurgency, continuity of operations planning, firearms and ammunition design, terminal ballistics and quality management. While employed at the USEPA Criminal Enforcement Program his duties included quality management, firearms training, liaison with firearms programs of other law Federal and Local enforcement agencies, public affairs, liaison with American Indian tribes, and testing and procurement of firearms and ammunition. He has a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Northwestern University and Post-Doctoral training in Psychiatry and Anthropology from the University of California-San Diego Medical School and Anthropology Department.