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Ruger EC9s Review: Is the “S” for Sexy?

When you need a compact concealed carry gun on the cheap, where do you turn? To the Ruger EC9s. We got the details on this robust, budget-friendly pistol.
We review products independently. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission to help support our testing. Learn more.
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    Recently, I came across the Ruger EC9s, and wasn’t sure how I was going to react when I opened the cardboard box it came in.

    When I saw it, thoughts of tuxedos, fast cars, and double-crosses floated through my mind.

    Ruger EC9s glamour left
    Curvy little devil

    Maybe it was the size, shape, or the two-tone silver and black that had me thinking of dry martinis and beach rendezvous. Unlike James Bond, I wouldn’t fall for just a pretty face.

    For many, a gun needs to look a certain way to enjoy it — but performance is critical to everyone. I took the EC9s out to the range to see if it would live up to its code name.

    I’ll share the results of this not-so-secret mission along with some features and pros/cons with you below, so read on!

    Table of Contents

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    Pros & Cons

    Pros

    • Affordable
    • Concealable
    • Good trigger

    Cons

    • Tool required for takedown
    • Fixed sights (cannot be upgraded)
    • Single magazine

    The Bottom Line

    Very simply put, the Ruger EC9s is a good quality gun for the price. There are many things that make it seem bargain basement, but the performance is there. If you’re on a strict budget, this is a good option for concealed carry.

    Ruger EC9s left
    Cheap date

    Specs & Features

    Specs

    • Caliber: 9mm
    • Width: .90”
    • Length: 6”
    • Barrel Length: 3.12”
    • Height: 4.50”
    • Weight: 17.2 oz.
    • Capacity: 7+1

    Features

    • Trigger safety
    • Manual safety
    • Grip extension floorplate

    Source: Ruger EC9s

    $249
    at Palmetto State Armory

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Ruger EC9S

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    Own this gun? Add your rating!

    Rating score

    4.8

    1 rating

    Background

    Ruger seems to have built upon the success of the LCP in the concealed carry market and went just a little bigger for capacity. At the same time, they kept the cost of the EC9s extremely low.

    LCP Max in Hand
    LCP Max

    Some of those cost-saving measures make a lot of sense, while others ended up being pretty limiting.

    Who Is It For?

    This is a solid performer of a concealed carry pistol that is very inexpensive. Anyone looking for 7+1 capacity in 9mm coming in just above $200 would be well suited to select the Ruger EC9s.

    Ruger EC9s slide back
    Ruger EC9s

    It also comes in a dizzying array of different colors so you can select the one that’s right for you.

    Fit & Feel

    I was honestly surprised the ergonomics were as good as they were. Most tiny guns don’t mix well with my hands, but the grip shape and trigger placement had my digits reaching all the controls.

    The beaver tail is modest but does the job of keeping the slide off my hand. Grip texture is somewhat aggressive along the sides but smoothed on the corners to allow for an easier draw from concealment.

    Ruger EC9s beaver tail
    The beaver tail was adequate

    The extended floor plate is a must, though, in order to get all fingers on the grip. A standard one is included for people with smaller hands.

    The sights were definitely not from Q Branch. Hewn from the very slide, they are no doubt tough and functional, but that’s about it.

    Ruger EC9s floorplate
    The extended floorplate was crucial for my big hands

    You get a post in the front and U-notch in the rear. Both are serrated but fully black and lacking when it comes to dots or contrast.

    With the EDC9, they must have figured you’d end any conflict with your 7+1 rounds because you only get one magazine. However, this ejected cleanly and locked in solidly each time I loaded or dropped the mag.

    Ruger EC9s sights-2
    Pretty standard fare

    The trigger is pretty good for a striker-fired weapon. It came in at 3 pounds 5 ounces on my Lyman digital gauge and had a bit of travel before resistance, built to a wall, and broke cleanly.

    Reset occurred after almost the entire return stroke of the trigger and was barely audible and not really tactile.

    How Does It Shoot?

    The EC9s shoots well for the bargain you get. It’s reliable, and I got used to the trigger pretty quickly and was able to repeat a certain level of performance.

    Ruger EC9s accuracy
    Decent accuracy

    It wasn’t incredible. Some three-shot groups were 1 inch at 7 yards, but most averaged between 2 and 2.5 inches.

    The sights, somewhat challenging to see depending on the target, had pretty good gaps between them. Despite this, I was able to comfortably hit my targets and manage recoil thanks to good ergonomics.

    What Sets it Apart?

    Without a doubt, the thing that sets this gun apart is the capacity for the price. You can sometimes find yourself scratching your head over one feature or another, but when you really think about the cost of the gun, it seems silly to quibble.

    Patrick Take 10
    At this price, you could buy a couple of different colors to suit your mood

    By the Numbers

    Reliability: 5/5

    For the 300 rounds of 115 FMJ we fired through the EC9s, there were zero malfunctions. The magazines fed reliably, dropped cleanly, and the weapon cycled perfectly.

    Ergonomics: 3/5

    Despite the size, the gun is designed well and accommodated my 2X hands nicely. While the controls were within reach, the EC9s takes a hit for lack of ambidextrous controls.

    Accuracy: 4/5

    The sights feel very old school and are functional, but nothing to write home about. The trigger is really pretty good for such an inexpensive firearm and salvages much of the accuracy potential in his gun.

    Customization: 3/5

    You cannot add upgraded sights. The most you could do would be to paint the front post. There aren’t a great deal of accessories you can add to the EC9s either. However, I counted 17 distinct models, most of which were color options.

    Value: 5/5

    At street prices between $200 and $250, it’s hard to complain about any of the gun’s shortcomings. Ruger set out to provide good value at the price point, and they absolutely delivered.

    Overall: 4/5

    $249
    at Palmetto State Armory

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Upgrades for Ruger EC9s

    There is an available 9-round magazine if you want to push the boundaries of what’s concealable in exchange for more shots. Sadly, you cannot upgrade sights as they are machined integrally with the slide.

    Ruger EC9s one hand
    Ruger EC9s one hand

    I was able to find a weapon light and laser (no Mr. Bond, I expect you to die) from Viridian, though, so that’s encouraging.

    $149
    at Viridian

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Final Verdict

    While I didn’t care for the sights or sole magazine you get, the trigger was decent, and the ergonomics were surprisingly good. The overall package is thin and very concealable.

    Ruger EC9s two hands
    Compact and economic

    Whenever I found myself fussing about a feature, I remembered the price of the gun. I’ve seen far worse deals.

    So, Bond on a budget? Now that’s real government work in action!

    Have you used the Ruger EC9s? Let us know in the comments below and for more concealed carry favorites, check out our 12 Best Concealed Carry Guns!

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    47 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar
      Rob Johns

      My edc is Ruger's EC9s. I originally bought it for my wife to carry, but she had trouble racking the slide ("upgraded" her to a Ruger 380 Security Lite Rack). Even after three + years, and lubes and cleanings, it is still very tight. I am quite fond of it. It bucks like a mule, but it's quite accurate and is very concealable. While I am thankful still that I've never had to pull it in a defense situation, I have no fear that IF I have to, this little giant will perform just fine. A great firearm for the money.

      March 12, 2024 9:22 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Brock Forsyth

      I am old school Army. I love the fixed sites.
      Never had a problem or a jam. I've fired thousands of rounds through mine and still purrs like a kitten. It is on me at all times.
      The day I purchased it I tool it out back. Set up a small water bottle 30 feet away.
      First shot and I blasted the bottle at the neck.
      If I could upload the video I would.
      I've convinced about 10 people now to keep that as a primary Conceal and everyone says the same thing "Amazing gun for an amazing price

      June 21, 2023 9:37 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Tom Hinkle

      I owned the LC9s, and it was great with the 7rd mag, but the extended 9rd mag would jam it up. As a carry gun, it was perfect for going in bike rides, and hiking, but the fact that it would jam with the extended Ruger mag bothered me, so I sold it. My neighbor has the EC9s, and his runs flawlessly, so there's a good chance I might try one of those.

      April 30, 2023 9:42 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Rick Darby

      I've had an ec9s for a couple of yrs now. A very inexpensive gun, no frills, but it doesn't have to be handsome or pretty if it functions well. Most instances of emergency use are going to be close range so it's important to function well. I've shot several hundred rounds through it without a hitch. Extra clips can be purchased so that's not a big deal. My consensus, it's a buy..and a bargain.

      April 24, 2023 11:18 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Robert M Marcotte

      I carry my EDC9s in my pocket daily and hardly notice it. It is surprisingly accurate at short range for a fixed sight gun. I can not only keep tiny groups in the 10 range of a silhouette target at 7 yards but got bored and started shooting out the little numbers in each range. Most disappeared in one shot but a couple took two rounds. Definitely minute of bad guy at that range.

      January 24, 2023 3:19 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      khal spencer

      I have two concealed carry sidearms, the EC9S and a Beretta PX4 Subcompact. I prefer my Beretta with its DA/SA action and decocker, which gives me more confidence in safely carrying the sidearm with a round in the chamber. Plus, it is wickedly accurate. That said, the PX4 Subcompact, with its 1.4" width, is pretty bulky on my small frame and prints easily I can easily conceal the EC9s under even light clothing.

      Firing the same rounds through each gun, it is much easier to control the Beretta with its added weight and chunky grip compared to the minimal grip on the EC9S, but with careful gun control (cough, giggle) the EC9S is a very accurate gun for its purpose. And the gun you have on you is far more useful than the one you leave home.

      So my bottom line is the Beretta is my preferred sidearm for winter and heavy clothing and the EC9S is great for easy concealment the rest of the time. And it definitely is a cheap date.

      November 13, 2022 6:55 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Jim

        Amazing. I have the same two concealed carry sidearms! I much prefer the Beretta for the DA/SA action and decocker, for accuracy and shootability, and because it has twice the ammo when fully loaded. However, the PX4 is just a bit too fat to pocket carry. I've tried to make it work; but I end up having to fumble with the gun to get it out of my pocket, which could be a death sentence if I have to shoot it for real. The Ruger EC9S, on the other hand, slips easily out of my pants pocket; and I can get it out of my pocket pretty easily even when I'm sitting in the car! And fully loaded, it weighs less than the Beretta. It is light enough to carry all day almost without noticing it. An Ammo-Armor sleeve will allow you to carry an extra magazine in the other pocket, so the amount of ammo is about equal between the two guns.

        Either gun is extremely reliable if you keep it clean and if you put a good grease (not oil) on the slide.

        I don't mind the minimal iron sights - I put a spot of white paint on the front sight. I like my EDC to be simple and low-tech -- less to fail if you have to shoot it for real. And drawing and firing it becomes a habit -- you don't have to think about it -- when you carry the same gun day after day, month after month, year after year, winter, spring, summer, or fall. For this reason, the Ruger EC9S wins hands-down for me as my EDC.

        December 12, 2022 4:45 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        khal spencer

        Interestingly, I just put the Hogue grip sleeve on the EC9s and it makes a major positive difference in control and shootability. For some reason when I bought my EC9s the Hogue grip was not included. Not sure why, but glad I bought it.

        February 17, 2023 8:52 pm
        • Commenter Avatar
          Billy

          For more ammo, you can get the MAGGUTS spring. Gives you +1 in the factory mag for 8+1

          August 25, 2023 6:23 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Tiffany Timbric

      Maximized simplicity stylistically and mechanically.

      October 27, 2022 11:04 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Skip Blackstone

      Would it be worth exchanging my LCP 380 for the ECP9? I love the size of the Ruger LCP. I can easily clip the holster on my belt or put in a pocket holster. I would have bought the ECP9 had I know about it….

      September 14, 2022 4:47 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Jim

        If you want a small gun (just slightly bigger than the LCP), if you want a thumb safety, and if you want to move up to 9MM, then the EC9S is probably your gun. Find a range that will let you rent an EC9S, so you can try it out for sure. It's a bit snappy to shoot, so be aware of that.

        December 12, 2022 4:48 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Bemused Berserker

      A friend owns one and I've fired it quite a number of times. I found a number of faults when comparing it to my P365 or PPQ, but considering the price point is several hundred dollars less than my high end guns. I had to keep reminding myself of that point. The EDC9s sights are not quite atrocious, but that'sone area Ruger cut too far back on IMO.

      My brother in law has a Taurus G2, and I'd like to get the two of them together and then compare the Ruger to the Taurus to see what I think between the two guns.

      Or maybe PewPew can give us their analysis (hint, hint).

      July 16, 2022 1:15 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Hey Berserker, I couldn't agree more. It is far from perfect but in relation to the price, it's a good little gun. On a straight up run off with the G2, it's hard to say, I'd need to try them together. I can tell you I really like the G series guns! I recently tried out the GX4 Toro based on reader feedback and was very impressed, and a little surprised.

        July 16, 2022 10:50 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Lindon Davis

      How is the recoil for a gun this small in 9mm?

      July 15, 2022 6:24 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Lindon, it is a little snappy but not unmanageable. With the extended floorplate, it's easier to control.

        July 16, 2022 10:51 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      RONNIE SKAGGS

      Nice little gun, I like the smooth design but too long for me for pocket concealment. I did get a 9 round magazine for larger capacity. I found it shoots to the left for some reason, I suppose could be corrected with a Laser attachment. All considered I like it for the price.

      July 15, 2022 1:08 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      John Williamson

      I've had one since they first came out.
      I treated myself to an early Christmas present at Cabela's. For under $250 you can't beat it.
      I carry mine at work where I don't care if it gets dirty or greasy. I can just wipe it off and go on.
      I painted my sights for better visibility.
      And it runs perfect!

      July 15, 2022 6:25 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        John, the upgrade of painting your sights makes a lot of sense for better contrast.

        July 15, 2022 7:39 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      MARIO

      I liked mine so well I have 2, one is black and one is in the flat dark earth. They shoot great, easy to carry all day long because of their lightweight and slimness. Mine came with 2 seven-round magazines and I have a couple of 9 round magazines that are in my carry bag. One of the best things that you didn't mention was Ruger's warranty. Something goes wrong? Call customer service they will generate a shipping label, send it to them, fix it and send it back, in my case at no expense, when I broke a piece. In closing Great little EDC pistol.

      July 15, 2022 4:40 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Thanks Mario, that's a great point. I have heard good things about their warranty program.

        July 15, 2022 7:40 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        andy gutierrez

        howcome one buyer got 2 7 round mags?

        July 16, 2022 11:02 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Clay

      Bought the EC9s for a cheap 9mm to take kayaking so if it drowned I wouldn’t cry much. After shooting it, I was very impressed with the gun. I would not feel under-gunned should I need it for concealed carry instead of my Sig.

      July 14, 2022 6:28 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        It does border on being a "disposable" gun with the price so low. Interesting approach Clay, thanks.

        July 15, 2022 7:42 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Robert sikrd

      Owned one of these. Sold it to my daughter during pandemic. Works well for first time gun owners. Light and accurate, it has a minimum of felt recoil. Just about perfect for new gun owners

      July 14, 2022 5:46 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Glad it's working for you both Robert!

        July 15, 2022 7:43 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Norm

      I have carried an Ec9s for 5 years. The gun is very reliable, easy to conseal, and functions flawlessly. I did purchase the 8+1 magazine. Carry the 7+1 as an extra. The larger mag fits my hand better.

      July 14, 2022 5:28 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        David Russell

        Thanks, it's good to know there is an extended mag for this gun.

        July 14, 2022 7:43 pm
        • Commenter Avatar
          Sean Curtis

          David, there's also a trigger upgrade according to Dano.

          July 15, 2022 7:41 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Thanks for the long term perspective Norm. I'm also glad to hear the extended mag is working better for you. I'd likely do the same.

        July 15, 2022 7:44 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Lloyd Shell

      I have been carrying my EC9S for several years,I have been using a bugbite calf holster under my scrubs and without the magazine extension but WITH a hogue handall grip sleeve it is very manageable. I also run a laser max red laser but am considering replacing it with a laser/light combo.

      The main draw for me? It is 100% reliable, several thousand rounds zero malfunctions.

      I have considered having the slide cut for a red dot optic but I am still considering the impact on concealibility.

      All in all, the most reliable gun I own.

      July 14, 2022 5:05 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Wow Lloyd, that's quite a testament! During testing, it felt like it had the potential to just keep running though that's an intangible opinion and not worth much. I'm pleased to hear you've actually tested it out.

        July 15, 2022 7:46 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Eric

      It’s my EDC and has never malfunctioned after close to 1k through it.

      July 14, 2022 4:57 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Nice!

        July 15, 2022 7:46 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Robert Smith

      Is it possible to attach a suppressor to an EC9?? If yes, which make and model would you recommend???

      July 14, 2022 4:37 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Lloyd Shell

        Nope.

        July 14, 2022 5:05 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Robert, I imagine just about anything is possible but in this case it would not be easy or inexpensive. I don't think there are any threaded barrels out there for this gun. Investing the amount of money you'd need to make that happen kind of defeats the purpose of such an inexpensive gun.

        July 15, 2022 7:48 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Robert Smith

        Thanks for the response Sean...better get a Glock 17 for the suppressor!!!

        July 16, 2022 9:30 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Wannie

      Sean, I get the review. I understand. But, no the “S” is not for sexy. It “S”tands for “S”harp safety (it’ll cut like a losing knife of Forged in Fire”, and “S”ubpar everything else.

      Everything about this pistol is cheap and “S”tinks. Do yourself a favor and “S”kip this pistol.

      July 14, 2022 4:26 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Dano

        Actually, the S stands for Striker. The LC9 was hammer fired and Wannie doesn't know what he's talking about. The EC9s is a basic, reliable, affordable and well-made pistol. There is an aftermarket trigger upgrade from Galloway Precision that I installed on my EC9s that takes up most of the travel and shortens the reset for faster results. The upgrade does not change the weight of the trigger pull. It is machined from aluminum and replaces the Polymere original trigger. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and some people need to have a show gun for their friends to admire like Wannie, I guess. I have 4 Ruger pistols and have owned others over the years. Ruger knows what they're doing and has provided a quality firearm for the masses to own without spending $1,000.00 dollars on something to impress your fan boys. This is a working mans pistol that is capable of saving your life.

        July 15, 2022 6:39 am
        • Commenter Avatar
          Sean Curtis

          Dano, that's the perspective I came away with after I reviewed it--it's a great value for the price. And thanks for the tip on the aftermarket trigger!

          July 15, 2022 7:38 am
        • Commenter Avatar
          Dano

          Correction, the original trigger on the EC9s is not polymere. I also have the LCP Max which came with the polymere trigger which I also upgraded. I was thinking of the Max when I incorrectly wrote my comment above. The original trigger on the EC9s is metal. Galloway Precision has triggers for both pistols and I have installed them on my EC9s and my LCP Max. They are great upgrades for both pistols.

          July 15, 2022 7:47 am
        • Commenter Avatar
          Wannie

          It’s not about a 1,000$ gun. It’s about having a good gun. A capable gun. And for an extra 100$ You could get a used glock. The price alone does not make this a “good” gun. The sights are terrible. The capacity is low. It’s got a rough finish. Not a duty worthy weapon. The accuracy is supbar, the trigger needed to replaced apparently in your case. Yeah, sure for the price is a “good” value. But, that does make this a good choice.

          July 15, 2022 5:22 pm
          • Commenter Avatar
            Dano

            Former certified NRA instructor here on shotgun and semi-auto pistol. Three years in the field as a cop and then 38 years as a private investigator. I completed the NRA course with a Browning Hi-Power. On the line we were instructed to load empty casings randomly into the mag to cause a jam. The Glocks were locked up, the Browning fed the empty cases into the chamber, that's reliability. I still favor my Browning. My two Ruger semis are reliable too. I've carried many different pistols and some revolvers over the years. The best firearm is the one that works and fits your needs. I knew when Wannie commented that he was a Glock fan boy. They are always the first to complain about this or that pistol. I owned two Glocks and sold them. In my personal opinion the S&W M&P 2.0 compact is a much better pistol than the Glock for ergonomics, reliability, trigger and quality. They have metal sights strong enough to work the slide if your hand is injured and they have 3 interchangeable grips for different sized hands. This and my Browning would be my go-to pistols under trying situations and at home but too heavy to carry outside and more difficult to conceal. When out, I carry my EC9s or My LCP Max and I feel very confident that both are up to the challenge if things go bad. Like I said, chose what works for you.

            July 16, 2022 9:40 am
            • Commenter Avatar
              Dano

              PS, Neither the Max nor the EC9s need trigger upgrades and are fine as they come from the factory. All firearms modifications are for personal use and performance. The Galloway triggers only take up travel for faster repeat shots. They do not lighten the trigger pull. As for the finish, Ruger uses a black oxide finish to cut the price, same as the sights. The finish is not rough, it's a working gun not a safe queen. The Ruger LC9s now discontinued had a nice blue finish and changeable metal sights that increased the cost, but they were prettier. The Glocks I had wore cheap plastic sights. When firing my first owned G19, the rear sight flew off the pistol. I sent it to the factory, and they replaced it. Neither the Max nor the EC9s are meant to be duty guns, they are every day civilian carry guns at a great price. Ruger didn't cheapen the guns the used different manufacturing to lower the price of the more expensive LC9s which is also very popular. However, many police officers carry an LCP and EC9s for backup. That alone says a lot. I also have the original LCP and it has never failed to go boom.

              July 16, 2022 10:47 am
          • Commenter Avatar
            Jim

            Wannie, I fully respect your opinion. What works for me may or may not work for you.

            As for the sights, I put a spot of white paint on the front site. This is not as good as other sights out there, but it is sufficient. And I have practiced a lot in the privacy of my home, drawing the gun, turning off the safety, focusing my eyes on the front sight, lining up the back sight with the front, aiming at the target, and my trigger finger on the side of the gun. As I do this drill more and more, I am getting to the point where if I ever have to use this gun for real, it will automatically be out, pointed at the target, safety off, with my eyes focused on the front site. An instant later, I will pull the trigger.

            Reliability, small size, and a thumb safety are what allows me to carry this gun during my every waking hour, every day, year round. If any of those three characteristics were missing, I would find another gun to carry.

            As I said in another post, I much prefer shooting my DA/SA Beretta PX4 Storm Subcompact. But not as an everyday carry gun. It just doesn't work for me as an EDC. The Ruger, on the other hand, is the perfect EDC for me.

            December 12, 2022 5:02 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Haha, I hear you Wannie, it's definitely not for everyone. But based on feedback alone, the gun has quite a few fans out there.

        July 15, 2022 7:49 am