Ruger EC9S Review | Affordable & Sleek-Looking Self-Defense Pistol

The Ruger EC9S is part of the productions' E-series (E standing for Essential). It's an all-in-one gun ideal for concealed carry. The Ruger EC9S review below shows its pros and cons, features, feel, and specs, background, takedown guidelines, and much more.

So, is it a cheap substitute or a quality handgun for anyone looking for a handy firearm that won't bank break? As the budget version of LC9S, what are the differences between the two? Here's all that and more. So let's start with its background.

Ruger EC9S Review: Ruger’s Background Concept Of the EC9S

Ruger wanted to provide an affordable, weather-resistant, sleek-looking self or home defense pistol. So it went differently with the EC9S' finishing process compared to its LC9.

Ruger EC9S

The LC9 finishing is the bluing process, which requires placing components in multiple tanks to penetrate the barrel and slide properly. With EC9S, Ruger used black oxide, an inexpensive coat that offered precisely what they wanted on this gun.

Ruger's public relations manager said they have gun assembly machines that carry out the assembly process from start to finish. The cost-saving steps make lots of sense, but some ended up limiting to gun owners.

Essential Ruger EC9S Product Description

The Ruger EC9S is a single-stack compact 9-millimeter striker-fired mechanism pistol made by Ruger. It's part of its E-series guns as the budget version of Ruger LC9S.

The main difference between LC9S and EC9S is that EC9S has fixed front and rear sights milled directly into the slide. You can't adjust, remove, or change it.

I find EC9S handy for everyday concealed-carry. It fits remarkably well with my hand. I had to add a hold grip sleeve, but with narrower palms and shorter fingers, it's ideal.

Essential EC9S comes with a ton of pros that include the following.


  • A light, crisp trigger pull
  • Ruger's quality standard guarantee with a plus in price, value, and reliability
  • It comes in over 19 colors
  • Its clip is compatible with Ruger LC9S


  • We found the EC9S takedown pin is easy to get lost because it's put beneath the grip frame.
  • Shooters with broader palms and longer fingers will find it thin. But with an additional hold grip sleeve, I found it fitting nicely.

What Sets It Apart: Features, Feel, and Specs

The EC9S features, feel, and specs include:

Unique Features

  • It has a black oxide barrel finish on its slide and barrel. It offers a sleek appearance and weather resistance.
  • They stripped it of bells and whistles and any extras. It, therefore, points & shoots comfortably with no frills. All the stripped amenities contributed to the reduced price. Otherwise, with gun extras comes a deeper dive into the pocket.
  • The grip frame is glass-filled nylon. That's ideal because it's high performance.
  • Its non-fixed capacity is open for a 9+1 mag. So I bought the 9+1 magazine to increase my handgun's capacity.



A 7+1 carry pistol

Barrel & Slide Material 

Hardened Steel Alloy

Barrel Length

3.12 inches


Double action Trigger

Integrated Trigger Safety


Manual safety


A 9 mm Luger


A Semi-Auto Pistol


With a background in handling the LC9, I found the EC9s to have a similar feel. This pocket pistol features textured sides on all four surfaces, providing an excellent non-abrasive grip. The slight swelling towards the back end offers ample space for a comfortable hold with the pinky, ring, and middle fingers.

However, the slight grip does result in some recoil. Nonetheless, the subjective nature of how it feels can be mitigated with practice. Spending some time practicing helped me reduce the recoil I felt subsequently.

As for me, I'm carrying mine today after a long break. I've added a Hogue grip sleeve to help control the recoil.

Also, I recently purchase the EC9s in the Earth and black color scheme, noting that it's perfect for their hardworking hands due to its small and smooth grip. They also mentioned that it fits nicely in their small cross bag. Additionally, I ordered a clip holster for convenient carrying. So far, I'm enjoying my new pistol!

How Does It Shoot: EC9S Sights and Shoots

The manufacturer made EC9S sights into the slide. Hence, they are non-adjustable. I realized an ample space between the sights' serrations. But it made more sense while shooting because that feature made handling easier.

When I paid keen attention to the target, shooting accurately wasn't a problem. But it's a hey-get-off-me pistol, not for recreational shooting

When performing double taps and body armor drills (two shots to the chest and one to the head) with this pistol, the emphasis lies more on hitting the man-size target rather than achieving pinpoint accuracy. The gun has a trigger pull pressure ranging between 6.5 to 5.5 pounds. 

a person shooting on the range

Additionally, it is equipped with integrated trigger safety mechanisms and features magazine safeties such as a manual thumb safety and a loaded chamber indicator. These safety measures prove useful in preventing accidental magazine releases while shooting, particularly for new gun owners.

Personally, I have owned this pistol for nearly two years and have always appreciated its convenient portability. Despite its compact size, it delivers a powerful impact. Furthermore, it offers great adaptability and comfort, especially after using it consistently on three range trips.

During my initial experience with the pistol, my first magazine yielded a pattern of approximately two and a half inches. Remarkably, my very first trigger pull resulted in a dead-center bullseye. Impressed by this feat, I immediately retrieved the target, rolled it up, and took it home after completing my session. To this day, it remains proudly displayed on my bedroom wall.

However, I acquired another one of these pistols just of recent and put around 300 rounds through it today at distances of 15, 20, and 30 yards.

So far, I haven't encountered any issues, and its accuracy has exceeded my expectations. Getting accustomed to the sights was easy, and overall, I'm thoroughly enjoying this firearm. I even tested it with Underwood defender ammunition, and it performed exceptionally well.

Who Should Buy the Ruger EC9S? Ruger EC9S Overview

The Ruger EC9S is an excellent choice for individuals in search of a reliable, high-performing handgun at an affordable price and not looking for Ruger revolvers, which the company is famed for. It is particularly ideal for concealed-carry gun owners on a budget, as it offers additional options for customization, but if you want to go for even more compact model you can opt for Ruger LCP Max.

Personally, I have owned a Ruger EC9S for the past three years. Initially, I experienced some discomfort due to a trigger bite, making it painful to shoot.

However, after purchasing an Aegis trigger from Galloway Precision, not only was the trigger bite issue resolved, but the overall trigger pull was significantly improved. In terms of size, the Ruger EC9S is perfect for everyday carry (EDC), offering a good caliber and the absence of a hammer that can snag on clothing.

Its concealability factor makes it an excellent choice for those prioritizing discretion. Overall, the Ruger EC9S is a highly recommended option for anyone seeking a quality handgun.

Additionally, its affordability allows for the purchase of different colors to suit your mood. Here's our rating on the guns' performance.

  • There were no malfunctions with 300 rounds fired of Winchester 115-9mm in a five-yard. We rate it at 4.9 on firing and 4.9 on value.
  • For Ergonomics, it didn't fit my 3x hands well, but 2x will work well. Controls are within reach and don't have ambidextrous control. Hence, it's ideal for first-time gun owners. So we rated it at 3.8 on ergonomics.
  • It has old-school sights but is very functional. We had a little hassle with the accuracy. We rate it at 3.9 for accuracy. But it has non adjustable fixed sights. So we rate it at 3.3 for customization because the parts are nonadjustable but durable.

So the overall rating for rugger EC9S is 4.2.

Maintenance Takedown and Field Stripping

Ruger EC9S

For maintenance, apply lube to the barrel hood, slide, and frames. We recommend not overloading the gun. Also, check the chamber indicator to ensure there's nothing in the chamber before starting the field stripping.

Field stripping the EC9 is a breeze, thanks to its user-friendly takedown pin gate, which allows for easy disassembly of the slide and magazine disconnect.

One helpful feature is the inclusion of an orange dummy magazine, serving as a visual indicator to ensure the chamber is empty.

As an owner of the EC9, I appreciate its affordability without compromising reliability. 

While the small pin used for takedown can be easily misplaced, it's a minor inconvenience that doesn't outweigh the overall positive experience I have with this budget-friendly firearm. Here are the field stripping steps.

  1. Ensure the gun's empty by removing the actual mag and replacing it with the orange dummy mag.
  2. Houd the gun toward the front and take out the takedown pin. Also, pull your trigger.
  3. Press its slide release, exposing the removable takedown pin. Press it outwards with a mini-screwdriver enough to hold it with pliers. Remove it and pull off the slide.
  4. Separate gun components and clean and lubricate them.
  5. Reassemble the parts by placing the recoil spring and barrel spring into the slide.
  6. Put the slide on the slide frame rails as you move it rearwards, exposing the takedown pinhole as you hold the gun in the second step of the disassembly process.
  7. Put the pin back in using the screwdriver. Once settled, press on the gate to lock it in place. Test the gun.

What are the Alternatives to the Ruger EC9s?

If you don't find it handy, there are many alternatives to the Ruger EC9S. Let's look at two.

First is the KAHR CM-9 mm 6+1. It's pricier, almost twice as much as the EC9S, but among masked carry guns, this is a good alternative.

The M&P Shield original single stack with a 7-round mag is another option. They made it with carry in mind. Older S&W M&P 1.0 and newer 2.0 series would make good alternatives to Ruger EC9S.

two handguns

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Ruger EC9S Good for Self-defense?

Yes, the EC9S is suitable for self-defense. It has an ideal compact, covered carry size. So it's a good self-defense ideal for carrying. You can pair it with 9mm champions like the SIG Sauer or Glock G43.

Is EC9S Better Than Ruger LC9s for Self-Defense?

Yes, the EC9S is better than LC9S because the EC9S is a self-defense improvement in reliability, accuracy, and functionality over LC9S. So it's ideal for the CCW needs, though bare-boned because of the striped extras. But an LC9S is okay for any buyer needing one with amenities.

What is the Contrast Between a Ruger EC9S and LC9S?

The Ruger LC9S is more pricey than the EC9S. The EC9S has fewer serrations than the LC9S, and the finishing is by black oxide on the barrel and slide. The finishing for the LC9S is blue because of the bluing process and its barrel steel. The LC9S has an adjustable rear sight, while EC9S is nonadjustable.

Is EC9S a Pocket Pistol?

Yes, the EC9S is a pocket pistol. That's because of its light, short length, and width. It also fits in any pocket holster, making it a reliable gun.

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