9mm Showdown: Ruger Security-9 vs. M&P 2.0 Compact
We live in a glorious age. We get to debate which lightweight, compact polymer-framed pistol is better. Not that long ago, we would have been debating the merits of even making a polymer handgun. The fact is that polymer guns have made their mark, and they are here to stay. The real question is which one should you get.
There are enough reviews of Glock 19s and Sig Sauer P320s to fill their own libraries. So today, let’s take a look at two of the competitors that don’t get as much fanfare – the M&P 2.0 and the Ruger Security-9. Depending on your tastes, they’re both viable options for an EDC pistol.
M&P 2.0 Compact
This trusty workhorse has been around for quite some time. The original M&P was introduced in 2005, and it uses the familiar Browning-designed locking system. While Smith & Wesson certainly had their eyes on the law enforcement market when they introduced the M&P pistol, the M&P 2.0 Compact clearly caters to the concealed carry market.
The M&P 2.0 weighs in at 26.7 ounces with an unloaded magazine. It has aggressive stippling on the grip, which also offers different backstraps that allow you to customize the grip to your hand. It boasts deeply scalloped slide serrations on the rear of the slide, with a narrower band on the front of the slide as well.
The M&P 2.0 has a unique trigger safety that requires the bottom half of the trigger to be depressed to deactivate the safety lever on the back of the trigger. The trigger pull itself on this M&P came in at 5.4 pounds, and the trigger reset was short at approximately 0.15 inches. The compact version hosts a 15+1 capacity.
I put 250 rounds of Federal 115-grain ball ammunition through the M&P without any issues straight out of the box. I would have been perfectly happy to blow through a few more boxes of 9mm. But the ammo shortage made that feel a bit glutinous, especially since the M&P is well known to fight through even cheap ammo. What did surprise me was the overall feel of the gun. The grip is very positive and fills the palm of my hand perfectly. I handed it off to a few friends, and the general consensus was that everyone loved the grip.
Breakdown: M&P 2.0
Internally, the M&P 2.0 is a fairly basic striker-fired gun. It has a captured recoil spring, and it breaks down like most modern polymer guns without any additional tools. There’s nothing about the overall design that I found striking or new, but that’s not really a complaint. Overall, M&Ps are just well-rounded firearms built on proven designs.
It does get some extra points for looks in my book. I can’t say exactly why, but I find the profile of this gun to be very appealing. It’s relatively narrow and comes in at 1.3 inches at the widest point. The slide itself is profiled, so it feels slenderer when you carry the gun. But it also balances well in the hand.
This pistol has an aggressive grip, which I like. Even the grip angle points naturally for me. For instance, I generally find that a Glock’s grip angle results in a slightly upward cant on presentation. The M&P presents directly on target for me. The trigger is somewhat squishy, but I find it to be better than my stock Glock trigger and more than acceptable for a self-defense gun.
The stock sights are also a basic three-dot configuration, though there are plenty of aftermarket sights if you want to upgrade. In general, the gun is just utilitarian and practical, with few unnecessary frills. It measures 7.25 inches in length with a 4-inch barrel – though other options are available – and it stands 5 inches tall.
Notably, the fully assembled slide weighs in at 16.7 ounces, which puts the center of gravity near your index finger. It’s a slightly top-heavy gun, but it points quickly and comfortably. Surprisingly, however, not as well as the Ruger Security-9.
In a world of polymer wonder guns and a sea of striker-fired pistols, it takes a bit of effort to stand out in the crowd. I can’t tell you why, but Ruger decided to cut its own unique path with the Security-9.
It’s almost a habit to write "striker-fired, polymer-framed pistol" at this point, so let’s cut to the chase … This is not a striker-fired pistol, but it does have a polymer frame. The Security-9 boasts a shrouded internal hammer. It’s a bit odd, to be frank, but it does have some interesting advantages.
What first struck me was the trigger. At face value, it looks like a pretty standard Glock-style trigger. But even at 6.1 pounds, the trigger felt much better for me than a stock Glock. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not going to win any awards. Still, the trigger did not have the stiffness I’ve become accustomed to with Glocks. They are a bit like snapping a toothpick. That’s not the same for the Security-9. Plus, the gun was relatively flat shooting and easily controlled even when running it as fast as I could pull the trigger.
That said, dry-fire training can be a bit of a pain because of the internal hammer. You need to rack the slide hard and all the way to the rear if you want to reset the trigger. I’ve caught myself wrestling with the trigger only to find out that I never reset it. That’s just one of the quirks that come with the gun.
I’ll be honest, I did not immediately fall head over heels in love with this gun. It has some quirks that still leave me scratching my head, but the thing shoots well. I’ve passed it around to a few friends, and they generally like the grip angle and the level of texture. The slide serrations and the grip are positive, but not aggressive enough to become irritating as a daily concealed carry gun.
I personally don’t like the cut in the back of the slide to support the hammer system. To me, it seems to beg dirt and grit to work their way into the action of the gun. But the Security-9 easily ran 250 rounds right out of the box with no additional cleaning or oiling.
Breakdown: Ruger Security-9
Outwardly, the Security-9 has a smooth, snag-free exterior. It also has a nice balance, due in part to the lighter slide that weighs nearly 2 ounces less than the M&P 2.0. It also stands 5 inches high, but it feels deceptively light at 23.7 ounces unloaded. The widest point is comparable to the M&P at 1.3 inches, and the slide measures in at just over 1 inch wide.
The gun itself is 7.24 inches long, and it hosts a 4-inch barrel that also features a target crown. I found the gun to be quite accurate and easy to shoot, with one exception. The safety on the frame of the pistol is relatively narrow, presumably to avoid snagging. A quick sweep with your thumb can reliably deactivate the safety, but it is a bit of a pain to push it back into position.
At first, I found the safety to be frustratingly stiff to reactivate. But, upon further reflection, it does make it very difficult to accidentally activate the safety while shooting. From a self-defense perspective, I find this to be a forgivable trait that would just take a little bit of training to overcome. The grip itself also felt narrow in my somewhat larger hands, but my wife found it to be superior to the M&P 2.0.
If I had to line up one last strike against the gun, it would have to be the takedown pin, which requires a pen or spent casing to disassemble the pistol. Is that a deal-breaker issue? No, not really. But I do feel like we’ve entered a period where you should be able to break a modern pistol down without additional tools.
My personal preference between these two guns is the M&P 2.0. I like the aggressive grip texture, the overall balance of the gun, and I think it just looks better. Everything lines up naturally with my hands. Really, the safety on the Ruger Security-9 is one of the bigger deal-breakers for me, but that comes down to personal preference.
The Security-9 does offer a nice, light-feeling pistol at a budget price. It’s well suited to snag-free concealment as well. It’s also flat shooting, and the trigger feels better overall. If you are hunting for a value-priced gun, these are both great options that are readily available even with the current surge in gun sales.