Launched at the end of last year, Ruger’s new Lite Rack Security-380 was clearly aimed at budget-minded shooters looking for capacity and self-defense functionality but with an easier shooting experience. 

Coming just a year after the launch of the micro .380 LCP Max – a fine little option if you’re into mouse guns –  the Security-380 decided to bulk up over the winter to become a more enjoyable, high-volume range companion that could still pull its weight as a regular concealed carry companion. 

I’ve been on a bit of a .380 and Ruger kick lately. So, I’ve been hitting the range regularly in rain and snow to see if the Lite Rack system inside the Security-380 actually makes it an easier and more enjoyable gun to shoot. Here’s what I found out.


Table of Contents

Background
Specs & Features
Shooting & Reliability
Pros & Cons
Final Thoughts

Background

 

Ruger Lite Rack Security-380
It only took a few seconds for my wife to find the charm in the Lite Rack design. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


My wife is not what you would call a gun person. She mostly just tolerates living with one. But she has dabbled a bit in my passion, and she has come to kind of hate pistols. They’re either too hard to rack, too big for her hands, or uncomfortable to shoot. 

So, the first thing I did was hand her the Security-380, and she loved it. “Oh, yeah, this is easy-peasy,” she exclaimed as she racked the slide back and forth with ease. “The trigger is easy, too. This is my favorite thing. It's so easy to slide.”
 

Ruger Lite Rack Security-380
The slide really is easy-peasy. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


I was not expecting that, because the gun actually felt pretty good in my hands as well. That was a promising start. The gun is lighter than a Glock 19 but offers a full grip and equivalent capacity – though in .380 ACP instead of 9mm. Last year I reviewed the Ruger LCP Max, which offered a much smaller package but at the cost of shootability. So, I started pulling the Security-380 apart to see what it had going on inside.


Related: LCP Max Review – Ruger’s Mighty Micro Pistol?
 

Specs & Features
 

Ruger Lite Rack Security-380
The gun breaks down like most semi-auto pistols these days, with one additional step of pulling out the retaining pin. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


Basically, everything about this gun is built to make the process of shooting easier, from the sights and the trigger to the Lite Rack slide and manual safety. Even the magazines are easy to load for a relatively compact gun that offers 15+1 capacity.

The slide is topped with a long, green fiber-optic front and a black metal U-notch rear. The front sight was nice and clear when I was shooting at both indoor and outdoor ranges. It’s also cut on the back for glare reduction. Despite appearances, this gun is a hammer-fired design just like the rest of the Ruger semi-auto Security line
 

Ruger Lite Rack Security-380
The gun is actually a hammer-fired design, which is visible through the rear port. Also note the extended grip ears at the rear of the slide for even easier racking. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


The hammer is hidden just inside the slide, which helps reduce snag issues. In fact, there are few snag point in general, and the gun has a generally rounded rear. I would say the grip texture is on the moderately positive side. It worked fine for me, but I would like a bit more texture in my life. The magazine release is also recessed but easy to manipulate.
 

Ruger Lite Rack Security-380
There's grip texturing at the front, back, and sides. It worked for me, but I wouldn't mind if it were a bit more aggressive. Of course, that's a solvable problem with grip tape, wraps, or manual texturing. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


But the real magic is the slide and the Lite Rack tech inside. This is a remarkably easy slide to manipulate, even for people with weaker hands. Part of that is the use of a lighter recoil spring. The spring pressure also doesn’t seem to noticeably increase as you near the rear. The slide itself is buttery smooth with front and rear grip serrations, raised rear ears, and lightening cuts at the front. 

Yet, somehow, the recoil impulse is actually very manageable. I’ve shot heavier .380s with much tougher slides that still had noticeable snap. The result is a gun that’s quite pleasant and easy to shoot. More on that in a second.

Here’s a quick rundown on the specs:

Capacity: 10+1 or 15+1
Trigger Pull: 4.9 pounds (10-pull average)
Weight: 1.26 pounds with empty 15-round mag
Barrel Length: 3.42 inches
Sight Radius: 4.8 inches
Length: 6.5 inches
Height: 5 inches 
Width: 1.3 inches
 

Ruger Lite Rack Security-380
For a production gun, the trigger was quite nice and would be a great starting point for newer or moderate shooters in particular. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


The trigger has a light take-up that is just positive enough to let you know you are pulling it back to the wall. There’s a bit of "smush" to break through the wall, but it’s not bad or unpleasant. The break is fairly crisp for a production self-defense/range gun, and the reset is positive with around just a third of an inch of travel.  
 

Ruger Lite Rack Security-380
There is a manual safety to deal with, but I actually don't mind this one. The slide stop is quite stiff. I find that forgivable given the slide is so easy to rack. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)
Ruger Lite Rack Security-380
Note the retaining pin in the corner. The slide is so easy to move the disassembly process is also made easier and you can hold the slide with one finger to pull out the pin. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


There is a manual safety, which normally isn’t my favorite. It’s just another thing to manipulate or bump on accident. However, this one is unobtrusive and easy to swipe down. I never found myself accidentally resetting the safety or fighting for space to get a high grip. 

It’s angled in such a way that it requires rear upward pressure to reset it, but clicks off positively on a downward stroke. So, it’s easy to take off but requires deliberate effort to activate – that’s appreciated.
 

Shooting & Reliability

 

Ruger Lite Rack Security-380
The sights are easy to pick up on the range. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


The first thing I noticed when shooting was the high visibility of the sights. They pop up nicely, especially outdoors, and they are not very busy. The trigger was better than most production guns I’ve shot over the years. 

Recoil was also very manageable, and I found myself shooting at a faster-than-normal pace for accuracy testing. It’s not snappy like the LCP Max and feels gentler in its recoil than, say, a Glock 19 or SIG P320

I have spent a far longer time shooting those last two guns. Thus, it felt like I had to go through 200 rounds to finally get the grip, sight picture, and trigger pull working for me. It was also below freezing after five hours on the range. In the end, groupings of 2-4 inches on a full mag with occasional fliers were fairly standard for me at 25 feet. 
 

Ruger Lite Rack Security-380
At 25 feet, accuracy came pretty easy, with the left and right targets being shot about as fast as I felt I could maintain a good sight picture. I slowed down for the center (also pictured in the corner). (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)
​​

Right now, I’m sitting at 750 rounds of various loads through this pistol with three malfunctions. Before you jump to conclusions, two of those malfunctions came from a box of budget ammo that I had yet to get any .380 gun to feed two full magazines through. The Security-380 did a straight 30 before a stove pipe. That’s better than the last seven test guns, which I would call a win for the Security-380. 

The last one may have been a frozen primer on a bulk target load while shooting in below 20-degree weather and snow. Everything from Federal, Winchester, and Remington did fine, including five 20-round boxes of 99-grain Federal Hydra-Shok Deep hollow points. 
 

Ruger Lite Rack Security-380 Ammo
Reliability was solid – notably with zero failures in my Federal hollow-point rounds – in all but the cheapest range ammo that had some minor hiccups. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


While shooting, I noticed that the slide stop/release was difficult to manipulate on an empty magazine. It eases up a bit with a loaded magazine, but I wouldn’t rely on it if I was training for self-defense reloads. That said, the slide is so easy to rack I don’t really see much advantage in using the slide stop. I’d rather just clamshell grip the slide and rack it backward.
 

Pros & Cons

If it wasn’t obvious, I’ve been avoiding perhaps my biggest complaint. The Security-380 is about the size of most 15+1 9mm handguns but chambered for .380 ACP. The obvious trade-off is recoil control for some power, though there are some pretty decent .380 ACP self-defense loads these days. That’s just a personal choice you’re going to have to make. The gun shoots easy and smooth while racking back like a dream. Pick your poison.
 

Ruger Lite Rack Security-380
Capacity is generous with 10 or 15-round options, but it is worth noting that it comes in a package similar to many 9mms in size. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


Other complaints could be the generally higher cost for .380 ammo and not wanting to store more than one caliber if you’re already on the 9mm train. Then again, at the price you can snag a brand-new Security-380, that might be a wash for you. 

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly price
  • 15+1 capacity
  • Light recoil
  • Fairly nice production sights
  • Good trigger
  • Plenty of grip space for large and small hands
  • Lite Rack technology

Cons:

  • .380 versus 9mm debate
  • Not a personal fan of manual safeties
  • Grip texture is slightly lacking
  • Totally subjective, but it’s not the sexiest looking gun to me. 

With all that said, this is one I wouldn’t mind keeping in the safe. In fact, my wife has basically already called dibs on one. 
 

Final Thoughts

 

Ruger Lite Rack Security-380
The gun has some more modern lines to it with the weight-saving cutouts up front. For the size, it also feels quite light and pointable in the hand. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


This is a gun that is pleasant to shoot in a size that is comfortable to hold. There are obvious benefits for folks who have hand strength or confidence concerns and want to train more. I don’t see this gun as a safe queen or a collectible to be stored away for when it magically becomes worth more money.

It’s a shooter. Get it on the range or carry it if you shoot it well. 

revolver barrel loading graphic

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