The Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield EZ vs Ruger Security 380 “Lite Rack”. Two fine .380 caliber semiautomatic handguns from top gun manufacturers that have become quite popular recently.
This article will look at some of the similarities and differences between the Smith and Wesson M&P .380 Shield EZ and the relatively new Ruger Security .380 “Lite Rack”.
Both of these guns are designed to be easier to operate for people that may have limited hand strength. Those with arthritis or other issues can find it hard to operate a standard semi-automatic.
Specifically, the guns have been designed to make the manipulation of the slide easier and reduce the amount of recoil felt by the shooter.
Ruger and Smith & Wesson have both done a good job with these guns. They are very similar in a lot of ways but they do have some differences that we’re going to look at in this article.
Here you can find information on maintenance and cleaning for these guns.
The Smith Wesson M & P 380 Shield EZ has a retail price of $454, while the Ruger Security 380 is listed at a retail price of $369. The actual price you will pay depends on the store or online retailer you choose.
In my opinion, both of these guns are well worth the money. The Ruger Security has a few less features, but is more comfortable to shoot. The Shield EZ has more safeties, making it a bit more complicated to operate, but is slightly easier to load and has a better trigger.
Let’s compare some of these features.
Magazine Capacity Comparison
M&P 380 Shield EZ Magazines
The first thing we’re going to talk about is capacity, or how many rounds the gun will hold. The Shield EZ comes with two magazines and each one holds eight rounds of 380 ammunition. This means if you carry this gun with a round in the chamber, you have 8 rounds in the magazine for a total of 9 rounds.
The Smith and Wesson 380 Shield EZ features a single stack magazine, meaning the rounds sit directly on top of one another, making the magazine and the grip very narrow.
Ruger Security Magazines
The Ruger Security 380 has two magazines that come with it; one 10-round and one 15-round magazine. (The California compliant version comes with 2 10-round magazines)
The 10- round magazine holds 10 rounds plus 1 in the chamber, so you can carry 11 rounds of ammunition.
The larger magazine makes the height of the gun a little bit bigger as it adds about 3/4″ to the grip.
Ease of Loading the Magazines
The M&P 380 Shield EZ has a little tab which allows you to pull the follower down, making it super easy to load this magazine.
You don’t really need much hand or finger strength as I don’t think it’s going to be too difficult for most people to load this magazine.
The Ruger magazines are double stacked. Each magazine holds two rounds side by side and to load this magazine just put them in one at a time from the top using the thumb. It does get harder as you get closer to capacity. I didn’t find it terribly difficult, however someone with limited hand strength may find it a little bit challenging.
Ruger does include an easy loader or a speed loader which certainly helps especially if you don’t have finger or hand strength. The loader helps you press down on the follower so you can slide the next round into the magazine.
The weight of the two firearms is shown below. The Ruger Security 380 without a magazine comes in at 17 ounces.
The Smith and Wesson M&P Shield 380 EZ comes in at 16.9 ounces so they are pretty comparable as far as weight. Keep in mind the extra capacity of the Ruger will make it slightly heavier if loaded with all 16 rounds.
Overall Size Comparison
When comparing the width of the guns, the advertised numbers reflect the widest part of the gun. This is a bit misleading as the slide and grip of the Ruger are definitely wider than the Shield EZ. The wider grip helps spread out the felt recoil a bit and can make the gun a bit more comfortable to shoot.
The Smith and Wesson Shield EZ is actually a little longer from front to back than the Ruger as you can see in the picture.
When we’re looking at grip height, the Smith and Wesson is actually just about the same as the Ruger to my eye, even though the advertised measurements say different. The Ruger has the 10-round magazine inserted in the picture.
Both of these guns have the picatinny rail on the front so you can put a very small light and/or laser on the gun.
Now I want to compare the sights. The Shield 380 EZ has three painted white dots. One white dot on the front sight and two on the rear sights.
I kind of like this personally as it really draws your eye to the sights when you hold the gun in front of you. Sights are really a personal preference and with lots of different types out there, people have different preferences.
The Ruger Security front sight is a fiber optic sight. That’s nothing super special, but it does help brighten it a little bit using the light in the room. The rear sight is just black with a “U” notch in it.
So you just kind of line up in the notch in the rear with the green fiber dot in front. I am not a big fan of this type of sight although it works just fine.
Sight Comparison in Low Light
As far as low light, let’s turn down the light a little bit and check them out.
This is moderately low light in this picture and I can still see the white dots better than the Ruger’s fiber Optic. When I made the room quite dark (just enough light to move around without bumping into things), I couldn’t see either one of these sights AT ALL.
Neither one of these gun sights are very good at low light. In daylight both of these are great. However, you may consider swapping them out for upgraded night sights on both of these guns.
Here are some possible options for night sights for the M&P Shield 380EZ:
- TRUGLO Tritium Pro Glow-in-The-Dark Handgun Night Sights
- HiViz® Litewave H3 Sight Tritium LitePipe Day/Night for S&W EZ380
- Laser Kit for S&W Smith-Wesson® Shield™ EZ® 380
Here are Night Sights for the Ruger Security 380:
Also worth mentioning is the safeties on these guns. The Smith and Wesson 380 Shield EZ has an optional ambidextrous safety. This is an easy to operate paddle type safety and it is very easy to pop that safety off and use the gun.
However I’ve also found that it’s almost too easy. Just handling this gun you can very easily knock that safety off inadvertently. This may not be an issue for you, but I wanted to point it out.
The Ruger has a thumb safety that is smaller and slightly harder to operate due to its size. It is fairly easy to flip the safety OFF but a little harder to press it back up into the SAFE position.
I don’t know if that’s necessarily a bad thing. You’re never really in a hurry to put it ON safe, you’re going to be in more of a hurry to pop that safety OFF if you need to use the firearm.
Ease of Slide Manipulation (racking the slide) Comparison
Racking the slides on both of these pistols is really easy and the design of the slide really helps. On the Ruger Security 380, you’ve got a couple of little “ears” in the back along with good serrations to allow you to get a good grip.
There is also an indent on the side of the slide as well as a couple of ears further toward the front. You can securely grab this slide in a multitude of different places for ease of operation.
The Smith and Wesson 380 Shield EZ is similar although it has a few less places to grip. It has a couple of ears right on the back and some good serrations as well. There is also an indent on both sides allowing for a secure grip.
Although I believe the Ruger slide is easier to hold onto, both of these guns are very easy to grasp and very easy to operate even if you have gloves on.
Here is another interesting feature that is only on the M&P 380 Shield EZ. It is the grip safety in the back of the grip. if you’re unfamiliar with grip safeties, in order for this gun to fire you have to be holding it correctly and depressing that grip safety with your hand.
If you don’t depress that grip safety (in other words, if you don’t have a proper grip on the gun), the trigger does nothing.
This feature can be viewed as good or bad. It’s a great safety feature, however if you draw this gun quickly and you don’t have a perfect grip on it, it is not going to fire. You really have to train to grab that perfectly every time, so a lot of people really don’t like it.
Some view it as just another point of failure. The Ruger Security 380 does not have a grip safety so it’s going to fire even if you have a little bit of a sloppy grip on it. If an emergency situation arises and you need the gun ASAP, and your adrenaline’s pumping, you might not get the perfect grip on your gun and it doesn’t fire.
Depending on how you feel about that may help you decide on which one of these guns you might like to use.
Now we will compare the triggers on the Shield 380 EZ and the Ruger Security 380.
The Ruger trigger has what’s called a trigger safety on it so this little lever helps prevent the trigger from going back without a finger in here. So if it gets caught on your clothing or something like that there’s less chance of the trigger being pressed unless the safety lever is also pressed.
Glocks have this kind of a safety on them and it is very common on semiautomatic hand guns.
I tested both triggers and both feel pretty good, but the Shield .380 Shield EZ trigger feels a little bit better and has a slightly shorter reset.
The trigger reset is simply how far you must release the trigger after a shot to shoot again. You can feel the reset by holding the trigger all the way back after a shot, then slowly releasing the trigger until you hear and feel a slight click. Once you reach that point you will be able to press the trigger for another shot.
Better triggers tend to have a shorter and more positive feeling reset. The reset on the Ruger Security is good but the Shield EZ is slightly better in my opinion. Both will perform nicely so I would not make too much of this comparison.
The next feature I want to compare is the grip width. The Shield EZ has a narrower grip, which helps with concealment. The Ruger on the other hand had a wider grip, which actually helps reduce the recoil felt by the shooter, making it more comfortable to shoot. This is because a larger, wider grip spreads the force of the recoil over a larger area.
Although a .380 handgun has relatively light recoil, it is still a factor especially when practicing. I had my wife shoot both guns at the range and she definitely preferred the Ruger, saying it did not hurt her hand like the Shield EZ.
Chamber Loaded Indicator
The Smith & Wesson 380 Shield EZ has what’s called a chamber loaded indicator on top of the slide. What this does is provide a quick visual and tactile indication that there is a round in the chamber without having to retract the slide to check.
When there is no round in the chamber, the indicator is flush with the top of the slide. Whenever there’s a round in the chamber, the indicator pops up and you can see and feel it. This is a great feature, but you should never 100% depend on it. Always check the condition of the gun if there is any doubt.
The Ruger does not have this feature, but does have a small notch in the top of the slide, allowing you to look into it to see if there is a round in there or not. This only works if you have plenty of light so the tactile chamber indicator on the Shield EZ will be a lot more useful.
Keep in mind that many guns have neither of these features so it is not usually a deal breaker.
Video: Ruger Security 380 Lite Rack vs. S&W 380 Shield EZ
Hopefully you learned a few things about the Ruger Security 380 vs Shield 380 EZ. As I said in the beginning, these are both fine guns and will do the job for you. It is mostly preference when it comes to some of the features.
If you have any comments or questions please leave them down in the comments section and I will try to answer all your questions if you have any and thanks visiting!