In the compact daily carry 9mm pistol arena, few weapons have a solid mix of performance and reliability than the Ruger EC9s. It’s powerful, sleek, and very popular. It functions well and people love it for that reason, but even with its reputation, some problems are commonly encountered by those new to the Ruger EC9s.
Some issues that are more commonly reported are usually not the gun’s fault, nor the manufacturer, and instead, often lie with the user. Having gaps in the training or expertise of a shooter can have dramatic effects on the overall shot effectiveness, and can lead some shooters to think they either got a lemon or just a gun that is not for them.
Since the issues can be seen as serious reliability problems, though, and while they aren’t common they are incredibly important to fix. Since you probably have your Ruger EC9s for defense, the last thing you want is to have an FTE or FTL when your life depends on it.
The good news is that while there are some relatively common issues reported with the Ruger EC9s, they are also easy to identify which often leads to a quick and easy fix. There are some circumstances where you may need to break your gun down and look at it under a hard light to determine the root cause, but this is rare. Sometimes, though incredibly rare, the gun will need to be shipped back to Ruger for investigation, and repair or replacement when needed.
Ruger EC9s Problems
There are several common issues reported with Ruger EC9s, both used and new, and we’re going to do a deep dive into those problems and how they manifest for the average shooter. We’ll take a look at what causes the issues, and if there is anything you can do at home or at the range to help your gun shoot right, every time.
In some cases, there may be an easy fix, in other cases there may be a less-easy fix, and sometimes you may just have to find a reliable workaround for the problem. No matter how it turns out in your case, this guide will help you identify and deal with the most common problems shooters have with the 9mm Ruger EC9s.
Failure To Eject
A failure to eject can leave you with a jammed pistol and a stuck casing, and if the conditions are wrong enough that casing could be firmly stuck and unable to be freed up in the field. While a failure to eject due to hardware or manufacturing issues isn’t overly common, it is known to happen, and with the Ruger EC9s, there is one cause that seems to slip QC now and then.
The problem is with the external extractor and how it cradles the end of the shell casing. In some cases, the inside edge of the extractor will not be squared enough and as a result, it will not hold the squared lip of the casing securely. If the inside angle of the extractor isn’t sharp enough, it will act as a ramp and the casing will be allowed to slip off, creating the failure-to-eject condition.
The solution can vary depending on the faculties and equipment available to you. If you have a gunsmith that will do work cheaply, it may be worth it to simply tear the gun down and bring them the extractor to adjust. They will need to re-square the inside angle and ensure that there is as close to a 90-degree angle on the extractor hook for it to function optimally.
In many cases, the owner of the gun can call Ruger customer service, and they will be able to offer a suitable solution. They may offer prepaid shipping, or if you bought the gun new they may just send you an entirely new slide assembly, or they may offer some other solution. This would be the most cost-effective way to get the gun fixed, but with that in mind, it may not be the fastest way.
Failure To Feed
Rugers are not known for having significant cycling problems, so a failure to feed the next round can be a disqualifying error for someone looking to buy a Ruger EC9s. There are some sparse reports of FTF issues with brand new Ruger EC9s, and it seems to be a very rare deformity with the feed ramp that remains even after substantial polishing.
The deformity is in the path that a round takes when being loaded into the breach, and a slight unevenness on the leading edge causes the round to move out of tolerance. This causes the bullet to impact the high right side of the middle of the feed ramp, causing a rebound to the other side which then causes marring of the ramp.
This is not something that is easily fixed with some grinding or machining, since the feed ramp is part of the barrel and not replaceable on its own. If the owner of the gun contacts Ruger customer service they may be able to send out a brand new barrel, which should fix the problem.
One of the issues common to those who take the gun out of the box and straight to the range is stovepiping. This is when the round being fed rotates during its movement and ends up vertically in the breach, which results in a jam. The most common cause of this, particularly in a new gun, is the failure to take apart, clean, and lubricate the entire weapon before use.
The gun is assembled with assembly lube, but during the shipping and sales stages that lube changes. It is not meant to safeguard the gun during storage, and so during a period of inactivity after factory assembly, that lube can become sticky. This stickiness can pick up dust, debris, dirt, and can cause the gun to jam while cycling.
Before the gun is used or relied upon, this lube will need to be stripped from the various moving parts of the gun. So, if you’re having this issue, strip your gun down, clean it, oil it, then take it to the range for a while. You should notice a dramatic improvement.
Magazine Release Problems
The magazine release can sometimes become an issue, either getting stuck during activation or having additional friction or stickiness during release. In some cases, the button itself is snagging during activation or is not being activated cleanly, and in other cases, the magazine release spring simply isn’t strong enough.
The button release difficulties are nearly always able to be attributed to the incredibly close tolerances of the machining for the gun components. This leaves very little room for movement of the button in any direction other than directly perpendicular to the plane of the handle.
To make sure your magazine release is working as cleanly as possible, ensure that you are pressing the button straight down, and not at any slight angle where it will catch.
If the problem is with sluggish magazine movement or a generally slow release, it could be the magazine release spring isn’t strong enough. The fix for this is relatively easy, and with a little disassembly and an extra eighth or even sixteenth of an inch of bend in the spring, your magazines should eject quickly and smoothly.
People new to shooting the Ruger EC9s often report the slide lock engaging when the magazine is not yet empty.
While this is a common issue reported with the Ruger EC9s, the majority of the occurrences can be solved by training, practice, or adaptation. The causes are almost exclusively operator error.
The most common reason that the slide on a Ruger EC9s sticks open is that the thumb on the non-dominant hand is rubbing on it and causing it to stick. When the thumb rides the slide it will easily cause a lock-up, but even better is it’s only a training fix.
With any luck, a little time at the range and some tutelage on better thumb placement for smaller guns will have that slide moving freely and not stopping until the magazine is empty.
So many times that a new shooter, or a shooter new to the Ruger EC9s, reports having issues with slide movement or slide sticking, it ends up being a byproduct of how they’re holding their pistol. If it’s not due to how the thumbs are riding, it can also be due to the grip itself.
Since the Ruger EC9s is such a sleek, compact pistol, it can lead to a situation where a sloppy grip will slow the slide down enough for the slide catch to engage and lock the slide out. This is most often seen when the grip is too high, and the skin between the thumb and forefinger rubs on the side of the slide, slowing it down and altering the cycle timing.
It may seem silly, but using underpowered ammo can cause the Ruger EC9s to lock the slide mid-magazine, even after only a single shot. This has a lot to do with how the energy of the shot is transmitted through the gun and to the slide to cycle the action and complete the ejection and feed process.
With weaker or even underpowered ammo, you are likely going to experience a higher rate of slide locks. This is important for those who try out a new gun at the range but have it lock up and shake their confidence when it could be the low-powered range ammo.
Change up your ammo type, put some stronger loads in the gun, and see how it fares. You may even want to try several different types of rounds. Just remember it’s a polymer frame so you’ll need to keep a firm grip on it to prevent excess movement.
Miscellaneous Cycling Problems
If your Ruger EC9S seems to be having intermittent or unpredictable issues with completely and successfully cycling, there may be another problem at work. To fully and completely cycle, a pistol needs the energy of the shot and the full recoil of the slide, which helps to complete the action of the gun. The Ruger EC9s, however, is a polymer frame pistol, which while it has the advantage of a greatly reduced carrying weight, also has the drawback of greatly reduced mass to help absorb recoil energy.
This leads to a problem where the shot has more recoil than the shooter is expecting, which results in them not holding the gun firmly enough. This is often referred to as “limp wristing” a pistol since the shooter is not exerting enough force on their wrists to keep the force of the shot in the slide. This means that the energy leftover after the shot, which is intended to move the slide while the gun remains relatively steady, is wasted by moving the gun in an exaggerated absorption of the recoil.
In many cases, this can be solved by simply firing the gun and getting used to how much more firmly it needs to be held over a conventional steel frame gun.
There is little to say about the Ruger EC9s that hasn’t been said already. It’s incredibly powerful, functional, and reliable, even taking into account the handful of potential issues that someone new to the platform may encounter. The few defects that are seen to make it through the manufacturing and testing phases are easily found and remedied with solutions that are known to work, and accessible. There is no reason that these issues should scare you away from picking up a Ruger EC9s.
Summary – Is The Ruger EC9s For You?
If you are looking for an everyday carry Ruger, the EC9s is one of the best out there in the compact or subcompact class. There are some issues that both new shooters and new owners report, but in the vast majority of cases, they are problems that can be quickly fixed. In the remaining cases the solution may be more involved, but still not out of reach. All things considered, the Ruger EC9s is a great gun and the few issues it has are easily managed.