I figured that I might help you understand my obsession.
By Mark Singer
Safe Direction Firearms
Web Address: safedirection.org
In this author’s humble opinion it is the best revolver ever offered by Ruger. As compared to a Smith and Wesson I’d say there is a tiny bit of travel in single action with nearly zero pressure behind it and while the single action may not be as crisp as a S&W; I like how smooth the double action trigger is compared to the Smith. I even think the Security, Speed, and Service six revolvers’ DA triggers are better than other Ruger models, such as the GP100 and SP101. Also, Ruger revolvers tend to be low maintenance and are very easy for a novice to completely disassembly.
.357 Magnum Ruger Security Six Early 150 Prefix Model
I’ll start a brief history on the Security Six .357 Magnum. It was introduced in 1968, released in 1971, and in production between the years 1972 and 1988. I know that sounds confusing, well that is because there were two major “frame types” released. The early models had a serial number with a 150 prefix code and below had a “square” butt with a low back on the end of the frame; the idea was to control muzzle flip. The 4″ blued model pictured above is a very early 150 prefix model, made in Jan, 19 1972. The end result was that the frame did not fit some hands and upon recoil it moved enough in the hand when shooting heavy loads to slow follow up shots, but not as much as you would think. In 1975 they brought out the stainless model. And in short order Ruger followed it with a giant warning message right on the barrel. Early examples without the warning may be worth more to a collector. My stainless 4″ below wearing the Kingswood grips is a 151 prefix without the ‘low back’ frame but with this warning. It is pictured with speed loaders from 5 Star Firearms. As an aside, the Manufacturing/Engineering and Production Supervisor at 5 star firearms, Clinton Hartford, was the lead designer behind these speed loaders. They are made of Billet Aluminum and are of high quality. An interesting design as they rotate opposite of the commonly found speed loaders; so that the rotation of the loader does not push the cylinder closed. Furthermore, the fluting machined into the loader allows it to clear most grips with greater easy than the competition.
.357 Magnum Ruger Security Six 151 Prefix Stainless Steel Model
A rarer model is the Stainless 2 3/4″ Security Six without the warning message, pictured below. They were offered for a short time without the warning on the barrel. They are harder to find in good condition. It took quite a while to find one in this condition:
.357 Magnum Ruger Security Six 151 Prefix Stainless Steel Model Pre-Warning
Many more of the shorter barrel models were made of the Speed Six and Service Six variants. The Police-Service Six or simply Service Six is a fixed sight version of the Security Six with a square but frame; originally designed with law enforcement in mind, they make excellent carry guns for civilians. As for the Speed Six, it was designed with concealed carry in mind. It is a rounded butt version of the Service Six and also a fixed sight design. The Service and Speed Sixes were both made with 2 3/4″ and 4″ barrels with no 6″ barrel versions produced. They were offered in a number of calibers; including a 9mm Speed Six variant designed to be fired with moonclips and a .38 S&W Special Service Six variant.
In 1988 Ruger broke this author’s heart and discontinued the Six Series guns and replaced them with the GP100. Now, while the GP100 is a great gun I prefer the Security Six. For many people, the differences between the GP100 and the Sixes are blurry; well, the differences between the Security Six and the GP100, are as follows: First, the Security Six has a full size grip frame compared to the GP100’s “stub” grip frame. Also, the GP100 has a locking piece between the yoke and frame (instead of between the ejector rod and barrel) and a fixed (non-rotating) ejector rod. The reason for the change is more theoretical than real with the main advantage of the GP100 being the front lock-up being right at the front of the cylinder, instead of out on the end of the ejector rod, but that is a slight advantage. The real motivation was that the GP100 is less expensive to produce than the Sixes were. Furthermore, the full under-lug on the GP100 is there to reduce muzzle flip, some like it, others don’t; I personally prefer the look of the half-lug for aesthetic reasons only. Other than that most differences are cosmetic, such as the barrel profile as you can see with the GP100 below:
.357 Magnum Ruger GP100
As for the accuracy of these fine firearms. I generally do not believe in firing from a bench rest to test a handgun, though it does remove some human error from the testing. I still feel that a gun should be tested as it is to be used. Here are three 6 round groups at 14 yards with the 2 3/4″ Speed Six pictured below using my favorite self-defense load: 158 grain Hornady XTP-
.357 Magnum Ruger Speed Six 2 ¾” Barrel
The next target was shot with a 6” Security Six, also pictured below, at 35 yards with Federal Premium Vital-Shok 180 grain 357 Magnum ammunition:
.357 Magnum Ruger Security Six 6” Barrel
Now, while the Six Series guns have been discontinued they can still be found on the used market with prices ranging from $400 up to $700 dollars for a rarer model, possibly even more depending on your location and if you find one of those 9mm variations. They can be worked on quite easily and are tough guns. They can handle a steady diet of practically any factory 357 load that is available today and are an excellent choice for a defensive firearm.
So, if you are looking for quality without breaking the bank, look for a Security Six variant.