Today we are going to be looking at part of the Ruger P series, the Ruger P95. We will cover what it is, its specifications, and if it is a good option for concealed carry.
Starting off, the P series began with the P85 which was developed in 1985 as part of Ruger's bid to replace the 1911 in military service. Over the next several years changes were made and flaws fixed resulting in numerous additions to the P series resulting in the P95 (the third to last iteration in the series). Officially the P95 and its variants were discontinued in 2013.
The Ruger P95 is a double action/single action (DA/SA) semi-automatic pistol with an external hammer. It is chambered in 9x19 Parabellum and features a 10+1 or 15+1 magazine capacity. It features an ambidextrous magazine release, safety, and decocker. Some double-action-only (DAO) models exist, but most market available P95s will be DA/SA.
The Ruger P95 features a 3.9 inch barrel, weighs roughly 27 ounces, and has a standard three-white-dot sighting system. Other than this the pistol itself is rather chunky in its dimensions. This can make it harder to conceal.
Selecting the proper holster for it will be determine how easy this task will be. There are two major methods of carrying a pistol: Outside-the-waistband (OWB) and Inside-the-waistband (IWB). Many people tend to go with an IWB type holster because it conceals better especially in an appendix carry (11 to 1 o'clock on the belt). OWB gives more comfort by placing the pistol on the sides (7 to 9 and 5 to 3 roughly), but has the drawbacks of more material to stabilize it on the belt. While the IWB uses the tension from the belt and your body to stabilize it.
The Ruger P95 specs are acceptable. That means they do not stand out in any way and do not give that extra edge you need to get ahead in a professional pistol competition. The P series was designed as a firearm for the average user and its features reflect that.
The safety and decocker is a large ambidextrous paddle which can be harder to reach if you do not have larger hands. This can create a problem if you cannot activate or deactivate the system reliably with one hand in the draw.
The pistol can be carried with the safety off and a round in the chamber to circumvent how hard it is to deactivate the safety. There is nothing wrong with this since it essentially is treating the standard P95 like its DAO, but it is important to not have the hammer back if you decide to do this. The heavy trigger pull and combined with a quality holster will mitigate having the safety off, especially in an IWB holster.
This brings us to some problems with the system. Many more modern handguns try to be drop safe. The safeties in place to make the gun drop safe can fail so every firearm should be considered not drop safe. However, it is specifically stated in the manual that the firearm should never be carried cocked and may fire if dropped especially if the pistol is cocked. This adds another layer of safety concern over more modern striker fired pistols.
In addition to the drop safety issue there is the aftermarket for the P95. Since it is now a discontinued firearm, parts will begin to be hard to come by. This will increase the cost of maintaining the firearm which may deter its maintenance creating more opportunity for failure. This means you are more than likely going to have an absolutely stock P95.
This is not a bad thing. However it does mean that the P95 does not allow for skill progression. You can train and train with the P95 and push it to its limits. However its average accuracy and lack of fine tuning aftermarket parts will mean upgrading the firearm means switching to an entirely different firearm.
Pros of the Ruger P95:
The pros for the Ruger P95 is that it is a reliable firearm that is not ammunition picky. It is affordable with used examples ranging from $150 to $400 with most sitting around $250 depending on the seller. It is chambered in 9mm and will have a wide variety of ammunition available to it. Its magazine capacity is on par with the industry standard of 15+1 and it has a 10+1 magazine for areas with magazine restrictions. As far as weight goes, loaded it is on the heavier side to its competitors. Its loaded weight is 4 ounces more than a fully loaded Glock 19.
Cons of the Ruger P95:
The cons are a lack of drop safety, the risk of an accidental discharge if you try to cock the hammer on a DAO variant, and sight modifications. While later models of P95 feature a Picatinny rail for lights and lasers, night sights or sight upgrades will range from $25 to $125 dollars. If you are on a budget these upgrades may not be possible, which limits the already limited ability of the pistol.
Are these cons deal breakers? No. There is slightly more risk than other modern firearms but these can be mitigated with proper practice and training. There is always going to be danger when dealing with firearms and benefits of the Ruger P95 will make it appealing to new shooters or those who are on a budget.
But where does it fall on the concealed carry spectrum? We first have to determine what our goals are for our concealed carry. If we want something that we can wring the most accuracy out of that is not going to be the P95. But if we want something that is going to fire when we need it to fire while we are in a violent confrontation the P95 does fit.
The P95 is almost the Goldilocks option for concealed carry. It is reliable. It is affordable. It is chambered in a popular caliber, and it is acceptably accurate. The trade offs are it is an older design. Some of the controls may not be easily used by most people. Quality magazines and holsters might be a little more expensive than some people would prefer. And getting better sights might prove expensive or difficult.
The balance that the P95 offers makes it a better option for people purchasing their first pistol or those who need a lower cost option. It is not the most ideal pistol but it will serve in the role of self-defense and hobby shooting.
As long as it is maintained and the expectations for it are realistic it will function reliably. There are many pistols that are worse than the P95, but there are also better pistols. Be aware of this when you are purchasing one. You can push the gun to its limits but it probably will not reach the heights of other quality pistols because of a lack of aftermarket.
Hopefully this has given you some insight into the Ruger P95 so you can make an informed purchase for your next pistol.