Best Budget Pistol Ever? Ruger P95


Today I want to discuss the Ruger P95 9mm pistol. I’ll say this for the record – I think it to be the very BEST full size handgun on the market FOR THE MONEY! If you are on a budget as most people are, I can’t think of a single thing I’d consider buying over a Ruger P95. It is reliable enough for MIL and LE work; it is accurate, well made, totally reliable, concealable, high capacity and decent looking. It will fill the role as a concealed carry gun, home defense, or printing nice groups at the range. I believe it to be the best bang for the dollar available today. I have bought four of them this year and $309 was the most I paid. The other three were UNDER $300 free and clear. Here is what I do. I bid each one on Gunbroker under $300. I do it all the time, just bide your time. Like I said three of them home for under $300. Try to find another gun that nice for $300. Good luck.

So what do you get for your $300? A full size, built like a tank, high capacity 9mm pistol. It comes NIB with two 15 shot magazines and a mag loader. You get functional 3 white dot sites, a decock/safety lever, ambi mag release buttons  AND a light rail.  😉 You know how I feel about lights. Go Streamlight LED TLR 1, 2 or 3. The Ruger P95 has been used by the US Military by the way. A batch was issued to tankers and chopper pilots awhile back. So enough said, it passed some kind of trial. Additionally it is the pistol issued by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. I have a friend who was an armorer down at FLETC in Glynco, GA. (that is the Federal cop training grounds). He worked on a ton of different guns down there and said two things that stuck in my head. If he were God for a day there would only be Mossberg 500 shotguns and Ruger P95 pistols. They NEVER fail he said. Now I would n0t go quite that far with pistols as I’m an XD man to the bone but it is definitely a Kudo for Ruger 9mm’s. Like I said I bought four and I’m always  trying to get more of them. Three have already been talked out of my hands by other people – one war buddy, a cop buddy and my Aunty’M.

ruger group

Shooting one: Is the trigger the best? Nope, but it is not bad! Does it go bang every time you pull the trigger?  YES it does. Does it shoot strait? Yes again. Is it comfortable and user friendly? Yep. There is just nothing to complain about period, nothing, ESPECIALLY for the $ spent. I  have bought WAY crappier guns that cost a lot more. If you are on that budget and it is tight you might be thinking used Taurus or God-forbid a Hi-Point. Please just save a couple more dollars and get the Ruger. You will have a great gun in perfect working order that is going to outlast us all. Check the group out. That is Remington +P Golden Sabre’s. Get yourself some Critical Defense 115 grain to try out too.  Either of those two  will serve you well for defensive purposes. Ball ammo (in the pic for scale) is for practice only. Buy good, fast stuff with a good bullet for the real deal.

Summary. I think I have been clear. You absolutely cannot go wrong with one of these fine pistols. The best part is it doesn’t break the bank. I have never seen a better firearm for less money and a lot of stuff that is worse and costs a lot more. You won’t be sorry.

As always thanks for reading and happy shooting.

By: Cary Kieffer




42 Responses to Best Budget Pistol Ever? Ruger P95

  1. Ray says:

    Just picked up the original P 95 without the rail it is perfect for concealed carry and I love the stories of reliability it reminds me of my Glock only hammer fired now I have to shtf guns it is definitely built the way I like it I’m probably going to have the frame customized to my color liking I’m thinking FDE everything else is stainless and I love it

  2. JSM says:

    I am late to this game but this is my experience–I own DOZENS of pistols and am a “certified” Sig guy. I was given a Ruger K(which means stainless) P95 by a now deceased buddy. He had 2 and no need for mine (brand new in box). I liked it for its size I am 6’6″ w HUGE hands). I use it as a car/truck gun. I don’t recall it ever jamming. Despite owning weapons that cost 10x more ($300 vs $3,000) I have used it to qualify every time I have had to since getting it 15 years ago. I always joke and say–I have a name for Glovebox/Trunk guns, I call them “Rugers”–but that actually degrades what I think about this TANK of a gun. It is reliable, not finicky, shoots whatever I put in it, never jams, always goes bang, and is more accurate than me. Again–not going to brag about it down at the gun club, no mall ninja would pick one, but if you need one that goes bang EVERY time–KP95 DC is your kid! (for the record I keep it loaded with Speer Gold Dot 124 grain +P JHP.)

  3. Mike says:

    I bought the P95 when it first came out. It only had the 10 round mag. Only used to jam if you limp twisted it. Then it started jaming a lot. Only needed a field strip and good cleaning and it is g[d as new.

    • Rob says:

      After an expensive divorce, I had to re certify as an armed security officer so I could moonlight to make ends meet. My “fancy” handguns had all been sold to pay my attorney fees. All I could scrounge together was $250 to find a service pistol to protect my life. A good friend of mine whose opinion I trusted had a very lightly used Ruger P-93 with 3 mags I bought. It was like the gun above, no rail, but aluminum frame. I was almost ashamed to show up at the range with this thing after owning Sigs, Glocks, Berettas and 1911’s in more prosperous times. I never even shot it before I went to qualify. After a couple magazines, I was impressed. I ended up shooting a 290 out of 300 if I recall! The gun had a trigger that was pretty good, too.I had it for a few years, and still regret selling it, after things got better financially.I HIGHLY recommend these guns for anyone on a budget. They’re not much to look at, but they WORK, more than I can say bout Taurus.

  4. Dave Pennell says:

    I am a 73 year old rookie shooter. I have a one year old P95 with less than 100 rounds through it. I got the Ruger at the recommendation of my medically retired military, son-in-law. He, by the way, is a marksman and competes in the Wounded Warrior Olympics with great success in pistol competition. Unfortunately we don’t live close to each other. Anyway, my interest is rising with regards to shooting and home defense. What little shooting I’ve done, I believe I’ve had problems limp wristing. The gun rarely ejects for me. Consequently, I have changed my grip from tea cup to side by side after watching You Tube videos. I will be going to the range next week to implement the new grip. My question is this regarding my left thumb while using my new grip: Is there any problem with it resting on the slide stop during shooting or is that where it is actually supposed to be? If it goes higher I’m against the slide. If I place it lower it will be against the magazine release button or too close to the trigger. Your thoughts please. I apology for my naivete but am anxious to learn as much as I can in order to be safe. I would like to own a CCW some day but want to be as knowledgeable as possible about semiautomatics beforehand. Also I hope to find shooting classes to attend in the near future. Thank you very much.

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Dave, my left thumb is on top of my right thumb pushing bit down slightly and locking it on the gun. I’ve always done it that way and I always will as I hit what I shoot at. That’s different than most of the guys I see shoot today as tactics and so on evolve. I would say do what works for you….experiment and if the weapon functions and there are holes in the paper then you are good to go. I don’t think I’d put my thumb on the slide stop as it may not activate…it’s only bumped up by the pressure from the mag spring on the follower, so it’s pretty easy to over power it and it won’t work. On the other hand if that’s the ONLY way you can get the weapon to cycle and hit then I might…the chances of needing a reload after a 15 round mag in a real shooting is slim. So without being there with you just don’t get discouraged and try till you find what works for YOU. It’s not wrong no matter what anybody says as long as the gun works…you hit and are safe. Good luck. I hope you got something out of that. Cary

    • Martin Lujan says:

      I too keep my left thumb on top of my right thumb when shooting my small frame pistols. However, when shooting my large frame pistols, such as my P95, I have my left thumb behind my gripping hand, with the tip of my thumb almost touching my knuckle on my gripping hand. My thumbs almost overlap like an ‘X,’ and the knuckles on my two thumbs are just about overlapping. I hope this helps.
      Also, be sure to have a high, firm pistol grip, with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, and lean forward just a tad. Don’t anticipate the recoil, and have a good sight picture while staring at your front sight post while you are squeezing the trigger. Slow steady trigger squeeze. Bring your sights up to your eye, and don’t Bob your head around to get a good sight picture. Follow through with your shots by not releasing the trigger, and keeping your sights on target after you have taken a shot. Keep shooting, brother.

  5. Randy says:

    Mr. Kieffer, I have had my Ruger P95 two tone since 2010. I bought it new in TX for $318 (tax incl) plastic case, extra mag and a solid steel quick loader with manual included in the box. I have since purchased a POLYMER QUICK Loader for 9mm and .40 cal. I have had some issue with 115 gr ammo, American Eagle, Remington, PMC that would stove pipe fairly consistently. When I use 124 gr I do not have a problem, she shoots smooth and straight with minimal kick-back and I learned shooting with this pistol (after I got ride of a Bersa .40 cal mini Firestorm, too much recoil to get back on target). Do you have any advise? Should I send it to Ruger? I have been reluctant to ship it and be without any protection but I recently purchased a S&W SD9VE. I like the Ruger hands down over the SD and the Ruger, although heavy/bulky is my CCW. I had a gun shop here in Alabama where I now reside and shoot suggest that I run 124 gr because the Ruger slide is heavy and it needs the extra force from the 124 gr to operate the slide properly. I have read many reviews and everyone else is shooting 115 gr without issue. 115 gr is readily available these days but 124 gr is hard to find at times. Is there an issue with the internal components per chance?
    Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks, Randy J.

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Randy J, this is one of those times I wish I could be around too see it happen, that would help me help you immensely. Anywho, simple answer “yes” send it back. The P95 ABSOLUTELY should be running flawlessly with any decent 115 grain ammo. I wish I could see your weapon to check out the mag and recoil spring strength…those would be possible culprits here. If money isn’t a big deal (like 30-35$) perhaps try new mag and recoil springs from Wolf Gunsprings. Also try handing off the pistol to another experienced shooter, does it still do it then?? If not then it could be some “limp wristing” going on. If that were the case then firm up your grip on the gun. I don’t mean to point the finger at you but it is a possibility. Like I said be nice if I could see this happen. Last I would check extractor and ejector out. With the slide off and barrel out place a round on the bolt face and make sure the extractor will hold a round on the slides bolt face for at least 3 to 4 shakes, so you know you have some extractor tension. Also visually insure the ejector isn’t bent or broke off somehow…..that’s it..after all those points…back to Ruger she should go. Let me know what happened and good luck brother. Cary

      • Randy says:

        Thanks for the super quick reply Cary. I ruled out “limp wrist” and no offense taken. I have had only one other friend shoot with me and yes it stove piped a few times. I ordered a new mag from Ruger but have not had many rounds theru it yet. All total probably 700 rounds shot as 9mm is sometimes hard to find and range time/ammo prices are not so friendly these days. I will upload a photo (if possible on your site) of what I think looks a little suspect. I plan on sending the same pic to Ruger but was reading your review and posted to you. I work nightshift so I’ll get the pic to you soon. Thanks agian for the super fast response and I have enjoyed browsing the site tonight.

        Randy J.

      • Dean Anderson says:

        Randy, I bought a barely used P95, and started having trouble with failure to eject. the feller I bought it from messed with it couple different times, come to find out, It was simply me not gripping the pistol high enough….not pushing the area betweeen thumb and forefinger far enough up on the pistol. Once I started making sure that my thumb was pushed up as far as it would go, then it worked perfectly. So all along it was “operator-error” (sigh). Made me feel pretty stupid… Ha ~ I only been shooting for bout 3 years, but I should’ve known better. Hope this helps someone else out. Y’all have a good’un!

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Ps. Don’t listen to that gun shop about the slide weight. That’s bad advice in my opinion. For example I am pretty sure my UZI bolt carrier group weighs more than an entire Ruger p95. 115 ammo moves that bolt just fine…it is NOT slide weight. Thanks.

      • Randy says:

        as I recall and forgot to mention a few times after the last round fired the slide DID NOT stay back as it is supposed to after the last shell is spent. I actually caught this on video my friend was filming. I know the best practical thing should be to send to Ruger as you pointed out, not being able to see the actual gun fire it would be hard for you to resolve via internet post and I now have a back up CCW. I do appreciate the time and Tactical Review site.

        Randy J.

        • Cary Kieffer says:

          Randy, that’s sounding alot like springs now you mentioned that. Weak mag springs specifically. The follower quite possibly doesn’t have enough oomph left to activate the slide stop…other possibility is over powered recoil spring…possibly wrong one was put in gun at factory?? I would order a standard recoil spring and plus 10% mag springs from Wolff first. I really would. C.

          • Randy says:

            Thanks, I’ll try your suggestions. I hear if you keep the mags topped out loaded and don’t shoot much it can, over time reduce the spring, but what other way is there to carry, right!

  6. […] are some good reviews out there – check one out here. The biggest negative comment I have heard is about having the magazine release on both sides […]

  7. Kivaari says:

    My comment comes long after you posted this review. I had owned a P95 years ago. It worked fine, but as I often do I sold it. Recently I was looking to have an “extra 9mm” just to stick away. I stopped by a gun store and found a KP95DC used coming with one 10 round magazine, and three 15 round magazines for $175. The price was right. Even though I am a Glock fan, having used them as my service pistol for many years, I just couldn’t pass up the deal.
    As you say anyone looking for a good solid pistol without spending big collars, nothing beats this now discontinued pistol.
    I have always had duplicate or near duplicate duty gear. Even after retiring 12 years ago, I just “needed” two complete outfits. Two AR-type rifles, two 9mm pistols and two S&W Centennials. One must find balance in life. Now I need to find a nice and also discontinued Ruger 9PC.
    The Rugers are solid performers, even though the finish on them is a bit crude. Function matters and these work.

  8. […] Here is the review that final pushed me over the edge to buy the p95 Staff Gun Review: Best Budget Pistol Ever? Ruger P95 | Tactical Gun Review […]

  9. Bill Edwards says:

    I have had a P95 since November 2012. I chose it after trying Glock 19, M&P and M&P Pro, CZ 75b and a few others. I was trying it just to rule it out and I shot better with it than any other. I like the feel in my hand. I use whatever ammo they have at the range and have Speer Gold Dot +P 124 grain for home. Easy to clean, utterly reliable and made in USA. I have close to 1000 rounds through it so far.

  10. Carlo Diaz says:

    i just bought a Ruger P95 from my boss who is former Miami SWAT and an E-6 in the Marines. while taking my NRA basic pistol course, i coerced him into selling it to me brand new for 300. Two-tone, 3 mags, quick loader and a very comfortable Pachmayr slip on grip. i couldn’t be happier. went to test it out this week and I’m impeded to say the least. I consider myself a proficient shooter abs a gun enthusiast, but as a working 21 year old, this is all i could afford. accurate, high cap and reliable. didn’t jam once, even with the same frangible rounds that jammed the Taurus millenium 111 a few times. my only disappointments are the sights. i would have liked some night sights, but I’ll work in it. being a.tall very skim guy, it’s a bit tough to conceal, but i wear it IWB abdomen and always with a jacket. great gun. next is an HK USP and Taurus Judge.

  11. Scott says:

    I have had a P95 for-5 years or so, I think? I have shot at least 5000 rounds through it “guessing ” and have shoot some of the nastiest crap dirty stuff as well and have never had a single problem. I even tried to get it to jam or stove pipe by shooting a whole can of 1000 rounds of dirtyRussian wolf one weekend without cleaning it. Well it took quit a bit to clean it up after, but its the most reliable auto I have ever owed, hands down period!

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Scott, thats good to hear! Those FLETC p95’s spend 4 hours a day on the range year round and never break or fail according to my Armorer buddy down there. I really don’t understand why anybody looking for a “mid” size or “service” model carry gun would look anywhere else when you want to keep costs down. I don’t see the logic in choosing an uncommon “off brand” or Taurus and Hi-points when this tried and true Ruger is available for 300 bones. I’m sure there are some good Taurus out there but my dealer is probably going to drop them entirely. They said they spend more money sending back faulty weapons that they just sold than they make on them! Additionally my neighbor has 3 Hi=points….which I constantly harass him about. They are always jamming up. For what he paid for 3 he could have had the Ruger, 1 more mag, a good leather rig and a few hundred rounds. For years now I have thought the P95 was “IT” in budget handguns and I still think it. Thanks for stopping by TGR.

  12. Mike says:

    I grew up hunting with rifles and shotguns and own a wide selection of both. My wife who does not enjoy the heavier guns has been after me for some time to do a concealed weapons permit here in Utah. For christmas we purchased our first pistol, we were looking for a gun that was cost effective for a beginning shooter and was reliable. Our purchase after many hours of research turned out to be the P95 which was purchased for $295. We have already shot 200 rounds of ammo through it and because the recoil is so light my wife is clearly out shooting me. This week we take our concealed weapons class, we are still looking for a smaller weapon for my wife to carry but at this time she is telling me to just go buy another P95 because even as small as her hands are she loves it.

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Mike, that’s awesome great to hear it. If you guys do decide to get something smaller though look at the XDS 45 acp which recoil is NOT what you might think it would be. Smaller gun and very controllable. I got my lady an XDS for this x-mas and she loves it with the 7 round extended grip mags. She said it was her favorite gift. Enjoy your Ruger it surely is a bargain. Thanks for stopping by TGR. Cary

  13. […] Ruger P95 read the review: Staff Gun Review: Best Budget Pistol Ever? Ruger P95 | Tactical Gun Review When you can't make them see the light, make them feel the heat. –Ronald Reagan […]

  14. Jeff says:

    I’ll also add that Ruger customer servicecan’t be beat. the frame on my P95 broke (bought the gun used) after i put about 700 rounds through it. I have no history on the previous owner, so I don’t know what they did to it/with it. I called Ruger, they knew that I was not the original owner. I expected a “tough luck” answer. WRONG! the said, send it back, we’ll take a look. three weeks later, I had a new gun in hand. All I paid was the shipping to Ruger of my broken gun. not a dime more. (oh yeah, and they sent back new mags, too.) I cna’t say enough about Ruger customer service.

  15. Douglas G. Hale says:

    Douglas,Bloemfontein,Free State,South Africa!
    Just got my Ruger P95DC!! And it is a Great gun!! Very happy!

  16. Joe Schmeggie says:

    Got a p95. Great gun.

  17. ELMER says:



    How Ruger can produce a product as they do for the price they sell them for is beyond me.

    Recently bought a new SR9 compact.

    Had laser sight put on and calibrated

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Elmer, my buddy down at FLETC who ia an armorer. Told me the Gov contract gets those P95’s for 85$ a piece. That was in 2000 but regardless even then that’s cheap!!!! So Ruger must have a pretty efficient production setup. Or maybe they are all screwin us 🙂 I find it hard to swallow H&K’s pricelist for instance.

  18. Duane Ridenour says:

    Does the P95 come in both a DAO and SA/DA version? Some descriptions state DAO and others indicate SA/DA. Looking at adding one to my “library”. May follow the advise of the author and pick up more than one.

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      As I understand it the DOA model was discontinued. I believe you’ll have to find a used one if thats the route you want to go. I checked Rugers website too and I don’t see it listed anymore.

    • Bruce Gietzen says:

      I bought one of the LAST P95s w stainless barrel and slide. It IS double action unless the hammer is already cocked. Then it IS single action like a 1911 with a very GOOD trigger pull. The safety is also a safe hammer drop. (down) It also in that position disables the trigger. You must put the safety in the UP position to double action the gun. No BS

  19. Jeff says:

    Cary, Great review! I was already looking at the P95 as a first handgun based on price, but your endorsement helped re-affirm my decision – that I was not just settling on a “cheap” pistol but a quality American-made firearm at a bargain price. I just picked one up this past month for $300. Have not had a chance to take it to the range yet, but feels like a great fit for my hand.

    • cary kieffer says:

      Thanks Jeff! I’m glad the review helped you out. I really do think thats the best bargain gun going. Ya did good. Now get out there and enjoy it:) Take care.

      • Rich says:

        Love the the gun! Ez to field strip, and ez to work, just need to get it to the range. I was lookin for a solid gun at a good price and I think I got it. Can’t wait to see how she shoots!

        • Cary Kieffer says:

          Congrats Rich, she’ll probably outlast us both. You can do what you want obviously but I use a streamlight TLR series light on all my pistols and for a fullsize gun like that one I use 124 grain +P Remington Golden Sabres as my defense ammo choice. Although you can’t go wrong with Hornady Critical Defense either. Both are reasonably priced online for defensive use ammo. Just my 2 cents for some stuff you may want to buy for it. Good choice and welcome to TGR. Cary

  20. Brian says:

    Good article. I just picked one up yesterday for $280 used. I am a first time gun owner and I am very happy with my purchase. I have not fired it yet, but I will within the next few days. I have a couple of questions. What ammo do you suggest I get? (Range & Home Defended). Where can I find some accessories?

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Home defense/carry I use Remington 124 grain +P Golden Sabres

      Range I shoot whatever is cheapest by the case..usually federal champion 115 grain or American Eagle red box.

      The only accessory you really need is a light. Look at the Streamlight TRL lights…theres a 1, 2 and a trl-3. Any of them are great. from about 75$ for the 3 to 250ish$ for the TRL-1. Check out or I’ve had good buys for those lights on ebay too. Enjoy it and shoot often.

  21. Lissa Kennedy says:

    I bought a Ruger P95 about 4 years ago. I started with a $500 budget and got the pistol for a little under $300. The rest of the budget went in to a decent holster and ammo. Every time I shoot that gun with friends and family I keep getting comments on how ugly it looks. The comments are not something I worry about cause I keep shooting thru their malfunctions and ammo shortages. The comments tend to stop pretty quick went they figure out that my Ruger P95 will eat any 9mm ammo and keep shooting accurately.
    My Ruger has been battle tested at my home…so far it has survived your standard mud, rain, snow, dirt, dust, drops. It has also managed to survive puking kids, exploding diapers, baby bottle spills, the mysterious unidentifiable substances in a diaper bag, and has still effectually held intruders at bay.
    I wouldn’t recommend people intentional test their firearms with these situations. My Ruger P95 was tested during the everyday carry of a mom of 3 small kids.

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Hi Lissa, thanks for the great comment on my article! Loved it! I’m glad you have chosen to carry and wish more people would. We both know you made a great choice in pistols too. Bang for your buck I dont think the p95 can be beaten. Would you mind telling us what happened with your intruders?? If not thats fine too. Thanks for stopping by and seeing us here. Cary

  22. Pete says:

    I’ve owned my Ruger P95 for nearly a year. My son and I have put over 700 rounds through it at the range without a single jam; we’ve shot Winchester (regular 115 grain and Personal Protection), Remington(also 115 grain and 147 grain), and some Bulgarian ammo from Cabela’s (FMS2000, and at $8 per 50, I should have bought them out!). We have two factory 15 round mags, a 15 round ProMag and one of the fabled 32 round ProMags (which is a thing of beauty in itself, but we no longer take it to the range….too expensive).

    The next time that the local price dips back near $300, we’re going to buy another one.

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