The Ruger Security Six and its variants, the Service Six and Speed Six are a product line of double action revolvers introduced in 1971 and manufactured by Sturm, Ruger & Company. These revolvers were marketed to law enforcement duty issue, military, and civilian self-defensive markets.
The introduction of the Security Six and its variants marked Sturm Ruger’s first attempt to enter the double action revolver market. The corporation's earlier designs had been Colt Peacemaker style single action revolvers. Ruger used investment casting for most parts in an effort to hold down production costs. As with all Ruger firearms, the Security Six revolvers were robustly designed with large, heavy-duty parts for durability and to allow for investment casting. The "six series" line enjoyed sales success because of their basic features, solid construction, and competitive pricing.
Various models were issued by US government agencies as diverse as the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Postal Service, Border Patrol, and numerous police agencies. The Security Six and its derivatives also became the standard issue service weapons of a large number of police departments, in addition many were exported overseas. While Ruger’s Security Six line has been out of production since 1988, a total of over 1.5 million pistols were produced and they remain well-liked and respected, as well as highly sought after in the second-hand market.
The Ruger GP-100 replaced the Security Six in the Ruger product line.
The Security Six and its variants were more or less identical in basic design, with the differences between the various models being expressed by the exact options and features available. Medium-framed in size, these revolvers were initially manufactured in a blued carbon steel finish; in 1975 stainless steel versions of all models were added to the lineup. Featuring six round cylinders, the Security Six series represented one of the first modern revolver designs to feature the safer transfer-bar based lockwork, and was chambered for a variety of centerfire ammunition cartridges including .38 Special and .357 Magnum, as well as .38 S&W and 9x19mm Parabellum (9mm Luger). All Security Six series revolvers came with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) supplied wooden grips.
Introduced in 1972, the Security Six was the original model of the new series. The majority of these guns were manufactured with adjustable open iron sights but a few were sold with fixed sights. Security Sixes could be ordered with either service or target shooting style square butt grips, and most were chambered for the .357 Magnum cartridge which also allowed for the firing of the .357's predecessor, the shorter .38 Special. However, a number of dedicated .38 Special models were also built during early production. Barrel lengths available on the Security Six included 2.75, 4, and 6 inches.
Brought out shortly after the Security Six, the Service Six model, or alternatively the “Police Service Six” was an attempt to capitalize on the lucrative law enforcement service revolver market. The Service Six was a basic fixed sight model, and like the Security Six mostly manufactured in .357 Magnum, however some police departments specified .38 Special-only and 9mm Luger chamberings. 9mm models boasted a cleverly designed patented sprung cylinder ring which engaged the grooves of the rimless 9mm semi automatic cases. Barrel length options for the Service Six included 2, 2.75, 3, and 4 inches.
The Speed Six revolvers mainly differed from the Service Sixes in that they were equipped with compact round-butt grip frames. The standard barrel lengths available for these models were the same as those for the Service Six. An attribute unique to the Speed Six model is that it was offered in .38 S&W chambering (in England known as the .380 British) and exported to British Commonwealth countries such as India.
There also was fourth model in this line-up, the GS32-N, which was initially offered for government buyers; it was basically a slightly modified Speed Six revolver.