Ruger’s Game-Changing Line of LCR Pocket Revolvers

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

October 14th, 2012

Click pictures for a larger version.

 

 

Ruger LCRs: 38 Special (top), 22 LR (bottom).

 

 

All Ruger LCR revolvers are available with Hogue Tamer synthetic rubber or Crimson Trace lasergrips.

 

 

It has been almost four years since I was introduced to Ruger’s then-new polymer-framed LCR revolver at the New Hampshire factory. When I first heard of the compact polymer revolver, I wasn’t too keen on the idea, thinking that it was a traditional-styled revolver, using polymer instead of steel for the frame. However, the design is like nothing that preceded it, using a combination of aluminum, steel, and polymer, along with a trigger mechanism that is unlike any other. The LCR has a concealed hammer, along with a trigger geometry that results in a butter-smooth double-action trigger pull. The unique features of the LCR are highlighted in my earlier reviews of these guns, so here we will concentrate upon the usefulness and advantages of carrying a revolver, and also upon the advantages of having a 22 Long Rifle version as both a trail gun and as an understudy to your center fire defensive revolver.

There was a time when most who carried a pocket gun chose a revolver over a semi-auto. Today, the semi-auto has gained in popularity, due to their light weight, improved reliability, small size, and lower cost. Still, the revolver is an excellent choice for concealed carry, whether in the pocket or in a holster. A lightweight, compact revolver such as the LCR carries very well. The hammer is concealed, offering a snag-proof draw, and the enclosed action also keeps debris from entering the innards of the weapon. A revolver also has the unique advantage of being capable of being fired from within a jacket pocket, if necessary. Doing so with a semi-auto will result in a malfunction, but the LCR and other enclosed-hammer revolvers can do so without a problem. Another great advantage of a revolver is that the manual of arms is much simpler and easy to understand, even for a beginner. Many gun trainers and professionals forget that most folks who carry a firearm for protection are not really “gun people”. They do not eat, sleep, and breathe guns as some of us do. To these folks, the gun is merely a tool. They want one around to protect themselves and their families, they want it to work when needed, but they do not obsess with its design nor its function. They simply want the weapon to fire when needed, without a lot of complication. For those who desire these attributes in a firearm, the revolver is as simple as it gets, from a user’s perspective. The revolver is easy to load, easy to unload, and easy to determine whether or not it is loaded, after only minimal instruction.

A double-action, concealed-hammer revolver such as the LCR is also as simple to fire as any gun can be. The only operation necessary is to simply pull the trigger. Doing so repeatedly will continue to fire the weapon until it is empty. The weapon is also easy to load, and to unload. If a cartridge fails to fire, for whatever reason, pulling the trigger again will fire the next cartridge in the cylinder, with no need to manipulate the weapon in any other manner.

The Ruger LCR is currently available in three chambering, with advantages unique to each. The first offered was the 38 Special Plus P version, which I suspect is also the most popular thus far. The 38 Special, loaded with five high-performance hollow points, will easily handle most unpleasant social conflicts, according to FBI gunfight statistics. If more power is needed, the LCR is also offered in a 357 Magnum version, which will also fire 38 Special ammunition, and it makes a great 38 Special for those who want a little more weight in their handgun, as the 38 version is pretty light weight, weighing in at about 13 ounces, depending upon the exact variation chosen. The 357 Magnum LCR weighs about four ounces more, which helps to tame the felt recoil a bit. One of my favorites of the LCR revolvers is the 22 Long Rifle version. While the center fire LCR revolvers carry five cartridges in the cylinder, the 22 rimfire has a capacity of eight. I have often recommended the 22 LCR to those who, for whatever reason, cannot handle the recoil of the larger calibers. While a 22 would not be my first choice going into a fight, I certainly would not feel unarmed. The little cartridge has much more power than most “experts” will admit, and it is easy to put those bullets on target quickly, due to the light recoil and smooth action of the LCR. Loaded with forty grain hollow point ammunition such as CCI Velocitor, the 22 LCR is an effective deterrent to an attack. While there are other 22 revolvers on the market, it is hard to find one with a trigger pull as light and smooth as is found on the LCR. The LCR trigger pull, grip shape, weight, feel, and accuracy of the 22 LCR closely mimics the 38 and 357 LCR revolvers, which brings us to another important use of the 22 version, as an understudy for the center fire weapons.

While many who choose to go heeled carry a compact 38 or 357 revolver, they seldom practice enough with that weapon to become proficient in its use. The 22 LCR is to the 38 LCR what a 22 Long Rifle AR-15 is to a center fire AR-15. Cost of ammunition, recoil, and muzzle blast sometimes keeps owners of compact revolvers from practicing as much as they should. A compact, short-barreled handgun is harder to shoot accurately for most of us, compared to a larger handgun, but when trouble finds us, we are much more likely to have the pocket gun with us than something larger. If you carry a compact handgun for defense, practice is a must, and a 22 version of your carry gun is an ideal way to get in many hours of fun, economical practice. I carry Buffalo Bore Lead Free in my 38 LCR, as I want the absolute best ammo available for defense, but it costs about a dollar and seventy-five cents per pop. The cost is well worth it for how it performs, but I would not want to shoot huge quantities for practice. Good practice ammo for the 38 Special costs about 30 cents per round, which is some cheaper, but still not inexpensive. Good 22 Long Rifle ammo costs only 4 cents per round. I can shoot all day long with the 22 LCR for about the same cost as a twenty-round box of good hollow point defensive ammo for the 38 Special. You can get some benefit from dry-firing a center fire revolver, but to learn good trigger control, you need to be shooting on target. The 22 allows for easy-shooting practice with minimal recoil and muzzle blast. I also like that Ruger offers the 22 LCR with Crimson Trace Lasergrips, just as they do for the center fire LCR revolvers, so no matter which grip or sighing system you have on your defensive handgun, the practice handgun will have the exact same grip feel, greatly enhancing the usefulness of the practice session. Some people balk at the idea of paying the same amount of money for a rimfire revolver as for a center fire, but when the quality and workmanship is the same, one costs just as much to manufacture as does the other. However, the cost savings add up quickly if you do the amount of practice that you should be doing with your defensive handgun. The cost savings on ammo will quickly pay for the purchase of the 22 LCR, and you then have two revolvers instead of one, and you will also be much more proficient in their use. The 22 LCR can also serve double duty not only as an understudy to the 38, but is also an effective and reliable trail pistol for use in the woods, or as a trainer for new shooters, to get them accustomed to firing a revolver without the distractions of recoil and muzzle blast. The 22 LCR can also use the same holster as your center fire LCR.

For details, velocities, and accuracy specifications on these LCR revolvers, I refer you to my previous reviews. The Ruger LCR revolvers are reliable, accurate, compact, light weight, built right, and built in the USA.

For more information on the extensive line of Ruger firearms and accessories, go to www.ruger.com.

For the location of a Ruger dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.

To order a Ruger firearm online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.

To order quality ammunition online, go to www.buffalobore.com, www.doubletapammo.com, www.theamericanmarksman.com, and www.luckygunner.com.

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.

 

 

LCR 38 Special.

 

 

LCR 22 Long Rifle.

 

 

A 525-round box of 22 LR costs about the same as a 20-round box of premium hollowpoint 38 Special ammunition.

 

 

525 rounds of 22 LR, 50 rounds of target 38, and 12 rounds of the best hollowpoints each cost about the same.