Let me admit my bias up front: I’m a Smith & Wesson kind of guy. I’ve owned and carried many of their handguns both on and off-duty. The first handgun I ever bought was a model 10 heavy barrel that rode in a Safariland holster for more than two years before my department moved to the Glock 17.
It doesn’t mean that I don’t carry or appreciate other firearms. If you see me out and about, I’ve likely got a Glock 19 on my hip. If I am on the job, you will see a SIG SAUER P226 in the holster. But I always have a hammerless Smith on my person. Always.
When the Ruger LCR was introduced in 2009, I was intrigued. Here was a revolver being introduced at a time when the semi-auto pistol is king. Plus, going head-to-head with Smith & Wesson in the pocket revolver market was a bold move.
But, several years later, the LCR has carved out a significant niche in the market, and Ruger continues to introduce new models of the handgun to meet consumer demand. Having shot several LCR revolvers, I understand why this little gun is thriving in the current market.
The LCR, or “Lightweight Compact Revolver,” is a hammerless, snub-nose handgun. The initial LCR was available only in .38 Special (+P rated), but newer models are available in both .22 LR and .357 Magnum.
The LCR blends elements of the traditional small-framed revolver with the advancements of modern polymer guns. The Ruger LCR has a steel cylinder and barrel, an aluminum frame, and a polymer handle. The unloaded weight on the standard LCR is less than 14 ounces.
The cylinder has recesses so significant that fluting would appear to be a monumental understatement. When every ounce counts, shaving every bit of steel off the cylinder can help lighten the load. It definitely gives the LCR a distinctive look.
The polymer section holds all of the fire control components. When introduced, the polymer handle on a revolver was a novel idea. However, in the past several years, both Smith & Wesson and Taurus have introduced polymer-handled revolvers.
The front sight is relatively large for such a small handgun, and is easy to pick up in the wide rear notch.The serrated front ramp is pinned offering an easy swap to another sight if so desired. In fact, an XS Sights “Standard Dot” tritium sight is a factory option on the LCR.
• Calibers: .38 Special (+P), .357 Magnum, .22 LR
• Capacity: 5 rounds (.38 Special, .357 Magnum), 8 rounds (.22 LR)
• Weight: 13.0 − 17.1 ounces depending on caliber and options
• Options: Crimson Trace Lasergrips, XS Sights Standard Dot front sight
• MSRP: $525 – $869
The balance of the gun is very nice. The weight is shifted forward, toward the muzzle, which appears to help with recoil. Shooting standard pressure .38 Hornady 125gr JHPs, the gun’s recoil was very mild. Speer Gold Dot 135 grain +P rounds are snappier.However, both loads were easier on the hand than similar loads shot in my 642.
Very lightweight 125 grain LRN and 148 grain WC were easy to shoot and accuracy was reasonable. I did not notice any bullet tumble as I have seen in some other short barrel revolvers with light loads.
The trigger is very smooth with no perceptible staging, and presses straight back. Compared to Ruger’s SP101, the LCR’s trigger feels like a slick, custom job.
The LCRs I have shot have a much smoother trigger than what is on my stock Smith and Wesson 642. Ruger has a patented friction-reducing cam in the fire control system that is largely responsible for the very smooth pull. I’ve had the chance to shoot several LCR revolvers, and each of them have an excellent trigger.
The only complaint I had with the trigger is my tendency to short stroke it. If you ride the trigger out, feeling for a reset, you will likely short stroke this gun. You must allow the trigger to fully reset before pressing again.
This is not likely a problem for most people, and it is a minor training issue for me. Blame my years of shooting heavy-spring S&W revolvers, I suppose.
The bottom line is I am impressed. Ruger is making a very nice, very concealable revolver in a variety of calibers. Some people may not like the modern look of the gun, but I was not put off by it. In person it is a neat little gun, and I expect it will continue to sell very well.
I do not hesitate to recommend the LCR to anyone in the market for a compact revolver. It is easy shooting, affordable and dependable. As a back up gun or concealed carry piece, it will fit the bill nicely.