The Loooooong Overdue Ruger LCR Review

Yes, I am a slacker… I admit it. I’ll take my lumps for it. And I am sorry it took so long to get this write up together… You will probably remember that a while back I picked up a Ruger LCR to serve as my new primary concealed carry gun in the summer months. Well, I have been shooting and carrying it ever since, and have finally gotten around to putting together this long overdue writeup.

Ruger LCR

I went out in search of a new dog-days-of-summer EDC mainly because of all the craziness that has been going on with regard to lunatic active shooters and what not. I have always lived a life that was (relatively) crime free and thus a life that is of a relatively low threat level. Lets be honest, the odds of me needing a gun when I “can’t carry a real gun” has always been pretty low, and my Kel-Tec P32 has always been “good enough” as a bad guy repellant on those days when it was too hot for anything but a Speedo. Well, ‘the times they area a changing‘, and now that murderous shooting sprees are a very clear and present danger in our society, I began to find myself feeling inadequately prepared and needing of something with a little more horse power. Enter the Ruger LCR…

I settled on a revolver to serve in this role because they are very easy to carry. This is vital in the deep south during the middle of the hotter-than-hell months. Yes, I give up some capacity from my normal EDC (Glock 26), but in the dead of summer even that is just too much to bear in such a climate. I settled on the Ruger LCR because of a couple of factors…

First and foremost, the trigger. I love the trigger on this gun. Its what everyone raves about with the LCR, and Ruger is more than proud of themselves for what they have come up with in their new friction reducing cam system.

Ruger LCR Cam

I will tell you that it does in fact live up to all the hype. The best thing that I can compare the trigger to is to that of a very well broken in S&W J-Frame trigger. Its smooth, it doesnt stack, and its just something that makes you say “wow“. They did a remarkable job with this innovative new approach to designing a trigger, and its truly something that you just dont expect to get with an out-of-the-box snubbie.

There is one drawback however, and that is the reset on the trigger. With the LCR the reset is a bit longer than with a J-Frame. Its not really a deal breaker, but its certainly something that must, repeat must be practiced with. The concern here being that if you get a little bit too “trigger happy” you can in fact short stroke the trigger on the reset and one of two things will happen… either the trigger will lock up and not fire until you fully reset the trigger, or you will double rotate the cylinder and go right past a live round and on to the next. Either of these outcomes could be a very big deal in a gun fight. So – like I said – its vital to train against this.

Ruger LCR

The second thing that I really love about the Ruger LCR is the fact that you can change out the front sight on the pistol. I personally have a hard time seeing the sights of most snubbies against a dark backdrop. The black on black color scheme of the LCR (and the black sights that are on most revolvers) can be very difficult to acquire in low light or when pointed at dark colored clothing or whatever. With the LCR a simple roll pin in the front sight can be removed and then you can have whatever front sight you wish.

I chose a Hi-Viz front sight for this and I absolutely love it. Its a very simple DIY instillation, and the improvement that it makes to the sight-picture is priceless. I liked it so much, in fact, that I ordered a second one for my other EDC (Glock 26). Its just that darn good.

The final reason I went with a LCR was the carry weight. Weighing in at only 13.5 ounces, its one of the lightest revolvers out there on the marketplace. Thats 1.5 oz less than the J-frame, and 1+ oz less than the S&W Bodyguard. S&W does offer the $1,000+ scandium frame J-frame that weighs in at 11.4 oz, but I’m just not going to pay that.

I have been carrying the revolver appendix style in “the world’s most controversial holster in the world” and its a real joy to carry. It sounds ridiculously clique to say this, but at times you do indeed forget that you are carrying it. I do really like the above linked holster because it sits the gun low enough IWB that the butt of the revolver does not print much, if at all. It disappears nicely even under the most flimsy of t-shirts.

Shooting the Ruger LCR is no walk in the park. Its not an 11.5 oz .357 by any means, but with high octane defensive loads you are not really gonna want to spend all day at the range with it. With standard practice rounds its certainly not bad, and the recoil reducing pad inserted into the Hogue Tamer grips is certainly a help over standard grips:

Hogue Tamer

Hogue Tamer

Hogue’s rubber grips in general make a big difference when it comes to controlling recoil, and they were a very nice choice for the LCR. They fill my average sized hands nicely, and the tamer insert is an added bonus. I cant get my pinky on the grip, but its certainly very secure, and like I said… they conceal and carry nicely.

Ruger LCR grips

The cylinder release is something else that was a deciding factor for me. I personally dont like the S&W push-style of cylinder release as much as I do like the Colt pull-style of release. ‘GASP! How dare you say that!’ Yeah, I know… I am bad little gun blogger… but its just a personal preference brought about from how I run the gun.

I personally tend to rotate the gun inward a bit in my hand when I do reloads, and consequently the S&W style is less natural to my hands. The LCR style pushes straight in, and is more similar to the Colt style of activation. This works for me personally, and I have found that I didn’t need to work to get acclimated to the LCR at all.

Ruger LCR

So there you have it… thats my take on the gun. Its been stone cold reliable for the 250+ rounds that I have put through it so far. It carries great, and its without a doubt a quality piece. As you can imagine… I have been very happy with it all the way around as a carry gun.

  1. Great write up. What are your thoughts on a revolver with an exposed hammer vs the LCR style with no hammer?

    1. Just to be clear, the LCR technically does have a hammer. Its just shrouded and concealed.

      IMHO, you dont need to have the option to cock a hammer on a defensive revolver, and I highly advise against them for concealed carry because the exposed hammer can get caught on clothing very easily during the draw.

  2. I’ve heard that speed loaders won’t work with the LCR because of frame interference. True? False?

    1. Well, I have a post in the works that is gonna talk about all of that, but the short answer is that yes they do work.

      I am using HKS speedloaders and they work just fine. They only seat about 3/4 of the way in, but that doesnt effect functionality at all. They work smoothly and quickly.

      Some people do make high dollar custom speedloaders specifically for the LCR, but the $10 HKS ones work just fine.

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000C1CLL?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=393177&creativeASIN=B0000C1CLL&linkCode=shr&tag=gunmblog-20&qid=1372783509&sr=8-1&keywords=ruger+lcr+hk+speedloaders

  3. I wonder if hand size has any bearing on whether or not the push vs. pull cylinder release is preferred. I prefer the S&W “push” release more than the Colt style the LCR wears.

  4. Well, I did it. I read a few other reviews, but this one is the one that convinced me to make the drive. I think it is because your writing style is so… ordinary?
    No insult. Reading your blog was like sitting down with a friend and discussing the LCR.
    I already own an old nickle-plated Python from the days when they were hand-fitted, and there is no comparison between the trigger pulls and cylinder releases.
    The LCR’s are better. (Don’t hate me!)
    The Python’s trigger is slick and smooth, but it stacks severely.
    And I like a push-button cylinder release better, now that I’ve tried one.
    Three nits to pick, though:
    1) The cylinder release button is too small and too stiff. After a day at the range, my right thumb was the most sore part of my body. 100 rounds of old 125gr federal Hydro-sock, 50 of new Hornady 110 38sp+P, and 200 mixed .38 and .357 handloaded 148gr HBWC. Thumb hurt worse than wrist!
    2) The short ejector rod. If Ruger had made the detent plunger come up from below, above the front frame screw, they could have made the ejector rod 1/2″ longer, which would have made ejecting spent shells more certain.
    3) Pushing the cylinder back into the frame is pretty stiff.

    1 and 2 are noticeably better after my day at the range, I expect that after a few more trips I won’t even notice. But I do wish that Ruger had made the cylinder release a bit larger and more contoured.

    Recoil wasn’t bad, even with the .357. Comfort with the grips was good, for both my large hands and my girlfriend’s small ones. Accuracy was good, and it is just plain fun to shoot.
    Will I give up my 1911, my Hi-Power, or my Firestar? Nope. But for minimal carry, I’ll take the LCR.
    As soon as I get it back from my girlfriend. After our range day, it went to work with her. She’s a LEO, and is borrowing mine until our gunshop gets another one.
    Hey, when Momma’s happy, I’m happy. But I have a feeling that once the rest of our LE community gets to see it, our local gunshop might be getting a few more orders. This is one sweet and thoroughly nasty little piece of hardware!
    My carry holster is coming from Simply Rugged Holsters, and my two speedloaders are coming from 5 Star Firearms at Amazon. They’re the only speedloaders I’ve found so far that seem to work 100% with the LCR. The only mod that I’m going to make will be a tritium front sight.

  5. Very cool.

    *No offense taken by that “ordinary” comment. I am certainly not a trained writer, and I have found that I tend to write very conversationally. Probably comes from all that public speaking and what-not.

  6. Well, I’ve put about a thousand rounds of mixed ammunition through it, even one round of 180gr hunting .357, which was the only round to overpower the Hogue grips. Seriously, I will never fire another of those rounds in my LCR again. The recoil was fierce, as was the muzzle blast.
    The little monster has broken in, to a sweet, smooth, accurate carry weapon. Two caveats:
    1) On aluminum speedloaders: Aluminum and brass are antagonistic, that is, they tend to stick to each other. Nickle plated cartridges slide out of my aluminum 5-Star speedloaders much more freely than brass cartridges. I have found that one or two brass cartridges will tend to be dragged out of the cylinder when I remove the speedloader. This doesn’t happen with the nickle. Your perception may vary.
    Having said that, I like the 5-Star speedloaders because the cartridges line up perfectly with the holes in the cylinder, unlike the HKS. I tried an HKS speedloader in my fast reload practice, and several times, I jammed it so that it wouldn’t release until I’d pulled it out slightly. One time, again on a speed reload, I pulled it out too far and the cartridges fell out onto the ground. Sorry, the HKS are too finicky for me to trust in a high-stress, reduced motor skills, SHTF situation. Plus, the 5-Star are customizable. You can order them anodized in different colors, and with the release set up for either clockwise or counterclockwise rotation. Yes, they cost about twice what the HKS cost but it’s my life that might be at stake.
    2) I…HATE…That…@&#%@…CYLINDER…RELEASE…BUTTON! It is small, stiff, and poorly contoured, and it does not improve with time or familiarity. For a gun that will greatly appeal to the older, weaker, arthritis-prone shooter like me, this is a serious problem.

  7. I just purchased this firearm a couple of weeks ago. It’s my first gun purchase. I’ve applied for my concealed carry permit and I bought a concealed carry purse. My question is this… as a first time carrier and gun owner, I’m concerned about the safety of carrying it without a lock in place. Yes, I know that kind of defeats the purpose, but until I am comfortable I’d like to have some sort of safety, but not something that is as difficult as having to unscrew the bottom of the gun, use a key, then put the screw back in. Any suggestions?

    1. I will do my best to reassure you that the gun is very, very safe, but dont just take my word for it… ask around, do more research and search out all the opinions on the matter that you can.

      The design of double action revolvers (like this one) is such that because it does not have a manual safety, it has a very long and heavy trigger pull… I.E. its not a “hair trigger” that is going to just go off with the slightest little touch. You have to actually pull the trigger, and it has to be pulled a very long distance before it will go bang. Also because of the heavy weight of the trigger (the measured amount of force that it takes to move the trigger) its not something that is going to occur without a very deliberate and forceful pull of the trigger.

      Does that make any sense? Honestly, thats why they dont design revolvers with a manual safety… because they are so inherently safe and such a safety would be a redundant and cumbersome. They are still guns, and they are still very deadly… but they are pretty much reduced down to operator error and failure to follow all the rules of gun safety being the primary source of accidents.

      In addition to that, the LCR also has a “disconnect” built into it that keeps the gun from firing even if it is dropped.

      I will also add that what you are feeling and what you will feel as a first time concealed carrier is perfectly normal. The first several times (maybe even a dozen times) that you actually carry your gun out in public will be rather uncomfortable for you. Its going to feel very odd, you are going to be wondering if people know what you are carrying, and you will feel kinda like you are doing something illegal. This is all perfectly normal, and its something we all go through the first time we start off carrying. As you carry more often you will most certainly be more confident and the awkward anxiety of it will fade. Purse carry will also help assuage some of this because you will probably not be worried about if your gun is “printing” or not like you would be if you were just carrying the gun holstered in your waistband.

      The other suggestion I would give to you is that if you are still uncomfortable about the safety of carrying a gun in your purse or on your body, some people start off by carrying the gun unloaded their first several times out until they become more at easy with it. You might want to give that a try.

      If you are really dead-set on having the gun locked and secured while you carry it with you then you might want to give the Gunvault microvault a look:

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000TG9RCC?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=393185&creativeASIN=B000TG9RCC&linkCode=shr&tag=gunmblog-20&qid=1382539619&sr=8-1&keywords=gunvault

      It should be small enough to fit inside your purse, and its push button combination lock would be quicker and more reliable than a keyed gun lock. It might also be of use to you if you have kids, travel, or are in an office environment where you may need to leave the gun/purse unattended at times. I use similar (but larger) pistol safes to keep our kids’ hands off of my defense guns at home and when we travel, and I highly recommend something similar if you have kids of your own.

      If I can be of any more help to you just let me know in the comments section or drop me an email.

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