Revolvers are often times not at the top of someone’s list for a CCW (Concealed Carry Weapon). In the early 2000s, CCW gun manufacturers started making .380s, then 9mms, and later, .40 and .45s. The revolver, the sidearm for police for over a century, got no love. That is until the Ruger LCR (Lightweight Compact Revolver) was released in 2009.
The LCR was groundbreaking in its design. The frame incorporates aluminum for (.22 LR .22 Magnum, & .38 Special) and 400 series stainless steel (.357 Mag., 9mm, & .327 Federal), as well as polymer for the fire control housing. The cylinder is stainless steel and fluted to reduce the guns’ overall weight. I understand the materials were used lighten the gun, but I wondered whether doing so sacrificed the overall reliability and quality.
I chose the 5-shot LCR in .357 Mag. to purchase and put through its paces. The main reason for this is that a revolver in .357 will also shoot .38 Special (and .38 Special +P). .357 Mag. is also a beastly round. Not only can it stop the threat of a person attacking you, it also can serve as a great backup in the wild.
One of my best friends lives in Montana and carries his .357 LCR when he and his family go hiking. A .357 will easily handle a Cougar or even the vast majority of North American bears. However, the .38 Special is more controllable, but less powerful than its big brother (the .357). The .38 Special also makes a more cost-effective training round.
Over the past three weeks, I’ve shot 300+ rounds of .357 Mag., .38 Special, and .38 Special + P without any malfunctions. Since a revolver’s cylinder is its chamber, you’ll never have a failure to feed. The LCR doesn’t have an external hammer, which is one less moving part to get in the way (or snag when pulling it out of your holster). Although the LCR is double-action only, it really behaves more like a two-stage trigger when you fire it. When you pull the trigger, the cylinder rolls into battery. After pulling the trigger three-quarters of the way, you’ll feel the cylinder lock into place. Then, you only have that last one-quarter pull to fire the gun.
The last one-quarter pull is very smooth and feels just like a trigger pull in the single-action stage. This allows you to avoid the jerk you get with some double-action revolvers after the trigger has been pulled. The Hogue Tamer Monogrip also does a great job of taking the sting out of a .357.
The only real issue I had was that right out of the box; the cylinder release button stuck a little. After a few shots, this loosened up. I find this is often the case with any gun that’s not a custom-shop offering that has hand fitted/polished components. Most gun manufacturers don’t make every part in their guns. Many times they source parts from multiple suppliers. When they combine all these components into a gun, the natural process of firing the gun will allow these parts to work in unison. It’s truly like a marriage, the more you rub on each other, the better you’ll work together (my marriage tip for the day).
Overall, I was very impressed with Ruger’s LCR. You are limited to five shots vs. the six to seven you get in most semi-auto CCWs, but you get the power of a .357. I’m not aware of any semi-auto CCW out there that can offer this. The LCR’s light weight makes it a nice gun to carry in your pocket, or in a holster. The LCR would make a great primary CCW, but definitely should have a place as your backup CCW. During cooler days, I’ve found it comfortable to wear in an ankle-holster. There’s a reason Ruger has been around for almost 70 years, they make quality.
Do you carry a revolver as a primary or backup? Is it a Ruger LCR? Share your answers in the comment section.
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I’ve been to the Ruger factory and they make everything in-house. They also test fire each gun with a “proof” load.
Kind of a lame review of the LCR. How does it handle the recoil of the .357, with such a short barrel? Is it easily controlled with the small looking two finger grips? Accuracy? Sight acquisition? Trigger pull, would a 100# woman be able to operate it? What brand and bullet weight of ammo was used? Was one brand and weight more accurate than another? This review was like a kid saying chocolate ice cream is good…
If it wasn’t for Gemini Customs I would have sent my SP101 Clapp edition back. When I picked it up it had a horrible trigger. There QC like most people is hit or miss.
Ross Asher says
I have one and I like it. However, as expected, the recoil with .357’s is a bear! I kind of like big, heavy rounds and I’m not overly sensitive to recoil. But this one really hurts your hand after a few full house rounds. Still a nice gun.
john blanchard says
mine xmas day 2018
This is the backup to my Glock 19. I carry it cross draw as it is the easiest draw in the car. 158 grain ammo hurts but 125 is smoother and more manageable. Love it.
Richard Rocco says
Thinking about getting one