Pocket Packin’ Pistols | Ruger LCp .380 ACP & LCR .38 SPL +P Review

We test the game changing Ruger LCp .380 acp and RUGER LCr .38 spl +p handguns.

Ruger has a long history of crafting excellent guns for the hunting field and target range as well as capable duty sidearms. Now, the company that sells more guns than any other American company has gone after the heart of the market with the LCP.

The elephant in the room for anyone first seeing the LCP is that it looks familiar, strongly resembling the Kel-Tec P-3AT. The similarity is undeniable and Ruger could scarcely have chosen a better pistol to emulate. The LCP, like the P-3AT, is extremely small, lightweight and handy. It is also shootable and comparatively effective, relative to similarly sized guns.

LCP Details
_dsc6764The LCP has a viewing port at the rear of the ejection port, allowing the user to see the chambered cartridge.

Many have proclaimed the .380 ACP cartridge to be the absolute minimum for self-defense carry. The LCP offers .380 ACP power in a package as small and light (and usually lighter) than that of popular .22 LR and .25 ACP caliber mouse guns. With a pocket holster, there are few circumstances in which this pistol cannot be carried discreetly.

The gun itself is a tilting barrel, locked breech design using nested recoil springs on a steel guide rod. That is a fair degree of sophistication at a price point more often associated with straight blowback guns. The pistol’s light weight (9.42 ounces) is achieved with a glass-filled nylon frame topped by a hardened steel slide. More than 20 years since the advent of the Glock, a polymer frame scarcely raises an eyebrow anymore—more often sought after as a highly desirable feature in a carry pistol.

For such a small gun, the LCP’s ergonomics are excellent. It is comfortable and easy to manipulate, even for those with large hands. Additional praiseworthy features include the trigger, loaded chamber indicator and slide hold-open lever. The trigger is unusually good for a DAO (double-action only) pistol. Ours measured 6 pounds, 13 ounces and was smooth, though a little stagy in slow fire. Of course, slow fire is not what this little gun was created for.

A viewing port allows the operator to see the case of a chambered cartridge, confirming the gun is ready to rock. That may seem like a small thing, but not having to retract the slide to check the chamber becomes a big thing to those who carry daily. An advantage the Ruger has over similar designs is a manual slide hold-open device. While the slide does not lock back upon the last shot out of the six round magazine, it can be locked back manually. Although that’s of no tactical advantage, it sure eases matters when making the weapon safe or cleaning it.

If there is a significant flaw to the LCP, it is the sights. Practically speaking, sights may be a non-issue for most people with this gun. For those who really have concerns, Ruger offers a Crimson Trace laser-equipped version with the module mounted to the triggerguard. It’s heavier and more expensive than the standard version, but worth it for those looking to maximize practical accuracy.

Range Time
The gun feels good though insubstantial in the hand. Despite the sights, it can be brought onto target quickly at close range. The grip frame allows space for only the thumb and first three fingers. Nonetheless, the gun is easily manageable with all but the hottest .380 ACP ammo. One of the reasons that this caliber is experiencing a Renaissance of sorts is the efficacy of the new high-tech bullets available now in all calibers. The LCP is designed for standard pressure rounds and handles such with aplomb. Nonetheless, the little gun perked along without incident regardless of what was loaded in it during testing. Accuracy at close range was very satisfactory. This is a gun for conversational distance, which just happens to be the distance of most gunfights.

Final Notes
_dsc6768The sculpted grip of the LCP offers surprisingly good ergonomics for such a small pistol.

Where the gun shines is while doing what a carry gun does most – being carried. Worn with a pocket holster inside a front pants pocket, the gun is hardly noticeable, even under lightweight fabrics. It doesn’t snag clothing, swing into you while you stride along or bulge suspiciously. It’s easy to forget you are carrying it, but reassuring when you remember that you are. With it’s snag-free profile, simple manual of arms and excellent reliability, the LCP can be brought into action very quickly. And, more importantly, with its size and lightweight it can always be there with you when you need it.

Click page two for LCr writeup.

Load Comments
  • Bill

    Why carry a Kahr 45cw when you can throw a 44 magnum in a shoulder holster, which works great?

  • Nate

    Because that Kahr is much bigger, has a horrible grip, is almost twice the price and is stainless therefore seen much easier. If ya need the larger caliber I suggest working on accuracy.
    The LCP is a great gun for its purposes, especially with a Ghost (wallet) Holster.

  • Ron

    Why put a punny 380 in your pocket when the Kahr 45cw with a pocket holster works great