New Ruger LCR | Lightweight Compact Revolver

Unveiled at the 2009 SHOT show, the Ruger LCR offers a lightweight, revolutionary revolver design.

The Ruger Lightweight Compact Revolver (LCR) (click here to watch the video) was unveiled to the public at the 2009 SHOT Show in Orlando and is a revolutionary revolver design. How so? The 13.5 ounce, small frame, 5-shot LCR has just three main components: a “techno” polymer fire control housing, an aircraft-quality aluminum monolithic frame, and an extensively fluted stainless steel cylinder. The LCR’s lightweight polymer fire control housing is resistant to harsh chemicals and contains the entire fire control mechanism. Because the fire control components are located within this single housing, their dimensional relationship can be held much more closely than if divided between traditional grip frames and cylinder frames. The end result is that the fire control components are assembled with absolutely no hand fitting. The result is a consistent product at a cost savings to the consumer.

ruger1-small.gifTactical-Life had the unique opportunity to visit Ruger last month to closely examine LCR and other new Ruger products (after signing non-disclosure agreements that contained the release until January 14th. The range tests proved the ability of this slim carry’s durability using +P loads from Corbon and Remington as well as accuracy. At 7 yards, the LCR easily produced groups hovering 1 inch using the Hogue recoil taming grips. Switching the grips to the Crimson Trace Laser Grips specifically designed for the LCR, accuracy improved with a best group measuring 0.98 inch.

ruger2-small.gifPulling the double action trigger is a different experience for shooters of small-framed revolvers because friction of the engagement surfaces have been dramatically reduced. The unique geometry of internal parts allows the trigger to smoothly draw with a resistance that TL estimates at 6-7 lbs. This friction-reducing cam fire control system results in a non-stacking, smooth trigger pull. The LCR’s trigger pull force builds more gradually, and peaks later in the trigger stroke, resulting in a trigger pull that feels much lighter than it actually is, while still providing positive ignition of all primers. Seriously, it’s something that may take some “getting used to.” Most will find the draw of the trigger an improvment for revolvers in this class.

ruger3-small.gifThe fire control housing’s grip peg allows for a variety of grips to be installed, and the LCR’s standard Hogue “Tamer” grip with Sorbothane insert reduces perceived recoil. A joint effort with Hogue, the LCR’s standard grip was designed using US military anthropomorphic data on hand shape, so the LCR can be comfortably held by a broad spectrum of hand sizes. An available Crimson Trace Laser Grip offers the advantages of a laser sighting system.The LCR’s monolithic frame is an aerospace grade, 7000 series aluminum forging treated with a black synergistic hard coat that is applied after machining. Successfully tested with over 30 different aggressive chemicals, this synergistic hard coat exceeds mil-spec salt spray tests, and offers performance considerably greater than hard coat anodizing.

ruger4-small.gifThe monolithic frame provides sturdy, rigid support for the cylinder and the barrel. The 1-7/8” long barrel, with a 1:16 twist, is made of 17-4 PH aerospace grade stainless steel, chosen for its strength and dimensional stability during machining and heat treatment.

The extensively fluted 400-series stainless steel cylinder is lightweight and compact, measuring only 1.28-in. diameter in the chamber area. Treated to an advanced form of Ruger’s target grey finish, this stainless steel cylinder is strong, durable and designed to handle .38 Special +P loads.

The Ruger LCR’s patent pending cylinder front latching system uses titanium components, optimized spring tension, and enhanced lockup geometry to ensure that the LCR’s cylinder stays locked in place during firing.The sights are replaceable ramp front, and a fixed U-notch rear. An internal lock, unobtrusively hidden under the grip, does not interfere with the fire control mechanism in any way when disengaged. The Ruger LCR is a welcome companion to last year’s introduction of the LCP semi-auto pistol. Expect to see much “rave and review” of this innovative defender.

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Load Comments
  • Ed Hutchinson

    I just got mine. Good price 399.00 with laser it went to 599.00. I did not realize it was a good deal at 599.00 till I priced the laser grip.
    Shot 50 plus rounds yesterday and my wife and I love it. Its one gun you buy and hope you done HAVE TO use. The LCR was reasonable accurate for out of the box. At about 15 yards we were around and in the target. Not bad for a stubby.
    It does have a punch but I shot one before purchasing and liked the trigger pull and the grip feel over the Smith light.

  • rjf415

    The American Rifleman reviewed a sample of the LCR that went through a 10,000 rounds of +P (9/2009). I like this gun so much that I traded my 11 year old S&W 638 for this pocket rocket. I like the sights, the mix of high-tech plastic, stainless, and alloy. I like the grips and the trigger pull (way better than the “smith”). And if you compare the LCR with an air-weight “Smith” you’ll see that it’s over-built in so many areas , but weighs 1 1/2 ozs. lighter.

  • rjf415

    The American Rifleman reviewed a sample of the LCR that went through a 10,000 rounds of +P (9/2009). I like the gun so much that I traded my 11 year old S&W 638 for this pocket rocket. I like the sights, the mix of high-tech plastic, stainless, and alloy. I like the grips and the trigger pull (way better than the “smith”). And if you compare the LCR with an air-weight “Smith” you’ll see that it’s over-built in so mant areas , but weighs 1 1/2 ozs. lighter.

  • A great little revolver with a great trigger and iron sights which are much better than S&W J Frame sights. But, make no mistake about it, the recoil with the Crimson Trace grips ranges from unpleasant to punishing. Unpleasant is a few rds. downrange, punishing is a continuation. I recently taught an eight hr. strictly snubbie self defense class. Having trained for the class I knew what to expect. There are no free lunches in physics. Fortunately, in the majority of self defense shootings, we’ll probably run out of time before we run out of bullets. When practicing with the LCR make your shots count and avoid getting badly beat up!

  • John S

    Just got one of these. I couldn’t believe the difference between the S&W and this gun. It might not be quite as pretty but it sure feels nice!

  • Ken

    I really, really like this revolver. Shot side by side with my Taurus 856 with +P’s the noticed recoil was not noticeably different. Not bad for the weight difference, the LCR being about half that of the Taurus. I haven’t shot any .38 special, but I imagine they will be even easier on the hand. The trigger on this gun is so even and smooth. There is not stacking, and the gun is rated at a 10 pound pull, but it feels much less. The weight, accuracy and trigger pull make this revolver a pleasure to both shoot and carry. It is my primary CCW.

  • Bill

    I wouldn’t worry about the frame breaking, Ruger thought this one out when they designed, constructed, and tested it. I’m sure it will be a winner. The things I worry about is if it or any Ruger firearm I have needs service. I might have to send it up to the NH plant. Based on past experience with my Bearcat (three times in for a timing problem) I can’t say they care about servicing a quality firearm. Nor does Ruger HQ answer complaint letters. I have added over $225.00 in overnight shipping to the price of the pistol. It now works but, it sits in my safe for fear that if I shoot it a lot it will break again.

  • Maurice Clemens

    Tigers LCR looks great to me. I work in a large gun store and sell lots of J frame Smiths because they are one of the most simple and reliable cary guns around. For the people that are afraid of an aluminum frame, just look at Smith and Wesson 642s. I haven’t had a single one ever come back for reliablity problems.

    I think that Ruger has hit a home run with this cary gun. I can’t wait to get my hands on one. This little beauty should steal quite a lot of S&Ws business as long as it’s priced right.

  • george

    “”From my experience with aluminum is that it doesn’t crack “it breaks”. “”

    I would suppose that’s really dependent on the alloy and grain structure. My bike frame broke where the down tube meets the bottom bracket. It cracked, and the crack grew over the course of a couple of weeks. It never did fail entirely but my last ride I avoided getting out of the saddle.

    My concern with the LCR is the junction between the polymer grip and the aluminum frame. I’d hate to have a loaded revolver pop loose under recoil.

  • I have never been a fan of revolvers but I really like the looks of this one. I may have to check one of those out.

  • Eric R. Poole

    In testing the LCR last month, I didn’t find that the recoil was much different than others in the same class, even with +P loads. I shot lots and lots of ammo and did eventually feel like I was subjecting my hand to flogging… but that was after shooting nearly 50 rounds, one right after the other and changing grips between the Hogue Tamer and the Crimson Trace model. Shooting the LCR with the Hogue Tamer was SIGNIFICANTLY more comfortable but I couldn’t manage the impressive accuracy results that I obtained when shooting the LCR with the Crimson Trace laser. The laser grips were a little more punishing but it was simple to obtain 1-inch 5-shot groups while standing at 7 yards. In my experience, that’s not too shabby for a slim carry gun packing +P .38s.

    Thanks for your comment and checking out!


    Eric R. Poole
    Harris Tactical Group

  • This looks to be a sweet revolver. I wonder what the life expectancy is going to be with an aluminum frame. The way the frame ties in with the barrel makes me wonder if that will be a weak point. From my experience with aluminum is that it doesn’t crack “it breaks”.

    I have a video of The New Ruger LCR on my blog. I am sure more videos and test will come out soon. I don’t think I have the wrist to last a Torture Test.