Ruger LCR

By Dave Spaulding - Last updated: Thursday, January 31, 2013 - Save & Share - 8 Comments

Handgun review photo: Right-side thumbnail of LCR.

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Summary: Dave Spaulding’s review of and rating for Ruger’s LCR revolvers, including pros & cons, a range report, specs, photo, pricing, user ratings and user comments. Plus info on the new .22 WMR model. (Click here to see all of Spaulding’s handgun reviews.)

Editor’s Handgun Review

The snub-nosed revolver is alive and well. Many street-savvy police officers understand the importance of carrying a backup gun for those times when their primary weapon fails. Many fine compact pistols exist, but the snub revolver is less susceptible to fouling from dirt, dust, pocket lint or a naturally occurring substance than the finely tuned semiauto.

Pros & Cons
Pros Strong, stable barrel
Lightweight polymer trigger
Frame provides reduction in felt recoil
Cons Slight glitch midway through trigger stroke

Because the snubby is enjoying increased popularity, it isn’t surprising that Ruger has introduced a space-age, high-tech snubby hybrid: the LCR (Lightweight Compact Revolver). This 13.5 oz., small frame, five-shot, .38 Special revolver represents one of the most significant revolver design evolutions in a hundred years.

The LCR’s frame is an aerospace grade, 7000-series aluminum forging treated with a black synergistic hard coat that’s applied once it’s machined. It was tested with more than 30 different chemicals and exceeded mil-spec salt spray tests while offering performance greater than hard-coat anodizing. This monolithic frame provides sturdy support for the cylinder and barrel. The 2″ barrel has a 1:16 twist and is made of 17-4 PH aerospace grade stainless steel.

Now in More Calibers
When this article first appeared, the LCR was available only in .38 Special +P. It’s now also available chambered in .357 Magnum, .22 WMR and .22 LR.

The LCR’s lightweight, polymer trigger housing contains the entire fire control assembly, which offers a higher level of functional reliability. The trigger assembly is put together with no hand-fitting, resulting in a highly consistent product at an affordable price. This also makes in-agency repair easier.

The fiberglass-filled polymer frame provides a reduction in felt recoil. The frame’s grip peg allows for a variety of grips to be installed, and the LCR’s standard Hogue Tamer grip with a Sorbothane insert reduces perceived recoil even further. It’s small enough to hide in a coat pocket or an ankle holster but offers a full-hand grip for fast-action shooting. The result of a joint effort with Hogue, the LCR’s standard grip was designed using U.S. military ergonomic data on hand shape and size, so the LCR can be comfortably held by a wide range of hand sizes. An available Crimson Trace LaserGrip offers the advantages of a laser sighting system.

The aggressively fluted 400-series stainless-steel cylinder is lightweight and compact, measuring 1.283 inches in diameter at the chamber area. Treated with an advanced form of Ruger’s Target Grey finish, this stainless steel cylinder is strong, durable and designed to handle  full-power .38 Special +P loads. The Ruger LCR’s patent-pending  front-latching system uses titanium components, optimized spring tension and enhanced lockup geometry to ensure the cylinder stays locked in place during firing.

On the Range
Pulling together a number of street-proven loads, I headed to the range to test the snubby. I found the trigger action reasonably smooth with only a slight glitch midway through the trigger stroke. Although it would probably bother someone trying to get the tightest group possible, in rapid fire—the scenario in which the gun is likely to be used—it wouldn’t be noticed.

Speaking of groups, I used two street-proven loads—bench-rested at 50 feet—to see just how tight a group the LCR could shoot. Each group is five rounds measured at its widest point. Velocity was measured with a Shooting Chrony chronograph placed 15 feet from the muzzle. The results:

(Note: Federal, Remington and Corbon all make a similar load with similar performance capability.)

Conclusion
The Ruger LCR is one of the best .38 snubbies available—it’s as simple as that.

Dave SpauldingDave Spaulding is a 28-year law-enforcement veteran, retiring at the rank of lieutenant. He’s worked in all facets of law enforcement—corrections, communications, patrol, evidence collection, investigations, undercover operations, training and SWAT. He currently operates Handgun Combatives, a handgun-combat training program, and he’s authored more than 800 articles for various firearm and law enforcement periodicals. In 2010 Spaulding received the Law Officer Trainer of the Year award, and he’s also the author of the best-selling books Defensive Living and Handgun Combatives.

The Specs

Caliber Capacity BBL OAL Height Width Weight
.38 Special 5 1.875″ 6.5″ 4.5″ 1.28″ 13.5 oz.
.357 Magnum 5 1.875″ 6.5″ 4.5″ 1.28″ 17.1 oz.
.22 LR 8 1.875″ 6.5″ 4.5″ 1.28″ 14.9 oz.
.22 WMR 6 1.875″ 6.5″ 4.5″ 1.28″ 16.6 oz.


MSRP: $529–$879
MSRP: $596 (the Talo model with the gold band)
MSRP: $570 (the Talo model with the silver band)

Updates: Ruger and Talo have developed two limited edition LCR that feature five engraved and satin filled Ruger logos and either a 24KT gold band on the cylinder, or a silver band. And Ruger now offers the LCRx, which features an exposed hammer.

Shop for this item at Gander Mountain, Buds Gun Shop or www.gunsinternational.com/.

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Shop for this item at Gander Mountain, Buds Gun Shop or www.gunsinternational.com/.

The Ruger/Talo model with the gold band.

The Ruger/Talo model with the silver band.

Posted in $25-$250, $251-$500, .357 Magnum, .38 Special, .38 Special +P, Compact, Revolver, Ruger, Subcompact, Talo • Tags: Top Of Page

8 Responses to “Ruger LCR”

Comment from Scottieg57
Time July 15, 2011 at 11:36 pm

I have the Ruger LCR 38 SPL +P. It is an easy gun to carry and the weight does not tug even elastic waist shorts down. The Crimson Trace grip laser helps a lot though the sites I have are fairly good. The trigger pull is long and smooth and you will need to practice to be smooth, as with other double action revolvers. The .357 version is a quarter pound heavier, but the exact same size.

This is not my primary concealed carry gun. I carry a Glock 27, but the Ruger LCR is much easier to conceal and when I dress light, I sometimes leave the Glock in the safe.

Comment from Ken Redmond
Time November 17, 2011 at 12:37 pm

I have the Ruger LCR 38 SPL. A neat, light and well constructed handgun. For it’s purpose I like everything about it. I do not agree with those “experts” who say it has a “glitch” in the trigger pull. When target shooting I ease back the trigger until it touches this so called “glitch” let it rest there for my final aim to only pull back a slight distance which minimizes movement for the shot. This allows notable accuracy and a very close group for such a small handgun. My vote goes to Ruger for a well designed trigger mechanism. There is no such “glitch” in the Ruger LCR folks!!!

Comment from Kathy
Time April 17, 2012 at 7:35 am

I like it now after making some changes to it: changed out grip from Crimson Trace to Houge Tamer. Replaced stock ramp sight with XS std titanium sights. And shoot .38 rather than .38P +
Now recoil is softer, aim is better

Comment from Caligula
Time September 24, 2012 at 9:16 am

Just purchased and shot the .357 model. It beats my S&W 438 J frame in the trigger pull, recoil, and comfort categories. Shooting .38 Special is a breeze. Shooting .357 is not pleasant, but is controllable for a diminutive, 17 oz. revolver. My only gripe is that a model is not available for sale already equipped with the XS tritium sight.

Comment from rob
Time April 30, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Best trigger on any revolver, end of story

Pingback from Crimson Trace Lasergrips Ruger LCR Info & Photo | HandgunLasers.net
Time October 11, 2013 at 3:39 pm

[…] Ruger LCR is a polymer, grip-replacement laser sight with a rubber overmold wraparound for Ruger LCR pistols. Crimson Trace says Ruger created this pistol with Lasergrips in mind, allowing […]

Pingback from LaserMax CenterFire Ruger LCR Info & Photo | HandgunLasers.net
Time October 15, 2013 at 9:53 am

[…] LaserMax CenterFire Ruger LCR is a red laser sight for Ruger LCR revolvers that mounts to the frame without changing out parts or altering your weapon. It sits just […]

Comment from George Howe
Time March 12, 2014 at 10:02 pm

I hate to say this of a Ruger; I have a number of them; all good until I ran into this LCR. The LCR is a DANGEROUS GUN to carry should you need to reload with an opponent challenging you for time. It may cost your life! Because the barrel release button (as Ruger calls it…crane latch release button) will at times, as often as 1 in 6 times, hang up totally, and not allow the barrel release to operate. You cannot push the button in, or it will be very hard to operate, requiring two hands, certainly not operating as smoothly as a Ruger SP101, or a Smith & Wesson. You must push straight in at the very end of the release button to have any reliability of operating, and even then, may be very hard to operate. Cycling the barrel release button at least 400 times has not made the latch button easier or more reliable to open. When I attempted to return the LCR, the dealer said that almost all of the 100 LCR’s in 357 mag, that he has sold, do this. However, my research shows this defect is across all calibers. My Ruger LCR 357 Mag seems to have been manufactered recently. I invite others to tell what their history has been with this revolver. One disappointed Ruger LCR owner.

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