Guns & Patriots

Gun Review: Ruger LCR

Let me admit my bias up front: I’m a Smith & Wesson kind of guy.  I’ve owned and carried many of their handguns both on and off-duty. The first handgun I ever bought was a model 10 heavy barrel that rode in a Safariland holster for more than two years before my department moved to the Glock 17. 

It doesn’t mean that I don’t carry or appreciate other firearms. If you see me out and about, I’ve likely got a Glock 19 on my hip. If I am on the job, you will see a SIG SAUER P226 in the holster. But I always have a hammerless Smith on my person. Always.

When the Ruger LCR was introduced in 2009, I was intrigued. Here was a revolver being introduced at a time when the semi-auto pistol is king. Plus, going head-to-head with Smith & Wesson in the pocket revolver market was a bold move.

But, several years later, the LCR has carved out a significant niche in the market, and Ruger continues to introduce new models of the handgun to meet consumer demand. Having shot several LCR revolvers, I understand why this little gun is thriving in the current market.


The LCR, or “Lightweight Compact Revolver,” is a hammerless, snub-nose handgun. The initial LCR was available only in .38 Special (+P rated), but newer models are available in both .22 LR and .357 Magnum.

The LCR blends elements of the traditional small-framed revolver with the advancements of modern polymer guns. The Ruger LCR has a steel cylinder and barrel, an aluminum frame, and a polymer handle. The unloaded weight on the standard LCR is less than 14 ounces.
The cylinder has recesses so significant that fluting would appear to be a monumental understatement. When every ounce counts, shaving every bit of steel off the cylinder can help lighten the load. It definitely gives the LCR a distinctive look.

The polymer section holds all of the fire control components. When introduced, the polymer handle on a revolver was a novel idea.  However, in the past several years, both Smith & Wesson and Taurus have introduced polymer-handled revolvers.

The front sight is relatively large for such a small handgun, and is easy to pick up in the wide rear notch.The serrated front ramp is pinned offering an easy swap to another sight if so desired. In fact, an XS Sights “Standard Dot” tritium sight is a factory option on the LCR.

•    Calibers: .38 Special (+P), .357 Magnum, .22 LR
•    Capacity:  5 rounds (.38 Special, .357 Magnum), 8 rounds (.22 LR)
•    Weight:  13.0 − 17.1 ounces depending on caliber and options
•    Options:  Crimson Trace Lasergrips, XS Sights Standard Dot front sight
•    MSRP:  $525 – $869

Range Time

The balance of the gun is very nice. The weight is shifted forward, toward the muzzle, which appears to help with recoil. Shooting standard pressure .38 Hornady 125gr JHPs, the gun’s recoil was very mild. Speer Gold Dot 135 grain +P rounds are snappier.However, both loads were easier on the hand than similar loads shot in my 642.

Very lightweight 125 grain LRN and 148 grain WC were easy to shoot and accuracy was reasonable. I did not notice any bullet tumble as I have seen in some other short barrel revolvers with light loads.

The trigger is very smooth with no perceptible staging, and presses straight back. Compared to Ruger’s SP101, the LCR’s trigger feels like a slick, custom job. 

The LCRs I have shot have a much smoother trigger than what is on my stock Smith and Wesson 642. Ruger has a patented friction-reducing cam in the fire control system that is largely responsible for the very smooth pull. I’ve had the chance to shoot several LCR revolvers, and each of them have an excellent trigger.

The only complaint I had with the trigger is my tendency to short stroke it. If you ride the trigger out, feeling for a reset, you will likely short stroke this gun. You must allow the trigger to fully reset before pressing again. 

This is not likely a problem for most people, and it is a minor training issue for me. Blame my years of shooting heavy-spring S&W revolvers, I suppose.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is I am impressed. Ruger is making a very nice, very concealable revolver in a variety of calibers. Some people may not like the modern look of the gun, but I was not put off by it.  In person it is a neat little gun, and I expect it will continue to sell very well.

I do not hesitate to recommend the LCR to anyone in the market for a compact revolver. It is easy shooting, affordable and dependable.  As a back up gun or concealed carry piece, it will fit the bill nicely.

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  • GrimmCreeper

    Is anyone aware of a good (reasonably priced) OWB holster for the Ruger LCR? I am looking to use this gun for concealed carry. I’m looking for strong-side hip, not a paddle.  

  • gardner

     i use a don hume brand ‘yaqui’ style holster and it works very well. it is the ‘jit’ model. it conceals the gun better than anything i’ve tried.

  • TheBitterClinger1

    A  13.0 − 17.1 ounce 357 magnum? Perhaps the younger, stronger set ;-). Personally I would stick with the .38 spl. But as with the author I am a Smith & Wessonite- carry two j-frames – saves on reloading time. But Ruger does make some interesting handguns to be sure.

  • paperpushermj

    Can you give us more reviews on Wheel Guns?

  • Guest

     They will charge you if they don’t get the replaced part which of course happens rarely.  I think Ruger is best as well, I would carry my Redhawk  51/2  if needed for work, makes an incredible club if you don’t have to shoot your opponent

  • theo980

    Personally I’d get the .357.  It handles .38 also.

  • Guest

     I like inside the pants…..I’m a chub though, I would use the paddle for my Redhawk mentioned above…

  • JohnnyRaven

    The LCR is what I am willing to carry. Heavier guns sag under my beer belly and love handles and
    are not comfortable. There are some options. Under the shirt suspenders help and don’t attract attention.

  • GrimmCreeper

    Thanks gents. IWB is not an option. Too much stress on the belt holes already. I’ll check out the Don Hume.


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  • AKgunguy

    Well, there could be an aguement about who makes better. As far as 1911′s go
    ruger is just entering market. Theirs is nice, yes, but I still like my 2 Springfield’s
    much more. Then you get into the High ends like baer, and W.C. and there is no comparison. My Wilson CQB is the smoothest piece I have ever shot.(except of course other Wilsons)

    A sfar as the M77 MK II. yeah it’s got what it needs, most notably a Control feed bolt, not a push feed. Wnchester and Kimber both have CF bolts as well and there is a reason they cost about one third again the price of a ruger. Accurqcy from the 77′s is not as consistantly, top end as the 2 I listed.

  • Chris Grant

    The .38+P version of the LCR is BY far one of the most difficult handguns to control I’ve ever shot…and I’m nowhere near a newb to handguns by any stretch. I find it easier to control a 10mm for example, than the snubbie beast varieties of the LCR.
    I would not recommend one to anyone, but the S&W Airweights  instead, much better control overall.


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  • franknowzad

    This pistol could have walked out of Bill FAIRBAIRN’S book, “Shooting to Live” section on concealed pistols. In FAIRBAIRNS day they had to file off most of the hammer.

  • FellowAmerican

    I own the LCR and agree with this review. An important additional point is (like most all calibers) that there is some terrific, powerful ammunition on the market. With the right +P ammo, this little wheel gun is quite powerful for a .38 (I use Cor-Bon) and it’s a good example of how far concealed carry weapons and ammo have advanced. Just compare it to the old snub nose .38′s that a lot of NYPD Detectives used as their primary weapon in the ’70s and ’80s.

    I wear the LCR on my ankle in a neoprene holster or in my boot when riding my motorcycle and it’s pretty comfortable.