Ruger LCR Review: First Impressions of the New Revolver

Ed. Note: This is a Ruger LCR review from the 2009 SHOT Show range day.  Since then, we had a chance to put a lot of rounds through this gun, plus get feedback from other shooters.  While no gun is perfect, the LCR is definitely a quality firearm that has a lot going for it.

Leading up to the 2009 SHOT Show, Ruger stated they would be introducing a bold, new gun that would get everyone’s attention.  Ruger’s “show stopping” announcement (their words, not mine) is the new part-polymer revover: the Ruger LCR.  The LCR, or light, compact revolver, is a five shot, .38 +P self defense gun and Ruger’s follow up to the run-away success with the LCP.

Ruger LCR
This is the base model in the Ruger LCR line.

In production now, the LCR is a unique revolver, blending elements of the traditional small-framed revolver with the advancements of modern polymer guns.  The new revolver has a steel cylinder and barrel, an aluminum frame, and a polymer handle.  The weight unloaded is less than 14 ounces, though it feels even lighter than that.

The cylinder has recesses so significant that “fluting” would appear to be a monumental understatement.  The polymer section holds all of the fire control components.

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 suggesting an easy swap to another sight if so desired.  (Ed. note: Since the introduction of this revolver, there have been a number of sighting options offered for the LCR, including the popular XS Sights system.)

The trigger is very smooth with no perceptible staging, and presses straight back.  Compared to Ruger’s SP101, the LCR feels like a slick, custom job.  The LCR I shot had a much smoother trigger than what is on my Smith and Wesson 642. (Ed. note:  Since this writing, I’ve had the chance to shoot a number of different LCR guns, all of them bought through normal channels, and every one has had a very nice feeling trigger on them.  As a long time Smith & Wesson fan, I am very impressed by the trigger on these guns.)

The only complaint I had with the trigger is my tendancy to short stroke it.  If you ride the trigger out, feeling for a reset, you will short stroke this gun.  You must allow the trigger to ride all the way out before pressing again.  This is the only place where my 642 beats the Ruger – the 642 spring is very strong and really pushes the trigger back out, essentially preventing short stroking.

The balance of the gun is very nice.  The weight is shifted forward, which appears to help with recoil.  Shooting standard pressure .38 Hornady 125gr JHPs, the gun’s recoil was almost non-existant.  Ruger did not have any +P loadings on hand to shoot, but I imagine they will be a little snappier.  However, even the standard pressure rounds seemed easier on the hand than similar loads shot in my 642. (Ed. note:  Since the 2009 SHOT Show, I had the chance to shoot plenty of +P and even a little +P+ ammo through the Ruger.  It handled all of them with ease.  As pressure and bullet weights increase, so do recoil, but they were all manageable and easier on the hand than my 642 with the same loads.)

Michael Bane shoots the Ruger LCR
Michael Bane shoots the Ruger LCR at the 2009 SHOT Show.

The bottom line is I am impressed.  Ruger is making a very nice, very concealable revolver in a respectable caliber.  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 sell very well.

The new Ruger will make a great pocket carry gun or a backup gun for police officers.  It will be light on the ankle and in the pocket.

Ruger says the gun is currently being produced and should be on the dealer shelves very soon.  Ruger’s site states March 1, and I would be surprised if they did not meet this date.  Two models are available.  The standard model will retail at $525 and a model with Crimson Trace lasergrips will go for $792.

Click here for more information on the entire line of Ruger LCR revolvers.

Update:  Since this Ruger LCR review was written, I have had the chance to shoot several production revolvers and I have been impressed by all of them.  They all have worked flawlessly, have had very smooth triggers and have just been fun to shoot. You can purchase a Ruger LCR from Brownells by clicking here.

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