Ruger LCR 357 Review

For years, the ultimate pocket defense tool was the snub-nosed .357 Magnum revolver. Does the same kind of gun still deliver the goods? That’s what I wanted to know when I set out on this Ruger LCR 357 review.

If you don’t have a lot of time, I’ll cut to the chase: yes, the LCR delivers. It is powerful, accurate and reasonably priced. It is certainly a contender for the best .357 Magnum revolver on the market today.

Please read on to understand why I make these statements.

Where to Buy Ruger LCR 357

Where to Buy the Ruger LCR 357

The Ruger LCR is a popular revolver, and the .357 Magnum version is a solid choice. I recommend the following online dealers based on the prior good service I’ve had with them. These are affiliate links meaning we earn a small commission should you decide to make a purchase through one of them.

Buy at Palmetto State Armory

Buy at

Buy at Sportsman’s Warehouse

Let’s dive into the specifics of this gun.

History of the LCR 357

At this point, I’ve had the opportunity to complete multiple Ruger LCR revolvers reviews. I’ve shot the original .38 Special as well as the 9mm and .22 LR versions of the gun.

But how did this entire line of LCR wheelguns come from?

Ruger LCR 357 Magnum

Leading up to the 2009 SHOT Show, Ruger stated it would introduce a bold, new gun that would get everyone’s attention. Ruger’s “show stopping” announcement (their words, not mine) wound up being the new part-polymer revolver: the Ruger LCR.

Ruger LCR 357 Mag review

The first gun introduced was a 5-shot handgun chambered for the .38 Special cartridge. The use of polymer parts was a significant deviation from what many people were used to seeing in a revolver’s construction.

What Does LCR Stand For?

The name Ruger LCR is an acronym that stands for light, compact revolver.

what does LCR stand for

While Smith & Wesson certainly made a name for itself with aluminum- and scandium-framed revolvers, Ruger opted for a different approach.

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.

How Light Is the LCR 357?

An unloaded Ruger LCR 357 weighs in at 17.1 ounces. For a Magnum, that’s pretty light. And frankly, the gun feels lighter than that.

how light is the LCR 357

The weight of an unloaded LCR 38 is less than 14 ounces which is amazingly light.

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.

LCR 357 Features

Ruger built a lot of great features into the LCR line of revolvers. The .357 Magnum version is a great gun that incorporates the features common to the family.

LCR Sights

The front sight on the LCR is relatively large for such a small handgun, and it is easy to pick up in the wide rear notch. Ruger uses a white marker on the serrated front ramp sight to help you aim.

pinned front sight on the Ruger LCR 357

While I found the sight works great for static range shooting, it is not ideal – in my opinion – for the stress of self-defense. For serious work, I believe that a large, bright and contrasting front sight is the way to go.

Ruger LCR sights

Fortunately, several companies are offering aftermarket options. And since the front sight is pinned in place, it is an easy swap that you can do without a gunsmith. Here are a few LCR sights to consider:

Trigger and Action

The trigger is very smooth with no perceptible staging, and presses straight back.

Ruger LCR 357 trigger

Compared to the heavy pull on Ruger’s SP101, the LCR 357 feels like a slick, custom job. Additionally, the LCR I shot had a much smoother trigger than what is on my Smith and Wesson 642.

pebble type grips on the Ruger LCR

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 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.

Massad Ayoob shooting the Ruger LCR
Massad Ayoob shooting the Ruger LCR at its introduction at the SHOT Show.

It’s funny, but I discovered this short stroking problem when I was at the range with none other than Massad Ayoob. We had a chance meeting at the Range Day prior to the SHOT Show and both shot the gun back to back. He spotted my problem immediately and sorted me out.

Range Time

I had a great time shooting the LCR 357. The revolver shot well and was completely reliable.

The balance of the gun was very nice. Compared to the .38 model, the weight of this version seemed shifted forward. This appeared to help with muzzle rise during recoil.

Recoil of the Snubbie Magnum

Recoil in a snubnosed revolver is always a concern. Even .38 Special rounds can kick a fair amount depending on the gun. The lighter the gun, the more you will feel recoil.

felt recoil from a 357 magnum snubbie

Nevertheless, ergonomics and construction come into play. Ruger’s use of the Hogue recoil-absorbing grips combined with the polymer “flex” in the grip handle portion of the frame combine to reduce the sting to the hand.

Ruger LCR 357 for concealed carry

Shooting .38 ammo was easy; I’d estimate the felt recoil being a step down from the same loads out of my Smith & Wesson 642.

recoil reducing grips for LCR 357

Full-power Magnum loads were easier than I expected, but I could still feel a lot of punch when each round was fired.

Ammo Testing

I ran a pair of .38 loads and three .357 Magnum loads through my Ruger LCR. As I stated above, they were completely reliable.

Here is what I measured as the rounds crossed my chronograph:

.38 Special Loads
Hornady Critical Defense 90 gr FTX948 fps180 ft-lbs
Winchester Kinetic HE 110 gr JHP830 fps168 ft-lbs
.357 Magnum Loads
Hornady Critical Defense 125 gr FTX1,176 fps384 ft-lbs
Remington Golden Saber 125 gr JHP1,121 fps349 ft-lbs
Speer Gold Dot 158 gr JHP996 fps348 ft-lbs

The velocity and energy differences between the .38 and .357 are substantial.

Is the Ruger LCR 357 Accurate?


Fundamentally, the Ruger LCR 357 is more accurate than you will be able to achieve handheld. To see its maximum accuracy, you would need to use a rest.

Accuracy Testing the Ruger LCR 357

However, a rest is not something you would ever have available in a self-defense scenario. So, I shot the revolver without the benefit of support at 7 yards and measured the best 5-shot group:

Group Size
Hornady Critical Defense 125 gr FTX1.141″
Remington Golden Saber 125 gr JHP2.200″
Speer Gold Dot 158 gr JHP2.020″

Keep in mind when comparing these to results you might see elsewhere that the measurements are for a five shot group (not three) and are measured from outer edge to outer edge (not approximate center to approximate center.)

Bottom Line: Is the Ruger LCR any good?

The bottom line is I am impressed by the LCR 357 revolver.

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.

The LCR 357 makes a great pocket carry gun or a backup gun for police officers in addition to all of the “normal” CCW styles. Compared to the current generation of micro-compact bottom feeders, it will be light on the ankle and in the pocket.

The full retail price on the gun is $829. I expect most places will have the gun for less.

Where to Buy Ruger LCR 357

Where to Buy the Ruger LCR 357

The Ruger LCR is a popular revolver, and the .357 Magnum version is a solid choice. I recommend the following online dealers based on the prior good service I’ve had with them. These are affiliate links meaning we earn a small commission should you decide to make a purchase through one of them.

Buy at Palmetto State Armory

Buy at

Buy at Sportsman’s Warehouse

Updated: March 23, 2022

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