Review: Ruger’s LCR .38 is an A+ Revolver Option for Self Defense
If you are going to buy only one handgun for self defense, a snub-nosed hammerless revolver may just be the gun for you.
The majority of defensive shootings take place within eight feet and with three rounds fired in under two seconds. That’s not a lot of time to prepare. When the chips are down, the less you need to remember or do, the better. That’s why many favor a revolver for self defense. In the heat of a crisis there’s nothing more to worry about than simply drawing and pulling the trigger until the threat is stopped. With less moving parts, a good revolver will function under the most extreme of conditions that would render a semi auto pistol into a single shot.
In short, people like revolvers because of the peace of mind they provide.
While the LCR is relatively new to the market compared to some of it’s competition, Ruger has been making high quality revolvers for a long time. The hammerless Ruger LCR, or “Light Compact Revolver”, is made…you guessed it…to be light and compact, while still managing to be ultra-reliable. It was created for sudden, close quarter engagements, where quick deployment and worry-free functionality is of paramount importance.
The LCR competes with the Smith & Wesson J-frame revolvers – specifically the hammerless Model 642 Airweight. While this review is not meant to be a comparison, both are great choices, with their pros and cons respectively.
Nuts and Bolts of the Ruger LCR
The Ruger LCR accomplishes the “light” part by taking a page from modern striker-fire pistols, blending plastics and metals. The frame of the LCR is in two parts. The bottom half, which holds the action, is polymer, and the upper half, housing the steel cylinder and barrel, is aluminum. Total weight is just 13.5 ounces and overall length is just over 6.5″, with 1.9″ of that being barrel. Width-wise, it’s barely larger than some semi-automatic subcompacts at just over 1.25″. It can easily fit into a pocket or a purse without weighing you down, and the hammerless frame ensures a snag-free draw every time.
Compared to other revolvers, The LCR is known for its smooth trigger, coming in around 10 pounds. While that may seem heavy compared to some pistols, it’s important to keep in mind that there is no manual safety on a double action revolver like this. The heavier pull helps to ensure no accidental trigger pulls.
Ruger LCR Caliber Choices
The LCR is currently available in four calibers: .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .22 Long Rifle, and .22 Magnum. For the vast majority who are choosing an LCR for concealed carry, .38 special makes the most sense, as it strikes the best balance between many factors. In years past some have argued that .38 special doesn’t pack enough “stopping power” to be a reliable defense round (say compared to .357 magnum), modern ammunition choices have rendered that argument moot. Bigger isn’t always better, and many would probably find shooting .357 Magnum out of such a small firearm decidedly unpleasant. Shot placement and the ability to accurately deliver follow-up shots count for far more, which would be much easier for most with a more controllable caliber like the .38 Special.
Besides, the LCR is capable of shooting high pressure .38 Special +p defense rounds, which are very adequate ballistics-wise for most self defense scenarios. Meanwhile, a shooter can train with more forgiving standard pressure ammunition, which is available everywhere and very affordable.
At the end of the day, it’s hard to argue against the Ruger LCR as a great choice for concealed carry self defense. Performance-wise it stacks up nicely against, or even surpasses in some ways, other “premium” models like the Model 642. If you’re considering a concealed carry handgun for yourself or loved-one, give the Ruger LCR a good look.
As always, be safe, be prepared and BE MISSION READY!
At Next Level Armory, we give informal reviews of the products we sell. We try to provide our audience with unbiased opinions (as well anecdotal feedback from our customers) of our initial and ongoing impressions of these products while using them in the way that the majority of our customers would. Unless otherwise noted, these products are NOT provided to us for the purposes of review.