Monday, March 28, 2011

Range Report: Ruger LCP

When I talked to Big Mike the other day about going out to the range, I informed him that I'd cleaned and oiled all my hardware and so was only bringing two pistols. No worries, Mike informed me. I could shoot his new pistol, a Ruger LCP. This is a brand new, just out of the box with barely 50 rounds through it pocket pistol in .380.

Ruger LCP

The pistol is small, being 5.16 inches long, 3.60 inches high and 0.82 inches thick. It's also very light, officially 9.4 ounces. So, what with summer coming on, if you're the type that can't find just the right pistol for your Speedo swimwear, this pistol is definitely on your short list. Even if you just want a pocket pistol, I'd still put this one on your short list. Here's what we found during our unscientific range test.

The LCP has a steel slide and a steel barrel. The rest of the gun is made from synthetic glass filled nylon, which accounts for the light weight. As I said, the gun is small. Here are a few photos to illustrate that point.
Big Mike holding a standard size Kimber 1911 .45
Mike doesn't have hands; he has chow hooks. He finds a full size automatic, such as his top of the line Kimber, very comfortable to hold. Okay, who wouldn't? Here are a few photos of Mike holding the LCP.
Ruger LCP
Ruger LCP
Note the two finger grip. The pistol is so small that Mike's ring finger wants to overlap. Here's another photo:

Ruger LCP
Now you see it, now you don't. We put it next to the Kimber .45 for comparison, along with .380 and .45 auto ammunition. Note the slide position on the Ruger.

Ruger LCP .380 and Kimber 1911 .45

The LCP holds six in the clip and one in the chamber. It's a double action only autoloader, and there is no safety on it (much like you would expect from a revolver). The slide does not lock back when the last bullet is fired as most autoloaders do. To load the LCP you put the clip in and slingshot the slide - the LCP won't chamber a round successfully if you simply work the slide back and forward. You must pull the slide all the way back and let it slam forward, and you must do this in one fluid movement. The gun is particular about this.

The LCP isn't particularly stiff or hard to load. It's small, and the size is what makes it somewhat difficult to bring the LCP in battery without catching the meat of your hand between the moving parts of the gun. That being the case, I could not envision carrying this pistol without a round in the chamber; the very last thing you'd want is to have to draw your pistol and screw around trying to get a round up the pipe.

Once in battery, you'll squint down the barrel and notice that there isn't much by way of sights. I'm not too surprised by this, as the pistol is designed to be carried in your pocket and having adjustable sights would only provide something to catch on your clothing or holster.  The LCP has a long, smooth trigger pull. It isn't overly stiff, as I've noticed with a number of double action autoloaders, but it isn't the smooth ball bearing pull you'll find on a Colt Python. I found it adequate for the job at hand. Both of us were able to hold the pistol on target and actually do pretty well with it, all things considered.

Ruger LCP Results at 15 Feet
All of the shots are on the paper, and given the lighting, age and decrepitude of the shooters, I'm not going to entertain many complaints about my performance here. Besides, no one knows my real identity.

For those of you who haven't shot one, the .380 has a nasty snap to it. People think that because it isn't a .45 or .357 it doesn't kick much. They're wrong. The LCP has no weight to soak up any of the recoil, so when I torched the first shot off the gun slammed back into the web of my hand and hurt like billy be damned. I adjusted my grip and tried again, with similar results. I ran ten shots through the LCP, and it took me five to decide how to hold on to it, and another five to decide what to do about the lack of sights. I finally resorted to pointing and shooting rather than sighting in on the target, and my score began to improve. While your mileage may vary, my own best results happened when I simply ignored the sights and concentrated on pointing the little gun at the target and pulling the trigger.

The good news about this pistol is that Ruger didn't compromise. The goal was a small pocket pistol in .380, and Ruger achieved that goal very nicely. The LCP is finely machined with no sharp edges or any protrusions to catch in your clothing or in a holster. It has no safety; like a revolver you just point it and pull the trigger. Some people will argue that .380 is light for self-defense. My rejoinder to that argument is that you can buy special .380 self-defense ammunition. You now have a pistol the size of a .25 auto that packs a lot more punch than that feeble little bullet.

Both Mike and I agreed that the LCP should be carried with a round in the chamber and should be in some sort of holster, the danger being that the you might snag the trigger while putting the gun in your pocket and thus do yourself a mischief.

I like the Ruger LCP and will probably end up buying one for concealed carry.

1 comment:

Solleks said...

I have a Kel-Tec P-32 that I purchased last year. So small, I could probably carry it wearing a speedo if I were so inclined. Thankfully, I'm not. It's very similar in many respects to the LCP. My old work partner purchased the LCP last year. He loves it, carries it everywhere and has put about 400 rounds through it without any issues. I have had similar shooting results with the P-32. The only issue I have is that I thought I was getting a .380. The dealer is a friend of mine, just beginning to build his business, so I decided not to quibble. If you end up getting it, I don't think you'll be disappointed.