Ruger LCR: Tamer vs. Boot grip / .357 vs. 38


May 29, 2014, 05:04 PM
I think I'll be getting an LCR early next month (all things depending), and it looks like I have 2 choices to make:

1) Tamer vs. Boot grip. This gun would almost exclusively be a pocket carry gun, so the tamer grip seems like a very bad choice (I hear it catches and prints more, both would be bad). So I'm leaning towards the boot grip. Unfortunately, I can't find any recent reviews on it. Can anyone shed some light on how much of a difference it makes?

2) .357 vs. .38
I will most likely carry .38s, however, I've heard the .38 model doesn't handle +Ps very well (despite being rated for them). A coworker also suggested handloading .357s light to alleviate any extra cleaning requirements while not smacking my hand too hard.

On the other hand, the .357 is an extra 1/4 pound and an extra $70 MSRP, so the "just use .38s in the .357" argument comes with more consequences than simply the carbon rings if I don't clean it. From the scant reviews I did see (from a couple years ago, most without much range time), the .357s were too brutal with the Boot grip, which is the on I'm leaning towards.

I guess my question here is this: are the claims of the LCR .38's limitations to handle +P warranted, or are they those "I heard some guy's friend had a problem" type stories?


Overall, I'm leaning right now toward the .38 with the boot grips. What would you say is the best combo for pocket carry?

If you enjoyed reading about "Ruger LCR: Tamer vs. Boot grip / .357 vs. 38" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
May 29, 2014, 07:43 PM
I have a .38 LCR with hogue grips that I have fired around 1500 rounds, about 500 of those were +P. Everything is still tight, not sure about people doubting the +p handling ability of the LCR but it may just be prejudice against the plastic :) The recoil gets to me at the range but I have no doubt of my ability to accurately hit a target at 15 or so yards. I pocket carry when I wear pants with larger pockets but mostly reserve my LCP for that. I would go with the .38 because the weight is definitely noticeable and there is no way I would be okay with the recoil or muzzle blast in .357 if I had to use it.

May 29, 2014, 09:57 PM
Get the 357. I love mine there not that bad. My 10 year old niece can shoot it.

May 29, 2014, 10:26 PM
The 357 version has steel upper parts whie the 38 has aluminum upper parts. The weight difference affects how each shoots and carries. Recoil will be stiff with 357 in the gun chambered in 357. It will feel different/lighter with 38 Special. The recoil of the gun chambered in 38 Special will feel like it has more recoil due to the lighter frame. The different grips will affect perceived recoil for both guns.

I would shoot both with 38 and 357 if possible. The proper THR response is to buy both, shoot both, and document the results here.

As for pocket carry: the smallest grips possible are required. The 38 with boots would be the better choice. But, if you every go with belt carry, I would prefer the 357 with tamers. Then again, the barrels are too short on these to motivate me to try one.

May 29, 2014, 10:29 PM
I bought the eagle secret service rosewood grips for my lcr22lr. I like smooth wood. But with the 22lr recoil is not a factor. If you go with the 357 I would stick with the tamer.

May 29, 2014, 11:17 PM
I bought one of the originals, and it has a few thousand rounds through it, including 20 of those crazy maxed out BB 158 +P heavy. Even with the Tamer grip those things hurt. The gun is fine. It's much tougher than the old fart behind it.

Ruger said when they started selling them that they had tried to test them to failure, and predicted a 10k round life at least. If you feed any revolver very light and high pressure loads, you will probably see some strap erosion, which at least one internet commando has managed to do judging by the Youtube video. Most of the time mine is shot with target loads using wadcutters. But it's had several boxes of very stout +P's through it, and when carried it probably has wadcutters or 158gr Federal duty ammo in it.

May 29, 2014, 11:42 PM
The grips can be swapped out in seconds. Put the original Tamer on when you are doing serious range time and enjoy your gun. Then put the boot grip on for carrying it.

May 30, 2014, 12:12 AM
I have two KLCRs, one with the CT grip and one with the Hogue grip. I pocket carry the CT grip model daily in the summer and OWB carry in the winter and can't say enough about how awesome the revolvers are. The Hogue model sits in the center console on the road or in an ankle holster for CC. If I had to pick one it'd be the CT model.

May 30, 2014, 12:12 AM
The proper THR response is to buy both, shoot both, and document the results here.

Yeah, my response is "convince my boss to give me a raise, and I will."

If this were a hip gun, I'd go SP101 or GP100 (assuming I went revolver at all, I prefer 10+ rounds if I'm going with something on the hip).

May 30, 2014, 12:13 AM
1858, which caliber are yours in?

May 30, 2014, 12:15 AM
Both are .357 Mag but I carry .38 Spl loads in both. These revolvers are simply aewsome.

May 30, 2014, 12:17 AM
If you don't mind me asking, what's your carry rig (what type of pants for pocket carry, holster, and belt)?

May 30, 2014, 12:18 AM
By the way, I have an SP101, two GP100s and other Rugers. I would get rid of every other Ruger before the KLCRs. At 17oz unloaded they are so easy to carry day in and day out.

May 30, 2014, 12:22 AM
what's your carry rig (what type of pants for pocket carry, holster, and belt)?

I wear Dockers or Carhartts and during warmer months I CC in the front right pocket of both with no holster. I use ARES GEAR belts and use a CrossBreed OWB holster in the winter. I use a Renegade Cozy Partner ankle holster all year round.

May 30, 2014, 12:22 AM
Yeah, I'm wondering how the .357 model would do in shorts that have strings instead of belt loops.

May 30, 2014, 12:29 AM
I use a dress belt at work and have no problem with pocket carry. I dont know how well it'd work with shorts and a drawstring. The LCR might work in that application.

Sergei Mosin
May 30, 2014, 01:30 AM
I regularly carry a .357 LCR with Hogue Tamer grips loaded with .357 Golden Sabers in a Blackhawk! size 4 pocket holster. It's my favorite pocket gun.

I find that the Tamer grips don't print any worse than the boot grips. This in jeans, cargo shorts, khakis, whatever. The Tamer grips make the gun easier to shoot accurately. They also make it easy to establish your grip on the gun when drawing it. I don't see any practical advantage to the boot grips.

I chose a .357 model for a couple of reasons. One, I found the .38 unpleasant to shoot even with standard .38 loads. The extra few ounces of the .357 really help soak up the recoil. Two, some folks will tell you that there's no advantage to the .357 over a .38 +P out of a snub, but the data says otherwise. I think 1858 has posted his test results before - it makes good reading. If I've only got five shots, I want the best I can handle, and I find that a medium .357 load such as the Golden Saber is quite manageable while offering better performance than a .38 +P. I wouldn't go out and put a cylinder of Federal 357B through it, but I think a load like the Golden Saber or Speer's short barrel 135-grain Gold Dot is ideal for the .357 snubnose.

May 30, 2014, 02:02 PM
The Tamer grips make the gun easier to shoot accurately. They also make it easy to establish your grip on the gun when drawing it. I don't see any practical advantage to the boot grips.

I feel that the CT grips offer a significant advantage for rapid shooting, particularly in low light conditions. I added XS front sights to both revolvers which is a big improvement over the factory front sight, but the laser REALLY helps accuracy and speed .... for me anyway.

I found the .357 Mag GS loads really pleasurable to shoot and posted results of a number of factory loads in this ( thread (see post #30). When I developed the new Ultimate Defense Compact Handgun loads at Remington I was very pleased with the performance of the .38 Spl load so I decided to carry it in my revolvers. I seriously doubt that there's a significantly better standard cup & core load out there given 14" of penetration, 1.6X expansion and 100% weight retention in the FBI heavy clothing test. Would I be better off using Gold Dots or other bonded offerings? If I need to shoot through glass or other hard barriers I might regret my choice but I'm ok for now.

May 30, 2014, 04:25 PM
I liked the LCR trigger so much that I stop using my S&W Jframe in preference to it. My LCR is the 357 version and doesn't bother me carrying it at all. The trigger difference is a major advantage for me. My hand is not under nearly as much stress as before. I needed extra strength while pulling the heavy j frame trigger. Now I can realax and not flex my hand off the target while shooting quickly. I mostly practice with 38spcl and end practice with a few 357 rounds. I load the 357 for carry unless I run out. I still do not feel underarmed with the 38's in it. I like being able to use both at will. I will gladly tolerate the extra 4ozs for the flexibility of caliber.

May 30, 2014, 04:49 PM
I realized the guns I had the most trouble pocket carrying were my XDm 40C, due to a combo of the weight and size (27 or 28 oz unloaded, IIRC) and my M&P 9C, mainly due to the bulk. Since both versions of the LCR are the same size, I think the biggest concern for pocket carry (dimensions) is going to be the same for both pistols, and a null comparison point. Loaded, the .357 is still half a pound lighter than the XDm, and the XDm adds more weight loading it with double the rounds and the magazine.

I'm leaning heavily toward the .357 at this point. I already ordered the holster and grip (not a big investment even if I wait a bit for the LCR), and I'll order some speed strips tonight. The nice thing is that everything I'm ordering will work with both variants, so I'm not committed to anything just yet.

Vodoun da Vinci
May 30, 2014, 05:31 PM
My Wife and I have the LCR .38 with Hogue grip and big dot front sight. We love that I hand load for it. It is a 13.5 oz revolver. I'm not recoil sensitive and this thing, with full house 158 gr. .38 Special (not +P) will literally make my hand numb. Recovery time between shots is about 15 minutes. ;)

Seriously? These things are not fun to shoot at all. With hand loaded .38 110gr. bullets and a lot of practice we can manage it very well and I pocket carry it. But these things bite and smack and are very hard for a novice to get the hang of. I'd recommend anyone contemplating these rent and shoot one first - not that they should be dissuaded. Simply that they should understand what they are getting.

I have shot .38s in the .357 and it manages the recoil better to the point my hand goes numb in 10 rounds instead of 5. It is better but it still kicks like a mule. You can train into it but there will be a learning curve and it will take a while to get used to it unless you are a hard core, very experienced user of lightweight snubbies.

My opinions and experience - YYMV.


May 30, 2014, 07:57 PM
I have the lcr in .38+p that came with the boot grips and the night sights. It was (still is?) the lightest lcr offering at about 13 ounces. I have a sp101 in the magnum so went light on this dedicated .38 model. I'll tell you it handles .38 +ps just fine. Does get real hot after about 50 +p's through it quick though. The boot grips accommodate my hks speedloaders perfect and they don't grab on close. They are short and my pinky finger barely grips on them. I have skinny fingers. So if you have big fingers or large hand you may fight getting g a grip. They are hough "tamer" boot grips with a small gel piece where the web of the hand goes. This make them soak recoil up very well. For ultra conceal carry boot grips all the way.

Big JJ
May 30, 2014, 08:48 PM
Buy the .357.
The .357 is built better than the 38 and will last longer.
The extra 4oz will never be a factor in a pocket or a holster.
Shoot 38's for range rounds.
At the end of your range work shoot a few .357's.
Load with a quality 357 carry load.
Put it in your front pocket and you are good to go.
Been carrying mine for 3 years like this with no issues.
If you ever have to pull the trigger in a SD situation your adrenaline will be so high that you will never even think about the recoil or your hand.

May 30, 2014, 09:11 PM
I pocket carry a Smith 37 Airweight in .38 Spcl. Due to the Al frame, it's light to the point of being barely noticeable. Don't think that'd be the case if it were 4 oz. heavier. So I probably carry more often because the gun is so light.

That said, I'll probably spring for the .357 LCR or a steel-frame Smith 60 next. Either will be heavier, but a better range gun.

I hand-load a lot of .357 cases with .38 Spcl. wadcutter loads; so .357 would be a natural though it may never see full power loads.

Point is, whichever way you go is fine. You go light this time with the LCR .38, you can get the .357 version next time around...or vice versa. I actually think the LCR .38 would be a slightly better choice as you'd be more apt to carry it. That's what Concealed Carry is all about; having a weapon at hand when you need it.

May 30, 2014, 10:22 PM
In reality, +p load isn't some all out horrendous, potentially explosive load, as it is often depicted as.

SR4756 +p cup pressure is 18,300 v.s. 16,400 for a maximum load using a standard pressure table, with the same powder, and same XTP 125 gr. bullet. This equates to about 83 fps gain though with this powder, where as something like Longshot produces significantly better results with identical published pressures.

I seriously doubt a firearm manufacturer would build firearm that only has a 2K pressure window. The LCR is actually a pretty decent piece, certainly capable of running +p in, and especially if it's going to be a carry round. Maybe run standard pressure loads for practice / range purposes if your concerned about beating it up, other wise I wouldn't be too awfully concerned.


May 31, 2014, 07:13 AM
I like the original .38 with Tamer grips. Pocket carry with an Uncle Mike's #3 holster. Works fine in slacks, jeans, or shorts. Yes there's a bulge but it could be a wallet or a cell phone. The Nemesis is also good if the pocket is a bit larger, as in dress pants.

My preferred carry ammo for it is the Rem. Golden Saber 125+P. No problems with the +P.

May 31, 2014, 07:43 AM
Very snappy revolver. I agree with da Vinci - the .38 is a real hand slapper. I , for one , would not consider 357 in an LCR as a SD round. Recoil , muzzle flash , report - are you going to get that second shot off with any accuracy? Indoors , in a darkened room?

The best shooter would be the 357 loaded with .38. Dealing with the weight differential is up to you.

May 31, 2014, 08:53 AM
Moxie that's interesting you have luck with the 125 grain golden sabres. I couldn't get shots even on paper with that round out of my lcr. In contrast, I get tight groups with hornady critical defense both in +p and standard pressure. So I spring the money for those. Sorry not trying to hi jack he thread.

June 1, 2014, 12:52 AM
I liked the factory grip on my LCR personally. There is a third choice you left off, DAO or DA/SA. Ruger is making an LCR with an exposed hammer now.

June 1, 2014, 01:00 AM
DAO or DA/SA wasn't a choice. This is for pocket carry, I don't want a hammer spur.

I decided I wanted the .357 magnum. After going to a few shops and hearing "we don't have it, good luck finding it" and even at one "we can't order it, but we can put you on the wish list", I figured the availability of the .38 special made it the obvious choice.

I'm waiting for the grips and holster to arrive, and at the same time waiting for the sight paint to dry, so hopefully it won't be long before I have some pics up of my new pocket gun.

Nick Burkhardt
June 1, 2014, 03:48 AM
Tamer vs Boot side by side

June 1, 2014, 11:35 AM
Lol @ the cat in that video.

If you enjoyed reading about "Ruger LCR: Tamer vs. Boot grip / .357 vs. 38" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!