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Honest Ruger LCP Review

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by colorado_handgunner, Mar 14, 2009.

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  1. colorado_handgunner

    colorado_handgunner Member

    Nov 26, 2008
    Florence, SC
    I bought a Ruger LCP today (walked in to Gander and there it was). With months long waiting lists elsewhere, I could not pass it up, even at $350. I also found 450 rounds of .380 at Walmart, buying out there stock. So, I had a very good day!

    After I got it home, I gave my LCP a very thorough cleaning. This is the only semi-auto I have used so far that requires a tool to field strip. You must use a flat-head screwdriver to pry out the takedown pin while partially holding the slide back with your fingers. This requires you to place your fingers over the muzzle (the manual even shows it this way!), something I would never do if I had a choice! The gun comes caked in cosmoline, so plan on a lengthy cleaning (half an hour or more) before going out to the range. While not as bad as disassembling a .22 semi-auto or 1911, it is not fun or easy.

    On to the range review.

    The first thing I will say is this, watch where you put your hands. I have shot thousands of rounds through semi-autos, and this is the first time I have been "bitten". So be very careful were you put your off-hand. Now I do say where you put, because I cannot imagine shooting this gun one handed. More on this later.

    The magazine works well, and is easy to load free handed to capacity, a definite plus. On the downside, the gun only comes with one magazine. The magazine release is easy, but will catch the magazine if you do not hold it down until it drops out entirely. This proves to be very frustrating and could be detrimental in a self defense situation. The slide racks fairly easily (when your hand is not bleeding from a bite), and does not have the factory stiffness that I expected.

    The grip is comfortable, with ergonomic impressions for the thumb and trigger finger. However, the width does allow it to slide from side to side for someone with mid-size hands like mine. This tends to effect accuracy, but I'm sure can be controlled with practice. The length of the barrel from the trigger guard is long enough where I am not afraid of shooting my own hand (off hand grip), something I would be concerned with in a Seacamp, Baby Eagle, or Bobcat.

    The sights on the gun are different. They are a very low profile, semi circle at the rear and curved point at the barrel. They are usable with practice, but not the best. On the plus side though, they will not snag on clothing. The crimson trace front sight offered for the LCP would be a positive addition to this gun.

    The trigger pull is long and hard...very hard. With this being a DAO gun, I expected this, but caught myself anticipating a shot long before it came. Pull through is entirely key here. The trigger is certainly designed to prevent an AD/ND since there is no external safety, a feat I feel it accomplishes very well.

    To the actual firing. I expected the recoil to be significant, since the gun is so small and shooting .380 from such a short barrel (9mm short for those not familiar with the round). I expected some kick, but wow. This gun kicks...hard...like a mule...a really teed off mule. Now realize something about the person saying this. I am 6' 190 ponds. I normally shoot .40 out of a XD subcompact with a 2.5" barrel. I am used to recoil more than some people. So when I say it kicks, believe me. The recoil is far from uncontrollable, but it is not pleasant. After 100 rounds in under a hour, my hand and arm were soar. Like I said before, do use a two handed grip. This is really the only option unless you want to be knocking yourself in the head with your own gun. Also, if you are going to purchase this gun for someone, ensure that they can handle the recoil. Remember, a small frame gun is not necessarily right for every person, so have them shoot a similar weapon first. An easily concealed, small gun might as well stayed concealed in your pocket if you can't hit anything with it.

    The gun had one failure to eject out of 100 rounds. I prefer to chalk this up to break in and am not overly concerned. The shells do eject very vigorously, so do not allow someone shooting with you to stand next to you. They should be a good 3 feet behind you. Also be wary of low range ceilings and narrow partitions.

    As far as accuracy, when I followed through properly and had a good grip, the gun shot dead on point of aim. I only took it out to about 5-7 yards (not certain entirely since the range is not marked for distance) since that is about as far out as one could ever expect to use it. At this distance it put all shots in the body mass of a silhouette target, but I was unsuccessful with head shots. I was also shooting at a good clip, so aiming by sites was not done as much as usual. Overall, I feel the gun's accuracy is dead on for its design and my accuracy with it will improve with practice.

    The final design point I will address is concealability. This type of gun is designed with only one purpose, concealed carry. In this I find it succeeds exceptionally. The size allows it to easily slip into the front or rear pocket of a pair of jeans or other pants. With a pocket holster, no one would be able to tell that it was a firearm. I had never really considered concealed carry, but will now apply for my permit once I find out if I am being transferred out of state with my job.

    My overall opinion of the LCP is a positive one. It does what it is designed to do, shoots accurately for its range, handles well enough with practice, and is priced within reason. The calliber is acceptable for most defense applications one will encounter on the street, and is much better than a .32 or .22, or a pointy stick. All in all, I would recommend this gun if you are willing to put in the time to become proficient with it. If you just want a gun to drop in your pocket for concealed carry, look elsewhere.
  2. RD16

    RD16 Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Wow, great review. I'm on a waiting list at my local shop for one, so it's good to hear an honest review.
  3. MaterDei

    MaterDei Member

    Sep 23, 2003
    Good review. I don't know whether this is in the manual but the take down pin is designed to be taken out with the rim of a cartridge. You do NOT need any tools.
  4. marv

    marv Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    South coast of Indiana
    Per the recoil. Put two layers of double sided cushion tape on the back of the grip and stretch a piece of bike innertube over the grip. It'll feel a Lot better to shoot.
  5. rhartwell

    rhartwell Member

    Dec 24, 2008
    I am a fairly new shooter. I agree with everything except I did not find the recoil that bad. It was sharper then the S&W 6906 that I shoot.
  6. okespe04

    okespe04 Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    The blue is starting to wear off of mine and its packed with pocket lint because I carry it every day. When I pull it out it rips out a mag flawlessly every time. I have about 1000 rounds through mine. It is a rugged, reliable little gun. The finish could be a little tougher, but then again I'm dirty in general and chances are its the grime's fault and not the gun.

    TRGRHPY Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    You're not joking about the recoil at all. Whenever I take mine to the range, the people around me stop to see what just happened after the first shot or two. It's pretty violent for such a small thing.

    The accuracy is good as well. A few weeks ago I pulled mine out and a couple of people next to me who saw that it was an LCP (and seemed to have a bad opinion of them) stopped their dirty looks when the first round I fired was a dead-center forehead shot at about 10 yards.

    I've been carrying mine every day for a year now, and have not had a single issue with it. I clean the lint out once a week and that's about it.
  8. harmon rabb

    harmon rabb Member

    Mar 14, 2009
    that gun's only purpose is to be a tiny pocket-carry gun, and it is awesome for that role. it's not something you'd want to shoot for fun. it's very punishing on the hand.
  9. jocko

    jocko Member

    Mar 8, 2008
    I never considered it to be a hard gun to shoot. I have 1600 flawless rounds through my lcp. It is more accurate than I am, and you don't even know ur carrying it. Not alot to hold on to so for some recoil might be a factor buthere has to be a trade off when you get undr 10 ounces and it being so small also.

    great gun, kinda like others wish they would offer it in a hard chrome finish, but one cold get that done privately if need be...
  10. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

    Jul 30, 2006
    Johnson City, TN
    Are you not using a pocket holster? I recommend this one.
  11. Billy Shears

    Billy Shears Member

    Mar 16, 2008
    I was going to buy one of these, but I am not sure that I will. I say this because what I want is a very small gun that I can conceal in even the lightest of clothing, but as it happens, I already have a .380 that fits that description (and no, it's not a Kel Tec). I found that with a belly band holster, my old Remington Model 51 absolutely disappears under even the lightest t-shirt (I just have to wear a wife beater under the t-shirt to keep the gun butt off of my bare skin) The Remington is so flat there is no issue of bulge whatsoever, and the gun doesn't even print unless I bend forward at the waist -- so I squat or kneel down instead if I need to pick something up off the floor or tie my shoes, or whatever. My Remington has been thoroughly checked over by a gunsmith, and I've fired several hundred 90gr. Hydra-Shoks through it with no hiccups at all. And unlike the LCP or Kel Tec, there is no unpleasant recoil. In fact the gun is very mild and pleasant to shoot. The only issue is with the tiny, tiny sights -- smallest I've ever seen on a pistol.

    But I seldom carry even the Remington. I have a Kahr Mk40 which is usually small enough for any clothing I wear, and I'd much rather carry a .40 than a .380. Only when I need to carry under the very lightest of clothing do I take the Remington.
  12. Throwingdown

    Throwingdown Member

    Jun 15, 2008
    NW Indiana
    Try shooting some Buffalo Bore - talk about a hand stinger.....
  13. BoneDigger

    BoneDigger Member

    Jan 30, 2006
    Tyler, TX
    Your review mirrors mine almost to a T. I shot 100 rounds out of mine, but I had two FTE. However, I did not clean mine after buying it, so this range session was without and initial cleaning./ After later taking it apart, I found that it was extremely oily from the factory and probably contributed to the FTE.

    Regarding recoil... Yes, I agree, by the time I had shot my 100 rounds (also in less than an hour), my hand was shaking. It's not aweful, but it does get your attention. The web between my thumb and shooting finger got sore, as did my trigger finger from where it apparently was rubbing on the trigger guard.

    I found the accuracy quite good out to about 15 yards, then my shooting went to crap. Probably was just that I was moving out gradually and by the time I got out that far, I had already put probably 85 rounds through it.

    Either way, out to 15 yards I can put it in a good 6 inch circle. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it shot.

    I now have some more .380 ammo and will need to make another couple of range trips before I can realistically carry it. If I can get another 200+ rounds through it without a FTE, I'll consider carrying it. I seriously suspect that the earlier failures were due to no initial cleaning, but, we'll see...

    Overall, like you, I am impressed by this little pocket gun!

    Last edited: Mar 15, 2009
  14. Defense Minister

    Defense Minister Member

    Oct 4, 2008
    An LEO friend of mine just got an LCP, and the comments he made to me after his first trip to the range with it were very similar to the major points you made in your review. He only put 50 rounds through it, but had no malfunctions using Remington UMC 95 grain FMJ ammo.
  15. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME Member

    Mar 15, 2009
    No Mag Limit USA
    Good review

    I have a Kel-Tec P3AT, but if I walk into Gander Mt. and see a Ruger LCP for $350 I'm gonna buy it.

    I'm surprised to read the LCP has a hard kick; the P3AT is about the same size & weight as the Ruger and recoil is not a problem with Gold Dot or Winchester SXT, but I've not attempted to shoot 100 rounds in an hour with it.
  16. CZ223

    CZ223 Member

    Sep 6, 2006
    Good review but

    I would have to disagree on a couple of points. The trigger pull is long but I do not find it hard at all. Mine shoots very accurately for a gun of this size. I have no problem with the recoil either. I have put over 300 rounds through it in one session and 200 in another. Both session were quite pleasant though I did not clean the gun before shooting it the first time and had several failures to feed because of the heavy lube along with the sawdust that accumulated in my pocket over a two week period of time.:eek: I have had 0 failures since then. Definitely clean the gun first. I never leave home without the LCP now that I own it even when carrying my Glock which is about 90% of the time.
  17. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    United Socialist States of Obama
    Ah yes, the punishing, wrist breaking of the powerful 380 auto cartridge is almost unbearable....

    I disagree with your review on a few points, but a lot of it is subjective.

    First, I do not find the recoil all that bad. I shoot a lot of 357 mag and 44 mag though, and it is definitely less than 357 or 38 +P in a J frame. I have never hit myself in the head shooting one handed.

    Second, takedown is simple. It does require a screw driver to remove the takedown pin, but that is not a big deal. The Kel Tec 3AT is the same.

    I would not be too happy if mine was jamming 1 round out a hundred though. Maybe that will get better after you shoot it more, but a 1% failure rate is not acceptable.
  18. Blues Brother

    Blues Brother Member

    Aug 6, 2008
    the Gun has a stout kick, but I think what makes it seem worse is the handle shape. its skinny and hot much to hold on to, so it feels like a monster. keep in mind, its a self defense pocket pistol, not a range gun. it does what its supposed to. it conceals well, and fires. its not intended for pleasure shooting. its a purpose built handgun, and it serves its purpose well.
  19. Commander Crusty

    Commander Crusty Member

    Jan 30, 2008
    South East

    I had a S&W baby Sigma in .380--almost the same size and shape as the Ruger. The recoil on the baby Sigma was SHARP. It didn't actually flip much, and I could shoot it quickly, but it did hurt my hand. I finally sold the gun because even after a trip back to the factory and a stop at Novak's, it still only worked 95% of the time. The tiny sights eroded my confidence even further and I switched to a J-frame 637.


    I'm supposed to pick up my Ruger LCP this week, and will let you know what I think. I believe I'll take Ruger at their word and treat the LCP as a concealed carry gun--that is, carry it a lot, shoot it a little and don't expect to hit much at 25 yards. I wonder how long I should expect a pocket pistol to last. If I break it in, then shoot a couple of magazines through it every time I go to the range, wait, let me see: 3,000 rounds - 200 (to break it in) = 2,800 / 14 (that's 2 mag's worth) = 200 range sessions. So if I take it to the range 4 times per year, the gun should last 50 years. Heck, even if I went once a month, the pistol should still last 15 years. I can live with that.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2009
  20. KBintheSLC

    KBintheSLC Member

    Jul 30, 2007
    Stalingrad, USA
    I appreciate the detailed review. After trying the LCP, P3AT, and P32's, my wife and I ended up settling on a pair of P32's. This was mainly the result of the heavy recoil that you mentioned in your review. We were both able to shoot much faster and more accurately with the little 32. I really like the LCP, and may have considered it for myself, but my wife hated shooting it and I wanted our guns to share the same caliber. I assume that you can get used to the recoil of the tiny 380 with practice.

    Have fun and stay safe...

  21. skinewmexico

    skinewmexico Member

    May 22, 2006
    West Texas
    Sounds like a review of a P3AT from 4-5 years ago. Right down to using the rim of a shell for take down.
  22. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    Happy Valley, UT
    No, it doesn't. :)

    As for recoil, I was astounded how little the LCP recoiled, especially compared to the blowback operated .380s I've fired, which feel like they kick much harder. I could shoot the LCP all day.

    Remarkable how recoil is such a relative thing. For example, I don't like shooting 158-grain loads out of a S&W airweight, while others seem to have no trouble with them.
  23. ak-kev

    ak-kev Member

    Sep 6, 2007
    Lakeland, Florida
    We are down to just 3 people on the waiting list for these. They seem to be coming in every other week or so, 3 at a time. Maybe that means Ruger is stepping up production??? They appear to be very well built!
  24. midiwall

    midiwall Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Seattleish, WA
    The PF-9 is the same way, and I think the P-11 as well. I find it's actually a pretty nice feature.

    MICHAEL T Member

    Feb 3, 2004
    outback Kentucky
    Guess I keep my KelTec's I shoot Corbon one handed Can't belive the Ruger copy kicks that bad, I see no need on this pocket pistol for a 2 handed hold This is a close up pistol I can stay on a paper plate at 12 yds easy . Never been bit either I am over 6'
    I advise you pass on the Corbon if you were shooting plain old ball and belived it kicked . My wife is 5 4" and has no trouble either. Guess some just see and feel recoil different
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