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Ruger LCP 380 Review

This is our Ruger LCP 380 Review.

The Ruger LCP was introduced in 2008 and quickly became one of the most popular concealed carry firearms on the market as a compact .380 that the owner could easily set it in their pocket or carry in a small inside-waistband holster.

Before the Ruger LCP was introduced, the Kel-Tec P-3AT was on the market, which many will say that the LCP is a direct copy of. I tend to agree, but the reality is Ruger has had much more success with the LCP than Kel-Tec has had with the P-3AT.

Ruger LCP left front

There are hundreds of thousands of Ruger LCPs produced each year, and the company didn’t stop there: there’s also the LCP II standard and .22 models to boot. Many will say that the Ruger LCP is outdated compared to those other guns, while others actually prefer the classic LCP to the II. At the end of the day, that’s all going to be a matter of personal preference, but today’s review is going to focus on the standard Ruger LCP.

Size

MetricsRuger LCP
Weight w/ no mag (Oz)8.8
Weight w/ empty mag (Oz)9.9
Weight w/ full mag (Oz)12
Height (top of slide to bottom of magazine baseplate) (Inches)3.6
Length (Inches)5.19
Width of grip (Inches)0.76
Width of slide (Inches)0.76
Width across controls (Inches)0.837

Role

As stated earlier, the Ruger LCP is definitely a concealed-carry firearm. This is not a gun you’re going to take to the range and shoot hundreds of rounds through for fun or take your kids out to pop cans with.

It’s very purpose-built for concealed carry. As you can see in our size chart above, this gun is both very light and very small. Weighing in at just 12 ounces loaded, this gun will work for niche concealed-carry where normal concealed-carry options would not work as well.

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Sometimes weight is a very important factor when it comes to carrying.

These situations include working out or wearing clothing where a belt isn’t reasonable. If you plan on carrying this gun in the gym or when you go for a run, then you’re definitely going to want to look at it inside the waistband carrying. Many people will likely want to carry this gun at appendix-level as they’ll feel it’ll be more concealable, but for those types of activities, it makes more sense to carry the gun at the three o’clock position.

The reason it makes more sense to carry the gun at three o’clock is that that’s where your waistband will be the tightest on your torso. It will apply the most pressure against the holster and keep the gun the most stable while you’re moving around. Even though the gun only weighs 12 ounces, it’s still 12 ounces.

If you’ve ever gone running with your phone in your pocket, you know that any weight that isn’t held down tightly will swing and bounce around. That’s what will happen at appendix-level carry.

Most users will likely pocket-carry the Ruger LCP. It definitely works well for that as it’s a very small gun and will fit nicely in the pocket. You can carry it in your front pocket or in the rear, although I would suggest only carrying it in the front. Just like it’s easier for a pickpocket to swipe a wallet out of a rear pocket than your front, the same principle applies to the Ruger LCP (or any gun).

Boot Carry

Something not everybody will do is boot carry. I personally wear Western-style boots quite a bit and find boot carry to be a convenient option to carry a gun like the LCP. Is it the most practical carry position from a speed standpoint?

No — I carry a bunch of stuff in my pockets and don’t have room for a gun like the LCP, but I do have room in my boot. There’s just something American and badass about carrying a gun in your boot. (Even better is carrying a gun in both boots!)

Features 

In this review, we’re going to cover all the features and details of this firearm. The gun has a six-round capacity and while that may not sound like a lot, six rounds of .380 will hopefully be enough to get the job done in most concealed-carry situations. This gun is very small and lightweight, so having a lot more ammo would definitely make the gun heavier.

Magwell

Loading the Ruger LCP II is not the easiest thing in the world, but it’s not that hard either. The well can actually be kind of hard to see, so I’ve actually developed a somewhat unique technique to load it.

I press the magazines in using the base of my palm and then I actually grip the top tips of my fingers around the top of the slide and pull the base of my palm towards the top of the slide to make sure the magazine is fully seated. 

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I know that may sound a little bit odd if you’re used to reloading other normal guns, but on the Ruger LCP, a different approach might be necessary. The grip is very short and your fingers and palm can get in the way of getting your magazine fully seated in the firearm.

Grip/Ergonomics

Ruger LCP review right rear

Ergonomics is something that is very important when you’re choosing a concealed-carry firearm and the Ruger LCP is no exception. I’m actually surprisingly impressed with the ergonomics of this gun.

General feel

The Ruger LCP has nice rounded edges all around the body. It feels nice in the hand even with my larger frame. I’m able to get a very high grip on the gun without the web of my hand hurting or any of the joints in my knuckles directly connecting with the frame. This can be an issue on a lot of other smaller guns, but it’s not on the LCP.

I think Ruger did a fantastic job designing the ergonomics of this firearm and it feels really good in my hand.

Texturing

Ruger LCP front sight

The texturing on the Ruger LCP II is also pretty darn decent. There’s texture on the front strap, backstrap, and side panels. This texturing is actually checkered. Somewhat old-school, but it works. It’s not too aggressive and won’t shake your skin, but it’s also aggressive enough it’s going to keep the gun in place. I really don’t have any complaints about this and think the texturing on this gun is perfectly appropriate for the gun itself.

Sights

Sights are going to be my biggest complaint in this Ruger LCP review. These sights are extremely low-profile and themselves are milled into the slide. The rear-sight notch is fairly wide and actually has enough depth. It’s the front sight that I have basic complaints about. 

Ruger LCP sights

It’s completely slick with no texturing, so it doesn’t pick up very easily to the eye. I’ve actually painted the front sight with pink nail polish to provide a little more contrast when shooting. When I get a chance, I’ll likely take that off and get some bright yellow or green polish or luminescent paint to put on the front.

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Before you make this modification to your gun, make sure you take some of your wife or girlfriend’s nail polish remover (or any acetone-based wash) and clean off the front sight of your gun very well before applying the nail polish.

This mod works really well to help provide a little bit of contrast, but at the same time, these sights will never be target sights. This isn’t a gun you’re going to print groups with at 25 yards, this is a gun you’re likely going to be trying to hit vital zones within seven yards.

Ruger LCP front sight

Obviously, there are no aftermarket sights for this gun considering how it’s set up, and that really is a downside. The upside of the sighting system is they’re not likely to snag when you pull them out of a pocket. Any kind of aftermarket sights that have a good sight picture would likely snag.

Controls Ruger LCP Review

The controls on this firearm are extremely simple — as they should be since this is a purpose-built concealed-carry firearm.

Mag release

The magazine release on this gun works fairly well. I’m able to release the magazine without breaking my grip, although if somebody has slightly larger hands than myself, they may have to break to release the mag. 

You’re also going to have to break your grip to get the magazine out of the gun, though, so that’s a bit of a double-edged sword. The magazine release is square and a push-button that works just fine. This gun might have been better suited with a hill-style magazine release considering it was designed for pocket carry.

Ruger LCP Review Slide stop

There is a slide stop on this gun, although my example does not work. The follower in the magazine doesn’t have enough pressure to press the slide stop up. I can manually press it up, but it’s still not the easiest thing to do. It’s a very low-profile design and seems almost inset into the frame, so I consider the stop on this gun absolutely useless. 

Once I do manually lock back the slide, which isn’t easy to do, I can press it up and then easily press it down to drop the slide itself. This is not a feature you’re likely going to be using on the Ruger LCP, so it’s probably not that big of a deal that the design isn’t that great.

Slide Ruger LCP Review

Ruger LCP trigger

The slide itself has rear serrations and they work well enough. They aren’t great. I really wish they were more aggressive. This doesn’t have an easy-to-pull-back slide as the slide itself is fairly heavy. I really wish this gun had forward serrations like the LCP II and I wish said serrations were a lot more aggressive. It would really make the gun a lot easier to load and unload. The finish on the slide is also fairly slick, which doesn’t make the matter any easier.

Trigger

The Ruger LCP has a single-action hammer-fired trigger, but it feels like a double-action-only trigger. The trigger itself is almost like an HK LEM that is partially caught. You have to pull the hammer back a little bit more by pulling the trigger.

Trigger Pull

When you go through to pull the trigger, you’re going to feel just the slightest bit of initial take-up. It’s going to be a very short distance, and then you’re going to feel a consistent build-up in weight while the trigger breaks. The trigger is going to reset all the way back to the front. You’ll feel a false reset halfway in the middle, but that’s not it. You have to let the trigger all the way out to reset. 

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Overall, I like this trigger and I actually find it fairly shootable. I can get some pretty good groups close in with this trigger. A lot of people don’t like the long, consistent pull, but I do. Everybody’s going to have their own opinion on this.

Aftermarket Ruger LCP 380 Review

There isn’t really an aftermarket for the Ruger LCP. There are some magazine accessories and extensions, but that’s about it. You can’t replace the sights, and it really doesn’t make sense to replace any of the other parts on this gun anyway. I know there are some trigger kits, but I can’t see tearing this gun apart to replace the trigger. We’ll get to that in the shooting portion.

Maintenance

Maintaining the Ruger LCP is a little bit harder than most firearms just because the take-down does require some sort of tool. To take the pistol down, you’ll need to push. First, ensure the gun is unloaded, and then push the slide and barrel back to the point that you can then pop the take-down lever out using the tip of a knife or a screwdriver.

The take-down pin is located in the middle of the firearm where the pin would be on most other guns as well.

Once you pop that out, the slide will come forward and right off. From there, you can disassemble it into the recoil assembly slide and barrel. It’s easy to clean and lubricate and then reassemble.

Ruger LCP 380 Review Aesthetics

Aesthetically, this gun isn’t attractive but it isn’t completely unattractive either. The gun just looks somewhat old-school. It looks like something from 2008 and not in a bad way. 

Ruger LCP review right rear

It’s like when you look at an old pick-up truck that’s been well-kept. The pickup truck still looks good, it just doesn’t look good by modern standards. The gun looks somewhat dated and dated isn’t always a bad thing. It has a classic look that will age fairly well.

Shooting

Shooting this gun is somewhat surprising. It’s a very small gun, so initially, you might think the recoil isn’t going to be that bad. The reality is that this grip is very small, and if you have larger hands, it’s hard to get a stable grip on. That means that the gun is going to have a lot of recoil and you will feel it. It is going to move and jerk around in your hand. I’ve always been very good at getting a first accurate shot off of the Ruger LCP, but after that, my group size opens up substantially. 

Ruger LCP & LCP2

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This is because I’ve developed an immediate flinch with this gun. This gun has a lot of recoil and isn’t easy to shoot. That’s the reason I can’t see adding an aftermarket trigger part to this gun. Your biggest fight for accuracy is going to be controlling the recoil and a naturally developing flinch. If you control that, maybe it’s worth upgrading the trigger. If not, continue to work on your grip and just hang on, as it’s going to be a wild ride.

Final Thoughts Ruger LCP 380 Review

Overall, the Ruger LCP is a pretty darn good gun for what it is. It works fine, but you may want to consider something outside of the .380 caliber. If you’re looking for a .380 small pocket pistol, this is definitely a very good option despite its faults.

The slide serrations and slick slide are a major downside for me. One thing I’ve also noticed is the finish Ruger has on these firearms very weak. It develops surface rust very quickly.

Overall, the gun is certainly workable but it seems disposable. This is not a gun you’ll likely pass down to your great-grandchildren. This is a gun you’ll use and eventually wear out if you shoot it enough. It’ll likely get destroyed or get passed down in a box of broken parts.

As long as you know what to expect from a Ruger LCP, you’ll be happy with it. It’ll likely get you hundreds of rounds of service but isn’t going to last for tens of thousands of rounds. That said, I don’t know if my hand could honestly last shooting this gun tens of thousands of rounds. I hope you’ve enjoyed this review. Please let us know your thoughts below!

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6 Replies to “Ruger LCP 380 Review”

  1. Gene Killingsworth says:

    The LCP does not have an automatic slide lock after the last round is fired. It’s manual only. Your example is working as designed.

    The LCP II when equipped with the revised LCP II design magazines does have an automatic slide lock.

  2. I have a Ruger LCP but it is no good to me the slide is so hard to work I can’t use it. I have shot it one time due to the slide being so hard to work, also my pistol will not lock open. I tried to take it back but the gun store said no way he had two more he is listing on ebay just to make them go away.

    1. Harrison says:

      eBay would take those listings down ASAP so your dealer is giving you a line.

  3. I have a Ruger LCP but it is no good to me, due the slide is so hard to work. It takes me a lot of work just to get a round in it. Today I saw that a slide hook it being made for loading, unloading and take down. I see this pistol as a unuseablle gun.

  4. Your comment will not be posted if it’s down playing or just giving the facts on this pistol.

    1. Harrison says:

      Nope, comments must be approved. If we didn’t this blog would be spammed with all the normal spam links.

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