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Ruger LCP vs LCP II

Ruger LCP vs LCP 2 X

Today, I’m comparing the Ruger LCP vs LCP II and its Lite variant.

Ruger introduced the LCP in 2008 and it was a great success, taking over the concealed-carry market. Despite the gun’s massive popularity, some people still had complaints about the design. They felt the trigger was too long and that some other features of the gun were subpar. 

To address these issues, Ruger introduced the Ruger LCP II. The Ruger LCP continued to be wildly popular while its second-generation sold very well in turn.

Seeing the success of both of these guns, Ruger took the Ruger LCP II design and turned it into a .22-style pistol like the Ruger LCP II Lite. I’m going to compare all three of these firearms to see which may be the best gun for you.

Size

MetricsRuger LCPRuger LCP IIRuger LCP II Lite
Weight w/ no mag (Oz)8.89.59.7
Weight w/ empty mag (Oz)9.910.711.0
Weight w/ full mag (Oz)1212.812.2
Height (top of slide to bottom of magazine baseplate) (Inches)3.63.63.92
Length (Inches)5.195.155.15
Width of grip (Inches)0.760.9.9
Width of slide (Inches)0.760.82.82
Width across controls (Inches)0.8370.86.94

As you can see from our chart, the size of these guns is dang near identical. The Ruger LCP II Lite is a little over a quarter of an inch longer than the other two options due to the magazine design. The magazine on the Ruger LCP II Lite holds 10 rounds of .22, so it’s a little bit longer than the flush-fit magazines on the Ruger LCP and LCP II. Both the LCP and LCP II hold six rounds of .380. 

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The LCP II does have a weight disadvantage to the classic LCP being almost one ounce heavier. There are also two other dimensions that are drastically different. The classic LCP’s grip width is much thinner than that of the Ruger LCP II and LCP II Lite.

It’s around an eighth of an inch thinner than the other two guns mentioned. While this may not sound like a lot, for some people this will affect concealment. Look at that from a percentage standpoint and you’ll see it’s a pretty large difference.

Another dimension to look at is the width across the controls. The Ruger LCP II Lite is around a tenth of an inch larger than the regular Ruger LCP. That’s due to a push-style safety on the Lite. This safety style adds a little bit of width. That said, this safety is a very small part of the gun and will not affect concealment for 99 percent of users.

Ruger LCP vs LCP II/Lite Concealed Carry

All of these guns are definitely suited for concealed carry. As I said earlier, they’re almost identical in size and weight. There really isn’t going to be a difference in how they’re carried. Most people will carry these either for inside the waistband (IWB) carry (for roles where they can not wear a belt and need a lightweight gun) or in the pocket. These guns could also work for other, more niche applications like ankle or boot carry.

I’ve been known to carry a small .380 in my cowboy boot many times before.

This is actually an effective way of carrying a firearm, but it is not a quick-access carry method. All of these guns work well for that being well under the 16-ounce threshold. I am going to have to say there isn’t an advantage for the Ruger LCP over the LCP II design here due to the width and the grip being slightly narrower.

This can be important when you’re carrying inside the waistband if you’re wearing a tighter or fitted shirt. If you’re using this gun for running, jogging, or working out in the gym, then this could be a big deal. 

Carry Positions

For doing those activities, I suggest carrying these guns at the three o’clock position. Carrying a gun at three o’clock is one of the least concealable positions on your waistband. But the upside of it is it also offers the most natural tension on your waistband.

Your waistband is curving around your hip at that point and it provides a nice stable platform for the gun that you’re not going to get when carrying a gun further behind the hip or at the appendix position. 

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This is especially important if you’re doing any cardio where you’re going to be moving quite a bit. Just throw your phone in your pocket and go for a short sprint. You’ll see that the phone moves around a lot. The same thing happens with a gun when it’s unsupported or has less support when being carried at the appendix or behind the hip.

Place your finger between your waistband and your body and you’ll see that it feels tighter right at the three o’clock in the hip than it will if you’re carrying forward of or behind the hips.

Ergonomics overall

There is quite a difference in the ergonomics of these handguns. For all intents and purposes, the LCP II and the LCP II Lite have identical ergonomics, so we’re going to treat those guns as one singular gun design in this situation. The Ruger LCP is quite different.

Frame

All of these frames lack any kind of modularity — what you see is what you get. When it comes to how they feel in the hand, I personally prefer the thinner frame on the Ruger LCP. This is somewhat unusual for me as I’d normally prefer much wider pistols. That being said, this frame just feels better in the hand. It’s very well-rounded at the rear, which is not something I can say for the Ruger LCP II. That design just doesn’t feel as comfortable in that area.

Grip: Buyer’s Preference

Ruger LCP vs LCP 2 Grips

The grip length of the firearm is very short for both the Ruger LCP and the LCP II/Lite. I get three-quarters of my middle finger on the bottom of the grip with the flush-fit magazines. Due to the extra length on the grip on the Ruger LCP II Lite, I’m able to get my full middle finger on there, although I can’t really get any of my pinky on that grip. 

Ruger LCP & LCP2

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That said, I am going to get the most control with the Lite due to the longer grip. At the end of the day, I have talked to some people who prefer the ergonomics of the Ruger LCP II design to the original LCP. It’s really going to come down to personal preference. I think most users will be better suited with the ergonomics of the Ruger LCP vs the LCP II. We’ll cover more on that in the shooting section later on.

Texture: 

Ruger LCP vs LCP 2 Front straps

The texture on both of these designs is actually very good. Ruger has good texture on both the front strap, back strap, and sides. On the Ruger LCP II, the texturing appears to be a little bit more aggressive on the front than the back straps, while the sides have slightly less aggressive texturing. This is good since the side of the gun will be the part that is sitting against your body. 

Ruger LCP vs LCP 2 Backstraps

On the standard LCP, they have texturing on the backstrap, serrations on the front strap, and they have texture on the sides. Again, the texturing on the original Ruger LCP is very good as well. I don’t have any complaints about any of these texturing, but I do say I prefer the texturing on the Ruger LCP II. It’s just a more modern touch and better than the checkering on the original LCP. The texture of these guns is perfectly appropriate for the design. I think you’ll be happy with either the original Ruger LCP or the LCP II.

Slide LCP vs LCP II

Ruger LCP vs LCP 2 Slides

This is one of the most drastic differences in these firearms besides the ergonomics. The slide on the Ruger LCP is somewhat hard to manipulate. This is a small .380, so it’s a very small gun with heavy recoil spring. It’s not the easiest slide to rack unless you’re very used to dealing with firearms. I rack pistols quite often throughout the day, and those are muscles that I’ve built up specifically and can use very well. 

Ruger LCP vs LCP 2 LCP Slide

Most people aren’t me and don’t handle pistols on such a regular basis. If that’s the case, they’re going to find the slide very hard to rack due to weight. The serrations at the rear of the gun are sufficient, but they aren’t great. They can definitely be improved.

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It wouldn’t be nice to see deeper serrations on the Ruger LCP. There are also no front serrations, which means the only way to really rack the slide is to take your thumb and the side of your index finger and pull the slide back. You could go overhand using your palm, but this slide is very small and it’s not as easy for me to do that as it is to punch the slides with my thumb and index finger. 

LCP 2

Ruger LCP vs LCP 2 Slide

Separately, the Ruger LCP II has very deep and good serrations on both the front and rear of the slide. They’re angled, so you get a natural position when you’re going to rack. The retool spring also feels slightly lighter in this gun. Again, I like using the punch method better with this gun and also using the front serrations for press-checking.

This gun just seems a lot easier to work for most users. If you want this gun in .380 and racking the slide is a concern, then you’re definitely going to want to go with the Ruger LCP II vs the Ruger LCP. The Ruger LCP II Lite, on the other hand, has the same serrations as the Ruger LCP. That’s great, but another great feature is that the recoil spring is extremely light here. In fact, I’m pretty sure you could teach a five-year-old kid to operate the Ruger LCP II effectively. It’s very easy and light to rack the slide — there’s a reason they put “Lite” at the end of the name.

Sights

Ruger LCP vs LCP 2 Sights

The sights on all of these guns are near identical. They’re milled into the slide and are very low-profile. This is so that they won’t snag when you’re using the gun and pulling it out of a pocket.

The LCP II design has serrations built into the front and rear sight, while the Ruger LCP has no serrations whatsoever. In theory, the original Ruger LCP sights can have a little more glare on them than the sights on the LCP II and LCP II Lite.

That means I’m going to have to give some points to the LCP, but let’s be honest: these sights aren’t good on either pistol. On my Ruger LCP, I added a little bit of nail polish to the front sight to make it more high-contrast. I plan on doing the same thing to both of my Ruger LCP IIs. The front sight on all these guns is hard to pick up and is a really weak point in the design. 

The rear notch of these guns actually isn’t that bad. I would have liked to have seen Ruger install some sort of front sight that’s interchangeable or higher-contrast and keep the same rear sight design they have now.

Controls

The controls of these guns are going to be pretty similar with one exception, and that’s going to be on the Ruger LCP II Lite. We’ll cover that below.

Safety

Ruger LCP vs LCP 2 Safety

The Ruger LCP and LCP II do not have any sort of external safety on these guns. The Ruger LCP II Lite being rimfire does have a push-forward safety at the rear of the gun on the left-hand side of the pistol.

The safety is only set up for a right-handed user and would not be easy for a left-handed user to use. Personally, I don’t care for the design. This is the biggest downside of the Ruger LCP II Lite for me. 

The safety is somewhat hard to manipulate and it’s just in a bad position. If they could’ve moved it forward just a little bit, it would have been helpful. I see why they didn’t move further forward, and we’ll discuss that later when we start talking about the slide stop. The safety works, but it’s not great. That really is my biggest complaint about the Ruger LCP II Lite.

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Trigger LCP vs LCP II

The triggers on these guns are going to be pretty different for each. One of the big complaints that people had about the original Ruger LCP was this long, heavy trigger pull. Unfortunately, heavy triggers seemed to be something that goes with the territory on these small .380s. I’m going to cover each of these triggers separately. 

Ruger LCP

The trigger on the original Ruger LCP has a slight little bit of takeup that you’re then going to start feeling a smooth, hard pull from. It’s not brief; it feels more like a double-action pistol.

A lot of people do not like this long pull, but as long as you pull through consistently, I find it quite nice and controllable. It’s actually my favorite trigger of the .380 Ruger LCPs. I much prefer it to the Ruger LCP II trigger. That said, I seem to be an exception and many others prefer to trigger-only Ruger LCP II.

Ruger LCP II

The trigger on the Ruger LCP II is a similar style in that it is a hammer-fired trigger that is halfway pre-cocked. This trigger though has light take-up (more like a striker-fired trigger) and then you’re going to go in and feel somewhat of a rolling break.

It’s somewhere between a hard and a rolling break. It’s much shorter than the LCP, and it’s frankly a pretty good trigger for a small firearm like this. 

However, it’s very predictable and I don’t like that on a small .380 that has a lot of recoil. I like a trigger that’s going to surprise me slightly more as it’s less likely to cause me to flinch. If flinching with a very small .380 pistol has a lot of recoils isn’t an issue for you, then you’ll probably go for the trigger on the LCP II.

Ruger LCP II Lite

The Ruger LCP II Lite has a trigger that feels very much like a striker-fired trigger as well. You’re going to have your light takeup and then go in and have some creep. That creep is going to be fairly heavy before you reach a pretty hard break. I say it’s still a very shootable trigger.

Slide Stops

The slide lock on these guns is also designed somewhat differently. My Ruger LCP II slide lock does not work due to a problem with the magazine follower, which just doesn’t reliably push up the lock on this gun. My gun store said that’s a very common issue they see with these small firearms. For me, it doesn’t cause reliability issues, so it’s not worth sending back to Ruger. 

Ruger LCP vs LCP 2 Slide Stops

It’s not easy to use this slide lock to manually press the slide up to the rear to lock it back in case you have a malfunction. That said, it does drop fairly easily if you can get it locked back.

I don’t dislike this design, but I don’t love it either. It’s low-profile and stays out of the way. That’s a nice feature, but overall, it doesn’t add a lot to the gun. I don’t think a slide lock is a very important feature on these small backup pistols.

The standard Ruger LCP, on the other hand, has an excellently designed slide lock for its size. It’s a piece of rolled and textured sheet metal that sticks just far enough out that you can easily press it up to lock the slide back manually, or you can press it down to drop the slide. I’m very impressed with what Ruger did on this design.

Problems

It’s the same slide lock on the Ruger LCP II Lite with the only exception being that the push-button-style safety sits in front of the slide lock on the Lite. This push-button safety prevents you from easily accessing the slide lock.

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Sure, it can be done, but it’s not as easy when you have a high grip. I’m able to do it because my thumb joint sits perfectly on top of that position, but if somebody has slightly shorter or longer thumbs than myself, that safety is going to cause an issue. They’re going to have to compromise their grip to use the slide lock to drop the slag.

Magazine Release LCP vs LCP II

Ruger LCP vs LCP 2 Magazine Releases

The magazine release on all these guns is a push-button-style release that is not ambidextrous. Personally, it works fine, and I don’t see anybody having any issues with this. Almost anyone should be able to release the magazine without having to compromise their grip on either of these guns. I really don’t see a difference between the Ruger LCP vs the LCP II when it comes to their magazine release.

Magazine Well

Loading the Ruger LCP II seems to be a little bit easier than loading the original LCP. The LCP II is just slightly easier to get the magazine into, and when I lift my grip up to get the magazine in, it seems to go smoother. 

Ruger LCP vs LCP 2 Magwells

To fully see the magazine on the classic LCP, I sometimes have to use a slightly untraditional technique. I have to go up, place the magazine in, and then wrap my fingers on top of the slide while pushing the magazine with the base of my hand to make sure the magazine is fully seated. That can be a little bit weird, but it does get the fully-loaded magazine seated in the firearm reliably.

Quality

The quality of these guns is pretty much on par with one another. I can’t tell the difference between the quality of any of these. The frame materials appear to be similar and these slides are identical when it comes to texture and finish.

The Ruger LCP II definitely has better serrations on the slides that we mentioned earlier, but I don’t think that really is a reference to the quality of the pistol.

Aftermarket

There are very few aftermarket options for any of these guns. However, you’re going to see more aftermarket options for the .380 series than you will for the .22 Lite. That’s because there are a couple of aftermarket trigger kits for these guns. Those and some magazine extensions and parts are really going to be all you have for these guns. If you’re wanting guns that can be fully modified, these are not it.

Aesthetics

Ruger LCP vs LCP 2 Square

Aesthetically, I actually prefer the looks of the standard Ruger LCP. It just seems slightly more proportional than the other guns. That said, it’s still not a showstopper. The LCP II has a very narrow muzzle and a very fat and wide grip. The same description applies to the Ruger LCP, but it doesn’t seem as extreme. The grip doesn’t look as large on the original LCP, so I prefer the looks of that firearm.

Shooting

This is where we’re going to see a bigger difference in each firearm. The Ruger LCP and the LCP II both have a lot of recoils, while the Ruger LCP II Lite being a .22 has almost no recoil at all. First, we’ll cover the .380 LCPs and then we’ll talk about the Lite. 

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There is no doubt that shooting either of these guns is not fun. .380 recoil in such a small gun just isn’t good, especially if you have larger hands. These grips are very small and it can be difficult to get complete control over them. If you have smaller hands, you’ll actually most likely feel less recoil than someone else with larger hands will.

Accuracy

When it comes to shooting, I find them a little bit more accurate with the Ruger LCP vs the LCP II. I attribute this to the ergonomics of the grip and the long, heavy trigger pull. This trigger forces me to really pay attention to my pull and not to the recoil that is coming from the little hand cannon.

This is not a gun that I can shoot well for very long. The amount of recoil from either of these small pistols causes me to develop a flinch very quickly. No amount of ball, dummy rounds or dry fire has helped this. These guns just have a lot of recoil and that isn’t fun to shoot. This is going to be the point where commenters start telling me about how much of a wimp I am, and frankly, I’m going to agree.

The thing is, I find it fun to shoot .44 Magnum handguns all day long, but shooting these little lightweight .380s is just painful. I’m always pretty good with my first shot on target with these guns, but immediately my group size opens up drastically.

Ruger LCP II Lite

The Ruger LCP II Lite, on the other hand, is an incredibly easy gun to shoot accurately, at least close in. The sights on this gun do become an issue as you start getting further out. Part of that is a mental game, as you’re not sure how your ammo is going to be regulated since these sights have no option for any kind of adjustment. 

That being said, the gun does track well on target and if you’re very close (e.g. three yards out), it’s no problem whatsoever to hit a dime-sized target quickly.

Once you start moving back to five or seven yards, that opens up quickly and instead of measuring something in three-eighths of an inch or a half-inch, your target might immediately go to three to four inches spread.

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I blame that all on the sights of this gun. If you get this gun back at 10 yards, you can still shoot a very tight group. That said, it may not be point-of-aim, point-of-impact. That point-of-aim, point-of-impact will likely change drastically depending on the .22 ammunition you’re using.

Price/Value

Ruger LCP vs LCP 2 Facing Away

MSRP on the LCP is $259 while the going price on the LCP II and II Lite is $349. There is no doubt the LCP represents a substantial value of the LCP II, but the trigger and slide design might make the II a better value for you. The LCP II Lite is really in a class of its own, and if you value the low recoil and shootability, the extra $90 is worth it. 

Final Thoughts

Really, this argument can come down to whether or not .22 or .380 is the better caliber for self-defense. This article really has covered everything but that.

Personally, I think an accurate well-placed .22 is going to beat a .380 somewhere on the target all day long. Shot placement really is everything, and that’s very possible with the Ruger LCP II Lite.

The regular Ruger LCPs don’t have a lot of power when they are .380-round. .380 (or any pistol) rounds are always a compromise. It’d be much better to have rifle-caliber in a self-defense situation or just avoid the situation altogether. That said, sometimes we don’t have that choice and we have to work with the cards we’re dealt.

I personally would take a Ruger LCP II Lite with .22-caliber velocitors, which I have tried in the gun and know they will run reliably. If you do decide to go with the Ruger LCP II Lite, then I would definitely suggest running the ammo you plan to carry to make sure it is reliable.

Reliability

Just because your buddy’s LCP II Lite will run it doesn’t mean yours will as well. That is one downside of the Ruger LCP II Lite over the other .380 versions; the .380 variants are going to be less picky with ammo.

That said, a buddy of mine has had a lot of issues with his and he’s decided it’s just easier to run ball ammo in his Ruger LCP.

At the end of the day, you have to decide which gun will work better for you. I think there can be a solid argument made for the Ruger LCP if you like the heavier trigger and the slimmer profile, whereas the Ruger LCP II is definitely easier to rack for most users. Many people may find that trigger preferable as well.

As I said before, if a .22 is something you can live with, then the Ruger LCP II Lite is going to be hard to beat with the biggest downside of the gun being a thumb-safety design. Please let me know your thoughts below.

Pros/Cons

Ruger LCP Pros

  • Thin
  • Consistent trigger pull

Ruger LCP Cons

  • Recoil 
  • Hard to shoot well

LCP II Pros

  • Trigger Reset
  • Serrations on the sights

LCP II Cons

  • Recoil
  • Ergonomics
  • Hard to shoot well

Ruger LCP II Lite Pros

  • Trigger reset
  • Capacity
  • Low recoil
  • Very shootable
  • Serrations on the sights

LCP II Lite Cons

  • Ergonomics
  • Push-style safety

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