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Ruger LCR Review

When the Ruger LCR was introduced, it was considered well ahead of its time. The company made use of modern manufacturing technology by using a hybrid aluminum and polymer frame as opposed to a typical alloy-only setup. This is our Ruger LCR Review.

Ruger LCR Review blade and ammo

Their goal with this product was to compete with the Smith & Wesson J-frame, specifically used with the 642 and 442 series.

These small Airweight revolvers came in at a more reasonable price than the classic steel S&W firearms.

Ruger had their SP101 series of revolvers, but they didn’t have any lightweight and reasonably-priced concealed carry options. 

The Ruger SP101s, while great guns, are built on all-steel frames and are relatively expensive compared to the S&W 442 and 642s.

The LCR’s manufacturing process helped to lower the price of the revolvers and its contemporary appeal was emphasized in initial marketing campaigns.

The original came in with a .38 special offering that weighed 13.8 ounces unloaded.

The company later released a model that could handle Magnum power loads but weighed a couple of ounces more and used a steel frame instead of the aluminum of the original.

Ruger LCR/LCRx

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Ruger has introduced various models of the LCR throughout the years that have all been reasonably popular.

While many were skeptical of the more modern approach to the revolver, the Ruger LCR has earned its place in the American revolver market.

Size/Purpose

The Ruger LCR was designed for self-defense and concealed carry.

There are a lot of advantages to having a simple, lightweight, easy-to-use revolver.

The Ruger LCR checks all those boxes.

Weight

As I said earlier, the weight of the original LCR was 13.8 ounces.

That’s still the weight of the .38 special variants. Their Magnum power variants add a bit extra weight to the gun, however, coming in at around 17 ounces.

Depending on the caliber and capacity of your LCR, the weight might vary a little bit.

That said, all LCRs are very lightweight weapons.

Frame 

The frame of the LCR is what made it different from most of its competitors.

It features a polymer lower unit that holds the trigger, grip, and hammer.

The upper portion of the firearm has the cylinder and barrel made from aluminum in the standard and steel in the Magnum variant.

These frames hold a barrel insert, making it a little bit different from most of the other revolvers on the market.

The frame itself is well-rounded and doesn’t have any sharp, pointy parts that could poke through or make carry uncomfortable for the shooter.

Caliber & Barrel Length


The Ruger LCR is available in multiple different calibers and configurations but is most commonly sold with a 1.87-inch barrel. Y

ou can get this version of the gun in both .38 special and 22LR. The Magnum variant of the Ruger LCR has a couple more caliber offerings with .22 Magnum, .327 Magnum, .357 Magnum, and 9mm.

Ruger LCR/LCRx

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Caliber offerings in the three-inch barrel are a little more limited.

The three-inch barrel variant with a standard frame is available in .22 and .38 special,  but you can get the gun in .22 Magnum and .357 Magnum when you move up to the three-inch Magnum version.

Unfortunately, there is no .327 Magnum offering, which is the caliber I would like to see on an LCR with a three-inch.

Variants

The gun has two different variants: the standard LCR and the LCRx.

The standard has an encased hammer and is double-action-only, while the LCRx has a double-action/single-action system so you can cock the hammer if you wish to fire.

Many consider having a single-action trigger as a big plus on the Ruger LCRx.

That said, there are some changes in the double-action when you move from the regular LCR to the LCRx, but we’ll cover that below in the Trigger section.

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Capacity

The capacity of the Ruger LCR series depends on the caliber which you choose.

If you choose the .22 variant, you’ll get eight rounds of .22 LR in the gun, but if you go with .22 Magnum, you’ll only get six.

The .327 Federal Magnum also gets six rounds in the Ruger LCR, while the 9mm, .357, and .38 versions only get five rounds’ capacity.

When you’re carrying a gun like a revolver, capacity can make a big difference.

One extra round might not sound a lot, but when you’re going from five to six that can make a massive difference.

Cylinder Latch

Ruger LCR Review cylinder release

The cylinder latch on the Ruger LCR is a standard Ruger-style push-button latch, which is different from most other revolvers on the market.

This is one of my favorite parts of this gun.

The latch is extremely intuitive and easy to use. It’s something that makes sense to almost anybody right off the bat, even if that person is not familiar with firearms.

LCR Sights

The Ruger LCR has some of the better sights on the market regarding these smaller revolvers.

If you get one of the 1.87-inch barrel variants, you’re going to notice that the sights are much different than the sights on the three-inch variant.

We’ll cover both of these, but we’ll start with the shorty version.

Ruger LCR Review front sight

The Ruger LCR has a fixed front sight with the rearview being just a groove in the back of the frame like most other revolvers.

What sets the Ruger LCR front sight apart is that it’s painted and has a white stripe on the front.

It has much higher visibility than most other sighting systems on the market.

Ruger LCR Review sights

These sights aren’t incredible when comparing them to most sights available for semi-automatic pistols, but they’re some of the better revolver sights out there.

The rear sight leaves a lot to be desired, but the front is decent. 

You can also replace it by just popping out the pin quickly. The fact that you can get Tritium night sights or fiber optic sights for the Ruger LCR gives it a significant advantage over most of its similarly-priced competitors.

LCRx Sights

The Ruger LCRx and its three-inch variant have a target-style sight. The sight is adjustable for elevation. 

Ruger LCR 3 Inch Review side shot left

It’s just your standard posted notch-style sight, but it has a more traditional look to it — standard square notch and square front post.

This front sight also has the same high visibility white stripe on the front sight. I find the sights on the three-inch variant much easier to shoot, but they’re also much higher-profile.

They’re more likely to snag than the low-profile sights on the shorty gun.

Ruger LCR 3 Inch Review Sight Picture

The rear sight on the three-inch Ruger LCRx also seems somewhat fragile.

Is it super delicate?

No, but does it seem like if you dropped it on concrete that it would probably snap?

Yes.

I haven’t tried that (and I don’t plan to) but I definitely wouldn’t bet that this gun’s rear sight would make it through a drop onto a hard surface.

Trigger

The trigger on the Ruger LCR depends on which variant and caliber you have. It breaks down into four categories. 

Ruger LCR Review trigger

To start, you have the LCR, which does not have the exposed hammer and is double-action-only.

Then you have the LCRx, which has the exposed hammer and is double-action/single-action. Finally, you have the rimfire variants of each of those styles of triggers. We’ll get the rimfire variants out of the way first.

The rimfire LCRs have a very heavy trigger pull.

It takes a lot more force to ignite a rimfire round than a standard centerfire cartridge. 

Not good for the Ruger LCR Review but a reality.

While this seems somewhat counterintuitive, the reality is you get a very heavy trigger pull on the Ruger LCR and the LCRx when you’re shooting the guns in double-action.

I have an LCR in .22 that I love to carry for lightweight activities as it’s a very shootable gun, but keep in mind that triggers can be an issue.

This gun works excellent inside of five yards.

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At three yards, I can hit a dime with speedy split times.

Getting three rounds in under a second into a one-inch square at three yards. But when I move out past five yards, the sights and trigger make the gun much harder to shoot and my accuracy gets substantially worse. 

The Ruger LCRx suffers from the same fate in the double-action trigger pull when you’re dealing with the rimfire cartridges.

LCR Centerfire Triggers

The Centerfire triggers are much better. 

The Ruger LCR has one of the best double-action triggers I have ever felt in a revolver. Especially when you consider the price point.

Is it as good as a finely-tuned Smith & Wesson trigger or a high-end Korth revolver?

No, but it is a lot better than the average or even performance-centered J-frame from your local gun store.

The trigger pull on the Ruger LCR is exceptionally light for what it is and makes it a very shootable gun.

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That’s why a lot of people like the Ruger LCR in .327 Magnum for more inexperienced shooters.

It still has an easy-to-use double-action trigger pull, but in .327 Magnum, you can also load the gun and other calibers such as the .32 Smith & Wesson and S&W Long. 

A big plus in our Ruger LCR Review.

These calibers are lower pressure and have a lot less recoil. It’s still as reliable as a centerfire gun while having a lighter, easy-to-pull trigger.

This, combined with recoil comparable to a .22, makes it an excellent option for inexperienced shooters.

Hammer 

The hammer on the Ruger LCRx is fairly well-designed. I like the design — there are no sharp edges and it has good texturing on the top of it.

It’s easy to cock using your primary or with your support hand. It’s just a well-thought-out design and I have to give props in the Ruger LCR Review.

Ruger LCR 3 Inch Review Hammer

Grip

There are a variety of grip options for the Ruger LCR.

The three-inch variant comes with a substantial Hogue-style grip that extends pretty far and allows you to get a complete grasp on the gun unless you have giant hands.

This grip does a great job of taming recoil. 

Ruger LCR Review grip on stand

The LCR with the 1.87-inch barrel also comes with a Hogue grip, but this grip is much shorter and has finger grooves.

I don’t like the finger grooves as much since they don’t line up with my hand. I wish Ruger would make the same shorter grip without the finger grooves to allow me to get a better grip on the gun while still having a smaller grip to conceal. 

Ruger LCR/LCRx

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VZ makes G-10 style grips for the LCR along with other manufacturers as well.

While it’s not the most accessible gun to find a good grip for, there are options.

Aftermarket

The aftermarket for the Ruger LCR series is pretty slim.

You can find front sights, as we mentioned earlier, as well as multiple grip options. There isn’t a lot you can do to the triggers on these guns. 

While there are a couple of aftermarket kits, there aren’t many.

I would like to see more grip options for the LCR and improved triggers for the LCRx series.

Aesthetics

Aesthetically, the Ruger LCR is a modern-looking revolver. It’s good, but not great.

If you’re looking for something along the lines of a classic Smith & Wesson or cast steel-frame Ruger revolver, then the LCR isn’t it. 

Ruger LCR 3 Inch Review sheathed blade

I think they look pretty good considering that they are made of inexpensive modern materials. That said, they aren’t going to win any beauty contests.

Finish

The finish on the Ruger LCR is just relatively weak.

Ruger’s never had great finishes on any of their firearms and this Ruger LCR Review reports no different.

If you holster your gun or just throw it around in a range bag with other guns, you’re going to get scuffs and scratches on the finish.

That being said, I haven’t seen any problem with rust or other issues with these. 

Ruger LCR/LCRx

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They aren’t exactly heirloom-quality firearms that you’re going to pass down to your grandkids as a prized family possession known for its beauty.

These are guns that are made to be used and abused.

For that, the finish is more than acceptable.

Shooting

Shooting the Ruger LCR is going to depend a lot on the caliber that you are shooting. 

The .22 long-rifle variants don’t have much recoil at all.

The LCR in .22 Magnum has a little more recoil and a lot of unburnt powder leaving the barrel that burns in an enormous fireball after the bullet fires. This unburnt powder gives a lot more concussive force when shooting that gun.

The Magnum variants also have a lot more recoil, and the lightweight .38 is no slouch either.

These guns are shootable, but they aren’t fun to shoot.

The Ruger LCRx with a three-inch barrel and .38 special, on the other hand, is a somewhat fun gun to shoot. It’s not incredibly fun, but you could still see yourself shooting a couple of hundred rounds in a range day without it killing your hand.

If you hit .38 through the .357 frame LCRx with a three-inch barrel, the recoil lessens even more.

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In my opinion, the Ruger LCRx with a three-inch barrel is the sweet spot for a .38-caliber revolver.

It’s very lightweight and easy to carry, yet the recoil isn’t so bad that it leaves you not wanting to shoot the gun. 

I wish they made this with a regular LCR-style trigger.

Then I could get the fantastic double-action-only trigger pull but with the relatively lightweight and ease of shooting you get from a three-inch barrel.

Recoil

Everyone has a different tolerance for recoil, and revolvers are especially hard to explain when it comes down to it.

The Ruger LCRs tend to be accurate and be reasonably easy to shoot. The big issue in the Ruger LCR Review that I’ve run into is the sighting systems. 

They don’t have the best sights, and while they’re better than other revolvers, you’re still stuck with revolver sights. I find these guns to be excellent for up-close encounters.

If you want to shoot them accurately at a distance, it’s going to take a lot more work.

Ruger LCR 3 Inch Review grip

If I can shoot a one-inch group at three yards, in theory, that should be a two-inch group at six.

The reality is that it becomes closer to a four-inch group.

This isn’t due to the mechanical accuracy of the gun or diminished accuracy of the round.

This is due to my eye’s ability to pick up the sights well and have confidence in my sight picture. While the LCRs have better sights than the majority of their competitors, they’re still lacking.

However, you need to understand that this is just part of the territory with a revolver.

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Before you go with a Ruger LCR, I would try shooting one and get an idea of how the recoil for each caliber.

If you go with a gun like the LCR in .327 Magnum, you’re going to get an extra round and the ability to shoot wider ammo that will recoilless.

While handgun rounds are already underpowered, having the ability to place them is much more important than having a more powerful round.

Your opinion may differ. I’d love to hear yours in the comments below.

Price Ruger LCR Review

The MSRP on the Ruger LCR is right at $580 for the standard and $670 for the Magnum variant.

They tend to go for around $80 to $100 under MSRP.

This gun is a solid value at those prices and does offer you a lot for the money. 

If you’re looking for a very practical revolver to carry, then you’re going to have a hard time beating the Ruger LCR. Out of the box, it comes with many features that make it better than its competitors like the Smith & Wesson. 

A S&W revolver may be better if you spend a bunch of money sending it off to a gunsmith.

You’re going to have a hard time finding a performance-center gun that matches up to the much cheaper LCR. If you compare it to the Airweight 442 and 642, the LCR has a clear advantage in almost every category.

That’s definitely a plus in this Ruger LCR Review.

Concluding Thoughts

I like and enjoy these Ruger LCR revolvers.

I wish they’d offer the three-inch LCR with a double-action-only trigger system and in .327 Magnum. I’d love to be able to get that sixth round in the gun and the better double-action-only trigger pull that the Ruger LCR has.

That said, the Ruger LCRx with the three-inch barrel and .38 special is still a fantastic carry revolver.

If you want to carry a slightly larger revolver, you’re going to have a hard time beating that as an option. Another positive point in the Ruger LCR Review.

The LCR in .22 is also another excellent carry gun. It has almost no recoil, and outside of the heavy trigger pull, it’s a very shootable gun that works excellent for up-close encounters.

With eight rounds of .22, I don’t think most people would want to deal with that gun as a mugger or attacker.

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If I was looking for a revolver in this price range for self-defense, I think it’s going to be hard-pressed to find something better than the Ruger LCR review. 

They have plenty of caliber options, and while they don’t have my preferred configuration, they might one day. I keep hoping for it.

The choices they do currently have are definitely enough to get you by.

Pros

  • Weight
  • Recoil
  • Sights
  • Cost
  • Caliber options
  • LCR trigger 
  • Configurations

Cons

  • Looks
  • Sights for distance shooting
  • LCRx trigger

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