A few months ago, I went to a gun show for the purpose of helping a friend pick out a new pocket gun. For concealed carry, a ‘pocket gun’ is really ideal for a lot of people. Of course, some guys like to carry a full size 1911 and wear a khaki hunting vest like Walter Sobchak, but most people are a bit more discreet.
My companion laid out his specs:
* Something that would fit in a front pants pocket without sticking out of it.
* At the same time, the handle needs to be long enough so that you can grip it properly.
* No small calibers (22, 380, etc)
This didn’t seem like too tall of an order, but it turned out to be really challenging. Most modern revolvers found at gun shows are made by Smith & Wesson. S&W manufactures a large variety of revolvers, an Airweight model, and some even have scandium cylinders. Yes, scandium, a word that most haven’t heard since you had to memorize the Periodic Table. You can even find them with pink grips, if you are so inclined.
But there was a problem. Either the handle was too short, so that you couldn’t grip it properly, or it had a large grip that essentially ruled out pocket carry. That’s when we found the third bowl of porridge: The Ruger LCR.
I knew when I picked it up that Ruger had probably tested this handle on a thousand hands to come up with this grip. Of course, it’s not like picking up a large gun with a perfectly comfortable grip, but it’s large enough to hold correctly without being too small (such as a Glock 26 without an extended magazine). The Ruger LCR is chambered in 38 Special, and an optional model comes with Crimson Trace Lasergrips.
Ruger has come up with a new trigger system for the LCR, which they call the Friction Reducing Cam. Without getting into the nuts and bolts of it, this new system is designed to reduce the “stacking” effect of traditional double-action triggers. It’s difficult to test out trigger pulls at a gun show since they run zip ties through the action, but if you see this pistol at a gun shop, be sure to compare this trigger to other revolvers and you’ll be very impressed.
Viewing the overall structure of this gun, you’ll notice that there are no sharp edges, and the hammer is shrouded. This makes it an very ideal weapon for pocket or purse carry. The rubberized grip is intended to reduce recoil, and it won’t slip out of your hand easily.
When shooting this gun for the first time, I was very impressed by the trigger pull. An ideal trigger should “surprise” you when it fires, and this is one of the few wheelguns I’ve seen that do this.
I’m a decent shot, but when it comes to snubnosed revolvers, I generally don’t shoot well at twenty yards or so. This gun was no exception. However, as any tactical self-defense guru will tell you- if someone is going to attack you, statistically speaking, they’re probably not going to do it from twenty yards away. Snubbies are intended for close encounters. If you look at some older Colt revolvers, the manufacturer didn’t even add sights, just a slight groove along the top of the gun. At three or seven yards, this pistol will do exactly what you want it to do. And it comes with a nifty zipper case.
I’ve read that this pistol prefers +P rounds. This wasn’t available at the range I was shooting at, so I didn’t have a chance to experience the difference.
Of all these great features, there was only one downside: recoil. After firing about twenty rounds through this five-shooter, your hand will notice. The heavier a gun is, the less recoil you will feel. This lightweight alloy and polymer frame (they call it a Monolithic and Aluminum frame) is great if you plan to carry it in a front pocket or purse for extended periods of time, but running through a box or two may make a sensitive hand sore. If the handle was wooden, the shock would be distributed evenly throughout your hand. Since the handle is a metal bar wrapped in thick rubber, you can feel that metal punch into your hand.
Don’t let this bother you. If you ever need to use this gun to protect yourself, recoil will be the last thing on your mind- you’ll never even notice it. However, if you plan to spend several hours at the range per week just for fun, then this probably isn’t what you’re looking for.
This innovative revolver does exactly what it was built for. In fact, it recently won “Handgun of the Year” at the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence Awards last month.
The price was $600, which was good bit higher than the S&W revolvers surrounding it, and the going price at the other stands. My buddy bought it, and he’s been very happy with it. The only thing that bothers him about this revolver is the fact that I took another friend to a gun show two months later, who picked up a new Ruger LCR for$385.