More thoughts on the new Ruger LCR


The Handgun Podcast was discussing how some have been critical of the new LCR. I know a lot of blogs have criticized the new Ruger LCR. Laying down criticisms that range from ugly to redundant – just get a S&W alloy J-frame.

But there are some substantial considerations here that I feel are being neglected. While any lightweight firearm is going to have drawbacks of recoil and control, from looking at the design it appears that Ruger has worked to minimize these as much as possible.


First, let’s address ugly. While many may consider it ugly, I found it quite beautiful. But that’s because I found the cylinder to be gorgeous. I love the fluting, the rounded lines. It is reminiscent to me of the 18th century multi-barrel revolvers. (Or think of the tri-cannon on the Flying Dutchman in Pirates of the Caribbean.)  All said, beauty is always in the eyes of the beholder. I much prefer the GP100 lines to the S&W look. That’s just me…

But let address the real aspects of this design.  First off, weight comparison. Many have noted you can get even lighter revolvers like S&W in Scandium, etc.  And for the same price…why not just get a Smith?

But weight is not the only thing to consider here with this design. Consider the balance of the weight. A typical J-frame regardless of it’s metal alloy will be fairly uniformly balanced. However, the new Ruger LCR with it’s hybrid frame is front weighted.  All the heavy metal is in the front (main frame, cylinder, barrel) where as the rear is entirely polymer.  What this does is create a firearm that naturally wants to fall back down easily. (ie: Reacquire sight position sooner.)

Second, with the rear of the frame being polymer there the flexibility factor to consider. While most people may not realize it, if you watch a Glock fire in slow motion you will see the polymer frame “flex”. An all metal alloy framed revolver is not going to have this flex. But the polymer of the new Ruger LCR likely flexes a little during firing.  This may also lead to a reduction in perceived or felt recoil.

Lastly, go look at the trigger/action assembly in the new Ruger LCR.  Look how the mechanism is so tightly integrated within the polymer frame.  A lot of people who have handled the LCR (which isn’t many) seem to note that the trigger pull is superb for such a firearm.   In hearing a Ruger guy comment, they explained that the initial pull is a little lighter. But as you gradually pull back it becomes firmer in a smooth weigh. The premise being that when your finger is fully extended, it is at it’s weakest. As it gets closer the leverage allows for greater strength to apply. So where as the double-action pull is 10 lbs. The initial pulling does not come across to the user as a 10 lbs trigger pull.


I just wanted to chime in with these thoughts. I don’t know if the LCR will be the new wonder gun. But it is a pretty gutsy innovative move. And I think people should hold off on too harsh of criticisms until they’ve actually had a chance to handle the firearm and compare it to a similar ultralight J-frame.

Published in: on January 16, 2009 at 3:15 pm  Comments (12)  
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12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hey Jason, thanks for the plug.

    I think a lot of the guys who are griping about this gun are the same ones who can’t accept that Glocks have been around for 20 years, work well, and only let idiots shoot themselves. You know the type- “It’s plastic!” “It doesn’t have a safety!” Waaaaaaaa!

    They say “plastic” to cheapen the sound of polymer. These same knuckle heads will confess that micarta grips are nice, and strong, but they prefer the checkered wood on their 1911’s… You see where I’m going with this? My G.I. Joe toys as a kid were plastic. A Glock, or LCR, is made from polymers that are engineered and reinforced with additives. Just like paper, linen, and canvas micarta, or G10 scales on a high-end knife. These guns ain’t “plastic”.

    Yeah, it’s ugly. The GP100 isn’t the prettiest thing out there, either. Ruger doesn’t make “pretty” guns- they make guns that work. Period. And as Massad Ayoob told me over coffee and cigarettes, “Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t realize you were looking for a GQ fashion piece! I thought you wanted a gun.”

    But I like “ugly” guns. And you’re right- the cylinder is a thing of beauty.

    Good job mentioning the trigger. This is something EVERYONE who has shot the thing comments on. It’s supposed to be really superb. The criticizers don’t know that yet.

    My last point about these critics, is that they’re never really happy with anything produced in the last 25-or-so years. They complain about Colt’s downhill slide and the Series 80 trigger. They winge about S&W and the ILS revolvers. They moan about “the Ruger letter”. They hate this, they don’t like that, waa, waa, waaaaa. Shut up. Quit your bitching and fix something. I hate whiners, and that’s why I love companies like Vltor and Magpul who find solutions. If all these old farts are going to do is complain about new stuff and stay misty-eyed about a by-gone era, than get the hell out of my way. I have stuff to do in the here-and-now.

    I have a pal who loves his Smith and Wessons. More power to him. They’re nice. Then one day his ILS engaged while he was firing at the range- triggered by recoil induced vibration. Two shots, and he’s holding a brick. He carries a Ruger at work…

    These critics and S&W fans can say they’re better all they want. My Ruger SP101 doesn’t have an ILS to come f*** me from behind when my life is depending on it, and neither does the LCR. And that alone is enough to win my vote.

  2. I’ve been a Ruger Revolver fan for 15+ years…you won’t find a stronger revolver when it comes to handling rounds that really get the job done. I have a SA .22LR/.22Mag., a GP100, and 2 SP101’s (my wife carries one of them). All of these revolvers are very accurate and easy to handle. I’ve looked at the S&W’s and just couldn’t ante up the dough to give them an extra $100 for the name. Personally, I’m excited about getting my hands on one of these new .38’s and seeing how it really feels.

  3. NUGUN, you are 100% correct in your assessment.

    Eric, the LCR has an internal locking system, according to the Ruger website: “** Internal lock is hidden unobtrusively under the grip and does not interfere with the fire control mechanism in any way when disengaged.”

    I still think Ruger is trying to market the revolver in a market saturated with scandium and aluminum frame choices at a price that will ultimately cause it to fail. I understand that they have to cover R&D, but the revolver is as yet unproven. Get it into the hands of shooters at a lower price, then raise the MSRP to cover R&D once it’s established.

    I think the cylinder is pretty cool looking too. I’m glad it’s machined from bar stock.

  4. I’ve never been a big revolver fan, but something about this gun gives me the “I have to have that” feeling. If only I could actually purchase one! I wonder when they are going to be available.

  5. I think the LCR looks really cool! I don’t consider it ‘ugly’ even a little bit. The only two questionables about it for me are the current price (should go down with time) and whether Ruger’s lock will have the same problems as S&W’s ILS junk. For PD, the gun *HAS* to work, that’s why we buy snubbie revolvers in the first place! If the lock proves to be OK, then I’ll buy an LCR…when the price comes down a bit. 🙂 Taurus also makes a nice little .38 Special. It ain’t +P, true, but at 15-20 feet, it don’t need to be.

    Supposedly S&W is going to phase out that stupid, STUPID ILS in their revolvers. But there’s a reason I just bought a Super Redhawk when I could’ve bought an S&W Model 25. NO INTERNAL SAFETY LOCK!! The Super Redhawk ain’t a fashion model, no, but boy, does it shoot well. That’s what *I* want–a gun that shoots well.

    The market is speaking, S&W, and Ruger seems to now be listening better than you are.


  6. Just aquired a ruger lcr I love it. The trigger is amazing, its super light and I do like the feel as weel. Havent shot it yet but if it shoots as well as it feels Im gonna be happy!!!!

  7. I traded my 15 year old S&W 638 for a LCR—why? Better sights, better grip, better trigger pull (WOW!), and 2 ozs. lighter, without the higher tariff of a “Smith”. +P’s do have a snap, but manageable. Remember the LCR is double-action only, you’ll need some practice—but that’s how you should deploy a snub in the real world.

  8. did anybody have a problem shooting the LCR after they got the LCR back from the recall ?

  9. Ruger has not officiated a recall of the LCR. Perhaps you are confusing the situation with Ruger’s LCP (which is a small compact semi-auto pistol). The LCR is a composite revolver.

    There have been a few reports of frame damage to some LCRs where the gasses are expended. So far, it is believed that those instances are due to cylinder alignment issues.

  10. Really like the looks of the lcr, the weight and the price, but would be reluctant to buy one because it doesn’t have a safety. Is it safe to carry a doulbe action gun with strong and long trigger pull?

  11. Heck even a Makarov has a safety for about half the price.

  12. Greetings Nassaublue,

    While many revolvers now have internal locking mechanisms. The vast majority do NOT have a safety. Essentially, the holster acts as a safety mechanism – combined with a much heavier pull than most semi-automatic pistols.

    This is considered by most experts to be sufficiently safe in most situations. Now if you’re considering a Ruger LCR or other lightweight revolver for personal carry, than I would not consider the lack of a safety to be a significant issue. I would invest in a good holster that is designed for your particular revolver frame.

    The area for which I would advise caution is if small children are involved. A firearm should never be accessible to small children un-supervised. However, bizarre accidents occur. Equipment failures happen. This is why good quality equipment is important.

    In the context of a good holster, a revolver is a very safe firearm. And even though it lacks even the most basic safety such as a Glock includes on it’s trigger. The heavier pull required to operate the mechanism and rotate the cylinder acts in a similar manner to help prevent negligent discharges.

    – NUGUN

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