Ruger announces the 357 LCR. Along with a contest to win one of several copies and a number of other prizes.
357 chances to win prizes.
Ruger announces the 357 LCR. Along with a contest to win one of several copies and a number of other prizes.
357 chances to win prizes.
For those unfamiliar with the Ruger LCR. It is Ruger’s long-awaited answer to Smith & Wesson’s airweight line. It is the first polymer based revolver made in the western world. (The Russian’s beat us to it with a break open revolver manufactured by Izhevsk.)
It has a 5 round capacity, and handles .38 Special +P. The LCR has a strongly fluted cylinder, which reduces weight. I personally find it quite attractive and reminiscent of the the pepperboxes from the 1800’s. The cylinder and the barrel is made of steel. The front frame is made of aluminum. The rear of the frame, which houses the firing control housing, is made of polymer. All of this leads to a fairly lightweight revolver.
For those who are new to the world of firearms. There is an inverse relationship between the perceived recoil of a firearm and it’s weight. A heavy firearm like the Ruger MK Hunter firing a small round such as a .22LR results in very low recoil. Where as the very small Ruger LCP which fires what is considered a fairly small cartridge, the .380, has a lot of perceived recoil. Likewise, the LCR is a very light gun for it’s cartridge.
I did have some concern recommending said firearm to my mother. Many have commented on the numerous women who have been sold airweight snubbies by the likes of Jolly Joe behind the counter at the gunstore. I really did not want to make that mistake. My mother tends to find the kick of a gun exciting and envigorating. What she finds difficult is fine motor skills with her thumbs due to trigger finger and carpal tunnel (officer work related). And that’s one point the LCR excels at; having a nice easy trigger pull.
But I was still nervous that it might be too much kick…
My mother fired the first five rounds. Her first one was a flyer, but the next four she put all in the red, this was at 12 ft. That’s a pretty common distance for a personal engagement. She expressed a little intimidation with the first shot. But said the following four were much easier. This may have been due to her adjusting her grip or simply knowng what to expect.
Next I had her try it at 21ft. She put all five rounds in the center torso region, including 3 in a 1″ circle in the red center. Pretty darn good IMHO!
I took a shot myself. And while I can say it has a fair amount of kick, it was not overwhelming. A bit akin to firing a hot .357 in my fullsize 6″ GP100 revolver. (At some point I’d like to compare it our LCP. My gutt feeling is that the LCR is slightly less jarring than the LCP.) The grip does help quite a bit in reducing the intensity; both by providing a soft squishy impact absorbent material and by widening the grip so as to spread the forces over a broader area. At no point did I feel that the LCR was straining to be controlled.
My mother and I went through a 50 round box of Walmart Winchester white box .38 Specials. Neither of us left with sore hands. In fact, my mother commented shortly before we wrapped up that she was barely noticing the recoil any longer. That’s not to say there was no recoil. Just that it is maneagable enough not to impede the mere fun of shooting the LCR.
Needless to say, it does not look like my mother will be taking me up on the offer to buy the gun off of her. Oh well…guess if I want to shoot it I can always have her come down for a visit.
This weekend I spent some time shopping for handguns with my mother. We went to a newly built Cabela’s about an hour away. Figuring they’d have one of the better selections in the area.
My mother has some firearms experience. Our family owned a Ruger .357, and she always loved shooting it. A few months ago Freedom Armory had a S&W demonstration, my mother was down visiting that weekend so we went to the demonstration. My mom tried out a number of firearms including an M&P in 9mm, & 45, a 1911 and a few revolvers including some airweights and a .44 Magnum. I used the demonstration to show her how the difference in weight affected the perceived recoil. That the .45 in 1911 had less perceived recoil than the 9mm in polymer. My mother really liked the 1911, describing it as being akin to a smooth whiskey. While she did notice the kick and feel of the various revolvers, she did well with them all.
So what were the requirements that we were looking for?
First and foremost my mom wanted a .22LR, as she has access to a small cultural club that has a 22 caliber rifle range in the basement. And I believe that a .22 is a good choice. Ammo, while not abundant these days, is still affordable. Allowing for a great amount of practice. My mom is also fond of revolvers. So she was leaning toward getting a revolver chambered in .22LR. And maybe getting a second firearm down the road.
So we had a couple of options for a .22: a) revolver, b) dedicated semi-auto, c) a conversion kit for a semi-auto such as a Glock or 1911.
We looked at a number of the .22 LR revolvers. Discussing single-action versus double-action, with the latter being my mother’s preference. (She suffers from trigger finger and carpal tunnel. So the idea of having to cock the hammer for each firing did not appeal to her.) She was also leaning strongly toward revolvers, as that is what she has past experience with. Semi-autos are an unfamiliar territory.
They had three models to choose from. A Taurus in a smaller to mid-size frame. A full size S&W, and a third Taurus that was a small compact in the J-frame style. The S&W was priced higher than we were wanting to pay. The mid-size Taurus was $379. I did not like the trigger on the Taurus. The S&W was significantly better. The J-frame Taurus was a little better than the first Taurus but still no where near as nice as the Smith. Furthermore, my mom really did not want a snubbie .22LR.
I really wasn’t quite satisfied with the Taurus. I didn’t like how it felt and the trigger was atrocious. While I am not opposed to using a .22 for self-defense, I did not feel confident about relying upon that particular Taurus. The Smith & Wesson, while having a nicer trigger was a little too big for my mother. Even I had to extend a bit to reach the trigger. Furthermore it was nearly $800.
While there I also had my mother handle a couple of Rugers. Namely a 3″ SP101 chambered in .357, and the Ruger LCR chambered in .38 Special. My mom was familiar with the concept of how the weight of the gun affects the perceived recoil. But I re-explained to her that the 3″ SP101 would be a much easier firearm to shoot than the LCR, however, it was significantly heavier. The triggers on both the SP101 and LCR were much easier to operate than on Taurus, and while I might start a flame war. We even preferred the trigger pulls of the Ruger over the .22 S&W.
So we weighed the benefits and disadvantages of each:
+ Reduced Recoil
+ Old Proven Design
+ Can shoot either .357 or .38 Special
+/- more recoil due to it’s weight, but a design that softens it a bit
– .38 Special only
– new radical design, not as proven
+ if she didn’t like it, she could sell it (namely to me)
She liked both firearms. But we went back to the fact that my mom needed a 22 caliber pistol. So we discussed this fact. As I really wasn’t too keen on the Taurus they had. And it was the only double-action, non-snubbie that was in our price range.
I suspected that my mom’s desire for a .22 revolver stemmed from her unfamiliarity with semi-autos. Why? Because I went through this same situation in my mind when I became a gun owner. I made a suggestion. For $40 less than the Taurus we could get a Browning Buckmark. It’s a .22 but a semi-auto. I said to my mom “If the only reason you’re hesitant to do so, is because you have no familiarity with semi-autos. Than wouldn’t it make a lot of sense to get familiar with semi-autos via a .22?”
My reasoning made sense; perhaps because it was the same reasoning I used on myself when I bought my Ruger MKIII. And I could have suggested the MKIII but being aware of the difficulty in disassembly I thought that could be a roadblock for my mother. I had heard a lot of people recommend the Buckmarks as well. In fact, usually I hear people say get either a Ruger MK or Browning Buckmark avoid the Walthers, Mosquitos, and others.
So I suggested that we consider getting the Browning Buckmark instead of the .22 revolver. Then purchase a second firearm for personal defense. Namely, either the Ruger SP101 or LCR. This idea seemed to jibe well with my mother. Especially when she realized that her only reason not to was a lack of familiarity. And that she did want to eventually understand how to utilize a semi-automatic pistol. (I also think she became much more keen on the idea when she held the Browning Buckmark in her hand. She was amazed how comfortable it was with the soft molded rubber grip.)
So we returned to the other table to evaluate the two Rugers. The salesman spent a fair amount of time with us, even though there had been a line behind us and he was the only one at the counter. I wager the fact that we were discussing the possibility of buying two firearms made us a worthwhile customer. If they’re considering two, they probably at least buy one! Thankfully, by this a second employee arrived to help the other customers.
It was a tough decision to make. Both the SP101 and LCR were very nice revolvers. While my mom was a bit disappointed in the fact that the LCR did not chamber .357 Magnums. (She loves the kick of a gun.) I ensured her that in such a light gun the .38 Specials will be quite akin to .357 Magnums, and not to worry. She did like the feel of the SP101. Felt it had a nice weight. But when I asked her would she be comfortable carrying that on her person, say in her fanny pack all day. She she shook her head and said “No…”
We finally decided upon the Ruger LCR. The deciding factors were that she’d be more likely to carry it. And it had the easiest trigger of any of the revolvers we had tried that day. This is important because of the nerve damage she has suffered. It was also the deciding factor for me in encouraging her to go with the LCR. I know my mom is not defrayed by the kick of a gun as many are, in fact quite enjoying it. But she would be deferred by the hard mechanics of a trigger pull. Had she bought the Taurus we first looked at, I’d be concerned about her being able to pull the trigger in another 5-10 yrs. Where as I felt confident that she would be able to successfully, and repeatedly pull the trigger on the LCR. A final caveat, the fact that I would like to get an LCR, I gave my mom the following offer – if you get the LCR and decide you want something different, I’ll buy it off of you. (While I really liked the 3″ SP101, it really would be more akin to a slightly smaller version of my GP100. I could not justify buying it at price. Where as the LCR would fill a niche in my collection, is on my list to buy, and therefore would not have difficulty buying it off of my mom if the need arose (although I doubt such need will arise).
So enters into the statistics another 50+ yr old woman joining the ranks of new gun owners!
PS – Yes, I’ll give everyone a range report on the LCR in the next week or two. I am very curious to know how it feels as well.
Hi all, covering the NRA Annual Meeting convention and 2nd Amendment Bloggers Bash LIVE from Phoenix, AZ. It’s warm, hot even…but it’s a dry hot. Eric Shelton (of Handgun Podcast fame) and I were able to walk through the exhibit hall during setup, thanks to being members of the press.
I think the easiest thing for me to do is post a link to an auto-generated gallery of photos and then provide you a list of commentary below. This will kind of necessitate you having two windows open in order to read along. But otherwise, I’d be spending forever just putting together the photo gallery.
So here’s what I’ve got for you all…
– Sig Sauer.380 1911 style
– NRA Blog (I don’t think I even realized this existed. Or it wasn’t compatible with my RSS reader.)
– A few booths…. (Brownell’s, Hornady, NRA News, M1A’s courtesy of Springfield, Glock)
– Tactical Dummy showing some love to Tom over at GunDudes with Gunfightercast’s favorite holster.
– Kimber…and if a photo of a firearm is called gun porn…than this must be a whorehouse!
– Savage trigger for their new Troll rifles. But look at the nifty translucent rifle stock. Sadly, for display only. I want a translucent stock!
– Wait a second…as we passed by Eric exclaimed and pointed out this sign. A Winchester that is still made in America? Is this true? (As someone who grew up in New Haven, home of Winchester Repeating Arms. Winchester is truly a heartbraking tale for me.)
– And yes, the Ruger LCR. Oh how I love that fluted cylinder…it’s sexy. Has curves like a woman should have. But wait…what’s this empty shelf…guess we’ll find out 10am tomorrow morning.
– Odd pistol carbine thing. But really, Stargate should buy these. They’ve been using the P90’s for a while. This will look new and different and definitely futuristic.
– Eric and I started chatting with this gentlement over at Patriot Ordinance Firearms, Inc. (POF USA) Eric is quite interested in picking up one of their lowers, and they do look pretty sweet. We later discovered we were chatting with the owner. And I snagged a photo of the two. (Note Eric flashing the gang sign…j/k.)
– Smith & Wesson had their catalog on display at their booth. But Eric noted the Magpul MBUS back-up sight. Here it for you to see! While it is polymer, it looked pretty rugged.
Eric Shelton will be posting his photos as well. So check out the Handgun Podcast.
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.
The Ruger LCR is a lightweight revolver chambered in .38SPL+P. What sets it apart from similar rivals is that while the main frame is aluminum the fire control housing is polymer. The stainless steel cylinder has also been fluted to reduce weight. It’s available with Hogue or Crimson Trace grips with an MSRP of $525 and $792 respectively. (Frankly, I’d love to have this in .327 Magnum.)
Tactical configuration of the Mini14. Some said we’d never see such from Ruger. MSRP $872.00