Ruger Doubles Down Part 2

Revolver or auto? Roys Take On The LCP
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Two on two: OK. Here’s the deal: We turned two of our sneakiest shootists — Mike Humphries and Roy Huntington — loose on two Ruger handguns. These were the SP101 5-shot .357 and the .380 “Anniversary” LCP. Whether you’re a wheelgun guy or an “auto addict,” both of them proved to be impressive CCW options. Read Roy’s take below on the LCP and Mike’s review of the SP101 here.

Ruger SP101 and LCP

Anniversary LCP: Celebrating the .380’s Coming of Age

The pocket .380 market exploded about the time Ruger introduced the LCP at the SHOT show in 2008. In direct competition with the likes of Kel-Tec’s P3AT, Ruger ramped up the game by bringing customer loyalty and the ability to deliver the guns to dealers to the table. Ruger had introduced other “modern” autos at the time so this was a natural progression, meeting the needs of the zillions of new CCW holders for an ultra-compact carry gun. Combined with modern defensive .380 ammo, the good old “9mm Kurz” was morphing into something even the nay-sayers had to admit worked.


Ruger LCP

“Marginal” Redefined

Let’s think about this .380 thing for a minute and maybe dispel some misgivings you may have. It reminds me of the way I used to think about carrying a .380, especially during my police years. Yeah … “it’s a gun,” but just how much gun was always in the back of my mind. About two years ago when Ruger introduced the LCP II (a sort of gussied-up LCP) I bought one, tested it with high-performance ammo then stuck it into the pocket holster Ruger thoughtfully supplied. I’ve worn it as part of my daily carry ritual ever since. To date, I’ve fired about 650 rounds through it and find myself able to easily take a head shot at 15 yards. I’m impressed, completely, and it honestly (cross my heart!) has never malfunctioned. Not once. That’s astounding for any auto, much less a .380. It really proved itself a confidence builder for me.

I’ll also confess to still wearing a “bigger” gun when I go to town — but the Ruger stays in the pocket too. Around my property at home, I feel fine with it (I usually have a long gun nearby if needed). But since it’s “only” a .380, I’m still just a tiny bit anxious, mostly due to decades of stories about the .380 not being “good enough.” And we writers are guilty of spreading those stories. Of course, I remind myself, those were also the days of fully jacketed ammo and fussy guns. Times do change and we need to adapt and open our minds.

With today’s modern ammo, tests after tests, real-world shootings and some amazing innovation in design and engineering, the .380 has grown-up to the point where you can rely on it to defend yourself and your family. For me, I just need to knock the last bit of crud out of my brain regarding the old days. Old habits do die hard — but change is good, too.

Our test gun, the 10th Anniversary edition proves what I’m talking about. It’s a “real” gun, with good sights, a decent trigger, ran perfectly over the 300-odd rounds I fired through it and can take that same head shot at 15 yards, no sweat. The trigger is a bit more challenging than the “sort of single-action” trigger of the LCPII, but if you have DA revolver time under your belt, you’ll find the DA pull of the LCP to be just fine. It’s a “pre-cocked” hammer action and the trigger pull finishes the hammer stroke, releasing the sear. It’s also a very safe action and needs no external safety.


In its element in Ruger’s inside-the-pocket holster (above), the LCP’s CCW credentials are,
well … pretty much dead-solid perfect!

Stripped for cleaning and maintenance— it takes less time to do than it does to talk about it.

Making The Case

Upgrades to the original LCP have come through the years and today’s version has better sights, slide serrations and a shortened trigger pull. You get a lot of little gun for the $299 MSRP. It handles six- and seven-round mags but comes with a single six rounder. The frame is glass-filled nylon, it has a sort of GLOCK-ish extractor and an external slide stop though it won’t lock the slide back on an empty mag like the LCPII does. There’s a “peek-a-boo” hole next to the extractor allowing you to peer into the chamber to see if there’s a round inside.

In April 2010 Texas governor Rick Perry used an LCP to put down a coyote who was menacing his daughter and dog while the family was out on a walk. “Turned it into mulch,” he said afterward, when asked about the coyote. Don’t you wish other politicians would be so handy with a gun? Quick-thinking Ruger brought out a “Coyote Special” edition soon after.

I’m a bit sad Ruger didn’t incorporate the changeable front and rear sight from the “Custom” LCP — introduced in 2015 — on this new model and on the LCPII, but we’ll lean on them to see what we can do. As accurate as they are, I’d love to see a tiny adjustable rear sight. Don’t think I’m silly here. If you can shoot up to the gun’s capabilities, something like this would be very cool to be able to dial right in.

This gun has a stainless slide, some sort of “alloy” steel barrel and a glass-filled nylon grip frame. Width is only 0.82″ and it weighs a feathery 9.6 oz. This is why I absolutely love carrying my LCPII in my pocket. It is perfect for the “have a gun” rule so there’re just no excuses any longer. Overall length is 5.16″, height is 3.60″ and normal capacity is 6+1.


Ruger LCP

This 15-yard, 2″ hand-held group with Black Hills HoneyBadger .380 shows just what the LCP can do. The gun did shoot a bit left and high with the fixed sights. Roy says he’d love to see a tiny adjustable rear to take advantage of the accuracy potential. Photo: Roy Huntington

Read Mike Humphries’ review of the SP101 here.

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