Ruger LCR .38 Special +P Review

ruger lcr 38 special gun photography

Ruger LCR .38 Special

“The Ruger Lightweight Compact Revolver (LCR), a 13.5 ounce, small frame revolver with a smooth, easy-to-control trigger and highly manageable recoil. Packed with the latest technological advances and features required by today’s most demanding shooters.”

I thought very little about carrying or owning a polymer revolver when the LCR series was released about two years ago. I was comfortable with steel revolvers like the Smith & Wesson and Taurus revolvers that I currently own. Steel typically implies strength; it feels solid in the hand. Polymer doesn’t have the same appeal. The sentiment is similar when comparing a 1911 to a GLOCK. That’s all it is, however. A sentiment.

ruger lcr 38 special open cylinderruger lcr 38 special left side

Though a majority of the firearm is plastic, the critical parts are manufactured out of steel.  The concept is nothing new.  As of late, few have reported any problems, despite that the LCR .38 models are made out of aluminum

When the LCR was initially released, flamecutting was reported. Though I honestly believe that flamecutting is a concern, as it is with all revolvers, my initial research and personal experience infers that Ruger may have addressed this issue.

ruger lcr 38 special aluminum frameruger lcr 38 special barrel

The LCR is available in .38 Special +P or .357 Magnum. The .357 Mag. is a steel variation that weighs 17.10 oz. All models are equipped with Hogue Tamer grips, with the exception of the .38 Special model with Crimson Trace Lasergrips. Sturm, Ruger & Co. graciously allowed me to take a look at the LCR-XS, a newer model with the XS Sights, to see how it compares to other snubs I’ve handled before.

Compared to a 21 oz. Taurus M85 I typically shoot, the weight of the LCR was a pleasant surprise. Though the trigger doesn’t stack, my initial impression of the trigger was less than impressive. Expecting a smooth pull throughout, the trigger staged. It was so consistent, I started to wonder if it was intentional. After several hundred dry fires and casual range sessions with typical .38 Special loads, it smoothed out.

ruger lcr 38 special compared to the taurus m85ruger lcr 38 special hand comparison

The rear sight is a typical integrated u-notch, but paired with XS front sight. It’s XS sight is nice, but I wouldn’t miss it. Along the Hogue grip’s back strap is a gel-like pad. Also along the front and back strap is rubber that provides secure grip.

ruger lcr 38 special xs front sight tritium

The cylinder release is a press-button, as opposed to a push-forward or pull-back mechanism one would observe on a Smith & Wesson or Colt, respectively. For reloads, the press-button feels more ergonomic. Not to say, Smith & Wesson’s or Colt’s aren’t.

ruger lcr 38 special reloadruger lcr 38 special shell ejectruger lcr 38 special shell ejector rod

The HKS speedloaders and Tuff Quickstrips appear to work just fine.

ruger lcr 38 special speedstrip speedloaderruger lcr 38 special loading speedstrip

End shake appears to be minimal. Cylinder swings out freely. No lawyer lock to be concerned about.

Note that I have medium sized hands and my small finger rests below the grip. Those with larger hands may find the grip uncomfortable.

ruger lcr 38 special handgripruger lcr 38 special handgrip2

Shooting the LCR was a humbling experience; especially with the 100 rounds of Remington 125  gr. +P rounds Lucky Gunner swiftly provided me for this review. I can’t imagine shooting this revolver all day. For occasional day training purposes, I may revert back to a heavier snub-nose revolver.

Though recoil was manageable, I wouldn’t hesitate to characterize it as snappy as anyone wouldn’t with any variation of lightweight pistols. The Ruger LCR is light enough to not have to belt up, has double action trigger that eventually became better than most I’ve shot, and has the capability to pack a +punch. Based on approximately 250 rounds I’ve shot through it, I didn’t have a problem with shot placement nor did I observe any evidence of flamecutting. I’m still mulling it over, but this one may stay with me to protect my life.

Thank you Rob at Golden State Tactical, California’s premier supplier for all of the Quality parts you’ll need to make your AR-15 “California Legal”, for handling the FFL matters here in California.

Thank you Lucky Gunner for providing me 100 rounds of .38 Special +P.  Straight-forward, quick turn around, just what I was looking for.  In Stock.  Fast Shipping.  110% Guaranteed.

Thank you Beth and Ken at Ruger for allowing me to personally take a look at the Lightweight Compact Revolver.

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Categories: Firearms, Guns


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13 Comments on “Ruger LCR .38 Special +P Review”

  1. February 24, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    if you plan on keeping it, get the .357 model handles recoil better 😉

    • February 24, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

      I’ll figure out a way to get one here.

  2. Jim Markle
    February 26, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    I enjoyed your post and having purchased a ruger lcr in 38sp +p a couple days ago I concur with your assessment. I find the recoil to be just slightly more unpleasant than my S&W 357 magnum. I think that it is mostly due to the smaller grip size. I have looked online for hours and have been in contact with the good folks at Hogue that make the grip that comes stock on this revolver looking for a larger replacement. No luck so far. Perhaps you could offer me a better solution??

    • February 28, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

      The recoil is bad because the LCR in .38 has an aluminum frame, i have no issue with recoil on my stainless LCR in .357 using full house loads. Videos are on my link.

  3. February 27, 2011 at 11:41 pm #

    From another brother-in-arms, he related to me that Eagle may be releasing some rosewood grips for the LCR.


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