There was a time when I used to feel bad anytime I bought a Ruger firearm. They made great guns, sure, but the founder’s vision for the right to keep and bear arms in America did not sit well with me — and the designs were strictly function over form. Look at a Blackhawk compared to a Colt SAA, and the Ruger might be the stronger, better and more practical revolver, but the SAA has a style all its own. About 10 years ago, the company began making changes and one of the new offerings — the Ruger LCP (lightweight compact pistol — brought this home for me.
The LCP was Ruger’s first major and might we say, highly successful step toward making a lightweight concealed carry pistol for the armed and prepared American. Chambered in 380 ACP, this was no sporting handgun, but one meant for concealed carry and self-defense.
Before it debuted it rode in on a wave of controversy. Many shooters thought it was a rip-off of Kel-Tec’s P-3AT. Looking at both handguns side by side will confirm these protestations, with higher points going to team Ruger for fit and finish.
Original LCPs had problems here and there, but Ruger was quick to address these and the LCP represents a great value for the shooter.
The frame is glass-filled nylon, and while it is exceptionally light, it does kick like an angry mule. I tamed mine down by shooting it while contained within a DeSantis Pocket Shot holster. This is a wallet holster that encases the frame in leather to break up the outline of the pistol while soaking up the direct recoil of the little powerhouse that represents 380 ACP.
Turning to the other half of the pistol, the slide is hardened steel with integral sights. Pistols like this are not intended as “bullseye” guns, so there’s no need for Novak’s, Heine’s, Trijicon’s or the like. They are a part of the slide – small and crude — but very useful at the same time. Chances are, when you need to use an LCP, you will not be obtaining a sight picture anyway.
The trigger is long and heavy and the reason I probably cannot tighten up my groups. It is not as atrocious as other pistols in this league, but it still leaves a bit to be desired. I suppose this is to accommodate the lack of a safety so that shooters gifted with the “Orangutan strength” of an adrenaline rush during a violent confrontation will not jerk the trigger and fire negligently.
Ruger did upgrade the pistol with the LCP2, which boasts an improved frame and trigger. Another offering which I have yet to try is the LC380, which is built on a larger frame for improved shootability and less recoil as well as removable sights.
Yet these are the compromises we make when it comes to carrying concealed. We want a smaller package, and that means lower profile sights and smaller grips and reduced capacity.
A number of accessories are available, including a laser sight, but the two best that I can think of are a Techna-clip pocket clip and a DeSantis Pocket Shot.
It is not the firearm you take to the range weekly to see if it will survive a 1,000-round session — it will, but your hands may not — and its accuracy and potency is not meant for long-range target shooting (you can pick up a Ruger Mk4 or GP100 for that). However, if you want a discrete carry handgun that will be there when you need it, you can count on it.
Have you ever shot the Ruger LCP? Share your thoughts on this pistol in the section below: