I’ve never been a revolver guy, I like the looks and were I a rich man I’d own plenty. But I’m not rich so my handgun purchases are focused on the role they can fill in my carry rotation. I can’t justify spending the money on a nice S&W and the subsequent tuning to only use it as a range gun.
The Revolver’s Shortcomings
Given the options available in autoloading pistols these days it can be hard to make a case for the carry revolver given its limitations. I like my triggers in the 3.25 to 3.5 pound range and that’s not something you’ll find in a double-action revolver. Another problem is the limited round capacity given their size and weight. With that limited capacity also comes significantly reduced reloading times. None of this makes me want to go rush out and buy one.
Then you get into the ammo issues. .38 Special, even in +P, is a pretty weak performer. When you step up to.357 Magnum you step up in cost and punishment. Shooting a short barrel revolver aka snub-nose in a big caliber is not a particularly pleasant experience. The lighter the revolver the easier it is to carry but the more you’ll get beat up shooting it. Since I believe in practicing with what I carry this is a no-go.
Enter The ‘Lightweight Compact Revolver’
Being a handgun guy I keep an eye on the overall market and when I saw Ruger release the LCR (Light Compact Revolver) I was intrigued. A revolver with polymer was something I hadn’t seen before. Initially offered in .38 Special and .357 Magnum I still had my qualms with the ammo. Like most handguns though the reports of its fine trigger kept me interested. When I saw they released a version in 9mm using moon clips I knew I was going to own one.
9mm is a much better performer than .38 Special and not nearly as brutal in a lightweight platform as .357 Magnum. The slow reloading issue was resolved with the moon clips. The idea of reloading quickly during a gun fight from speed strips is crazy to me. While better than nothing it is far from ideal. Moon clips are much faster. Still though, I needed to find a carry purpose for it before I could justify it.
I like being in comfortable clothes, especially in the hot Texas weather. If I’m quickly running to the store it’ll likely be in workout shorts and a t-shirt. Typically this meant throwing a little .380 in my pocket but that’s not much firepower and it drags one side of my shorts down. The ideal solution would be a lightweight handgun in 9mm that didn’t require a traditional holster but was still safe and quick to access. This was no small feat to accomplish.
My Carry Setup
Everything came together with the help of Clipdraw. Clipdraw, in the simplest terms, puts a hook on your handgun so you can slip it into your waistband with no holster. I don’t advocate carrying a pistol without the trigger covered, but a revolver with a long and heavy trigger though seemed less likely to be a safety issue. I decided to give it a try and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made regarding carrying.
I initially had some concerns about just clipping a gun inside my gym shorts, in the appendix position, and trusting it to stay there. Turns out it is very stable and incredibly comfortable. It is hands down the most comfortable pistol and way of carry I’ve ever found. In the appendix position it is very quick to access and disappears completely, even in snug fit clothing. A couple of moon clips dropped into my front right pocket and I’ve got a total of 15 rounds available.
A note on the moon clips; they’re very sturdy. I’ve been using the same ones that came with it for a couple of years and they continue to hold up, even with laying on them when they were in my pockets. They are easy to lose when not loaded so I recommend buying a couple extra
I didn’t like the standard blade front sight so I easily swapped in a Hi-Viz fiber optic. Now I had the high visibility I was looking for.
For the rare times I carry a backup gun I also picked up a Galco Ankle Glove. A couple of screws remove the Clipdraw and the gun slips right in. Switching to the Hogue Bantam Boot Tamer grip conceals the grip better when on the ankle.
The PVD finish is fantastic, SIG could really learn a thing or two from Ruger. Stuck in my waistband on hot days it gets plenty sweaty and I admit I don’t wipe it down. After 2 years of carry there is no wear or rust.
This is not a gun you want to shoot all day. The lighter the handgun the heavier the recoil and at only 17 ounces the LCR is very light. This isn’t to say it is unpleasant to shoot though. 9mm, even in +P, doesn’t have a lot in the way of recoil. In .357 Magnum I imagine it’s quite the handful. My practice sessions with it usually last 50 – 100 rounds before my soft office worker hands grab something softer shooting.
The only other negative is the 5 shot capacity. If it weren’t for the moon clips this would be a deal breaker. It just so happens that 9mm requires the use of moon clips so it’s a win-win. You can have .38/.357 revolvers modified to use moon clips but that’s an extra expense.
How you grip the LCR has a huge effect on recoil and how fast you can shoot it. Some people reading this just thought to themselves “It’s that way with all handguns. What’s your point?” While running a drill or in competition if I get a bad grip on my pistol it slows me down but not that much. It seems with the LCR it is magnified tremendously. I’m sure this is nothing new for revolver shooters but since this was my first it was all new to me. Being so light and small it will jump around if you let it. But since the LCR doesn’t have an external hammer you can shift your hand higher and get better recoil control.
Surprisingly I had never measured the trigger pull before writing this article. I was astonished to find it weighing in at just over 9 pounds! Still doubting it was actually that heavy I referenced Google and found matching results.
As a trigger snob for me to have a 9 pound stock trigger on a gun and be happy with it is pretty amazing. There’s two big factors in why. One being the trigger pull is so smooth you don’t feel the weight. Two is how my finger contacts and pulls the trigger. By being able to get my finger up to the first knuckle on the trigger my leverage is increased significantly.
A friend of mine absolutely loves Pro/Con lists, it’s how she makes all her big decisions. So in her honor I decided to include one, plus she can’t be the only person who likes them!
Better performer than .38 Special and much cheaper than .357 Magnum.
Great out of the box trigger.
Uses moon clips.
Multiple front sight options.
Very durable PVD finish.
Several grip options.
After 50-100 rounds the hands start to feel it.
As you may have guessed by now, I’m a big fan of this little gun. I would love for Ruger to release the LCRx in 9mm and wish there were more 9mm revolvers on the market overall. One can hope!