Ruger LCR .357 for recoil sensitive shooters

Both the Ruger LCR and LCR 357 pack quite a punch. Sadly physics does allow weight to be decreased without felt recoil increasing.

Michael Bane makes the sensible recommendation that recoil sensitive shooters should buy the LCR 357 instead of the standard LCR because it is 26% heavier. Loading it with softer .38 Special rounds will be more comfortable than shooting the standard LCR with .38 Special ammo. Michael says

If you’re at all recoil-sensitive, I strongly suggest you chose the 17.1 ounce .357 over the regular 13.5 ounce .38, then shoot .38s in the heavier LCR. I shot 158-gr Hornady .38+P self defense loads in the .357 and it was controllable and painless. Regular .38s would be downright pleasant to shoot,. I’d kill to have one of these in .22LR (take note, Ruger…pleeeeeeeease…).

Ruger LCR 357

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • SpudGun

    Failing that, you could buy a S&W metal framed revolver or a .380 / 9mm semi auto CCW with less recoil and similar ballistic performance. In fact, do that instead of buying silly plastic revolvers.

  • Jimbo

    “Sadly physics does allow weight to be decreased without felt recoil increasing.”

    Nitpicking, but it confused me at first. “does not allow” would be more sensible.

    • Jimbo, thanks. that was a typo.

  • Andrew

    Why would somebody want a “snub nose” 22lr. Sounds kinda pointless. Snub nose guns are designed for self defense, right?.

  • Jimbo

    I agree. Not real good for plinking, target, hunting, etc…

  • Dean

    How about a six-shot LDR in .327?

  • Charles

    Actually, Ruger did not plan on a LCR in 327mag because it has even higher pressures than a 357mag.

    The beauty of the 357mag LCR is that is gives you the option of using other cartridges if desired … or necessary.

    Also, the LCR honestly has less felt recoil than similar weight all metal revolvers [SP101 included].
    The engineers attribute that primarily to the ability of polymer to act as a “shock absorber” and also to the LCR design in general.
    Try them side by side; you will be surprised at the results.

    I already have several LCRs, and am really hoping for some in 22cal [for teaching, training, & practice];
    … and also in 9mm.
    In addition to moonclip speedloading [a major advantage]; …
    a 9mm LCR would also provide ammo compatibility for / with 9mm carry pistols.
    there is an enormous amount of work being done on 9mm bullet design and there are many very fine 9mm cartridges available today.

    There are still advantages to revolvers chambered for 38spcl.

    When frequently fired with 38spcl cartridges, …
    especially those loaded with lead bullets,
    it is much easier to clean and maintain revolvers chambered for 38spcl than for 357 mag.

    If you reload for a 357 mag, use the 357mag brass rather than 38spcl brass, even for practice loads;
    in order to avoid “leading up” the forcing cone.

    Also, you really should practice with what you carry.
    There are recorded incidents of police officers who threw down their revolver because it “exploded” in a gunfight.
    They had never fired the full house 357 rounds that they were carrying.
    I have personal knowledge of 2 of these instances.

  • Gary

    Hi there. Any further news of the LCR that went Kaboom a few weeks back?

  • John C

    I don’t see the point of shooting .357 out of such a small gun. Hey speaking of 9mm revolvers, what ever happened to the Charter Arms Rimless Revolver?

    • John, nothing has happened with that revolver. In fact, the situation has got so ridiculous, that I refuse to blog about it until it is released. So many promises, yet nothing has happened.

  • mike

    I have the LCR 357 and have shot well over 300+ rounds through it. It is smooth and has very little recoil. Again: VERY. LITTLE. RECOUL. In fact, it has less recoil than my friends 9mm Sprinfield auto. I could shoot it all day, and it is my 1st handgun, so its not that I’m some old wizzened gun vet that is used to shooting. If the new LCR 357 is too much recoil for you, Wal-Mart sells some great super soakers that might be more to your taste.

  • Andrew Criddle

    Actually A LCR 22LR would be really cool, simply put, it would be poker gun. small and yet Lethal.

  • Those who’ve held off buying an LCR in the .357 Magnum in the belief that recoil would make it painful to shoot are making a big mistake. I just was given one for Christmas and took it to the range today. I put more than a box (50+) of 158 Grain hollow points through it and was very, very surprised. It’s hard to believe, but this little polymer revolver delivers less felt recoil than my S&W Model 19, My Ruger GP100 or my wife’s Smith & Wesson Model 13, all of which are in .357 Magnum. Ruger engineers must be way smart. It has to be a combination of recoil absorbing polymers, the grip shape, and the low bore axis.

    Seriously, try one.

    Frank Brayd

  • Wayne

    Took my new purchase to the range with my wife. Shot 38 and 38+p UMC with no problem. Pretty accurate. Then shot 357 PMC Bronze 154 grain. Pretty uncomfortable but very accurate. Shells would then not eject. Seem to have bulged at the base. Had to wedge them out. Guess I’ll have to try another brand of 357. I shoot 40 S&W’s and 44 Rem Mags. 17 oz is not much to absorb a 357 despite design. Is a nice carry gun though and nice to have that firepower available.

  • Eric

    I picked up the LCR .357 last weekend and took it to the range today to shoot with my daughter. I would say the pain of its recoil when firing Hornady 125 gr .357 Critical Defense is about the same as my S&W Model 13 (3″ barrel) .357. The recoil isn’t bad, but the Hogue grip is so grippy that it almost scratches your thumb knuckle. It’s definitely not a comfortable gun to put 100 rounds through IMHO.

    As to accuracy, again, it’s comparable to my Model 13. I can hit all five rounds on target at 8-10 yards, but it’s nowhere near as accurate as my Colt New Agent (3″ barrel, 1911 .45 ACP) which I can group 7 shots within 4″ at that same distance.

    Still, I really like the LCR 357 because it’s damn near invisible inside my strong side waistband wearing shorts and a long t-shirt. By far the most concealable handgun I own, beating the imprinting of my New Agent by a wide margin.

    I’ll have to try some 38+ps in it next time.

    Incidentally it was my daughter’s first time shooting and she did great with my 9mm HK P30 and not too shabby with the 45 auto too. Proud Dad 🙂

  • Ruben

    I’m doing the research before buying my first handgun, and i’m abit confused about the LCR 357Mag. I’ve ran across a few articles that say that to reduce the recoil you can load the LCR 357Mag with 38SPL or 38SPL +P. Is that right? And won’t doing that put more wear on the LCR?

  • Wayne

    A 38 special puts out less than 200 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle, a 38 special +p over 200, and a 357 magnum puts out well over 500. So other than perhaps some fouling from a shorter case, the 38’s put less stress on the revolver as well as less recoil to the shooter. The gun is no worse the wear.

  • Eric

    The LCR 357 is designed for 357 Magnum ammo.

    38 Special and 38 Special +P are the same size but have lower pressure so they give less kick. They’re also quieter and cheaper so many 357 carriers will practice with .38SPL rounds.

  • Big Al

    Just fired a Ruger lcr with 357 magnum 158 grain federal ammo. Recoil was stiff. Found it hard to keep going after 6 rounds…even with the hogue grips…just my experience, some other apparently must have stouter wrists and arms..


    • Steve

      No we do not have stronger hands or wrists. We just know what .357 magnum ammo to use in a lightweight gun. 🙂 125 gr. loads are the ones the legends are built on and can find some good ones for the LCR like the mild recoiling 125 gr. Golden Sabers for the Gold Dot 125 gr. short barrel ammo. And despite the short barrel, .357’s outperform .38 +P every time.

      I only use 158 gr. .357 in my heavy Ruger Blackhawk for hunting. Dirty Harry used 125 gr. ammo and so should you. 🙂

  • Johnny

    The LCR 357 I believe was never designed for target shooting. It is designed for concealed carry and personal protection. It packs enough punch to render an assailant a devastating blow with the first shot. The last thing a person needs to worry about is the recoil. I am left handed and carry my LCR between my side and back using a Glaco Stow and Go Inside the Pants Holster. Very easy to carry and draw with ease.

  • Jeff

    To any current .357 owners…
    I broke my wrist a number of years ago. It was the small bone directly behind my thumb. I have shot a few small .380s and it felt like someone dropping a hammer on that bone. Regular sized pistols are no problem, but the smaller ones are quite painful. I have never shot a snub nosed revolver and wonder what the comparison would be between the autos and specifically this .357 lcr. Thanks for any input.

    • Jackson

      Hey Jeff-

      You could try the Sig P238. It’s a .380 auto, but it’s a stainless steel slide and aluminum alloy frame. Does a very nice job of dampening the recoil, and is pretty concealable.

      • Jeff

        Thanks for the input. I truly appreciate it. I ended up buying the .357 LCR and it is wonderfully manageable. There must be just enough difference in the way revolvers recoil compared to semi-autos, that the LCR causes me no pain.

  • SquidWithAGun

    Just saw notice that Ruger is offering an 8-shot 22lr LCR!

    I love my .357LCR. I’ve shot the .38 version and it was snappy, trying to flip out of my hand. I have no problems with the .357. I am looking forward to scoring some of the .357 mag short barrel ammo from Speer and CorBon (I think).

    The reason I bought this over a Smith? Price. With all of the innovation that went in to this little gun, it could sell for more and be right in the same price range as the J-frame but for my $492 out the door, I’ll take this one any day.

  • Forrest M

    I went right to the .357 thinking I could fall back on the .38 Spl rounds if need be, and I figured the .357 gun would hold its value a little better. I was a sucker for the CrimsonTrace laser grip, and have never shot the gun with the original grips. It is a solid feel when shooting .357s with the plastic grips. I cannot say it hurt. It is however more comfortable than a friends Derringer.. The first five jumps a bit, but after while you know the gun and its great trigger and you get very accurate. I shot a box of 50 and was satisfied. And the laser works flawlessly.

    Bottom line, I’d recommend the .357 revolver. It gives you a range of ammo, and everyone likes options when ammo is scarce.