Gun Review: Ruger LCP

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    Rugers LCP is a very popular pistol of the type. Among its fans it’s known as the “Elsie Pea”. Which is a pretty good moniker 🙂 Ruger released this little pistol three years ago and sales are still going strong in spite of a downturn in sales of some .380’s. When first released the price was right at $300. Prices now average in the $260 range, which is a bargain for this quality pocket pistol. With the price of .380 ammo also decreasing it’s a good time to buy.

    The LCP is made of a reinforced nylon frame with an alloy steel slide. Weight is right at 7.5 ounces for the standard version without the built in Crimson Trace laser. Magazine capacity is 6+1 round chambered. The sights are very small but surprisingly functional even at 12 yards. Take down is simple via a pin in the middle of the frame just above the rear of the trigger guard.

    Caliber .380 ACP
    Capacity 6+1
    Finish Blued
    Grip Black, Glass-filled Nylon
    Barrel 2.75″
    Weight 9.4 oz
    Length 5.16″
    Width 0.82″
    Height 3.60″

    The LCP has a manual slide lock unlike its nearest competitor the Kel-Tec. The recoil spring differs as well with a dual spring setup which mitigates recoil. The springs ride on a full length guiderod. Double action trigger pull is 5.2 pounds as measured with my gauge. Length of trigger pull is .49 inches, which is a shorter trigger pull than most pocket pistols I’ve tested. The trigger is also very smooth. I’m sure this contributes to the good accuracy the LCP displays on the range.

    The grip length is on the short side unless you use a magazine with the extended base plate. I could only get two fingers on the grip using the standard magazine with three using the extended base pad. Even using the extended base plate concealment in a front or back pocket is no problem.

    The Crimson Trace version adds some bulk to the LCP. I also have a bit of trouble with the way the trigger guard on this model attaches to the front of the grip. It uses a rather large screw or rivet to hold the base of the Crimson Trace attachment. As you can see in the picture below this attachment point takes up half the grip and feels a bit cockeyed when pointing towards the target. It wants to point low a bit to far. I guess a shooter would adapt to it with time.

    The hammer is recessed into the rear of the slide preventing any snagging on clothing as you draw from a pocket carry. The ejection port is also generously opened for reliable ejection of spent rounds. One feature I like is the large beefy extractor. If anyone ever breaks one I’d be very surprised! I also like the magazine release. Most releases are small but this one is plenty large to operate easily without changing your grip unless you have very small hands.

    There are many holsters for the LCP that vary from inexpensive models such as the De Santis Nemesis to the handmade holsters of the Meco Company in Texas. One example of a Meco offering is the “Armigator” front pocket holster pictured below.

    The Meco Armigator $85.00

    Range Time

    I took the LCP to the range with a variety of ammunition from inexpensive Winchester white box to Cor-Bon DPX and Remington ball. The Winchester ball is a 95 grain with Remington ball at 90 grains. The Cor-Bon DPX uses an 80 grain bullet.

    The Winchester and Remington loads clocked in at 824 to 850 respectively. The Cor-Bon DPX load came in at 1149 FPS. The DPX is a smoking round and the recoil shows it even with a lighter bullet. It’s not unpleasant but you know it has some power behind it. Of course you want all the power you can get when using a .380 for defense.

    I set my targets at 7 and 12 yards. My first group was slow fire from 7 yards. I fired a few mags just to get used to the feel and trigger pull. I started my slow fire with the Remington ball ammo. I fired six round groups, which grouped an average of 1.27 inches. The Winchester ammo opened the groups up a bit that didn’t surprise me since every caliber of the cheap Winchester ammo has been less accurate than most other brands. Why do I keep using it? I buy my own ammo for these tests so call me cheap☺ In any event the Winchester opened the groups to 1.6 inches.

    Moving on to the Cor-Bon DPX I was rewarded with the best group, which measured 1 inch, which is pretty much one hole. These are great results for such a small pistol.

    I stayed at the 7 yard line and fired the next set of groups (six sets of six rounds at all ranges) shooting as fast as possible. I used the Remington ammunition only for this part of the test. I was able to keep all of my rounds within the head of the target with average groups of 5 inches. I didn’t use the sights for the rapid fire test rather looking over the top of the slide.

    Moving back to the 12 yard line I started with slow fire as before. I used the Remington ammo first and achieved average groups of 2.6 inches. Again, the Cor-Bon DPX was the most accurate with slow fire groups of 2.1 inches. As I said the Cor-Bon has more snap however in slow fire it wasn’t a factor.

    My next groups were rapid fire using the sights this time and taking long enough to get a flash sight picture. My point of aim was the center of the targets head. Again all rounds were within the targets head with an average group size of 3.8 inches.

    I was honestly surprised at these rather small groups coming from such a small pistol with a barrel less than three inches long. Taking into account the small sights it’s all the more impressive at 12 yards.

    During the entire shooting session there were no malfunctions of any type. I did expect some with the very wide hollowpoint of the Cor-Bon DPX ammo but it didn’t happen.


    I can think of a couple of .380 semi auto’s I like. Among these are the S&W Bodyguard I own. The Kel-Tec that is often compared to the Ruger. Still the Ruger came in with the best groups and just felt good in the hand. It was also the most natural pointer of the group.

    This was the standard configuration pistol without the Crimson Trace laser. I have fired a friends laser equipped Ruger. As I mentioned earlier it did have that aggravating tendency to shoot low.

    I tend to think of a .380 as backup pistol but in summer when a lot of folks wear shorts and t-shirts a pocket pistol you’ll actually carry is better than a .45 left at home.

    The Ruger LCP is well made with bevel treatment on any potentially sharp corners, good accuracy and excellent reliability. I can recommend this pistol to any shooter looking for a backup or summer carry pocket pistol. This pocket pistol would fit my needs very well.

    I always encourage a potential buyer to go to a range that rents guns and try it out before you buy it. That goes for any gun under consideration. All things considered I believe most shooters will be pleased with the LCP!

    Happy Shooting!

    Phil White

    Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m retired as associate editor since December 14th 2017. My replacement is my friend Pete M email: [email protected] you can reach Pete for product reviews etc.