I drove down to my favorite LGS today and, on a whim, rented a Ruger LCR in .357 Magnum. Actually, no, I take that back. It wasn’t really a whim.
Since my last post, I’ve been talking with my folks, and Mama Raptor is okay with me buying a second gun. Haven’t talked with Papa Raptor about it yet, but now really isn’t the time (he’s under the weather). I’ve also done some math, and while a Glock 19 Gen4 is still way outside my budget, I can probably swing the funds for a small, relatively-inexpensive dedicated carry piece. Something along the lines of a Kahr CW9, S&W Sheild (though that one might be stretching it), S&W J-frame, Ruger LC9 or LC380, or Ruger LCR.
Hence my renting one today.
The specific gun I rented was the basic .357 Magnum model with the standard Hogue Tamer grips. No fancy sights or lasers. And while the gun is chambered for .357 Magnum, I only ran standard-pressure .38 Specials through it.
My initial shooting impressions were surprisingly positive. The LCR has what might just be the best double-action trigger pull I’ve ever felt. The pull weight was probably in the neighborhood of 10-12 lbs, but the trigger was so silky smooth and so crisp that it felt much, much lighter. On par with my SIG’s if not better. And while the gun weighs only 17.1 ounces empty, the recoil was very easy to manage. Don’t get me wrong, it still kicks enough that you know you’re shooting a snubbie, but the Hogue Tamer grips soak up the recoil enough that it was almost pleasant to shoot. It probably would have been completely pleasant if I could have found a good hold on the gun – I like running handguns with a thumbs-forward grip, but you can’t use that on a revolver unless you want to blow the tip of your thumb off. Speaking of the grips, while they are compact, they are rather hand-filling and just long enough for me to squeeze a full three-fingered grip onto the gun. However, I suspect that those with large hands will only be able to get two fingers onto the gun.
Anyway, while I was surprised how easy the gun was to handle, I don’t think I’d want to put more than 100 rounds through it at a time. If I did buy one and carry it, I think I’d load it with hot .38 +Ps or, at most, light .357 loads. Running full-snot Magnum loads through a gun that small and light would definitely not be an enjoyable experience!
The LCR was also surprisingly accurate. Now I have very little experience with revolvers, and am not great with double-action triggers at all, but after I got used to the LCR’s aforementioned excellent DAO trigger, I was getting some pretty good groupings. Admittedly, I was only shooting at 7 yards, and I wasn’t in any danger of winning a marksmanship contest, but I was certainly combat accurate. With some more experience on the LCR, plus one other tweak I’ll mention later, I imagine I could shoot it very, very well.
Unfortunately, there was a problem with the gun. I mean my rental specifically. Ruger LCRs are somewhat infamous for having a “false trigger reset,” i.e. the trigger sounds and feels like it’s fully reset when in fact you still have to let it out another millimeter or so before it reaches the true reset point. I’d known about that when I rented the gun, so I was expecting it. What I wasn’t expecting was that when I’d pull the trigger without first fully resetting it, the cylinder would index over to the next chamber. The hammer didn’t move, but the cylinder did rotate. That concerned me a great deal, but some research when I got home (i.e. I posted about it on We The Armed) indicated that the bug is not, let me repeat, not, common at all to LCRs. In fact, nobody had ever heard of that ever happening before. Which meant my rental gun was broken. In retrospect, I should probably have let the guys at the range now about the problem. In my defense, they were all either on the phone or helping customers, but still, I could have waited. (Bad Raptor! Bad! No treat for you!)
This brings me to the one real quibble I have with the gun: the sights. Put bluntly, they suck. Like pretty much every compact snub-nosed revolver out there, the sights consist of a U-shaped notch milled out of the frame and a tiny ramp at the end of the barrel. The front ramp sight on the LCR is serrated to cut down on glare, but it is also completely unmarked. This makes it very, very difficult to acquire, even when slow-firing and using a bright blue silhouette as your target, like I was. If I bought an LCR, I’d either get one that came with an XS Dot Sight or else buy said sight and have it installed on the gun. I’d probably have to do the latter, as Ruger does not currently offer the LCR .357 with the XS sight from the factory (though they do with the .38 Special-only model. Come on, Ruger…)
And yes, if I do decide to buy an LCR, I will be getting the .357 Magnum version instead of the .38-only model, even though I will almost certainly run .38s through it. Reason being that the .357 version is 3.5 ounces heavier than the .38 version. Yes, I know I’ve been griping about how heavy my SIG is, but the LCR .357 weighs just over a pound, so it would be very, very easy to carry. Plus, in a gun that size, I want the extra weight to help soak up the recoil.
So, to sum up, I was very surprised by the LCR .357. I didn’t expect to like it, and really only rented it so I could I could eliminate it from the running in my search for a CCW piece. But, the sights (and mechanical issue) notwithstanding, I really, really liked it. I don’t believe I’m saying (okay, typing) this, but I’m actually considering it. If you’re in the market for a CCW piece, I highly recommend you check out the Ruger LCR.
Oh, and totally unrelated, but I shot my SIG after I shot I finished with the LCR. Again, wouldn’t win any marksmanship contests, but I shot it very well. Better than I’ve shot it in a long while. Took my time, really watched my technique (especially my trigger pull), and I got all my shots in the black (technically, in the blue) out to 15 yards. Kept all the shots on paper out to 20. Couldn’t do go further out because I ran out of ammo. But I’m definitely improving. I still need to practice, and probably seek out some professional instruction. I still want a Glock 19 Gen4, mind you…. but I think I’m going to hold onto my P228 for a while.
Until next time, Peace.