Don’t buy a Ruger LCP .380 without reading this!

by P

Photo of Ruger LCP 380

Ruger LCP 380

Not being an impulse buyer, I spent quite a bit of time reading up before buying my little pocket rocket. I wanted to make sure my $$$ got what I expected. I did, and then some. I am pleased and not sorry I bought this gem. The Ruger LCP .380 is a quality weapon. Not showy–just my style. She does what I need her to do–be there to protect me and mine.

Size and weight were included in the criteria for my first concealed carry weapon. At around 12 oz loaded, weight was a shoe in. Size? Also a go. My hand nearly conceals the entire pistol. (I have smallish hands). The pinky extension is a viable option to improve grip-ability. I needed it to begin with but may just switch back to none.

Width was the real factor. To fit in MY waistband it needed to be slim. At just over 3/4″ the LCP excels. There is no safety. You can choose to have 7 rounds (6+1 in the chamber). My personal choice is 6 and an empty chamber. I can rack the slide quicker than I can fool with a safety.

Being a southpaw, right-handed safeties are awkward. If I feel the need, I just chamber one in advance of a questionable situation. Like coyote infested berry patches or snake-infested forest or traveling through a bad part of a town at night. Although the mag release is right-handed, I can release and reload a mag left-handed without fear of dropping her. There is a 15 round mag available for target practice.

The Ruger LCP .380 is very easy to shoot.

The Ruger LCP 380 is very easy to shoot. Especially for smaller hands. Trigger pull is long but smooth. Recoil is nominal for this lightweight gun. I could shoot a couple hundred rounds without aggravating my carpel tunnel. Accuracy is good. I can’t brag about a 4″ spread at 25 yards because I don’t shoot THAT well. Seriously, this isn’t for 25 yards, it’s for someone attacking me in my personal space, like my bedroom or a carjacking.

My DeSantis Pro Stealth Inside Pants / Waistband IWB Holster With Spare Magazine Pouch is comfy all day, in my usual jeans. I tried an ankle holster, but the nylon irritates my skin and doesn’t work with straight leg jeans. I can use a pocket holster—-but only if I wear men’s jeans. it’s great with men’s cargo shorts. See, the problem is women’s pants pockets are useless. Too shallow. Now, ladies, let me introduce you to the flash-bang! The kydex holster is made for a specific few pistols.

Ruger LCP Drawbacks and Durability?

Nothing is perfect, of course. Reassembling is a bit of a challenge. One must pull the slide back against the spring (with oily hands naturally) and insert a very small pin in a tiny hole with a spring in it. I’ve had fun with that!

The sights are small, hard for me to see. Red paint on the front sight solved the problem. At first, 380 ammo was difficult to find. Gone as soon as shelves were stocked. It’s better now. It’s not the most affordable ammo, but I still buy it. There is a recall on certain serial #s.

If dropped on a hard surface with one chambered it could go off. I haven’t been concerned enough to part with it for the week or two it would take to fix. Maybe someday, I don’t know. I have had two failures to eject. Both times my jacket sleeve snagged. Also, I used cheap practice ammo. DH doesn’t care for it, though. Too small for his liking and he prefers a revolver.

The only change I would make in my purchase of this wee little P-shooter is I would have the laser. Maybe. Simplicity is good. And maybe a laser is, too. I would have bought the Ruger LCP 380 sooner if I’d known about it.

This is not my only firearm. Long, short, auto and revolver. We’ve owned many calibers. This 380 is still just as sweet. I plan to loan it to my DD to bring her into the wonderful world of firearms.

I know folks could rattle off all kinds of specs and clinical details, but my life is not in a laboratory setting. It’s on the farm, and at work, shopping, camping, hiking etc. I don’t notice the difference in 3/10th of an ounce or a fraction of an inch in length. I do notice a comfortable gun to carry, hold, and shoot. A trigger pull that doesn’t make my hand quiver (double action only). I still have money for groceries after buying it. Quality & Reliability. This gal is quite pleased with the Ruger LCP 380.

The Ruger LCP Centerfire Pistol Video Review


  1. JP in MT says:

    The Ruger LCP is a big hit at our house too. Mine has an aftermarket CTC laser and the DW’s has the factory. If I was doing it over again, I’d go with the added expense of the aftermarket just for the placement of the activation switch.

    My everyday slacks have a “watch” or “coin” pocket inside the front right pocket at the bottom. The LCP fits in it like it was made to go in there. I put my checkbook on the outside of the pistol and you can’t tell that it’s there.

    Great Gun!

  2. SurvivorDan says:

    Nice article. Very thorough review.
    The only thing I take exception to, out of concern for you, is the empty pipe.
    As an LEO I have struggled with violent idiots and had to fend them off with one hand while simultaneously drawing a weapon with the other. Additionally I was once ambushed with a piece of re-bar which broke my support arm and then presented (fortunately did not have to shoot) my sidearm with only my dominant hand. In neither of those cases could I have easily chambered a round to fill an empty pipe.
    Additionally (as you touched on), it can be very difficult to chamber a round with oily, bloody or sweaty hands.
    TFMrs. SurvivorDan also carries without one in the pipe and I could never convince her to change her mode of carry. To each their own. Just my two concerned cents………
    That said, I enjoyed the article. Do you find that the magazine sometimes releases inadvertently when pressed up against your body? That was why I got rid of my Kel Tecs. I imagine Ruger fixed that defect in the design.

    • You bring up very good points with real life experience . The only points I can see in favor of leaving the chamber empty ( besides safety ) is that in some states law enforcement has a threat/intent rating system : IE loaded/unloaded magazine , loaded but not chambered , loaded and chambered , etc . , and doing that puts you in the higher threat/intent category if you were stopped or other situation where you are armed and have contact with the authorities in some way .

    • village idiot says:

      SD, that’s the reason my wife carries a revolver. It is very difficult for many folks to rack the slide on an auto when under stress. I’ve seen people short stroke pistols in competitions, I’m sure it is even more common when under true stress.

      Other than that, an excellent article. The .380 is not in my arsenal, but it’s a nice little caliber, and the LCP is a handy little pistol. However, as Dan says, I would have one up the pipe if I carried it. Thank you, Miss P, very informative.

      • SurvivorDan says:

        Indeed Miss P, as VI writes…very informative. Thank you. I was only concerned for you, not intending to sound critical. TFMrs.SD carries without one in the pipe as it makes her feel safer with the grandkids around. Whatever works for you. The good thing is that you own a firearm and keep it handy.

    • Thank you, dan, hadn’t thought about sweaty/bloody hand! Never said is never change my mind…..its just what I do now.

  3. Your new gun rates well in all categories except stopping power. My S&W AirLite shoots the MUCH more powerful .357, will handle snake shot, is less likely to malfunction and, if it ever does, corrective action is easier, AND it still weighs less than one pound fully loaded. I much prefer one shot stopping power. But, if you are happy with your choice, CONGRATULATIONS. Remember, the best gun for the job is the one you have with you.

    • JP in MT says:


      The problem with the AirLite pistols in 357 Mag is 2 fold. Muzzle blast and wrist torque. Most women (and a lot of guys) dislike both. Over the years I’ve seen and sold many lightweight 357’s to guys wives. None that I talked to after 3 months have shot it more than the 1st time, and about a third bring it back looking for something with less of both. I tried to send them w/ 38 ammo because of the money they’d loose trading the gun in, but still many have never been shot since. I see a lot being traded at gun shows (steel 357 are rare up here, alloys not so much.)

      Personally the only “one shot stopper” I’ve seen is a Howdah in 58 cal (what a cannon)!

  4. tommy2rs says:

    Might check out Buffalo Bore’s .380 plus p ammo. It’s what I keep stocked in the PPK/s The Boss confiscated from me. She hasn’t had any ammo related troubles at all.

  5. Piddles says:

    I too have the LCP 380. Love it!! I have an American Arms mag 22 min revolver as my pocket pistol and the LCP is my back up. I found it on sale with the laser and have been extremely happy with it. The only thing I hate about the laser is at the range it shows how bad my hands shake. 🙂

    SurvivorDan in regards to the magazine inadvertently releasing I have never had that happen. Not to say it couldn’t, just hasn’t happen to me.

  6. Patriot Dave says:

    Quote: “I know folks could rattle off all kinds of specs and clinical details, but my life is not in a labratory setting. It’s on the farm, and at work, shopping, camping, hiking etc. I don’t notice the difference in 3/10th of an ounce or a fraction of an inch in length. I do notice a comfortable gun to carry, hold, and shoot. A trigger pull that doesn’t make my hand quiver (double action only). I still have money for groceries after buying it. Quality & Reliability.”
    I agree. The weapon is useless if you leave it at home because it’s uncomfortable.
    +1 for keeping a round chambered. It’s a matter of getting over the inital fear that you will accidently fire off a round. That is one thing I like about my Glock, The trigger safety will not allow it to be fired, even if dropped. but automatically is off when your squeeze the trigger.

  7. Good well thought out article. My wife completely agrees with you except she carries one in the pipe. We have had some car jackings in our area and she wants to be ready instantly.

  8. I carry a larger pistol, too. But for simple convenience, the 380 is handy. If I could carry AND conceal any gun, prolly would be the sig 357 auto I qualified with. Sweet. 5 out of 5 first try. DH has a hard time remembering I can’t hide one on me like he can. One I tried in the waistband made me look like a “man”.lol.
    I like the feedback. The other perspectives help so much.

  9. Uncle Charlie says:

    I too have a LCP. I carry mine all the time although I have larger caliber handguns or carbines nearby in the house or the glove box or trunk of my of my car. All gun manufactures say to carry with an empty chamber. They have to because of liability reasons. The LCP has no safety because it is designed NOT to fire when dropped. When they first came out, apparently a few did go off when dropped and there was a recall to correct the problem and an extra magazine for your inconvenience. I carry mine all the time. I carry mine with one in the chamber because of my arthritis which sometimes makes it hard for me to rack the slide easily. In the winter, I carry in my shirt pocket. I have dropped it on hard surfaces too many times but with no problems. In the summer or when I go out, it is always in a front or rear pants pocket and has never been dropped from there. The LCP is not rated for the .380+P, but that is not to say that you couldn’t carry it loaded with same, but to practice too much with it would not be good for the gun. On the other hand, many small ultralights are hard to control with +P rounds even though some people like Chuck can shoot a .357 Mag from an ultralight, I stick to a Ruger GP for the heavy loads. As they say, the best gun for self defense is the one you have with you, and the LCP and its ilk, are the easiest to always have with you.

  10. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    No LCP. but the very similar Kel-Tec P3AT and P32 are in our household, they are amazingly small and light and make for a great “tuck one in your jacket pocket and forget about it” gun as they come.

    Recoil in rapid fire (for me) is an issue, a magazine emptied in a few seconds hurts! I know it probably wouldn’t make a difference in a real life scary scenario, but in training – ouch! The grooved trigger in this regard probably needs to be shaved down some.

    Thank you for the great article.

  11. axelsteve says:

    I am just glad that she is packing a pistol and that she is not afraid of it. i would like to see or read more of women doing that.I don`t care if it is a 380 or 357 magnum.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Good point. Would I be a-sceered of being shot at by someone with ‘only’ a 380? Hmmmm….. Hell yes!

  12. A .380 Taurus revolver is another nice choice for a woman. And you don’t have to worry about it jamming. I’ve got one and we just got one for my daughter to have at her college apt.

  13. You peg it with your review. I love mine! It’s with me all the time. I bought a belly band holster and even someone hugging me doesn’t know it’s there!

    • Will a belly band holster work with a chub like me though. That is what I wanted to begin with. DH nixed that idea. He is a big dude maybe why. I dunno. We have a basket of holsters we don’t use/like. Lol, I have more holsters than shoes! This dressing to carry hasn’t changed my wardrobe much, but some changes I resist. I just won’t wear a vest. I’m Not girlie enough to look cute, just looks too “butch”. I know zero women who carry on their person. Only 1 or 2 that purse carry. I am learning on my own.

  14. Looked at the Arizona centennial LCP for obvious reasons , they could have at least used copper plating ………I’ll pass .

  15. macnorfin says:

    I love Ms. Elsie Pea. Seriously, since I got one a few months ago, I find that it’s what I carry almost all the time. While some would argue about the effectiveness of the caliber, it’s so convenient to pocket carry that you’ll always have it with you–which is probably a more important issue.

  16. Larry E says:

    Nice review…informative,educational and enjoyable!
    Larry E

  17. Excellent review, but one thing you wrote concerned me. Carrying this gun with an empty chamber is inviting disaster. When and if you need the gun it will be a split second of terror and you cannot be sure you will have time to charge the gun. Your hands could be slippery, you could need your off hand to defend yourself while you draw the gun, and one of a million things.

    During my 30 year LEO career I had to use my duty weapon to defend myself. Believe me when I say that you are risking your life carrying this gun with an empty chamber. It is designed to be safe with a round chambered. If you carried a revolver would you leave the cylinder empty?

  18. elsieLover says:

    Any thoughts on carrying an extra mag?

  19. I am new to the whole handgun scene but I have just qualified for my CWP with the S&W Airweight .357. Naturally I haven’t built up enough confidence to shoot a .357 round yet(plus most ranges around here don’t allow it.) The reason why I’m commenting on this page is that my wife and I love our Rugers too! We have an SR9 and LC9. My wife is planning on carrying the LC9 so I’m looking for a semi auto to carry myself. My biggest concern is that I have huge hands and long fingers which causes some issues with smaller weapons. I find the LC9 fits my hands fine with the extended grip clip but I had a hard time with the long trigger pull of that gun. Does anyone have experience shooting such a small gun when you have larger paws?

  20. I have the Ruger LCR 357 mag, and I love it. I like the ammo versatility with the ability to use 38 sp rounds. I also just purchased the Ruger 77/357 rifle, which also handles both pistol rounds. I like only needing 1 or 2 types of ammo for multiple uses in 2 weapons. I have a handy carbine capable of easily taking deer out to 125/150 yards with the 357 mag 150 grain bullet I also use for self-defense in my LCR pistol. I can use my 38 sp 110 grain rounds for small game with the carbine or my wife can use it in the revolver. I was very pleased with the power increase the pistol rounds generated out of the rifle. I am also pleased that the metal sights on the rifle are more than adequate, allowing great flexibility in going scoped or without. I will be adding the Crimson Trace to my LCR soon: It’s a great gun without, but it’ll be fantastic with it.
    Bottom line, I wanted versatility, and I’m pleased with what I have in this combination. I would like to add the new Mossberg 3in1 shotgun with the home defense/hunting barrel combo and possibly a semi-auto pistol for my wife (will consider the LCP). I’m satisfied though if I weren’t able to add another gun for awhile.
    Thoughts, advice or questions on what I’m doing?

  21. Todd Zmina:

    You might look into the 180 gr loads for your rifle (NOT recommended for your LCR) as a hunting load. I have a 357 Trapper (lever action w/16″ barrel) as my GHB weapon. I really like the “results” of this weight bullet out of a rifle.

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