The Ruger LCP (lightweight, compact pistol) is a small lightweight concealed carry pistol that has been around for many years and has gained a large following amongst gun owners. Manufactured by Sturm, Ruger & Company and weighing only 9.4 ounces, the LCP is a very easy to conceal weapon for concealed carry.
The original model was released in 2008 at the National SHOT show convention. The original LCP I experienced a large volume of sells, in the first couple of years, but later on they started to see a drop due to some common issues that had been discovered.
The first notable issue was the grip. With the incredibly small grip profile, people with average-sized hands had difficulty, and people with large hands all but could not shoot the gun period. At this point in time, there was not a grip extension available. A factory magazine with a grip extension was finally released in 2013 after scores of requests were made to Ruger.
The second issue was the guns problem with feeding ammo. The LCP became notorious for being picky with the ammo it would shoot well. A large variety of the ammo available would not feed reliably, if at all, with shooters experiencing “stovepipe” misfeeds and failed ejections. Some gunsmiths had success polishing and smoothing the ramps, but it was still a common complaint with the weapon.
A third issue was the short, shallow sights that make holding a good picture difficult, and were slow to obtain. The sights were designed to be “snag free,” which is Ruger’s reason for them being so short, but most people felt that the lower chance of snagging the pistol while drawing it was not worth the difficulty in finding a good sight picture once the weapon was drawn.
The most significant complaint that people had with the LCP was the trigger. The “Double Action Only” trigger had a long pull with a considerable trigger weight. The trigger didn’t have a clean break, and was the type often described as a “mush to click.” Lastly, it did not have a “reset,” forcing the shooter to let the trigger travel all the way out before it could be pulled again. With the long and hard trigger pull, this made the gun more difficult to fire accurately.
In 2008, there was a recall that affected some Gen 1 serial numbers. This was initiated due to Ruger receiving reports that pistols manufactured with a particular style hammer could discharge if left with a bullet in the chamber. The recall was for Gen 1 LCP’s with serial numbers 370-0000 and below. The LCPs with serial numbers 371-0000 and up were already manufactured with the new hammer.
To determine if a pre-371 LCP has been repaired at the factory, you can look for a diamond imprint that the Ruger factory stamped on all guns that had been reworked. The stamp is on the t portion of the slot just behind and below the hammer.
Ruger released a second generation LCP that included some improvements. The frames of the guns are almost identical, with all of the upgrades being internal except for the sights. The most common way to tell the Gen 1 and Gen 2 pistols apart from one another is the serial number. The original Gen 1’s had a dash in the serial number like 123-45678. The dash was removed in the Gen 2 numbers appearing as 12345678.
One improvement the Gen 2 pistols had was improved sights that were raised to allow a better, faster to acquire sight picture. The sights were still rounded and created a low profile to help prevent snagging, which still giving shooter something more to look at.
Another significant improvement was with the trigger. Ruger shortened the trigger pull, which made the gun more comfortable to shoot, though the stiff weight and lack of a “break” remained.
The LCP II was released in 2016. Often referred to as the “cousin” to the LCP I rather than a replacement, the LCP II boasts some significant changes over the original and Gen 2.
The LCPII is slightly larger than the LCP I. It is wider, to accommodate and better grip, and also the slide is longer. The sights are taller and more defined, allow for faster target acquisition. The frame was redesigned for a more modern look, which included adding a more defined texture on the grip for a secure hold. They added a slide-lock, which allows the gun to lock open when shot to empty. The most significant upgrade was to the trigger, which no longer has the stiff “mush to click” trigger, and features a trigger reset, allowing shooters to fire more rapidly and more accurately.
While the improvements make the LCP II a much better shooting gun, some people feel that it is not a very good carry gun, due to the significantly lightened trigger. The original stiff trigger meant that the possibility that you would accidentally catch the trigger and cause an accidental discharge was low. It also ensured that if in a stressful situation you would not shoot in a “panic.”
So the LCP II is more comfortable to grip and shoot, has a significantly improved trigger, and better sights. However, some people believe that the trigger makes it an unsafe option for concealed carry.
What I looked at
When reviewing this gun, I looked at several factors. Concealability, shootability, accuracy, price, safety, craftsmanship, and owner feedback. All of these factors I feel is important for selecting a handgun, especially if it is intended as a concealed carry weapon you may need to depend on to save your life.
Concerning concealability, the LCP scores the highest marks. It’s very small, and lightweight, meaning it can be concealed in many ways. A lot of owners that carry the weapon daily say they often forget they have it on. It’s small enough to be a literal “pocket gun,” and a lot of people carry it in either their front pocket in a pocket holster or in their back pocket in a wallet holster.
The LCP was also designed to be carried in a “deep concealed” fashion. The rounded and low profile sights create a snag-free draw.
When it comes to the shootability of the LCP, it seems very dependent on the person. The pistol has a very snappy recoil. With the gun weighing only 9.4oz, the .380 round creates a lot of torque, which some people found made it hard to handle. Others just found it to be uncomfortable to shoot. This is important, because practice with your concealed carry gun is very important, and a weapon that’s uncomfortable to shoot won’t get shot as much as others.
The other side to the recoil issue is with follow up shots. The amount of muzzle travel makes it harder to get off rapid and accurate follow-up shots, something that should be expected in a concealed carry gun.
Accuracy is very dependent on the shooter himself. However, some factors can tell us about the accuracy of the actual gun. It doesn’t matter how accurate the gun is in a vise if no one can actually get the gun to perform at that level while being handheld.
Some shooters had shot competitions with the LCP and gotten good results. There are also many people who report having good grouping while target shooting with the LCP. So while it may be challenging to get accuracy from the gun, it can be done.
When writing this review, the current price for a factory new Gen 2 LCP from an online retailer was $190. This puts the gun in the lower end of the pocket gun niche, with similar guns ranging from $235 (Keltec) to $583 (Kahr Arms).
The LCP does not have an external safety. Personally, I subscribe to the theory that the best gun safety is the one between your ears, but regardless the safest option is physical safety. The LCP does have a stiff and long trigger pull, which is intended to reduce the possibility or an accidental discharge.
Ruger has been known for the quality and craftsmanship for years, and the LCP is no different. Even though it is one of their cheapest firearms they manufacture, it is still held to their high-quality control standards.
While researching reviews and posts about the LCP, it seems that everyone who owns one loves it. Many are enthusiastic about how much they love it. People who have shot it, but don’t own it, are a mixed lot. With that being said, my experience tells me that when that happens, it means that you have to have experience with the gun to like it.
The LCP is not a gun that you are going to pick and fall in love with. It is not a gun you are going to get 1-inch groups on the first box on ammo you put through it. This is a gun you are going to have to familiarize yourself with and get used to shooting to be able to shoot it accurately and comfortably.
The LCP line, either the Gen 2 or the LCP II, are well built and quality firearms.
Are they suitable for concealed carry? Well, that depends.
I feel that if someone is willing to practice with it a big, the Gen 2 LCP would be a safe and suitable carry gun for just about anyone. The recoil is manageable, the accuracy will come with experience, and the stiff trigger makes it safe enough to carry in a pocket or purse in a good holster.
The LCP II is up to personal comfort. Personally, I am very comfortable carrying a gun and handing a firearm in stressful situations. So for me the light (lighter), trigger is not a concern. For newer gun owners or for those that are new to carrying a firearm it might not be the best choice. Regardless of skill or experience, I do not feel the LCP II should be carried outside of a holster due to the trigger.
So if you are looking for a new pocket pistol or carry gun, the Ruger LCP line is one to consider. It has been manufactured for over 10 years, giving plenty of time for the “kinks” to be worked out, and has proven itself as a reputable firearm.
Born and raised in Kentucky, Steve grew up deep in the mountains on a family farm. After college, Steve spent over 15 years working in public service and has experience in Fire, EMS, and Law Enforcement. He has also worked with training and deploying search & rescue and service dogs for utilization in a variety of services.
Steve is also a Scout Leader with the Boy Scouts of America, and works to teach preparedness to the next generation. Steve has worked with and taught firearms and self-defense in multiple venues, from tactical applications to long range shooting, and also has extensive training in first aid and wilderness first aid.
An active prepper, Steve has devoted hundreds of hours to mastering and teaching skills and techniques for use in survival, homesteading, and general preparedness.