Gun Review: Sturm, Ruger & Co. LCP

I ain’t a true Texan. According to the requirements printed on its box, I need not apply for the hottest gun of the week. However, strip off the barel tats from Sturm, Ruger & Co’s Coyote Special LCP and you’re left with the exact same firearm. One of the most prolific handguns in production. So much so that the LCP (Lightweight Compact Pistol) has single-handedly reinvigorated the pocket pistol genre. On the negative side, there’s a dearth of .380 ammo not weighing down ammo shelves. On the positive side, the LCP has inspired other gunmakers to step up (down?) their game. Pocket pistols like the Sig Sauer 1911 mini-me P238 and Kahr P380 have increased self-defense choices in a very good way. Still, to paraphrase Fergie, the LCP is so 2008. The others are so 2000 and late. As was I. But I’ve now spent considerable quality time with the gun Texas Governor Rick Perry used for varmint control. The weapon Jeff Quinn at GunBlast christened “Miss Elsie Pea.”

The most important rule of a gunfight: “have a gun.” For many if not most concealed carry permit holders, even a compact Glock is too big for everyday carry. The LCP’s just 5.16 inches long, 3.6 inches high and 0.82 inch thick. It weights 9.4 ounces unloaded. The diminutive proportions make the LCP a gun you don’t have to think about–right until you do.

With or without a moon-struck coyote on the barrel, the appeal of a svelte, stylish, reasonably powerful gun the size of an iPhone is no less than it was back in the day. The LCP is a gun for today’s busy lifestyle: grabbing a half-caf mocha latte at Starbucks, jogging through coyote-infested suburbs, eliminating rapists on the way to your MINI, etc. Just tuck it in your pocket or purse in a Kydex holster. The LCP doesn’t print anymore than this website.

Are you carrying a full-size .45 in your t-shirt and shorts eating at Pinkberry? Perhaps that is a bad example; most gun owners don’t eat at Pinkberry. But I do. And I don’t look out of place with an LCP. At all. Tell that to your cowboy-hat wearin’ Milt Sparks double-leather .357 shoulder holster CCW. I am prepared for a jihad on swirly goodness.

Even more importantly, the LCP’s chambered in a caliber that packs a punch. Anyone who does not think the .380 has enough stopping power can volunteer to be shot with it. Or debate it here ad infinitum. (Note: we know some coyote pups who might like your IP address.) Meanwhile, the market has decided: the LCP is an excellent compromise between size, weight and potential lethality.

So how does she shoot? The LCP is snappy. When you pull the long-throw trigger (designed to dis-enable negligent discharges), the recoil is significant. As you’d expect from a small gun designed to stop humans. I repeat: the LCP ain’t no range queen. After half a dozen shots, both your six-round magazine and palm are pretty much done.

And? Miss Elsie is designed to be by your side in a self-defense emergency. It’s a back-up gun for people who have a main gun and for people who don’t, and hope they don’t end up wishing they did.

The LCP’s fixed sights could probably turn Rob Leatham into Mr. Magoo. Saying that, I can’t imagine a situation where you would need your LCP to be a sniper rifle. But it is true that Ruger’s misleading some folks on the “kill a quadruped at a distance front”—by NOT equipping the “Coyote Special” LCP with laser sights. The standard sighs are practically useless past 15 yards.

You activate Crimson Trace’s award-winning sighting system—the same one found on the Gov’s gun—with your middle finger. Needless to say grabbing the LCP’s frame and lighting someone up with the laser speaks says a lot more about your anger levels than actuating your middle finger in the other direction. [ED: Never brandish a weapon at someone unless they pose a serious threat to life and limb.]

I’ve used the LCP with a wide variety of .380 loads. In a hundred rounds, I had one stovepipe. Another time, the slide jammed up. The ole’ tap-rack-bang method worked for both failures. So let’s call it a 98 percent success rate.

The gold standard in .380 pocket pistols is . . .the Rohrbaugh. But at triple the price, the LCP is a sane, sensible, life- and wallet-saving choice. The LCP started a revolution when derringers just could not take us. Coyote or not, it still has the industry howling.

SPECIFICATIONS

Caliber: .380 Auto
Capacity: 6+1
Sights: Fixed
Length: 5.16″
Width: 0.82″
Height: 3.60″
Weight: 9.40 oz.
Barrel Length: 2.75″
Barrel Material: Alloy Steel
Grooves: 6
Twist: 1:16″

RATINGS

Style * * *
It’s all black and can look like a cap gun. But overall it is a nicely finished for the low MSRP.

Ergonomics * *
Everything is where you expect it, and I don’t mind the magazine release, but the sights could use some love.

Reliability * * *
There was a recall, but no kvetches are pinging the Internet radar. Two failures per my 100 rounds. Nothing is perfect at this size and price. Your Mileage May Vary.

Customize This * * * *
Add a laser, a couple of cool holsters, and you can even send out your slide to companies who will make it a custom color. Forget Coyote Special- were talkin’ French Poodle Deluxe!

OVERALL RATING * * * *
Add a star for starting a revolution on how a lot of CCWs rethink carry.

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About Brett Solomon

Brett Solomon got his first taste of the magazine world covering car electronics for CarSound & Performance Magazine. He landed the job by being noticed for designing high-end car audio systems. Which was fine by him because there was no way he was going to pass the third level of calculus toward an electrical engineering degree at University of Delaware. Not with those DuPont scholars around campus, he’ll take Journalism over Engineering, thank you very much. He has since written for a number of publications (think in-flight journalism) that lack the chutzpah of Robert Farago, and having all of those milquetoast reviews pent up in his system now allows his pen to spit fire. We’ll, he is just not that mean but happy to tell the truth…and the truth is most firearms are fun!

13 Responses to Gun Review: Sturm, Ruger & Co. LCP

  1. avatarDonal says:

    It reminded me of the Napoleon Solo gun I had as a lad, which was not styled much like the Walthers or Mausers seen in the show:

    http://www.theunclegun.com/imgs%20gallery/ToyUNCL

  2. avatarPelle Schultz says:

    I had a chance to put a few dozen rounds through one of these recently–my Pop bought one for CCW. For the price he paid–about $300 post-recall–it is a compelling choice. Yes, it’s snappy and painful after after a few mags. The sights are pretty much ornamental. Neither my Dad, cousin or I could hit much of anything beyond 15 yards. The trigger is heavy, has a long reset, and breaks like wet plywood.

    But in our hands, it cycled flawlessly, and in our pockets (and wallets), it was barely noticeable. It now lives in the center console of Dad’s Tahoe or in his right front pocket, and he is finally happy enough with a new gun to replace his .38 special Ruby (now there’s a rare one) after 40 years.

  3. With much estrem to the writer, but I don’t think it’s as awesome as people says.

  4. avatarJanice says:

    Any gun is better than no gun at all. My engraved LCP goes everywhere with me, pocket, purse, ankle holster, or just tucked in the waist of my jeans. It’s primary function is a back-up, but sometimes it is the only thing that fits. I love it!

  5. avatarCj says:

    This gun is on me 24/7 weather its a bug or the only one I carry on a hot

    Sticky day. Shoots good enough for me to feel safe.

  6. avatarRob Hephner says:

    Nice review, there is something so familiar about this guys writing…

  7. avatarJH says:

    I keep hearing about snappy recoil and not fun to shoot. That has not been my experience. I shot 150 rounds the first time out to break it in and check for function. I could have kept going if I had more ammo.

    I am actually pretty darn accurate with this little guy compared to my other mouse guns. I am very happy so far.

  8. avatarOld Dog says:

    The LCP is one of the most popular guns in the retirement community I live in. However many complain that it is difficult to shoot well due to its small size and recoil which is not arthritis friendly. I carry an XDs .45 and despite buying two LCP’s, could not shoot them without jamming unless I really concentrated on my grip and hand placement, something I do not want to have to do in case of a real situation.

    • avatarDon Lavine says:

      OD…….so how’s your XDs working for you these days? Can you say recall on 8/28/13….and as of 10/10/13, SA still has no fix.

      Guss what……. My little old LCP is still in my pocket and still shooting great!

      • avatarLucas D. says:

        Yup. I can also say “Never had any issues with it before the recall and had it back in a month.”

        Now, can you say… nothing?

  9. avatarTrey says:

    I gotta say, the Ruger LCP .380, is definitely my favorite EDC! I have put about 200 rounds down range. Be it not very far down range, but far enough to make me feel safe. I trust this fine Ruger with my life anyday!

  10. avatarTaz says:

    I’ve been carrying the LCP for about a year now. It sits on my hip all day and I almost forget it’s there.

    I’ve taken it to the range to see what it’ll do and I must say it does well. Just don’t expect to hit a target over 20 yards away. It is a bit snappy, but it’s not an all day ranger. Just have a little fun with it.

    By the way, the fellow who sold it to me included some 20 year-old .380 ammo and every one fired perfectly. Not sure if I should applaud the ammo or the gun, but I’ve yet to have any misfires.

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