First Impressions: Ruger LC380

 

The Ruger LC380 for this review was provide by The Kentucky Gun Co.

Have you ever owned something that seems really cool, that gradually starts to lose its appeal due to what initially seemed like a minor flaw? That’s how I’m starting to feel about the Ruger LC380. At first blush, the sleek ‘n sexy gun’s got what it takes: low recoil and perfect concealability (it hides underneath the tightest of Ed Hardy muscle tees). As the march of time has progressed, I’m starting to lose patience with . . . I don’t want to give away the full review. So I’ll just say this: the LC9 is a classic pistol. Chambering it in .380 ACP makes perfect sense; small is beautiful when it come to pocket pistols. But there is a point of diminishing returns. Has the Ruger LC380 reached that vanishing point, or is the point and shoot pistol a viable option for deep concealment and/or BUG status? Watch this space.

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About Ryan Finn

Ryan Finn is the Director of Operations and an Associate Instructor for Montana Tactical Firearms Instruction as well as a contractor for Vanguard Security Consultants when he isn't writing for TTAG. In his free time he is a volunteer firefighter and enjoys spending time in the mountains with his family.

39 Responses to First Impressions: Ruger LC380

  1. avatartom rkba says:

    Is the thumb safety required for carry with the chamber loaded? Or is it supplemental like a safety on a Glock or SIG?

    It is a backup gun. It should not be your primary EDC gun
    except in exceptional circumstances. It is certainly better than the Kel-Tec.

    • avatarno2gunctrl says:

      No, the safety is not required to carry with the chamber loaded.

      There are a ton of folks who carry .380 as an EDC and don’t feel under-gunned. The trigger on this gun wishes it was half as good as a KelTec PF9.

    • Interesting. My Ruger LCP has no safety. Its a Double action gun. It does not lock open on the last round (which is my only complaint about the gun).

      • avatarRightYouAreKen says:

        LCP does not have a safety, LC9 for some reason does. Lots of people carry the LC9 without the safety engaged. I use it, but also practice with it. To me the safety is easy to use and ride sort of 1911 style. I’ve shot IDPA style stages with it and done well, albeit slower than with my glocks due to trigger travel. I do shoot it very accurately though. LC9 also has that ridiculous loaded chamber indicator on top. I own both the LCP and LC9 and to me the LCP is a pocket carry. The LC9 is a IWB w/ t-shirt carry. I guess the idea of the LC380 being lower recoiling than either the LCP or LC9. Can’t see any other benefit to it.

  2. avatarBen in UT says:

    “You ever own something that at first seems really cool, but slowly starts to loose its appeal based on a seemingly minor flaw?”

    I hate to be that guy, but it’s lose, not loose. /snark

  3. avatarRick F. says:

    I have a S&W Bodyguard .380 that also has a thumb safety. I would NEVER use this safety under any circumstance. I carry this gun in either a pocket holster or IWB holster (both of which fully protect the trigger). As this a DAO firearm, I am quite comfortable carrying in this manner.

    If the safety on the Ruger is anything like my S&W, I can see why you’d complain.

  4. avatartom rkba says:

    No need to complain if you do not use it.

  5. I was just shooting my Ruger LCP. At first I thought this was the same gun, but now I realize that yours has a safety. My Ruger LCP (.380) does not have a safety. The Safety, in my opinion, in not necessary for a double action gun.

    I like shooting my Ruger 380. It is a very good choice for a carry gun. I have a lot of experience with different 380′s. Bursa, Taurus and keltec all developed trigger problems. Sig has a nice 380, but it is single action only, and I don’t think a good choice for carry. The S&W Bodyguard is a good choice but costs about $120 more. Walther is over $500.

    Ruger LCP / 380 is the best value for a reliable 380. I can shoot a 4 inch grouping at 40 feet. You have to learn to pick up the slack in the trigger for accurate shooting.

    Do not feed steel case Tul Ammo .380. The gun will jam. Blazer aluminum is ok for practice, but will occasionally jam too. This is a common issue with many .380′s. The light recoil spring makes the gun very picky about ammo. I am not an ammo snob…. Tul Ammo works fine in other calibers and buy all the time for cheap shooting.

    I have a small Keltec in 9mm, which is just a little bigger then this gun. 9mm is very punishing for people to shoot out of a gun this light, so .380 is a great choice for people who need a small gun.

  6. avatarMark says:

    i’ll stick with my Glock 26

  7. avatargun_youzer says:

    I always hated the trigger of my lc9.

  8. avatarMark N. says:

    When yu do the full review thing, please identify the differences between the LCP and the LC380. I see the latter has a safety and the former does not, and there is a size difference. Also the LCP is NOT legal in California because it does not have an external safety–so maybe this was the point of the new gun–to comply with our Safe Handgun Ropster regs?

    P.S.: I went and looked at the roster just now, and the LC380 was added Friday. Looks like it has a longer barrel than the LC9? (3.4 vs. 3.12)

  9. avatarPulatso says:

    LC9 has the same issue. Small ass safety, and takes some force to disengage. My wife has one, and uses a soft holster, so she keeps the safety on.

  10. avatarSCS says:

    After you review this you need to do a comparison to the Kahr P380.

  11. avatartdiinva says:

    I find 380 to be one of those useless calibers. If you can get a 9mm in the same frame why would you go for a less powerful round?

    • avatarRightYouAreKen says:

      While I agree in this size of gun, I’ve not seen a 9mm as small as the LCP (which is as big as I’d want to pocket carry), so that’s why .380 has a place as a legit round IMHO.

    • avatarSupton says:

      If you dislike the 9mm recoil, 380 should be less. Is the LCP fixed breech? LC shouldn’t be, and should have mild recoil in 380. 9mm is reputedly a handful in the mouse guns.

    • avatarnavyone1978 says:

      how exactly did you determine .380 to be useless? I concede that it is the absolute bare minimum to use as a self defense round, but it seems to me to be a universally accepted fact that it does just squeeze by in that regard… especially if your in a dense urban environment where overpenetration would be a big problem.

      • avatartdiinva says:

        It’s useless because there are better rounds for the same sized platform. If you can’t handle a 9mm I don’t think 380 is going to be better for you.

        • avatarDanny says:

          Based on what? Your word? I’ve shot both calibers in similar-sized (and weight) pistols and the .380 is noticeably more manageable. It is definitely better for recoil-sensitive people as it can allow accurate rapid-fire shooting.

        • avatartdiinva says:

          A “recoil sensitive” person is someone who doesn’t train or practice enough. My wife is petite and has no problem handling the recoil on a 1911. She shoots it just as well as her M-9. The solution to sensitivity is training and practice.

        • avatarSupton says:

          I’m recoil adverse; I don’t care much for shooting my LCR. I got a chance to shoot a 1911, and the LCR is far worse in terms of recoil. The 38-LCR is basically unshootable for me, the mag version is what I have as i can stand to shoot it; the 1911 was fun, and I was sad to run out of ammo.

        • avatar380formepls says:

          Arthritis does not give in to training. I benefit from a low recoiling 380 in a decent handfilling size to accurately place my shots center mass/head shots without my arthritis keeping me from quick follow up shots. Perhaps you dont like the 380 but there is a market for it, regardless of what larger caliber is offered in the same size pistol. Kudos to your wife for her gun handling skills. I was a large caliber gunslinger in my day but age caught up with me as it may, no offense, catch up to your petite wife one day and she may then be in need of a nice lc380 from ruger. Regards…

        • avatarNavyone1978 says:

          Well, my bodyguard .380 is an awesome deep cover/ backup gun to have. I haven’t seen any heavier caliber guns this compact or concealable with almost 0 inconvenience to the guy carrying. Of course, you are going to have to trade off some ammo capacity and power for the compactness, but I’m overall very pleased with the performance and handling of today’s modern semiauto mouse guns. On the other hand, they almost need to be a lighter caliber directly because of their size. Everyone that has ever shot my BG has been surprised by how much they felt the recoil, due to the light weight and extremely short grip.

        • avatartdiinva says:

          380: My wife switched to 9mm because she developed arthritis in her strong hand wrist from an old ski injury. It’s not that she couldn’t grab a 45 in a self defense situation but it bothers her when she shoots 100 rounds of 45 ACP at the range.

          Navyone: 380 in a mouse gun is fine. I just said that if the same size gun is available in 9mm why would you go with a less effective round. People just don’t read past their prejudices.

  12. avatarnavyone1978 says:

    having shot the LCP, the lc9, and the S&W bodyguard .380, I picked the Smith and Wesson. just seemed better built…..

  13. avatarSupton says:

    I handled a Taurus PT709, a LC380 and Sig P290 at the same time in a shop. The Sig felt best in hand, but had a ridiculously long trigger–and I shoot revolvers. The Taurus felt better in hand than the Ruger, but the Ruger had a better trigger. After holding them I came to two conclusions: I liked the single stack, and I prefer a full grip. If it has the full grip, then might as well go for a longer barrel too. Probably wont be shopping these small guns.

  14. avatargringito says:

    I love my LCP but I would have preferred some decent sights on it like the KAHR P380.
    Moreover it does not lock open on the last round .

    I like the sights of the LC380 and that it has 1 round more in the mag than my Elsie, so it would be an option. However, I do not like the thumb safety. I prefer the LCP concept as regards (no safety, DAO).

  15. avatarSLOWDOG says:

    I have neuropathy and have been gradually been losing strength in my hands.
    I think it may be time to put my old Walther PPK/S on the shelf and go with the LC380. Same ammunition, but just racking the slide on the Walther is getting difficult, and the recoil is pretty stout. But it’s small and fits nicely in an ankle holster. I am hoping the LC380 will fill this same need.
    My larger handgun is a CZ P-07 Duty in .40 S&W

  16. avatarDan says:

    My two cents: I love my LC380! Love it! Is it perfect? Nope. Haven’t found a gun that is. But for our situation, and for a particular purpose, it works very well. It shoots like butter with very little perceived recoil, feels solid in the hand (especially with the Pachmayr Tactical Grip on it), and conceals reasonably well. Moreover, for us, it is something that both I AND my wife enjoy shooting at the range! That makes a ton of difference right there. My wife enjoys shooting the .22′s but this is something she can also enjoy whereas she will struggle to practice with the LC9 or other similar sized nines. Racking the slide is surprisingly easy on the PC380 too, which is nice. I never expected it to be much easier than other 380′s I have used. So, like virtually everything, it’s relative.

    For the folks who say the 380 is the same as the 9 when it comes to handling and recoil, I can only guess that you have not actually fired the guns. Not just 380′s and 9′s, but the LC380. It shoots much better than any other similar sized 380 I have shot (not many, I admit) and it shoots MUCH more comfortably than the LC9 which I also have. Would a nine be a better defensive gun? Sure. And a .45 might be better than a nine. And something else might be better than a .45. And so on and so on. We all make compromises and draw the line based on personal preferences, abilities, etc. Especially for my wife, that line is right before the nine and that’s extremely fine by me. : )

  17. avatarjimmy johnson says:

    Federal .380 HydraShok penetrates 10 inches of calibrated ballistic gel after passing through some thick denim material. Surely that qualifies it as at least a minimal defensive round if the shooter keeps ‘em where they need to be on the bad guy.

  18. avatarEDouble says:

    I’m a little late on this but I have been reading up on the LC380. I have the SW Bodyguard 380 I love the gun but I prefer the CT laser on my LCP. I typically carry two LCP’s. I also have the LC9 with CT I love it too but too big for pocket carry. I am going to buy the LC380 because I think it will be an awesome shooting pistol in 380. I also have all of the other requisite calibers (9,40,45,38,357) and manufacturers 1911′s and Glocks 17,19,21,23,26,27,30,34,36. I just live in warm weather and with the type of work I do, my body, and style of dress I invariably end up pocket carrying or appendix carrying. I have to go with the one is none and two is one and one in the pocket is better than one in the safe. LC380 will be purchased tomorrow.

  19. avatarJeff Johnson says:

    Trigger: Is there an aftermarket trigger replacement for the LC380/LC9 that improves the performance or gets it closer to the KelTec PF9 ?

    Taming Recoil: Galloway Precision makes a heavy duty replacement Recoil Spring for Ruger LC9 and LC380, rated at 20lbs, to help tame recoil & muzzle flip vs. factory spring rating of 16 lbs.

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