When choosing a carry gun for self-defense, my advice is simple: pack the largest gun you can comfortably carry. If you’re a doctor wearing scrubs, that may be an ankle-carried mouse gun. Which is ideal for someone wearing not-a-whole-lot, a concealed carrier worried about printing, or a shooter looking for a deep concealment back-up gun. Enter the Ruger LCP II.

 

For their .380 mouse gun version 2.0, Ruger widened the featherweight glass-filled nylon frame by 1/8″. But the LCP’s still a really small gun: just 5.17 inches long and 3.71 inches tall.

As you can kinda tell from the picture above (courtesy m4carbine.net), the LCP II is smaller than its direct competitor, the GLOCK 42, in every dimension (height, width and length). Here’s the LCP II compared to a full-sized 9mm FN 509.

And here’s Jon Wayne Taylor gazing adoringly at the Ruger LCP II, obscured by his massive mitt.

The LCP II is small but perfectly formed. Ruger’s judicious use of stippling, cut lines, indentations and text make the II a far more interesting and aesthetically balanced ballistic bauble that its exceedingly bland, top-heavy predecessor.

The LCP II’s five forward-facing rear slide serrations (the last one’s obscured by the gun’s rounded end) are particularly well-judged and surprisingly useful for manipulating the diminutive slide. The enlarged, squared-off, glove-friendly trigger guard is another sign that Ruger gets the form-follows-function equation.

Ruger claims the LCP II “provides a secure and comfortable grip.” The LCP mag’s finger grip extension floorplate — previously an aftermarket item — helps realize the promise. (Just remember to remove your second finger from the frame to eject the mag.) While the grip’s texture is about as aggressive as a sleeping schnauzer, the Keira Knightly-slim LCP II fits the hand well enough that the 600-grit sandpaper stippling isn’t an issue.

Neither is lock-back. Ye Olde LCP wouldn’t lock back on an empty mag — a time and confidence-robbing deficit should a shooter need to refuel during a defensive gun use. The II does. Ruger also increased the size and prominence of the slide stop, making a one-handed slide release much more of a thing (provided you’re right handed).

The LCP II’s trigger is the big news here. Ruger says the [enclosed] hammer-fired trigger offers “single action feel.” They’re not wrong. There’s zero grit leading up to the LCP II trigger’s break point, which lies straight behind a solid wall. Where the LCP’s gas pedal differs from a 1911’s: the LCP II’s plastic pyramid trigger over-travel stop and pull weight.

The LCP’s trigger requires some 5.25 lbs. of pressure to make it go bang. I reckon that’s as it should be; adrenalin-crazed newbies are highly likely to rest their finger on the II’s trigger in extremis. And given the gun’s size, a snag-free frame-mounted safety would have been just about impossible to engage and disengage. Whether Ruger should have ditched the loaded chamber indicator is a different question.

The LCP II swaps out the older model’s channel sights for dehorned raised post-and-notch sights. While there’s plenty of room on both sides of the front post (thank you, Ruger), both the front and rear sights are solid black (damn you, Ruger). It’s impossible to get a proper sight picture against a dark background. Why not three-dots? Why not three-dot night sights? Why indeed . . .

It’s a shame. The Ruger LCP II is a ridiculously accurate .380 handgun. Thanks to its hand-friendly ergonomics, lower-recoil .380 caliber and controllable trigger, the palm-sized pistol delivers a minute-of-bad-guy (i.e. center mass) group at five to ten yards. With so little muzzle flip, you can aim your first shot, pull the trigger as fast as you can, and have a reasonable expectation that all your rounds will hit your target.

Slow things down, work that most excellent trigger, and even a lousy shooter who needs all the training he can get (like me) can shoot 1″ to 2″ groups at seven yards. Beyond that, to a point, center mass is still doable.

The LCP II ate everything I fed it without complaint, well over 500 rounds. Shooting comfort was perfectly acceptable. Both Remington’s 95gr. UMC range ammo and Hornady’s 90gr. Critical Defense cartridges delivered nothing more than a mild rebuke, rather than the stinging slap meted out by most micro-9mm’s.

Disassembling the baby Ruger doesn’t require a trigger press. But you will need a teeny tiny little screwdriver to prise out the takedown pin, which will go airborne.

As for the perennial “problem” of .380 stopping power, keep in mind that the .380 cartridge is 70 percent as powerful as a standard-pressure .38 Special from the same barrel. And .380 pills carry 9mm diameter bullets.

Would I prefer to defend life and limb with a full-house 9mm or a soul-destroying .45? Of course. Would a bad guy prefer to be shot with a .380? Not as much as not being shot at all.

‘Nuff said? Only this: if you need or want a really small self-defense pistol gun that’ll git ‘er done up to ten yards and won’t punish you for practicing, the Ruger LCP II is an ideal choice.

Specifications: Ruger LCP II Pistol

Caliber: .380 (not suitable for +P ammo)
Capacity: 6+1
Grip Frame: Black, High-Performance, Glass-Filled Nylon
Overall Length: 5.17 inches
Height: 3.71 inches
Weight (unloaded): 10.6 oz.
Slide Material: Alloy Steel
Slide Finish: Blued
Slide Width: 0.75 inches
Barrel Material: Alloy Steel
Barrel Finish: Blued
Barrel Length: 2.75 inches
Twist: 1:16″ RH
Grooves: 6
Sights: Integral
Suggested Retail: $349.00 (found online for $299)
Not legal in CA or MA

 

Ratings (out of five stars):

Ergonomics: * * * * *
It’s small but perfectly formed. The addition of the finger rest at the bottom of the mag — previously an aftermarket item — is most welcome.

Ergonomics Carry: * * * * *
Nothing could be easier to conceal.

Reliability: * * * * *
Fired 500 rounds of Remington UMC, a box of Hornady Critical Defense and a smattering of other brands. No issues.

Customizable: * * * *   
There’s a good selection of aftermarket goodies — holsters, spare mags and such — from the original LCP. But previous gen mags won’t activate last round hold-open and seven-round LCP mags aren’t compatible with the LCP II.

Style: * * * * *
Ruger’s transformed a bland design into a ballistic bauble.

Accuracy  * * * *  
Thanks to the revised trigger, the LCP II’s absurdly accurate for its size, and more than adequately accurate for a pocket pistol.

Overall * * * *  
A truly remarkable .380 caliber pistol for deep concealment: handsome, reliable and accurate. Denied five-star perfection only by the lack of a second mag and its all-black sights, which mandate point-shooting at a dark color or at night.

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66 Responses to Gun Review: Ruger LCP II .380 Pistol

  1. Dunno. The 2nd gen version of the original pretty much solved the trigger issue (acceptable at least) that plagued the original LPC’s. I’ve though about changing to the II but my 2nd gen with Hogue grips, while not a take-to-the-range-gun, runs good and isn’t too snappy.

    • Ditto. I wouldn’t trade in my original LCP for this, but I can see the merits of having one of each. I may be in the minority of LCP owners, but I occasionally carry mine IWB in summer when the situation doesn’t merit “Threat Level SR9c”. I would prefer the LCP II for the IWB role, with it’s better trigger and sights, whereas I’d be more inclined to carry my original LCP in the pocket due to the longer trigger pull.

      You can always carry your old LCP as a backup to an LCP II. Hell, you could carry four of these guns comfortably if you really wanted to. One on each hip and one in each pocket. They are so easy to live with all day long.

  2. If they did a “custom” version of the LCP II a la the LCP Custom, what features would you expect to find on it? Fiber Optic front sight, 2 magazines, and a red, shorter takeup but otherwise very similar trigger?

    • I’d leave that trigger alone. The take-up is fine. I’d want to have a better holster sleeve, like the Blue Force Gear one. The one that ships with the gun does NOT catch on deeper, wider pockets.

      • Makes sense, I tried using that holster that came with it, and just resigned myself to purchasing another as a cost of doing business.

        • I agree, two magazines would be a heck of a lot nicer than that Ruger branded Uncle Mikes looking thing it comes with. Mine packs quite nicely in a Desantis Nemesis.

      • BORAII holsters makes a trigger guard pocket holster for the LCPII. I’ve carried the pistol since its release using the holster. After months of carry, the holster still fits snug, snaps in place, and breaks cleanly when I practice drawing. I have an Alien Gear set for IWB and OWB, but I’ve used the BORAII 99% of the time. In dress slacks, the pistol doesn’t print at all, looks like a cell phone might look like in the pocket if it shows, etc. A good combo for me. YMMV.

  3. I understand taking off a * for the sights, but the extra mag is neither here nor there for that price.

    • It’s there, on the internet, for $23. Shipping a self-defense semi with one mag is not acceptable, regardless of the price.

      • My AR didn’t come with mags, or a scope, my revolver didn’t come with speed loaders. Do they loose stars for not including needed accessories? No! Should it come with two mags? Yes! Should it lose a star for just that? No!

        • They left the front sight black so you could choose your favorite color of nail polish.

          I’ve had two coats of white nail polish on my original LCP front sight for over a year now and it’s still holding strong after hundreds of draws from a pocket holster.

        • Frank called it – paint the front sight white or any other color of your choice. I really like this little gun – very accurate with the Hornady Critical Defense, light, easy to conceal even in the summer, excellent trigger. Look into the DeSantis Mini Scabbard holster if you like leather over Kydex.

  4. I am glad to hear that Ruger chose a hammer over a striker in the LCP II … and even more glad to hear that it is has a nice trigger.

  5. “When choosing a carry gun for self-defense … pack the largest gun you can comfortably carry.”

    There, fixed that.

    As for people who denigrate the lowly .380 ACP cartridge (especially from short barrels in “mouse guns”): it will save your life in the overwhelming majority of attacks. Remember, attackers disengage almost every time the victim merely produces a firearm. Of the tiny percentage of attackers who stick around to see if you really have the cajones to pull the trigger, almost all of them leave once you start launching bullets in their direction.

    At the same time, one would be wise to recognize the limitations of .380 ACP and mouse guns. If that is all you have, you are in serious jeopardy facing a homicidal stalker (including ex-boyfriends/husbands), terrorist, or someone stoned on PCP. If that is the case, do your best and hope and pray for the best.

    • Gun guru Clint Smith famously pronounced “Carrying a gun is not supposed to be comfortable; it’s supposed to be comforting.”

      That may be the way it’s supposed to be (and the way I roll) but that ain’t the way it is.

      We live in a society that values — and provides — ease. From our cars to our clothes to our houses and beyond, we’ve become used to living a comfortable life. Expecting a pampered American to put up with concealed carry discomfort on a daily basis is unrealistic.

      Whatever you think of that (fat, lazy bastards!), that’s the commercial reality.

    • You can fix the .380 ACP power issue by using Ruger ARX ammo made by Polycase. The difference can be seen by using water jugs as a test medium; the ARX ammo will blow the jug apart (even good HP’s don’t). Go to ‘Real Guns’ and look up his test of the LCP II, he also tests ammo with water jugs. Great gun and ammo combo.

  6. “It’s also ideal for someone wearing not-a-whole-lot.”

    So, basically you’re saying it’s a gun for strippers.

    • You’re absolutely right! I own both. But I’ve owned 2 LCPs and only one P3AT. My first pocket gun was the first gen LCP that was recalled. It was never reliable after the first two magazines so I bought the gun they copied, the P3AT. It was and remains one of the most reliable gun I’ve ever owned! I have several thousand rounds through it and it’s never failed me even after 500 round range session. (I believe if you carry it, you must shoot it regularly.) I wound up selling my original LCP. I bought the LCP I now own last year used from a LGS owned by a friend of mine. A month later Ruger released the LCP II. I’ve handled one but that’s it. If I do end up getting one, I would trade or sell off the LCP I now own to buy the LCP II. However, I WILL NEVER GET RID OF MY P3AT!

      • You are legally entitled to a MINIMUM of one gun of every type (you define “type) for every year of your life. Go for it.

    • Never understood what the deal is here. I figured they must both be copying someone else’s design or else kel-tec would sue them. Maybe really old patents or something.. They are near identical on the inside. Not unlike with the colt mustang, and P938.

  7. I was never interested in the LCP until the 9mm came out but even then never pulled the trigger, pun intneded, and bought one. This little improvement is very tempting but the lack of second mag and need to swap sights may continue to hold me back.

    • It’s point and shoot at seven yards. Fancy sites aren’t going to help much beyond that. This is not a Kimber or Wilson Combat. The LCPII is $250 shipped…Buy the extra mag for $23.

  8. Meh…I had a TCP that ran great(with a great trigger). They(and a LCP custom are dirt cheap now. But I’m not going lower than 9mm. Maybe if the Mrs. wanted one…

  9. It says that it’s not rated for +P ammunition (which I get since there is no published standard for .380Auto+P) but I’m gonna guess since it’s Ruger you could throw down with any hot commercial load to no ill effects. Especially given that it’s actually a locked breech .380.

  10. I haven’t had any real issues carrying my Ruger SP101 or Walther CCP in a hybrid holster at 3:00 while wearing scrubs. Have to make sure the drawstring is *really* tight, but it works well.

  11. I finally got an easily concealed gun and the LCP and Bond Arms were the finalists. I got the Snake Slayer 4.25″ in .45 acp mostly because it has much more aesthetic value to me. I just really prefer steel and organic grips. Jon’s review of that gun also pushed me over the buy line. Thanks, Jon.

  12. I carried a P3-AT for just about forever, daily, in my front pocket in a DeSantis holster. Good little gun, but what a PITA to shoot, even with a gel grip sleeve. And so darned cheap looking and feeling.

    When the LCPII came out I knew that is what I wanted for a replacement. What a sweet little gun, it shoots great, looks and feels like a (feather light) high quality pistol.

    Well, not so much as a Sig P238, but it is way lighter and half the price….

    I really like this mouse gun.

    John Davies
    Spokane WA

      • The LCP II is a handful becauae it is not a handful. I enjoy shooting mine but I have big hands; Hogue hand all grip made it more comfortable for practice and does not effect pocket carry concealability for me. The issue that I have with the LCP is that it is too easy to carry and the LCR 357 and PPS 40 stay home too much.

  13. I have the first LCP and it’s been a great little gun. I throw it in my pocket and go in the summer, in a pocket holster of course.

  14. “If you’re a doctor wearing scrubs, the only “comfortable” option is an ankle-carried mouse gun.”
    Not really – I know several docs who routinely carry full size pistols while in their scrubs. And several others who carry compact 9’s and .45’s – it’s all about a good holster and method of securing it.

    • I’m attached enough to my weapons to ensure they stay attached to me. As such I’ve subjected some gear to conditions it wasn’t designed for, suffered considerable discomfort, and committed some serious fashion faux pas.

      How does one get a full size1911 under a snug tuxedo w/o the proper holstery? Gunbelt, OWB holster and cumberbun over all.

      Where does one stash one’s piece for and unexpected swim? Trick question, the gin and holster are getting wet.

      There is always a way, finding it is the hard part.

  15. My LCP easily takes down with the rim of a .380, and I’m pretty sure the manual described its having been designed that way. Is this not possible with the 2?

    • P3AT manual (I don’t know about the Ruger) describes that take down can be done with “rim” of case. Personally, I like to take a small patch and slide it with the screwdriver blade underneath the pin to keep from marring the slide.

  16. It’s more aesthetically appealing, but it’s not different enough from the 1st generation LCP I have in my pocket right now to make me want to buy it. It’s a point and pull close quarters gun, and the changes made aren’t relevant enough, in my opinion.

  17. The 1911 style mag release kills this as a pocket gun; every time you sit down that button will get depressed and your mag will pop-out. Of course this factor was not tested as the purpose of the revue was to generate income for TTAG

    • Now that’s not very nice.

      I’ve been carrying the Ruger LCP II in the pocket holster included in the box without any problems for three days.

    • My LCP rides in a DeSantis Superfly when in my pocket, and thats never happened in a couple years of carrying, sitting, driving, couch napping, etc.

  18. I have the LCP Custom based on the original style. Even regular LCP’s made from about 2013 (models without a hyphen in the serial #) are a world of different from the earliest guns. The LCP Custom is so different that I chose it over the new LCP II, in fact getting a second Custom. I even like the trigger in Custom over the II, for my tastes. Use ARX ammo in it and you have performance close to normal 9mm ammo, but not the really good stuff. Also use an LC9S with ARX ammo to amp up the performance of the smaller gun. By the way, the original 2nd gen LCP is still in production, being made at their Mayodan, NC plant. Sadly, the Custom appears to be gone.

  19. Finally a mouse gun with a decent trigger.

    Front sight fix – bright yellow Piggy Polish nail lacquer. Carrying in pocket or next to the skin – SM2 Sticky Holster. Ammo – Lehigh Defense 90 gr Xtreme Penetrator.

  20. I really like mine, and I agree with nutnfancy that they will sell a ton of these. I would however pay more for one with a better finish. It isn’t bad on the slide, but the barrel’s finish is pretty poor. So keep oil on it. Still, amazing little gun for the $$$.

  21. I tried an LCP2 at a rental range in comparison to the G-42, Sig P238, Browning 1911-380, and Bersa Thunder. Liked it a lot. Far better than the Glock 42, which felt like an overpriced piece of plastic. Ultimately I bought the Sig because I already had a 738TCP with Galloway enhancements and was seeking the absolutely lowest recoil smallish gun even if a bit bigger. If I had the money for only one pocket gun, it would be the LCP2. Add NiteSighter Sight Dots with care ($17, like I did on the Taurus) and you will have great 3 dot sights on a great pocket gun.

  22. I’ve had all three LCP’s, the original, the LPC custom and now the LCP II and the LCP II blows each of them out of the water. As for the holster out fo the box- I just put it up on ebay and got one from Dara Holsters. https://www.daraholsters.com/custom-quick-ship-iwb-holster/ Got it within 5 days, haven’t looked back since.
    The LCP II actually feels like a much larger gun in hand, and shoots like one too. Well done Ruger.

  23. I wear scrubs most days. My Glock 26 in a superfly pocket holster is in my right front pocket if a stethoscope can’t be seen coming out of it. Landau scrubs with cargo style pockets pair well with the holster. A 10 round backup mag is in the left front pocket with my keys.

    I like being able to use the 33 round magazines with the 26 and 19 – I keep the galco 8 count 33 round mag carrier on the back floorboard of my truck were I can get it with my right hand – it’s split 4/4 with hollowpoint and ball ammo for impromptu range visits and something to grab quickly in case the SHTF.

    • So Dread Lockstinc carries a Highpoint every day, and I carry a Glock 19 everyday. What’s the best carry gun if we happen to get in a confrontation where he is trying to carjack me?

  24. I see I’m not the only person who prefers the original LCP. I have an original and a Custom, both with Crimson Trace lasers. Maybe because I’m an old J-frame shooter, I don’t mind the trigger on either one. I haven’t handled the II but from the pictures, it looks like my Custom has better sights. Not locking open on the last shot isn’t a big deal for me; snub nose revolvers don’t automatically spring open on their last shot either. I’ll stick with what I have, especially since I’ve invested in the lasers and several extended magazines. Maybe I’d feel differently if considering my first purchase.

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