Ruger LC Carbine
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Many years ago, the legendary Colonel Jeff Cooper made a posit for a big bore carbine he called Thumper. Cooper reviewed a prototype in Soldier of Fortune magazine. One prototype was in .221 Fireball, the other in .44 Auto Mag. Cooper felt that tank commanders, drivers and other personnel not in front line combat might be well served by an 11-inch barrel carbine.

He was ahead of his time in some ways. His Scout rifle was far more successful and serves well today. Ruger’s new carbine in .45 ACP isn’t a Thumper, but it is closer than most and it jogged my memory concerning the short-barrel carbine Cooper envisioned. The Ruger LC Carbine is reliable, more than accurate enough for home defense, affordable and makes for an enjoyable recreational firearm.

A .45 ACP carbine makes a lot of sense for pistol fans of the same caliber. The piece offers greatly increased hit potential over any handgun.  With a minimum of practice, you can become a very good shot with a carbine; typically, better than some people are with handguns and certainly capable of delivering accurate shots at longer ranges.

With the pistol, more training and frequent practice is needed. This makes the carbine a great home defense gun. The pistol caliber carbine (PCC) is useful for area defense, against pests and varmints and for hunting some game. I have taken two deer cleanly without the need for a second shot with a .45 ACP pistol, so the .45 will do the job at moderate ranges. It isn’t my first choice for sure, but four legs in the air quickly at 25 yards is a testament to the .45 ACP’s effectiveness on thin skinned game. The PCC is allowed at ranges that prohibit centerfire rifles, for the most part, and offers an affordable option for many of us.

The Ruger LC Carbine proved reliable with a wide range of ammunition.

The Carbine

The Ruger LC Carbine incorporates a folding stock into the design. The charging handle is easily manipulated and may be changed from right to left as the shooter prefers. There is plenty of real estate for mounting optics or combat lights, while the LC Carbine is supplied with useful AR-type sights out of the box. This makes for greater utility as even today all of us don’t mount optics.

In the modern fashion the LC Carbine features a threaded barrel for a muzzle brake or suppressor. Ruger wisely chose to use Glock magazines for feeding. A single 13-round magazine is included, but more can easily be had given the Glock choice. The LC Carbine isn’t the lightest carbine on the store rack, but not the heaviest either at just over 7 pounds. Lengthwise it is only 22.5 inches long with the stock folding to one side making for great compact storage. A truck gun, a camp gun, an all-around area defense carbine—the LC Carbine has promise.

The trigger action is the familiar Ruger safe action with a blade type safety lever in addition to the Ruger’s manual safety. The Ruger isn’t a single-action design like most carbines. The action is partially cocked by racking the bolt, while the trigger press moves the firing mechanism to the rear. Glock need not make a carbine as the LC Carbine is already a good companion to any .45-caliber Glock or similar handgun. The bolt is designed in a similar manner as the UZI overhanging bolt, which means the system is even more compact. Loading the magazine is the same proven hand-to-hand loading sequence as the UZI.

The author used the TruGlo PR1 Red Dot for sighting when firing at 100-yard targets. The combination rifle/optic helped him keep the groups tight.

On the Range

I collected a good supply of ammunition and began testing. I fired against man-sized targets at 15 and 25 yards. The LC Carbine comes on target quickly, handles well and has good balance. Due to the bolt’s weight—a heavy bolt is needed in a blowback design—the balance of the carbine is found over the handle. The sights easily came to the eye as soon as I shouldered the carbine. It is much easier to quickly get hits with a carbine than a pistol, and this thumper delivered. For longer range testing, I used the TruGlo PR1 Red Dot mounted on the LC.

Close or long range, i did not experience a single failure to feed, chamber, fire or eject. Initial firing was accomplished with Federal American Eagle 230-grain FMJ ammo, and I also fired a magazine of Federal 230-grain HST and Speer 200-grain Gold Dot. Recoil is modest, arriving with a mere soft push. It isn’t difficult to control recoil and get back on target quickly, making this a fun shooter of targets. The cadence of fire is smooth and fast. Here are the specifications for the LC 45.

Ruger LC Carbine Specifications

Caliber/Capacity .45 ACP, 13 + 1
Overall Length 30.60 in.
Weight 7.1 lbs. unloaded
Barrel Alloy steel, 16.25 in., 1:16 rh twist, muzzle threaded .578 in.-28
Receiver Aluminum alloy with Type III hard coat anodized
Handguard CNC-milled, Type III hard-coat anodized aluminum with M-LOK accessory attachment slots, multiple QD sling sockets
Stock Folding stock with adjustable length of pull but can easily be replaced with AR-pattern stocks.
Trigger Secure Action™ system that combines a protected internal hammer with a bladed-safety trigger. The trigger has a short, smooth pull, clean break, and positive reset
Sights Ruger Rapid Deploy folding sights are adjustable for windage and elevation and the full length Picatinny rail allows for optic mounting.
Accessories One 13-Round Magazine
Warranty Limited Lifetime
MSRP $1,009

Test Results

25-Yard Testing/5-shot groups

Federal HST 230-gr.                             .95 in.

Federal Syntech 22-gr. TSJ                  .92 in.

100-Yard Testing/5-shot groups

Federal 230-gr. American Eagle          2.85 in.

Federal 220-gr.  Syntech                     4.0 in.

Federal 230-gr.  Punch                        3.7 in.

Speer 230-gr. Gold Dot                       3.6 in.

Speer 200-gr. Gold Dot +P                    3.5 in.

There is plenty of real estate for mounting lights or lasers on the LC Carbine.

Key Product Highlights

  • Features 1x magnification for a clear view
  • Features an etched reticle that enhances clarity, whether you’re using it with or without illumination
  • The sight features a 6 MOA CQB circle dot with a large outer ring
  • Enjoy an extremely wide field of view, covering 37.5 feet at 100 yd
  • The adjustable diopter eyepiece allows for personalized settings
  • Designed for rapid target acquisition at short and medium ranges, making it ideal for fast-paced scenarios
  • Easily control brightness with digital push button controls
  • An auto-off feature is incorporated to conserve battery power during periods of inactivity

Summary

After testing the Ruger LC Carbine at length, I find it a reliable and useful carbine. It is versatile for a number of uses and well worth the money to add to your arsenal.

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42 COMMENTS

  1. Just got one. Havent even shot it yet. First time around w .45 so gotz to get my ammo pile where it needs to be. Love the feel of it so far though.

  2. This looks like a match made in heaven for a can. Doing something integral/under handguard to make it a 1 stamp setup would be better still.

    • Another reason to get rid of the NFA. Ruger, among others, could make things like this with an integral can and sell them for about 50 bucks more than the current MSRP and have a line out the door, around the block and down the road to the next town.

  3. I think I remember Cooper advocating for a.44 mag LA carbine as a thumper. Also gives the option of a second caliber in one firearm. I also think I remember him advocating for the 10 mm in the MP-5 for the same reason. I remember HK building a few, but I believe they had problems with the bolt cracking. It was a long time ago. I may misremember.

    • The HK MP5 10mm guns were FBI issue in the late 1980’s. They were all scrapped except for a few. A retired agent friend of mine got to shoot one in the 1990’s. I don’t think any other departments purchased them and I have never seen any de-milled parts kits available or even magazines for sale.

      • While I remember hearing they beat themselves to death quickly for an H&K it was third hand info and I would still want to see them back in production along with other automag and various super cartridges.

  4. Not for sale in California, Illinois, Maryland, and probably New York and New Jersey. Shame that. This would be fun. .45 is my favorite cartridge.

  5. I bought one in Feb. About 300rnd thru it now, and you get far better performance with +P ammo than std. velocity. Watch this for the spec differences:

    • That was a pretty in depth deal. Thx for linking. Nice setup the fella has there too.

      He sure got the bolt out easier than on my first try lol. I have a tendency to make things difficult sometimes methinks.

      • Be careful taking the spring assembly out. It’s only held together by a tiny ‘C’ clip that rides in a recess on the plastic buffer. If you release spring pressure on the buffer the clip will fall off. I’ve been pondering ways of preventing that – maybe some judiciously applied super glue.

          • FYI, ‘C’ clips are fairly common hardware. You might check for the right size at a decent hardware store like Ace or others. But probably wouldn’t be carried by Lowes or other big box consumer store.

  6. Oh fck, another look alike AR.
    Wish they would bring back that Deerslayer and make a box magazine for it.
    30rnds of .44 would get a barrel pretty hot but oooo ahhhhhh eeee that’s some real damage.
    Sasquatch wouldn’t have a chance.

  7. This thing weighs almost a pound more than a Marlin 1894 in .357 or .44 magnum which out of a carbine would hit with about 2.5x and 4x more energy than a 16″ .45acp and only has a modest round count and $$$ advantage and it’s fugly. I just can’t see me spending my hard earned money here. But to each his own.

    • ets makes 30s and glock makes 26es in .45acp. triple the capacity is pretty modest. not to mention faster reloads.

      still would not say no to a .357 or .44 lever gun.

      • The .45LC lever gun pumps some energy and increased velocity too. I have Japanese Winchester with a 24″ barrel that loads 13. Plus you can make hot loads that the modern steels can handle out of a Winchester ’92.

        • Gotta love those low to middle end 454 casull level loadings typically only seen out of Ruger Blackhawks.

  8. I have a Marlin Camp Carbine in .45 ACP that takes 1911 mags. One of my most favorite guns. The only problem that I had was that it would break the stock right behind the rear action mounting screw. I solved that by welding a small recoil lug on it just below the chamber and installing a heaver recoil spring. As I am a 1911 fan, This makes for the perfect companion to my 1911’s. Marlin also built one chambered in 9mm. Took a mag from one of the many S&W pistols.

  9. As soon as they come out with a state compliant one, I am buying one.
    I wrote to them and asked if they would make a state compliant one.

    • Why should they, when the real issues are the State laws that infringe on your natural rights. That’s what needs to be fixed.

      • If the sales of the non-state compliant are good, then it would figure they could make a state compliant one and get even more sales.
        The odds of changing the state law have an even chance as I do of getting a date with Taylor Swift.

        • Unless any potential profit is worth it to them, I wouldn’t expect Ruger to bother with it. They no doubt already explored that and decided it ain’t worth the trouble. Sorry, but I think you and others in those States are SOL. Ruger ain’t the only company to write off CA, NY, etc.

  10. I’d like to see this in the LC Charger format: 6-10 inch threaded barrel, and a Pic rail on the back to accommodate stabilizing accessories. Big fat .45ACP pills are naturally subsonic so they pair nicely with hearing protection at the source of the noise.

      • Gunmagwarehouse, carries them. Under $16 for the 26rnd mags. I bought 4 26rnd KCI Glock clones a couple months ago, and they fit and function just fine. You can get a 10 pack of them for under $100.

    • Most states have other prohibited features. Pistol grips and collapsible stocks are definite no nos, and depending if the state has a one feature or two feature ban, flash hiders are often prohibited, but muzzle brakes are not.

    • In Cali it would need a permanently affixed magazine in this configuration. Doesn’t look like you can break open the action to top load either.

  11. Price is at $1000, For very close to that price, I prefer a Winchester 92 design (Rossi etc) or Marlin lever rifle in 357, 44 mag or 45LC. Easy handling, reliable, proven cartridges and you can hunt with them in almost every state.

  12. Ruger was smart to use Glock Mags.
    Offering in something besides 5.7 was even smarter.
    Now all they have to do is offer it in the “Easy-to-Find-in-SHTF-scenario’ Ammo (9mm, 22lr, etc etc) and this will be a great truck gun or ‘get home” gun.

  13. Banned here in the People’s Republic of New Jersey because it has five evil features: pistol grip, threaded barrel, “collapsible” (by two inches!) stock, folding stock, and “high-capacity” magazine.

    And if the newly introduced Federal GOSAFE Act AWB passes, it will be banned in all 50 states. The sponsors of this new AWB tricked us by saying it would only ban gas-operated rifles, but when you read the GOSAFE Act, it defines “gas-operated” rifles to also include blowback action and recoil-operated action:

    “Gas-operated means any semi-automatic firearm that harnesses or traps a portion of the highpressure [sic] gas from a fired cartridge to cycle the action using:

    • a long stroke piston, where gas is vented from the barrel to a piston that is mechanically fixed to the bolt group and moves to cycle the action;
    • a short stroke piston, where gas is vented from the barrel to a piston that moves separately from the bolt group so that the energy is imparted through a gas piston to cycle the action;
    • a direct impingement system that traps and vents gas from either the barrel or the chamber to directly strike or impinge the bolt, bolt carrier, or slide assemble, to unlock and cycle the action:
    • a hybrid system that combines elements of systems described above to capture gas vented from the barrel to cycle the action;
    • a blowback-operated system that directly utilizes the expanding gases of the ignited propellant powder acting on the cartridge case to drive the breechblock or breech bolt rearward; or
    • a recoil-operated system that utilizes the recoil force to unlock the breech bolt and then to complete the cycle of extracting, ejecting, and reloading.”

    See https://www.heinrich.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/gosafe_section_by_section.pdf

  14. I can only laugh at the people on here who live in communist states like New York, Kalifornia, New Jersey etc. Those place will keep banning stuff until they turn you into a spear chunking caveman. Join the exodus and move to freedom. I am going today to look at one of these carbines. Yes I have carbines in 45 Colt and in 44 magnum. But none of those fold up to be really short for travelling with and a couple of my favorite carry pistols just happen to be in 45 ACP. The idea of a companion carbine just makes sense. Oh and for the power junkies the Ruger is rated for +P ammo and with that a +P 45ACP out of a carbine delivers power equal to or superior to a 44 mag out of a revolver.

    • Why do you laugh at us? We didn’t vote for, pay for, or otherwise ask for, tyranny.
      We are literally like the piled up bodies of Russian peasants who got cut down by the Czar’s troops in 1917. The survivors eventually won the day, but one morning woke up and found out they had a new and even more vicious Czar named Lenin. Fast forward, and they woke up again and met the new Uber-evil Czar named Stalin.
      We woke up one day to war-happy Generalissimo Johnson. Then to the King of Pedophiles Clinton.
      YOU didn’t put them in power, but then NEITHER DID WE.
      Shallowfornia is very full of Viet Nam Vets who paid dearly for our one vote. We’ve been shouted down in the ballot box by City Idiots and have had our votes cancelled by various Donkey tricks.
      WE DIDN’T DO THIS!
      But as a Design Engineer, I can show you how easy it is to make a voting machine do it for you…

  15. I’m still wondering why Ruger didn’t make their .45 ACP in the same format as the PC9. Being a takedown and around $100 less money seem like positives to me. I guess there is some reason the .45 ACP won’t work in that design, but I can’t see what it is.

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