Previous Post
Next Post

A wise old man once told me that real pistols only came in one configuration: blued steel and walnut grips. The very same man bandied about phrases like “nickel plated sissy pistol” and believed that the .45 ACP was the alpha and omega. When “combat tupperware” started to become en vogue he thought it was a sign of the apocalypse. When Ruger released their polymer framed LCR revolver, he let loose a string of epithets that would have even made Howard Stern blush. Revolvers were made from metal, end of story. While I always took what he said with a grain of salt, I tended to agree with him on this point. Sorry. I should have said “agreed” . . .

The Ruger LCR .357 is a beefed-up version of the original .38 Special LCR. It features a monolithic frame made of 4000 series blackened stainless steel that completely encloses the 1.875” barrel. Attached to the monolithic frame is the piece that has the purists up in arms and holds all the parts that make the LCR go bang: the polymer fire control housing. Ruger reckons the polymer housing cuts down on weight and soaks up recoil. The second key innovation is the trigger. Ruger redesigned the DAO trigger with a friction reducing cam mechanism; which, according to Ruger’s literature, results in a “smooth, non-stacking trigger pull.”

Unlike its .38 special precursor or a Scandium S&W J frame (in the same caliber), Ruger’s 17.1 ounce LCR is no featherweight . But it’s no porker, either. AS you hold the LCR in your hand, the weight seems to disappear into a near perfect blend of balance and point-ability. The recoil-reducing Hogue Tamer grips add to the comfort and, thus, confidence. The thought of lighting off some full house magnum loads in the LCR isn’t quite as intimidating as it is forother small frame .357s.

The LCR’s sights are typical for this class of small-frame revolver. The rear sight consists of a notch and shallow trough through which you line up your front sight. Our T&E model sported a red fiber optic front sight. You can also get it with a typical ramped front or an XS Big Dot, an ideal choice for a stubbornly novice self-defense shooter.

Ruger’s revolutionary trigger has a relatively short pull with an easy smooth pull back. Dry firing revealed no stacking, no grit, no nothing; the cylinder rotated into place with Swiss precision. Milliseconds later I encountered the cleanest break I ever felt on a revolver. An affront to Smith & Wesson fans? Hyperbole? There was only way to find out: take her out for a proper date at the Timberline Creek Rod & Gun Club (aka my mother in law’s back 40).

I brought a variety of ammo, ranging from 158 gr JSP .357 to 125 gr Hornady Critical Defense to Wally World’s Winchester white box (WWB). Loading up my first cylinder of .357, I apprehensively brought the pistol up to bear on the steel target 15 yards away and eased the trigger back. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t flinch a little. While there’s no doubt the LCR dishes out some stout recoil, it’s not the curse word-inducing sensation created by other manufacturers’ lightweight magnum snubbies. I made it through the whole cylinder without wanting to switch to .38 special loads and turn in my Man Card.

One-hundred-fifty rounds later I’d run out of .357 ammo. I switched over to the .38 special, where I found highly manageable recoil. Thirty short minutes later, I’d run out of ammo – and realized I had yet to take any pictures or shoot any video. I was having so much fun shooting this little concealed carry revolver – and hitting what I was aiming at – that I’d completely neglected my journalistic duties.

I came back the next day with a box of both .357 and .38 special and the explicit intent to do some serious shooting with lots of pictures and videos. That intent was short lived; my cameraman/sister in law and I started running some defensive drills from 15 yards all the way in and with each satisfying ping of steel or hole through the noggin of a Birchwood Casey Darkotic Zombie Target the fun factor grew exponentially.

Suffice to say we didn’t end up taking any video until the very end when we finally settled down and captured some media. First off was rapid fire of 158 gr JSP .357 at 7 yards, going for center of mass on the Birchwood Casey Darkotic Splattering Zombie Target.

As you can see, the results are pretty good. All five shots found paper and three of them managed to land within an inch of each other.


Then I loaded up a cylinder of WWB .38 Special, fully expecting the results to be better due to the reduced recoil.

I was a little shocked when I walked up to the target. While four out of five shots were on paper and on target, I had thrown one completely off the paper. The grouping was much larger than with the .357. I don’t have a logical or even scientific explanation for this phenomenon and frankly don’t know if I need one. The bottom line is, if you do your part, this revolver is going to put rounds on target accurately and quickly.

I’ve never called a small-framed snubbie fun before; I’ve sold every one I’ve ever owned. They were all so punishing in .357 or inaccurate in .38 special that I gave up after a few weeks. The Ruger LCR .357 is fun. It’s a relatively lightweight yet accurate revolver with a trigger that beats the snot out of any other double action revolver I’ve ever sampled. It’s easily concealed in all manner of OWB or IWB holsters and rests comfortably therein. And it’s earned a place in the “handguns I’ll never sell” section of my gun safe.


Caliber: .357 Magnum/.38 Special
Barrel Length: 1.875”
Overall Length: 6.50”
Weight: 17.10 oz.
Capacity: 5
Finish: Blackened Stainless
Price: $ 575 MSRP

RATINGS (out of five)

Style * * * *
The Glock of revolvers. Made to do a job, not look pretty.

Ergonomics * * * * *
Feels great in the hands and sports a very comfortable recoil reducing grip.

Reliability * * * * *
Went through over 300 rounds without a hiccup or a cleaning.

Customizable * *
Three grip options, three front sight options and . . . that’s all folks!

Carry * * * * *
Its diminutive size makes it easily concealable. Disappears under t-shirts with impunity.

Overall Rating * * * * *
I learned my lesson about doubting new designs and found a pint-sized powerhouse that’s spending a lot of time on my hip.

[TTAG’s targets are supplied by Birchwood Casey]

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. I’ve actually been looking at the LCR for a “pocket carry” pistol, for those times when an IWB would stick out like a sore thumb. How easy is this to keep in a pocket? Does it make much of a bulge?

    (Nice review, BTW)

    • My .38 LCR rides well in a regular pair of cargoes or khakis. Not very noticeable at all. Last Saturday I pocketed mine and set out on some errands. I ended up cutting the grass and crawling around in the attic to run some wire without a thought on the weapon. However, It’s a little thick to be comfortable in a boot, if you ever carry that way.

    • Thanks Nick. As long as I’m wearing appropriate pants, the LCR has no problem going into a pocket. The one thing that hinders it in that respect is that if your pants are a wee bit tight then the grip does tend to stand out a little due to its size. However, Ruger does have boot grips for the LCR that are much smaller and still have the Hogue Tamer insert and a good pocket holster can mitigate some of that also.

    • I have owned the Ruger LCR 357 for a few years now and can honestly say it is the easiest gun to conceal carry that I have. I usually carry it in my inner jacket pocket but sometimes carry it in my pants pocket. It is small enough that it does not show any indications that I’m carrying a gun. The recoil is very easy shooting 357 loads. I prefer this gun for night time protection due to the size and non reflective finish on the gun also there is no slide to rack as with the 1911’s that I own. I also like the fact that I don’t have to worry about a possible jam. Pretty much the original point and click that always works when needed.

    • When in a pocket holster in a pair of cargo shorts, it kinda looks like a wallet.

      Appendix IWB depends on your particular gut ‘dunlap’…

    • Good catch. Watch out for flying tombstones!

      Good review, Ryan. When these first came out my local dealer offered me the chance to play with one that had not been picked up by its proper owner yet. I declined. I just was not interested or impressed with the idea of a plastic revolver. This review however is why I like TTAG and now I have a need to shoot this thing.

  2. I love my .38 LCR. I’ve got a few snubbie .38s to compare it to, including a smith 442. The LCR is definitely my pick of the bunch. Can’t wait to grab one in .357 after this review. I’ll likely trade or sell the 442 to get it.

  3. Sam shoots her Smith & Wesson more accurately when it’s loaded with .357s than .38s. I also wonder what that’s all about . . .

    Heads-up: I’m shooting the Smith & Wesson Model 60 Professional stainless steel snub-nosed .357 (with night sights) today. I’ll review it and then send it to you for a comparo.

    • I’ve always believed that .357 rounds were more accurate than .38 Spls. when fired from 2″ snubbies. .38s seem to need a 4″ barrel or longer to reach their potential. I don’t know why.

      • Theory: Shooters subconciously grip the gun more rigidly in anticipation of the 357 and more lackidasicly (sp) for the 38s.

        • But doesn’t gripping a gun more rigidly hurt your aim? I notice when I grip harder I shoot low left cause of a bad trigger pull

      • I know the thread is old but couldn’t resist leaving a comment regarding the LCR 38. I can’t say that I’m in love with the piece. The muzzle flip /recoil isn’t wonderful. True it’s a very light pistol but I would have preferred more control and better sights. I bought it with the Crimson Laser which is a distraction at 21 feet out. Should have gotten a bigger pistol for home defense like a River GP 100 with the 3″ barrel. Just my 2 cents!

    • Are the bullets loaded into factory .357 loads the same as factory .38 loads. If they have a longer bearing surface wouldn’t that provide them with better accuracy? Also on a weapon with fixed sights your elevation would most likely be off as well since .357 is moving significantly faster than .38.

  4. I’ve had a .38 version for a year now. Just crossed the 1500 round mark with it on Labor Day. It’s my EDC, and I’ve had no problems with it. Rides in the front pocket of my jeans and looks like a wallet when using a DeSantis Nemesis holster. Highly recommended.

  5. I only have one poly based weapon and that is a Ruger PC9 9mm carbine that I really, really love. Looks like Ruger will be selling me my first poly handgun as well.

  6. Nice, Ryan. It seemed from the viddies that .357s caused only marginally more muzzle flip than .38s. That’s amazing.

  7. Load the .357 to hot 9mm specifications with 158 gr JHP and you have a reduced recoil thumper that you can easily keep all 5 shots rapid fire in a circle the spread of your hand at 10 yards while getting almost double the ballistic performance of .38 P Plus that many prefer to use as a carry load.

    And yes, the trigger pull really is as good as he states and no doubt does contribute to this accuracy.

  8. The Hogue grips are great for shooting, but not so great for concealing. They tend to grab at clothes and increase the likelihood of printing-through.

    And they make it more difficult to grip & draw from a pocket holster.

    I prefer wood (or other non-grabby) materials for grips when I carry a revolver.

  9. Just when it looked like the revolver was destined to share the fate of vinyl records and vacuum tubes, Ruger engineers achieve a break-through design. Even the most diehard J-frame fans will now be forced to admit that the little .357 LCR is first among equals.

    • Vynal records are making a big comeback as are Revolvers which I started carrying in the early 70’s. The odds of needing more than 3 rounds are about the same as being hit by lightning 2 times on a sunny day. Even though we have been led to believe that we all need a 15 round semi auto pistol with a laser, and 2 spare mags,
      Show me one time that it was actually needed, the chances of standing there and firing off 50 rounds of ammo, without being cut to ribbons are slim to none.

  10. I traded my 38spl LCR in for the 357 version, as I found the 38spl version to have just too much recoil. Although, to be fair, it was my only centerfire firearm (although I did pick up a 3″ SP101 at the same time). Much more pleasant to shoot, although I do notice it much more on pocket carry. Eh, need to shoot what one carries.

    I’m not sure which one I prefer: the SP101 or the LCR. The LCR definatly has more recoil. But the trigger is simply so much better. Neither gun is a real plinker, so, hate to say it: but I think the LCR is my preferred gun.

    If Ruger were to make a 20 or 22oz 6 round 3″ revolver with the LCR trigger I might well just buy it on the spot. Heck, even at the 26oz weight of the SP101 I’d buy it–light recoil, brilliant trigger, good balance. Who would need SA with a DA trigger like this?

  11. Purchased a SP-101 .38 snubby for home defense. Was a wee bit heavy for the bride.
    Took my gunshop owner’s advice & traded it in for this .357 LCR.
    Am delighted with its accuracy and portability.

  12. NICE review, I just bought the LCR 357 today even over the great S&W 442 which was my other top choice and what I had bought my wife, and I love. This gun has a much more refined modern design, the trigger and feel of the gun is superior to the smith. The trigger is one of the best I’ve ever felt. I mean revolutionary good for a gun in this price and size. The hogue grips very nice. I shot more accurate with 38 and my groups were tighter than the review even at 30-35 feet but the 357 is one hell of a bang. The cylinder and mechanics are super fine, and in many ways this gun could be superior to the Smith in many ways and about EQUAL when you average it all out. I bought the S&W bodyguard 380 the day before and just dont like it. I’d like the CT laser but the price is bordering on a ripoff at 299.00 and the grip is not even close to the stock one in comfort and feel. I have 100% confidence this is going to be a much more accurate shooter than the Smith 442 due to just the trigger alone. This trigger is easily 30% easier, smoother and shorter stroke. I just compared again to the 442 and WOW what an ergo difference. This one is just very slightly more concealable for some reason. Vanishes…. I also think the cylinder to barrel mating is tighter and more refined.

  13. Super fun gun. Just shot .357’s and .38’s through it today… I had great groupings with the .38, lots of fun. The .357 kicked like crazy, actually painful. (only shot 10 of the .357 cuz my hand hurt.) Maybe I was tensing up too much.
    I will still load .357’s for concealed carry, but will plink w/ the .38’s.

  14. Picked up a Ruger LCR .357 today and cannot wait to shoot it. It feels great and it is a quality made revolver. Trying to find some Hornady Critical Defense .357 ammo for it this week.

  15. Great review of the Ruger LCR… the Hogue Grips have a gel insert, very clever… I just finished field testing the new IWB Comfort Carry holster design from I like the way the Ruger design team changed the handle design geometry. The LCR also makes for a nice front pocket gun, if you find front pocket carry comfortable… Great review Ryan!

  16. Thanks guys for the great reviews of the Ruger LCR 357. As soon as I collect my pennies, I’ll be headed down to pick one up. I’ve had a Ruger Security Six since 1980 and wouldn’t trade it for anything. Ruger makes a great product and stands by their guns. Happy New Year !!

  17. I have one, I like it more than any other snubbie I have ever shot. The sights leave something to be desired and I will be replacing the front sight with either an XS big dot or trijicon in the near future. Make no mistake though, with full power .357 loads it is not any fun………….tolerable, but not fun.

  18. I also was never a big fan of magnum snubs, Had a nickel plated s&w model 19 years ago that shot a 5 foot ball of flame with factory magnum loads. I recently gave my 40 year old Colt det. special to my oldest son as a family heirloom so it needed to be replaced. The choice was the LCR .357. Just bought it after Christmas and went right to the range. Shot very well ,but it would not eject spent magnum casings. Had to extract them. thank god I had my Leatherman tool with me. Wondering if I am the only person with this issue?

  19. Great write up….looks like ruger is getting more of my money. Until recently a compact or snubby had no use in my state of residence as it was open carry only and sporting use required 6″ muzzle to firing pin. Now that Wisconsin has a decent governor for the moment and granted us concealed carry and castle laws to actually defend ones self and property, my interest is peaked and your review sealed the deal.
    Thank-you also for dispelling some of the mythical recoil often touted in gun reviews. As gun owners It’s our duty to take newbies out to the range and let them experience the fun we have. This creates more voters on our side of the fence by revealing the misinformation of lamestream media first hand. However, our job is made more difficult by members of our own crowd instilling irrational fear of the discomfort of discharging firearms. It’s those rumors that kept an inherited 30-06 in my safe for many years. When I finally got up the courage I realised it was nothing and have since found 300 wby mag to be nothing more either. Now days 200+ rds of 308 are common in an afternoon for me, just resting the barrel for cool down while I shoot other firearms. 357 mag isn’t anything to be afraid of but often people shy away because all the hoopla, they envision themselves on their butt with a broken wrist and a bloody nose. When I first bought one I thought I’d use 38 ammo mostly and only have 357 in it for when it’s needed. After shooting it, all I buy is 357 as I don’t notice any recoil with either rd.
    I’m glad you conveyed the enjoyment of extended tactical range visits, they make promotion of our passion way easier as a bench and paper circles get old fast. Zombies and steels at undefined distances make hours and ammo vaporize, and increase your proficiency and fun in multitudes.

  20. I just took my new lcr 357 out for a test run and I have to say that I really liked it. It packs one hell of a punch and I would recommend that if you are practicing to definitely wear good eye protection. The blow back tends to smack you upside the face. I like to shoot my guns without eye protection initially to see how they perform, especially since when I am in the field with them, I need to know what to expect. I replaced the front sight with an xs tritium front sight and I like it. Your sight picture changes and learning the hold will take some practice. This is due partl because the xs sight is taller than the stock sight, therefore your front dot is disected by the rear groove. The gun was semi accurate at 10 yards, but I will take the blame for that. I messed around with the trigger pull a bit and found m dads old way of a slow and smooth trigger pull will not work for me on this gun. The action is very long and any small disturbance in the trigger pull sent rounds flying. I saw a show on the s&w body guard 380 and the instructors recommended a more deliberat pull due to the heavier trigger pull. I tried that out and found myself grouping much tighter and even grouping reasonably at 25 yards. I also did this with rapid fire and grouped better than “taking my time”. This is a great attribute for personal defense, which is why I got this gun. To answer George’s question, to get a clean extraction from your cylinder, you need to rack the ejector pretty good to clear the spent brass. If there was a flaw to this gun, this would be it. All in all I am very happy with my choice, the gun is powerful, easy to carry, and for the money it is a steal for a firearm of this quality.

    • Do your self a favor, don’t rack the ejection rod. Just lubricate it good with
      a teflon spray. Let the gun break in and it should work fine. Once the gun
      gets warmed up the cartridges should almost fall out. The aluminum
      cartridges may be a little tighter, but not enough to have to use anything
      other than the palm of your hand to eject.

  21. I love this gun. Its powerful and accurate. I’m not an expert with firearms but I haven’t missed with this baby yet. First 357 round caught me by surprise. There is a kick although manageable. Once I got use to it not a problem. I definately think this is a must buy if you carry concealed. I’ve retired my Glock 22 to home protection only.

  22. Great little gun but it has it’s peculiarities about ammo. In the 400 + rounds since
    purchase, I have experimented with many different types of ammo. This gun hates
    125gr. 38cal. ammo, especially flat or JSP target rounds. It’s accuracy drops off
    quickly after about 25 feet. The only 125gr. that I had any luck with was the
    Winchester DPX-1 bonded JHP Hydo Shok 357mag. It was still viable at 50 feet
    but the grouping suffered. The best results I achieved was with 158gr. JHP in either
    38cal. special +P and 357mag. Even the CCI Blazer 158gr. 357mag JHP, with the
    aluminum casings, shot well. These were the best economical target rounds. The
    lower power did seem to matter much.

  23. I’ve looked through all the snubs on the market. This seems to be the best. The Smith and Wesson trigger pull is absolutely ridiculous with an eleven pound trigger pull and even if you get the partially concealed hammer, to pull takes a two hand approach. The Taurus is slightly better trigger pull, but still. The LCR has an unbelievably smooth trigger pull as the article says, and smooth and steady will stack the rounds if that’s what you want.
    As far as the recoil of the 357, I guess I’m used to my hunting pistol. Referring to the man card, shoot my S&W 460 then come back and say the recoil on LCR 357 is bad. My 460 makes the LCR feel like a derringer.
    This is one fantastic revolver and as far as concealed, powerful protection, it doesn’t get any better than this pistol.

    • I just purchased a LCR 357.
      Hoping what said about it is true.
      You like it appearantly.

  24. I’m late to the party but I must say this revolver is my favorite gun ever now but I’m no expert or anything, just a regular dude who can pick this revolver up and hit the target at surprising distances every time for a snub nose.

    • Shoot lilke you are now and enjoy the gun. Practice with that one gun you may carry and learn it by heart.
      The LCR in .357 is a fine carry gun with the best trigger feel I’ve ever experienced except for the Colt Python in the safe.
      Good luck shooting, have fun and may God bless the citizens of the United States.

  25. In my opinion, the Ruger LCR in 357 is the perfect carry piece, for the following reasons:

    It’s a .357. Recoil is stiff, but not that bad.

    It fits in the front or rear pocket of jeans, khakis, cargo shorts, whatever.

    The trigger is the best double action trigger I’ve ever felt. Period.

    I’ve put about 500 rounds through it without anything even close to a misfire.

    And best of all: “POINTABILITY!!!” The gun practically aims itself!

    Highly recommended.

  26. I own the LCR 357, but have never pushed 357s thru it. Why? After I bought it, I was reviewing some google vids. This guy had loaded the LCR with alternating rounds of 38s, +Ps and 357, (I’m not sure what order) and handed it to a woman (at the range). She had no idea what was loaded, where. She fired the first shot and flinched a little. The recoil of the 2nd round nearly took her head off.

    I felt his stunt was totally cruel, and potentially dangerous. I also felt, why do I want to load 357s if they have that kind of recoil!? Needless to say, I glad I ran across your video. I will be picking up a box, or two for some long-overdue range time….

  27. I too have one of these great pistols. I found the one great drawback to concealed carry was the rubber grip. Perfect for taming the recoil, but way too sticky to clothing. The fix-get a new grip-they are out there if you look hard enough. I got what’s called the CIA grip. It’s like the boot grip but smooth wood. Awesome. Cost a lot too. I think I got it from Eagle grips(online). Along with a big dot front sight and a great holster from Simply Rugged, this thing will be with me forever.

    • I’m assuming you carry with 357s. How is the recoil with the wooden grip? In other words, I’ve been wondering how much difference the Houge tamer grip makes.

  28. Heres a little trick I picked up somewhere on the internet for capt D drawback of the rubber grip. I didnt like the way it grabbed on to shirt but I loved the way it ft my hand and helped with recoil with 357. I tried the boot-grip from ruger,but its a little smaller and doesnt have the finger groves on the front, I just couldnt get used to it. Like I said somewhere on the internet this guy said the way to stop the grippeyness on rubber grips is to wipe the grip down with lighter fluid and let dry over night. then paint the whole grip with clear satin polyurethane an let it dry overnight. I did it with mine and it works great even for pocket carry

  29. I have this gun, I hate it and would not trust my life on it (for that is why we carry a firearm is it not?) I am a Cali CCW holder and while it is compact, packs a .357 punch and IS highly concealable, I will not carry it and here’s why. First and foremost is the trigger pull. Yes it is smooth but you cannot pre-load the trigger reliably. There is not a disernable click when removing the slack. Secondly since it only carries 5 shots and reloading is important, the cylinder release sucks. It is sticky and unreliable. and there are no speedloaders available for it as yet. Small and cute but don’t bet your life on it…………………

    • To each his own, but I don’t have any problem pre-loading the trigger…when the cylinder stops turning, I stop pulling the trigger, until I’m ready for the gun to fire. Also, I personally have not had any trouble with the cylinder release. No speed loaders? That might still be true. Small and cute? It ain’t cute!

    • As someone else said, to each his own, but the reason I like 357 mag revolvers is that there should really never be a need to reload — that is the whole point of a 357 mag revolver. This is not a gun for a warzone against multiple targets. Rather it is a concealed handgun — or handCANNON I might say — for use against 1 or 2 powerful targets.

      Statistics clearly show that in over 90 percent of self defense encounters vs human or wildlife only 1-3 rounds are even used, let alone needed. Most often, less than 3 rounds are NEEDED given than many shots are “just nerves” and “overkill.” This is especially true for powerful ammo like 357 mag. Given statistics, 5 rounds of 357 magnum is approximately 2-5 times times the ammo you should need in any self defense situation excepting you are facing a large male lion, tiger, kodiak or polar bear. Honestly, quality 357 mag bullets are designed to be one hit stoppers for all things human and at least valid defense against things MUCH larger. I can’t imagine needing more than 5 rounds of 357 for self defense (excepting potentially a large male grizzly). Even then, 5 rounds of 357 ammo is at least valid defense. Or, if I really do, the quickest reload is a backup gun — not a heavier, less accurate, less concealable semi auto built for many targets. Or, did you miss the part that this LCR weighs in at only a single pound even when fully loaded?

      To each his own, but the LCR does what it is supposed to do — fire a limited number of reliable, powerful, and accurate one-hit stoppers from a no snag, compact, lightweight, easy to carry, easy to conceal package.

      Honestly, the LCR does this better than any other handgun I have ever owned.

  30. I Love this gun! The trigger is much lighter and smoother than my SW J frame that has been dry fired a few thousand times with snap caps. The Factory supplied grips are also much better than the J frame factory grips , and fit my XXL hands perfectly. Even hot Gold Dot .357 125 grain HP’s are controllable. They still sting my hand, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from such a hot load in a 17 oz revolver.

  31. great gun. one correction. the frame is not steel. it is anodized aluminum. look at the manual in the frame finish touch-up section.

    • Late to the party but need to correct this. The .357 version uses a stainless steel frame. The .38 Special version uses aluminum. Hence the reason the .357 version is about 3.5 oz heavier.

  32. Could I get some ammo sugestions?
    I just purchased a LCR .357 for the purpose of back country black bear spray. I carried a .44 in the past but needed a lighter gun.
    Also, an ammo recommendation for accurate .38 plinking.

    • Bill – I also just picked up a .357 LCR for backcountry use. I use to carry a .44 loaded with Buffalo Bore Ammunition. So I decided to go with the 180 grain Buffalo Bore Ammunition with my LCR too. I don’t have numbers to give out yet, but someone else out there might. Good luck!

  33. My LCR just came back from Ruger. I broke it. I bought 357 w/crimson trace and those hurt my hand shooting 357 38+p I would put Hogue Tamers on for range time and switch backand forth which is 2 to3 times a week. So Ibroke one of the grip screw holes for the C/T. While I was waiting for the LCR I could not not have a CC, so I purchased an. XDs. I know I have great CC now.

  34. Where is the safety? I recently purchased the Ruger 38 because it was smaller (I’m a petite mother of 2 under 5 years old) even though I enjoyed shooting the 357. My only concern is where is the safety at? I thought about trading my 38 up for the 357 depending on the safety? I did shoot both guns and looked at the safety prior to buying but I do not remember anymore if the 357 came with a safety switch like my hunting rifle does. Without a safety switch on the 38 like my hunting rifle, does a holster covering the trigger help?

    • Safety? On a double action revolver? The closest thing I can think of is the padlock that comes with Ruger firearms.

      • Is that any way to help out a new gun owner? Do you hang out at the LGS and snicker at people?

    • Kelly, there is no manual safety switch on this handgun. There is a key lock underneath the grip that you will see if you take out the one screw at the bottom of the grip and pull it off the gun.

  35. After less than 200 rounds, my LCR .357 locked up at the range. the trigger was stuck back and the cylinder wouldn’t turn, nor could I pop the cylinder out. I had three rounds left in a revolver that I couldn’t unload. I finally worked the trigger loose and forward, which allowed me to unload it. I tried to dry fire it unloaded and it bound up again after the first trigger pull. I’m very disappointed. This revolver is my first Ruger; I guess I’ll get to find out how good their customer service is.

  36. Helge
    The ruger lcr truly is a fine weapon in 38 0r 357
    fits the hand & the rounds go here you put them

  37. I’ve had my Ruger KLCR .357mag for over a year now. It is my EDC almost entirely-I also have a Kahr CM9 which I carry at times. I will issue one caution regarding ammo used, especially the .357mag. After buying (buy small amt. first-20rd. Box of SD carry), do the “shoot 3-4, check the 4-5th” drill. BTW, it is mentioned in the Instruction Manual of thr Ruger KLCR. I found out the hard way, when the CorBon DPX .357mag 125gr. I thought was the “Holy Grail” of ammo. locked up my Ruger. The 4th and 5th cartridges, due to the short barrel and pressure, had “backed out” enough to lock the cylinder. When I notified CorBon of this, CorBon said this is common in .357mag snubbies, and would notify production to increase the pressure on the crimping to nullify the occurrence. I now carry Hornady Critical Defence .357mag 115gr. without a problem (so far). Anyway, just a thought for all that carry this wonderful handgun to be safe, ready, and reliable when or if needed.

    • Correction:I now carry Speer Gold Dot 125gr. .357mag in Ruger KLCR, with a Five Star Speedloader filled with Hornady Critical Defence 110gr .38spl+P for backup. I need to purchase more Speer GD when available in my area.

  38. I am about to buy my first revolver. I was looking at LCR .38sp versus LCR 357 (shooting .38sp rounds) versus S&W J frame .38sp. My main concern is the recoil. I intend on keeping this at my bedside, but will also carry with me when vacationing. Any opinions or suggestions?

  39. I’ve been considering buying the LCR in .357. Rather surprising that Ruger has not made a .327 Magnum version of this gun. After all, they were the first to have a .327 caliber handgun. In my opinion, it would be the ultimate version of the LCR. You can shoot .32 SW Short & Long, 32HR Mag and 327 Mag. all out of the same weapon. Maybe they cannot build it strong enough to handle the pressure of the .327 round? The pressure of a .357 round is around 35,000 and a .327 runs roughly 45,000. I have an S&W model 632, it’s not as docile as the reviews led me to believe. Most people who heard and felt it (shock wave) the first few times I shot it, thought it was a .357. It’s a steel J-frame, quite nasty with the 1oo gr Federal rounds.

  40. Never heard of projectiles going forward in the case enough or at all to lock up a cylinder. Primers maybe. Sounds like the mighty corbons weren’t crimped at all.

  41. I have the LCR .38 with night sights. I’m encouraged by all of the positive comments on this gun. I used .38 sp 158 gr. Remington ammo and it had too much recoil for me. My hand are small. I’m working on building strength in my hands. In the mean time, is there a smaller better grip I should try? Also, which ammo would be best for range practice? I got it for home protection.

  42. Can anyone comment as to recoil of 357 vs. 45acp? I have no problem with the 45 but have never shot 357. I’m a Realtor and want a Ruger lcr for when I am showing empty houses to strangers! Saw one in 357 with lazer site for $700.

    • A LOT more kick. .45 is a pussycat in comparison. In fact, most shooters readjust their grip after the first shot of a .357. In other words, it’s a hell of a round if one round’s all you need. If not (.e.g., you miss or the threat continues), not so much.

  43. After handling, shooting and inspecting the LCR, I decided to go with a S&W 642. The LCR is a nice gun for the price but my biggest gripe was that for a snub nose revolver that has been out since 2009 (now six years) there are only 3 types of grips available out there and they all suck (factory hogue with finger grooves, hogue bantum, and Eagle grips which are priced at over $80.) The factory grips being the worst designed grips I have ever encountered on any snub nose.

    Not everyone’s fingers fit correctly in these factory finger grooved grips. Mine don’t. This being a conceal weapon I can’t even imagine being under a stressful situation where I would need to use it and then fumble around with my fingers until I could fire the gun … totally unacceptable. Finger grooves are great for when you are at a range and you have the time to focus on getting a hold, not when you have seconds to depend on saving your life. At least S&W J frames have hundreds of grip options out there.

    My other complaint is that it feels like a very plasticky gun. It feels cheap when compared to a S&W airweight. Also again, for being a six year old model gun, why is it so hard to find any decent holsters out there for it??? More reasons why I chose a S&W.

  44. I usually carry mine crossdraw with a versacarry holster. I’ve carry with a few other holsters and it’s easily concealable but it totally disappears with the versacarry, no matter what I’m wearing. This is my go to carry when I want something reliable, decently powerful and very concealable.

  45. I’ll give the only contrary opinoin so far. Having shot the .357 LCR and owned Ruger SP101s (and S&W Model 60s), I find the steel guns are superior in every way. They are durable and reliable. None of the odd-ball glitches that some people have encountered with the LCR. Sorry, but from an engineering standpoint a polymer, aluminum, and steel gun is just not as strong or reliable as an all steel gun of the same dimensions. Over time there will be tolerance difficulites and thermal expansion problems when dissimilar materials are mated, pinned, and sleeved.

    The SP101 with eat .357 Magum rounds all day, and your whole life, if you are up to it. The many SP101 aftermarket grips give your whole hand something to grip to tame the recoil (available in rubber, nylon or wood). The available LCR grips are all (so far) too small and uncomforatable. The SP101 can take years of shooting 38 +P and .357 with no failures, and regular 38 Special is just easy, pleasant, and fun to shoot at the range. The shorter barrel of the LCR magnifies muzzle blast. The SP101 is a simple mechanism that can be taken apart and easily tuned to have as good a trigger as the Smith or LCR. A shim kit and replacing the hammer spring will do it for $20. Light polising of the internals will make it even better. You are advised by Ruger not to take the LCR apart.

    Hey , we are only talking about 10 ounces of extra weight here. That’s not much more than the weight of the coffee you drank this morning. In a properly-designed, and supsended holster the difference is barely noticeable. But hat 10 ounces of steel makes a huge difference in controlling recoil.

    But Lots of people have poor, limp holsters, or due to body shape really need to wear wearing suspenders with a gun belt. I think that the latter is the reason so many people want a super light gun. If your belt is at an angle due to a “muffin top” your 25 ounce gun is going to tilt outward and feel uncomfortable. Losing wieght puts the belt vertical, where it needs to be.

    And if you LIKE to shoot and go to the range every few months, what are you going to enjoy shooting? A steel gun that you can shoot single action or double action, with all types of ammo, or the LCR? And would you feel comfortable carrying the LCR with .357s hiking with your family, say if you had an encounter with a mountain lion or black bear?

    The LCR is for people who want a gun to shoot very little and not have to notice the weight at all. If you like to shoot and can afford it, buy a GP100 ( or comparable Smith) for home defense and target shooting, a 3″ SP101 or Model 60 for hiking, and a LCR for daily carry. But if you can only afford one $400 revolver to do everything , buy an SP101 in 2.25″ or 3″ – the shorter barrel if you want more concealability and the longer barrel if you want to occasionally carry concealed but also have more fun target shooting.

    • Hi Dave,

      While I disagree pretty much wholeheartedly with your feelings about the LCR, I do respect that choosing a self-defense handgun is a pretty personal matter. I happen to like the LCR very much and so does my wife, who is the one who actually owns the LCR. I’m a revolver man, through and through, and my EDC is a Ruger SP-101 3 incher that I’m crazy about…but as soon as funds allow, I’ll be getting a LCR for myself. I find that trigger to be amazing…even better than my SP’s trigger and it has been professionally worked on.

      Anyway, the actual point of this reply is that I found a holster maker a few years ago that makes really fine leather holsters for a very large selection of handguns. The holster company is called Simply Rugged and is located in Prescott, AZ. The owner/operator is a gentleman named Rob Leahy who is a pleasure to do business with and makes high quality, very versatile products for really amazing prices (in the neighborhood of $50 for leather holsters). He also makes many other products (belts, speed loader carriers, bullet pouches etc). His concealed holsters are pancake style that can be worn in three different ways. IWB , OWB or cross-draw. As a police officer (now retired) I’ve carried a concealed handgun for more years than I care to admit to and I have found these holsters to be by far the best bang for your buck. I hope you check them out, they can be found on the internet at I don’t think you will be disappointed.

      Stay safe,

    • Comments on these points:
      Despite what many people say, yes the material properties of steel IN GENERAL (yeild strength, ultimate strength, fatigue resistance, friction wear, hardness, and thermal conductivity) are superior to the polymers used in guns. You can look them up in engineering handbooks. Note that I said steel, not any metal. Polymers can be superior to low-cost aluminum alloys. Aluminum alloys are just not great structural materials – I’ve seen expensive aluminum bike frames crack from fatigue over just a few years of use. Ruger has shown their polymr 10/22 trigger housings and barrel bands to be superior to the moderate cost aluminum alloy they were using for many years. In guns the main advantages polymers have over steel is lower weight and lower final cost. There are places where polymer framed guns needlessly also use polymers to save a tiny amount of weight, such as cross pins. Since these are softer than steel, they can deform when removed with brass pin punches.

      One other significant potential problem with polymers in guns is their long term chemical degradation simply with exposure to oxygen, heat, common chemicals, and UV radiation from sunlight. That’s why Armor All and similar products are used so much, but these coating generally leave the surface slick and have to be re-applied periodically. Of course steel can rust, but stainless is very resistant to this, and several coatings are available to stop rusting of carbon steel (many superior to tradtional bluing). Another concern is long term dimensional stability with any surface degradation. I would like to see some strength tests on the frames of Glocks that have been outdoors in hard military use for many years. Note that in the 10/22, most of the trigger housing is shielded from UV exposure since it is inside the stock. I think it would be a good practice to seal polymer frames with some type of hard protective coating, and simply have the grip panels replaceable.

      These comments on polymer longevity apply to the LCR, which is why I like steel guns. I also think that the 38 Special and .357 Mag LCRs are just too light for pleasant shooting and good follow-up shots in self-defense. Ruger could have made a lightweight 20 ounce all-steel 38 Special +P+ gun, by simply shaving some weight off the SP101 frame – and called it the “SP101 Lightweight Carry” or something. 38 Special +P or +P+ is adequate for close-up self defense. 357 Magnum in a 2″ snub nose is a little silly because the powder is not burned adequately, causing excessive muzzle flash and velocity loss.

      I think that the barrel should have been made a bit longer. A 1.875″ barrel gives muzzle blast and muzzle flash with most factory 38 Special and 357 Magnum loads (though there are some fast-burning snub nose loads). The velocity loss from specs is also large, particularly with .357 Mag. The SP101 uses a 2.25″ barrel or 3″ barrel. Ruger is now making a 3″ LCR, and they should have made the other LCRS 2.125″ – which is quite concealable.

      Hogue is no making the full sized “Tamer” grips which come standard on the 3″ LCR, and you can by them now from the Hogue website. They will probably show up at stores soon (2015). The standard LCR grips on the 1.875″ barrel guns are too small to control the recoil, giving your pinky finger nothing to hold on to.
      By the way, they are also now making a larger similar Tamer grip for the GP100. I hope they come out with one for the SP101 to complement the SP101 Monogrip.

      The SP101 2.25″ is actually only 9 ounces heavier than the .357 Mag LCR – 25 ounces versus 17 ounces. The SP101 is a bit heavy for all day carry for a small person, which is why I think a 20-ounce 38 Special SP101 carry version would have been great (and superior to the LCR). But Fobus does makes good inexpensive belt and paddle holsters that will support the SP101 for concealed carry. Note that some people don’t like Fobus, but I think many of them arent’ aware that you actually have to loosen the screw on them when new to get them to “snap in” properly into the retention tab inside the holster. Strangely, this is not explained in the instructions and causes people to damage the holsters by jaming the gun into them. Bianchi, Galco, Desantis and many other companies make great SP101 holsters, but they are more expensive than the Fobus.

      If you don’t need to carry concealed, the 4″ barrel SP101 is a good home defense gun using 38 Special, and has the fiber optic sight tube and rear adjustable sights. The fixed sight 3″ is also good for home defense. The 3″ and 4″ GP100 can be considered for this, but are too heavy for many smaller people and some teenagers to hold steady at arm’s length. The older Security Six in 4″ was excellent and lighter than the GP100, and many can still be found in like-new condition at gun stores at for about $250-$300. (I’d only buy one in great condition, though since they are several years old.)

      In summary, I think the 38 Special and 357 Mag LCRs are a solution to a problem that didn’t exist. Ruger could have made a lighter 38 Special +P SP101 and it would have been a superior gun. That’s exactly what they did with the GP100 Match Champion – lightened it up and made a great new model (though too expensive for me).

  46. I recently purchased a Ruger LCR 357 and I normally don’t carry revolvers. I have to say that I absolutely love this gun. I was very surprised to find that my grouping at 15 Yards is so good for such a small gun. I have tried several brands of ammo and I also found that my grouping with 357 ammo is always much better than any of the 38 special ammo. If anyone is looking for a small light weight 357 I highly recommend the Ruger LCR.

  47. I went to the range to scope out a few full-size .40’s for home defense. For strictly curiousity sake, I rented a .38 LCR. At the range, the first rental is $10 and every one after that is another $5. Unfortunately, they gave me a box of wadcutters to use on the range, so there was virtually no recoil.

    BUT, the very first ten shots I fired all went through the X ring at 10 feet using the sights. (Forget about the Crimson Trace laser – it was way off – about 10″ from MOA at 5 o’clock, so I turned it off).I love the trigger. For the heck of it, I dropped another $5 and rented the S&W 442 Airweight for a comparsion. Not even close. The LCR was better in every way – even though the 442 had a longer ejection post, it took LONGER to unlatch the cylinder because the release was harder to engage.

    Now, I moved the target back to 20 ft and was surprised by the rise in trajectory. I hit the 7 ring. So, I aimed right at the bottom of the 10 ring and got them back inside the X ring. However, for some reason, I was producing two sets of 1/2″ MOA’s that were 2″ apart with a “flyer” in between and 1″ high.

    I think that if you want to try the closest thing in a .38 +P to the .357, go with the 158 gr Buffalo Bore hard nose. 506 ft/lbs @ 1200 fps. Those are .357 numbers.

  48. 4000 series stainless steel. really? When you start out with a technical error I doubt the accuracy of anything else you choose to make up.

  49. Hogue is now selling the full-size “Tamer” rubber grip for the LCR. Fulls your whole hand and doesn’t leave your pinky finger hanging. It is the grip that comes standard on the newer 3″, adjustable sight, 38 Special LCR – also reviewed here on TTAG. (I expect a .357 3″ version to follow). Hogue has them for sale on their website, and they’ll probably show up at local gun stores and on-line vendors soon (for a bit under MSRP). These grips should make the gun much more pleasant to shoot. They come in black, purple, and pink. But not zombie- hunter green (yet).

    • I like the tamer grips that come standard on it for concealment, if I were using it as a bedside gun I would opt for the bigger grips.
      Though I’ve heard rumors a .357 version of the big boy lcr is coming soon

  50. Is the recoil very low for people with (.38,38+P ) small hands and fingers.How low is it compared to S&W model60 .357?Thanx

  51. The LCR is not made for home protection, or aggressive target shooting beyond 25 yards. It is a well manufactured weapon that is produced for concealed carry, and self defence at minimal distance. For this purpose, it is, in my opinion, one of the finest weapons on the market today. I find that the “stay on target” ability of my LCR is magnificent, to say the least, with 38 special loads. I think that the writer would have shot a much tighter group had he used 38 rounds before shooting in 357. Perhaps he was unintentionally moving with the expectations of the rough ride that the 357s will definitely give. I don’t know. I wasn’t there. I can only tell you that I shoot GREAT groups with my LCR at 15 yards, and I don’t think that shooting at anything any farther than that, would really qualify as self defense where I live. I love my LCR, and carry it every day in the summer, when my 45 would just print too much. I however have different guns for home defense and fun at the range.

  52. I am not quite sure what some people think they are getting with a light weight 2″ revolver. It is not a 5″ .45 or 10mm with 13 more in the mag. Any 2″ requires learning/ training/ practice beyond 7-10 yards. No way around it. But that is the price paid for 100% reliability in a small package. The .357 is a little bigger and heavier then the .38 flavor, but only noticeable when they are worked side by side.

    I bought one of the first LCR .38’s that came out and still have it. A never fail, soothe as glass shooter. Then on to the .357 a couple of years later. Out of the box I felt the timing and feel was just off, no failures to fire, just off. I contacted Ruger and they said send it back and we will look at it, no charge. Next thing I know 3 days later Ruger emails I am getting a new gun in the mail. Customer service does not get any better than that. They even paid me for the initial shipping charges.

    As to the .357 cartridge, it is a MAGNIUM folks and kicks like a mule. It is supposed to. If that messes up your follow-up shots (which it will unless you are Hulk Hogan IMHO) get some short barrel low flash, Ruger/ Intercepter 38, +P or whatever ammo finally works for you. If you can’t hit the target, double tap the threat and get ready for #3 you are using the wrong self defense tool. There are no one shot stoppers in the hand gun world (Well maybe a 454 or 500 – but they suck at CCW & residential protection). That is what rifles and shotguns are for.

    The .38/ .357 range of choices are the best of the pistol/ revolver breed. So (as Jerry Miculek says) go get-some. What I find incredible is that the little LCR tolerates .357Mag better that any of my older concealable revolvers and without failure, danger, weight or complaint.

  53. Wow people have a lot to say about the LCR. So here’s my opinion. I have a 357 LCR that I didn’t expect I’d like this much. It goes with me every where. I didn’t expect it to be so comfortable to carry. I didn’t expect it to hide so well. I sure didn’t think it would shoot this good either. But it does all these things easily. Now I want another one. A left pocket gun. A ankle gun to go we with my IWB gun. Ten rounds fast no reload needed. But if I do reload I’ll use Revision CV Ammo Pods to top it off.

Comments are closed.