Ruger LCR .327 Federal
Courtesy Anner
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My first dedicated concealed handgun was a Smith & Wesson 642. The lightweight alloy frame and pocket-friendly footprint was a joy to carry. However, I sucked at shooting revolvers and the J-frame didn’t exactly beckon me to practice. So I ventured down a long and winding road, partially documented here. I have since returned to the revolver game with Ruger’s LCR, prompted in part by TTAG’s review of the .357 Magnum model.

Fast-forward a few years where we find a lot of slightly used holsters sitting in a footlocker and my EDC for the last four years is a Ruger LCR in .327 Federal Magnum (simply ‘.327’ from now on). It’s my longest-running continuously-carried EDC gun to date.

The powerful and flexible .327 offers some advantages over the mainstay snubbie calibers — .38 Special and .357 Magnum — but .327 hasn’t found as much mainstream success as its metrics on capacity and performance would suggest it should.

The venerable.38 Special (introduced in the 1890’s) and .357 Magnum (1930’s) enjoy a massive head start in the wheel-gun world and continue to dominate sales. In time, I expect .327 to make some inroads as the merits of the caliber draw interest.

Ruger LCR .327
My EDC pocket-dump, sans pocket holster or phone. Ruger LCR, 4rds Underwood 95gr Xtreme Defender, 2rds home-brew duplex loads, O-Light S-Mini, Leatherman Skeletool, wallet, and POM OC spray. (Courtesy Anner)

If carrying a firearm is a risk management endeavor, then the LCR in .327 is the perfect EDC companion for my daily life. There’s a lot of material in that statement, so I’d like to share some thoughts on each aspect.

First, some background reading that influenced my decision-making towards .327 . . .

LuckyGunner Lounge, .32 round-up.
LuckyGunner Labs, .327 data.
LuckyGunner Labs, .38 Special & .357 Magnum data.

Boutique Calibers

As a young boy, I grew up in a family that had just five calibers among all the firearms we owned: .22 LR, .45 ACP, .357 Magnum, .223 Remington, and 20 gauge. Those served every need we had and the .22 LR guns accounted for about 90% of the ammo we fired.

Sticking to just a few calibers had a lot of benefits: simpler ammo selection, fewer cleaning supplies, less risk of inserting the wrong cartridge into a chamber, and a high degree of familiarity with each cartridge. My siblings and I grew up well-versed in firearms safety and appreciation of their utility.

I carried that mentality forward, and although I’m up to a dozen calibers now, it’s not for lack of trying. Each ‘new’ caliber I introduced to the collection was not without significant analysis.

What capability did this new cartridge have that I couldn’t achieve with what I already owned? And even if the new caliber was better, was it better enough to justify adding complexity and cost to the collection? Could I sell off an existing caliber, both guns and ammo, to offset the new investment? Did the new caliber offer bulk or ‘cheap’ practice options, or would I be stuck buying premium 20rd boxes?

As passionate as I am about my hobby, adding complexity boils down to a cold, calculated decision.

As an example, my journey into 10mm: When I bought my first 10mm handgun, a GLOCK 20, I had a distinct purpose in mind. I would be hiking in the mountains of northern New Mexico where I’d seen plenty of black bears in years past. Mountain lions were also known to roam the area. I wasn’t a good revolver shooter (yet!), and just six to seven rounds of .357 Magnum wouldn’t suffice…half due to my proficiency as a revolver shooter, and the other half due to my proficiency as a revolver reloader.

Additionally, ISIS had just released their “Top 100” hit list, naming 100 members of the US military and listing their addresses. They’d simply combed social media and found 100 names, intending to inspire lone wolf attacks against US service members. Eight of those names were at my base and six were my immediate coworkers.

We’d recently returned from a deployment in which we had turned a lot of ISIS thugs into pink mist. The whole affair came to nothing…no attacks or significant activity. However, the uproar among the military spouses produced two positive outcomes. First, an awareness of exactly where service members were vulnerable to attack when in garrison. Second, that we were all effectively disarmed off base (before and after work) because we couldn’t bring firearms on base.

The wing commander soon changed that firearms policy, as TTAG documented. All individuals with a concealed carry license could have a handgun in their vehicle, keep it locked in their vehicle while on base, and would then have it available once off base. If I had to stop at a gas station at 2am after a late flight, I could now do so armed.

I needed (needed!) a handgun that could handle black bears, mountain lions, and punch through a windshield or car door to decisively disable a wannabe ISIS martyr on the other side. The GLOCK 20 fit the bill: 15+1 capacity, impressive muzzle energy, and can shoot .40 S&W as a cheaper training option. The 10mm round earned its way into my collection on the merit of its performance and how much more effectively it addressed specific purposes than calibers I already owned.

So how did .327 find it’s way into my good graces?

Metrics: Performance

(Courtesy Anner)

Among snubbie calibers, the .327 oozes performance. Several RevolverGuy and LuckyGunner Lounge articles have detailed this better than I can. The short version: it’s a high-pressure cartridge sending a medium-weight bullet at a relatively high velocity.

In a direct comparison of similar bullet weights, full-power .327 is about on par with .357 Magnum in ballistic gel tests, or at least close to it. LuckyGunner Labs has an excellent data set for both calibers, linked above.

I carry Underwood 95gr Xtreme Defenders, and I find them less punishing than any .357 Magnum 125gr self-defense loads. My favorite .357 Magnum defensive load, Remington 125gr Golden Sabers, are a relatively mild .357 Magnum load. But even the Golden Sabers are a noticeable increase in recoil—both the ‘snap’ and the ‘push’—than any .327 load I’ve tried. The Underwoods don’t make for a pleasant range session, but I can control them well enough to post split times and accuracy on par with my other snubbies or micro 9mm carry guns.

The .327 has all the performance I could ever handle from a small revolver. I have no doubt the cartridge can defeat heavy winter clothing or the burliest of thugs, as long as I do my part.

Metrics: Firepower

If I’m carrying a mid-size semi-auto, rarely do I worry about grabbing the 15-round extended magazine. The flush 13-round mag works just as well and conceals easier. I’ll give up those additional two rounds because they’re preceded by 13. The gain proportional to the baseline isn’t significant.

However, back when I carried my subcompact single-stack semi-auto, the flush mag only held six rounds. Once capacity is in the mid-single-digits, every additional round matters.

I intentionally grabbed the seven-round or eight-round extended mags, both so the grip fit my hand a little better, and because those extra one or two rounds were a significant boost in capacity compared to the baseline. I got a lot more firepower out of a small increase in size and weight, and it was still entirely concealable.

In a small carry revolver, capacity is always in the mid-single-digits. I’ve run enough one-hand drills with five-shot revolvers to know that those five rounds go awfully fast. In a defensive encounter, assuming I’m doing everything right (I won’t), five rounds isn’t confidence-inspiring.

The LCR in .327 holds six rounds with no changes in exterior dimensions. If I need to double-tap a rabid Sasquatch, I get three full attempts at it. It’s not an impressive capacity compared to the latest micro 9’s, but for other reasons I explore below, I won’t be carrying a striker-fired handgun any time soon.

Other models benefit from the smaller diameter of the .327, improving capacity over their .357 Magnum counterparts: The Ruger SP101 holds six, the GP100 holds seven, and the Single Seven holds — you guessed it — seven.

Flexibility

Even with the added grip length, the smooth contours of the Hogue G10 grips provide a secure grip and yet glide out of a pocket. (Courtesy Anner)

I won’t repeat Chris Baker’s excellent points, captured in the article “Why the best snub nose caliber is .32”. They’re all valid, and they all apply to my calculus. I’ll simply add to them.

My family enjoys hiking, or at least the mellow version of hiking that young children can handle. As much as possible, we try to leave nature alone. We give wide berth to snakes (venomous and non-venomous), we let porcupines wander off, and neighborhood dogs just bark a bit and turn around.

However, nature does occasionally threaten my family or property. I don’t carry earmuffs for the kids while out on a walk, so taking a shot at a four-legged or no-legged threat in close proximity to the kids is an issue. For a short while I tried carrying two guns; the LCR as a defensive piece and a North American Arms Black Widow (loaded with .22LR CCI Quiet) for critters. Carrying two guns got old real fast.

I tested a few loads of .32 S&W Long and I was pleasantly surprised to learn how quiet they can be. Nowhere as pleasant as a suppressed .22 LR, but they won’t destroy my kids’ hearing after a shot or two. So I found the quietest .32 S&W Long load I could and kept a box handy in the garage for family hikes.

As we walk out the door, I would remove two rounds of my defensive load and replace them with the quieter S&W Long ammo. Should I need to dispatch an animal, I had two attempts at doing so without disrupting the peace or shattering eardrums. If I failed to do so after two trigger-pulls, or if we encountered a two-legged predator, I still had four rounds of full-power loads.

.327 Magnum home-brew duplex loads. Don’t mind the excessive crimp…I’ll improve that on the next batch. (Courtesy Anner)

That solution worked for a while, until I found a much better one. Based on components I could find at reasonable prices, I substituted #9 shot and 78gr LRN bullets. The bullets printed within an inch of point-of-aim at 10ft, and the shot produced an acceptable pattern. Even if the 78gr bullet doesn’t hit vitals, the shot will perform well enough.

I keep a minimalist reloading setup, and it’s plenty for small projects such as this duplex load. (Courtesy Anner)

The Platform

The LCR is a masterpiece, as RevolverGuy detailed here and here. I own two LCRs, both DAO snubbie models, in .327 and .357 Magnum. I’ve only made one modification to both guns, adding a set of Hogue G10 grips. These grips allow a full grip and tame the recoil of full-power loads significantly.

I can still pocket carry with the Hogue grips, even with the extra length compared to the OEM Hogue rubber grips, since the G10 material doesn’t ‘grab’ fabric like the rubber grips do. In a pair of my favorite 5.11 shorts, the deep pocket material just glides over the grip and frame as I draw.

I owned the .357 Magnum model first and contemplated selling it after purchasing the .327. I kept it as a backup vehicle gun, and I’m glad I did—if my modest stock of .327 ammo (or anything it can chamber) gets slim, I can practice with the .357 Magnum model and conserve .327 ammo for daily carry.

My Daily Life: Risk Mitigation

So far I’ve described how the .327 LCR is perfect for simple pocket carry, and for addressing low-level threats while out on a family walk. But how about when departing the property?

I live near a small and deeply conservative city in a solidly conservative state. Several neighbors are local or county law enforcement — and also my shooting buddies — so I receive informal updates on crime in the area. There’s not much to report; the occasional overdose, some drug traffic, larceny, and maybe a murder every couple years. We have more churches in the county than real crime stats to report.

At every public event, local cops and county deputies are visible everywhere. Law enforcement here does an outstanding job at making their presence know and warning evildoers to find an easier target. And though I can’t prove it, we likely have the highest per-capita daily concealed carrier total in the nation. An armed society is a polite society.

So when out in town, the LCR rides in my pocket, a CZ-75C rides in the center console, and my wife is always packing her Kimber Micro 380. That’s enough for us in the local area. When we travel to bigger or less stable cities, I exchange the LCR for an HK P2000.

However, I have other risks to address. As a single guy, I carried all varieties of SA and striker-fired handguns in an IWB holster at the 4 o’clock position. I now have a lovely wife and several young children, and they all like to wrestle at unannounced times of the day (the kids, anyway…the wife at least communicates her intentions). I carry every minute that I’m wearing clothes (except when in uniform on a military base), so playing with my kids while carrying is a specific risk I must consider. I mitigate it using two measures.

First, I maximize retention by using pocket carry whenever possible. Unless I’m doing cartwheels, the gun is staying right in my pocket. As I move my legs, crouch, or pull an arm bar on a deserving preschooler, the pocket opening and fabric surrounding the pocket holster tighten down and keep the LCR firmly secure.

Second, I only carry guns with a reasonably stout DA operation. Even if some fabric finds its way inside the trigger guard, it still requires an intentional and sustained pull to discharge. If the gun falls out, there’s no pre-cocked striker or any other risk of a discharge. A DA trigger with some form of trigger disconnect or transfer bar is more drop-safe than the average modern handgun. And even if I really screw up and leave the gun where the kids can grab it, they can’t pull the trigger. Every few months, I have the oldest and strongest kid try to dry-fire it. Using four fingers on the trigger and pulling with all her might, she can’t make the LCR’s cylinder rotate.

As an aside, I absolutely preach firearms safety at all opportunities. The kids accompany me to the small shooting range in our backyard. They get a lot of reps at donning ear pro, practicing muzzle discipline, and learning proper safety awareness.

Except for some competition handguns and range toys, every handgun I have loaded for a serious purpose has a DA or DA/SA operating system. The truck has a CZ-75C, the nightstand safe has an HK P30L, the living room safe has a CZ-75D PCR, the garage has an HK45, and my primary carry gun while road-tripping is an HK P2000.

Conclusion

I started this off by making a dense claim: If carrying a firearm is a risk management endeavor, then the LCR in .327 is the perfect EDC companion for my daily life.

When I talk risk management, I mean the opposing priorities of mitigating risks from outside threats and mitigating risks of negligent discharges with rambunctious children all over the place. Caught right in the middle of that equation is the .327 LCR. It has the power, the capacity, the operating features, the handling characteristics, and the flexibility — it’s the perfect EDC companion for me.

Epilogue

If Ruger is reading this, my dream .327 revolver is a Ruger LCRx, with a 3” or 3.5” barrel, Hogue G10 grips, an adjustable rear sight, and a TruGlo TFX Pro front sight. That’s the revolver you’d find on my hip in an OWB holster any time the kids and I ventured out into the wild.

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105 COMMENTS

  1. I have a Smith J frame 632 3 inch in .327×6, anyone try to find ammo? If you do it’ll cost i.e. Ammoseek; 1.85 per round for Underwood, only round available there today. Reloading yes if you can find primers (small rifle recommended because of the high pressures). Please ammo manufacturers make more ammo. BTW this is a great round for the J-frame IMO, louder than my .44 (7″ barrel) and my .357 (4″ barrel) 😉

    • Vhyrus, they never will because they work so well. A while back I bought a Glock 43. Remember when everyone had to have one? I installed a set of XS Big Dot sights. I was going to retire the S&W 442 I carried on my ankle and court gun (in plain clothes) for 25 years. I still have them both. Guess which one in in my pocket now and which one is in the safe.

      I want to add a sub-comment, if that is a thing. I think this is a very good article on compact revolver carry. (Dan, pay attention. Bring this guy back). About the only thing I disagree with is caliber choice. Sorry Anner. Larger calibers for me. All J frames for me in .38 Spl. .357 is too much boom and blast for too little return. Especially in those exotic metals. .357 begins at a 3″ steel frame for me. Even those are usually loaded with the .38 +P 158 grain lead semi-wadcutter HP. Full house .357 is reserved for longer barrels. .327? Too light for me. I’ve never hiked in New Mexico, but we do have bear (pic of one on a trail cam last week), Florida panther, mostly 500 miles south of me. What I do have here are aggressive feral hogs and large gators. Ray took an 11 footer out of the big pond at the farm a couple of years ago. We have more. I quit counting the pigs we shot, trapped and caught with dogs at 300. No kidding. When I step out of the truck. I amost always a center fire rifle. If not, usually a S&W 629. Most often a 4″ Mountain Gun with 240 grain jacketed loads.

      • I liked reading this so. In the woods where I live, we don’t have hogs or bears, so I carry a Ruger Speed Six for coyotes or copper heads
        But I saw a Taurus Tracker 44 yesterday that I liked, do you know anything about them, I.thank you.

      • Gadsen, I’m in Central FL. At work we have over 100 acres of rural scrub. We can have the same animals, of course, plus snakes and the occasional meth head. On perimeter days I frequently OWB a 4″ 686 Plus or 2 5/8″ 627 with 180 gr SJHP. Usually it’s the 686 b/c the 4″ makes sense given the open areas of the property, but the 627 b/c I can throw my work shirt over it and CCW off-property.

        My 640 Pro sees a bit of pocket carry too! (Just to irritate Vhyrus) What I carry depends on where I’m going and what I’m doing. History is replete with examples of snubs airing out perps with .38 and .357.

  2. The .327 cartridge will die off faster than the .22 Velo Dog cartridge or the 5mm Remington rimfire cartridge or the last Tyrannosaurus Rex.

    And do not forget the .45 gap cartridge, now there was a real winner (sarcasm)

    Or how about the Herter’s 401 power mag.

    Or the .41 Action express.

    • .41 AE is still with us, it’s ballistically identical to .40 S&W. 5mm Rem is still available in commercial loadings. Velo Dog is just .22 LR with excess case capacity. .45 GAP was a decent idea but it took them way too long to get 230 grain loads out. .327 has the advantage of chambering every other .32 caliber cartridge, and is mostly held back because they aren’t making enough guns.

  3. “I carry Underwood 95gr Xtreme Defenders, and I find them less punishing than any .357 Magnum 125gr self-defense loads.”

    The same is true at the other end. You can’t cheat physics. Don’t get me wrong, I *like* the .327. A 4-inch Ruger SP101 chambered in .327 is my kit/truck gun. But let’s not pretend it’s a .357, because it just isn’t. Gel tests are one thing, but dispatching feral hogs is, to put it mildly, a bit more realistic. When I got my .327, I used it to dispatch trapped feral hogs. My experience is that (unless you are shooting them in the ear), the .327 just doesn’t do it as reliably and quickly as a .357. And if you are using 158 gr bullets in the .357, there is simply no comparison. On live hogs, the .357 just has a lot more punch than the .327, and that’s all there is to it. Mind you, I would never volunteer to be shot with a .327, because it is very much a legit round. But let’s just stop saying the .327 is roughly equivalent to a .357, because it isn’t. The .327 is the .357’s little brother.

    As for those who will tout the .327’s higher chamber pressures as a plus, my experience with that 4-inch SP101 is that muzzle blast with full house loads is ferocious. I’ve not shot full house .327 loads out of a shorter barrel, but I’d guess the muzzle blast gets progressively worse as barrel length decreases. Who knows, maybe that’s a good thing? If you are fighting at get-off-me distance, and you somehow miss, at least there’s a good chance you’ll set your assailant on fire. 😉

  4. Go all in on a 4″ barrel! The velocity increases in .327 Federal Magnum with longer barrels is impressive. I’ve been a fan of the cartridge since introduced, but in these parts both the revolvers and the ammunition are in short supply or a bit too pricey for my tastes. I’ve seen exactly one GP100 (used) locally. Sad to say, I’ve never added one to my collection.

    • I’d love a longer-barreled LCRx. I do appreciate the SP101, but the lighter weight and excellent stock trigger of the LCR have me holding out for exactly what I want.

    • 327 mini carry…how cute!😀😎 Ya know with the mobs of black youts roaming around seemingly unimpeded I sure as he!! want some capacity.

      • Not everywhere is Chicago……….but yeah a smaller revolver probably would not be the ideal choice in greater metro areas for a variety of reasons ……or the ideal choice for a few of them.

        • Haven’t been to Chiraq in years. But I see gangs of youts all the time. Since most are cowards I’ll stick with some kind of capacity!

        • “At what point in our history did we achieve first world status? 1870? 1910?”

          Perhaps I’m biased since I was there to see it, but I’d proffer the mid-1970s, when microprocessors were just starting to spread their wings. I.E., the development of GPS put us at the forefront of first-world status around then…

        • The point at which we reached that status is immaterial.

          I don’t do personal stories much but I’ll make an exception that covers this.

          Some years back I met a guy on the border of Angola and Zambia, West of Solwezi. Oldish guy, in his early 70’s. He’d never left the continent and rarely traveled to any major/modern cities. Yet, he was a fascinating guy. I had to speak to him through a translator friend of mine because my Dutch ain’t great, my Afrikaans worse and my Bemba non-existent.

          At a certain point the conversation turns to opinions of the outside world. He’s very interested to know what I think of Africa and how it lines up with what we might call my “American expectations”.

          This requires me to explain a fair bit of my past which he interjects “So, you’re not really an American then”. See, a fair number of people in Africa don’t really do what we might call “nationalism”. They simply don’t have enough contact with the concept and generally regard any “government” as corrupt. In many areas it’s hard to blame them. If they have a national identification it’s often secondary to something else.

          Anyway, he listens for a while about my view of Africa at this point in time and says that my opinions must be extremely unusual. He says this based on the local/African perception of Americans and, correctly, has deduced that American opinions of Africa are usually based on a lack of contact that that African opinions of America[ns] are undoubted similar for the same reasons.

          Anyway, at a certain point I ask him what he thinks about what he sees as American perceptions. Essentially his perception of our perception.

          He says that most Americans he has experience with are surprised that there’s anyone older than middle age in Africa but that this is untrue. American views seem based on a perceived lack of food, HIV, general backwardness of most of the continent and the very violent reputation that Africa has. He finds it sad that so many Westerners regard Africa as nothing but the worst aspects of parts of Africa. He says that it’s been this way for centuries.

          So, I ask him why he thinks that these outside perceptions of Africa persist over time. He says lack of contact but also limited contact, where there is contact is tends to reenforce perceptions that formed due to lack of contact. He invites me to just look around, how many AKs do I see? They’re everywhere. Go North to Congo and, well… obviously war kills everyone if the HIV, malaria and starvation don’t get them first, right?

          So I ask, since he’s been all over the continent and has himself been in wars, how does one survive such an exciting life where AKs are so commonplace? How does one achieve his age in such a place? Are the perceptions completely wrong? Surely they can’t be 100% incorrect. So, old man, how’d you do it?

          Very close to a quote: “Oh, that is quite easy. When in a bad place you must have an RPD. If you can afford it or have luck, a new RPK”. (He was referring to the RPK-74 in 5.45).

          I ask why this matters.

          “If you must go to the bad places you want more bullets and you don’t [fuck hookers]. You live longer.”

          This is similar to the modern American, “In the land of darkness the man with a flashlight is King but the man with NODs is a god”.

    • Sound awake, a lot of old-timers are alive because they carry revolvers. I have a few each revolvers and pistols and carry both. Every day. For a long time. If you disparage the revolver, you do yourself a disservice.

  5. I’ve started buying .327 ammo and I don’t even have the gun yet!!! They are very hard to come by. Everyone has supply chain problems. Perhaps because I didn’t grow up with guns, I’m more willing than others to try the newer innovations in firearms. Just looking at the history of the 32 caliber series to me, it seems to be a great choice over a .22 and not as high a recoil as a 38 special.

    The Lucky Gunner pocket carry video series, are the best educational gun videos in general on the internet. Their ballistics jell test videos for hand gun calibers, is a “must view” for anyone who is getting a gun for the first time.

    Taurus has introduced a 327 caliber revolver this year as well. Henry has been making a lever action rifle in 327 for years now. If Taurus is will to invest in 327 they must think the market is growing.

    The 9mm guys are trying to make their guns smaller and smaller. I think we are going back to the 1970’s. When pocket carry was the way most civilians carried their guns.

    • I have a 9mm EMP. Very sweet shooting mini 9. No, it doesn’t have great capacity (9+1), but this is California, where 10+1 is the max. Heavy for a compact pistol, but that is the beauty of it; it doesn’t bounce around.

      • “No, it doesn’t have great capacity (9+1), but this is California, where 10+1 is the max.”

        That will be a bad memory sooner, rather than later…

        • No Strych,
          The ballots are rigged, mail-in voting is rigged, the VA is rigged and the word “fair” has had the first two definitions removed from our Woke CaliDictionary.
          New laws (leftist edicts) sprout faster than marijuana seeds thrown out at a fertilizer convention.
          Don’t believe I’ll never see the change? Waiting now 53 years to be treated by the California VA for Agent Orange problems.
          DaFixiz IN here!

  6. Do not underestimate the neighborhood pets. A postal worker was just killed by a pack of neighborhood pets when her vehicle broke down. Folks rushed from their homes to help her but it was too late.

    Florida I think.

    I’m sticking with the .38/.357 in revolvers. I’m already set up and stocked to support them and don’t want the hassle of re-equipping. Same reason 9mm is my semi auto round.

        • You spelled it right. Putnam County. A little SW of Jax I think. I’ve driven through. Old school Florida. Not Disney World. People get on L.E.O. for shooting dogs. This is why it’s occasionally necessary. What would you do?

  7. My 642 became a different gun with the Hogue Tamer grip! I can shoot it quite comfortably and I’ve only become more accurate. However… I see the appeal of the .327! I have a little old S&W “I frame” in .32 S&W Long, and it is a fun relic to shoot.

  8. I had one of these for a while. .327 Fed Mag was just too much out of this little guy, my splits were about double what they were with .32 H&R.

    .32 H&R was about on par with normal .38 Special; which is pretty mediocre.

    I just learned to carry a compact pistol which has more than twice as much ammunition capacity and is ballistically superior in every way with 9mm. It’s also easier and faster to shoot.

    6 shots is not enough in this day and age of flashmobs and “peaceful protestors.”

    • Busy, just to reload those wheel guns a little faster. You do carry a reload for what ever it is carry don’t you? Regardless of make/model/caliber/operation?

      • I compete in ICORE and USPSA with national ranks in both. My reloads with a revolver still take about twice as long as with a semi-auto pistol.

        My semi-auto magazines hold three times as much as my revolver cylinders.

    • Cute. But I am not a fan of the bird’s head grip style or the barrel length. I’ll stick with my 4.75″ barrels with standard grips—in .45Colt! Cast lead bullets, 40 grains of Holy Black. Hard hitting and a smoke screen to make your escape! (Although JHPs and smokeless will also suffice, especially if Buffalo Bore or hand loads.)

  9. It’s not quite as potent, but I have a Charter Undercoverette in .32 H&R Mag (6-shot) that is a dandy little popper. Good power and accurate with not as harsh recoil as the .38 Special. I would agree that a 3” j-frame sized .32 with good sights would be a great sidekick. Even that short-lived variant of the j-frame with the 2.5” barrel was about perfect.
    Still waiting for Ruger to drop a K-frame sized LCR for fun times.

  10. More than a decade ago, my LGS talked me out of buying a .327. I send hime a thank you note every Christmas. He saved me a fortune in excess ammo costs and a lot of frustration over the years.

  11. He called this plastic monstrosity a ‘masterpiece’. I had to stop reading there, the shill meter overloaded.

    • Actual response: my praise for the LCR is on the merits of its utility, specifically how its features work exactly for my life. It’s damn ugly, sure. Ugliness plays no part in what I appreciate in an EDC handgun.

      • “Actual response: my praise for the LCR is on the merits of its utility, specifically how its features work exactly for my life.”

        Pretty much the same here. I’m your vintage, and still feeling the effects of a crush injury on my right hand. I’m also carrying the LCR in .357, but load it with .38 +P, that eliminates the ‘sting’ of firing it. My pocket holster is identical in form and function to yours.

        It doesn’t exactly disappear in my front pocket, and I have noticed the polite nods I get as I go about my day, the general outline is there for those who are astute to those clues. I don’t let it bother me, as Florida’s carry laws are pleasantly liberal enough. I have yet to be asked to leave from any establishment yet for simply carrying…

  12. To all the haters: remember how many times 10mm was declared “dead”?

    I have an LCR in .357, and while not nearly as elegant as an all-steel 640 with rosewood grips, the LCR has a sweet trigger press—stiff enough for safety, but easy enough to actuate. 8/10. Would recommend.

    • “…the LCR has a sweet trigger press—stiff enough for safety, but easy enough to actuate. 8/10.”

      Preach it. Dead-nuts reliability and just keep on squeezing the trigger until it goes *bang*…

  13. A useless and unnessessaary bit of overkill crap only fit for fanaticist idiots who have absolutely no regard for possible collateral damage. A cartridge of that power in that small a gun is ridiculous to say the least.
    The undeniable FACT is that for any normal purpose, including any situation that could remotely be considered as a SELF DEFENCE situation, nobody require’s anything more than a decent reliable 9mm or .38 calibre. That’s why 9mm and .38, especially 9mm NATO spec, are the choice of most of the PROFESSIONALS around the world. Anything else is childish Dick-Swinging, But then this is the America of DONALD TRUMP red-necks, histories Dick -Swinger in Chief. A short barrelled MAGNUM wouldn’t the inside of a bloody barn at twenty paces. Though it might just blow a hole in the side of a house.

    • There was a story in the news a few years back of a woman at home alone with her kids. A large man broke in, and she scurried up to the attic with the kids and a .38 snubby. She put five shots in him before he stopped coming up the ladder and left the house. The ineffectiveness of the .38 is why police here went first to .357 and then to 9mm, and some to .40. A man hyped up on drugs can take a lot of ballistic punishment before he goes down.

    • You really have no clue what you are talking about. It would be nice for all of us here if you would get a hobby that you are more suited to…like playing in traffic or chewing on blasting caps.

      • That was for Albert the RAF idiot, not Mark N, who is correct about the ineffectiveness of .38 Special vs other calibers.

    • Prince Albert, the .32 is smaller than the .38 Spl and the 9mm. You really don’t have a clue about about which you speak; do you?

      • I was more amused that he believes that “most PROFESSIONALS” get to choose from the whole wide world of sidearms rather than take what’s issued.

  14. What many folks forget is that us “older shooters” don’t have the hand strength to rack the slide on most semi autos. While I still like my STAR 9mm BM auto and love my Series 70 1911, I now find that a 3″ S&W model 60 with 110 gr. HORNADY .38 spl rounds is about all the recoil I can handle. I think that with the current effort to allow more criminals out without a cash bail, “older shooters” could be well served by the newer .327 round. Also, the idea of the longer 3″ barrel with adjustable sights and an unloaded weight in the 20 – 24 oz. range should provide a good balance for recoil management no matter the shooters age. Comments??

    • You seem to be describing the SP101, which I’ve considered purchasing but will hold out for (hopefully) a 327 LCRx. I’ve owned SP101 models with 3” barrels in 357 Mag, as well as a K6 and Colt King Cobra with 3” barrels, and they are indeed much easier to shoot well than true snubbies. Stepping up to a 4” barrel tames things even further. I would imagine a 327 SP101 with a 3” barrel would be an excellent gun.

      • I actually checked the price on these in the interwebs just today. On GunBroker, they are asking OVER the nearly $1000 MSRP. Sportsmans Warehouse sells them for $740 but is typically out of stock.

  15. I’m a fan of revolvers with a particular fondness for old S&W K-frames. By all accounts and from what I can gather .327 Fed Mag is quite a nifty caliber that is absolutely full of win. But as I can’t buy it locally I’ve no use for it.

  16. marginal practical gains, if any, over existing common cartridges. Doesn’t really make sense and that’s why it’s not going to get much better in terms of ammo or price

    There are very few people who decide to get a .327 as their ‘one gun.’ And if you aren’t needing one gun, you can probably find two guns that excel in their particular role more.

  17. Those Speer Gold Dots can do some serious damage out of just a 2″ barrel.

    Anner,
    The .327 data link doesn’t work.

  18. LOL, didn’t click Post before…

    This seems well thought out for the author’s specific needs. While the admission of changing a carry piece to suit changing circumstances will undoubtedly draw the ire of the sort of irrational purist who has either recently discovered, or greatly overrated, the terms “manual of arms” and “muscle memory”, I’ve long argued this to be a strength rather than a weakness because the right tool for the job is the right tool for the job.

    I’d quibble that whole 15.4% “isn’t significant” part though.

    • “…the right tool for the job is the right tool for the job.”

      +1

      Yeah, where I live, I’m not carrying 13 or 15 or 19 +1 and a reload to go for gas and a pack of smokes. I might take that on a road trip or to population centers or carry during times like the summer of 2020. I’ve even taken it to a movie theatre. (More because I simply could than I felt I needed it.) But daily? The reality for me is that it isn’t needed and doesn’t happen. Most carried for me is a pocket .380, a 13+1 9mm or a 5 round .357.

  19. I rented an LCR in .38 Special and came to two conclusions after shooting it. The stock trigger is fantastic, better than I have found on any DA revolver. Recoil from a 158 grain standard pressure is fierce. (I gave the gun back after five rounds.) It hurts just to think about shooting .327 or .357 from one. .32 H&R Magnum or .38 Special target wadcutters would be my choice. I’d like to try one in 9 mm loaded with standard pressure 110 grain bullets.

    I wish Ruger would make a version of the LCR-X that copies S&W’s model 638. The 638 has a mostly shrouded hammer that won’t catch on your clothing during the draw but still allows for single action shots.

  20. Kids use their thumbs to pull triggers after they realize they cannot pull the trigger normally. This points the barrel directly at them. That is how self-inflicted accidental shooting deaths occur with children. The author needs to make sure his kids are not able to pull with thumbs, either.

    • Don,

      I came to say the same thing.

      Small children will point the barrel at their head/body and pull the trigger with their thumbs, squeezing the “backstrap” of the grip with their fingers–in other words firing the revolver backwards.

      • The best “safety practice” for small children is a two-part strategy.

        First, when you are not carrying your handgun on your body, store it on a small shelf close to the ceiling and never let your children see you put your handgun up there. This has two huge benefits. If your children never see you put it up there, they won’t be curious to access it. More importantly, they cannot access it. (By the time your children can stack up chairs, boxes, and tables to access it, they will know better.)

        Second, take your small children to an outdoor range where you can do whatever you want. (That may be a secluded location in a state or national forest.) Begin with your small children standing about 100 feet behind you WITHOUT hearing protection and shoot ONE shot (with a handgun) with your muzzle pointed away from them. While that loud sound will be very unpleasant, it will not damage their hearing. Next, put hearing protection on your children, have them stand about 12 feet behind you, and shoot a full one-gallon water jug with a hollowpoint bullet. They will SEE that water jug explode. Finally, with your children still wearing hearing protection, have them stand next (although somewhat behind) you, carefully place their hands on your hands, and shoot ONE shot. They will feel the recoil.

        When you go through that outdoor exercise with small children (as young as age three), they will tangibly hear, see, and feel what a gunshot is all about and they WILL properly respect firearms after that. Combine that with keeping your handgun on a shelf near the ceiling and not visible and you have eliminated 99.9999999% of the risk of children finding your handgun and harming themselves of anyone else.

        Bonus points: tell your children that they can come to you pretty much any time at home if they want to inspect/handle your handgun–and you will unload it and supervise them as they inspect/handle your handgun. In addition to reinforcing safe handling practices, that eliminates the “forbidden fruit” dynamic that often lures children into handling loaded firearms “when no one is watching” and harming themselves or someone else.

        • “Next, put hearing protection on your children, have them stand about 12 feet behind you, and shoot a full one-gallon water jug with a hollowpoint bullet. They will SEE that water jug explode.”

          A few years back, someone described something similar. In their version, a number a targets were set up, with a watermelon at the end. While coaching Jr. practicing with a .22lr rifle, the parent standing behind withdrew a large bore magnum (everyone had ear pro on) as Jr. was focusing on the shot, the magnum exploded the watermelon. Parent then explained what that meant to a human head.

          The point of the drill was the sheer unexpected shock of seeing the melon vaporize, and how that easily could have been a living human instead. I thought that would be an effective training technique…

        • You recommended the “shelf near the ceiling” method a few years ago, in a comment somewhere. I did just that and it’s worked like a champ. I have to stand on the bed to get it, nothing for the kids to crawl/climb their way up there. Still plenty accessible for me in the middle of the night.

          As to the range instruction and safety mindset, we’re working on it. The oldest is 6, easing her way into a single-shot rimfire.

        • Anner,

          By the way, I appreciate your article.

          Your reasoning for how you chose to balance various competing risks and safety concerns seems solid to me. While I may or may not have chosen the same outcome in your situation, it is very reasonable.

          Regarding the .327 Federal Magnum revolver platform which you detailed: I have been thinking about obtaining a revolver in .327 Federal Magnum for a very long time. I believe you did an excellent job describing the advantages as well as the limitations of that platform. Now I have more food for thought!

  21. “A useless and unnessessaary bit of overkill crap only fit for fanaticist idiots who have absolutely no regard for possible collateral damage.” – Albert Hall

    Geez, Albert. So much vitriol for such a little cartridge… I thought this level of angst was reserved for the 9mm vs 45acp wars!

    For some reason, arms and ammo makers have been trying to hot rod the 32 caliber for decades. Does anyone own/carry a Guardian in 32NAA? And don’t forget Major Boothroyd, “Walther PPK, 7.65 millimeter, with a delivery like a brick through a plate-glass window.” (British humor, or Ian Fleming’s ignorance?)

    Just let the little 32 do what it’s good at. The S&W 32 Long was/is a very accurate, easy shooting cartridge in an old S&W Hand Ejector with a 6 inch barrel. The 32 H&R “magnum” is a good little cartridge, in snub nosed revolvers and lever action rifles. But if you push the caliber too hard, you get a lot of noise and muzzle blast without the actual power of a larger caliber such as 357 or 44. **TANSTAAFL**

  22. In the pic of your minimalist reloading setup, which is pretty similar to my first reloading setup, what is the black plastic thing in the middle, with a grip and long “trigger” style mechanism?

  23. OldProf,

    “And don’t forget Major Boothroyd, “Walther PPK, 7.65 millimeter, with a delivery like a brick through a plate-glass window.” (British humor, or Ian Fleming’s ignorance?)”

    Boothroyd was an actual person, who contacted Fleming about the firearm that his character Bond was using. In return for the information, Fleming wrote Boothroyd into his next novel as the 00’s armourer. Boothroyd was speaking of the PPK in relation to the Beretta .25 cal that Bond had been using in the first novels, the weapon that nearly cost Bond his life when it snagged on his waistband.

  24. To Alien: I remember the conversation, in M’s office if memory serves. Bond wasn’t happy about being forced to give up his Beretta. I think Boothroyd also took away Bond’s chamois shoulder holster rig for the Beretta. Bond complained that he had never had a “stoppage” (jam?) with the Beretta except when using a silencer. 32 acp is certainly a step up from 25 acp, but it’s no “brick through a plate glass window” either. I’ve always wondered why Fleming didn’t upgrade Bond to a 380. Colt, Browning and Walther all made small pistols in this caliber in the early to mid ‘50’s when the books were originally set.

    • Because Boothroyd said that the “American CIA swears by them”?

      Yep, Boothroyd recommended a smooth leather shoulder rig for the quicker draw. I think Bond’s Beretta didn’t jam, it just hung up in his waistband with the silencer attached, costing Bond a six-month hospital stay.

      I’m sticking to that theory. Did you ever own a PPK? Every PPK owner should know that story.

  25. I’m sure every collector has a “one that got away” story. I have several, including a PPK manufactured in Germany (imported before the 1968 GCA took effect) that was on sale at a local big box store because they were liquidating all their firearms. They wanted $110 (in ‘70 or ‘71) and would even put it on layaway! As a college senior, newlywed, with a part time job, I didn’t have many $$ and the wife, though not anti, knew there were much more important places to put our scarce $$. Today, I have the money, but balk at paying almost 10x that much for a S&W clone. And there are much better EDC pieces available now. Just picked up a LCP MAX. Better than the PPK, but 007 never had one…

  26. Thanks very much for the excellent article. Much appreciated. As an old J Frame guy myself, I also carry the Ruger LCR in .327 Federal Magnum now and feel that it’s an extremely versatile a carry gun as you pointed out in your article. Thank you again !

  27. So since the author asked that if Ruger was reading this, he’d like to (and did) put his dream gun out there for request, I’m inclined to do mine as I’ve been doing for years now….
    Ruger, please make a 3″, 6 shot cylinder LCR with just gutter sights and big dot front sight in either. 38 Special or .357 magnum, either or both.
    Thank you.

  28. I have a Ruger Single Seven and love the caliber but as of late, ammo is non existent and I can’t find small pistol primers. While I have around 400 rounds the gun sits idle. I won’t be using it till this ammo and primer shortage is over.

  29. @Rob,
    You just spoke for me!
    I can’t stand the stiff double action or cocking difficulty of the 642 Smith. The Detective Special is great, but uses sights from the 1930’s. Humphrey Bogart didn’t seem to need them but my old eyes wish for the latest and the greatest.
    I taught my sons to have fun with snubbies at 100 to 250 yards. Pick a spot maybe 3 to 15 feet over the target and aim for it. You may be surprised at how effective you can be with only six rounds to walk them in! Practice gives confidence.
    Sights/Grips/Trigger/Holster/Reloads! Expensive, but necessary stuff.
    If all manufacturers optioned Fiber Optic or Night Sights, they would be selling much more BBQ Man Jewelry. You guys listening out there? I’ll buy it, but you gotta make it.
    There may be a tricked-out SP-101 in my future. Or a 3” Lady Smith. Possibly a small-frame Blackhawk, 357 or 44 SPCL.
    I just can’t hit as well with most autos as I can with a round-magazined sidearm, so more boolits do not equate to more actual firepower, at least in my case.
    Maybe I should go see the Chaplain…

  30. While I am a firm believer that every individual should pick the firearm that is best suited to them, I think this article was a bit over the top in giving us a life history of why he likes this particular gun which is one I have never encountered personally. Any time you get into articles about the best guns for this or that, the best caliber for this or that, you need to break it down in simplest terms. The best firearm for any given set of circumstances is the one you have in your possession at the time you need to use it. I think that kind of breaks it down to the least common denominator.

    • There are approximately one billion articles recommending mainstream carry guns or EDC setups. Those work for most folks, and for good reason.

      So I provided the long-winded rationale behind my EDC gear. I’ve written a few articles in the past, and if I don’t explain the “why” then the comments are flooded with “did you think about ____?” or “I don’t see how this is better than ___”.

      But I have considered all those possibilities, have evaluated all the risks, have balanced features and capabilities. And that is the point of the article—the specific gun I picked is almost a sideshow—to encourage folks to think through exactly what they carry, so maybe they’ll settle on a solution that they WILL carry.

      In this article there’s a link to an article I wrote a few years ago explaining how I settled on the G42 (at the time). That is the sort of journey and writing that I enjoy reading, much like Chris Baker’s series on various carry platforms. So that’s what I write.

  31. .327 snub?? C’mon Bub…didn’t Summer of Love 2020 learn you a thing? Did you see the armed Antifa outside of the drag show bar in TX? They had snipers on the roof of the parking struture.

    Look Bub, snubs and revolvers had their day, but it is long gone. Sure, I kept about a dozen revolvers as insurance in case the dems ever outlaw semi-auto. But until that time, I carry (2) 9mm Hellcats. Around the house it is all Glocks and FN’s. We are already in a Mad Max world, soon to be a Book of Eli world. Accept that revolvers are long past their prime Bub…that is if you are serious about staying alive.

  32. While I think the .327 Magnum is a big improvement over the .32 H&R Magnum, it still hasn’t taken off in spite of the hoopla. I rarely see either the Ammo or the few pistols chambered for it at any of the 7 LGS’s in my stomping grounds. Sure, Ammons available on line, buy the fact that there’s hardly any stock locally speaks volumes IMHO.
    I think it’ll remained a niche round from here on out. I might be wrong, but I felt the same when .32 H&R hit the market, and I was right.
    When I carry my old model 36, I load it with Hornady Critical Duty +P 110 gr FTX. Per LG, it gives decent velocity, energy and penetration, and I’ve no problems finding the ammo.
    If it works for you author, that’s fine. Maybe there’s more support and devotees in your neck of the woods.

  33. To 05Banana: We SO think alike! Although I don’t mind the trigger on my 642. Not so much my 9mm all steel Bodyguard. The trigger is just OK, but the effort needed to cock that little nub of a hammer is downright dangerous. It has slipped from under my thumb a bunch of times during dry fire practice. However, the Ruger LCR trigger is much better than any S&W j-frame I’ve ever tried. It’s easier to stage and my finger doesn’t tire during longer strings of practice, either dry or live.

    Snubbies at 100+ yards?! Wow! I know the mechanical accuracy is there, but really? When I got my first CCW and started carrying a Taurus Model 85CH, I occasionally practiced at 25 and 50 yards. At 25 I could put 4/5 on a paper plate stapled to the X ring of a B27 target. That was double action, slow fire, staging the trigger. At 50 I would occasionally get 2/5 🙁 Using my S&W Airweight 642, FUGETABOUTIT! 4/5 at 15 yards was the best I could do. But at 10 yards I could do 5/5 in <5 seconds into <5 inches. I’m sure many can do much better, but it took me several years of practice, hundreds (1,000+?) rounds and many hours of dry fire practice. I’m older now, eyes not as sharp, but I can still stay on that paper plate at 7-10 yards in ~5 seconds. Keep your square 9s. Im happy with my little 38.

  34. To Dave Harris: Not all of us accept that the world has gone that far. I still carry a snub revolver in 38 or 44 Special or even in 32 H&R occasionally. Yes, I have and do carry a micro 9 sometimes, but my go to EDC is still round, not square. Don’t forget that Max carried a sawed off 12 gauge double barrel. How about a Mossberg Shockwave with mini shells?

  35. @oldProf49
    Appreciate your thoughts.
    Admittedly, we tend to have lots of fun, but you can really annoy a target at great range if you practice with a partner who helps you call your shots. The KEY is to remember the vertical distance that you aimed at for every shot AND the memory of the sight picture. Remember which pebble or beer can you were actually aiming at, for the target is obscured completely. You can’t just blast away. It’s mental. It’s also easy.
    Of course, the proper answer here is to take a grinder with you and grind down the front sight until you hit at range.
    Yes, I DID that exact thing to the shovel blade front sight my custom made 44-40 Birdshead Storekeeper with the gold inlaid cylinder and barrel. If I figure out a way to properly secure a TFO, that will go on it, too.
    Sidearms are like motorcycles. If it doesn’t fit you perfectly, CHANGE IT ‘til it DOES! Weld on a beavertail, lump on epoxy soaked paper towels to build up a grip, file the magazine well edges, just have fun.
    Go ahead, somebody, call me a FUDD!
    You will probably be right…

  36. About 6 months ago I retire after a carrier in law enforcement that started in the mid 70’s. I say from experience that you should carry what’s comfortable to you. Due to age and physical changes I have changed my edc several times. The one thing I’ve learned is it doesn’t matter if you carry a 22 or 454 if you can’t hit what you shoot at it’s just a paper weight. I plan on checking out the 327 because now I have more time to go shooting.

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