Ruger has done it again. They took a solid gun platform and have made it too tempting to pass up. They have just introduced the Ruger LCR (Lightweight Compact Revolver) in .357 magnum. I cannot begin to describe how excited I am over this. I have been holding off on the purchase of a LCR because they were only offered in .38 +P. I don't care for .38 revolvers. I like having the option of running .357 magnum through them.
Ruger's LCR has been a breakthrough in revolver technology. They have mixed the old classic wheelgun concept with modern space age composites and lightweight materials/finishes to create something that is very compact and lightweight, yet provides a lot of punch.
The original LCR weighs in at about 13 ounces. That's just under a lb. Firing .38 +P in a package that light is a thrill to begin with. Ruger's new .357 LCR weighs a little more - 17.1 ounces. The heavier weight is due to the materials used to construct the weapon. The .38 LCR has an aluminum frame with steel cylinder and barrel. The new .357 version has a stainless steel frame, which has been blackened for stealth and ease of concealment. That accounts for the extra 5 or so ounces of weight. However, that weight increase can be offset by using lighter .357 magnum bullets. If you can shave 1 ounce off each bullet through use of lighter 125 gr or 115 gr bullets vs 158 gr, then the increased weight is null. However, I'm not going to worry much about 5 ounces of increased weight. The gun still weighs half a pound less than my Ruger SP101! Impressive.
Okay, so what are the specs then? Well, here you go:
Finish: Blackened Stainless
Grips: Hogue® Tamer™
Front Sight: Replaceable, Pinned Ramp
Rear Sight: U-Notch Integral
Barrel Material: Stainless Steel
Barrel Length: 1.88"
Overall Length: 6.50"
Weight: 17.10 oz.
Twist: 1:16" RH
Ruger has priced this weapon at a $575 MSRP, which means it will probably be more like $450-$475 in the real world. You can get a lighter .357 magnum from other makers, but you'll pay twice as much as this.
The 1.8" barrel takes snub to the extreme. I thought the 2.25" barrel on my SP101 was short. The LCR barrel will make this gun very easy to conceal. At 6.5" long, the LCR is 1/2" shorter than the SP101 and at 4.5" high, the LCR is shorter than the SP101 as well. The shorter grip of the LCR will help to hide the obvious grip printing issue that plagues those who carry concealed. This isn't to say that the SP101 is difficult to conceal. No, that is far from the case. The LCR will just do a better job of it. The LCR compares to the LCP fairly well too. The LCR is less than an inch taller than the LCP and is an inch and a half longer. It doesn't conceal nearly as well as the LCP, but it fires the venerable .357 magnum, which out powers the LCP any day of the week.
So, with all that said, does this mean I'll be trading in my SP and LCP for Ruger's compact wonder weapon? Heck no! There are different guns for different days and different wardrobes. The LCP is great for going fast and light. The SP101 does well as a backup when the day calls for a light jacket or even something heavy. In IWB carry, I can conceal my SP101 under a t-shirt without a problem (though I prefer to wear a light vest when carrying the SP). The LCR would theoretically fall into everything else. If the LCR conceals well enough, it could go in place of the LCP. The LCP could then act as a backup to the LCR. Heck, the LCR could be a backup for the SP101! They share the same ammo! Well, at least the far superior .357 version of the LCR shares ammo with my SP101, which shoots only .357 magnum for self defense.
I've been looking for my next gun purchase and I think I have found it.