Friday, June 11, 2010

Ruger LCP .380 Review

Ruger LCP .380 Review
If it got any smaller you wouldn't be able to grip it
Fortunately in past and current society there has always been a need for cute tiny little concealable handguns that are fun to carry, own, and fire, however I would rather the need for the size be for more fun other than self defense. A gun that is tiny, light, unobtrusive, but available with enough firepower to stop any manner of anti-social critter in its tracks has always been needed. Derringers have almost always filled that bill historically being carried by both ladies & gentleman. The little two shooters provided only dual shots and typically delivered poor accuracy. The next obvious choice for a concealable gun was an air weight snubby revolver or something like a Walter PPK like Bond...James Bond. Revolvers and PPKs are still both a little big for pocket and purse duty unless you are either large framed or large pursed - enter the tiny light Ruger LCP chambered in Bond's favorite caliber. Pair this with your local Concealed Carry license and you have the most comfortable carry gun made for man or woman.

FEEL THE POWER BABY
First off, no the .380 is not as powerful as today's hot 9mm loads, after all a Browning 9mm Short is the same thing as a .380 ACP. Obviously "short" means less power, so it shouldn't be any surprise that the .380 has less pep, power, and energy than the venerable hotly loaded 9mm. That said bullet and ammunition technology today puts a heck of a lot of stopping power into today's .380ACP that I would still bet my life on. In reality, our high tech .380 rounds today probably deliver more stopping power on target than the old round nose FMJ 38 specials and 9mm of just 20 years ago.

My expectation was a loud as hell crack every time I pulled the trigger that left my ears ringing like I left a Bon Jovi concert, neither of those thoughts would have been ideal. A pleasant surprise was the report while shooting. I lit off a clip of FMJ target rounds without hearing protecting just to hear the report and I have to say it was scary quite like a match .22LR round from a rifle. Even the hottest .380 rounds are still sub-sonic out of the LCP. You probably won't wake the neighbors with this as quickly as you would with you 9mm, .40, or your 357.

Bottom line is that I would rather have my 357 magnum loaded to the max in the instant the chips hit the floor, but chances are I'll have the featherweight 9.5oz LCP in my pocket and my 40oz revolver will be at home. The reality is the gun you have with you will always beats the perfect weapon you have at home. With that point I will accept any of the 380 ACP power deficiencies and make the best of it though better ammunition.

FEATURES & WEIGHT
The Ruger LCP is pretty trim on features. No safety, no empty magazine slide hold open, and no laser or bayonet lug, or picatinny rail mounts. It's just a simple no-nonsense pistol that can be pulled snag free and deliver 7 rounds (6+1) with seven clicks of the double action trigger. Minimal features are a non-ambidextrous slide catch and a magazine release. This is not a long range sniper rifle by any stretch of the imagination, but its design fits its purpose. I would have liked to have a full double action trigger meaning that I could hit the primer again should I ever have a primer failure (most failed
primers will fire on the second strike). In testing I had one round of cheap 9mm Short rounds that failed to detonate. As expected a rechamber and second hit of the primer detonated the round. A primer failure in premium ammo is very remote, but I would have like the ability to double click a round if needed. I had no mis-feeds of any kind.

Combined with the diminutive size, you will be stunned at the weight. 9.4oz unloaded feels like a money clip with a couple bills sliding into yourpocket. I have folding pocket knives that weight more than this gun. It's truly, "wow I could carry this everyday everywhere" light.
Cabela's had a special deal on my go around which included small and large zip up gun rugs/bags, Desantis pocket holster, and an extra magazine all for $329... what a deal. The Desantis pocket holster is stunningly simple and effective and provides amazing draw speeds from back and front pockets. I dare you to find non-spandex pants or shorts that the Ruger LCP will not disappear into. I doubt I would ever carry an extra magazine, however it's nice to have it available. This was a nice little kit at a great price that I am sure will put a hurt on the sales of Keltec's similar version of this gun as the fit and finish is superior to the Keltec in every way.

SIGHTS
This is not going to be a competition match class handgun and I doubt that in the situation of fulfilling the gun's intended purpose at point blank ranges, that the sights would even be used, but Ruger still added sights. Not exactly the pinnacle of engineering but they work for the intent of the pistol and print up shots on target in line of sight. Someone already makes a nice little laser that could greatly enhance off-hand accuracy, however I am questioning the usefulness of it in a combat/defensive situation. The cost of the laser is half of the gun... seems an extra LCP for the wife would be a better investment.

SHOOTING IMPRESSIONS
It says a lot when you know someone who bought one of these and every one of his friends & their wives now all own one. That's a hell of a endorsement. After shooting I can see why. The gun is easy to shoot, fun, and really pretty accurate for a tiny little pistol. The report is mild and the recoil is easily controllable. You expect to sacrifice a lot with accuracy, but the LCP delivers impressive groups if you do your part. I ran over 150 rounds through it with only one malfunction. I shot at 1/2 scale silhouette targets. The head shots were a 12 shot group. The torso shots were a 6 shot group. Both at 7 yards, not to shabby for a gun the size of a computer mouse. This were my best groups with careful shooting. Fast shooting produced groups in the paper plate sized range at 7 yards. Still completely acceptable defensive accuracy.

FINAL THOUGHTS
If you think the size of your average computer mouse would be a great size for a handgun, then you are going to love the LCP. Since I first reviewed th Ruger LCP I have had an opportunity to carry and shoot the gun even more.  It is so small you will end up carrying it everywhere.  The problem when I strap on my Glock 19 is that if we are headed out to friend's house for the evening or to the mall a Glock seems excessive.  Usually I slip the LCP in my packet and forget about it because of it's weight all day.  This is a true concealed carry gun which I feel I more than adequate  for nearly any self defense situation for male or female - a great first gun for self defense.. Overall a great little gun that will be with you when the chips are down.

See you at the Range.