My Ruger LCRs have had a love, then hate, then love relationship for some time. What first drew me in on the LCR in .357 magnum was the weight and compact size. It could deliver full power 357 magnum loads from a snubby about the weight and size of a mini-380 ACP and still shoot less expensive.38 Special loads for practice.
The problem was that the LCR was a bitch initially to find carry options because it really did not fit “universal” snubby revolver holsters. Another issue was that my prefered 158gr 357 Magnum loads from my heavy revolvers made the hyperlight 357 magnum snubby feel like I was shooting .44 Magnum rounds... I have plates in my dominant arm from a break and honestly it freaking hurt. I have prided myself on having good trigger control without a bit of winc, however I flinched like a little bitch when shooting those 158gr 357 magnum rounds. Reloading solutions were also a little too slow and fumbly for my taste. The last issue was a minor one, but important; the LCR needed a front night sight for reliable targeting on anything beyond 5 yards in a reduced light.
FIXING THE CARRY ISSUES
ClipDraw - $29.99 - Of all the accessories I have added to my LCR the one transformative accessory has been the holsterless ClipDraw. This single accessory is responsible for the LCR being in my concealed carry rotation more often versus collecting dust in my safe.
For $30, it will transform the utility of the LCR and will not interfere with any of your other carry options. In essence the ClipDraw attaches a pocket clip the the revolver unobtrusively with VHB - Very High Bond Tape and allows the revolver to just be slipped and clipped inside pants, shorts, waistband, underwear, or skirts (at least according to my wife). In addition this option even provides a tuckable carry option which allows your shirt to tuck in over the clip.
Blackhawk LCR In the pocket holster - $19.99 - For those that want to carry a revolver in a pocket, the simple but effective Blackhawk LCR pocket holster is an easy way to mask the outline of you LCR in the front or back pocket. The downside is that unless you are wearing really baggy pants or shorts, this carry method can hamper your draw a bit, but does give you an inexpensive carry option. Sourced from ShopRuger.com
Galco Tuck-N-Go In the Waistband Holster - $29.99 The ClipDraw is a stunning add on, however holsters can provide an increased margin of retention and potentially deeper concealment. I choose the universal snub nosed revolver Galco Tuck-N-Go tuckable Holster which allows tucking a shirt over the gun... yep even a dress shirt. I use this holster when I need just a bit more tuckable concealment.
I did modify it a bit to make the LCR 357 magnum version fit by removing the inner stitching row. Basically the stock state made the pistol ride way too high for me, but removing that one non- supporting stitch line allowed my LCR to fully seat in the holster. This is a great simple holster which allows great concealed carry. Sourced from ShopRuger.com
Newton’s law tells us that acceleration is produced when a force acts on a mass. The greater the mass (the heavier the bullet being accelerated) the greater the amount of force needed (to accelerate the object) and of course Newton's third law explains recoil that for every action there is an equal and opposite re-action. If we lighten the bullet grain weight, we can drop recoil down a bit as well.
Heavy grained 158gr rounds can be a bit harsh to shoot in this lightweight revolver, however the recoil can be reduced either dropping the bullet weight or the charge. You could just shoot lower power .38 Special rounds like the Hornady 110gr round to drop the charge and recoil. The other option is to to move over to lighter Hornady 125gr .357 Magnum rounds or something in the middle with a +P .38 Special round. This is what I love about the .357 Magnum chambering; it is flexible with the ability to shoot a huge variety of .38 Special to .357 Mag rounds. What I found took the edge off the recoil was just dropping to the Hornady .357 Magnum Critical Defense 125gr FTX ammo. Still a little sharp, however the round still delivers all the power you expect from a .357 but with more control. Sourced from my ammo guy named Vinnie.
I am generally a huge fan of “press to reload” Safariland Comp series speed loaders however sadly they do not make one for the LCR. The HKS twist to reload speed loaders do not work as smoothly and catch on the grips during reloading. Bianchi Speed Strips are a better carry option for those that carry a revolver and lay flat in the pocket. They are a bit slower for reloads however I have found them to put rounds in the cylinder a bit more reliably than a speed loader that does not quite want to go in willingly. $5.99 for two speed strips is a steal, so I purchased three sets. Sourced from MidwayUSA.com
To increase safety in a defensive situation, we know from research that those wonderful deteriorating half life Tritium night sights can make all the difference when one inch to the right or left can make a big difference in the dark. Obviously the Ruger LCR does not have rear sights, however it does have a front sight which can be swapped out. I picked up a Tritium front sight from ShopRuger.com. Simply drive out the retaining pin on the front sight and replace with a Tritium replacement sight. Note the pin goes in easy but could require some gunsmithing assistance to get back in. Although you should always attempt to illuminate your target, sometimes it is not possible and I believe night sights add a margin a safety when forced to fire in reduced lighting situations. Sourced from ShopRuger.com
My Glock is of course my first choice, however there are many situations where the Glock will not work well with that certain pair of pants or print just a bit more than I would like with “that shirt”. At that point, which seems to be often, I reach for the Ruger LCR or Kahr CM9. The LCR’s Bianchi holster or Clipdraw attachment both provide deeply concealable tuckable carry options. Thus, the ultra-light 357 magnum LCR gets carried much more than I ever thought it would. The lighter 125gr Hornady ammo take a bit of bite out of the recoil from the original 158gr rounds and now the Tritium sights add safety to taking shots in low light environments.
Over four months of carrying, shooting, and protecting, my updated LCR is finally what I would term as the perfect carry snubby. On more than one occasion I have been asked by a first time gun buyer what should they buy for a universal personal defense firearm for home and concealed carry. My answer is usually a Ruger LCR. I believe there are capacity advantages to a semi-auto pistol however much more training is required to be proficient with a semi-auto pistol however for the money and simplicity of a revolver, the LCR with a $30 ClipDraw attachment is the perfect light, dependable, and concealable option.
Bianchi - http://www.bianchiusa.com/
Trijicon - http://www.trijicon.com
H&K Speedloaders - http://www.hksspeedloaders.com/
Clipdraw - http://www.clipdraw.com/
Hornady - http://www.hornady.com/