Customized Carry .380 for only $10 Extra? Ruger’s Impressive LCP Custom Pistol—Full Review.

The Ruger LCP Custom takes the strengths of the original .380 LCP and brings numerous custom-style upgrades.

The Ruger LCP Custom takes the strengths of the original .380 LCP and brings numerous custom-style upgrades.

For more information, visit http://www.ruger-firearms.com/

To purchase a Ruger LCP Custom pistol on GunsAmerica.com click on this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=Ruger%20LCP%20custom

Ruger made industry waves in 2008 with the introduction of their Lightweight Compact Pistol, or LCP for short.  The LCP was Ruger’s first entry into the pocket-sized semi-auto pistol market and it was immediately in high demand by those looking for a small and lightweight concealed carry handgun that could be comfortably carried all day, every day.  Aside from a brief period during a Product Safety Warning and Recall Notice issued in late 2008, the popularity of the LCP has remained strong since its introduction.

My own experience with the Ruger LCP goes back to 2009 when a local firearms dealer received a post-recall LCP that wasn’t previously committed to a customer on his LCP waiting list. I immediately whipped out my credit card and paid the tariff for what I thought would be my new favorite pocket pistol. As I was preparing this review, I went into one of the internet forums I participated in at that time and found the initial thoughts/review I posted about my LCP. Netting out my comments, I was very positive about the reliability of the pistol, but lamented the lack of full-size sights and a trigger that pinched my trigger finger on every shot. I carried my LCP for several months, but ultimately ended up trading it in on something else. I was really looking forward to the opportunity to evaluate the new LCP Custom that features numerous upgrades to see if it remedied the concerns I had with my first LCP. Oh, and these upgrades only raise the price by TEN DOLLARS over the MSRP of a standard LCP. Yep, you read that right.

One of the most eye-catching enhancements on the LCP Custom is the red anodized aluminum trigger. Image courtesy of Ruger.

One of the most eye-catching enhancements on the LCP Custom is the red anodized aluminum trigger. Image courtesy of Ruger.

SPECS

  • Chambering: .380 ACP
  • Barrel: 2.75 inches
  • OA Length: 5.16 inches
  • Weight: 9.7 ounces
  • Grips: Integral
  • Sights: Front, photoluminescent; rear, drift adfustable
  • Action: Double-action-only
  • Finish: Black
  • Capacity: 6+1
  • MSRP: $269

PINT-SIZED POWERHOUSE

Ruger describes the LCP as a compact, single strike double action, magazine-fed, recoil-operated pistol chambered for the .380 Auto cartridge. I will add the following to their description. The LCP employs an internal hammer that is partially cocked as the slide cycles to the rear. The hammer must be in the partially cocked status in order for the trigger to complete the firing cycle. Because of this, the LCP does not allow for second striking a round that does not fire with the first pull of the trigger. The slide must be manually retracted to clear the faulty round, partially cock the hammer, and feed a new round from the magazine. A viewing port on the rear of the slide allows the operator to visually confirm the status of hammer at all times. As an additional safety measure, a chamber viewing port is located directly above the extractor that allows for fast visual confirmation of the status of the chamber. Empty or full.

The large metal sights on the LCP Custom greatly aid accurate shooting. The front sight features a photoluminescent insert.

The large metal sights on the LCP Custom greatly aid accurate shooting. The front sight features a photoluminescent insert.

The LCP Custom enhances the standard model LCP pistol with larger drift adjustable sights, a wider skeletonized aluminum trigger and a polished stainless steel guide rod. What I found interesting is that these are the same parts being offered as aftermarket replacements, or as custom installations by specialty gunsmiths. Ruger appears to be listening to fans of their LCP pistol and the Custom Model delivers the most commonly purchased enhancements direct from the Ruger factory.

Since the LCP was first was introduced, Ruger has machined small sights into the top of the slide during the manufacturing process. These sights are often difficult to see for those with less than perfect vision and do not allow for any adjustment of windage or elevation. The larger steel sights included with the LCP Custom greatly improve on the original sights. The all-black rear sight has a wide notch and rests in a dovetail cut in the slide. It can be adjusted for windage by loosening, drifting the sight in the dovetail and retightening the rear sight set screw. The front sight is also black, but has a hole drilled into the sight face that has been filled with a photoluminescent compound.

To use the front sight as a night sight, the photoluminescent compound must be charged with a light source. After charging, the front sight glows in the dark for about 60 minutes before needing to be recharged. I know what you are thinking. Yes, photoluminescent means “glow in the dark” paint! At first glance, I thought that Ruger had neatly set the table for tritium night sight manufacturers to produce replacement sights. After reviewing page 30 of the LCP Manual, I learned the front sight and front sight screw must be factory installed. For now, I’ll just enjoy the sights for what they are and avoid the temptation to make them what they were not intended to be.

Ruger had to modify the underside of the slide to allow for installation of the front sight attachment screw.

Ruger had to modify the underside of the slide to allow for installation of the front sight attachment screw.

Another one of the enhancements of the LCP Custom is a polished stainless steel guide rod.

Another one of the enhancements of the LCP Custom is a polished stainless steel guide rod.

The LCP does not have an external safety switch that must be manipulated before firing the pistol. Instead, the LCP relies on a medium length trigger pull with a weight of 7 to 8 pounds, similar to their LCR revolvers, to minimize the risk of accidental discharge. The wider aluminum trigger, included with the LCP Custom, greatly reduces the perceived trigger pull weight by spreading the load across a wider area of the trigger finger. The trigger pull weight of the reviewed LCP Custom averaged 7 pounds 10 ounces. The trigger had 1/8 inch of free travel followed by 1/2 inch of smooth pull until the trigger reached apex and the hammer dropped. Throughout the 1/2 inch of trigger pull, the pull weight increased gradually and was free of stops or pauses during travel.

A small screwdriver is needed to pry the takedown pin from the frame for field stripping. The author uses a guitar pick to shield the slide from possible scratches.

A small screwdriver is needed to pry the takedown pin from the frame for field stripping. The author uses a guitar pick to shield the slide from possible scratches.

The trigger pull felt lighter to the author, it’s still between 7 and 8 pounds.

While the trigger pull felt lighter to the author, it’s still between 7 and 8 pounds.

The last new part Ruger includes with the LCP Custom is a polished stainless steel guide rod. With the original blued steel guide rod, the end of the guide rod that rests against the barrel lug can show signs of wear with use. The good news is that Ruger sells replacement guide rods and recoil springs for a very low price. I’m assuming the new stainless guide rod will withstand more wear and tear so it was included with the LCP Custom package. In my opinion, it’s still a good idea to replace recoil springs and guide rods periodically to assure consistent pistol performance.

I did a little dry fire practice with the LCP Custom before hitting the range for the first time. Doing this allowed me to get a good feel for the wider trigger and also get accustomed to the new sights. By the time I was ready to hit the range, I had a strong hunch that I was really going to enjoy shooting the new pistol as long as it proved to be reliable.

RANGE TIME

When I review small handguns, I spend much of my range time focused on what I call the 3 Rs. They are Recoil, Reasonable accuracy, and Reliablity. These seem to be the most important questions people consider before purchasing a small handgun for concealed carry. I’m happy to focus on these areas because they are also important to me when considering a new handgun for carry purposes.

The author put the Ruger LCP Custom through its paces on the range at varying distances.

The author put the Ruger LCP Custom through its paces on the range at varying distances.

Shooting off hand at 7 yards for accuracy, the overall group size for the six brands of ammunition tested averaged 1.81 inches. Two of three defensive ammunition loads grouped under 1.5 inches.

Shooting off hand at 7 yards for accuracy, the overall group size for the six brands of ammunition tested averaged 1.81 inches. Two of three defensive ammunition loads grouped under 1.5 inches.

As you might expect with a pistol of this size, recoil was noticeable with the LCP Custom, but I didn’t find it punishing or painful. On the other hand, muzzle rise was significant because of the limited amount of space available to grip the pistol to counter muzzle rise. With a bit of practice, I learned to bring the pistol back down to level and quickly line up the next shot.

VelAccur - LThe larger sights and wider trigger on the LCP Custom make the pistol very easy to shoot accurately. Using six different varieties of ammunition, with bullet weights ranging from 56 to 100 grains, I fired five-shot off-hand groups at 7 yards. All groups were less than three inches and three of the six loads tested had group sizes less than 1 1/2 inches. The overall average for all six groups was 1.81 inches. I thought the consistent accuracy across all varieties of ammunition was impressive from such a small pistol.

The new wider trigger didn’t pinch my trigger finger like my previous LCP, so rapid strings of accurate fire soon followed. I did some draw and fire from concealment drills with an IDPA target set out at 5 yards. Most of the shots were hitting the 0 zone with occasional shots going into the -1 zone. Nothing that a little more practice can’t fix.

Just for grins, I set out a 12 inch round steel plate and shot from 25 and 47 yards. I hit the plate 4 of 5 times from 25 yards and 2 of 5 times from 47 yards. While I may never need to shoot the LCP Custom from those distances, it’s reassuring to know that the pistol is up to the task if called upon.

The fine checkering molded into the frame and micro thumb shelf provide a comfortable gripping surface without being overly aggressive.

The fine checkering molded into the frame and micro thumb shelf provide a comfortable gripping surface without being overly aggressive.

To increase the total round count through the pistol, I spent a very enjoyable afternoon shooting steel plates from 10 yards. I shot magazine after magazine using strong hand, weak hand and two-handed grip techniques.  It was on this trip that I had my one and only failure to function with the LCP.  The previous shot extracted cleanly, but the round going into the chamber stopped about half an inch short of returning to battery.  A quick shove on the rear of the slide remedied the problem and I was back in business.

If you watch the video, you will see something I call The Mag Of Doom.  While it sounds ominous, it’s just a simple test of mixing many types of ammunition together in a single magazine to see if it causes the pistol any functional difficulties.  It’s not a comprehensive evaluation, but it has identified pistols that are fussy about the ammunition they will feed, fire and extract. I’m happy to report the LCP Custom ate up and spat out the Mag Of Doom without issue. Just another example of the excellent reliability experienced during this review.

CARRYING THE LCP CUSTOM

The LCP Custom weighs 9.7 ounces. Fully loaded with a pocket holster increases the weight to a scant 13.5 ounces.

The LCP Custom weighs 9.7 ounces. Fully loaded with a pocket holster increases the weight to a scant 13.5 ounces.

As a concealed carry license holder, I will always drop at least a pocket pistol in my pocket before leaving the house unless my planned travels include a trip to a carry restricted area. After two range trips, my confidence in the LCP Custom was high and it became my daily carry for the duration of the review. With a fully loaded and holstered weight of 13.5 ounces, the LCP Custom can be pocket carried in even the flimsiest micro fiber shorts without making them sag. That’s handy in my area where summer temperatures in the mid-90s are the norm.

I ordered one six-round spare magazine and an extended seven-round magazine for the review. After trying the flat floorplate, extended floorplate and +1 extended magazine I found the flat floorplate equipped magazine to be the most comfortable for pocket carry, but it’s nice to have other options.

A quick word on holster selection. With some brands of holsters, the larger sights on the LCP Custom necessitate a different holster design than holsters suitable for use with the standard LCP. I mistakenly ordered the incorrect DeSantis Nemesis LCP holster, but luckily had another Nemesis holster on hand that worked perfectly with the LCP Custom. The Remora holster size 2DC was also a perfect fit for back pocket carry of the LCP Custom.

CONCLUSIONS

Ruger includes flat and extended floorplates with the 6 round magazine. For the review the author also purchased the new 7 round extended magazine, which allows for a full grip on the pistol.

Ruger includes flat and extended floorplates with the 6 round magazine. For the review the author also purchased the new 7 round extended magazine (right), which allows for a full grip on the pistol.

Ruger has included some excellent upgrades on the LCP Custom that improved my accuracy results and the overall enjoyment of shooting the small pistol. When you consider the Ruger suggested retail price of the LCP Custom is only TEN DOLLARS more than the standard LCP, the Custom model becomes even more attractive. The small sights and trigger finger pinch were the two things I disliked the most with my original LCP, even though I loved the reliability of the little pistol. The LCP Custom remedies all my original concerns while maintaining the functional reliability I appreciated most. I would certainly recommend the LCP Custom as an upgrade for current LCP owners as well as anyone looking for a small and lightweight .380 Auto pistol for concealed carry.

For more information, visit http://www.ruger-firearms.com/

To purchase a Ruger LCP Custom pistol on GunsAmerica.com click on this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=Ruger%20LCP%20custom

The wide aluminum trigger lightens the perceived trigger pull weight. And, is snazzy looking in red.

The wide aluminum trigger lightens the perceived trigger pull weight. And, it is snazzy looking in red.

The photoluminescent front sight must be “charged” before use. A small LED pocket light is the perfect tool for this task. The inset photo shows how bright the insert glows after charging.

The photoluminescent front sight must be “charged” before use. A small LED pocket light is the perfect tool for this task. The inset photo shows how bright the insert glows after charging.

The author found that the Ruger LCP Custom is small and light enough to carry all day, every day.

The author found that the Ruger LCP Custom is small and light enough to carry all day, every day.

The Ruger LCP Custom takes all the great qualities of the standard LCP and makes the gun even better—for just $10 more. Image courtesy of Ruger.

The Ruger LCP Custom takes all the great qualities of the standard LCP and makes the gun even better—for just $10 more than a standard LCP. Image courtesy of Ruger.

{ 26 comments… add one }
  • Jon August 13, 2017, 9:15 am

    I tried to order the upgrade parts from Galloway, didn’t have any success. They wanted to know what company I’m with, & wouldn’t accept my email address. Looking to buy parts else Where! Not reputable!

  • Nick August 5, 2017, 1:51 pm

    A must have gun if you ask me. Very good for concealment.

  • Raymond Jokerst July 14, 2017, 11:41 pm

    I quit the vid at being deafened. Thanks for nothing.

  • Ed Smith February 6, 2017, 5:01 pm

    so what about the LCP II?

  • Buck Steiner September 8, 2016, 1:10 am

    The LCP is the worst piece of cr…p I have ever purchased in 60 + years of shooting and Ruger should modify all dissatisfied owners guns with the custom parts at no cost. I have never experienced finger bite from any other gun. I called Ruger and they claimed total ignorance of this design defect and recommend placing my finger higher on the trigger which is not possible due to the long pull.I have added the grip sleeve and a 7 Rd. magazine and considering the aftermarket upgrades available before giving it away. In the meantime I have taped the trigger to reduce trigger bite but have not found a solution for the poor sites and shooting 10 ” low on 7 yd target. No excuse for a company like Ruger to sell such a poor design. I hope someone at Ruger technical sees this. I recently purchased a Taurus 738 without the above design flaws and am very satisfied without any need for aftermarket parts and it impacts at point of aim.

    • Dillon November 16, 2016, 9:04 am

      Hey, bud. There’s kind of a reason the LCP is one of the best selling if not the best selling .380 of all time (never said the best, just best selling). Millions of people carry these everyday, unfortunately I don’t think Ruger is sweating your complaint on gunsamerica forum…I mean….the original LCP isn’t even in production anymore. If you have a model with no dash in the serial number you have a 1st generation LCP and theres a lot that gun needed to be as successful as it is today. In fact Galloway Precision made a killing off their LCP upgrades I guarantee it!

      Want a reason to hate your 738 TCP? Fire a round, keep the trigger held down, let off it slightly but dont let it fully reset. Now try to pull the trigger again without letting it reset. Doing so will not fire the gun and will prevent your pistols trigger from resetting all together. The trigger just goes sloppy and loose. The only way to fix that when this happens is re-racking the slide, ejecting the next live round, and chambering another. This will reset the trigger and return the pistol to a semi automatic mode. Hopefully you arn’t dead by the time you figure out what happened. Also if your TCP is made in america and you pick up a used mag from a gunshow for an older tcp made in brazil, you can literally wiggle the mag out of the gun with very little effort. vice versa for the Brazilian made guns using US mags.

      Im a taurus fan, I own a PT 111 G2. I’ve also owned a PT-845, PT-1911, and a Tracker Revolver in .357 magnum. I think taurus is an amazing value and have never had a problem with their products or customer service, but every single TCP I’ve got to fire or play with have all had that trigger reset issue.

    • Fred Vonfirstenberg May 1, 2017, 9:16 am

      I’m sorry to learn that you had such a bad experience with the LCP. 60 plus years​ and it being the second gun you’ve fired is quite a record.

      Perhaps you should use the sites ( your word) to target a third gun to learn.

      Until then, Buck up, buttercup.

  • J. Marvin August 17, 2016, 5:38 pm

    Got an LCP for the wife as her first carry piece. Added the Hogue grip and the 13# recoil spring from Galloway Precision, and load it with Underwood extreme defender. She loves it and can shoot the hell out of it, which means she’ll carry it…and with the Underwood ammo I am confident she can ruin somebody’s day.
    Liked the setup so much I got one for myself for pocket carry on those days when I can’t carry my PPQ M2.

  • Magic Rooster August 16, 2016, 4:40 pm

    S&W Bodyguard .380. Nicer all around and it’s a re-strike gun.

    • J. Marvin August 17, 2016, 5:42 pm

      I agree the restrike capability is a plus for the bodyguard, but that’s about it. I had one and traded it because the wife (who I bought it for) couldn’t reliably shoot it with any accuracy because of the trigger being so heavy. So I just got the LCP and use quality ammo

  • Aardvark August 15, 2016, 11:37 pm

    I just got the LCP Custom and took it to the range. I found that it was easy to handle the recoil and thought it was comparable to my 9mm Shield. I do have large hands, but had no problem managing the pistol. I like my 9 Shield for concealed carry, but there are times when the much smaller frame of the LCP comes in handy. I also thought the LCP Custom had a more natural point of aim than the Shield, but I really like both guns.

  • Michael August 15, 2016, 11:20 pm

    I have an older Ruger LCP. It is an easy CCH pistol but the trigger is terrible and its accuracy leaves a lot to be desired. just about the same size is my Colt Mustang. Much better trigger and quite accurate. I prefer the Glock 43 in 9mm carried in a Blade Tech holster – more power, better trigger, almost as concealable.

  • Larry August 15, 2016, 11:08 pm

    LCP Custom was my first concealed carry weapon. Added a Hogue grip sleeve and the 13# spring. Very easy to grip, even with one hand. Due to small size of gun, I hold the trigger between 1st and 2nd knuckle rather than tip (pad) of my finger. Really improved consistency. Feel very confident with this gun – recoil very manageable and I do enjoy shooting it now since I learned to hold it so that I’m not pulling it left when squeezing the trigger.

  • Adogstar August 15, 2016, 8:51 pm

    I own the LC9s, my sister has the 389 custom. the striker fired has so much better trigger. if one buys any lc pistol be sure and get a couple extra extended magazines and also buy “mag- guts” spring and follower for each magazine. adds an extra round in the mag so you now have 8 m +1. can never have too many shells. the mag guts spring and follower set is a bit pricey $18.95 to $26.95. For maximum conceivability the LC`s are great. I also own the s&w shield in 40 cal and was lucky to get the new shield 45acp. I mainly care my shield strong side, but for an evening out wearing sport jacket or suit I carry my LC9s. much lighter and easy to put in jacket pocket. love both the LC`s and the shield. each one has its place in my daily carry needas.

  • Gary August 15, 2016, 4:38 pm

    Try it with a Hogue grip sleeve. Also works well on my Kahr PM-9.

  • Shooter348 August 15, 2016, 4:10 pm

    You guys sure complain a lot! I bet you guys would bitch if the gun was free. I can hit center mass at 10yrds with no issue. It’s not like shooting a 1911, but it will do if it’s all you have!

  • Mark Wynn August 15, 2016, 12:31 pm

    After handling the LCP, I purchased the LC-380 with Crimson Trace laser, a year ago. The LC-380 already has excellent, white dot sights, has a bigger trigger guard, and allows a good grip for my size lg. hands, especially with the extened magazine. Have become fairly proficient in “pre-loading” the hammer just before completing the double-action trigger pull, due to many sessions at the range. However, would rather Ruger had come out with a striker-fired LC-380, similar to their striker-fired LC-9. I don’t see a purpose for the LCP after Ruger came out with the LCs.

  • Scott August 15, 2016, 12:21 pm

    The gun has snappy recoil. However, installing wolf #13 recoil spring turns the lcp custom into a very manageable shooter aswell as curing some feeding issues.

  • Marcelino August 15, 2016, 8:19 am

    Ya, Ya. Just get a Glock 42 380 and no funny business.

    • SVL August 15, 2016, 12:12 pm

      Glock 42 ain’t an option in CA — the G42 is illegal to own in CA (unless you’re LEO).
      But the Ruger LCP 380 *is* legal in CA, for everyone.
      Ditto S&W M&P Shield (which, in fact, is the *only* M&P pistol that is legal in CA 🙁 ).

  • Steve Kundzala August 15, 2016, 6:58 am

    Can you get it with a BLACK trigger instead of that toy-like RED trigger?

    • D November 16, 2016, 9:08 am

      You can remove the trigger and paint it whatever color you like.

  • Robert Wilson August 15, 2016, 6:40 am

    The LCP was one of the first guns I bought and I didn’t/don’t like the snappiness of it. Just not enough gun to hold on to. I just wish it was a tad longer on the grips. I traded mine in for a S&W Shield. Love my Rugers just not this one.

    • marshall johnston August 15, 2016, 10:58 am

      I bought a 380 LCP that gun was a piece of s—. 2 weeks after I bought it they came out with the 380 LCP Custom. So I sold the LCP and Bought the LCP Custom. Same problem, bites your trigger finger, hard to control I went with the Polycase 56gr to see if that would help in recoil, it did somewhat but I couldn’t sell it fast enough. Bought a S&W 9MM shield it has less recoil with 115 gr than either of those pieces of crap from Ruger.

  • Javel Lineer August 15, 2016, 3:23 am

    Wow! So it has sights now??? I’m impressed.

    But it still has an 8lb+ trigger pull making it perform like a 1970’s belly gun or a new millennium, 10 foot maximum-effective -range, pocket gun.

    So it’s IMPRESSIVE and CUSTOM now. It must be that red anodized trigger with the holes in it.

    Had one and traded it after 2 magazines worth. It was like using a manual rivet tool. I knew I’d never hit jack sh*t over 20 feet.

    • Patrick Cimo August 22, 2016, 3:52 am

      J.L., Yeah!, And when I shoot at Jack Sh*t I want TSOB to go down!
      Seriously; liked your review ’cause I shot a standard-lousy-trigger .380LCP and just couldn’t keep it in the B-27 kill-zone. Pulled out my worked S&W-442 and just aced it at same distance of about 25ft. Am considering going s’auto for pocket carry. Maybe one of those .380 SIGs with that nasty green laser?
      Take care…

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