Less is More: Ruger LCP II- 22LR

Stay strapped, which is easy with the new LCP II.

When it comes to the Ruger LCP series of pistols, fancy is not a word that comes to mind. From the plain white box they ship in, to the single magazine included, the LCP family is utility defined. And yet, you would be hard-pressed to find a bestseller list since 2008 that doesn’t include the LCP. I have known dozens of people that had either an LCP as a first gun or had the LCP as an ONLY gun. From realtors to law enforcement to the Governor of Texas, the LCP has become the carry piece of choice. (That Governor of Texas bit is real. I don’t know him, but Rick Perry blasted a coyote with his back in 2010. An endorsement no one else in firearms can even come close too.)

Small, but capable in 22LR.

Ruger doesn’t provide a number of LCP’s sold, but between the original introduced in 2008 and the II models in 2017, it has to easily be in the millions. Every year I saw data for best selling handguns, the LCP was in the top five, if not number one. America has fallen in love with this little gun and this week’s review shows that to be with good reason.

Plain white box, nothing wasted.

My review gun this week is the all-new LCP II chambered in 22LR. If you read my reviews often, you know that I am a huge advocate of 22LR firearms for training value. And considering the LCP family up until now has been chambered in 380 ACP only, this is even more important. Wait, what?

As shipped, everything you need but ammo.

Yes. Because for reasons of popularity, 380 ACP is more expensive than 9mm, often by a factor of two. While a great many concealed carry size guns are in 380 ACP, the vast majority of full-size guns are 9mm. And which do people generally shoot more? The big ones. Which actually leads us to our first problem and this new 22 caliber solution.

Included holster.

I’m just as guilty as many, but at least I have somewhat of an excuse. I carried a full-size gun as a sidearm for decades, so that is what I shot the most. What should I be shooting the most now? Same as you. Whatever gun I happen to carry on a daily basis. I love my Ruger 57, but the number of times I have carried it to the grocery store is the same number of times I won the Powerball.

Federal Black Pack, the obvious choice for this gun.

The facts are, most of us don’t get enough reps in with our CCW piece. And having a 22LR option for it can help alleviate that problem. As 380 ACP also seems to disappear first in ammo crunches, it carries a benefit here too.

New safety in safe position.
Slide forward to fire.

Are there drawbacks to using a sub caliber for training? Maybe a few. Recoil management is not the same, obviously. But so long as you are disciplined with grip, that isn’t a huge issue. The real benefit in CCW training comes from something 22LR is perfect for. Because the number one thing you have to worry about, in concealed carry lethal force encounter, is to draw and fire that first shot. To train this properly, you need to have:

  • correct grip, which can only be learned on your specific gun
  • correct draw stroke
  • correct sight picture, which can only be learned on your specific gun
  • correct trigger pull, which can only be learned on your specific gun

It really shows the benefit of having an exact replica of your full power gun, in a cheaper training caliber. I wish more companies would make such an option.

Mag release, and nice factory grip texture.

The second benefit of the new 22LR LCP II comes from a few minor improvements specific to this model. The slide is what Ruger calls Lite Rack, meaning it is significantly easier to manipulate the slide. Part of this is engineering, and part is that you can get away with less recoil spring in a rimfire. But, it is still a benefit. Some people don’t have the hand strength to reliably rack the slide on a semi-auto. The elderly come to mind, but it isn’t isolated to just them. We want everybody to have the benefit of a self-defense semi-auto, not just the young and strong. So the new LCP opens up the category of potential users nicely.

Slide lock, new to the LCP II family.

Is 22LR the best caliber for home defense? For me personally, not my first choice. If I am going for a one-stop fight stop, I pick 50 BMG. But it isn’t very practical to tote around. While 22LR is down the list a ways, it is absolutely better than nothing. I would choose 6 rounds of 22LR over any melee or edged weapon in existence, and that goes double if one is weak or infirm. “Best solution” is not a one size fits all.

Taken down pin.

The last part Ruger added to the new 22LR model, not included on any other LCP, is a manual safety. It is instinctive, with a push forward to fire design. It also lets you fully manipulate the slide with the safety engaged. This is another boon for either teaching new shooters, or allowing those inexperienced with handguns to load/unload while eliminating potential problems. I think we can call this a win, and hopefully, a feature Ruger adds as an option to the centerfire line.

Barely visible, retainer spring for takedown pin.

Performance wise, I will be honest, I wasn’t expecting a miracle. The sights on the LCP are nubby little built-in affairs, as well as MOST CCW sized guns don’t shoot all that well. It’s the trade-off of having a very concealable gun. All the things that make a full-size gun, such as sight radius and mass, are missing by design. But it is also a Ruger. With Ruger being absolutely the King of rimfires, I did expect it to run.

Fully disassembled.

I had a couple of shenanigans in my first few magazines, which I initially thought to be maybe break-in. But a little closer examination revealed it to be not a gun problem, but a shooter problem. The LCP is tiny, and my hands are not. My support hand palm was riding up on the slide lock, giving me either slide lock without an empty mag, or failing to go to slide lock. The same thing happens to me on full-size guns with extended slide locks, so I was able to correct that by lowering my hand position.

Wee little recoil spring and guide rod.

Then, the magic started. While I would have dismissed the sights out of the box, I found them perfect in use. I was able to not only transition targets quickly while staying on the sights but do so with a degree of accuracy that was shocking. The accuracy was so good, I pushed the LCP out to 35 yards, not a normal test with CCW class guns. Even firing relatively quickly, the LCP put 7 out of 10 on target with ease. That is better than average with any gun, much less a baby size one.

Stainless steel barrel.

After this review, it seems the LCP is leading the charge in CCW guns for very good reasons. They perform well above their price point and are built for everyone. If you are a current LCP owner, this is an excellent addition to the toolbox. And if you just want to try one out, or have something to plink cans, this one is accurate enough for any task. MSRP $349

A lot of gun for a very little price.

For more information visit Ruger website.

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About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website, Off-The-Reservation.com

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Ej harbet August 17, 2020, 8:53 am

    this is magnificent little weapon that is the exception to the rule that small autos in 22lr are not reliable defense pistols. The only thing that stops mine is underpowered standard velocity(not recommended per manual) and cheap ammo that produces the occasional dud. If you load quality ammo of which a wide variety functions perfectly and you master getting good hits and shooting to stop the threat.this gun will get you home

  • Thomas August 16, 2020, 12:52 am

    How does the Keltec 17 compare to the LCP ll size ,accuracy?

  • Jake August 14, 2020, 12:08 pm

    Ruger has another big winner with this .22 pocket rocket. I watched the Hickock45 video of this pistol a month or two back. He was nailing everything in sight with it and was even hitting the gong at the far end of his studio/range. It was funny because you could tell he was very impressed with it but kept saying he couldn’t recommend a .22 for carry BUT….. LOL! I recall one of the old time gun writers in a discussion about the effectiveness of the .38 Special say that “Outside of war, more people have been killed by the .38 Special than anything except, the .22 LR.”

  • WC August 14, 2020, 10:48 am

    The .22lr is my EDC & home defense caliber. I get 8 rounds, fast & accurate follow up shots, low muzzle flash, moderate noise. The CCI Fragmented (Quik Shok) Stinger clocks 1080 fps.
    OK, S&W revolver 43c.

  • Walter M Pence III August 14, 2020, 10:41 am

    I own a few 380’s. This one I love, the others all cut my hand when I shot them. It is accurate (as you get with such a short barrel), the trigger pull is not enough throw off your shoot and with the right ammo and good shot placement, effective. I do not care what you are shooting shot placement is everything. Great thing about this gun is it is so much fun to shot and so cheap that your shot placement will improve greatly since you will want to take it out and shoot.

  • Ari August 14, 2020, 9:38 am

    I had one. It was so much fun to shoot. My mom saw it and basically took it from me. I may need to buy another.

  • Roscoe Tarwater Beaumont August 14, 2020, 8:33 am

    I bought my LCP in 2012, a once-fired pistol at a reduced price. The previous owner hadn’t made it out of the store with it because the .380 acp’s recoil was too much for him to handle. I think it kicks like a 1911A1, which is comfortable for me. It’s more accurate than I have any right to expect, and the double-action only trigger is a superb safety mechanism. It is the ONLY pistol I own that has NEVER malfunctioned. It has ridden invisibly in my front pocket almost everywhere since that day.

  • Joe Gallagher August 14, 2020, 8:11 am

    Clay – I’m not sure what the point is regarding the Ruger LCP II (.22) review?? There are soooo many other excellent defensive pistol options available on the market today — this so-called review was NOT one of your better videos!!!!

    • sarcmonkey August 17, 2020, 9:51 am

      The point of the article is said in the article, should you bother reading it and/or be capable of comprehending the message.

  • STEPHEN STEWART August 10, 2020, 3:13 pm

    I bought one and had a problem with the slide locking back while there were still rounds in the magazine. Returned it to Ruger and it was corrected. I love this gun. I only with the front sight was a little taller. That would not affect the draw or concealment.

  • Kenneth Barnette August 10, 2020, 1:11 pm

    A very comfortable gun to practice with. Light and very small recoil , Perfect small carry weapon.

  • Steve Snyder August 10, 2020, 10:18 am

    Every review I’ve seen shows malfunctions. How can you bet your life on it? There are plenty of other options.

  • JB PolsonInfgo August 10, 2020, 10:07 am

    Info Regarding round capacity and cost, please.

    • Ari August 14, 2020, 9:37 am

      It’s capacity is 10 rounds.

  • Monte Nicholson August 10, 2020, 8:25 am

    Some years ago I purchased an SR22
    For my wife because she was having real problems with the recoil from SW 38 snubby
    She really likes the little SR22
    How does the LCP 22 stack up to the SR 22
    Why did Ruger make the LCP are they discontinuing the SR
    USMC/LASD retired
    Monte Nicholson

    • Ari August 14, 2020, 11:23 pm

      They thought it might be a good trainer for the LCP .380. I doubt they are discontinuing the SR22. It is a lot of fun for such a small gun.

    • Ej harbet August 18, 2020, 9:07 am

      alot easier to ccw than the sr22.
      Holds the same number of rounds due to a genius designed magazine.the shorter barrel will reduce the velocity a little and lessen accuracy a little. I’ve sent several hundred rounds with 2 lcp22s and only underpowered standard velocity or duds stop them from working perfectly.
      Select your ammo carefully and shoot enough of it to sure of function.lots of folks like hollowpoints but I’ve had issues with penetration. I use solids and work on quickly putting 3 rounds in a vital area. Be ready to use more if the threat isn’t stopped.

  • Maynard D. Barker, Jr. August 10, 2020, 7:42 am

    How may I purchase one of these guns. Please give me cost and where to go to buy one. Thanks, Maynard Barker

    • Ej harbet August 18, 2020, 9:10 am

      they cost slightly over $300 pre panic.now probably more.your local gun store ffl dealer would be the person you need to talk to

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