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.)
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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