Gun Review: Lionheart Industries Regulus – Double Action Plus!

To find something special and unexpected, one must wander off of the beaten path. Once the sound of the crowd is behind you, growing ever fainter until it is no longer heard, you can begin to hear your own thoughts. This is true of nearly every aspect of life, and it seems an appropriate way to begin to talk about the Lionheart Industries Regulus pistol.

Watch our YouTube review & range report

Lionheart handgun history – Battle proven reliability

Lionheart Industries is a gun maker I consider to a ‘boutique’ brand. Their approach to the Lionheart Industries Pistol is both unique and derivative, taking design and function from here and there – putting them together, and then adding their own twists.

The history of Lionheart Industries goes back to a company called Daewoo of South Korea. The DP-51 was a military and police sidearm in Korea that was imported to the U.S. by Lionheart Industries and with some modifications, sold as the LH9 series.

Where are Lionheart pistols made?

Regulus & Regulus Alpha systems are 100% manufactured in the USA. The LH series pistol was developed by the old Daewoo Firearms plant.

Meet the Lionheart Regulus Pistol

Lionheart Industries new model – the Regulus – is an American domestic gun from start to finish. All design and manufacturing is done in the United States. That’s great news if “Buy American” is your mantra – not so great if “a penny saved is a penny earned” is more your style.

Like the LH9 before it, the Regulus is a very well-built handgun. The frame is made of ultra-lightweight aluminum alloy. The handle has G10 grips with deep, large diamond checkering. Front and back straps have textured cuts that serve as both grip friction and aesthetic design elements.

The pistol trigger guard is still a bit on the smallish side and narrows as it moves forward. Larger gloved hands might find this a snug fit. Ahead of that is a good length of 1913 spec mounting rail.

The shape of the grip is reminiscent of vintage S&W or SIG semi-autos, a shape that I confess I like very much. On the rear is an ambidextrous safety which helps shooters of both dominate hand. The safety is not terribly wide and taper quickly going frontward – but a few repetitions will train your thumb to use it without much problem. The slide can be fully operated, as can the hammer while the safety is engaged. This is the most effective type of safety design because it allows the user to fully load or unload the weapon with the safety engaged.

Sitting atop the aluminum frame is a slide made of hard, tool-grade steel. Wearing a matching Cerakote finish it blends perfectly with the frame. Serrations are deep and fairly wide and are cut into the front as well as the rear of the slide for operator convenience. The top is very nicely milled in a diamond checker top strap to reduce glare – and to make the gun look fantastic.

Inside is a stainless-steel barrel with an elegant black finish and the Lionheart Industries symbol milled into the barrel hood. As tested, the pistol has a threaded barrel, which adds nearly a ¼-inch to its barrel length and includes a very nicely ornamented thread protector. Total barrel length measures in at 4.3 inches.

The Lionheart Industries Regulus Alpha model includes a Novak style rear sight that has a full blackout adjustable rear and a front sight that contains a Tritium® night sight rather than fiber optic sights found on other models.

That Trigger Tho!

One of the most unique features of the Lionheart Industries handguns is the “Double Action Plus” trigger system. Just like a traditional double-action trigger, the trigger can be used to full cock the hammer (action one) and then release it (action two) to drop the hammer and strike the firing pin. As with nearly all such mechanisms, each subsequent shot will be in single action because the reciprocation of the slide will re-cock the hammer.

Same-old, same-old, right? But there is an interesting twist with the Lionheart Industries design. Once fully cocked, the hammer can be manually pushed forward to its rested position. The trigger shoe is also moved forward to its initial position. But, the hammer spring remains under tension! This creates the third (or “plus”) hammer forward function – allowing the user to pull the trigger and hammer back to the single action position with nearly no resistance at all. This allows you to quickly prep the typical double action trigger to make ready for a shot or to follow through in one motion for a very crisp and light first shot. There could easily be a case made for “duty mode” carry of this pistol with the hammer pre-cocked and reset and the safety engaged.

I’ve mentioned the similarity to older pistol models, back when double-action/single-action trigger was the standard of the day, and the Lionheart Industries Regulus Alpha has ergonomics that are so akin to that era that it might be difficult to pick out from that group if blindfolded. To me, that’s what a gun should feel like in the hand. A nicely arched backstrap fits the shape of the grasping hand nicely. Controls are where they are expected to be and they function well.

Beautiful, finished, and well fitted

The finish on the gun is Cerakote®, available in several colors (shown here in Elite Sand). The finish is very nicely applied, without that “house paint” look that inferior coating jobs can produce. This is a theme in general for the entire gun – fit and finish are excellent, with no noticeable tool marks or cosmetic flaws of any kind.

The G10 grip panels are well designed and nicely cut. They provide more friction than the previous Lionheart Industries LH9 series grips but resemble the same pattern.

Regulus Specifications

What comes in the box?

Regulus Industries pistols are delivered in a soft-sided carrying case that is well suited for range trips and storage. The case zips open into two halves, with a padded pouch for the pistol (which is delivered in a sealed plastic bag). Elastic loops hold the two provided magazines with room for more. A cleaning brush, lubricant, bore brush and rod, and test-fired cases. And of course, there is the obligatory gun lock and the user’s manual. Certainly more accessories are include than is typical.

Shooting the Regulus

Of course, the real test of any manufacturers handgun is shooting it. Small ergonomic problems can arise during recoil that went unnoticed when handling the gun empty. The function of the controls like mag release and slide stop/release will be tested. And then of course, there is the function of the gun – does it exhibit any malfunctions, or does it seem to need a break-in? Last but not at all least – how well can I shoot it? Part of that means accuracy, and part means interaction with the pistol’s operation.

In every category, this handgun is a shooter! I anticipated a good range day because I know it’s a quality gun – but I was not expecting it to be as good as it turned out to be. From first shot to last, it was a blast to shoot.

I discovered that I was able to consistently hit 6” steel plates at distances between 12-15 yards with ease. There was never a hint of a malfunction of any kind, and the controls operated exactly as they should.

The slide-to-frame fit is slightly loose on the Lionheart, a testament to low production runs. But this does not seem to adversely affect its ability to shoot nice groups. Off-hand shooting produced a 20-round group that was the size of a small fist on paper.

Just my opinion

As I stated upfront, I think the Lionheart Industries Regulus pistols are in the boutique category, and that is in no way an insult. Cookie-cutter mass production is nice, but now and then it’s fun to look past vanilla on the menu and treat yourself. They’ve sold me, I’ll be a customer for years to come.

The Regulus blends nostalgic design with modern manufacturing and state-of-the-art materials and finishes. It looks like a well-preserved sidearm from 1990, but it adds a fascinating trigger system, modern sights and grips, and very good ammunition capacity – all in an all-metal package. And on top of all that – it is a shooter! I almost felt like I couldn’t miss a target at the range with the Regulus – and that doesn’t happen every day.

Regulus Pricing

The price as tested is $1,149. There are about a half-dozen models of the Regulus to choose from, all of which have the same basic construction. If you’re looking for a handgun that strays from the “me too” path – this is one that you put on the list.

For more information: Lionheart Regulus

To purchase one for yourself: See Trusted Sellers on GunsAmerica.com

**Buy and Sell on GunsAmerica! All Local Sales are FREE!**

Author’s note: Some confusion on my part regarding the model of this specific pistol may result in references to both the Alpha model and the Combat model. Clearly, it is marked “Alpha” on the frame, but it has the threaded barrel and suppressor-height sights of the Combat. The MSRP listed is for the Combat model. Please be sure to check the Lionheart Industries website or contact them for details as needed.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • James Govoni October 16, 2022, 10:04 pm

    I own the Regulus Alpha Blackout and it is an Amazing firearm! This thing feels like a luxury tank in your hands, not only is it a stunning looking gun but it also feels like it could withstand a brutal crucible. This with the Revcon IWB holster is a pretty comfortable appendix EDC.

  • Mikial September 26, 2022, 3:50 pm

    Looks like a nice gun. Not sure I’d call a Sig a ‘cookie cutter’ gun, but I get the author’s point.

  • Joeseph Kingston September 26, 2022, 12:11 pm

    I wouldn’t trust my life to a DP-51 after all the issues I saw when they were prevalent in the 90s. So this thing is interesting but very suspect.

  • Mike in a Truck September 26, 2022, 12:00 pm

    The old saying comes to mind- like a breath of fresh air! I love hammer guns and the trigger action is interesting. I’ll have to check with my LGS to if they have one I can test fire. The price is in line with some of the latest phones that people seem to have need for and are obsolete in 3 months.

  • Scott September 26, 2022, 11:33 am

    The DP51 was based mostly on the S&W 59 series. This should have been pointed out instead of referencing “early SIG Sauer and a Beretta”. The S&W 5906 magazines will work fine in a DP-51 or an LH-9 so they should work in the Regulus. The K5/DP51’s were no joke. Very solid performers with that “cool” feature which If memory serves, was marketed as a “triple action” with the third action being labeled “fast fire”. The LH9 and Regulus are at least as good with all the advancements in material and finishing of the last 30+ years, and a rail. Perhaps it is not necessary but I think the cherry on top would be updating the slide to allow installation of a variety of dot sites.

  • Lance September 26, 2022, 11:16 am

    For a very short time, the Browning Hi-Power was offered with a very similar trigger. About 15 years ago.

    • DJ Scavo September 26, 2022, 4:49 pm

      When i worked a LGS in 2005, I ran across a pistol that had the “triple action”. I’m 95% sure it was a Beretta 92; I can’t find any references to it, so it may have been the Browning. Happen to know of any other pistols that had this triple action?

      • Leslie. Hendricks September 26, 2022, 11:25 pm

        The Lionhart brand bought the rights to the design that was introduced by the now defunct (bankrupt) Daewoo corporations military weapons division. They were available in both .40 S&W as wellvsa 9mm para. I have a DaeWoo in 40 S&W. and it has the exact same functions described here.

  • Wallace Henderson September 26, 2022, 9:01 am

    I have owned the Lionheart LH9CN for near 10 years; I have run close to 5K of all commercial & my reloaded ammo through it with zero stoppages! I shoot this arm well and accuracy within the 0~10 yard gun to target range is as good as most other handguns I own & carry concealed. My LH9CN will be one of the last firearms I will sell/dispose of. Actually, it is my favorite and most trusted CC firearm.

  • Paul J. Musatow September 26, 2022, 8:33 am

    I would LOVE to have the “Lionheart Regulus” but, I own the Sig Sauer P365 and I can’t see spending double the Price of the P365 to get IT !!!
    I really LOVE the P365, just drop in a SUPPRESSOR and SIGHTS to finish the MOD. and them I’ll be good to go !!!. It may not look as good as the “REGULUS” but the P365 can shoot and I mean really SHOOT. So until I get some of BIDEN;s FREE CASH, I’LL just have to keep on using MY plain “OLD” SIG P365 !!!

  • DJ Scavo September 26, 2022, 7:51 am

    Proprietary mags or are we blessed with it taking M9 or P226 mags?

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