I recently evaluated the Ruger LCR in .38 Special. As a follow-up, I wanted to evaluate the LCR in .22 LR. By necessity, this article will have some redundancy since not everyone will have read the first article. Being a fan of the Smith & Wesson J-frame, I am fortunate to own a Model 43C which is also chambered in .22 LR. This review also gave me an opportunity to compare the LCR with the Smith.
For background, the Ruger LCR was first introduced in 2009. For those who don’t know, LCR stands for “Light Compact Revolver.” Instead of a Ruger a traditionally designed frame, the LCR consists of an upper frame and a lower frame. The upper is constructed of an aluminum alloy and houses the barrel and cylinder. The lower is made from polymer and contains the fire control components. The design allows the 22 LR LCR to weigh in at 14.5 ounces. For comparison, the .38 Special model weighs 13.2 ounces. The 1.87” barrel is sleeved inside the alloy upper and the muzzle is nicely crowned.
Using a cylinder that is the same diameter as the .38 Special version gives the .22 LR version an eight-shot capacity. The cylinder flutes on the cylinder are uniquely shaped and are attractive and help further reduce the LCR’s weight. The cylinder release, while small, is easily manipulated. The radiused and polished trigger, combined with Ruger’s patented friction-reducing cam system, gives the LCR an exceptionally nice trigger. Users will notice that the LCR has a significantly larger trigger guard than the Smith & Wesson 43C. This is an advantage to those with large hands or who may be wearing gloves. However, the shape and size of the trigger guard prevents the LCR from fitting in most J-frame holsters. The fact that the LCR is devoid of any sharp edges makes it particularly nice for pocket carry.
Ruger’s website offers a full line of accessories for the LCR. These include speed loaders, replacement front sight blades, seven different options for stocks, and a wide variety of holsters. It is great when you can one-stop-shop for your LCR.
The LCR comes in a cardboard, flip top box and includes the normal promotional material and a comprehensive, 40-page, instructional manual. The manual covers a variety of subjects to include disassembly/reassembly, “state-by-state” warnings, and detailed operating instructions. It also contains exploded diagrams of LCR models, parts lists, and instructions on ordering parts and returning the LCR for repair.
Hogue Tamer stocks are standard on the LCR and I found that they fit my hand well and completely filled the space behind the trigger guard. The double-action trigger pull was smooth, consistent, and free from any grit. With the exception of the cylinder and barrel, there was virtually no difference between the .22 LR model and the .38 Special model. Both exhibited the same quality, fit, and finish.
As with the .38 Special model, the .22 LR came with a pinned front sight and has a white bar insert. This is designed to be easily replaced by the user. My preference for a front sight blade on little wheelguns is an XS standard size dot. For the .22 LR LCR, XS offers two standard size dots in either orange or yellow.
On the range, the little .22 was a lot of fun to shoot and we went through a couple of hundred rounds before we knew it. The chart below reflects the four loads we tested.
|Ruger LCR .22 LR Ammo Test|
|CCI Stinger Varmint||32 gr. Copper Hollow Point||1,015 fps|
|CCI Mini Mag||40 gr. Solid Round Nose||922 fps|
|Federal Personal Defense Punch||29 gr. Solid Flat Nose||1,155 fps|
|GEMTECH Subsonic||42 gr. Solid Round Nose||864 fps|
The new Federal Punch Personal Defense has been specifically designed to provide the deep penetration needed for a defensive load. This is accomplished by having a 29-grain projectile that allows for higher velocity out of short barrels. In addition, the projectile has a lead core with a nickel plating to help prevent deformation. The advertised velocity, from a two-inch barrel, is 1,070 fps but, as the chart reflects, the Punch load averaged 1,155 from the LCR. Federal PD Punch .22 LR
After chronograph testing, I shot my modified “Test” drill. This consists of five shots, fired from five yards, in five seconds, repeated twice. The drill is fired on a B8 bullseye and scoring is done based on the scoring rings. For the score, I fire the drill cold and I only count my first run. On my first five rounds, I pulled rounds to the left. After making a correction in my grip, the remaining rounds were all in the ten ring. My total score was a 96 out of 100.
The more we shot the LCR, the better the groups got. I shot several 2” groups from 10 yards and I maxed the modified “Test” twice. I did find that the white bar, in the front sight, was a distraction. It is not a bad design but I was simply not accustomed to it. The Hogue Tamer stocks fit my hand well which is not always the case with small frame revolvers. I appreciated that the LCR provided full ejection for empty cases.
After a couple of range outings, with both the .22 LR and the .38 Special, I can understand why the little guns are so popular. As the name implies, they are both lightweight and compact. Ruger is known for building solid, strong, revolvers and the LCR is no exception. The LCR was just a lot of fun.
However, I feel that the 22 LR is far more than just a plinker. The LCR checks a lot of boxes for me. First, it provides a great training gun that has the same size and ergonomics as centerfire versions. 100 rounds of .22 ammo will not break the bank, even in these troubled times. Second, I feel the .22 LR cartridge can, in some circumstances, is suitable for personal defense. Due to the reduced recoil and muzzle blast, it is significantly easier to shoot than a centerfire cartridge. The cheaper ammo cost should encourage owners to shoot it more often. Practice results in improved skills and competency. With the new Federal Punch ammunition, I feel that a face full of these little bees would dissuade most criminals. Third, it makes a great trail pistol and can be effective against snakes with CCI’s shot loads. Finally, the LCR 22 LR retails for $579. This is considerably less than the Smith Model 43C that retails for a whopping $709.00! What’s not to like?
If you want a little more punch, the LCR is also available in .22 WMR. Centerfire calibers include .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .327 Federal Magnum, and 9mm. For those who prefer the option of an exposed hammer, the LCRx is offered with a 1.87” or a 3” barrel and in the same calibers.
Former CIA operative, Ed Lovette, is a fan of the LCR in both .38 Special and .22 LR. The new, 3rd Edition of his book, The Snubby Revolver, is now available from Snub Noir. For anyone that lives with a snub-nosed revolver, it is required reading. For additional information, go to Snub Noir The Snubby Revolver.
The .22 LCR impressed me enough that I may very well add it to the stable. It is just that good! For additional information on this model, go to Ruger LCR Model 5410.
|Ruger LCR Model 5410|
|Caliber||.22 Long Rifle|
|Frame||7000 Series Aluminum|
|Rear Sight||Fixed Notch|
|Front sight||Pinned Ramp (Replaceable)|
|Stocks||Hogue Tamer Monogrips|