Ruger LCR – Goodness in 22

The LCR, chambered in .22 LR, is the perfect companion to the .38 Special LCR.

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.

Ruger’s LCR is shown with the author’s Smith & Wesson Model 442.. Both are chambered in .22 LR and have an eight round capacity.

Background

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.

The unique design of the LCR features an alloy upper receiver with a polymer lower. This reduces weight while still offering the strength that Ruger is known for. The seam between the upper and lower component is clearly visible.
Our test model was chambered in .22 LR. The LCR has a capacity of eight rounds.

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.

The cylinder release, while small, is designed to be easily manipulated.
The large trigger guard and polished trigger enhance the ergonomics of the little LCR.
The cylinder on the LCR features uniquely designed flutes or scallops that serve to reduce weight.

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.

First Impressions

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. They fit the hand well and, in the .38 Special Model, the cushioned back strap helps reduce felt recoil.
The barrel is sleeved inside the alloy frame upper receiver.

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.

The front sight on the LCR is pinned is easily replaced.
The LCR checks a lot of boxes and the .22 LR maxed out the “fun factor!”

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.

Shots Fired

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.

We shot a variety of loads through the little LCR and quickly exhausted our range supply.
Ruger LCR .22 LR Ammo Test
CCI Stinger Varmint32 gr. Copper Hollow Point1,015 fps
CCI Mini Mag40 gr. Solid Round Nose922 fps
Federal Personal Defense Punch29 gr. Solid Flat Nose1,155 fps
GEMTECH Subsonic42 gr. Solid Round Nose864 fps
Federal’s new Punch round is specifically designed for personal defense.

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.

The author’s target from his 5x5x5x2 drill reflects a score of 96. While not up to his standards, only the first run counts for score!
The LCR offers a full ejection stroke on the .22 LR brass.

Final Thoughts

The little LCR is both fun and practical.

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.

Students of the snubby revolver owe it to themselves to read Ed Lovette’s book on the subject.

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
Capacity8
Barrel Length1.87”
Weight14.5 oz.
ActionDA Only
Frame7000 Series Aluminum
Rear SightFixed Notch
Front sightPinned Ramp (Replaceable)
StocksHogue Tamer Monogrips
Overall Length6.50”
Height4 3/8”
MSRP$579

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{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Brian June 19, 2021, 1:14 pm

    Rob,

    Thanks for the review of the little 22!

    Question? If the trigger exceeds the limits of your electronic trigger gauge, then the trigger is useless. However, most if not all DAO’s exceed the capacity of most trigger gauges. One might as well just throw it at the target (?). Your target at 5 feet would dictate at longer range there may be unintended consequences and therefore unacceptable liability. As the implications of the article are for personal carry …. a jury might just find significant liability when using this little rascal other than at the range.

    A DAO requires hours of training to be consistent. 5 feet! The game is over at that range – might as well just use it as an impact (non shooting) weapon – so let’s just say – better used as an orifice plug.

    Comments about this little thing suggest it might be better used as an expensive weight for bottom fishing.

    Needless to say, Ruger may be exploiting the current “gun mania” in order to profit with a questionable weapon.

    • JLA June 29, 2021, 3:11 pm

      DOA revolvers take practice to shoot well, but with that practice, they have proven to be very effective weapons for more than a century. The .22lr version is really intended to be an ‘understudy’ gun so that you can practice without the recoil and expense of centerfire ammunition. I have an LCR in .327 Federal Magnum, and I love it. It can be used with anything from .32 S&W for low-recoil practice to full power magnum loads that seriously get your attention when you touch one off! The LCR is, in my opinion, the best snubby going for pocket carry these days, but like every other snubby on the market, it takes practice to master. If you’re not willing to put in that practice get a different gun.

  • Tpsfoto June 18, 2021, 9:18 am

    Mine was awful….. nearly every brand of ammo put through the cylinder stuck in the cylinder and wouldn’t eject out. I had to pick the spent casings out with my finger nails and then use needle nose players to compete the job. Contacted Ruger and was told they wouldn’t do any repairs on it. Bought it new about 2013 or so. Sold it to a dealer for S&W

  • glenn G June 15, 2021, 8:18 pm

    Have the gun, have the book. Love both.
    I have had the LCR 22 for several years. Lots of fun to shoot, and yes you can pump a lot of 22s down range. At the end of a session at the range Its always surprising how many 22s I have gone through.

  • john in DFW June 15, 2021, 11:39 am

    this gun is total garbage .. had one.. shot 6″ left at 10 yards , sent it back to Ruger, got it back,it still shot 3″ left at 10 yards , you basically need to line up the front sight all the way to one side of the rear slot to shoot straight.. trigger is horrible.. one box of 22lr (50rds) and your finger will be hurting … i got this as a lightweight carry on the farm in case i run into a rattlesnake … I wouldn’t be able to hit a rattlesnake with it unless it’s on my lap… sold it! save yourself the frustration and get a smith instead …

    • Pocket gunner June 22, 2021, 7:03 am

      Man I love this gun. My favorite plinker/Trainer. It has done more for my shooting than any other firearm.I love taking it to the range. Learn and good DAO and you can shoot any firearm much better. I learned this years ago and jumped on the LCR22 when it first came out. Shoot it often and it becomes extremely accurate. Great review. By the way, when I taught my son how to shoot, all guns, I then bought him a LCR22. Told him, you learn this gun well and you will become a fantastic shot with any gun. And he now is.

  • Dr. Strangelove June 15, 2021, 4:23 am

    I have the .38 and .327, which I love. I got the .22 for cheap practice, but the trigger pull was so heavy that I found it difficult to shoot accurately. I traded it in and don’t miss it.

    • Pocket gunner June 25, 2021, 2:28 am

      I found the trigger a little heavy years ago when I first bought it. But now do not even notice it. Only thing notice is how smooth it is. Maybe it has lightened up with so many rounds down range, but I do know this is one fine gun. I love shooting the small Pocket guns. It is my hobby/Niche in the shooting sports. This gun is a marvelous trainer/Plinker. Just how both the LCP2 22 and the LCR22 out yesterday. I will take the LCR any day. I had about 3 or 4 failures out of the LCP, none as usual out of the LCR. And the trigger on the LCP22 sucks. I use the LCR as a trainer for others short barrel DAO that I carry. Ruger LCR9mm, Smith 652 Beretta Nano, Kahr PM9, Kahr cw380 Pm 380 Beretta Pico etc.
      Bravo to Ruger on this one. They did one great Job. Never looked back after buying it.

  • LazrBeam June 15, 2021, 12:05 am

    Greetings – Suggest that you do a review of the LCR/LCRx in .327 Federal Magnum. You would be pleasantly surprised. A VERY overlooked chambering. Thank you.

  • LazrBeam June 15, 2021, 12:05 am

    Greetings – Suggest that you do a review of the LCR/LCRx in .327 Federal Magnum. You would be pleasantly surprised. A VERY overlooked chambering. Thank you.

  • Carl F. June 14, 2021, 3:31 pm

    Cant find them anywhere in Arizona or New Mexico.

  • ro June 14, 2021, 1:26 pm

    great up close pics…..question…..does the internet charge extra for video?

    • Garrett Rob June 15, 2021, 6:56 am

      Best of luck!

  • Dan June 14, 2021, 9:21 am

    On the chart of the Ruger LCR .22 LR Ammo Test, the “CCI Mini-Mag” projectiles are listed as “30 gr.”, while they are actually 40 grains in weight, and the “GEMTECH subsonic” are listed as “40 gr.” while they are actually 42 grains in weight.

    • Garrett Rob June 14, 2021, 10:04 am

      Thanks. I had a number of different rounds on the bench and screwed up my range notes.

  • Brian June 14, 2021, 8:12 am

    Double action .22’s are notorious for heavy triggers – I noticed you didn’t measure or comment on the weight “smooth, consistent, free of grit”. Did you put a gauge on it?

    • Rob Garrett June 14, 2021, 8:36 am

      Brian, the trigger was actually pretty good. It did exceed the limits of my Lyman electronic trigger gauge.
      Thanks,
      Rob

  • Torn June 14, 2021, 7:26 am

    Which is it? Specs show capacity of 5, your article says 8. I suspect you are correct.

    • Kane June 14, 2021, 8:17 am

      The .22 is 8 and the .38 is 5.

    • Garrett Rob June 14, 2021, 8:25 am

      Thanks. I was reviewing both models at the same time and missed this typo.

  • Ben modano June 14, 2021, 7:15 am

    Are they available now, what is the price

    • Garrett Rob June 14, 2021, 8:26 am

      MSRP $579. Availability varies depending on where you are located. Thanks

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