The Ruger LCR 9mm – Finally a 9mm Revolver that is Done Right

Who says the revolver is dead? Six guns still rule, or well, should I say five guns? Today’s subject of review might be one of the most modern revolvers on the market, the Ruger LCR. Lots of lightweight revolvers exist, but I’ve always loved the LCR. It mixes a modern, lightweight revolver that’s affordable and still simple and easy to use. The Ruger LCR comes in 38 Special, 357 Magnum, 327 Federal Magnum, 22LR, 22 WMR, and even 9mm.

A polymer revolver seems sacrilegious, but hear us out!

Today I have the 9mm example of the Ruger LCR, and as such, I think this is the most modern J-frame out there for concealed carry. Rimless cartridges like the 9mm don’t usually work well in revolvers. Revolvers are naturally suited for cartridges like the 44 Special and 357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, etc., that have a projecting rime at the base. But many rimless cartridge revolvers have been tried over the years many with some success. My feeling is that if you are going to buy a rimless Revolver, this Ruger standby is probably the best bet. The polymer frame is always light shooting, and this gun is a real pleasure to shoot, in the potent 9mm cartridge. This gun uses moon clips instead of trying to headspace on the case mouth. It’s the smarter way to do it.

The Modern J-Frame

Revolvers don’t change much, and that’s why people tend to love them. It’s a barrel, an internal or external hammer, and a revolving cylinder. Not much to it, right? Ruger wanted to create a lightweight revolver, but they also wanted to produce an affordable model. Instead of using titanium or scandium, which drives up the revolvers’ price, they went with polymer. Most people call a pocketable revolver a J-Frame, even though it is a Smith & Wesson term, but it has become something like Kleenex, and these polymer guns are really the update to an old and proven design.

Why not? Polymer has proven to work with automatic handguns, cuts weight, and doesn’t cost a fortune. The Ruger LCR utilizes a polymer frame reinforced by steel. The cylinder and barrel are steel, obviously. Where they could safely, they used polymer to cut weight.

This little snub nose brings the revolver into the modern world.

The 9mm chambering also brings in line with modern defensive loads. Sure 9mm is an old round, but it’s one that gets lots of attention due to its popularity. Lots of attention means lots of capable defensive loads and plenty of cheap plinking ammunition. A revolver in 9mm gives you revolver handling with modern defensive loads.

Plus, cheap plinking loads are nothing to sneeze at. On top of that, the gun obviously comes cut for moon clips because 9mm rounds lack a rim to catch the ejector. The full moon clips make unloading and reloading rapidly and become nearly as fast as an automatic handgun.

Moon clips are basically speed loaders, and they are really the best choice for a revolver that fires rimless cartridges. Moon clip revolvers don’t make a lot of headlines, but Ruger did the right thing with this gun.

The Ruger LCR does use a double-action-only trigger, and the LCRx utilizes an exposed hammer. DAO guns are great for concealed carry and are poke-free for deep concealment.

Ruger LCR Specifications

Barrel Length – 1.87 inches
Overall Length – 6.5 inches
Weight – 17.2 ounces
Caliber – 9mm
Capacity – 5
MSRP – $809.00

Examining Ergonomics

Admittedly I didn’t have love at first grip when I picked up the Ruger LCR. The boot-style grips are way too short for my big hands. When I shot the gun, it would buck and jump and cause me to readjust my grip with every shot. This had to go!

I popped them off, slapped on a new set of Hogue Tamer grips, and never looked back. The longer grips increase the profile of the gun but make it oh so much more shootable. Bigger grips meant more control, and more control meant more accuracy and speed.

The stock grips kind of suck.

Moon clips might seem annoying, but they are extremely useful. The ejection rod slings them out and popping another five rounds in takes no time at all. Moon clips do add another level of must-have accessory to use the gun, but they are cheap and durable. I know it seems un-revolver like, but it feels like I’m just swapping magazines, and that makes it simple.

The cylinder release is a button instead of a pull or push tab. Ruger’s button-pressing design is better to me than either a push or pull system that Colt and S&W uses. Press the button, push the cylinder, and boom, that cylinder is waiting for a fresh new load of 9mm.

That big button is quick and easy to press

This is a small bonus, but the trigger guard is larger and accommodates gloved hands well. Winter gloves will not fill the trigger guard up, and you can easily fit your fingers into the trigger guard and start popping off 9mm rounds even in the snow.

Hitting The Range

Like all small J-frames, the Ruger LCR has some buck to it. Using 124 grain +P JHPs will give you a handful of jumpy gun with every shot. It’s not uncontrollable, but it’s not pleasant and feels like a solid high five to the hand. I prefer a 115-grain JHP load for self-defense. The increase in control is worth using the lighter round, especially when you start training single-handed shooting techniques.

Two hands holding on helps a lot. So does 115 JHPs

DAO guns always have long trigger pulls, and sometimes that long trigger pull isn’t fun. The Ruger LCR does it differently with a long trigger pull that’s relatively light and short for its pull. It’s easily the best stock DAO trigger out there. I can’t get enough of it, and honestly, S&W, Colt, and others need to catch up and give me this kind of trigger.

The sights are okay. That’s about all I can say. The rear sight is a trench style, but it’s bigger than most. The front sight is massive and came with a white insert for high visibility. However, that popped off after a few hundred rounds. Luckily the front sight can be swapped, and plenty of high visibility examples exist out there.

Gosh. this trigger rocks

A good trigger with half-decent sights makes the Ruger LCR pretty accurate for a J-frame. At 15 yards, I could make that dang 25% IPSC target ding and spin with all five rounds somewhat rapidly. That trigger pull is to die for, and the IPSC target stood zero chance. If I can hit this little target at 15 yards, then the gun is perfectly suitable for most concealed carry situations.

Once I dumped all five rounds, I could reload on the fly with a freshly loaded moon clip and rinse and repeat.

On the Subject of Moon Clips

The Ruger LCR 9mm will work without moon clips, and you can drop rounds into the chambers freely without any kind of issue. The real downside is that ejection might require a shake, a wiggle, or a stick to drive the cartridges outward.

Ejecting cases are simple

Also, don’t use steel rounds with these things. The steel expands and sticks into the chambers. Driving them out requires a hammer and a cleaning rod. Stick to brass-cased ammo for the Ruger LCR 9mm.

Reloading is also very simple.

Banging and Clanging

The Ruger LCR 9mm gives those who desire a revolver a modern option for the ole snub nose. It’s lightweight, has a great trigger, and provides you with a modern load of 9mm greatness. 9mm rounds offer a more potent round than the 38 Special and are much softer on the hand than 357 Magnum loads.

Add in a great trigger and quick reloads, and what more could you ask for?

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  • Fredo December 20, 2022, 8:46 pm

    My wife is 5″ tall and loves shooting revolvers. Her favorite is her model 29 w/ 6.5″ Barrell.
    She tells me all the time; “When I shot, I want to shoot big and her the report. The 44 mag fits that bill. But she needed a good carry gun. We started with A S&W Bodyguard in .38. It had the worst trigger we have ever tried in any gun. Somebody recommended the LCR and we ordered one in 9mm because out of the short barrel it far surpasses the 38 special. I also have 4 other 9mm’s so ammo is always at hand. We paid a squid over $500 for her gun New and she loves it.
    I wouldn’t mind having an LCR in 22 mag just for giggles.
    It’s a winner. WOULD NOT pay $800 fo that gun.

  • Todd December 19, 2022, 3:20 pm

    I never really get into saying that something is ‘not worth it” merely because it is not worth it to me but….. this one?

    At that price, I believe that I would be looking elsewhere.

    I wonder if they bother to *give* you a realistic number of clips?

    For me, realistic is at least 6 but at 800 bucks I’d expect MANY more than that.

  • George December 19, 2022, 3:17 pm

    You might want to use the correct revolver grip……………

  • larry December 19, 2022, 1:55 pm

    I have one of these that I bought several years ago when the price was about $300 cheaper. Excellent gun, shoots very well, but in 357 it hurts to shoot. 38 is great

  • MeSeaHunt December 19, 2022, 1:15 pm

    msrp is DOUBLE the pistols value, PERIOD….. it’s your $

  • Torn December 19, 2022, 10:59 am

    Done right? Front sight insert fell off, grips too small, gotta use light weight ammo of standard persuasion. Author states lightest trigger he found on a revolver, but never states a trigger weight? Hmmm.

  • Clint W. December 19, 2022, 10:10 am

    You know, I saw a V8 crammed in a motorcycle frame, an airplane engine put in a Dusenberg, and a 4 engine tractor. It can be done, it is interesting, but is it practical except for just having it? A 9MM in a revolver, always a kluge set up when you need moon clips, something else to have to deal with on reload, what is the practicality of it. Standard .38 and .357 will get the job done just as well or even better. A 9MM is .355 inches with more chamber pressure, but will it work any better than a stock .38 with a .357 diameter in the real world, especially in a revolver with a barrel less than 2 inches? If you have been on board on the information stream as police went with 9’s, one of the first problems encountered was in northern climes with heavily clothed people where the 9mm did not maintain enough energy to stop someone after passing through all that clothing. Of course, things always adapt and that does not appear to be an issue today, although, with as many times as New York cops seem to shoot someone, maybe it takes a magazine full of 9’s to stop a winterized ticked off New Yorker.

  • FirstStateMark December 19, 2022, 10:04 am

    At over $800 MSRP, this gun is way over priced.

  • OldProf49 December 19, 2022, 9:32 am

    Many revolver cartridge dimensions are based on their black powder predecessors (38 Special > 38 Colt, 38 S&W; 44 Magnum/Special > 44 Russian, 44 American, 44-40, etc.). The 9mm, 40S&W, 38 Super, 380acp, 30 Super Carry, were developed as smokeless powder cartridges and don’t need as much case capacity. That’s one reason 9mm ammo is loaded to higher chamber pressure than 38 Special. It would be nice to have 9mm auto-rim ammo, but I don’t expect ammo companies to make it when they can’t keep up with the demand for rimless 9mm.

    I like my LCRs (38, 357, 22 mag) and may talk myself into a 327 Federal, if I can find one (and the ammo). I think it’s roughly equal to the new 30 Super Carry, which is also intriguing. I like 9mm (and my Ruger LC9s,, but I’m not a fan of revolvers in semi auto calibers.

    I wonder if 9mm, especially +P rounds, tend to jump their crimp in such a lightweight revolver. When S&W introduced their Airlite j-frames, they cautioned against using heavier, soft lead bullet loads because they sometimes jumped their crimp, which locked up the gun.

    • Jake December 20, 2022, 10:32 am

      The first semi-auto round firing revolvers I am aware of are the M1917’s in .45 acp. They have been in continuous production one way or another to this day. People like oddball stuff. This LCR is very nice but I would probably choose a .38 or the 8 round .22LR loaded with Federal Punch rounds.

  • George Cockerham February 15, 2022, 9:35 pm

    OGDEN UT. ???? (W/O 290012)


  • Charles Mitchell February 10, 2022, 6:34 pm

    I have both the LCR & SP101 in 9mm. I love both. When I was a Police Officer we had SW 686s in .357. The mechanics of reloading is the same as the 686. No need for extra training. Both revolvers fit nicely in a right front jean or shorts pocket for an excellent concealed weapon. The trigger pull on the LCR although double action is very light. I recommend BOTH Revolvers in 9mm.

  • Paul Bobby February 10, 2022, 8:22 am

    You’ll need a clip unloader from Brownells. Revolver clips are a pain in the ass. Too bad 9mm Feds are so hard to get. I would never buy this gun in 9mm.

  • Ej harbet January 19, 2022, 3:20 pm

    The lcr is my wife’s favorite weapon.
    She has several and ill probably buy her a couple more before I’m done.
    New York reloads,lol.
    Interestingly she favors the grips from the 3inch kitgun lcrx and they are .38spl. I load a 95 grain jhp to 1000fps to give her a decent load that’s accurate and low recoil. She has no problem hitting what she aims at even after months of not shooting.
    To me the lcr put the jframe in 2nd place. I’ve owned colt agent,Smith 642s and the lcr is champion. My term for them is collectively “snubs”

  • srsquidizen January 18, 2022, 7:52 am

    The ideal caliber for the LCR is the most overlooked .327 Federal Magnum. More wallop than a .38, easier to shoot in a light snubby than 357 magnum, AND you get 6 shots instead of 5. Moon clips not needed and can also shoot .32 H&R magnum which is a decent defense round for ladies who might find even .327 Federal a tad uncomfortable in such a light gun. The .327 LCR also shoots 32 S&W/Longs for range practice. Only downside is those calibers aren’t as easy to find right now as they once were. But then what is.

  • Grif January 18, 2022, 1:26 am

    I would have liked to see some chrono data on defense 9mm rounds and see what the FPS were in the revolver. Have to be some loss due to a cylinder gap.

  • David January 17, 2022, 1:34 pm

    Done right….not for me lol. A friend has a 38 Ruger. Kind of nasty to shoot. I have a Taurus 905, 9mm snub nose. It shoots well, handles well. Girlfriend loves it.

  • jerry January 17, 2022, 12:06 pm

    I want the option of single action firing, which is why I chose the LCRx (in .38 SPL). I would have chosen the 9mm if it was available at the time. I love this gun. I hereby testify that this polymer frame significantly reduces felt recoil. It is also good that you can easily install a BigDot tritium front sight, which I did. There is a drawback to moon clips/speed loaders. They make a pretty good lump in your pants pocket compared to speed strips. You really need an ammo pouch (a jacket pocket works). God bless and stay safe.

  • Bill January 17, 2022, 11:59 am

    Psst, you may have fixed the 48 special but you still missed “ that have a projecting rime at the base. ” And your LCR is no more a J-frame than a J-frame is a Detective Special.

    • Ej harbet January 19, 2022, 3:23 pm

      48 special huh? For the rogue cape Buffalo who decides he wants to run you over I guess

  • CARL THOMAS BRUHN January 17, 2022, 11:45 am

    The price point is insane! All polymer for double the price of an all medal of a smith 38, where is the logic in that.

  • FirstStateMark January 17, 2022, 10:36 am

    The price is way too high for a 5 shot 9mm. The .38 Special is much lower in price and you don’t screw around with those freaking moon clips.

  • Ramjet January 17, 2022, 9:25 am

    38 +P


    Sell more iron?

    Ok it’s kind of cool but sometimes companies just put do themselves for a little more market share.

    Not intrigued at all.

  • Thomas Brown January 17, 2022, 8:35 am

    No revolver is “done right” if is doesn’t have a real rear sight, and this one doesn’t. Some might say the channel or gutter cut into the frame would suffice for a up-close self-defense firearm, Yet most self-defense firearms will never be shot in a self-defense situation.

    They will be shot practicing and good sights are essential to good practice.

  • Lew Jacobus January 17, 2022, 8:06 am

    Love my Rugers but don’t see the need for this one. Only 5 shot, bulky clips, long trigger pull, high price, change out the grip to fit your hand,poor sights. Other then that, light weight for someone who wants a concealable wheel gun.

  • Larry Simmons January 17, 2022, 7:54 am

    2 weeks ago I googled this LCR and it was listed with a MSRP as $609.

  • James Morrison January 17, 2022, 7:16 am

    I’d like to see an article on the .48 special.

  • Nicky J. January 17, 2022, 7:01 am

    Are you for real $809 MARP for a 5 shot 9mm when a 5 shot 38spl can be had for under $400 New???

  • Pete Farris January 17, 2022, 7:01 am

    I’ve used moon and half-moon clips on a Colt 1917. I found them obnoxious to use. The reason is they were made of what appeared to be spring steel. Removing cases to reload them was difficult. Since I wasn’t going into combat, I simply resorted to loading the rounds without the clips. Of course, a “best” solution was to use .45 Auto-Rim. Maybe some manufacturer will produce a 9MM Auto-Rim. The LCR is not the only 9MM revolver on the market.

    • James Clegg January 17, 2022, 9:49 am

      Such a round has already been made; it was called the 9mmm Federal. It eliminated the need for Moon Clips when shooting 9 mm in revolvers. Pretty much a rare collector’s item now. Most people who want to shoot a semi-automatic round in a revolver like the speed of loading and reloading using Moon Clips; they don’t see the point of a rimmed 9 mm.

  • Douglas Balko January 17, 2022, 6:00 am

    Now, how about a left handed model?

  • Ryan H. January 17, 2022, 5:33 am

    I can’t wait to try this new .48 special you speak of. Also, moonclips is the smarter way to do it? No thanks!

  • flynt foster January 17, 2022, 3:51 am

    809.00?……crazy price!…….people get real!

  • David W Frye January 16, 2022, 7:34 pm

    Good candidate for the new 30 super round?

  • Arthur Sido January 15, 2022, 7:27 pm

    Love this revolver, 9mm which is the most common handgun round and a revolver so no cases ejected….why the uses of this are myriad.

    • Andrew January 17, 2022, 9:30 am

      Only having experience with the 22LR version, I’m tempted by both a 9mm and a 38 Special because reasons.
      Need a Lotto Win and a place that actually, you know, has them in stock, but had I known the way things were going I would’ve snagged one (two?) of each back in 2018.

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