Sturm, Ruger and Co., now the biggest gunmaker in America, started with handguns by and for gun guys. Ruger’s phenomenal success grew from knowing what other gun guys really wanted. Bill Ruger had a talent for anticipating the market even before shooters themselves knew what they’d like. “Everybody” knew after World Warr II that the market for .22 autoloading pistols was somewhere between “well-served” and “glutted,” so Ruger introduced its reliable, reasonable, ergonomic .22 that soon became the best-selling .22 pistol of all time. “Everybody” knew single-action revolvers were history, so Ruger renewed the genre, sweeping the market with high-quality, reasonably priced single-actions from .22 to .44 Magnum.

Ruger’s talent for anticipating market needs is again illustrated with its introduction of concealed carry guns. Let’s examine some of Ruger’s offerings in this genre, both autoloaders and wheelguns, in very effective chamberings.

Lightning-Fast LCR

Ruger’s LCR (Lightweight Compact Revolver) illustrates the tradeoff between a handgun being eminently portable and eminently comfortable to shoot. This synthetic-gripped wheelgun is very lightweight, ergonomic and pretty foolproof. Friends with younger eyes and steadier hands than this scribe’s agreed it is accurate beyond its intended purpose and iron sights. A LCR with Crimson Trace Lasergrips is also now available straight from the Ruger factory, and this wee stalwart now comes with a five-round capacity of .38 Special +P at an empty weight of only 13.5 ounces, with five rounds of .357 Magnum at 17.1 ounces or with an eight-round capacity of .22 LR and weighing only 14.9 ounces. At only 4.5 inches tall, 6.5 inches long and just over 1.2 inches thick, the LCR is easy to stow and you can hardly grab it wrong during a draw. Owners have noted that the LCR’s internal engineering innovations contribute to its remarkable double-action operation.

Shooters should even consider owning two LCRs, with one chambered in .22 LR for lots of cheap and comfortable training and plinking. If you plan to just carry it to the range and shoot it for sport and pleasure, or want an enjoyable plinker, the LCR in .38 Special +P or .357 Magnum may not be your cup of tea. But if you plan to carry it for reliable, instinctive, accurate personal defense in a caliber
suitable to dissuade or otherwise stop an attack, I think you’ll like the LCR.

Trusted .380

Developments in ammunition technology have raised the .380 ACP from a wannabe 9mm to a round appropriate for self-defense, especially considering the wonderfully compact platforms firing it.

Because the smaller pistol you have with you beats the larger pistol you do not, and because of today’s more-lethal loadings and projectiles, there is substantial agreement that the .380 has a place as a defensive round, and one of the great new options is Ruger’s wonderfully compact, fluster-proof, double-action-only LCP (Lightweight Compact Pistol).

The LCP has an appropriate moniker: Lightweight (9.4 ounces empty, or only 10 ounces as the LCT-CT with a Crimson Trace Laserguard, or 9.9 ounces as the LCP-LM with a LaserMax Centerfire), Compact (there are accessible places all over one’s person to stash something that is only 5.16 inches long, 0.82
inches thick and 3.6 inches tall), Pistol (this autoloader has six rounds in the magazine and one ready in the chamber, designed always ready to fire in double action only, or DAO). The LCP is built on a glass-filled nylon grip frame mounting the internals and a blued, hardened-steel slide, which holds the blued, alloy steel barrel of 2.75 inches. It comes with a finger grip extension, which I tend to like as it aids in naturally pointing smaller handguns. Those shooting with less-than-adequate vision should also appreciate the laser-sighting options. Anybody who carries concealed will find the LCP worth having along as a primary or backup weapon.

Powerhouse Nine

Hot on the heels of the successful LCP, Ruger launched its LC9 in 9x19mm Parabellum for those more comfortable with this as a defensive round. Ruger added one round of magazine capacity and lengthened the barrel, still doing it in an envelope less than an inch taller and longer than the diminutive LCP. The LC9 is less than an inch thick, 6 inches long and 4.5 inches tall, and it weighs just over a pound. The LC9-LM and LC9-CT models, with their LaserMax and Crimson Trace lasers, weigh virtually the same.

The pistol comes standard with a three-dot sight arrangement, and the rear sight is adjustable for windage. The 3.12-inch steel barrel can take full advantage of the 9mm round, and good defensive loads are available from many manufacturers. The steel slide is also blued.

Firing DAO, the LC9 includes additional safety features: an internal key lock, a manual safety, a magazine safety and a loaded-chamber indicator, which provides both visual and tactile indication for shooters. The LC9 also has no protrusions of any kind to snag on a pocket or holster.

New Hybrid LC380

Brand new for 2013, Ruger has unleashed the LC380, a hybrid between the LC9 and LCP. This 7+1 capacity .380 has the same snag-free design of Ruger’s other pocket pistols as well as a 3.12-inch barrel, an overall length of 6 inches and a width of only 0.9 inches. This is easily Ruger’s lightest-recoiling pocket pistol because it is slightly larger than the LCP and weighs 17.2 ounces when empty. The alloy steel has been blued for added durability. And, to top it all off, this new handgun is extremely affordable, with an MSRP of $449. Stay tuned for more on this reliable defender!

In all, Ruger has four veritable powerhouses crafted for carry, and the safe-to-carry designs of the LCR, LCP, LC380 and LC9 should make them perfect choices for self-defense. For more information, visit

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