The new Ruger LCR (Lightweight Compact Revolver) 9mm can trace its heritage back to the Old West. Back then, it was not uncommon for cowboys and lawmen to carry a rifle and a revolver chambered for the same cartridge. The wisdom of sharing one caliber was in not having to carry two different types of cartridges, and not worry about running short of rifle- or pistol-caliber rounds on the trail or in a shootout. How that late 19th-century ideology translates to modern times is in the choice of handguns used for primary and backup use today.
The new Ruger LCR takes the Old West concept into the world of modern wheelguns by making a very small and easily carried five-shot, polymer-framed revolver available in 9mm. Worn in any number of concealment rigs, a small revolver makes an ideal backup gun, and having it chambered in the same caliber as a semi-auto pistol is a definite advantage.
By virtue of its design, it isn’t easy to compare a Ruger LCR to any other snub-nose revolver because there isn’t any other revolver made quite this way. The LCR 9mm is comprised of three major build components: a stainless steel cylinder frame sub-assembly (with the barrel shroud being an integral part of the frame), a polymer fire control housing that contains the trigger, hammer, sear and mainspring, and a cylinder/crane sub-assembly. The stainless steel cylinder frame sub-assembly is actually the serial-numbered portion of the gun and is defined as a “firearm” by federal law; everything that surrounds it is removable.
The large Hogue Tamer rubber Monogrips fill the hand without becoming a burden for concealed carry, even in a pocket holster. The contoured Hogue grips and LCR frame design give the strong hand plenty of gripping area, a thumb rest and enough triggerguard to allow a solid two-handed hold. The fully shrouded hammer also streamlines the Ruger for snag-free carry and draw.
The new five-shot 9mm model tips the scales at 17.2 ounces. The revolver’s overall length measures 6.5 inches with the 1.875-inch shrouded barrel, while it’s 4.5 inches in height and 1.28 inches in width. The exterior dimensions are identical to the .38 Special +P version, but the 9mm is 3.7 ounces heavier, about the same as the .357 Magnum LCR.
For a small, lightweight revolver, the LCR is well balanced with a long but smooth DAO trigger pull that averages 9.3 pounds. The LCR’s deeply curved trigger travels 0.875 inches to rotate the cylinder (counter clockwise) and cycle the shrouded internal hammer. The trigger mechanism is designed to generate less friction than traditional DAO revolvers, thereby mitigating some of the resistance or stacking generally experienced in firing compact double-actions, and with practice the trigger pull becomes very predictable. The gun is equipped with a standard notched rear sight channel and a new ramped front sight with a white insert for improved target acquisition. This new design is definitely preferable to the black front ramped sight on other LCR models and made target acquisition quicker.
For speed loading and ease of case extraction the LCR 9mm comes with three full moon clips. The Ruger’s cylinder is also very easy to open with a single inward press of the crane latch, rather than having to slide it forward or back, as on most revolvers.
Recoil with 9mm defensive rounds, compared to .38 +P, is slightly more demanding of the shooter. Given the LCR 9mm’s additional weight and the fact that this particular frame configuration was also designed to withstand .357 Magnum rounds, the hottest 9mm load still makes this a more manageable handgun than many lighter-weight .38 Special and .357 Magnum snub-nose revolvers. It’s not much to give up a few added ounces of carry weight on this LCR version when you are already dealing with a lightweight, compact revolver, and the ability to use the same ammo as a larger semi-auto for duty or concealed carry makes this latest LCR a very prudent option.
Look for a full review of the Ruger LCR 9mm in an upcoming issue of COMBAT HANDGUNS. To purchase or subscribe, go to https://www.personaldefenseworld.com/subscribe.