Actually most of my reviews are similar in this regard. I generally do a lot of research before buying a gun and try to buy what I'm looking for the first time.
There's a lot of pros with this firearms, but I do have a few cons worth mentioning.
Let's start off with the specs.
Caliber: .38Spl +P
Capacity: 5 Rnds
Barrel Length: 1.875"
Sights: Notch Type Rear Sight
Pinned Front Sight
Grips: Hogue Tamer (Rubber)
This handgun is intended for concealed carry, and it shows. It's lightweight and easily concealable. The edges are all smooth, and there's little or nothing to snag on your clothing. The materials are corrosion resistant.
Let's start with the trigger. It's definitely the best that I've seen on a snub nosed revolver.
The Ruger's trigger is very smooth and has a lighter pull than it's competitors. IMO the trigger is MUCH better than those on the guns that I compared it to. I was considering a S&W Airweight (Model 638), S&W Bodyguard and LCR when looking for another CCW gun last year. All of them seemed like good choices and I was very impressed with the Airweight. It came in second. I was unimpressed with the Bodyguard and it took third place.
Even though it wasn't a contender, I compared a Taurus Model 85 to the Ruger. The Taurus is a heavier steel framed revolver, but it's $100 cheaper, has the same 5 round capacity, and is also a snub nosed CCW gun. I think that most people will check out the Taurus when it's sitting in the case next to the Rugers and S&W's, even if it's not in the running.
The trigger was clearly better on the LCR when doing a side by side comparison. The S&W Airweight was close and followed by the Bodyguard and Taurus Model 85. I have an older S&W Airweight (Model 38-2), and a family member owns an older Taurus Model 85. The new LCR still had a better trigger than these broken in handguns. BTW, sometime soon I'll do a head to head comparison of all 3 guns.
(I decided to come back and edit this in about a month after the initial Ruger review.
I had the opportunity to check out the polymer framed Taurus today. I like the sights a lot better on the Taurus than those on the LCR. Other than the sights I cannot find much to like about the gun. It seems a bit "Clunky" and while I didn't get a side by side comparision it feels a bit bigger than the Ruger.
I have to wonder what the aftermarket will be like for this gun. I doubt that the J frame stuff will fit it very well and if it's not a good seller then you'll be limited on holster choices.
I don't like the grips. They feel uncomfortable under the trigger guard. Of course this quick evalutation of the Taurus is based on handling the gun and not shooting it. It may be a great gun but after fondling it in Bass Pro Shops I doubt that I would get one at it's current price point. I walked away from the counter even happier with my choice of the LCR).
The weight was slightly better with the Ruger than the two S&W's that I was looking at. Naturally it's much lighter than the steel framed Taurus. For most of us our CCW guns have got to be light. If they're not then once the novelty of concealed carry wears off the guns will be left at home. There are a few people that don't mind carrying a full sized service pistol and don't mind the weight. The vast majority of us however don't fall into that catagory.
The Ruger LCR is a VERY lightweight gun. The fire control housing is polymer and reasonably attractive for what it is.The frame is aluminum and the cylinder is stainless steel and heavily fluted. The shape of the cylinder was a little odd looking at first, but it kind of grows on you. BTW, you can easily tell the difference between the .38spl version and the .357 magnum LCR by the cylinder fluting.
Despite being so lightweight this gun does not have a cheap feel to it. Often we equate light weight to a cheap or toy like feel. This gun just feels like a quality firearm. "Feel" is a hard term to describe, but anyone that has picked up a quality made tool and compared it to a cheaply made Chinese copy will know what I mean.
Sights are what you would expect on a snub nosed revolver. There is a serrated ramp type front sight and a U shaped notch at the rear. The front sight, however, is pinned and changeable. Ruger offers a model with a tritium night sight on the front. There is also a model with Crimson Trace laser grips available.
The sights are OK. They are definitely on par with the competition. As usual the black on black sights are hard to pick up when shooting at dark targets.
Ruger recommends a 6 o'clock hold with this gun, and I found that to be necessary. I still shoot high with this handgun however.
The grouping on the right is still nothing to brag about, but I managed to get about the same size groups while shooting twice as fast when I switched to a white target.
I generally carry my Kahr, and this gun is brought out when I'm in the mood for something different. It's not my regular shooter at the range and only gets out every few months.
Both targets suck, and I can do much better. I'll replace them, and edit this review in a few weeks. Reviews without targets are largely BS so there they are.
The LCR was shot at the end of a long day of shooting M1911's and blah, blah, blah, middle aged eyes, excuses, excuses.
The rubber grips work OK for what they are. I will say that they are better than the normal boot grips that I've used on some J frames. Hogue did a very good job with these.
Only two fingers will fit on the grips. Recoil is a little heavy without being too punishing.
As I stated above, the grips are rubber, and if I had to describe them I would say that they are a medium softness. They are soft enough to dampen the recoil somewhat without being so soft and gummy that they cling and snag on clothing.
Did I mention that this lightweight polymer and aluminum revolver is +P rated?
This is a double action only handgun, so if you like to shoot your double action revolvers as a single action, then this is not the gun for you. On the other hand being a DAO makes this gun a lot less likely to snag when drawing under pressure.
There is an internal locking device inside the grip. The standard grip is removed with a single flat head screw at the bottom. It's not a fast procedure. Are you really going to come home, take the grip off of your handgun, lock it and then put it back together the next day when you go out again? Doubtful.
I believe that it was probably added just to satisfy the laws of some of the more socialistic nanny states in our country. Some states require a built in locking device on new handgun models. I don't like them and never use them. Others may appreciate using such a device that is slow to disengage and requires partial disassembly of the gun. Stranger things have happened.
Let's be realistic about firearms with a built in key lock. If you quickly need to access a gun locked with one of these devices you'll be out of luck and out of time. It's also likely that you're locking the firearm because of children and they'll always find the key. I prefer using a safe for a firearm that needs securing but that's just my opinion. To each his own.
So what don't I like about this gun (Other than the key lock)?
It's not a J frame so most of the countless accessories on the market won't work with this gun. The trigger guard is different from J frame revolvers so make sure the holsters will fit before buying them. Ruger's website has some decent holsters and the TK IWB model in the picture works OK for me. It's not a Crossbreed though. Then again the TK holster didn't cost what a Crossbreed holster would.
I have yet to see anyone other than Crimson Trace ($$$) offer any aftermarket grips for this gun.
The HKS speedloaders that I use (And have no complaints with) in my J frame will fit this Ruger...but...they just don't work that well in my opinion.
I use the outstanding speedloaders from 5StarFirearms instead. They're faster and work much better (http://www.5starfirearms.com/357_j_2.html). Of course they are also more expensive and not available at every gun store from coast to coast as the HKS models are.
There are other speedloaders on the market but these are the only two types that I've used and generally I stay with the HKS brand for my revolvers. If I liked the way that they worked with the LCR I would never had looked at alternatives.
There is a rattle in this gun. Some people wonder about that when shopping for LCR's. It's normal.
There's not much that I don't like about this weapon.
In conclusion, it's a good gun. I recommend it.
It's reliable and accurate enough even when having a bad day at the range. It's simple to operate and easily concealable. It's not the least expensive snub nosed on the market, but it's reasonable for what you're getting. The materials offer a lot of corrosion resistance which is important in a carry gun. This is my first pick for a snub nosed revolver CCW gun.
The revolver comes with the normal literature, a lock, keys for the internal locking device, and this mediocre case.
Too funny.....my wife was looking at the rug that the LCR is sitting on in the pics and was on the verge of shampooing our carpet. She thought that the dirty oil stained rugs in the pics were from our dining room carpet instead of the range. I should have waited until she finished before telling her the pictures were taken at the range.
Edit: It's been a couple of months since this review was posted, and I've put about 300 more rounds through the LCR. A few friends have decided to get their CCW permits so I've been shooting the little guns with them a lot lately.
There's nothing to report on the reliability front. The Ruger still runs great despite very sporadic cleaning, and a lot of dirty reloads. My groups have gotten a bit better even though I still shoot slightly high most of the time.
The target above was shot at 7 yds. That's a 2" bullseye in the center, and this is representative of how I shoot with this gun now. I can eliminate the flyer about half of the time. A little practice goes a long way. When I can consistently keep it in the orange, there will be another edit.
BTW, I mentioned that I've been shooting a lot of CCW guns lately. The LCR is still my favorite when placed against the S&W and Taurus revolvers that I've recently shot.