What Can Possibly Make the Ruger LCR a Better Revolver?
So, when exactly did this current pocket gun craze start? Pocket guns have been around for a while; Remington’s double derringer was introduced in 1866 and small pocket guns have been around since then. The Walther PP’s have been made since 1922 and the popular J-frame Smiths started with the Chief’s Special in the 1950’s. But the aforementioned pocket guns have had one thing in common: weight, they were all boat anchors.
In 2008 Ruger announced the LCP (Lightweight Compact Pistol) at Shot Show. Ruger didn’t re-invent the wheel with the LCP; most folks at Kel-Tec would say that Ruger copied their P3AT, but the Ruger LCP was a runaway success. Ruger listened to their customers and brought something to the market that the customers wanted: an affordable, lightweight (9.6 oz), reliable pocket gun made by a reputable manufacturer. So, what do you do to follow-up the LCP’s success?
Ruger’s answer was with their LCR (lightweight compact revolver). Announced in 2009, the LCR was the first revolver to incorporate polymer into the frame of the revolver. Since that time, civilians and law enforcement officers alike have gobbled up the LCR. Initially chambered for .38 special, Ruger added .357 magnum, .22 LR, and .22 WMR versions. In addition to the DAO versions, Ruger also added the LCRx, a double/single action revolver with an exposed hammer and most recently the LCRx “kit gun” with a 3 inch barrel and a full-length Hogue Tamer grip; both in .38+p currently. The .38 LCR isn’t the lightest snubbie around at 13.5 oz, but it’s also not priced at $900 and made of unobtainium (ahem, 340PD).
So, how do you improve on the LCR you ask?
One thing that has always been lacking for the LCR was the selection of grips. For at least the first year, the only grips to be had were the stock Hogue Tamer or Crimson Trace LaserGrips that were announced with the revolver. The Bantam Boot grip came along, in mid-2010, but it was only available on ShopRuger.com and according to some customers, processing an order through Ruger’s web commerce site could take a couple of months.
Now, all this has changed. Earlier this month, Hogue Inc. sent out a press release about their new variety of grips for the Ruger LCR line of revolvers, available directly from Hogue. For the shrouded-hammer LCRs, this includes the standard Tamer & new full-length Tamer grips in black, pink and purple, as well as the Bantam Boot grip in black. Also available, a new line of G10 laminate grips in 5 colors, each color available with or without checkering. Due to the external hammer, options for the LCRx are limited to the standard and full-length Tamer grips in black, pink or purple.
So with spring around the corner, I decided the LCR needed a new pair of shoes. I’ve always like the stock Tamer grip and a few previous reviews have stated the Bantam Boot grips are the same length as the tamer grips, so why change the grips. There are even pictures on the good ol internet comparing the back of the two grips next to each other and indeed, they are very similar in length, but after comparing product photos of the two, you can clearly see the Bantam Boot grip rides higher up the backstrap and is more compact when mounted.
The majority of the Bantam Boot grip is constructed in hard plastic, but the frontstrap and backstrap has rubber inserts for a more secure grasp. The plastic sides don’t snag clothing like the all-rubber standard Tamer grips do. Overall, the Boot grip is more compact and narrower than the standard Tamer grips; I have medium sized hands but I can still get two fingers on the Boot grip. The reduced size and curvature of the Boot grip prints less than the standard Tamer grips, but makes it a little less recoil absorbing than the standard grips. Shooting +P’s from the 13.5 oz LCR is going to feel snappy with either grip though. I probably won’t opt for Boot grips on a .357 mag LCR if you intend to shoot magnum loads from it, you may need the standard Tamer’s finger grooves to hang onto the gun.
While I was overlaying the Boot grip image over the standard Tamer grip image, I also wanted to see how much bigger the new full-length Tamer grip is compared to the standard Tamer; the full-length Tamer grips comes standard with the 3-inch LCRx revolver. Currently, the full-length Tamer grip can be ordered directly from Hogue and comes in black, pink and purple.
The full-length grips don’t have finger grooves and being longer, it looks more balanced on the 3 inch LCRx. Aesthetics aside, having that extra real estate for your pinky would be an excellent choice for those who own the .357 mag LCR for use as a nightstand gun and don’t plan on carrying it concealed.
For those who do carry their LCR’s with them daily, especially AIWB, the Bantam Boot grip gives an added bit of comfort through it’s smaller profile; it prints & snags less than the standard grips and retains the cushioned rubber Tamer insert for a little added comfort when shooting hot loads. (Get your minds out of the gutter!) Carry on.