On Saturday, I threatened to serve up some impressions of my new acquisition, so here they are, complete with inadequate photography!
As already guessed by Tamara, the new pocket heater is a Ruger LCP (“Lightweight Compact Pistol”). I got it brand new from my new local gun store, Hollowpoint Sports on Route 4 in scenic Enfield. (Did I mention how much I love having a local gun store again? )
That’s the box. You get the gun, a zippered rug, the obligatory manual & safety pamphlet, warranty card, two different magazine floorplates, and a neat lock for your tool shed. Out-the-door price was $329…no sales tax or background check fees in NH.
Kel-Tec knock-off? Definitely. As a former Kel-Tec owner, however, I have to say that the difference in production values is instantly apparent. The Ruger has a much more expensive feel to it than the P32 or P3AT—the machining is neater, the finish is better, the plastic feels more substantial, and the lettering on the parts doesn’t look like it’s applied with a worn-out laser that can only draw right angles. It’s a P3AT copy, but it looks and feels nicer than the original.
As you can see here, Tinygun is tiny. It’s also very flat and light. I got out the digital scale and weighed the LCP: 9.8 ounces empty, and just a hair under 12 ounces fully loaded with six plus one rounds. You can stick this gun into a pocket, and it’ll disappear.
I use the magazine floorplate with the little extender, and it does a lot to improve the fit for large hands. The LCP is just a little bit bigger than the P32 I used to have, but that little bit extra makes a difference. Where the P32 was a true mouse gun on the level of the Beretta Jetfire or NAA Guardian, the LCP feels a bit “bigger”, like an extremely streamlined Walther PPK. Tam and I used to call the Beretta Tomcat “Little Big Gun” because it feels like a bigger weapon in your hand than its specs would suggest, and the same is true for the LCP. It also has a pleasant tactile feel to it—the backstrap and grip are nicely checkered, and there’s not a sharp edge or corner on the gun. All the edges are smoothed out for pocket carry.
I went through my Crate O’ Ammo and found about eighty rounds of various .380 defensive loads, which considering the current prices of .380 ammo everywhere is like finding a bag of Krugerrand gold coins in your attic. I loaded up with a little sampler of various loads, and headed out into the front yard to check the LCP for function.
It’s a locked-breech gun, so it’s surprisingly tame for such a flyweight, especially considering the .380ACP caliber. The sights are low-profile and rather vestigial, but I had no problem making a Pepsi can dance at seven yards. Function was flawless with all the loads tested: Remington Golden Sabers, the old Winchester Black Talon, Federal Hydra-Shoks, and Remington JHPs. Considering the cost of replacement ammo, I didn’t fire a whole lot of rounds through the gun, but enough to get a bit of a feel for it. The pistol has a manual slide lock, but doesn’t hold the slide back after the last round. Trigger pull is a bit stiff, but fairly smooth, and no problem for someone who’s used to revolvers.
It’s not going to replace my beloved K-frames as primary carry pieces, but it’s neat to have a pocketable gun again, and it certainly comes in handy for just walking around the property without having to put on the whole belt ensemble. (One thing I’ve always appreciated about pocket guns from a self-defense standpoint is that you can have your hand on your gun in an inconspicuous manner if/when you see trouble brewing. The fastest draw is one where the gun is already in your hand, and all that.) It’s a neat, tidy, and well-made little beast that offers a respectable punch for its weight and size. It’s also ludicrously easy to carry, and reasonably easy to shoot well at self-defense distances.
Overall, the Ruger LCP gets two enthusiastic thumbs up from the Munchkin Wrangler Gun Test Labs. Now I just need to find a way to be like Jay, and con the Crimson Trace folks into sending me one of those nifty laser units they make for the LCP. (From my experience with CTC units on my J-frames, the laser would probably increase the utility of that little Ruger by about 500% in low light.)