Sunday, January 06, 2013

Guns: Ruger LCR-22 review - "Blade Runner" Blaster


Ruger's LCR revolver really shook up the snubnose world a few years ago.  The aluminum-and-polymer framed guns were a radical departure from the decades-old design of other snubbies, and they have proven to be a great option for concealed carry. The LCR's popularity has led to about a half-dozen variations - you can get LCRs in .38, .357, and even .22 Magnum.

Today's review will look at the LCR-22, chambered in .22 LR (it can also fire .22 Long and .22 Short). The LCR-22 is intended to serve both as a training gun for people who want to practice with a snubnose, and as a CCW gun for people who cannot handle the recoil of .38 Special. How does it fill these two niches?

First Impressions

The LCR-22 has the same form factor as the service caliber LCRs. It's slightly heavier than the .38 Special version, but slightly lighter than the .357 version. Mine came equipped with fixed sights and the futuristic-looking Hogue grip (to me, the LCR resembles Deckard's blaster from "Blade Runner"):

The LCR-22's trigger pull is noticeably worse than the centerfire models, due to the physical limitations of the rimfire ignition system. With the trigger's heavy weight, I found that it was hard to keep the LCR still during dry-fire. The trigger stroke feels a bit different, too, since the LCR-22 holds eight cartridges instead of five.

At the Range

The LCR-22 was reliable with all the .22 ammo I fed through it, including Federal and Winchester bulk pack. As with any rimfire, you will eventually get a light strike or two, but even those were few and far between. Fired cases also extracted without incident.

It took a fair amount of time to get used to the LCR-22's trigger. In the end, I resorted to staging the trigger in order to get recognizable 2"-3" groups out of the gun at 10 yards. Here are some examples of what  my LCR-22 did at that distance with common target ammo:


If you already own a snubnose, the LCR-22 is an excellent way to keep proficient without burning through box after expensive box of .38 Special. Even though it retails for $400, the LCR-22 will eventually save you money if you shoot more than a couple thousand rounds through it. Moreover, the LCR-22 is actually harder to shoot than its big brothers; if you can shoot the LCR-22 well, your carry revolvers will feel like laser beams in comparison.

As a CCW gun, the LCR-22 could work for people whose hands cannot withstand recoil. It's a rimfire, and inherently less reliable, but it's also a revolver - if you have a failure to fire, just pull the trigger again. Of course, you'll need to have the hand strength to pull the trigger in the first place, so shooters with fragile wrists should check out the LCR-22 out in a gun store before they buy (the recently released .22 Magnum version of the LCR is also worth a look, though it only holds six rounds instead of eight).


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