Ruger® LCP® Custom Pistol Review
Part 3 - External & Operational Features
April 20, 2015

In this part of my Ruger LCP Custom pistol review, I take a close look at the external and operational features of the new LCP Custom pistol.  Except for the sights and trigger, the look of the LCP Custom has not changed from the standard LCP pistol.  The LCP Custom maintains the same black alloy steel slide and black polymer frame as the blued version of the standard LCP.

 

These next photos give you some isometric views of the Ruger LCP Custom and clicking on these photos or any others in this review will bring up a high resolution image showing the finer details.  One feature that really stands out is the wide red skeletonized trigger.  I think Ruger adding this wider skeletonized trigger was a nice feature, but in all honesty, I'm still struggling with the red color.  The main benefit I see to red color is that it helps me identify this pistol.

Figure 1                                                              Figure 2
 

The LCP pistols are double-action only and you can see the hammer in the semi-cocked position below which does not extend past the rear of the slide.

Figure 3                                                            Figure 4
 

One of the most significant features of the LCP with regard to compactness is its width which is an extremely slim 0.82" measured across the slide to the manual slide hold open feature.

Figure 5
Ruger LCP Custom Top View

The length of the LCP Custom matches that of the LCP which is 5.16".  The height is increased slightly due to the taller sights and comes it at 4.06" with the extended floor plate shown and 3.80" with the flat floor plate installed.

Figure 6
Ruger LCP Custom Right View

The slimness of the grip is achieved by utilizing a single stack 6-round magazine.

Figure 7
Ruger LCP Custom Bottom View

Figure 8                                                   Figure 9                                                   Figure 10
Ruger LCP Custom Front View  Ruger LCP Custom Left View  Ruger LCP Custom Back View

This pistol weighed in at 9.8 ounces empty and 12.1 ounces with 7 rounds of Hornady Critical Defense 90gr ammunition.

Figure 11                                                            Figure 12
 

I feel the most significant custom difference from a shoot-ability perspective are the new sights.  I understand the reasons why(cost, snag free, suitable for close range, etc.) the standard pistol has the integral sights, but for those wanting to actually aim this pistol, the new sights are much more visible and them being windage adjustable is a welcomed feature.

 Figure 13                                                           Figure 14                                          
 

The front sight is photoluminescent which means it will glow in the dark if it has been exposed to light prior to the darkness.  The brightness and duration of the glowing is a function of how well the photoluminescent material was charged prior to darkness.  This is the same feature that you can find on many watches.  Under normal light conditions, the dot has a yellow-ish white appearance.  When charged and in low light, the dot is very visible with a green-ish look as shown below.  Although this single dot sight picture is a great improvement compared to the integral sights on the standard LCP, I would have really like to see a true 3-dot sight picture similar to Ruger's LC9 pistols.

    Figure 15                                      Figure 16                                     Figure 17
   

The rear sight is windage adjustable.  To adjust the windage, loosen the set screw and drift the rear sight in the direction you want the point of impact to move.  The roll pin forward of the rear sight is the firing pin retaining pin.

Figure 18

The left side of the slide is marked with the manufacturer's name and location "RUGER - PRESCOTT - AZ - USA".  The left side of the polymer frame is marked with Ruger's standard warning, the RUGER name and their logo in the grip area.

Figure 19

The barrel is marked with the caliber "380 AUTO" and a proof mark which indicates that this pistol was proof tested at the factory.  Note that the caliber markings do not indicate that +P ammunition is allowed and Ruger makes it very clear in the Instruction Manual, "Do not use +P ammunition."

Figure 20

For those not familiar with the 380 Auto caliber, the chart below should give you a pretty good idea on how it stacks up in muzzle energy compared to other popular "carry" calibers.  I'm not going to fall in the trap of saying how much energy is needed in a defense pistol because I'm sure there is a wide range of opinions on the subject, but I am going to say that 200 ft-lbs of energy behind a premium bullet from a compact handgun is better than throwing your shoe.  Each person will have to decide for themselves the power, weight and size of their carry handgun and there are situations where being lightweight and compact are critical features needed in a carry handgun.

Figure 21
 

The rear right side of the barrel has a cutout area to create a loaded chamber view port.  When a cartridge is in the chamber, the cartridge case is visible above the extractor claw.

Figure 22                                                                  Figure 23
 

The left side of the slide has the "LCP" model engraved.  Also each side of the slide has six slots to provide a textured area for gripping when pulling the slide to the rear.  If you haven't already noticed, there is no manual safety on the LCP pistols.  The only control is the slide hold open.  The slide locks open only when this hold open feature is pushed up with your finger while the slide is pulled to the rear.  Although it is possible to push the hold open down with the side of your thumb, I feel it is much more practical to release the slide by pulling it rearward with your opposite hand.  The hold open is spring loaded to move out of the way when the pressure of the slide is released.  The round pin under the "P" is the takedown pin which I cover in Part 4.  The polymer grip frame has a slotted window so that you can see the serial number engraved into the aluminum frame insert.  The head of the magazine latch is also on the left side of the grip and this latch is not reversible.

Figure 24

One of the significant custom features of the LCP Custom pistol is the red anodized skeletonized aluminum trigger.  This trigger has a wide profile measuring about 0.30" in width.  Since I don't own the standard LCP, I'm not sure of the width of that trigger.  The trigger pull measured 7.1 lbs. based on an average of 10 pulls from a Lyman Digital Trigger Pull Scale.  The trigger pull had an initial take-up of 0.12", broke at about 0.41" and had a maximum travel of about 0.53".  The trigger pull has two distinctive reset clicks.  The reset first click occurs at about 0.26" of travel and the second at about 0.08".  For a double-action only trigger, I feel the trigger pull is acceptable.

Figure 25

When the slide is pulled rearward, the chamber portion of the barrel drops and the barrel tilts to allow full rearward travel of the slide.

Figure 26

The LCP comes with a 2.75" alloy steel barrel that has 6-groove rifling and a 1:16" right hand twist.

Figure 27

It is hard to tell in this next photo, but the ejector (A) is actually integral to the top of the bolt hold open.  The extractor (B) is tilted in slightly when no cartridge is in the chamber.  When a cartridge is chambered, the outside surface of the ejector is flat with the side of the slide.  It is possible to tell a difference between these two states (loaded and unloaded) with your thumb.

Figure 28

It is hard to tell in this next photo, but the cartridge in the top of the magazine sits high behind the chamber which should allow for easy feeding of various types of ammunition.

Figure 29

As I mentioned earlier, the bolt hold open and magazine catch are the only controls (other than the trigger) on this pistol.  The bolt hold open is spring loaded to drop out of the way when the slide force is removed.  I was able to push the hold open down with the side of my thumb, but it was very difficult and is not the recommended way to release this slide.

Figure 30

This next photo gives you a look at the stainless steel guide rod.  After reading various forums, it appears that there is wear occurring on the standard guide rod and stainless steel rods are being substituted as an aftermarket upgrade.  That being the case, I think it was a good idea for Ruger to go ahead and give the customizers what they want.

Figure 31

In these next photos, I show the various states of the hammer.  The left photo shows the hammer in the semi-cocked position which is achieved each time the slide cycles.  Most likely this is the position that you will see the hammer the majority of the time.  The center photo shows how the hammer cocked the additional amount during the double action trigger pull and this position is just before the hammer is released.  The right photo shows the hammer after it is released.

Figure 32                                    Figure 33                                     Figure 34
   

These next photos show the grip area with the different magazine floor plates installed.  I feel the 0.26" increase in length for the extended floor plate is well worth this increase.

Figure 35                                                             Figure 36
 

You can see that with the flat floor plate installed I don't get a full perch of my ring finger.  The extended floor plate allows me to get a full perch of my ring finger.  You can also find aftermarket floor plates that extend further to allow you to get all your fingers on the front of the grip.  The grip includes some type of texture on all sides and I feel that is important to maintain control of such a small gripping surface.

Figure 37                                                             Figure 38
 

The bottom of the grip does not have any type of chamfer to aid in inserting a magazine.  I didn't find this to be an issue.

Figure 39

Figure 40

The LCP pistols only come with a single 6-round magazine.  I know this style of pistol is not intended for precision target shooting, but I feel every pistol should have at a minimum two magazines.  The magazine came with a sticker that emphasizes that the pistol will fire with the magazine removed.

Figure 41

These next photos show all sides of the magazine along with "Made in USA".

Figure 42                                               
                                                

Figure 43                       Figure 44                          Figure 45                       Figure 46         
     

Figure 47                                              
                                               

The single stack magazine has holes on each side so you can know how many rounds are loaded.

Figure 48

The LCP Custom fits nicely in the soft case provided by Ruger.

Figure 49

 

Thoughts

I really like the compactness of the LCP pistols.  The pistol looks to be a quality handgun and the minimal safeties make it revolver simple.  I think the new sights may be the most significant custom feature.  Since I received this pistol for review, I have found it to be a pleasure to carry.

For more detailed photos and commentary, make sure you check out the other parts of this review and feel free to leave comments below.  The following links are provided to help you see other parts of this review. 


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