Ruger LCR Revolver Review (38 Spl +P)
Part 3 - External, Internal & Operational Features
December 30, 2012

Ruger LCR Review

In this part of my Ruger LCR Revolver Review, I cover the external, internal and operational features of the Ruger LCR Revolver.  Throughout this review, you can click on any photo to bring up a high resolution photo showing the details of this handgun.


The Ruger LCR Revolvers are a blend of high strength aluminum and stainless steel along with polymer materials that produce a very light weight and functional handgun.  At first glance, you should be able to see that the LCR is a hammerless revolver, hence making it double action only.  Since there is no way to see the front of the hammer due to the polymer covering of the fire control housing, I will go ahead and let you know that the LCR incorporates a transfer bar safety that is connected directly to the trigger.  This transfer bar ensures that a hammer blow cannot impact the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled all the way to the rear.  If you shake the LCR, you can hear a little rattle which is the transfer bar and this rattle is completely normal for the LCR revolvers.

Figure 1
Ruger LCR Review

The LCR has an all black appearance except for the front portion that you see of the stainless steel barrel and trigger.  The black surface finishes are a combination of Synergistic Hard Coat (aluminum frame), Ionbond Diamondblack™ (cylinder), matte black polymer (glass filled nylon on fire control housing) and black rubber (Hogue grips).

The synergistic coating (Synergistic Hard Coat) seems to be a relatively new (at least for me) coating term for firearms.  This coating was initially developed to solve some coating issues for NASA, but the coating properties give it many potential applications.  Ruger adding this coating to the frame seems to be a perfect application.  Some of the key properties of synergistic coatings are:

  • Prevent mechanical wear, abrasion and galling by providing a super-hard, dry-lubricated surface
  • Resist corrosion and attack from chemicals, acids and exposure to hostile atmospheres
  • Won’t chip, peel or flake, like “paint-on” finishes

Essentially, you seem to be getting something similar to a hard coat anodizing combined with a durable satin (Teflon-ish) finish.

The Ionbond Diamondblack™ finish (basically a PVD coating) on the cylinder improves wear resistance due to the high hardness, low coefficient of friction and high structural integrity. This coating, with thicknesses of only a few microns (µ) and with hardness up to 4000hv (Vickers), can result in a significant increase in firearm life and functionality.

Figure 2
Ruger LCR Review

The LCR measured 1.28" at it's widest point which is across the cylinder.

Figure 3
Ruger LCR Review

The LCR measured 4.54" in height and 6.67" in length, which were slight but not significant deviations from the specification values of 4.50" and 6.50".  This revolver comes with a Hogue® Tamer™ grip that allows you to get two fingers firmly on the grip while your little finger rests on the butt of the grip.  For my hand size (medium palm with long fingers), the grip felt good and has a large feel for such a small revolver.  The monolithic frame is made from a 7000 series aluminum according to Ruger and the aluminum is most likely 7075-T6 which seems to be the standard high strength aluminum used in firearms.

Figure 4
Ruger LCR Review

Figure 5
Ruger LCR Review

The photo below looking down the barrel makes it pretty clear that the LCR is a 5 shot revolver.  Because of the transfer bar safety, you can take advantage of a fully loaded cylinder when carrying this revolver.  The LCR also does not have a side plate like most revolvers.  The internal parts are installed through the top of the fire control housing or through the bottom in the back of the frame.

Figure 6                                                   Figure 7                                                   Figure 8
Ruger LCR Review  Ruger LCR Review  Ruger LCR Review

The LCR weighed in at 13.35 ounces empty and 15.45 ounces with 5 rounds of Remington 38 Special +P 110gr Semi-Jacketed Hollow Points.

Figure 9                                                          Figure 10
Ruger LCR Review   Ruger LCR Review

The Ruger LCR uses a stainless steel barrel sleeve inside the monolithic aluminum frame.  The barrel measured exactly 1.875" in length as stated in the specifications and the barrel has a six groove 1:16" right hand twist.

Figure 11
Ruger LCR Review

The LCR comes with a replaceable steel pinned front sight.  For some reason, the lighting used in these photos seems to have accented the finish on the sight to show a "speckled" black matte finish.  Under normal lighting, it is hard to notice the lighter colored specks.  These lighter specks are not rust, but instead look like some type of pretreatment prior to the final black finish.  Also notice in the photo that Ruger chose to use a block style lettering for the model name.

Figure 12
Ruger LCR Review

The rear sight is a U-notch that is integrally formed into the top of the frame and also in the top of the polymer fire control housing.

Figure 13
Ruger LCR Review

This next photo gives you a look down the sights showing the sight picture.  When at arms length, the gaps on each side of the front sight to the sides of the U-notch are only slightly less than that shown in the photo.

Figure 14
Ruger LCR Review

The right side of the frame is marked with "RUGER LCR", "38 SPL +P" and the serial number.  The fire control housing has the Ruger logo molded into the side of the housing.

Figure 15
Ruger LCR Review

The left side of the frame is marked with the statement "READ INSTRUCTION MANUAL", company name "STURM, RUGER & CO, INC" and "NEWPORT, NH U.S.A."  The left side of the fire control housing also has the Ruger logo molded into the side of the housing.

Figure 16
Ruger LCR Review

The fire control housing includes an integrally molded trigger guard.  The trigger is stainless steel and appears to be either a cast or molded part.  The trigger has a polished smooth front and is about 0.31" in width.  The trigger pull starts out with the initial take-up of about 0.03", the cylinder is fully rotated at about 0.40" and the hammer drops at about 0.53".  The double action trigger pull measured 9.7 pounds based on 10 pulls using a Lyman Digital Trigger Pull Gauge.  I was actually surprised to see it come in above 9 pounds because the smoothness of the pull makes the pull weight seem less.  Ruger states the "Patented Friction Reducing Cam is a next generation design in fire control systems with an optimized cam that results in a smooth, non-stacking trigger pull."  I agree that the trigger is smooth and non-stacking, yet I found that staging the trigger was still possible and gives you the feel of shooting single action for increased accuracy if needed.  Staging is not practical in a defense situation, but doing so might give you slightly better results at the range.  I suggest practicing to shoot the LCR both ways.  Another way Ruger may be able to achieve the smooth trigger pull is with the coatings applied to the internal parts.  The LCR has special electroless nickel/PTFE (Teflon®) coatings on the trigger, hammer and other internal components.  A last point worth noting on the trigger is that the trigger must be released completely when firing this double-action revolver.  This is typical for all modern double-action revolvers.

Figure 17
Ruger LCR Review

The cylinder can be opened by pressing in on the rear of the crane latch button where the ridges are located.  With the cylinder open, you cannot pull the trigger and release the hammer.  When the cylinder is open, you can also see the stainless steel ejector.

Figure 18
Ruger LCR Review

With the cylinder open, cartridges easily drop in all chambers of the cylinder without having to rotate the cylinder.  The left side of the Hogue grip appears to be molded to allow a little more clearance for the cartridges when loading or unloading.

Figure 19
Ruger LCR Review

The crane and cylinder are held closed by the center lock pin at the rear and the front latch pin shown below.  Pressing on the crane release button pushes the center lock pin out of the breech face and also pushes the front latch pin out of the ejector extension.

Figure 20
Ruger LCR Review

Figure 21
Ruger LCR Review

For some reason I'm still amazed at how deeply the cylinder is fluted for this revolver to be rated to handle 38 Special +P ammunition.  I'm sure the cylinder being made of high strength stainless steel is the key factor allowing the deep fluting.  The cylinder also has a nice black finish due to the Ionbond DiamondBlack™ coating.

Figure 22
Ruger LCR Review

This next photo gives you a good look at the breech face where you can see the stainless steel firing pin bushing, tip of the firing pin and end of the pawl.

Figure 23
Ruger LCR Review

The grip is removable by first removing the screw in the bottom of the grip.

Figure 24
Ruger LCR Review

With the screw removed, the grip easily slides off the grip peg of the polymer fire control housing revealing the internal lock, hammer strut and main spring.  The grip peg has a relatively slim profile which allows the opportunity for various size aftermarket grips if you prefer something different in the future.  Currently Ruger offers three other type of grips for the LCR at their website.

Figure 25
Ruger LCR Review

The hard copy of the Instruction Manual provided with this revolver didn't say anything about an internal lock, so I then went to the Ruger website and opened the online version of the Instruction Manual and there was an extra page added that covers this internal lock.

Figure 26
Ruger LCR Review

The LCR came with two internal lock keys like the one shown below.

Figure 27
Ruger LCR Review

Inserting the key and rotating it 180 degrees clockwise engages the internal locking mechanism.

Figure 28
Ruger LCR Review

Figure 29
Ruger LCR Review

With the internal lock engaged, the travel of the hammer strut is limited and I was only able to pull the trigger to the point shown below.

Figure 30
Ruger LCR Review

On the opposite side of the fire control housing you can see the head of the hammer pivot pin.  Ruger recommends you lubricate the hammer and pivot pin at approximately every 1000 rounds.  You will need to remove the grip to allow the pivot pin head to be pushed out slightly.  Make sure you refer to the Instruction Manual when doing this because Ruger states "CAUTION: DO NOT COMPLETELY REMOVE PIN OR YOUR REVOLVER WILL CEASE TO FUNCTION".

Figure 31
Ruger LCR Review

The base of the polymer fire control housing has a stainless steel threaded insert to engage the grip screw.

Figure 32
Ruger LCR Review

The Hogue® Tamer™ grip has a rubbery texture and stippling on each side of the grip.  The rear of the grip has a ridged area with the Ruger logo and the words "Hogue Tamer".  This area is much softer than the other parts of the grip due to the thinner layer of black grip material that is then cushioned by the softer blue material on the inside of the grip.

            Figure 33                       Figure 34                        Figure 35                       Figure 36
Ruger LCR Review  Ruger LCR Review  Ruger LCR Review  Ruger LCR Review

The bottom of the grip has a stainless steel washer molded into the grip to provide a bearing surface for the grip screw.

Figure 37                                                             Figure 38
Ruger LCR Review  Ruger LCR Review

These next two photos give you a look at a loaded cylinder with the cylinder open and also a look from the front showing  the front of the bullets in the chambers.

Figure 39
Ruger LCR Review

Figure 40
Ruger LCR Review



After studying, taking photos and writing up this part of the review, I really like the looks, feel and function of the Ruger LCR Revolver.  Specifically, Ruger has done a great job with the black finishes on this revolver and the LCR is very light weight and has a smooth double-action trigger pull.

For more detailed photos and commentary, make sure you check out the other parts of this review and feel free to leave comments on my Reader's Comments page.  The following links are provided to help you see other parts of this review. 

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