Gun World - - Contents - By Dave Work­man

Ruger’s LCRx only came in .38 Spe­cial … un­til now. The up­grade to .357 Mag­num gives it a lot of mus­cle in a lit­tle pack­age.

Ruger’s new­est in­car­na­tion of its 21st-cen­tury LCR re­volver can be summed up in a sin­gle word: siz­zler.

Right out of the box, this new, five-shot wheel­gun is de­cep­tive be­cause of its 17.1-ounce weight. This dou­ble-ac­tion model with an ex­posed ham­mer is cham­bered for the po­tent .357 Mag­num car­tridge, so it is some­thing in the na­ture of the lit­tle kid in school who threw a knock­out punch time af­ter time un­til the other kids stopped un­der­es­ti­mat­ing him.

Where the LCR and LCRx (ex­posed ham­mer model) cham­bered in .38 Spe­cial fea­ture a mono­lithic frame made from 7000 se­ries alu­minum, this .357 mag­num-cal­iber sib­ling sports a frame built with 400 se­ries stain­less steel. It fea­tures Ruger’s trans­fer bar sys­tem and a patented fric­tionre­duc­ing cam as part of the ac­tion that pro­duces a smooth trig­ger pull, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany’s lit­er­a­ture. On the out­side, it looks like the .38 Spe­cial, but it is in­vari­ably what is in­side that counts.

Count this, then: In an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion dur­ing which one might need to open fire, by the time this re­volver has launched all five of its .357 Mag­num pro­jec­tiles, you’ve got the un­di­vided at­ten­tion of who­ever or what­ever is on the re­ceiv­ing end.

Ruger’s new LCRx fea­tures the Hogue Tamer Mono­grip, with its tex­tured sur­face that was put to the test in the Pa­cific North­west (where, most of the year, rain has just fallen, is fall­ing or is about to fall). If you don’t like the short grip, Ruger’s de­sign makes it pos­si­ble to switch and add a dif­fer­ent grip for a longer bear­ing sur­face with the hand.

This ver­sion has a tra­di­tional rear notch at the top rear of the frame and a re­place­able, pinned ramp front sight with a white line. The re­volver is fin­ished in matte black. The cylin­der on this mag­num model is not as rad­i­cally fluted as the ones in the .38 Spe­cial spec­i­mens—pre­sum­ably to han­dle the higher cham­ber pres­sure and leave a bit more weight to ab­sorb the re­coil. The ejec­tor rod is pro­tected by a full shroud un­der the bar­rel, and it proved long enough to pop emp­ties out and clear the cham­bers.


Ac­cord­ing to Ruger, the bar­rel is 1.87 inches long, cut with six grooves on a 1:16-inch, right-hand twist. It’s an ac­cu­rate lit­tle devil with the right load, as I learned at the range with a

se­lec­tion of fac­tory am­mu­ni­tion from SIG Sauer, Winch­ester and Black Hills. The Ruger di­gested them all and liked one of those rounds in par­tic­u­lar. (More about that in a mo­ment.)

Hav­ing tested ear­lier ver­sions of this pop­u­lar Ruger re­volver in its ham­mer­less con­fig­u­ra­tion—in .22 WMR, .327 Fed­eral Mag­num and .38 Spe­cial—and the ex­posed ham­mer model in .38 Spe­cial with a 3-inch bar­rel and ad­justable rear sight, I can hon­estly say this one has the most punch at both ends.

Put a box of full-house mag­nums through the LCRx, and there is no mis­tak­ing that you’ve done some­thing. While re­coil is stout, it is man­age­able. It might be un­pleas­ant for some shoot­ers. How­ever, those who can han­dle a .357 Mag­num will fig­ure they’ve got a snubby with mus­cle and set­tle for that with a smile. I’ve fired a fair num­ber of mag­num re­volvers with big­ger bores, and this one is hardly in the “bru­tal” realm. For the sake of com­par­i­son, I ran a few rounds of +P .38 Spe­cials through the LCRx, and the re­sult was what I ex­pected: Felt re­coil is much more man­age­able and, for some peo­ple, a lot of shoot­ing with .38 Spe­cials while load­ing up with mag­nums in an emer­gency might be a good way to get ac­quainted with this re­volver.

Re­coil is the down side of any lightweight hand­gun; so, in that re­gard, the LCRx in .357 Mag­num should pro­duce no sur­prises. There is more than enough in the plus col­umn to make this model a win­ner.

For open­ers, the re­volver is a su­perb plat­form for a de­fen­sive hand­gun. It is sim­ple to op­er­ate, doesn’t jam and, in a snubby con­fig­u­ra­tion such as the LCRx, it can be car­ried com­fort­ably in any small hol­ster, in­clud­ing an an­kle rig or in a pocket or purse with­out a hol­ster. Af­ter a while, you won’t even no­tice the weight, as I dis­cov­ered while car­ry­ing it in a DeSan­tis pan­cake rig.

All you need to make a re­volver work is loose am­mu­ni­tion. There is no mag­a­zine to lose and no mag­a­zine dis­con­nect that ren­ders the hand­gun vir­tu­ally use­less with­out the mag­a­zine.


Hav­ing fired plenty of dou­ble-ac­tion-only re­volvers (such as the LCR) and DA/SA mod­els with ex­posed ham­mers (such as the LCRx), I pre­fer the lat­ter. Of course, in an emer­gency, one rarely has the time to take a pre­cise shot. But never say no to hav­ing the op­tion.

For per­sonal protection, ei­ther in the home or out and about, the LCRx in .357 Mag­num will most def­i­nitely stop a fight. There are so many vari­a­tions in am­mu­ni­tion that it is im­pos­si­ble to not find some­thing that per­forms.


And you can load up with .38 Spe­cials, in­clud­ing +P am­mu­ni­tion, and shoot that all day long, as men­tioned ear­lier. This makes the LCRx ver­sa­tile.

Where this re­volver might find equally quick ac­cep­tance is on the trail. There are a cou­ple of ab­so­lute truths about the coun­try away from the pave­ment. Back­pack­ers might not care to ad­mit it, but quite a few of them carry guns on the trail—typ­i­cally out of sight but nor­mally within reach in an emer­gency. They want a gun that is lightweight and in a cal­iber with enough horse­power to stop a preda­tor, whether it has four legs or two.

Equally im­por­tant is the firearm’s abil­ity to stand up to the el­e­ments. Dur­ing my eval­u­a­tion, it rained quite a bit. That pro­vided an am­ple op­por­tu­nity to give the LCRx a shower or two. The stain­less steel, with its rugged fin­ish, took it in stride and, thanks to that Hogue grip, the re­volver didn’t slide around in my palm.


For this eval­u­a­tion, I sam­pled SIG Sauer Elite V-Crown 125-grain JHPs, SIG Sauer Elite Per­for­mance 125-grain FMJs, Winch­ester Per­sonal Protection 110-grain JHPs, Winch­ester 125-grain Su­per-X JHPs, Fed­eral 158-grain Hy­dra-Shoks, Speer 125-grain Gold Dots and Black Hills 158-grain JHPs.

While all my five-shot strings held within about 2½ to 2¾ inches at 10 yards, the SIG Elite FMJs pro­duced the tight­est group, at 1 inch. How­ever, I’ve never heard of any­one paus­ing in the mid­dle of a gun bat­tle to mea­sure a group size. Suf­fice it to say that at self-de­fense ranges, the LCRx has the abil­ity to put them all in the tar­get—pro­vided the shooter does their part. On the plus side, the more I shot, the tighter things got.

Even out of a short bar­rel, the .357 Mag­num launches from the LCRx with im­pres­sive bal­lis­tics: The Black Hills 158-grainer av­er­aged 879.3 fps with my Chrony Al­pha chrono­graph set 36 inches from the muz­zle. The 158-grain Fed­eral Hy­dra-Shoks clocked an av­er­age of 1,130 fps, and Speer’s 125-grain Gold Dots moved out at 1,141 fps. Winch­ester’s 110-grain­ers av­er­aged 1,173 fps, while the Winch­ester Su­per-X 125-grain load was a bit faster, av­er­ag­ing 1,197 fps. SIG Elite FMJ loads av­er­aged 1,245 fps, and the Sig JHPs came in al­most iden­ti­cally, at 1,244 fps.



Us­ing a two-hand hold, I found that with each of these loads, my test re­volver shot rather well to the cen­ter. The dou­ble­ac­tion stroke was smooth, thanks to the afore­men­tioned cam, although it av­er­aged slightly more than 11 pounds with the Ly­man dig­i­tal gauge. The sin­gle-ac­tion letoff was crisp, with­out a hint of creep. The sin­gle-ac­tion break felt as if it was around 3.5 to 4 pounds, but it mea­sured heav­ier than that: 6 pounds, 1.5 ounces.

The mar­ket­place will de­ter­mine whether the LCRx in .357 Mag­num has a fu­ture, but my sus­pi­cion is that this ex­posed-ham­mer model will at­tract a quick and de­voted fol­low­ing. And it might be no stretch to sug­gest that if, in the fu­ture, Ruger were to put out a model like this, ex­cept with a 3-inch bar­rel, ad­justable sight and longer grip, it would also be a win­ner from the start. GW

The cylin­der holds five rounds, and this re­volver will han­dle full-house mag­num loads.

A look in­side re­veals Ruger’s trans­fer bar safety fea­ture.

The LCRx will go down any dark al­ley. Take along spare am­mu­ni­tion, and you’re pre­pared for the worst.

The Hogue Tamer Mono­grip’s se­cret might be the tex­tured sur­face. Even in a North­west rain, the LCRx in .357 Mag­num will not slide around in the hand un­der full re­coil. The first group out of the Ruger us­ing 110-grain Winch­ester Per­sonal Protection...

Ruger fit­ted the LCRx mag­num with a Hogue Tamer Mono­grip, which does ab­sorb some of the re­coil of full-house loads in this 17.1-ounce com­pact.

Find a good an­kle rig, and the LCRx will walk down the mean streets un­ob­tru­sively (and into the finest so­cial gath­er­ings, as well).

The front sight is a re­place­able pinned ramp model with a high-vis­i­bil­ity white line. It shows up, even in sub­dued light.

Ruger’s new­est LCRx re­volver is cham­bered for the .357 Mag­num. It’s a dou­ble-ac­tion/ sin­gle-ac­tion, fiver­ound model with fixed sights.

There are plenty of avail­able hol­ster op­tions. The author car­ried the gun for a while in this DeSan­tis high-ride pan­cake rig.

When it rains, the new­est Ruger LCRx takes it in stride. Wet or dry, this five-rounder de­liv­ers the goods.

Ruger de­signed this .357 Mag­num with a stain­less steel mono­lithic frame, along with a stain­less cylin­der and bar­rel insert.

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