The Ruger LCP and the .380 ACP Cartridge

Hello everyone! This post will cover the Ruger LCP semi-automatic pocket pistol and the .380 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) Cartridge:

The Ruger LCP (Lightweight Compact Pistol) in .380 ACP

The Ruger LCP (Lightweight Compact Pistol) in .380 ACP


The Ruger LCP is a .380 ACP pistol primarily designed for the burgeoning concealed carry (CCW) market. In the past few years, the number of concealed carry permit holders has skyrocketed, due in part to an increase in violent crimes, mostly involving drugs. More and more law-abiding individuals are making the decision to be responsible for their own personal safety, realizing that Law Enforcement is not always present to protect them. For those people who have chosen to carry a firearm for personal protection, training and familiarity with firearms is paramount, as is the size of the firearm. The Ruger LCP fits the bill for CCW holders, combining exemplary performance with small, concealable size.
The Ruger LCP show above a Smith & Wesson Model 60 J-Frame revolver. Notice the size difference.

The Ruger LCP show above a Smith & Wesson Model 60 J-Frame revolver. Notice the size difference.


The Ruger LCP is chambered in the .380 ACP cartridge, which used to be considered barely adequate for defensive purposes. With the advances in technology in regards to ammunition manufacture, the .380 ACP is now considered an adequate defensive round when chambered in a reliable pistol such as the LCP.
The new breed of .380 ACP offerings are vastly superior to offerings in the past.

The new breed of .380 ACP offerings are vastly superior to offerings in the past.


Note the .380 ACP Wound Track. Plenty adequate for personal protection.

Note the .380 ACP Wound Track. Plenty adequate for personal protection.


The LCP uses the tilt-locking system of operation, rather than the commonly used straight blowback system found on most small .380 ACP pistols. This means that there is no need for an excessively strong recoil spring to achieve breech locking. Thus, the slide on the LCP can be easily retracted and is not as difficult as retracting the slide on a straight blowback pistol. This can be a decided advantage for those users who may have limited hand strength and may experience difficulty in retracting the slide on a blowback .380 pistol.
Close-up of the barrel hood and chamber area o the LCP. Note the Glock-like extractor.

Close-up of the barrel hood and chamber area o the LCP. Note the Glock-like extractor.


Right-hand side view with the slide retracted, showing the tilting-barrel locking arrangement.

Right-hand side view with the slide retracted, showing the tilting-barrel locking arrangement.


Another view showing the tilting barrel arrangement. Note the flared barrel to assist in secure locking.

Another view showing the tilting barrel arrangement. Note the flared barrel to assist in secure locking.


The LCP, unlike many small pistols, is a hammer fired pistol. There is no pre-cocked striker arrangement as is normal on many small .380 ACP pistols. The flush-fitting snag-free hammer cannot be thumb-cocked manually, but is pre-cocked when the slide is retracted to chamber a round, and is subsequently re-cocked as the slide cycles during operation. Because of this, the LCP does not feature a double strike capability. Therefore, in the event of a stubborn primer or a misfire, the recalcitrant round must be cleared from the pistol, rather than just simply pulling the trigger again for a second try at firing.
A view of the LCP's hammer when NOT pre-cocked. A trigger pull right now would do nothing.

A view of the LCP’s hammer when NOT pre-cocked. A trigger pull right now would do nothing.


The same view of the LCP's hammer, but now the slide has cycled and the hammer has been pre-cocked. The pistol will now fire.

The same view of the LCP’s hammer, but now the slide has cycled and the hammer has been pre-cocked. The pistol will now fire.


The LCP has very small sights, which are quite difficult to use. However, in my opinion, this is a minor concern, as this is not a target or plinking pistol. It is designed for up-close personal defense, generally not beyond 7 yards. At that distance, the sights are more than adequate for defensive encounters, and serve their intended purpose.
Top view showing the LCP's minimalist sighting arrangement. The sights are adequate for their intended purpose however.

Top view showing the LCP’s minimalist sighting arrangement. The sights are adequate for their intended purpose however.


The Ruger LCP: A Fine defensive choice.

The Ruger LCP: A Fine defensive choice.


In truth, the Ruger LCP is a fantastic firearm. It provides reliability and performance in a concealable package. Yes, the .380 ACP is still not the biggest round out there, but it is the one to be most likely carried. When people are inconvenienced by carrying a large firearm for protection, they don’t end up carrying it. Something like the Ruger LCP that is very reliable and portable is far more likely to be carried than a large .45 ACP 1911 pistol or something similar. As the people who carry these little guns like to say “a .380 in the hand is better than the .45 at home”. I tend to agree with them.

-Michad

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