Improving on an iconic firearm isn’t an easy decision to take for a gun manufacturer. On one hand, it has to make sure that the successor has all the qualities of the model it is replacing. On the other, the drawbacks of the predecessor, no matter how minute, need to be removed as well.
That’s exactly the situation Ruger faced as it decided to replace its popular LCP shot-gun. Released in 2008, the original LCP remains to this day one of the company’s most popular shotguns. So popular did it become that Ruger didn’t dare replace it for almost a full decade.
When some customers demanded improvements, Ruger broke away from tradition and updated the original instead of replacing it altogether. That change saw the first-gen LCP having a better trigger pull, slightly better sights, and a seven-round mag that made it far more easy-to-grip. Once again, its sales went through the roof.
Then came 2016, and Ruger decided enough was enough. To showcase to the world that it didn’t need to rest on its laurels for fame, the Connecticut-based firearm manufacturer came up with LCP 2, the model which came with updates all around, including a trigger safety and locking the side back when empty.
Read on to find out how this pistol fared in our Ruger LCP 2 review.
Ruger LCP 2 Review – Features
During our review of the Ruger LCP 2, we assessed its performance on various factors. Let’s look at how this handgun fared on each of them.
The first thing you’ll notice about the looks of the LCP 2 isn’t the firearm itself, but the holster which Ruger provides in its package. Ruger recognizes this handgun’s most likely method of carrying, and provides a well-textured pocket holster which would take care of the same, and look good while doing so.
As for the firearm itself, the serrations mentioned above stop it from being as smooth as some people might want. They not only feel in your hand but are visible from some distance, with their presence taking away some of the shine off the model.
Put simply, if you’re a fan of smoother styling, you won’t like the looks of the RCP II. However, if you value substance over style – which is what the serrations (who add a bit of roughness to the model’s looks), are there for, you’d be patient enough to tolerate them.
As far as the ergonomics of this handgun are concerned, let’s make one thing clear at the outset: you cannot compare them with those of a competition G34 or 2011. While these models are designed to be as shootable as humanly possible, the LCP II’s main purpose is to be fully concealable.
In other words, if you are going to buy this pistol, chances are that you are doing it because you want something that’s easy to conceal in your person. And in that respect, you won’t be able to find many pistols that are easier to tuck away than the LCP II.
Even in a high-stress situation, its aggressive type grip texture and cocking serrations make this pistol incredibly easy to grip. These serrations are there for older shooters or those who might find it hard to grip and rack the slide on the LCP II.
Given the small size of this model, its sight radius is of course on the short side. Credit to Ruger, though, that they managed to overcome this ‘shortcoming’ by providing the LCP II with a wide rear notch and a front post, both features which allow plenty of light on both sides of that front light.
As a result, this pistol is mechanically very accurate. Also, with a small muzzle flip and a revised trigger design, you can aim your first shot as fast as you can, with a reasonable expectation that you can still shoot 1’’ to 2’’ groups from a distance of seven yards.
One thing you might need to know is that this bullet doesn’t like the FMJs as much as the lighter JHP bullets, which is never a bad thing for a self-defense gun. Also, we recommend not using Magtech ammunition in it as this model didn’t fare well with it during our Ruger LCP 2 review.
Since this is primarily a defensive firearm, the LCP II has to go bang every time you squeeze the trigger. That’s because the first shot is the most important shot, which modern defensive firearms which have a defensive focus shouldn’t miss out on.
That’s exactly what the Ruger LCP II is capable of doing: going bang on the first round, second round, and so on. Both the factors which determine how reliable a firearm is – its feed ramps’ geometry, its extractor’s design – performed admirably during its testing phase.
Consequently, whether you’re going to feed this thing some high-end defensive ammo or a steel-cased bullet rusting in your basement for months, it won’t give any failure to extract, or failure to feed. That means that if you keep it well-maintained, this gun will go whenever you need it.
As is the case with all Ruger firearms, the LCP II isn’t taking any chances with your safety. It comes with three safety features to safeguard the well-being of its user, though all of the three are those which you have come to expect in most handguns.
The first of the three safety features is a neutrally balanced sear. It has a built-in spring tension which forces you to pull the trigger a little vigorously before the sear strikes the pin, forcing it to fire the bullet without any delay.
Secondly, it has the hammer catch which makes sure that the hammer doesn’t contact the firing pin as long as you fully pull the trigger. And finally, you have the integrated trigger safety which is nothing but a small spring lever injected into the trigger’s lower half to prevent premature pull.
On the customization front, the standard LCP II doesn’t have much to offer. All it offers on the customization front in its package is a finger grip extension fireplate. You can add it to the magazine for better comfort and improved grip.
Other than that, this model supports 6-round magazines of its predecessor. However, if you decide to use them, that magazine won’t activate the last round hold-open feature of the LCP II. Hence the reason why we recommend that you’re better off without them if you enjoy all the full features of this model.
At the time of writing this piece, a minor check on the internet revealed the price of this unit to be at a handsome $349. Even though it’s a very competitive valuation, Ruger isn’t taken any chances. Hence the reason why it is selling the original LCP at $259.
Weak points of the original Ruger LCP
You can only improve on something that isn’t perfect, which is exactly what the Ruger LCP 2 has done by addressing these three weak points of its predecessor.
Average second-strike capability
Since that gun was already small, guys with not-so-big hands had trouble saving their index finger from burying itself into their thumb before getting a full stroke.
As a result of this, LCP’s second-strike capability was below par. That means that a second pull of the trigger wouldn’t have fired the striker.
Absence of slide lock on the last round
In its original design, the LCP didn’t have a slide lock on its last round. We don’t doubt that Ruger took that decision to allow simplicity and lighter weight.
Still, if you ask firearm users who have a knack of shooting autoloaders, they might tell you of their disappointment at the absence of the slide looking back in the Ruger LCP.
Sights were added as if as an afterthought
Provided you still have the original model, you might check its sights to confirm our hunch that Ruger added them merely as an afterthought.
While their tininess didn’t do anything to affect the handgun’s performance from 7 yards, they were a challenge to operate in low light conditions.
Has Ruger LCP II improved on them?
While not many people complained about the abovementioned shortcomings of the original LCP, Ruger still made sure to address them in the LCP II’s design.
It has a brilliant striker-fired trigger
Even though the LCP II, like its predecessor, isn’t a striker-fired gun, its trigger pull still mimics the two-stage trigger of a high-end striker-fired service gun.
What that means that the trigger is anything but easy to pull. Its first-stage might be light but the second stage is incredibly well-defined, and the backlash isn’t excessive as well.
Presence of slide lock on the last round
As stated earlier, the Ruger LCP contained a manual side lock. Even though we cannot say that it wasn’t functional, anyone with sausage fingers had trouble pulling adjusting it.
On the contrary, the LCP II’s slide back locks on the last round to decrease the time of the reload. Luckily, civilians won’t be reloading their guns often, but it’s still a good feature to have.
Sights are better designed
In contrast to the original LCP, the sights on the LCP II are visibly large. So huge are the sights that even in low light conditions you won’t have any trouble using them.
However, that doesn’t mean that you get the same sights like that of a full-sized Glock 42. Though you cannot complain given the price of this model.
Weak points of the Ruger LCP II
Similar to the millions of handguns currently sold in the United States, the Ruger LCP II does have its fair share of shortcomings. Read on to find out whether they have the ability to act as a deal-breaker.
- Absence of three-dot system: Experts who have been firing weapons for years won’t be bothered too much with the absence of the three-dot system. However, if you’re a novice – or just want to shoot in low-light conditions, you’d prefer to have a three-dot system as it makes aligning the handgun a whole lot easier.
- Comes with only one magazine: In contrast to the three-dot system – whose absence might affect the functionality of this unit for some – the presence of only one magazine might only bother purists like us who just want to see how quickly they can do a mag change, but would have to spend extra as this model provides only one magazine in its package.
- There is recoil: Given the fact that it is a 0.388 which weighs a meager 10 ounces, users who haven’t fired the LCP II might believe that it won’t recoil. That’s a false notion. This model does stings in the hand after you have just fired it. Especially when you’re shooting fast, you need to maintain a proper grip to keep it correctly placed in your palm.
Ruger LCP 2 review: Conclusion
The Ruger LCP II comes with some visible improvements in the design as well as the functionality of everyone’s favorite original, the original LCP. By making some necessary changes in the looks of its predecessor – as well as improving its sights and providing a heretofore absent slide lock on the last round, this model is giving you plenty of reasons to upgrade.