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Reviews : Arsenal

Sturm, Ruger & Co. KLCR 357 Compact Revolver

Ruger's new slightly beefier snubby has all the features of a great backup gun.

October 07, 2010  |  by Ed Lovette

Soon after the Ruger LCR in .38 special was introduced I had a chance to handle one at TREXPO East.

Ruger's polymer revolver intrigued me. The Ruger rep told me that during testing the LCR had digested 1,000 rounds of +P ammo in addition to being dry-fired 10,000 times without a hitch. That intrigued me even more.

The LCR was an instant success and a couple of years later Ruger is still trying to catch up with the market demand. But the company is not resting on its laurels. New versions of the LCR incorporate an XS standard dot front sight and a Hogue boot grip. And to finally convince me that I had to have one, the folks at Ruger have added a .357 magnum to the LCR line.

These features make the Ruger LCR an excellent backup gun (BUG) option for law enforcement officers.

Rugged and Maintenance Free

I am an avowed fan of the revolver in general and short-barreled revolvers in particular. So I was prepared to like the LCR. And I'm happy to tell you it did not disappoint me.

For this review I tested both the .38 special LCR as well as the new .357 magnum KLCR version. I was curious to learn what made the LCR line different from other small frame revolvers.

The LCR's frame is aluminum with a synergistic coating that is both abrasion- and corrosion resistant. Other parts of this firearm are equally tough. The barrel, cylinder, crane, and some other components are blackened or tumbled stainless steel. Inside, the fire control housing is reinforced nylon, and the trigger, hammer, and other internal components are coated with Teflon.

Maintaining the LCR is a snap. You simply clean it as needed and put a drop of oil on the hammer pivot pin every 1,000 rounds of live or dry fire.

In short, the LCR is a rugged revolver that is almost maintenance free.

Great Features

Although this is a review of the new .357 Magnum KLCR, I'd like to discuss some of the new features on the .38 Special LCR.

Hogue boot grips are an excellent addition to this handgun. A small grip for a small revolver seldom pleases everyone but this design will come close because a lot of thought went into it. The sides are smooth hard plastic while the front strap and back strap are rubber. This allows shirt tails and pant legs to ride smoothly over the grip, unlike some all-rubber grips.

The minimalist design of the Hogue boot grip also allows my hand to get a solid firing grip on the LCR in my pocket. That alleviates a major problem with some snubby grip designs that force you to get the gun free of the pocket before you can close your fist around the grip.

The LCR features the standard Ruger revolver cylinder release, which is my favorite for a police backup revolver because its operation requires the same thumb movement officers use to depress the magazine releases on their service pistols. This design makes it easier for officers to master and remember the LCR's operation.

I also like the new XS sights on the LCR. For years I've complained about the front sights on the small revolver but no more. The XS sight has taken care of that issue and is a must-have component since the requirement for a front sight on a BUG, as with a service pistol, is that the eye must be able to instantly acquire it if a "flash" sight picture is called for.

The XS sight is the only feature on the .38 Special LCR not also available on the  KLCR 357. The only other difference I can see between the .38 and the .357 is that the .357 has a slightly beefier cylinder, which is why it weighs a couple of ounces more.

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Comments (1)

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Roy Odhner @ 6/19/2012 9:16 AM

As a community supervision officer (CSO), I think the snubby is the best self-defense pistol money can buy. While the 25 yard LEO qualification may seem dubious with a snubby, it is doable. My current carry weapon is a Taurus M85. However, the LCR has changed this, and I plan to get one as soon as I save up the cash. It's a bit slimmer and light, the sights are better, and the trigger pull is fantastic. maintenance is a snap. As a CSO, I don't have a need to storm crack houses, but I might have the need to cut my way out of a home visit gone south. Looks like the LCR w/.38spcl +P ammo will give me just what I need.

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