On the range I put both revolvers through a series of drills designed to test the gun, the ammo, and the method of carry.
I like to start at 10 yards, just to make sure the point-of-aim-point-of-impact is the same. So I fired five rounds of each type of ammo with two hands and there were no surprises with either revolver even though I was using a variety of bullet weights. For this workout I shot Cor-Bon DPX 110-grain +P, Blackhills 125-grain JHP +P, Federal Tactical 129-grain JHP Hydra-Shok +P, and Speer Gold Dot 135-grain JHP +P.
I need to note here that I have little interest in firing .357 loads in the .357 LCR. For me, the extra weight and the bigger grips on this version give me increased rapid fire control with .38 special +P ammo, which is just fine. I started out with the boot grip on the .38 and the standard grip on the .357. With this combination the .38 did fine but the .357 really wanted to shoot. I am sure those extra few ounces plus the larger grip made the difference.
Next I moved to seven yards and performed a "2+2" speedloader drill from the ready position. I had three different types of "J" frame speedloaders but only the HKS worked, and it was a little slow to release the rounds. It appears that the charge holes on the LCR are just a bit farther apart than those on the "J" frame.
When carrying the LCR as a backup gun you may or may not choose to carry spare ammo for it. However, if you choose to carry it off-duty you should know what will work for you. I need to also note here that I found that not all "J" frame holsters will accept the LCR.
Drawing the weapon is a very important part of testing a backup gun. I like to do it from five yards, and I recommend that when you evaluate a BUG that you use the same technique that you plan to use on the street. In my case, I chose a DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster carried on the support side.
In this segment of the test I fire three rounds quickly, support hand only, and I only count hits in the "torso" of the target or into an area measuring 12x18 inches. This test evaluates the holster and recoil control using duty ammo and only from the support hand. I continue the test by repeating the exact same drill at three yards.
I learned a few things during the range testing of these revolvers. The .38 Special LCR with the boot grip was quick to draw and controllable, but the recoil was noticeable. The .357 with the standard grip was slower to draw, especially from a pocket, because there wasn't as much space to get a good grip but the rapid fire control was much better.
Before doing any more testing, I put the Crimson Trace Lasergrip on the .38 and it made all the difference. It has almost the same dimensions as the boot grip while offering a little more to hang onto, making the .38 much more controllable for me when I resumed the various firing drills. I am convinced that the Lasergrip is a must-have item for a snubby revolver.
Both the .38 Special LCR and the KLCR .357 are excellent backup guns. If you are in the market for a backup weapon and you are considering a revolver, both of these compact guns are worthy of serious consideration.
Retired CIA officer Ed Lovette is the author of "The Snubby Revolver," published by Paladin Press, and co-author of "Defensive Living," published by Looseleaf Law Publications. He is a member of the POLICE-TREXPO advisory board.
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