So my trusty LCR 357 has surpassed the 4000 round mark recently. I wrote a few articles on the revolver, such as what speedloaders work with it, and a 2500 round review, but I wanted to revisit it. I will probably do regular updates on it in the future as I continue to increase the round count.
You see, no matter how many carry handguns I have bought, I just keep coming back to my old workhorse, my constant companion. I really love to reload for the 38/357 cartridge combo. I love it’s accuracy, I love the way it feels in my hand, and best of all, I love that whether I toss it in the console, in my pocket, or carry it in an appendix holster, I almost forget it is even there. It is lightweight, reliable, and I never feel like I should have a larger, higher capacity gun on me. As I touched on in my lightweight carry article, I do not feel like I am under gunned due to my lifestyle and habits. It may be my last line of defense in a life threatening situation and I trust it wholeheartedly.
The trusty little revolver has gone with me everywhere. Even when I was not carrying it as my primary, it found a place in my center console or backpack. It was always around in some way shape or form, never relegated to the safe. I carried it in a pocket in a Desantis Nemesis and appendix carried it in a High Noon Mr. Softy, a Blade Tech Nano, and now a Galco Stow-n-Go. I train with it two to three times a month religiously. Shooting from a draw while on the move 25-50 rounds at a time with 38+P 158gr lead reloads, and usually two cylinders of my 357 magnum Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel 135gr carry load. Sometimes I toss the Hogue Tamer grip on and have an extended range session with some +P’s to work on trigger control and using the sights.
Currently I either conceal carry a speedstrip or two in my right back pocket, or my trusty S.L. Variant J-236 speedloader on my belt in a Ted Blocker Holster speedloader clip which conceals it well by allowing for half the loader to be behind the belt.
From my sometimes forgetful records, I put the Magnum count at around 1100 and the +P count at around 2500. The remaining 400 being standard pressure factory 38 rounds that I shot when I first bought it.
In true Ruger finish fashion, it is just now starting to show some holster wear. There are no cracks or issues with the polymer sub frame that contains the fire control housing of any kind. The lockup is still good as are the cylinder gap tolerances. Nothing has even started to wear outside of normal holster wear, scratches from use, and operating wear from using the cylinder release latch and a faint cylinder wear ring and marks from the cylinder stop. The forcing cone is also in great condition with no flame cutting or cracking.
The home stippling job I did back in 2011 is holding up well too. I also recently made some more modifications to the Hogue Bantam boot grip. I only did this because the LCR has limited grip options, which really sucks. The two factory grip options; the Houge Tamer and Bantam Boot grips, the Crimson Trace Laser grip, and the aftermarket Eagle Secret Service grips. This is the only advantage I see in owning a Smith and Wesson j-frame. The grip options are plentiful.
Update: Hogue is now offering more grip options for the LCR. Hogue, Inc. LCR Grips
I had the opportunity to shoot a Smith 442 with an Apex trigger extensively. It truly is a beautiful revolver. Call it preference, but I like the LCR trigger much better. However, I loved the grips on the 442. The Smith has a more pronounced curve on their stock air-weight grips and I really liked that. Their design is way more ergonomic when it comes to the small two fingered concealed carry grips. It gives more room for the top finger to get in there. They also have a nice groove to drop the two fingers in which allow for more control of the snappy recoil. The Smith’s ergos are just better in a direct comparison of the two models.
Here is a comparison between the two snubbies stock grips you can see what I mean (both photos obtained from the internet):
I am not a fan of three finger grips on snub nosed revolvers because I don’t feel they conceal well enough. I have the stock tamer grip that gives a better hand grip if I want to target shoot extensively outside of my usual draw and practice of about 25 rounds I do two to three times a month. I usually do this with 38 +P practice ammo that I personally reload and only go through another two cylinders (10) of my 357 magnum carry ammo.
Now, I am not interested in any of smith’s lightweight offerings in 357 due to the recoil on the titanium/scandium models with 357 loads. But the 442 38 special with Speer GDSB 135gr 38+P was just right. The price point was good. I almost ran out and bought a 442 right then and there. But alas, I am in love with my LCR and I want the sub 20 ounce 357 option.
So I decided to use a dremel and take some more material off the boot grip. I figure if I messed it up I am only out thirty bucks. I customized it to my fingers by contouring it to the grip I get when I draw and fire. It now fits my top finger in nice and allows the bottom one to go in it’s own groove. Test drawing and firing concluded that it helps me get a better grip as well as handle recoil better.
The stippling on the back still holds it in place and the finger grooves make it an even better grip. Hopefully more aftermarket grips will start appearing for the LCR, in the meantime I will just use a dremel and soldering iron on the $30 boot grip to achieve the grip I desire. If it wears out I can just purchase another and start over. So far it has held up well to the day to day abuse as well as the extreme climate I live in.
Here is the before with it stock grip and the finished product after I was done modifying it.
I chose the LCR because I was looking for a sub 2″ barrel, sub 20 ounce, hammer less carry revolver that was highly concealable and that could handle the 357 magnum recoil for good follow up shots. Smith’s offerings were either the amazingly light weight scandium/titanium 340 that just did not feel good at all with the 357 loads and was hard to get back on target, or the heavier, larger dimensioned 640 and 649 which just missed my size and weight requirements and felt a tad bit large. My bad luck with the Taurus brand as noted in my Taurus 651 writeup had me looking at only Smith and Ruger as options. I may have ventured to look at Charter Arms but was skeptical there as well.
If I was looking for a .38 +P version revolver that met those requirements, I probably would have went with the 442, put in an Apex trigger, and never looked back. I still may pick one up in the future. However the LCR in 357 Magnum coming in at just over 19 ounces loaded with my latest carry round of choice, the 357 magnum 135gr Speer GDSB is the perfect revolver to meet MY requirements. I am perfectly happy with it.
This trusty revolver has been with me since I first bought it in October of 2010. In the past almost 4 years I have gone through the micro nine craze, the pocket 380 craze, and I have still kept coming back to it. It is a constant companion that is always with me. It has been well used. It is definitely not being treated as a safe queen or a collectors item. It is a workhorse, a concealed carry handgun, something that I will be forced to rely on to protect myself or my family if the need ever arises.
Of course the long term durability and reliability on these little polymer/stainless hybrids have still not been proven as it has with the all steel Smith j-frames. But I am confident that this revolver will outlast me and that is all I can ask of it.