The Smith & Wesson 442 and the Ruger LCR. Two popular lightweight concealed carry revolvers.

In Part One,  I will go over speed loaders, ergonomics, and specifications. Noting that Ruger does make a lighter LCR in a 38 only version, and I am comparing the KLCR which is the heavier 357 model, I will add its specifications. All other specifications are comparable.

 

I will make a note that the Ruger KLCR has an internal lock while the Smith & Wesson 442-1 does not. The Smith is brand new and the Ruger has over 6000 trouble-free +P and 357 rounds through it and has had the factory boot grip modified to fit my hand. All specs are with the Ruger factory boot grip.

In part two will cover all aspects at the range. So let’s get started…

Tale of The Tape

The Smith 442 is smaller than the LCR in both height and length, it is slightly wider and about an ounce heavier than the LCR and 3 ounces lighter than the KLCR.

Revolver Weight Unloaded Weight Loaded Height Length Width Materials
RUGER LCR 13.5oz 15.5oz 4.50″ 6.50″ 1.28″ Polymer, Stainless, and Aluminum
RUGER KLCR 17.1oz 19.1oz 4.50″ 6.50″ 1.28″ Polymer and Stainless
SMITH 442 14.6oz 16.6oz 4.25″ 6.33″ 1.30″ Stainless and Carbon Steel

Triggers

The Smith trigger is shorter and has more weight of pull. But it resets back with a solid click. No short stroking like on the LCR long trigger pull. There are also aftermarket options to make the trigger better.

The 442 trigger out of the box weighs in at 14.15lbs.

The LCR out of the box weighed in at 17.10lbs

I like the LCR  pull weight and break better but I like the Smith’s short pull and solid reset. The LCR reset causes the weapon to short stroke at times which is not good. I have only had a few in 6000 rounds but they occurred while shooting under pressure. Which is when you do not want it to occur.

I think a combination of the LCR  break and weight and Smith’s length and reset would be an ideal situation

They both have their pros and cons. I like the weight of the LCR much better but the reset and length of the Smith is preferred.

Speed Loaders


I will go over the Smith & Wesson 442 first

5 Star Firearms

What I liked: Compact, engage counter-clockwise which doesn’t tend to want to close the cylinder, and fit the best.
What I didn’t like: The grip rubbed slightly. Could be an issue under stress reloads. May have to look into grip modification. I consider  speed loaders to be  disposable items so I really do not want to have to modify every speed loader I buy. Just modify the grip once instead.

Note: Five star will make them with a clockwise release like the HKS if you call and request them.

S.L. Variants

What I liked: They fit and ejected shells into the cylinder well.
What I didn’t like: Again, The grip rubbed slightly. More than the five stars but less than the HKS. Could also  be an issue under stress reloads

Note: These are no longer being manufactured and or imported so if you find some, lucky you!

HKS

What I liked: They fit and ejected shells dropped in
What I didn’t like: Again, The grip rubbed slightly. Could also  be an issue under stress reloads. Also the clockwise release tends to want to push the cylinder closed so if your hand slips or you don’t have a great grip on the cylinder, it closes just enough to cause the loader to get jammed on the grip.

Safariland Comp-1


What I liked: Nothing, they barely fit. But fit to ejection even though shells got stuck
What I didn’t like: Again, The grip rubbed. But on these the grip rubbed so much that the outer two shells were crooked and did not go in solid. Which meant only three cartridges dropped in and a slight cylinder turn was required to get the other two to drop in.

 

Smith 442 and Speed Loaders Conclusion

Ranking them. I would put the 5 Star and SL Variants on top, with the HKS following a distant third. The Safariland Comp-1 work barely but would require modifications to make work reliably so I would avoid these altogether. Reloading under stress causes way more issues and the tight tolerances as they are now could cause more.

Now to go over the Ruger LCR

5 Star Firearms

What I liked: They fit and ejected shells dropped in there was no rubbing.
What I didn’t like: Nothing, they work great.

SL Variant

What I liked: They fit and ejected shells dropped in
What I didn’t like: Nothing, these also work great

HKS

What I liked: They fit and ejected shells dropped in
What I didn’t like: There was rubbing causing angling and as stated above the clockwise release plus the rubbing can cause jamming under stress.

Safariland Comp-1

What I liked: Nothing
What I didn’t like: They did not fit to ejection of the shells

Ruger LCR and Speed Loaders Conclusion

Ranking them. I would put the 5 Star and SL Variants on top, with the HKS following a distant third but are iffy. So I would avoid them. The Safariland Comp-1 do not work at all so I would avoid these altogether as well.

Sights

The 442 has a thinner front sight while the LCR is thick.The thinner front sight lends itself to more precise shots at distances so the 442 has the advantage here. The LCR has the advantage because a gunsmith is not required to change the sights. It’s as simple as drifting a pin out and replacing it with a host of aftermarket sights such as night sights or big dots.

442:

LCR:

I painted both front sights green with nail polish for better visibility when carrying as you can see in the comparison photos above.

Both are black blade rear sights that are machined into the frame that cannot be changed out.

Grips and Ergonomics

The 442 definitely has the advantage out of the box ergonomics wise. The grip fits the hand better and give a more solid purchase. However, I made modifications to the LCR grip to closely mimic the 442 grip.

 

LCR:

442:

The 442 cylinder release is a push forward style, while the LCR has its own unique way to make things even more confusing by pushing in on the back of the button. I suppose they did not want to be outdone by Colt’s push back style and decided to muddy the waters some more. Go figure, another manual of arms to learn by repetition. The good part is that pushing on the back of the cylinder release as you would to push the Smith release forward does the essentially same thing. It just doesn’t move forward, it rocks back.

442:

LCR:

The LCR has a thinner grip and covers the entire back-strap.Because it has a short polymer nub and not a back-strap. That is the LCR’s advantage over the 442 and why it handles recoil better.

LCR:

442:

The Grips do come out a bit on the sides causing some speed loader rubbing as well. This is inherent with the size of the little snubs.

442:

LCR:

Aftermarket grips for the 442 do cover the back-strap and assist with recoil management but the trade-off is it becomes harder to conceal, which defeats the purpose of the 442 altogether. I may purchase a houge tamer grip for the 442 in the future and perform modifications by dremel like I did to the LCR grip to both shorten and cut down the width. Then test it for pocket carry. But I haven’t even shot it yet! One thing at a time. I am still in dry fire break in mode.

Conceal-ability

Both conceal great on a belt holster, especially AIWB. Where the 442 shines is for pocket carry. That .2″ in length and .25″ in height really make a difference. Especially in jeans. This is why I am hesitant to put a larger grip on it. To me the weight is negligible.

Simple Conclusion

Well there you have it. Both revolvers have their pros and cons as far as ergonomics, triggers, and size. Both are great for carry. It just comes down to preference. At this point, I prefer both. You cannot go wrong with either one in my opinion.

Stay tuned for my range comparison…

Regards

 

 

 

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