I conceal carry a semi-automatic sub-compact pistol daily, and I have for many years. For a very long time, I carried a Springfield XD sub-compact chambered for .40SW. Nowadays, I am carrying a Glock 43. Thinking back, I can’t remember deciding to forego the bigger caliber and the higher magazine capacity.
I realized that I had changed my philosophy on my concealed carry gun when I started looking at revolvers. I realized that I might be overlooking some possibilities, so I started doing some research. That research led me to the Ruger LCRx, and I had a revelation. I needed to rethink my position on revolvers and semi-automatics for concealed carry.
The Ruger LCRx Overview
The Ruger LCR first appeared in 2009, chambered for the venerable .38 Special. In 2010, Ruger followed with the introduction of the LCR-357 chambered for the ever-popular .357 Magnum, and then Ruger released models chambered for .22LR, .22 Magnum, .38 Special +P, 9mm Luger, and the newest in .327 Magnum.
The original LCR’s are hammerless and in 2013, Ruger released a hammered model dubbed the LCRx. The LCRx has a more traditional double action (DA) look and feel with an external hammer that allows the shooter to cock and shoot single-action if desired.
The LCRx was designed to be a concealed carry “snub-nosed” revolver and comes standard with a 1.87-inch barrel. In 2019 Ruger announced that a new version of the LCRx with a 3-inch barrel and chambered in .357 Magnum would be available. This model debuted at ShotShow in January 2019.
The Detailed Breakdown
I decided to look at the specifications on the Ruger LCRx chambered in .357 Magnum with a 3” barrel compared to my Glock 43. I wanted to compare the two to see how a revolver really stacked up against my daily carry, and the results surprised me!
|Ruger LCRx .357 Mag||Ruger LCRx 9mm||Glock 43 9mm|
|Height||5.8 inches||4.5 inches||4.25 inches|
|Length||7.5 inches||6.5 inches||6.26 inches|
|Weight||21.3 oz||17.4 oz||17.95|
|Width||1.28 inches||1.28 inches||1.02 inches|
Putting the numbers where I could see them side by side brought things into focus. I had to rethink my aversion to revolvers for concealed carry, especially considering my own decision to go with a lightweight single-stack semi-automatic pistol.
What the Ruger LCRx Brings to the Table (Or the Holster)
From the perspective of carrying concealed, a subcompact gun is a solid choice for almost everybody. They are light, easy to conceal, and the comfort factor weighs heavily on the overall evaluation. I ask friends why they don’t routinely carry, and the number one answer is that the gun they carry just isn’t comfortable in a lot of situations.
A gun at home doesn’t do you any good when trouble strikes and you are on the move. Why bother to take an in-person or online class, pass the test, go to the range and train if you aren’t going to carry regularly?
The Ruger LCRx chambered in .37 Magnum comes in at just over 21 ounces, while the Glock 43 comes in at almost 18 ounces. That is a 3-ounce difference – a relatively negligible amount. If you chose the LCRx chambered in 9mm Luger, the Ruger gains a slight advantage in weight over the Glock 43.
The other big physical consideration for a subcompact gun is the overall size. In comparing the LCRx to the Glock 43, I was not surprised that the Ruger LCRx was a bit wider than the Glock 43. The other dimensions are almost identical except for the length of the Ruger LCRx with the 3-inch barrel, which is the longest of the three guns that I compared.
In looking at the way the three models in the chart compare on size, there should be no appreciable difference in carrying them concealed because of size. Again, my thinking on carrying a semi-automatic rather than a revolver had to be revised.
Round count was always one of my big arguments for going with a semi-automatic pistol for concealed carry. My thinking was that if the bad guys were going to carry pistols with 10, 12 or even 18 rounds, I needed to have at least that many as well.
For many years I did carry a large caliber gun with a very high magazine capacity. The more I carried it, the more I found it uncomfortable, heavy and unwieldy for every day. Gradually, my choice of guns got smaller, lighter, and carried fewer rounds. As previously stated, my current go-to concealed carry gun is the Glock 43, which holds 6 rounds.
When reviewing the Ruger LCRx compared to the Glock 43, however, I realized that the Ruger only gives up one round in the comparison. I wondered how much of an impact this would make, so I started doing more research.
According to the FBI, the average gunfight lasts about 3 seconds and involves 3.59 rounds. Don’t believe the TV shows and movies. In real life, these situations happen quickly, and without warning. In a recent incident caught on video, a gunfight erupted in a church. The entire incident from first shot to last shot lasted less than 2.5 seconds and involved three shots total, two by the bad guy and one by the good guy.
I concluded that the number of bullets in my gun might not be the most important consideration that I should put into my choice of concealed carry. With that in mind, the LCRx stacks up nicely against the small frame single-stack semi-automatic pistols.
The goal of anyone involved in a self-defense situation must be to end the threat as quickly as possible. In the case of anyone who carries concealed, this leads to decisions of stopping power. In my case, the 9mm Luger has been the choice for many years. Newer ammunition and advances in ballistic characteristics of bullets and powders have made the 9mm the go-to choice among most shooters.
Taking a second look at the world of small frame revolvers and the LCRx has revealed new possibilities. A revolver offers choices in calibers that are not usually available in semi-automatic pistols. In this case, the choice to carry a gun chambered in .357 magnum becomes a possibility.
Back in the day, before many of you reading this were even born, the standard-issue revolver carried by law enforcement was chambered for .38 Special. Then two well-known shooters came together to produce a new offering. Elmer Keith and Phil Sharpe took the .38 special and souped It up into the .357 Magnum. Since that time has become the yardstick against which we measure most revolver ammunition.
In terms of performance, coupled with ease of shooting, there are not many comparable choices. I have always liked the .357 Magnum, but as a rimmed cartridge, there are very few semi-automatic pistols chambered in .357 Magnum.
When looking at all the considerations for a concealed carry weapon, the Ruger stacks up very well. Revolvers are definitely a viable option. Reliability is always a big factor, and revolver reliability is well known, given their simplicity. Ruger, as a company, has an excellent reputation for the quality of their guns, so reliability issues in carrying a revolver, especially the LCRx, are almost non-existent.
Size and weight aren’t factors when looking at the comparisons. The dimensions and unloaded weight of the LCRx compare easily to most of the sub-compact single-stack semi-automatic pistols on the market.
That leaves caliber choices. The LCRx offers the opportunity to carry one of the most popular calibers in history, the .357 Magnum. That, for many of us, can be a tipping point in the decision process. In terms of ballistics and performance, very few calibers available in an easily concealable pistol frame can compare.
There are a few other advantages to the LCRx chambered in .357 Magnum. The option to load and shoot a wider range of ammunition is a consideration. For lighter felt recoil, you can load and shoot .38 Special, and .38 Special +P in your LCRx chambered for .357 magnum.
As a result of all of this research, I have changed my stance on concealed carrying a revolver. I now see that it is a viable option for some people without any significant compromise in the requirements I consider critical in evaluating a concealed carry weapon.
The Ruger LCRx compares in every aspect favorably with the small frame single-stack semi-automatic pistols that I have carried for years. The option to concealed carry a gun chambered in .357 Magnum could be the factor that tips the scale.If you are considering a new lightweight, small concealed carry gun and a single-stack semi-automatic gun has been on your radar stop and take another look at the LCRx. You won’t be giving up much and you may gain more than you think. If you are still on the fence and want to look at other handguns, check out our comprehensive guide to the best concealed carry handguns – it’s got a lot of great options.