The original Ruger LCP was announced in 2008, and has been a smash success as one of the company's top-selling models. Who wouldn't want a compact, flat (.82 in.), lightweight (9.4 oz.) and reliable pistol? Ruger kept up with production as demand grew, but that didn't prevent the company from trying to improve on the LCP. After Texas Gov. Rick Perry used one to shoot a coyote menacing him and his daughter's dog during a morning jog, Ruger highlighted Perry's encounter with a "Coyote Special" edition. In 2013, Ruger modified the LCP to offer customers different sights and a shortened trigger pull. Now, the LCP enters its second generation, but Ruger tells G&A that the LCP II will not replace the original.
If a tenth of an inch here or there matters to you, you'll find that the new LCP II is marginally taller, longer and wider. What mattered to Ruger engineers and the customers they talked to were the following features: sights, trigger, nonslip texture and the lack of a hold-open mechanism in the magazine and pistol.
The LCP II improves all of these while leaving the rest in original form. First, the sights.
The sights on the original LCP were marginal. They were barely visual speed bumps. The 2013 update addressed that. The sights on the LCP II are still machined and integral with the slide, but they are now even larger to see and use. Aiming and shooting is a lot easier than it used to be.
The trigger on the LCP was a double-action only (DAO)in feel. We had to stroke through the trigger just as if it was a revolver. The trigger pressure resisted the same all the way back. For double-action (DA) revolver shooters, this was no problem. Striker-fired shooters didn't agree. So Ruger redesigned the trigger mechanism to include an external safety in the trigger face, which is a pivoting lever that keeps the trigger from moving unless your finger activates that lever.
The LCP II has a light, smooth takeup, which is just lightly spring-loaded slack in the mechanism. It is light until the mechanism comes to the point where it begins moving the sear engagement, and then it feels like a crisp single-action (SA) trigger. The triggerguard has a small bump on the bottom inside surface, which is the trigger stop. One of the biggest tasks in learning trigger control is managing follow-through to deal with overtravel. The bump stops the trigger immediately after it releases the hammer, and that helps a great deal.
The LCP II does not have restrike capability. If you dry-fire it, you have to work the slide to cock the mechanism again. If you have that one round in 10 million (or more) that fails to go off, you'll have to work the slide to recock it. That's also a good thing, as it removes the reluctant round and replaces it.
The nonslip texture on the LCP, while it looked good, was not as effective in handling recoil as many wanted. The problem wasn't that it didn't work but that the diminutive size of the LCP made it difficult to get much of one's hand on it. Ruger made the texture of the LCP II even more aggressive and redesigned the shape to better aid in control. The shape change is subtle but interesting; the front quarter of the frame is slightly narrower than the main part of the LCP frame. The rear part is wider than the original LCP. This puts more surface area of the LCP II frame in contact with your hand. It's a small difference, but every increase helps.
The LCP did not have a hold-open mechanism. That meant that once we fired through the ammo in the magazine, we didn't know the gun was empty. When a magazine only holds six rounds, keeping count might seem easy, but defensive shooting reports have proven that this is not the case. So the magazine for the LCP II locks the slide back when the last shot has been fired.
The magazine catch is on the left side, behind the triggerguard in the usual and accustomed place. For those who are curious, Ruger noted, "Six-round LCP magazines are compatible with the LCP II, but will not activate the last round hold-open feature of the LCP II. Seven-round LCP magazines are not compatible with the LCP II."
If you have an LCP and want to move up to the next generation, the old six-round magazines will work as practice magazines, but we should be carrying the LCP II with LCP II magazines.
The rest of the LCP II remains unchanged. Given the performance of the original LCP, the LCP II offers new owners a long and reliable service life. The slide and barrel are both alloy steel, and the slide has been through-hardened. Once machined to final dimensions and surface-finished, the slide and barrel are given a black-oxide treatment to match the frame, provide corrosion resistance and to make it less obvious in carry mode.
The chassis is one piece of aluminum machined on CNC machining centers to house the internals, which is then installed in the shell. The chassis is the firearm, and that is why you can see the serial number through the shell, impressed on the chassis itself. The frame is precision-molded nylon with glass fibers as reinforcements and is left in basic black. There are only three controls on the frame: the magazine catch, the takedown button head and the slide stop lever. The six-shot magazine comes with a finger-hook baseplate, which for most shooters will be the resting point of their ring finger, not their pinkie.
In testing, the LCP II consumed all the ammunition without fail. As an ultra-compact everyday carry pistol, this one shines. The LCP II will conceal in just about any place we'd want to carry it.