Ruger LCR 9mm Review – In Depth Buyers Guide

Since I picked up my new 9mm Ruger LCR revolver I’ve really wanted to get out a review.  After going out to the range a few times I’m finally starting to get a feel how this little snub nose revolver functions.

I didn’t know what to think when I first set my eyes on this little 9mm revolver.  Honestly, the first thing that popped into my mind is why would anyone want a rimless revolver that needs Moon clips. That was immediately followed by the realization that I’m a sucker for a good revolver and I needed to add it to my collection.

Ruger LCR 9mm Revolver Review

Now that I’ve had the gun for a good couple of months I’m starting to get a feel for how this little revolver functions.   I thought I’d take a moment today to make a quick review and let you know how I feel about my new addition.

Why Would You Want a 9mm Revolver?

I would have to be lying if I told you this thought never crossed my mind. There has to be a reason why nobody uses rimless cartridges in revolvers. People just seem to hate moon clips for no logical reason.

Before buying this revolver I had never actually tried moon clips, but I told everyone I could how much I disliked them. Seemed like another thing I needed to keep track of at the range. After giving them a try I soon realized that they’re no different than using a speedloader(they’re a lot cheaper).

  • Moon Clips Are Faster: Moon clips might not be faster than magazines, but they’re definitely faster than a speed loader. I don’t know where I got the impression that moon clips were hard to use.
  • 9mm Ammo is Cheap: You probably shouldn’t buy cheap self-defense rounds, but you can find range ammo for hardly nothing. Some of us even have a couple ammo cans full upstairs.
  • Less Recoil: Since this gun is based on Ruger’s 357 Model LCR there’s going to be a lot less recoil. For such a compact gun it really is amazing how little recoil there actually is.
  • Always Find Ammo: Everybody always seems to have some 9mm ammo lying around. You can find decent ammo cheap at just about any Walmart across the country. Impromptu range trips are just a 5 minute stop away.

Trigger Pull

Let me first start out this review by saying this gun has one of the best factory triggers I’ve ever seen. It’s such an improvement over the sloppy J-Frames Smith and Wesson’s been building.

I measured the trigger pull at a hair under 9 lbs which is comparable to other double action only revolvers. Remember without a safety a stiff trigger and holster is all that prevents an accidental discharge.


After trying the 38 special version of this revolver a couple years ago I was a little bit worried about recoil. The 38 special only version released a few years back had some of the worst recoil I’ve ever experienced.

Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve had a few wrist surgeries over the years, but after 50 rounds at the range, I was ready to call it a day.

Then Ruger came out with their 357 model which was great when firing 38 special, but I would never recommend shooting full magnum loads in that lightweight frame. Ruger made a great decision when they decided to use the same frame as their 357.

When shooting the 9mm version recoil is nearly non existent. It’s very similar to my Sp101 when I load it up with 38 special.

Build Quality

Now first I want to talk about the build quality of the gun.  I’m usually not a big fan of Ruger’s polymer guns, but I do love their revolvers.  So I figured I’d give the Ruger LCR a try even if it was a semi-auto caliber.

All their single and double action revolvers are really well put together, but I’ve never been a real big fan of Ruger’s Polymer lineup.  Their semi-auto’s never seemed to have tight tolerances, but this gun is actually very well designed. Looks like they designed this off other stainless steel revolvers in their lineup(specifically the sp101).

Even though it does have a polymer part to it is just as well put together as their all steel guns.  Nobody is going to be ashamed when they show their buddies at the local gun range.

Everything seems to be machined well and put together with minimal gaps. Everything’s nice and smooth. The tolerances are tight and everything is where it should be.  You don’t see any burrs or nicks even when taking off the grip.

Polymer Parts

Like I said this gun does have some polymer parts which makes it kind of unique.  You’ll find polymer on the mainspring housing, grip tang and the trigger guard.

That’s a little bit different than their 38 special which has an all aluminum frame and stainless steel barrel insert and cylinder. On the 9mm they can get away with the painted stainless frame.

One thing they seem to have added on the new LCR is the white front sight.  I’m not sure if that’s standard on all the models, but it made a big difference. It’s very nice and very easy to see although I would probably replace this with a fiber optic sight.

Double Action Only Trigger Pull

Now as you can clearly see this gun has no external hammer so it is a double action only revolver.  I’m usually not a big fan of double action only revolvers that I take to the range, but it makes sense on a gun designed for concealed carry.

Honestly I have to say that Ruger has perfected their double action trigger.  It’s much smoother than my J-Frame S&W 642. This trigger is smooth and even there seems to be very little stacking.  It’s just consistent, clean and breaks nicely every time.

If you’re going to have a double action trigger in revolver I can’t think of a better one than this trigger.  Reminds me a lot of the new Kimber K6s trigger that I bought a couple months ago. It’s just super smooth.

Ruger LCR 9mm Grip

Maybe it’s because I have monster gorilla hands, but the grip on the gun is a little bit small for my tastes.  If I was going to carry this everyday I would get bigger grips that seat a little bit deeper in my hand.

Being a mass market revolver definitely has some advantages.  There are loads of after market grips and holsters to choose from.  I would probably go with a nice set of laser grips, but that’s just me.

Range Report

At the range it can be a little bit snappy when using full self defense loads.  Remember that even though it’s a 9mm revolver it’s still a small lightweight gun. I shot a box of Hornady’s 135 Grain 9mm +P rounds before switching over to my reloads.

You’re going to have a little kick, but it’s still very controllable and that smooth trigger makes it pretty easy to hit your target.

Bullet creep can be a real problem in revolvers that are chambered for semi-automatic rounds, but I haven’t found that to be an issue. You do have to be aware of that so you can keep an eye on it. As long as you choose high quality ammo that shouldn’t be a problem.

You should have a really good shooting experience with this gun regardless of your experience level. The white sights really stand out against the black paint job.  You can quickly get on target and make accurate follow up shots.

9mm Ruger LCR Range

It’s really a great gun for an up-close-and-personal self-defense situation which is obviously what it’s designed for.  You’ll have excellent accuracy out to self defense distances but I’d probably skip those longer shots.

That being said I was able to easily stay on target out to 25 yards.  If you ever had to take a shot at longer distances you shouldn’t have any problem. You’ll just have to take your time and make sure you get off a clean shot.

Since the gun is double action only your range is going to be a bit limited.  With such a nice trigger you can easily stage longer shots, but having a hammer would be nice on those longer shots.

You Need to Use Moon Clips

Moon clips are the main reason it took me so long to buy this revolver.  I always hated the idea of using moon clips until my brother in law changed my mind.  

He pointed out that there’s not much of a difference between using moon clips and a speed loader.  Maybe moon clips even have a slight size advantage.

The way ruger designed their moon clips they’re really easy to use.  You don’t even need a separate tool to use them unlike other pistol caliber revolvers.  Moon clips make reloads so quick and easy. With a little practice you’d be amazed how quickly you can reload.

As I’ve brought up in the past the likelihood of you actually reloading a revolver in an emergency is extremely slim. I don’t care how much you practice it’s just not going to happen under pressure.

Final Thoughts

Overall I have to say this is an amazing gun and I’m so glad I bought it. For the price I really do love this little revolver. I would probably rate it an 8.5/10 if I had to rate it on a scale from one to ten.  

Honestly if the gun came with a hammer I would probably rate it a 9/10, but there’s definitely times when hammerless makes sense.  Considering most of my time is spent shooting at the range I would like the option to go single action.

Like I said earlier, Ruger actually did a really great job designing this gun.  It’s the perfect alternative to S&W J-Frame Revolvers. So if you do like double action guns you’re definitely going need to give this gun a try.

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