Ruger’s LCR Revolvers Are Changing What Is Meant By “Small And Powerful”

Ruger’s LCR Revolvers Are Changing What Is Meant By “Small And Powerful”

Kyle Mizokami


How will they fare?

Key point: There are 18 different variations.

One of the most unexpected surprises of recent years is the resurgence in snub-nose, concealed-carry revolvers.

Largely displaced in the 1980s by a frenzy of interest in low-cost, high capacity 9-millimeter pistols, new interest in these short, compact revolvers was led in the late-2000s by the Ruger LCR, an entirely new revolver design that skillfully blended steel, aluminum, and even polymer into a very lightweight weapon.

The modern snub-nose revolver era began in the early 1950s, after World War II, with the production of the Smith & Wesson Chief’s Special Model 36 revolver. Five shot revolvers chambered in .38 Special, they were designed for police use and home defense. The small, handy revolver, although not exactly fun to shoot, was discrete enough to sit in a desk or bedside table, or in a shoulder, ankle holster, or even coat pocket. Snub-nose revolvers, as well as revolvers in general, were popular in the United States and for decades were a large chunk of the handgun market.

The rise of polymer-framed, high capacity nine-millimeter pistols, the so-called “Wonder Nines” typified by the likes of the Glock 17 was a tectonic shift in the world of handguns. Not only did such handguns—which were often as inexpensive or cheaper than revolvers—gut revolver sales but their scalability led to smaller compact and subcompact versions with up to double the magazine capacity of a five-shot subcompact revolver. The Glock 26 for example, weighs exactly as much as a Model 36 revolver yet can carry a minimum of ten rounds with a flush magazine, and considerably more than that if magazine weight and bulk isn’t an issue.

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