Ruger's New LCR 22 Revolver

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

December 16th, 2011




Click pictures for a larger version.


Ruger's new LCR 22 revolver.



LCR 22 comes with soft, zippered case.



Cylinder release.



Ejector has plenty of length to cleanly eject empty cases.



LCR 22 (left), LCR 38 (right).



LCR 38 (left) compared to LCR 22 (right).



Internal key lock.







It has been almost two years since Ruger introduced their unique pocket revolver, dubbed the LCR. The Ruger LCR was not a variation of another Ruger revolver design, nor a copy of anything else on the market, but a departure from conventional revolver design. The materials used in the manufacture of the LCR, and its modular design set it apart from the masses. The LCR uses a polymer fire control assembly, which houses the trigger, hammer, and the associated springs and such to operate those parts. The cylinder frame assembly is made of aluminum, and also contains the stainless steel barrel. The cylinder is also made of stainless steel, and is uniquely fluted and finished in a darker gray finish which is the result of a tumbling process. The trigger is smooth and finished in a natural bright satin stainless. The LCR in 38 Special and 357 Magnum have been reviewed here previously, and both have proven to be very reliable and lightweight five-shot pocket revolvers.

While the 38 and 357 are very good choices for a pocket revolver, there are those who, for whatever reason, cannot tolerate the recoil of those cartridges from a lightweight revolver, but still need something which they can carry for defense. Ruger has answered this need with the LCR chambered for the 22 Long Rifle cartridge.

Advocating a 22 revolver for defensive purposes fuels a lot of arguments. It is by no means the ideal man-stopper. If I know that I am headed for a fight, and cannot avoid it, I want a good twelve-gauge semi-auto shotgun, loaded with buckshot, or a rifle, depending upon the situation. However, I cannot easily hide a shotgun in a belt holster, so I compromise, and carry a handgun, as most of us do. Any handgun carried for defense is a compromise. We must balance power, weight, size, and recoil before deciding upon the ideal carry gun. Most of us advocate a good semi-auto 9mm, 45, 40, or 10mm, but usually end up carrying something smaller as an everyday, everywhere, pocket gun. I carry different guns from time to time, usually a lightweight bobtail 45, or a high-capacity 9mm, or one of my 10mm autos, but when I carry one of these, I still have a 38 revolver or a 380 auto in my pocket. For a gun that is ALWAYS within reach, a lightweight pocket gun is very handy. Again, we come back to recoil. I get emails from folks almost everyday with severe arthritis who cannot tolerate the recoil of a lightweight 380, and even if they could, they lack the hand strength to manually cycle the slide. Choosing a revolver, again, the recoil is a factor in a weapon which is light enough to always be present. While the 22 Long Rifle cartridge is way down on the list of reliable one-shot fight stoppers, having a lightweight 22 that holds eight shots, as does this new LCR, is perhaps the best choice available for many people.

What makes this new Ruger LCR 22 better than most other 22 revolvers on the market is that it has the LCR double-action trigger pull. While most double-action rimfire revolvers have a trigger pull that stacks up to around twelve pounds of resistance before releasing, the LCR 22 has a trigger pull that is under eight pounds, and is very smooth. That alone is a game-changer, making this particular 22 revolver a good choice for many who cannot easily work the action on some other 22 revolvers. It all boils down to the first rule of a gunfight, and that is to “Have a gun”. Without a gun, you are out of the fight. While I would not plan to go into a fight with only a 22 rimfire, I would by no means feel helpless carrying one. The light recoil equates a quick follow-up between shots, and eight shots of 22, properly placed, can be very effective.

There have been numerous studies over the years concerning which handgun cartridge is the best to assure a “one-shot stop”. However, the thinking behind such studies seems flawed from a defensive standpoint. I know of no serious trainer who recommends shooting an opponent only once, then waiting for his aggressive attack to stop. The general consensus among those who know is to shoot and keep shooting until the danger is over. In such a situation, again back to my earlier statement, hand me a twelve-gauge. However, when an attack comes, we must fight with whatever is within reach, and for most of us, that will be a handgun. It should be something with which we are proficient, meaning a handgun with which we are confident, and with which we can rapidly perforate the hide of our opponent. Dealing with proficiency, it is better to repeatedly hit one’s attacker with a small caliber weapon than to miss him with something bigger. The 22 LR cartridge is not and will never be a 44 Magnum, but with the right ammo, is much better than most armchair experts will admit.

All the preceding is to state that, while the 22 rimfire is not perfect, it is a highly useful, easy-to-shoot cartridge, and for some folks, might be the best choice available. The Ruger LCR 22 is a very good device with which to reliably deliver several 22 caliber bullets into a target rapidly, and it is lightweight enough and compact enough to always be within reach, and therefore accomplishes that first rule of a gunfight to have a gun.

Like the centerfire LCR revolvers, the 22 LCR brings the same unique innovative design to the rimfire shooter. Besides serving for defensive purposes when the limitations of the user preclude the use of something more powerful, the Ruger 22 LCR is also a good pocket gun to carry for use against smaller attackers such as animals around the camp, or to dispatch venomous snakes around the homestead. The CCI shotshells pattern better in the rimfires than they do in any of the centerfire calibers, and pattern tightly enough at any distance at which a snake might pose a threat to quickly deal with the situation. The LCR is handy enough to slip into a pants pocket, to be within reach when needed, and has sufficient accuracy at close range for defensive purposes, but the short sight radius makes it difficult to make clean head shots on small game, at least for me, at distances greater than about fifteen yards. However, the Crimson Trace Lasergrip that fits the centerfire LCR will also fit this 22 LCR, and greatly adds to the usefulness of this revolver in low-light situations. The XS Big Dot tritium front sight will also fit the 22 LCR, and is useful for making quick hits on target in low-light situations as well.

Specifications are listed in the chart below. Weight is listed in ounces. Trigger pull is listed as pounds of resistance. Linear measurements are listed in inches. The cylinder length does not include the cylinder ratchet. Height includes the sights. The double-action pull was butter-smooth, and felt even lighter than the weight listed.

Overall Length 6.5"
Overall Height 4.48"
Weight, Unloaded 14.7 oz.
Barrel Length 1.906"
Cylinder length 1.558"
Cylinder Diameter 1.278"
Cylinder Capacity 8 cartridges
Barrel / Cylinder Gap 0.005"
Trigger Pull DA 7 lbs, 11 oz.

I tested the LCR 22 with several brands of ammunition for velocity and function. The results with each brand and type of ammunition are listed in the chart below. HP is a lead hollowpoint bullet. Solid is a lead roundnose bullet. Velocity readings were taken at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with an air temperature of 66 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity in the 47 percent range. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (FPS), and were recorded ten feet from the muzzle of the LCR. Bullet weights are listed in grains.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Federal Bulk HP 36 831
Winchester DynaPoint HP 40 866
PMC Match Solid 40 773
Wolf Match Solid 40 837
CCI Mini-Mag HP 36 917
CCI Mini-Mag Solid 40 928
CCI Velocitor HP 40 885
Remington Yellow Jacket HP 33 1052
Remington Hi-Speed Solid 40 963
American Eagle HP 36 788
PMC Zapper HP 38 878
Olin Solid 40 861

I tested the 22 LCR for accuracy at twenty-five yards using my Ransom Master Series machine rest. I realize that this is not designed to be a target gun, and will likely never be seen on the line at Camp Perry, but I like to know the accuracy of which any 22 handgun is capable, and the little LCR did pretty well. Accuracy varied from as tight as two inches for five shots to as large as five, depending upon the ammunition chosen. Rimfire ammunition is often not as consistent from shot to shot as is good centerfire ammo, and the velocity variation in some of the ammunition varied as much as much as eight percent. That does nothing to contribute to good accuracy. However, some ammo performed really well in the 22 LCR, and is certainly sufficient for the revolver’s purpose.

As to reliability; the LCR 22 performed flawlessly. I had no misfires of any kind with the LCR 22, with any of the numerous brands any types tested. Extraction was very easy, with only slight stickiness experienced with the Remington Yellow Jacket ammo. Even with that ammunition, a hard push with the finger upon the ejector rod ejected all cases at once. The ejector rod is plenty long enough for positive ejection of fired cases. The Yellow Jacket ammo performed very well, exceeding 1050 feet-per-second from the short barrel of the LCR, and would be a good choice to use for defense, if needed. I have only had this revolver here for a few days, but so far, I really like it. I first saw the 22 LCR back in early November at the NASGW Show in Reno. It was not on display, but a Ruger executive was kind enough to take me into the back of the booth and bring out a few interesting new guns that are slated for introduction soon. I was particularly pleased when he handed me the 22 LCR, as I think it fills a void in the pocket handgun category that needed filling. It is lightweight, reliable, accurate, and most importantly, has a really good trigger pull. There are other 22 caliber pocket revolvers on the market, but with their much heavier trigger pulls, they are more difficult to use, and for some folks, near impossible to manage well. The rimfire LCR comes through for those who need such a weapon, and allows the user to quickly deliver eight shots onto the target. Also, with ammunition prices as high as they are, the 22 LCR makes a great understudy to a centerfire LCR, allowing the user lots of affordable practice, with the same size and feel as the centerfire counterpart.

For those who need a handy revolver for concealed carry that has light recoil, the LCR 22 fitted with a Crimson Trace Lasergrip would serve very well. For a handy pocket-sized trail gun, the LCR 22 is a good choice for that as well. For a method of fun, affordable practice for those who already own a centerfire LCR, the LCR 22 makes a lot of sense. It is also a good choice for a lightweight, reliable fun gun for plinking. The LCR 22 and a brick of good 22 ammo can provide a lot of inexpensive entertainment.

I really like this LCR 22. I have only put a few hundred rounds through this one so far, but it has been one-hundred percent reliable. It will function with any 22 Long Rifle, 22 Long, or 22 Short ammunition, but these days, 22 Long Rifle is as inexpensive as any other 22 rimfire cartridge, so I see no need to ever use the shorter stuff, unless you have a ready supply of it.

The Ruger LCR 22 is a dandy little pocket rimfire, made right, and made in the USA. I highly recommend it.

Check out the LCR 22 online at

For the location of a Ruger dealer near you, click on the DEALER LOCATOR at

To order the LCR 22 online, go to

For quality 22 rimfire ammunition, go to

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.




Hogue Tamer synthetic rubber grip.







Remington Yellow Jacket ammo is a good choice.



Pattern at six feet with CCI 22 shotshell.



Ten-shot group, fired offhand at seven yards.