Lightweight, Compact Ruger LCR 22 Magnum Pocket Revolver

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

January 5th, 2013


Click pictures for a larger version.



LCR 22 Magnum sitting atop the first 1150 empty cases fired.





Hogue textured synthetic rubber grip is very comfortable.











For the past month, riding in my left-hand front pocket every day, has been the newest version of Ruger’s polymer/aluminum/steel lightweight revolver; the LCR 22 WMR. Weighing in at about fourteen and three-quarters ounces, the short-barreled sixgun has ridden very comfortably there everywhere that I have been. Each day, I have taken it out and fired it, to assure myself and you readers that this little jewel will perform when needed. For many, there is still no more reliable nor simpler defensive handgun than a double-action revolver, and they present a good argument in its favor. A double-action revolver is easy to load, unload, and operate. It is a point-and-shoot proposition, and as a carry gun, as reliable as you can get.

There are not many professionals who will argue against the revolver as a defensive carry gun. The controversy and debate comes in when the subject of the cartridge for which the weapon is chambered is brought into the discussion. Everything being equal, bigger is better. A fifty caliber hole is better than a thirty caliber hole. We can all agree upon that. However, things are not always so simple, as is the case of choosing a defensive handgun. A handgun carried concealed is a compromise. In choosing, we must consider the factors of size, weight, power, cost, ease-of-operation, reliability, and finally, our own ability. Given a choice in a bad situation, I would prefer to have a rifle, shotgun, or Marine regiment at my disposal, but I cannot carry any of those with me on a daily basis, so I must choose a handgun which I can conceal comfortably. We each have to make that decision, to best suit our own situation. Those who are new to carrying a concealed weapon usually choose something at first that is larger than they ultimately end up carrying. There was a time in my life in which I carried twin Glock 19 9mm pistols in a double Galco Miami Classic shoulder rig. However, I now always have a gun in my left front pocket, even when I am carrying something larger in a belt holster. I gave up on the shoulder rig for every day carry years ago, as it tends to get in my way now, doing what I do on a daily basis.

In the end, most people end up carrying a small semi-auto or revolver as a daily carry gun. We need something that can ALWAYS be within reach, and a pocket gun fills that role nicely. Whenever I feel the need, such as when traveling, working cattle, or going into a large city, I carry a full-sized sidearm also, but the pocket gun usually is the only firearm that is always with me. I think that many other folks do the same.

Caliber selection is, again, a compromise, and for many folks, recoil is a deciding factor. There are some who, for whatever reason, just cannot handle the recoil of a center fire lightweight revolver, and a 22 rimfire is a weapon that is easy to shoot, and easy to shoot well. A revolver that is chambered for the 22 Long Rifle cartridge, in the hands of someone that knows how to run it, can be an effective defensive weapon. Even better is the 22 magnum. The magnum does not have much more recoil than does the 22 Long Rifle, but offers a bullet that is traveling faster, and is made to penetrate deeper. Most 22 magnum bullets are of jacketed-lead construction, and hold up well upon impact, penetrating as deeply as a 38 Special Plus P hollowpoint from an equal-length barrel. Penetration is very important, and getting the bullet into the vitals is the goal.

When I first saw a prototype of the Ruger LCR 38 Special at the New Hampshire factory a couple of years ago, I was thinking “22 magnum”. I don’t know exactly why, but I harbor an unnatural affection for the 22 magnum cartridge; the little thing performs all out of proportion to its diminutive size. Recoil is light enough that anyone who can operate a firearm can handle it, learning to place the bullets right where they need to go, and allowing fast follow-up shots upon the target. I am glad that Ruger is including the 22 magnum along with the 22 LR, 38 Special Plus P, and 357 magnum chamberings in this handy little revolver.

Specifications for the 22 magnum LCR 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 very smooth.

Overall Length 6.5 Inches
Overall Height 4.48 Inches
Weight Unloaded 14.8 Ounces
Barrel Length 1.903 Inches
Cylinder Length 1.556 Inches
Cylinder Diameter 1.28 Inches
Cylinder Capacity 6 cartridges
Barrel/Cylinder Gap 0.005 Inch
Trigger Pull DA 8 Pounds, 14 Ounces

I tested the LCR with nine types of 22 Magnum 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 twenty-seven degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity in the eighty-five percent range. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (FPS), and were recorded ten feet from the muzzle of the revolver. Bullet weights are listed in grains.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
PMC Predator JHP 40 1077
Winchester Dynapoint 45 1006
CCI TNT JHP 30 1251
Winchester Supreme JHP 30 1253
Winchester Supreme JHP 34 1197
CCI +V JHP 30 1186
CCI Maxi-Mag JHP 40 1045
Armscor JHP 40 1102
Winchester Supreme JHP 28 1376

Initial function testing of the LCR 22 magnum consisted of firing 1150 rounds of various types of 22 magnum ammunition, including, but not limited to, each of the types listed above, to check for any firing or extraction problems. In addition to those listed in the velocity chart, I fired two different types of Hornady ammunition and one of Remington. Only one cartridge case out of those 1150 rounds showed any signs of sticky extraction. That single case had split lengthwise, causing hard extraction. That was no fault of the revolver, but a defective cartridge. Every other cartridge fired and extracted without a problem. I fired that amount of ammunition within about three hours, as I wanted to be sure that extraction was not going to be a problem with this 22 magnum revolver, as the 22 magnum cartridges does sometimes exhibit stubborn extraction in some revolvers. The little Ruger performed like a champ, even though no attempt was made to clean, cool, nor to lubricate the weapon at all.

I also fired the 22 magnum LCR offhand at targets at distances from seven to one-hundred yards. The little Ruger grouped well, and right on with the sights using 40 grain ammunition out to twenty-five yards. Keeping all hits within the kill zone of a standard human silhouette target at twenty-five yards was easy firing slowly, and rapid fire at ten yards was just as rewarding. For low-light use, I installed the set of Crimson Trace Lasergrips off of my LCR 38 Special, which fit the 22 magnum perfectly. I checked the 22 magnum ammunition for penetration in ballistic gelatin, and all of the 40 grain ammunition penetrated between thirteen and fifteen inches, as did the 45 grain DynaPoint. Perfect. The CCI TNT penetrated the least, only going about five and one-half inches, but showed good expansion. For defensive use, I would stick with 40 grain hollowpoint PMC Predator, Armscor, CCI, or the 45 grain Winchester DynaPoint.

Many 22 rimfire revolvers have excessively heavy trigger pulls. The Ruger does not. The pull weight measured just under nine pounds on my LCR 22 magnum, but the nature of the trigger pull, being very smooth and progressive, makes it easy to operate. I think that Ruger set the pull weight about as light as could be done with this revolver, and still get one-hundred-percent reliable ignition.

For defensive use, the LCR 22 magnum is sized just right. Hopefully, this will just be the first of the 22 magnum LCR revolvers from Ruger. This is just speculation on my part, or maybe wishful thinking, but a trail version of this LCR 22 magnum with an adjustable rear sight and a three and one-half inch barrel would be ideal for hiking or just bumming around in the woods, but for now, I can live just fine with this first version of the LCR 22 magnum, and I am glad to see Ruger add this chambering to their dandy little polymer revolver line.

The Ruger LCR 22 magnum fills a niche that needed filling, and is a good choice for someone needing a compact, reliable, accurate, and lightweight defensive revolver that has light recoil and is easy to operate. Like all Ruger firearms, the 22 magnum LCR is 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 magnum online, go to

For quality 22 magnum ammunition, go to

Jeff Quinn

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LCR comes with soft, zippered case.









Six shots of 22 Magnum.





Internal key lock is there if you choose to use it.