Some people love them, some people hate them. It goes by many names: snub-nosed wheelgun, snubbie, detectives special, and on. The short barreled, compact revolver has been around since about the beginning of the revolver. It is a great design. It’s compact, easy to conceal, and simple to operate, pull the trigger and repeat. The snub-nosed revolver for how simple it is, is very diverse in its old age. The snubbie comes in Double/Single action, Double Action Only, .357 magnum, .38 special,.22lr and on.
Years ago when Ruger released the LCR in .38 spl., I shot a friend’s. I liked it. It was accurate for a short barrel, light in my hand, and the trigger wasn’t bad. The trigger had a little bit of a long pull, but was smooth and consistent, due to their friction reducing cam system. My only complaint was that it was .38 spl. only. Well, Ruger finally answered all of my never sent hate mail on the subject. They released the LCR .357 magnum. I couldn’t help myself, I bought one. I got lucky; the gun is great. I say I got lucky, because I bought it without ever shooting that model.
The LCR .357 magnum really is just a beefier version of its little brother in .38 spl. The .357 mag version is 3.6 ounces heavier, at 17.10 ounces. This helps with the felt recoil of shooting full power magnum loads. At 17.10 ounces, I can barely feel any recoil shooting .38 spl. rounds. It has a stainless steel frame and barrel with an IonBond Diamondblack ™ coating while the .38 spl and 22lr models use 7000 series aluminum. The LCR .357 mag has the same polymer fire control housing of the .38 spl model, helping control weight. Ruger says that the polymer housing also helps absorb some of the recoil of the compact gun. The sights are a notch and tunnel rear with a ramped front sight. These sights are made for a close encounter, not precision distance shots.
One of the reasons that people dislike the .357 magnum snub-nose is the recoil and noise. The LCR .357 mag, to me, doesn’t kick quite as hard as the rest. Be it the polymer fire control housing or the Hogue Tamer grip, the gun isn’t the beast I expected. Being chambered in .357 magnum also comes with the advantage of shooting .38 spl. Many people, including myself, practice with .38 spl and use .357 mag rounds when carrying concealed.
Overall, the Ruger LCR .357 mag is a great little carry gun. I can carry inside my waistband, in a pocket holster, in an ankle holster, or just about anywhere else you can carry a gun. It is comfortable in my hand, and is fairly accurate for a compact gun. The reliability of the Ruger revolver line has always been top notch. Plus, it’s a wheelgun, if it doesn’t go bang, the malfunction drill is to keep it on target and pull the trigger again. But hey, I’ve always been a wheelgun fan. I guess it just reminds me of the detectives in the 70’s & 80’s police T.V. shows. Bad haircuts, bad suits, and Colt Detective Special in their holsters. I can’t tell you why, but it just always seemed cool. Just remember, like any carry gun, a compact short barrel handgun requires more training and practice time. So give a snubbie a try. If you like it, practice with it. If you do these things and can legally do so, carry it.
Caliber: .357 magnum / .38 special
Weight: 17.10 oz.
Frame: Forged Stainless Steel
Finish: IonBond Diamondblack™