As most of the people interested in handguns know, Ruger has released a significant upgrade to their wildly popular LCP – the LCP II. Or, Gen 2 as some Glock fanciers have taken to calling it. I'll just call it the LCP II.
I have owned two of the early LCP versions. As Hickok45 said, the LCP is a gun I really wanted to like. And, like it I did. Only problem for me was that I could not learn to shoot it as accurately as I believe is necessary for a self defense handgun that might have to be used in a situation involving innocent bystanders. I operate under the principle that my foremost duty in the event I am ever involved in a self defense shooting is to not shoot anyone but the bad guy(s). Period. Better I get shot, stabbed, whacked, or beaten than I cause injury to an innocent person.
I practiced with the original LCPs, but could not master the small size coupled with the long trigger pull so that I could reliably hit my target every time. Sadly, I sold both and moved on. Or so I thought. Then, a month or so ago, Ruger announced and released the LCP II. The two factors in the gun's redesign that motivated me most were the improved trigger and the redesigned form factor. A better trigger has long been the LCP Achille's heel. Ruger evidently listened to our complaints and has made a crisp trigger with a reasonable pull, between 5 and 6 pounds according to what I have seen. I also like the trigger safety mechanism built into it. Even though it remains a hammer-fired pistol, racking the slide cocks that hammer and the trigger safety coupled with deliberate trigger pull movement are all the safety features delivered by the weapon.
I have read many moans and rants over this feature on various gun forums. But, taking gun forums for what they are (having worked as a moderator for a gun forum with over ten thousand registered members), namely a whisper of good information among a storm of opinion, rumor and personal agendas, but in my view, this is a non-issue. As many wise people have noted, Glocks operate essentially with similar "safety" features even though they are striker fired. Given that almost anyone can own a gun these days, to expect a perfect safety record regarding negligent discharges is unrealistic at best, and foolish at worst. Handle and operate your gun properly and the chances of doing something wrong are minimal. Guns are dangerous weapons. Designed that way. Treat them as such and get on with life.
So, I now own another LCP. I like the new design, the new trigger and the ability to carry an extremely concealable, effective (yes, I know about the never-ending caliber wars, and frankly don't care) and more accurate handgun.
I work part time in a rural health clinic, one that has no actual security on site, and is situated in an area of higher than normal crime and drug use. It is only sensible for people in these situations to be armed as a matter of personal security. I believe the Ruger LCP II is an ideal choice for situations of this nature. I will be carrying mine and reporting back now and then on the experience.
Two of the critical equipment components of concealed carry in addition to an adequate firearm are the holsters and spare magazine carriers. Holsters must be concealable, especially in a highly public venue, hold securely to the body and the weapon, and not hinder a quick and safe draw. This becomes especially important when designing for a handgun as small as the LCP. The gun's available real estate is very limited and compact but still must be configured by the gun's designers in such a was as to give the gun user quick and safe access to it, and promote accurate sighting and firing. One of the potential issues with the LCP II, especially when used with IWB and AIWB holsters is the fact that the magazine release button is positioned out of contact with the right hand shooter's thumb during holding and firing, but can be directly under the thumb, liable to be inadvertently pressed when the gun is drawn from a confined space such as in an IWB holster that leaves the mag release button exposed.
Most larger handguns do not suffer from this constraint. The grips are large and wide which provides enough real estate so that the thumb can't be placed far enough forward during the draw to actuate the button. But, on guns as small as the LCP II, this is not the case. Ruger has configured the grip such that the natural fall of the right hand thumb during firing is channelled above the magazine release button. This is also the case with many OWB holsters during the draw, although it might be a problem for some. There are far too many holsters available for a comprehensive statement, but it is something to be aware of when considering what holsters to use for the LCP II.
I know this from personal experience. I have had a few accidental mag drops when drawing from kydex IWB holsters that don't cover the magazine release button. It doesn't always happen, but it did on a few occasions. For a self defense holster, that's not acceptable.
I will be soliciting a few holsters from top, quality firms and makers to evaluate with my LCP II in my real world carry scenario. Once I obtain a few and give them sufficient test and evaluation time, I'll review and comment on them here.
Additionally, when carrying a small handgun with limited rounds on board it is necessary to carry at least one reload. Two is better. That leads to the second important component: the mag carriers. There are many available. A few, doubtless, are excellent. Many are so-so and some are just barely above carrying a naked magazine in one's pocket. There are few, especially double mag carriers, that are both concealable and comfortable enough to wear all through a busy day in a very public place. The ones that are, or that might be, are also expensive. i do not know of any quality double mag carriers that can be pocket carried. I'd like to find a few well made and useful mag carriers to evaluate along with the holsters. I'll be contacting a few makers to participate in my evaluations and review.
I think the most difficult scenario for carrying concealed, safely, securely and with spare magazines would be to pocket carry the LCP II along with two spare magazines while dressed in casual business attire, slacks and a tucked in shirt. Any holster and magazine carrier maker who can successfully pass that test will get very high marks and recommendation indeed.