This week Ruger announced a CA-legal (and 9mm convertible) LC380 that comes complete with a free laser in a bid to keep a semi-auto self-defense offering on the states ever-shrinking handgun roster.
Why the roster
California currently requires that under the Unsafe Handgun Act, all handguns sold in the state be approved to meet all current laws and added to a roster in order to sell. Once approved, the manufacturer has to pay $200 per model per year to remain on the list. However, if the laws change, the guns on the list would have to be reexamined.
The roster of handguns that meets the states expansive safety requirements first implemented in 1997 excludes many popular models and is getting gradually smaller due to increasing restrictions to include controversial microstamping requirement. While lawsuits have been brought in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the roster, it never the less is still in effect.
There are currently less than a thousand approved models in the state's database. In an alert sent out by the Calguns foundation last year this is expected to nosedive to practically zero (excepting derringers and revolvers which are exempt from microstamping) in the coming years.
Large companies are even shying away from bringing new guns into the state.
In a statement from Smith & Wesson President and CEO James Debney that appeared in the Washington Times in 2014, "As our products fall off the roster due to California's interpretation of the Unsafe Handgun Act, we will continue to work with the NRA and the NSSF to oppose this poorly conceived law which mandates the unproven and unreliable concept of microstamping and makes it impossible for Californians to have access to the best products with the latest innovations."
The new state law eliminating the single shot exemption provision formerly used to purchase handguns not on the roster compounds this. Since January 2014, when the UHA roster contained 1,152 approved models, it has constricted to 811 since then. This represents a sharp decline from nearly 1,400 models listed in 2008.
Of the 48 Rugers currently approved and on the list, 45 are revolvers. As far as pistols there is just the 9mm KP95PR and P95PR, and, oh yeah, the LC380CA.
A laser of a deal
The evolution of the proven LCP and the follow-on LC9, the new LC380CA gives those who want a quality concealed carry piece in a slim (0.90 inch) and compact (17 ounce) package. This 7+1 shot .380, when stacked up to the vaunted Glock 42 (which it preceded) compares favorably. However what the G42 does not have is two things that the Ruger does is a presence on the California roster (No Generation 4 Glock handguns have been approved nor have any Glock handguns made in the USA of which the G42 is both)-- and a free LaserMax Centerfire frame mounted laser which each LC380CA ships with for a limited time. This is about a $100 value.
In a press release sent to Ruger Talk, the company pointed out just how safe the reintroduced gun is by pointing out that it offers a tactile loaded chamber indicator, magazine disconnect, and a manual external safety.
And mircostamping? Well, the thing is California approved the old LC380 as is and Ruger is taking advantage of that to keep selling these new models until at least 2016.
From the company,
"In 2014, Ruger made some minor changes to the LC380 production processes that would have required the pistol to meet California's controversial microstamping law. The LC380CA California compliant model reflects the unmodified pistol as originally approved by California in 2013"
Best of all, Ruger is bringing out a 9mm top kit for the gun.
"Later this year, Ruger plans to expand its offerings of Genuine Ruger Factory Parts & Accessories to include a 9mm caliber conversion kit for the LC380. The kit will allow owners of a Ruger LC380 or LC380CA to convert their pistol to safely and reliably fire 9mm Luger ammunition, providing added flexibility to shoot either lighter recoiling .380 Auto or more powerful 9mm Luger in the same handgun," reads the release.
Slide Material: Alloy Steel
Slide Finish: Blued
Barrel Material: Alloy Steel
Barrel Finish: Blued
Barrel Length: 3.12"
Weight: 17.20 oz.
Sights: Drift Adjustable 3-Dot
Grip Frame: Black, High-Performance, Glass-Filled Nylon
Twist: 1:10" RH
CA Approved: Yes
Suggested Retail: $499.00
While being a gun owner on the West Coast can be a bummer, at least Ruger is thinking out of the box and trying to do its part.