Ever since the Colt Detective Special came on the scene nearly a hundred years ago, the snub-nosed revolver has been a staple of the gun world. Well, Ruger came up with their own take on this in polymer.
Why the allure of the snub
(The original snubby)
In 1927, Colt Firearms of Connecticut coughed up a shortened version of their Police Positive revolver. Their new gun was the first short-barreled revolvers produced with a modern swing-out cylinder. When we say \'short-barreled\', we mean it. The new \'Detective Special\' had an abbreviated 2-inch barrel. This gave the gun an overall length of just 6.75-inches and a weight of only 21-ounces. Packing six rounds of .38 Special into this pocket gun gave it a serious bite. Soon bankers, businessmen, lawmen, and even outlaws (Bonnie Parker or Bonnie and Clyde fame loved her Detective Special), began carrying the little \'snub-nosed\' gun.
Smith and Wesson came out with their own version in 1946, which lives today as the Chief\'s Special, and then there are snubs by Rossi, Charter Arms, Taurus, and others.
Even though the basic concept dates back almost a century, these revolvers still sell very well. This is because they are simple to use, reliable, compact enough to fit under almost any clothing option, and can still deliver 5-6 rounds when needed. That\'s probably why Ruger decided to try their hand at one of their own.
(The Ruger SP101 is beautiful, but a tad on the heavy side for a \'small\' gun)
The company has since 1989 made a snub-nosed .38, known as the SP101. A solid-framed, all-steel work of art can compete with any Smith J-frame made today. The thing is, it\'s a little chunky at 26-ounces and a little large at 7.20-inches overall, both of which push the limit of a pocket revolver.
In 2009, Ruger engineer Joseph Zajk coughed up a new polymer gripped solid-framed snub that used a double-action only constant-pressure trigger. This eliminates an exposed hammer, making the gun less likely to snag. The guns name was the LCR, which stood for Light, Compact Revolver, and the company meant what it was saying. At 13.5-ounces, this gun was positively svelte. In fact, it was only half as heavy as the SP101. Overall length: just 6.5-inches, making it even shorter than the old Colt Detective that started the family tree in the first place.
A new look for a new age
(The LCR uses a combination of aluminum, steel and polymer to cut down weight)
Finished with a matte black Synergistic hard coat and equipped with Hogue monogrips right from the factory, the gun was good to go. Sure, it looks homely compared to the more spiffy SP101, but these things aren\'t built for looks. They have proved popular in the past few years and I am seeing them increasingly in my concealed carry classes used by a wide range of demographics from young women to older men to the elderly. The only thing these shooters have in common is that they are able to score a qualifying target at ranges from 3 to 15 yards after a day\'s training on the gun.
Pop icon Walter White even famously (infamously?) carried a Ruger LCR .38 snub on the episodic modern crime saga Breaking Bad. As a science-minded intelligent guy who thought out all of his actions, the choice is interesting.
(Shooting an LCR 38 from several angles)
Today Ruger has expanded the line from their original .38SPL offerings to include .357 Magnum, .22WMR, and .22LR, all of which, with modern ammunition, can be considered for a long line of uses.
As the old country song goes, \'she may be homely, but she sure can cook\'.