Review: Ruger LCP II .380
April 30, 2018
Ruger recently updated its .380 ACP semiautomatic LCP pocket pistol, and the new version is called the LCP II. Shooting Times received a shooting sample of the newest version of the little pistol, which comes from the factory with a Viridian laser already installed, and I put it through a thorough evaluation. It performed perfectly.
The new LCP II has many updates from its predecessor. The most noticeable ones are the safety-lever trigger, the front slide serrations, and the new-pattern texturing on the grip.
Like its predecessor, the LCP II utilizes a tilting-breech design. When a cartridge is fired, the steel barrel and steel slide remain locked together for a short distance of slide travel, after which the breech end of the barrel cams down, out of engagement with the slide. The slide then moves fully rearward, extracting and ejecting the fired case. Then dual recoil springs return the slide to its forward position, picking up a cartridge from the magazine and chambering it. As the cycle is completed, the breech-end of the barrel cams up and locks into the slide.
Whereas the original LCP has a double-action-only firing mechanism, the LCP II is a single-action pistol. Consequently, when the LCP II's slide cycles, the recessed hammer is cocked fully. Squeezing the trigger (which involves pressing the built-in safety lever to allow the trigger finger piece to move fully to the rear) releases the hammer to strike the firing pin. The slide automatically locks back on an empty magazine.
Speaking of magazines, the LCP II comes with a six-round magazine, and an interchangeable extended baseplate is included. Note that the LCP II will accept the six-round magazines the original LCP uses, but they will not activate the LCP II's last-round hold-open feature. Seven-round LCP magazines are not compatible with the LCP II. Also noteworthy is the fact that the LCP II will fire with the magazine removed just like the earlier LCP.
The black striated fixed sights are integral to the slide. And the high-performance glass-filled nylon frame has an aluminum insert. The grip's new texturing provides more gripping surface.
The LCP II is offered with or without a factory-installed Viridian E-Series red laser. The E-Series laser mates with the LCP II's trigger guard and projects a 635nm to 650nm laser when the switch is activated. It runs on a CR1/3N lithium battery, and the housing is made of high-strength polymer.
The LCP II comes with a pocket holster, a trigger padlock, and a molded plastic case.
I fired the new LCP II with five .380 ACP factory loads ranging in bullet weight from 80 grains to 100 grains. The pistol functioned perfectly with all loads. Overall average accuracy for five, five-shot groups with each load (a total of 25 five-shot groups) at 25 yards was 4.22 inches. Some loads were pretty snappy in terms of felt recoil, but I wouldn't classify any of them as uncomfortable.
The LCP II weighs just 11.4 ounces, so some recoil is expected even with the low-recoilng .380 ACP round. For comparison's sake, the loads I fired averaged between 3.8 ft-lbs and 5.1 ft-lbs of recoil, and standard .45 ACP ammo fired in a full-size 39-ounce Model 1911 typically produces about 6.5 ft-lbs of recoil.
While testing the shootability of the Viridian laser at a close-up self-defense distance of seven yards, I ran a full magazine of each load through the LCP II. Each loading cut a nice ragged hole in the paper targets that measured close to an inch, outside to outside. The laser definitely allows more precise shooting.
Everyone familiar with concealed-carry guns knows that the original LCP has been tremendously popular. You could go so far as to say that it set the standard for 21st-century pocket pistols. With the new LCP II, Ruger has improved the design, adding features that enhance performance.