Dick Metcalf writes: Ruger is not known for overhyping its products, so when company spokesman Ken Jorgensen stood up in front of me in the conference room at Ruger’s Newport, New Hampshire, plant and said, “we’re about to show you the most significant change in revolver design in the past century,” he had my attention. He also had to convince me he wasn’t just blowing smoke—especially considering that what he was holding appeared, at a casual glance, to be simply another small-frame snubnosed .38.
The new Ruger Lightweight Carry Revolver (LCR) is a compact five-shot .38 Special that weighs only 13 1/2 ounces, has a fully shrouded hammer and double-action-only trigger pull, a 1 7/8-inch barrel, and is rated for +P ammunition. It is essentially the same size as a classic S&W Chiefs Special or Taurus Model 85, and maintains basic holster compatibility with those guns. But here’s the kicker the LCR’s lower half, which contains the entire operating mechanism, is constructed of polymer. Yes, that’s what I said. The Ruger LCR is a +P .38 Special revolver with a plastic frame; it is the first such specimen in the history of firearms.
The LCR consists of three major modular subcomponents an upper-cylinder frame/barrel assembly, a lower-frame fire control housing assembly, and a cylinder/crane assembly. The cylinder frame/barrel assembly is constructed of a 7000-series aluminum forging with a 1714 stainless-steel barrel sleeve threaded into the barrel shroud. There are also hardened insert bushings for the center pin and firing pin opening in the recoil shield at the rear of the cylinder window. The barrel is controlled for barrel/cylinder gap by its thread-in depth (so there is no filing required at the breech end), allowing for a precisely finished and dimensioned forcing cone area for consistent transition of the bullet from the cylinder into the barrel. There are no moving parts in the cylinder frame/barrel assembly except for the cylinder-release latch mechanism; it merely serves as a housing for the cylinder crane assembly and interfaces with the lower-frame/fire-control housing.