What cops need to know about the new Ruger LCP II

The LCP II is the second generation of the concealment classic

The Ruger LCP has been around for nearly a decade and it is often referred to as the de facto standard in lightweight compact pistols – beloved by police officers and concealed carry licensees.

The LCP is chambered in 380 ACP with a magazine capacity of six rounds. It is recoil operated, hammer fired and probably as small as a handgun in this cartridge can be manufactured using today’s materials and technology. The pistol is tiny, which means it can be carried effortlessly in a deep concealment capacity. It is a near perfect combination of size, reliability, safety and price.  

Despite its design merits, many users complained about the LCP’s rudimentary sights, which are nothing more than small bumps machined into the pistol’s slide. While they do make for a snag-free profile, the sights do little to aid in aiming. 

The new LCP II offers improvements that do not appear to have changed concealability or reliability.
The new LCP II offers improvements that do not appear to have changed concealability or reliability. (Photo/PoliceOne)

The pistol also lacks any sort of mechanical hold open when the last shot has been fired or when the pistol’s slide is pulled back with an empty magazine in place. The LCP’s trigger is a heavy double-action mechanism that can have a “phantom reset” that might make the shooter believe he or she has fully released and reset the trigger when, in fact, it wasn’t reset. However, the pistol’s trigger can be mastered with practice. 

The sights, while limited, are not a deal breaker. For a pistol that’s probably rarely fired beyond five yards, the sights are good enough to get the pistol pointed in the right direction. And while the slide doesn’t automatically lock open on an empty magazine, the LCP does have an external slide lock that can be used to hold the slide open. Still, Ruger felt these criticisms were common enough that they decided it was time to give the LCP a facelift.

Next generation: LCP II

This brings us to the new LCP II. As the name implies, the LCP II is the second generation of the concealment classic. Sights are still machined directly into the slide, but they are now bigger and more easily seen yet still small enough to remain unobtrusive and snag-free. The trigger mechanism, while still hammer-fired, was changed from the double-action only to a single-action pattern. 

Reset and pull weight are improved and a pivoting trigger block (think Glock) were added for safety. The pistol will now lock open when empty, making reloads slightly easier. On a related note, the original LCP magazines should fit and function in the LCP II, but will not activate the new internal slide lock feature.  

Externally, the new LCP II bears a strong resemblance to the original. Overall size is nearly the same, but the trigger guard is slightly larger and now has a squared (rather than rounded) profile. The grip’s molded-in texture is more aggressive and the backstrap has been squared and widened to better spread recoil across the shooter’s palm. 

The slide now features both front and rear cocking serrations and has a bit more square profile while still being free of sharp edges or bite points. The rear of the frame and slide were redesigned to better conceal the hammer and should also help keep lint and debris out of the pistol’s internal mechanism.

From a safety standpoint, the LCP II lacks any type of passive firing pin safety. The pistol’s hammer and sear engagement is very robust when fully cocked, negating the need for an internal firing pin block. Just to be safe, Ruger engineers did add a second sear engagement point on the hammer (similar to the half-cock position on a 1911) that will catch the hammer in case the sear receives a sufficient shock that might jar the hammer loose. In factory testing, Ruger found the primary sear engagement was so good that the sear actually had to be machined away in order to test the secondary engagement.  

I have used an original LCP and found the little pistol to be very reliable. While I don’t yet have the same carry/shooting time on the new LCP II, I have not been disappointed thus far. The pistol has proven to be reliable with inexpensive imported “ball” ammo and with premium defensive rounds, just like the original. 

I was never bothered by the original LCP’s small sights, but I don’t miss them now that they’re gone. The trigger is much improved and, in all honesty, is probably better than it needs to be for a firearm of this type. Nevertheless, the improved trigger, combined with better sights, makes the LCP II surprisingly accurate. I was able to consistently fire five-round groups at 10 yards that were easily covered with the palm of my hand.

Was the original LCP due for a remake? Probably not. It was, and still is, a fine little pistol. But the new LCP II does offer some minor improvements that do not appear to have changed concealability or reliability.

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