Ruger LCR .22 WMR Revolver

By Randy Wakeman

Ruger LCR .22 WMR Revolver
Photo by Randy Wakeman.

New for 2013 is Ruger's expansion of their extremely successful LCR (Lightweight Compact Revolver) series of personal defense, double action only revolvers. This time the LCR is being offered in .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire, six-shot configuration.

The Ruger LCR represents a re-thinking of double action revolver design and manufacture. There is an in depth review of the similar .38 LCR on the Product Reviews page, so I will not elaborate on the innovative design of this stainless steel, aluminum alloy and synthetic polymer revolver here. Very, briefly, there are no sideplates. Instead, there are three easily accessed modular sub-assemblies. These are the Frame sub-assembly, Fire Control Housing sub-assembly and Cylinder sub-assembly.

The LCR's lock work, contained in the Nylon long-glass fiber reinforced Fire Control Housing (which incorporates the grip frame), is fundamentally based on Ruger's SP101, GP100 and Super Redhawk revolver designs. The LCR introduced several new innovative features, including e-nickel Teflon on critical engagement surfaces and a small concave camming surface on the trigger where it interfaces with the hammer sub assembly. The latter is primarily responsible for the LCR's excellent DA trigger pull. The barrel, cylinder, crane, front sight blade and most of the internal mechanism are blackened or tumbled stainless steel; the hammer and trigger have been coated to increase their corrosion resistance and improve operating smoothness.

Functionally, the smooth and comparatively light trigger pull of this DAO, fixed sight, shrouded hammer revolver is what the shooter will notice first. This is a concealed carry revolver about the size of an S&W Bodyguard, but with a far superior DA trigger pull.


    ·        Catalog Number: LCR-22MAG

    ·        Model Number: 5414

    ·        Caliber: 22 WMR

    ·        Finish: Matte Black, Synergistic Hard Coat

    ·        Grip: Hogue® Tamer™ Monogrip®

    ·        Front Sight: Replaceable, Pinned Ramp

    ·        Rear Sight: U-Notch Integral

    ·        Barrel Material: Stainless Steel

    ·        Cylinder Finish: Lonbond Diamondblack

    ·        Barrel Length: 1.875"

    ·        Overall Length: 6.50"

    ·        Height: 4.50"

    ·        Width:1.28"

    ·        Weight: 16.60 oz.

    ·        Capacity:6

    ·        Twist: 1:9" RH

    ·        Grooves: 6 

    ·        2013 MSRP: $529.00

The .22 Winchester Magnum is now a more appealing option for personal defense thanks to improved ammunition from Speer, Hornady and Winchester. These new loads are specifically designed for self-defense with enhanced ballistics out of short revolver barrels.

The LCR in .38 Special was sufficiently impressive, due to its light weight, smooth double action trigger pull and accuracy, to make it our “Handgun of the Year” in 2009-2010. Unfortunately, the .22 WMR LCR doesn't compare favorably with the .38 caliber LCR.

One of the issues with the .22 WMR round in this revolver is that it isn't as reliable as its centerfire counterparts. When you load thin-brass .22 Mag. rounds into the LCR, you have to be sure to push them completely forward into the cylinder. Sure, we should always do this, but carry or self defense guns should be as fool-proof as possible, particularly if I'm the foolish fellow involved.

While not a deal-breaker, it is a consideration, as a carry gun can be carried in many different orientations, including horizontal or upside down in shoulder holsters, fanny packs and purses. Whether by initial loading, or by bumping around and vibration from carry, if the rimfire rounds are not seated fully into the cylinder you have two potential problems: binding of the cylinder as you attempt to fire and misfires due to insufficient denting of the rim upon firing.

I experienced both of these issues during testing of the LCR .22 Mag. and it wasn't a matter of intentionally trying to get the cylinder to bind during rotation or seeking misfires. That is, of course, why we test these things; a carry gun isn't always carried in a perfectly sterile, vibration-free and bump-free environment. The opposite is often true: it might be carried in a fanny-pack while jogging or in the glove compartment of your vehicle.

Right there is more than enough reason for me to state that I can't recommend the LCR in .22 Mag. as a self-defense piece. In .38 Special, I have and still do recommend the LCR, but not in this chambering.

I went through my normal 10 yard shooting sequence with the LCR .22 Mag. and its accuracy was also uninspiring. I used Speer and Hornady .22 WMR personal protection rounds and they both printed similarly poor groups on my Shoot-N-See targets. The Speer Gold Dot six shot group is on the left target, the Hornady on the right.

Ruger LCR .22 WMR targets
Photo by Randy Wakeman.

There you have it: short if not so sweet. In .22 WMR there are better options than this LCR, including the much smaller and more accurate NAA Black Widow that has no trouble shooting inside 2-1/4 inches at 10 yards. The .38 Special Ruger LCR does far better and the recently reviewed Ruger LC380 is another more accurate and reliable self-defense arm.

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Copyright 2013 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.