Ruger LC380 Pistol

By Randy Wakeman

Ruger LC380
LC380 photo by Randy Wakeman.

New for 2013, Sturm, Ruger & Company builds upon its popular LCP line of semi-automatic self-defense pistols with the release of the new LC380. Here are the published specifications for the LC380.


            Catalog Number: LC380

            Model Number: 3219

            Caliber: 380 ACP

            Slide Material: Alloy steel

            Slide Finish: Blued

            Barrel Material: Alloy Steel

            Barrel Finish: Blued

            Barrel Length: 3.12"

            Length: 6.0"

            Width: 0.9"

            Height: 4.5"

            Weight: 17.2 oz.

            Sights: Blade front, adjustable rear, 3-dot Patridge type

            Capacity: 7+1

            Grip Frame: Black, glass-filled nylon

            Twist: 1:10" RH

            Grooves: 6  

            2013 MSRP: $449.00

Right off, I will admit that blow-back .380's have generally been one of my least favorite pistol types. Most examples over the years have had lousy sights, horrid triggers and can be nasty little palm-slappers. A pistol that is no fun to shoot is also not fun to practice with, and practice is essential with a self-defense pistol. Battling dinky little palm-stabbers with undersize grips and gritty triggers is not my idea of a good time.

For a pistol to be of any value to me, it has to be reliable. One pistol that I thought looked streamlined and smooth was the Mauser HSC. I went through three of them, all spectacularly unreliable jam-o-matics. The only .380 that I found to be reliable, useful, accurate and pleasant to shoot is the Makarov .380.

Why the Ruger LC380? The LC380 is essentially the same platform as the 9x19mm caliber LC9, offering enough size to hold steady, but with the promise of lower recoil. It is well made, easy to use and succeeds in its quest to be soft-shooting. You could shoot this pistol for a long time without any ill effects. The white, three dot sights are easy to pick-up in bright or dim light and the entire pistol has a smooth, snag-free exterior. The hammer is well shrouded and will not catch on clothing when drawing the pistol.

This is a conventional double action only (DOA) handgun, meaning you have what might seem like an excessively long trigger pull. It is a long trigger pull, to be sure, but what makes it workable is that it is smooth and predictable. There is no grit or false stops during the actual trigger pull. The slide return spring is lighter than you might anticipate for a blow-back .380 action, making the slide relatively easy to rack.

Your personal accuracy requirements may vary, but I note that some concealed carry courses require live fire at three, five and seven yards. That is hardly what I consider a formidable test, so even though the LC380 is designed as an intimate self-defense arm, I settled on 10 yard shooting to give some reasonable representation of accuracy.

This little Ruger is really is a cream-puff to shoot and it is easy to hit with at short range. For accuracy and reliability testing I used Winchester Silvertip HP 85 grain factory loads with a catalog muzzle velocity of 1000 fps. I found that it took very little effort to keep my bullets within the seven inch diameter second ring of a Shoot NC target at ten yards, even though it was cold and windy while I was shooting. No malfunctions were experienced.

It is hard to fault a product that performs exactly as promised and is offered at an attractive price. This is the case with the Ruger LC380. It does everything it is supposed to do and everything it is advertised to do. As a result, it is likely the soft-shooting LC380 pocket pistol is going to be another commercial success for Ruger.

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Copyright 2013, 2016 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.