new Ruger LCP II

What cops need to know about the new Ruger LCP II

The Ruger LCP has been around for nearly a decade and is often referred to as the de facto standard in lightweight compact pistols, beloved by police officers and concealed carry licensees. The recent release of the LCP II, the second generation of this concealment classic, addresses some of the criticisms of the original while maintaining its key strengths.

Ruger LCP Overview

Chambered in .380 ACP

The LCP is chambered in .380 ACP with a magazine capacity of six rounds. This cartridge offers a good balance of concealability and stopping power for a compact self-defense pistol.

Recoil operated, hammer fired

The pistol is recoil operated and hammer fired, making it a straightforward and reliable design.

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Compact and concealable

At just over 10 ounces and 5 inches long, the LCP is probably as small as a handgun in this cartridge can be manufactured using today’s materials and technology, making it ideal for deep concealment.

Combination of size, reliability, safety, and price

The LCP is a near-perfect combination of size, reliability, safety, and price, which has contributed to its popularity.

Criticisms of the Original LCP

Rudimentary sights

Many users complained about the LCP’s rudimentary sights, which were nothing more than small bumps machined into the pistol’s slide. While they made for a snag-free profile, the sights did little to aid in aiming.

Lack of mechanical hold open

The LCP also lacked any sort of mechanical hold open when the last shot had been fired or when the pistol’s slide was pulled back with an empty magazine in place.

Heavy double-action trigger with phantom reset

The LCP’s trigger was a heavy double-action mechanism that could have a “phantom reset,” making the shooter believe they had fully released and reset the trigger when, in fact, it wasn’t reset.

Addressing the criticisms

While none of these criticisms were deal-breakers for a compact concealment pistol, Ruger decided to address them in the new LCP II.

The New LCP II

Improved sights

The LCP II features improved sights that are still machined directly into the slide but are now bigger and more easily seen while remaining unobtrusive and snag-free.

Single-action trigger mechanism

The trigger mechanism has been changed from a double-action to a single-action pattern, with an improved reset and pull weight, as well as the addition of a pivoting trigger block for safety.

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Slide lock feature

The pistol will now lock open when empty, making reloads slightly easier. Note that original LCP magazines will fit and function in the LCP II but will not activate the new internal slide lock feature.

External similarities to the original

Externally, the new LCP II bears a strong resemblance to the original. Overall size is nearly the same, but there are some notable changes.

Trigger guard changes

The trigger guard is slightly larger and now has a squared (rather than rounded) profile.

Grip texture and backstrap changes

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.

Slide design changes

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.

Safety Features

Lack of passive firing pin safety

The LCP II lacks any type of passive firing pin safety. This is because the pistol’s hammer and sear engagement is very robust when fully cocked, negating the need for an internal firing pin block.

Robust hammer and sear engagement

Ruger engineers designed the LCP II’s primary hammer and sear engagement to be extremely reliable.

Secondary sear engagement point

As an additional safety measure, Ruger added 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.

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Author’s Experience

Reliability with different ammunition

The author has found the original LCP to be very reliable, and the new LCP II has not disappointed so far, proving to be reliable with inexpensive imported “ball” ammunition and premium defensive rounds.

Improved sights and trigger

The author was never bothered by the original LCP’s small sights but appreciates the improved sights on the LCP II. The trigger is also much improved over the original.

Accuracy and performance

The improved trigger, combined with better sights, makes the LCP II surprisingly accurate. The author was able to consistently fire five-round groups at 10 yards that were easily covered with the palm of their hand.


Original LCP still a fine pistol

Was the original LCP due for a remake? Probably not. It was, and still is, a fine little pistol.

LCP II offers minor improvements

Nevertheless, the new LCP II does offer some minor improvements over the original.

Concealability and reliability maintained

These improvements do not appear to have changed the LCP’s core strengths of concealability and reliability.


  1. Is the LCP II significantly larger than the original LCP? No, the overall size of the LCP II is nearly the same as the original LCP, maintaining its concealability.
  2. Will LCP magazines work in the LCP II? Yes, original LCP magazines will fit and function in the LCP II, but they will not activate the new internal slide lock feature.
  3. Does the LCP II have a manual safety? No, the LCP II does not have a manual safety. It relies on its trigger safety and robust hammer/sear engagement for safe operation.
  4. Can the LCP II be easily carried with a round in the chamber? Yes, the LCP II’s design, including its trigger safety and hammer/sear engagement, allows it to be safely carried with a round in the chamber, just like the original LCP.
  5. Is the LCP II significantly more expensive than the original? No, the LCP II is priced similarly to the original LCP, making it an affordable option for concealed carry or backup use.

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