Monday, February 6, 2012

On "Ugly" Guns and the LCR

God Bless the firearms universe... and all those who call it home.

There's one thing (actually, several things, but we'll focus on this one) that bugs the heck out of me...

...this trend to deride and badmouth guns that don't measure up to the "pretty" standard. I just don't get it!

There are a handful of firearms which will forever remain the wallpaper around the punch bowl at the middle-school dance we call life on Planet Gunpowder. The Taurus Judge, and anything ever built by Kel-Tec or Hi-Point immediately come to mind and I will never offer my endorsement to them.

However, it's not because they're hideous to look at - it's due to either spotty reliability, shady build quality, or horrible execution of otherwise solid concepts. The fug-o factor is just another nail in the coffin.

Conversely, there are some beauties floating around that are simply a delight to lay eyes on but suffer that "don't work worth a damn" syndrome. One of the country's largest manufacturers of 1911-pattern pistols comes immediately to mind (through personal experience). I can guarantee you that I really - no REALLY - wanted the Bren I shot the other day to work. Alas, it proved itself as a safe-queen in desperate need of a good 'smith (the owner and I are working on that).

But I digress, ever so slightly. The real thing that keeps chapping my tail is this constant din of "it's ugly" coming out of the forums and blogs.

Case in point - Ruger's new LCR isn't what anyone would call a "classically-pretty" revolver but the dang thing really does finally give ol' Smith & Wesson a run for their J-Frame money without simply copying / pasting the design.

They figured how to shave even more weight from the classic snubby design, smoothed out the trigger, and made it a little less of a punishment to shoot full-power ammo.


Here's the rub... part of it is made of plastic! Oh noes!! Everyone knows plastic guns will never work or never catch on!!! And that cylinder... those flutes? Really?? Who thought that would ever sell??? Right???

Well, friends and chums, here's the unvarnished truth - the tried, trusted, and true Smith is heavier, less comfortable, and has a tougher trigger.

Weight - in a pocket or carried all day, ounces count. In this case, 1.5 ounces. 'Nuff said.

Comfort - the Hogue stocks provided by Ruger make the 13.5 oz. pocket blaster downright manageable. Not that a student of defensive handgun use can't master the DAO J-Frame, but the truth remains that a large portion of buyers may only shoot it a couple times a year. Snubbies are notorious for their recoil, and the LCR isn't exempt from this. Anything that makes it easier to handle and shoot is a great idea (chief among them being practice!), and including a nice set of Hogue stocks was a brilliant idea.

Trigger - it's well-known that the J-Frame has a heavy, stacky, long pull that requires a fair bit of work to master, especially when learning to keep rounds 2-5 on target. Ruger went back to the drawing board (CAD workstation) and came up with a much kinder trigger; they reduced the stacking effect, smoothed and lightened the pull, and answered the call for a lightweight revolver with a trigger that's worth a darn and doesn't immediately have to go to the gunsmith.

On paper, it's the better gun. On the range, it's a real contender. On the Internet, though, it's ugly and plastic. You can probably see which areas matter most to me...

I choose my carry guns for their performance, reliability, and ease-of-use. Looks do matter (Springfield, please drop the tractor-tire grip and the "Extreme!!!" marketing) but at the end of the day it's all about what I can deploy quickly and effectively since I'm betting my life on my choice of gear, not polishing my ego.

While I always imagined I'd one day own a J-Frame (442 or 642), I've already put my name on the list with my favorite dealer for an LCR (basic model, .38spl +p) when he orders them... the old classics be damned.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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