After much deliberation and prodding from more than one person, I decided to try appendix carry. It made me uncomfortable for a while and now I’m carrying there everyday. I tried my Glock, then my Kel-Tec .32, neither worked for me. I have an old .38 Taurus M85 and started carrying that. It worked like a charm, except for the exposed hammer. It pokes me in the gut on and off when I sit down.
So I looked around for something without a hammer. The default for years was a J-Frame, but I hate the recoil on those little lightweights. So I bought a Ruger LCR in .38 Special. I found a used one with a Laser Max on the front for super cheap. One of those can’t pass it up deals.
First thing I noticed when picking up the gun was how light it was. It is about half the weight (even with the laser) as the Taurus it was replacing. Second thing I noticed was the squishy grip (that’s a technical term). It’s a rubber over-molded design that I like. I’m generally not a fan of finger grooves, but they just worked on this gun. While I couldn’t get all my fingers on the grip, my pinky was hanging off, I did have a strong grip on the gun and never thought it would fall out of my hand. Some small guns I’m afraid I’ll lose in my big hands.
The next thing I noticed was the ugly looking plastic frame and barrel shroud. While the plastic made the gun really light and got rid of any sharp edges, it still looks kind of like an ugly duckling. The next thing I saw was the weird cut in the cylinder. Each chamber seemed to have been cut out to give the gun a unique look. No idea why.
All of this was cool, but didn’t really matter at all. All I cared about was can I use it and what would it recoil like. It shot exceptionally well compared to my Taurus. The Taurus I have has the worst sights ever on a gun and I can’t shoot it worth a darn. I dry fired the Ruger for a couple days before taking it to the range and found the trigger very nice for a long double action. I did notice if you don’t let the trigger all the way back out the trigger seems to lock up on itself and you have to let the trigger out again and start over. The trigger was kind of weird compared to others I shot in that it doesn’t seem to stack. Even a nice Smith and Wesson tuned trigger will have a point you can feel the spring getting tighter as you move the trigger to the end of it’s travel. This trigger didn’t seem to have that. Even without the stacking, it was very predictable and easy to manage.
The Laser Max is just kind of cool. It came with the gun and I’ll leave it. I don’t think it’s a necessity and found that the laser works fine inside the house where distances are short, but on the range I couldn’t use it, or even see it on the target past 15 yards. The laser was also supposed to be factory adjusted but this one was nowhere close. I don’t know if the factory didn’t adjust it, or the person that had the gun before me messed with it. Either way it was an easy adjustment with the hex wrench provided. I just aimed in on something with the iron sites across the room and looked where the laser was. I just kept moving the laser until the sites and laser where pointing at the same thing. It took all of 5 minutes. I was rewarded by this 10 shot standing unsupported group at 7 yards with the laser. The group centered a little high and left, but I was afraid to fix it because the clicks were a long move when I was at home. When I get more carry ammo, I’ll zero the laser better to that ammo.
Shooting the little gun was a hit. I enjoyed it with Winchester White Box 130 Gr. FMJ’s. Not a lot of recoil and it didn’t bark all that loud. I even pushed the target all the way out to 25 yards and was able to make hits on a man-sized target without any problems. A better revolver shooter could probably make head shots all day at that distance with this gun.
After the Winchester ammo, I had some Speer Lawman 158 gr +P ammo. I was a little apprehensive to shoot this stuff because I’ve shot this ammo in a J-frame air-light and it felt like I caught a baseball bat in the hand. My entire hand stung and hurt after 5 rounds. I put them in anyways and shot away. I could feel the difference, but it wasn’t unmanageable. I fired all 20 rounds I had left. My groups opened up substantially with the extra recoil, but the gun worked fine.
Next I shot my current carry load for .38 Special, the CorBon Powr Ball 100gr. +Ps. These were less abusive than the Speer Lawman, but my groups still opened up.
I was kind of put out by their performance. I was hoping for better since the ballistic numbers are so incredible out of this little round. I did notice that the fireball wasn’t anything bigger than what I had been shooting, which was a new discovery for me. When CorBon first started making ammo, I tested some of their stuff out of a 5” 1911 and didn’t carry them because of the extra recoil and huge fireball that came out the end. The fireball was so big as to be blinding to the shooter. Obviously, they’ve fixed this problem.
I had 10 rounds of old Federal Hydra Shocks I used to carry years ago. I put five in and shot them just because they were there. The recoil was less (almost felt like the white box stuff) and the group was by far the best of what I had on hand. The fireball out of the Federal ammo was noticeably bigger than anything else, but with the light recoil and best accuracy I saved the other five and put them in the gun as carry ammo. Now I have to find some more Federal Personal Defense ammo in .38 Special. That could take a while right now.
In the meantime, I ordered some support gear. Ruger was kind enough to supply a pocket holster with the gun, but I didn’t like that holster for appendix carry. So I bought one at the gun show last weekend called a Sticky Holster. It’s kind of a cool gummy feeling material (another technical term), nice and soft and sticky. It seems to be working.
I ordered some other stuff too, just because I can. I believe in carrying an extra reload, so I ordered some Tuff Strips from Amazon.
I also wanted to maybe shoot this in some IDPA competitions just to get better with it and because I think it would be fun. So I looked around for a speed loader that would work and found these suggested on a forum.
I’ve never heard of 5 Star Firearms, but I don’t really shoot revolver, so at $27.50 I decided to take a chance. If that works, I’m going to buy some of these to shoot competition with. Just because they look cool.
The only reservations I have about this gun are the trigger reset (which I think I can live with), the fact that the gun is a little bigger than a J-Frame (even without the laser), and that it has a small ejection rod. When I pushed the ejection rod to get the spent casing out at the range I generally had to fumble with it a little to get the casing to come all the way out. If they had made the rod a full length instead of the short one, it would have been much better.
All in all, the gun shot well, is lightweight, and works well for my carry method. It has become one of my every day carry guns and will continue for the foreseeable future. The more I train with this gun, the more I like it.