The Ruger LCP pistol family is one of America’s most popular subcompact concealed-carrying pistols. Like any other popular firearm family, the LCP has seen its fair share of variants, revisions, and updates.
Today, American shooters have access to multiple versions of the LCP pistol; the two most important models are the original LCP and the updated LCP 2. Learn the similarities and differences between the LCP 1 and the LCP 2, and find out which is the best pistol.
The Original Ruger LCP
Ruger released the original Lightweight Compact Pistol (LCP) in 2008, competing in the then-smaller subcompact pistol market. It was intended primarily for deep-concealed carrying, backup gun usage, and other close-quarters self-defense applications.
The Ruger LCP is a single stack, blowback-operated, semi-automatic pistol chambered in .380 ACP and fitted with a double-action-only (DAO) trigger mechanism. The LCP pistol is known for its diminutive size, featuring an overall length of 5.15”, a height of 3.6”, and a 2.75” barrel. These figures, coupled with the 9.4-oz. empty weight, indicates the LCP is ideally suited for concealed carrying.
The frame and slide are glass-filled nylon, contributing to the pistol’s low weight, whereas the slide and barrel are steel.
As a classic subcompact pistol, it features a short grip befitting the single stack magazine, which may not leave enough room for a full five-fingered hold.
Original Ruger LCP .380 magazines are flush-fit and accept up to 6 cartridges. However, Ruger released a 7-round extended baseplate magazine in 2012, extending the pistol’s height just enough to let you wrap your pinky finger around it. Both magazines are commonly available today, and many LCP owners possess multiples of both types.
Although Ruger released the updated LCP 2 in 2016, the original LCP pistol is still in production as of April 2022, available in multiple variants.
Specifications (Ruger LCP)
Chambering: .380 ACP
Overall length: 5.15”
Height: 3.6” (with standard magazine inserted)
Barrel length: 2.75”
Weight: 9.4 oz. with an empty magazine
Standard capacity: 6+1 (flush-fit magazine), 7+1 (extended baseplate magazine)
Variants (Ruger LCP)
Standard Ruger LCP
Ruger LCP Crimson Trace (integrated laser sight, discontinued in 2016)
Ruger LCP Viridian E-Series (newer integrated laser sight)
Ruger LCP Stainless (stainless steel slide)
Ruger LCP Custom (aluminum trigger, photoluminescent sight, discontinued in 2016)
The Newer LCP 2
The Ruger LCP 2 (or LCP II) is an updated, second-generation version of the original) LCP. It was first announced in a company press release in 2016. Although the LCP 2 is in the same category as its predecessor, it introduced numerous changes to the original LCP’s design.
The most immediate changes are visual; the LCP 2 features a frame and slide design reminiscent of the newer Ruger pistols, such as the American or the Ruger-5.7.
The LCP 2 uses more modern materials in its construction, trading the old glass-filled nylon frame for a newer black polymer one.
The LCP 2 also exhibits significant differences. No longer a DAO pistol with a long trigger pull, the LCP 2 now uses a Glock-style trigger with a trigger-mounted safety, a striker-fired, recoil-operated action instead of the original blowback system, and redesigned sights.
Although the LCP 2 has the same magazine capacity as the original (6 rounds), the LCP 2 magazines come standard with a pinky extension and allow the pistol’s slide to lock back on the last round.
The LCP 2 may also accept 6-round magazines compatible with the original LCP, although the slide won’t lock back on the last shot. However, it won’t take 7-round magazines for the old LCP.
Specifications (Ruger LCP 2)
Chambering: .380 ACP
Overall length: 5.17”
Barrel length: 2.75”
Weight: 10.6 oz. with an empty magazine
Standard capacity: 6+1
Variants (Ruger LCP 2)
Standard Ruger LCP 2
Ruger LCP 2 .22 LR (.22 Long Rifle version with 10-shot magazine)
Ruger LCP 2 Viridian E-Series (integrated laser sight)
Comparison Between the LCP and the LCP 2
If you’re hesitating between the original LCP and LCP 2 for your next concealed carry pistol, here’s a breakdown of the most important features found in each handgun and how they compare.
The original LCP and the LCP 2 are dimensionally nearly identical with an equal overall length and barrel length and similar height and width. Both pistols are easy and comfortable to carry in a concealed holster.
The only noticeable difference between the two is weight. The original LCP is lighter (9.4 oz) due in part to its glass-filled nylon frame. Although the LCP 2’s slightly heavier modern polymer frame (10.6 oz) may be able to absorb recoil a little better, the difference remains marginal.
Chambering and capacity
Both pistols are chambered in the same cartridge (.380 ACP) and have the same standard capacity (6+1 rounds). Although the original LCP can accept extended 7-round magazines, they slightly extend the pistol’s height. In contrast, the LCP 2 is about the same height as an LCP with a 7-round magazine, but the magazine carries only 6 rounds, and there is no 7-round mag available.
One of the LCP 2’s most significant improvements over its predecessor is the trigger mechanism and pull weight. On average, the original LCP’s DAO trigger has an average trigger pull weight of 6.5 to 7 lbs., with a long take-up and a stiff feel typical of older double-action pistols.
The LCP 2 features a smoother trigger, with a lighter pull (6 lbs. on average), a lighter takeup, and a crisper break. The trigger reset is also more predictable, making it easier to practice fast follow-up shots.
Although both pistols come with factory low-profile fixed iron sights, the sights on the LCP 2 are slightly taller and textured. Neither set of sights is intended for accuracy or shooting at distances far beyond 7 yards.
Both pistols are also available from the factory with an integrated laser sight by either Crimson Trace or Viridian, with a red or green laser beam. This makes it ideal for close-quarter engagements where you may not have the time to aim down the sights.
Performance and accuracy
Both handguns can reliably shoot a wide range of .380 ACP ammunition, producing virtually identical muzzle velocities (890 to 900 ft/s with 90-grain bullets) and group sizes.
The LCP 2 may be slightly easier to shoot due to the frame’s enhanced ergonomics and pinky finger magazine extension. However, you can achieve similar results with the original LCP and a 7-round magazine.
Choose The Best Holster For Your Ruger Pistol
Although the LCP 2 is overall a better handgun, you may find some of the features found in the original LCP preferable. Additionally, the original LCP is slightly cheaper than its successor, which may be critical for budget-conscious shooters. Both are excellent choices for personal protection.
Regardless of the model you prefer, you should carry your Ruger pistol in a high-quality concealment holster. We The People Holsters has an extensive selection of IWB and OWB concealment holsters ideal for subcompact pistols such as the Ruger LCP and LCP 2. Browse our selection and conceal-carry your favorite handgun confidently.