Though I prefer to carry larger, full-power, high-capacity pistols of late, a bigger gun isn’t always practical. Some situations call for more discretion. The Ruger LCP II Lite Rack™ in .22LR is a great example of a discreet micro-pistol. And it’s still capable of putting up high-capacity defense.
The .22 LR LCP II Lite Rack™
The LCP II is an enhanced and slightly larger version of the original Ruger LCP .380. It has a lever-type trigger safety, last-shot hold-open, slide release lever and improved sights. Up until recently, the LCP has only been available in a six-shot .380 ACP version. It’s a great pistol, but some might find the recoil a bit uncomfortable due to the Ruger’s light weight. Ruger decided to make the LCP II a bit more user-friendly.
While the LCP II likely could have been chambered in .32 ACP for lower recoil, magazine capacity would only be seven rounds. Chambering it in .22 LR greatly reduces recoil and allows the magazine to hold 10 rounds — all without changing the exterior configuration of the LCP II.
Increasing user-friendliness, the LCP II .22 features the Ruger Lite Rack™ system, making it much easier to rack the slide. The low pressure .22 LR doesn’t require a locked-breech operating system but a tilting barrel blowback system. Lite Rack™ also incorporates refined slide serrations, pronounced cocking ears at the rear of the slide and a lightened recoil spring. It works very well.
A manual thumb safety, located on the left side of the frame at the rear, was also added to the LCP II .22. The LCP II’s new safety is not the “sweep-down” type typically found on 1911 type handguns. To disengage the safety, push it directly forward toward the muzzle. Then engage the safety by pushing or pulling it to the rear. It is difficult to operate without shifting the pistol in your hand. The manual safety is best used when charging and clearing the pistol. It does not lock the slide in place like a traditional 1911. Since the trigger has a safety lever, I recommend the LCP II .22LR be carried with the safety off.
Ruger LCP II .22 LR Lite Rack Pistol Specifications
Weight 11.2 ounces
Overall length 5.2 inches
Grip frame Black glass-filled nylon
Slide material Alloy steel
Barrel length/material 2.75 inches/stainless steel
Slide width 0.81 inches
Magazine capacity 10+1 (one magazine included)
Sights Fixed, plain black serrated
Price $409 MSRP
At the Range
Before I left for the range, I checked the trigger pull weight using my Wheeler Engineering Trigger Gauge. The pull averaged 5 pounds, 8 ounces. That is pretty standard for a pistol with a trigger lever-type safety. There was about ½ inch of takeup, and the pull was reasonably crisp.
I loaded up the magazine with 10 rounds of Winchester Super-X 37-grain .22 long rifle super speed, copper-plated, hollow-point ammunition. Muzzle velocity from a rifle is 1,330 feet per second. The magazine was easy to load. Purchase of the pistol includes a magazine loader and an inside-the-pocket nylon holster.
I backed off to 20 feet and sighted in on the B-27 silhouette target’s head. The black-on-black sights were a bit difficult to pick up on. Remember the LCP II is designed for deep concealment, not target practice. Applying a bright green Birchwood Casey Sight Pen to the front sight would help.
I squeezed off the first shot and was pleasantly surprised by the lack of recoil and muzzle blast. It is really comfortable to shoot! Firing two handed, I was able to keep all 10 rounds centered in the head of the silhouette. The pistol cycled smoothly, and the empty cases ejected clear for each shot.
My friend loaded up the next magazine. He had one failure to feed on the second shot. After clearing it, the rest of the rounds fired smoothly, suggesting the shooter had induced the malfunction. He fired another magazine-full without incident, proving there was nothing wrong with the pistol or the ammo selection. Our groups measured in the 4-inch range. There were no further malfunctions.
The Ruger LCP II .22LR would be a good primary discreet carry pistol or secondary backup gun to a larger primary pistol. It is extremely lightweight, has a decent trigger and very low recoil and is more than accurate enough for close-range defense. Yes, the .22 LR fired out of a short-barreled pistol is no powerhouse. But with the LCP, you have 11 rounds on tap. That should help make up the difference. Plus, .22 LR ammo is less expensive than .380 ammo, so practice is more affordable.