Ruger LCP-LM No. 3718 380 ACP, $443
We tested guns with factory-fitted lasersights in the February 2013 issue. Hereís an excerpt of that report focusing on the Ruger LCP-LM No. 3718 380 ACP, $443.
Lasersights on handguns are common today. Scan the used-handgun case at a gun shop, and more than likely youíll find a rig that the former owner customized with a laser sight. In the new-pistol case, you will also see factory-fitted laser sights on handguns.
We were interested in how factory-fitted lasersights would affect our judgment of three previously tested 380 ACP pistols, the Ruger LCP, SIGís P238, and Waltherís PK380. The Ruger earned an A- grade in the June 2008, and the SIG notched an A- in the June 2010 issue, and the Walther got a B-, also in the June 2010 issue. The lasered versions of those handguns are the Ruger LCP-LM No. 3718 380 ACP, $443; SIG Sauerís P238 Tactical Laser No. 238-380-TL 380 ACP, $829; and Waltherís PK380 With Laser No. WAP40010 380 ACP, $489. Would the addition of a laser sight change our mind about the pistol? Would the addition of a laser bulk up a pocket pistol with a gadget? Would the laser be an asset or a detriment to an already fine pistol?
The three pistols spanned the spectrum of action types. The Ruger is a DAO (Double Action Only). The Walther PK380 is a traditional DA/SA (Double Action/Single Action) pistol, where the pistol can be fired DA and subsequently fired SA. The SIG, SA only, was set up like a mini 1911. These pistols are made for close work, so we tested for accuracy at 15 yards with open sights, but were more interested in using the lasers in unconventional shooting positions, much like you might encounter in a real-life confrontation with a bad actor. Our goal with these lasered pocket pistols was to quickly project the red dot on target and punch holes in targets efficiently and effectively.
We used D-1 tombstone-style targets with a 4-inch-diameter X-ring and an A-ring and B-ring at 8 inches and 12 inches, respectively. The rings are visible at close range ó about 5 yards, but beyond that and depending on your eye sight, the rings are undetectable.
All three employed red Class IIIa lasers. The warning label was blatantly affixed to each laser. Donít point the laser beam in eyes, as permanent eye damage can result. (Never mind the damage from a 380 slug.) Laser beams can reflect off certain surfaces like TV screens, mirrors, glass, etc. Make sure you test the laser of an unloaded weapon so you can experience how the laser beam can react. Also note that laser sights should also be removed when cleaning the weapon, as oils and solvents are not good for the laserís electronics. As in any test, we focused on the major areas of importance with these pistols, such as reliability, concealability, shooter comfort, and accuracy. But because of the lasers, we zeroed in on how the optics affected handling, printing, and other carry issues.
Ruger LCP-LM No. 3718 380 ACP, $443
The LCP-LM mashed together Rugerís tiniest pistol with LaserMaxís trigger-guard laser sight. The laser was nicely integrated into the pistol, similar to the SIG P238. Some thought the Ruger did a better job integrating the laser to the pistol. The trigger was nice and broke cleanly, but the female tester in the group had a hard time racking the slide. As pistols get smaller they can be harder to use and operate. Big-mitt testers felt the Ruger was the hardest of the three to fire easily.
The trade off with the Rugerís smaller size was slightly less accuracy and control. However, all testers felt they would be able to shoot the Ruger better with more practice. Another point that testers did not like was the laser-activation button. To turn the laser on, the button was pressed from either the right or left side. To turn it off, the shooter pressed the button from the opposite side to center the button. You could not turn the laser on and off using one hand.
The laser battery was accessed via screws and that allow a sideplate to be removed. One 1/3 N-cell lithium battery powered the laser. The laser could be removed from the LCP, but there were polymer tabs that look like they could easily be broken if the laser was snapped on and off the gun numerous times. The LCP-LM was adjusted via two tiny hex screws. The Ruger has minimal sights that allowed the pistol to slip easily into most any size pocket, though if your girlfriend is carrying the tiny Ruger, it would imprint if she was wearing her skinny jeans. The LCP-LM was the only pistol that could easily hide in a pant pocket.
There are no controls protruding out of the pistol, so it was very smooth. A manual slide stop is embedded into the LCP-LM and can be used to manually hold the slide open. The slide did not stay open after the last round was fired. The Ruger had more pronounced muzzle flip, making follow-up shots not as precise but still within the rings of the D-1 target. More seasoned testers did not like that the slide did not lock open on the last shot, like it did with the SIG and Walther.
Our Team Said: The Ruger was the best choice for deep-conceal carry, we believe. But we noted some dings on it: The laser needed two hands to be turned on and off, and it had some muzzle flip. Still, the small package was controllable enough and affordable enough to come in above the others, in our opinion.