Firearms

Review: Ruger LC Carbine 5.7×28 — Fast, Slim, and Powerful

Ruger LC Carbine 5.7x28 rifle, left profile, lying in a bed of rocks

Considering the amount of overtime that the Ruger Engineering team has dedicated to product introductions, plus the Marlin acquisition, it is shocking they had the energy or time left to introduce the completely new Ruger 5.7 pistol and then this LC Carbine in the same 5.7×28 caliber.

Since the 2020 introduction of the wildly-popular Ruger 5.7, it was obvious that Ruger was offering competition to the expensive and often hard-to-find FN Five-Seven pistol chambered in 5.7×28. Ruger’s 5.7 delivered a more modern featured pistol with wide availability all for about half the price. Now, Ruger is offering customers another 5.7×28 rifle option beyond the FN PS90 carbine. Most love the crazy uniqueness of the PS90, but the uber compact Ruger LC Carbine in 5.7×28 is half the price, brutally simple operation, and has many features the non-NFA PS90 does not.

Ruger LC Carbine 5.7x28mm rifle, right profile
Ruger’s new LC Carbine chambered in 5.7x28mm is a game changer to the pistol caliber carbine (PCC) market.

The Ruger LC Carbine offers an adjustable stock and threaded barrel, it is very compact at 22.75-inches with the stock folded, and shares magazines with the Ruger 5.7 pistol making things simpler if you own the pistol and rifle. The LC Carbine design offers a more familiar AR-style format with lots of rail space and M-LOK slots for accessorizing. The LC Carbine is also light at 5.9 pounds which makes it just over a pound heavier than a Ruger 10/22. Obviously, this LC Carbine design conjures thoughts of a shorter Ruger LC Carbine Pistol format… we can only hope.

The 5.7×28 Round

The 5.7×28, AKA the 5.7, is a pretty snappy little round that was developed from the ground up by FN. First and foremost, the design was built to be a more lethal replacement for the 9mm NATO round. The 5.7 round typically has lower muzzle energy than today’s hot 9mm rounds. However, the 5.7 delivers the same 50-yard energy as the 9mm round but carries that energy all the way to 150-yards — greatly extending the range for compact firearms.

Testing determined that the fast 2,000+ft/sec round was 27% more effective on soft targets and similar to the 9mm on hard targets. The consumer FN branded 5.7×28 round, tipped with the Hornady V-Max bullet, has proven to be very effective defensively, delivering exceptional accuracy and greatly reduced recoil. Certain steel core armor piercing rounds will defeat soft body armor. However, those rounds are restricted to government and LEO use.

A big deal has been made about the cost of the 5.7×28 rounds, however, the complaint is focused on an absence of less expensive training and plinking rounds priced similar to bulk box 9mm and .223 ammo. What the market still needs is a substantially less expensive training round. Hopefully, Ruger’s firearms will push that market demand.

Ruger LC Carbine 5.7x28 rifle with loose blue-tipped ammunition
The light 5.7×28 round delivers easy accuracy with unnoticeable recoil in a lightweight platform.

FN’s defensive ammo loaded with Hornady V-MAX bullets yields current retail prices hovering around $55/box of 50. This is about the same cost per round as quality defensive 9mm ammunition. Though American Eagle is offering a slightly less expensive FN authorized FMJ round, many people ask why the 5.7×28 round is so expensive when similarly performing .17 Mach 2 and 22 Hornet rounds are offered at half the price of 5.7 ammo.

The 5.7×28 round is 40% lighter in weight and offers more density per magazine than .223 Remington rounds which is important for those who want to carry more capacity with lower weight. For the backpacker, this means they can carry 170 rounds of 5.7×28 vs 100 rounds of .223 at the same weight. Both accuracy and feeding reliability has also shown to be improved with longer bottleneck ammo case designs compared to pistol caliber carbines.

Ruger LC Carbine Features

The LC Carbine’s design process was focused on offering a magazine compatible rifle counterpart to the very popular Ruger 5.7 pistol, with similar ergonomics. The biggest advantage to the 5.7 round is the extremely light, controllable recoil that is very similar to a .22 Magnum rimfire round, but with more proven lethality than the 9mm round. In the LC Carbine, the round delivers extraordinary-light, nearly unnoticeable recoil with zero muzzle rise. As a home defense option, the Ruger LC Carbine is a fantastic, easy shooting, fast, slim, and light format. The 5.7 option offers a lot of ammo capacity with a low incidence of wall pass-through of errant rounds.

Ruger LC Carbine 5.7x28 rifle with a box of FN ammunition and Julieta scope
The tiny 5.7×28 round delivers highly-compact firepower with a 20-round magazine about the size of most full-sized pistol magazines.

The attention to design and ergonomic details were well planned with the safety, bolt, and magazine release positioned where they would be expected compared to the manual safety version of the 5.7 pistol model. The magazine release does have a bit of a unique lever toggle feel. However, it seems to work in the same manner as any other pistol. Of note, the magazine will accept 21 rounds but in testing bobbles the first or second round if loaded beyond the 20-round capacity.

Like other recent Ruger pistol caliber carbine (PCC) designs, the LC Carbine is “Ambi-Everything” with the charging handle, magazine release, and folding stock offering complete flexibility for right- or left-hand operation. The only exception is a left-side only bolt release. However, most owners will release the bolt by pulling back on the non-reciprocating charging handle.

Also included on the receiver is a vertical, industry standard, rear Picatinny rail for the option to attach your choice of stock. However, the included folding stock is quite good, from a design and ergonomics perspective. If customers want a right-side folding stock, they only need to remove a few screws and swap the rear stock components around.

Loaded 5.7x28 magazine for the Ruger 5.7 or LC Carbine
The LC Carbine shares the same 5.7×28 magazines with the Ruger 5.7 pistol.

Ruger has delivered a familiar AR format with the full-length 1913 spec top rail and M-LOK slots. Ruger has included flip-up sights, integrated rear QD sling mount points, and an M-LOK QD sling mount. Like most Ruger firearms, only one magazine is included. The LC Carbine features a threaded nitride-treated 16.25-inch fluted steel barrel for durability.

The trigger, safety, and magazine release are all carried over directly from the Ruger 5.7 pistol design with the lower frame essentially replicating the pistol. The trigger is the same Secure Action fire-control with a smooth round break similar to a striker-fired feel.

The serialized upper receiver is a bit unique with its own special toolless takedown process. Like most unique firearms, once learned, the process is simple and quick. The upper also features a two-piece bolt-over-barrel design which positions the barrel more rearward than expected compared to an AR-15. The result is a more compact firearm, which balances almost perfectly at the grip. Overall, the LC Carbine feels extremely well balanced and points fast.

As with the Ruger 5.7, the magazine safety is 1911-style and offers very fast operation and in many ways feels faster and more ergonomic to operate than an AR platform. For Galil and Tavor fans, the non-reciprocating side-charging handle feels very fast and convenient. While running timed drills, I was shocked to see better times with the LC Carbine than I did with the Ruger AR556 I brought for testing.

Specifications

Model number: 19300
Caliber: 5.7x28mm
Capacity: 20+1
Weight: 5.9 pounds
Overall length: 28.70 – 30.60 inches
Length of pull: 12.50 – 14.50 inches
Twist: 1:9 inches RH
Barrel length: 16.25 inches
Barrel feature: Fluted, Black Nitride
Thread pattern: 1/2-28
Receiver material: Aluminum alloy
Grooves: 8
Stock: Folding, adjustable length of pull
Sights: Adjustable, Ruger Rapid Deploy
Receiver Finish: Type III hard-coat anodized

The accuracy was excellent with just a Burris Fastfire III red dot. Reloads were fast as well with the grip-centered balance and grip reload. Uzi famously noted that hands can always find hands and thus the reason the UZI was designed with a grip-based magazine. I see the speed reload similarities here in this LC Carbine as well.

Ruger LC Carbine 5.7x28 rifle with left folding stock
Towing the LC Carbine is a breeze. The folding stock makes towing the rifle in a case or backpack a simple chore.

Final Thoughts

As a writer, you see a lot of bright and shiny new firearms hit the market continuously. However, the LC Carbine will have a lot of people pausing and asking the question of whether this is a better and lighter home defense tool than an AR-15. According to real-world testing, it can do the job even better than a pistol, is wide open for accessorizing, suppression, and I am sure many aftermarket parts will come all in durable, rugged, and light formats with high round density.

What’s your preferred firearm for home defense? How does the Ruger LC Carbine in 5.7×28 compare? Share your answers in the comment section.

  • Ruger LC Carbine 5.7x28 rifle with left folding stock
  • Ruger LC Carbine 5.7x28 rifle with a box of FN ammunition and Julieta scope
  • Ruger LC Carbine 5.7x28 rifle with loose blue-tipped ammunition
  • Adjustable folding stock for the Ruger LC Carbine
  • Ruger LC Carbine 5.7x28 rifle, left profile, lying in a bed of rocks
  • Ruger LC Carbine 5.7x28mm rifle, right profile
  • Loaded 5.7x28 magazine for the Ruger 5.7 or LC Carbine
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (29)

  1. Don’t let anyone fool you. The 5.7 x 28mm is a VERY capable round for home defense and varmint hunting. I have the Ruger 57, The Diamondback DBX 57, and The CMMG Banshee 100 in 5.7 x 28mm. I reload for this cartridge. It’s a little more difficult than reloading most other calibers, but well worth the extra time involved imho.

  2. Bought the Ruger 5.7 when it came out, Had to wait a while to find one in stock but finally landed one. Couldn’t get over the ugliness of it so it didn’t last long in my inventory. This carbine looks like they just took that same pistol and stuck a longer barrel on it and a polymer housing. Wasn’t really impressed with the 5.7×28 as a whole for home defense anyways. If I’m betting my or my families life on it a suppressed 300 ACC Blackout will be the one I grab.

  3. I understand the caliber has it’s place, But home defense was never intended to be that place.
    This is a purpose designed caliber with security/collateral aspects in mind. This was not intended to be a go-to home defense caliber nor should it be marketed and touted as one.

  4. Now, if they came out with one in 7.62×25, I would consider it. It is a hard hitting round that is readily available as surplus for practice and in HP/SP for more effectiveness. Kinda like the AK vs AR effectiveness debate.

  5. Not a fan of adding, another caliber in the arsenal especially due to the high price & limited availability…

    Instead of 5.7×28, why doesn’t FN bring back the FN FS2000 in 5.56?

  6. As another commenter said, having a shared caliber and magazine combo is the best home defense. The AR-9 pistol platform has been my choice for the last 10 years. It shares the ammo and mags of my Glock handguns. When the ammo shortages come and go there is still 9mm ammo to be had. Today 9mm is back down to 13 to 14 dollars for a box of 50 for range ammo. My AR-9 is super accurate to 75 and 100 yards.

  7. Looks like the only negative is the cost of ammo for this one. On the other hand, seeing this, makes one wonder when Glock is ever going to wake up a come out with say a 9mm carbine, that hopefully would use standard Glock magazines, like most PCC manufactures offer, including Ruger. Two thoughts come to mind when thinking of a Glock PCC: first one is when I took down a Remington Nylon 66 to clean, and discovered it is a striker fired, very simple, design, and first thought was why hasn’t Glock done this yet. The second thought, using the iconic Glock “block” look, how funny would it be if Glock came out with their version of the “Tommy Gun (2.0)” in multiple cablers and using standard Glock magazines. LOL

  8. Charles Ray,
    I’ll try to help you. You must be relatively new to the english we use in the United States. Welcome!
    I’ll assume you know the literal meaning of the word towing. It’s not uncommon to use towing to refer to something one is bringing with them as well. So when the author writes “Towing the LC Carbine is a breeze. The folding stock makes towing the rifle in a case or backpack a simple chore.” I believe he’s saying it is easy to fold the stock and bring the gun with you in a backpack or case.

    “CHARLES RAY

    OCTOBER 1, 2022 AT 1:18 PM
    The captiin under onecohoti reads: “Towing the LC Carbine is a breeze. The folding stock makes towing the rifle in a case or backpack a simple chore.”

    Did the author actually intend to say “stowing”-? Because I’ve never heard of “towing” a gun.

    If so, shame on the proof readers for allowing such a silly mistake to (twice) mar an otherwise excellent review.

    Otherwise, can someone explain to me what is meant by “towing” (a gun)?”

  9. I am 1 of the fortunate because I own both and loving it. Compared the fn to ruger57 in my humble opinion Ruger won hands-down. Feel,balance looks,love the chamber check feature and last but no least COST HALF THE PRICE.. Downfall ammo cost someone really needs to cut the cost. If ammo cost cannot be reduced I’m sure shooters will just stick with the 223/556 or .22 magnum 30 rds of that will change an intruders mind.

  10. I love my LC carbine. It is the perfect home defense choice. Now I hope we can get 5.7 ammo for practice and plinking. It’s still priced at about $1 per round.

  11. Marvin – other than the bulk of the weapon, the punch of a load of oo is substantial. I use a 420 for farm, ground squirrels, while shortened to the legal limit, a 410 is potent with plates or ball ammo.
    Kenitic hits on armor are really painful. As well wall penetraion is lessened by using # 4 6 8 as punch disabling rounds. To the head, well another issue.

  12. Noted the comment on the Key-tek. These pistols are a bit sensitive to some ammo, and Amscore is one of them. Once you find an ammo that feeds, stick with it. Amscore is the only oone I am awere of that is a no no. Be well Raven6

  13. Can you tell me if the LC Carbine is readily available? And also the MSRP. I already have the hand gun and love it and I promote it every chance I get. Also is there a certain 5.7×28 ammo that Ruger recommends. Thanks for the info in advance.

  14. There is no reason to buy this. If you think this is great, then just get a AR of the same barrel length. You don’t need another round to worry about when SHTF. Remember, the industry needs you to keep buying new stuff.

  15. I would like to chop the barrel and permanently attach a suppressor to the minimum 16″ length. If somebody has one, would you measure the inside width and from center bore to the inside of the bottom of the handguard? Thanks in advance.

  16. Im getting this gun. Can anyone give me ONE reason why .223 is a better HOME DEFENSE round than this? (Ive also always wondered why any shotgun would be considered as home defense, but thats another subject.)

  17. I like my Ruger 57 intend to order the carbine started to go with 22mag but with the 22 ammo still good but made fast I went with 5.7 no issues no jams

  18. The captiin under onecohoti reads: “Towing the LC Carbine is a breeze. The folding stock makes towing the rifle in a case or backpack a simple chore.”

    Did the author actually intend to say “stowing”-? Because I’ve never heard of “towing” a gun.

    If so, shame on the proof readers for allowing such a silly mistake to (twice) mar an otherwise excellent review.

    Otherwise, can someone explain to me what is meant by “towing” (a gun)?

  19. The problem that current buyers have with any 5.7×28 firearm is the cost of ammunition. They buy the firearm before checking what a box of 50 rds. sell for. I’m a huge fan of the 5.7 round maybe 15 years. I have the original AR57,PS90 and the 5.7 pistol. I currently have a huge inventory of 5.7×28 that I have accumulated before all the manufactures and buyers became really greedy and need to make even higher profits. As an example of what I bought 5.7 rds between $17.99 to $21.99 a box for the FNH SS197SR. $22.99 to 24.99 a box of the FNHSS198LF. I will buy the Ruger 5.7 carbine and 5.7 pistol eventually and not have to worry about ammo prices. But for you the need to buy a box for $50 dollars or more is robbery. Good luck you won’t enjoy your 5.7 firearm as much as you would like.

  20. I am disappointed that the article did not include a reliability test. How many rounds fired without a malfunction? I have a rather expensive KelTec .22 mag carbine that holds 30 rounds, is accurate and compact, light and handy. The problem is I have a fail-to-feed about every 5 rounds. KelTec did offer to look at it and repair and I will do that. But, still, Iwas hoping to read about the Ruger’s reliability. Stay safe, all.

  21. Charles, I find 5.7 ammo in stock at CheaperThanDirt.com pretty all the time. In fact, I just checked several online firearms retailers and they all had three brands of 5.7 in stock. Speer Gold Dot appears to be a new one in the marketplace.

  22. Probably the most sensible purchase in today’s market is a handgun and carbine the shares the same ammo and magazines. It makes the most sense for a home defense weapons system. Even more sense for an R.V. or camping life style.
    So far the only handgun and PC carbine matchup that is legal in my state is the Glock/Ruger set up.
    Living in California ( behind the iron curtain) all new weapon concepts are a no-no and illegal.
    Reading your article on this new PC carbine, I can only wish. Wish to move to a free state.
    This is truly the golden years of firearms choices.

  23. I love my Rugar 5.7 , it fires effortlessly! the only con is finding Ammo. presently the ONLY source i have been able to buy it is an auction site.

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