Firearms

Review: Ruger LCP II Lite Rack .22

LCP III Lite Rack .22 - side view right

Ruger is our largest firearms maker. They offer revolvers, self-loading pistols and rifles of all types.

Among their most successful firearms are small-caliber handguns designed for personal defense. The LCP and LCPII are very popular.

It seems everyone owns one of these neat and friendly handguns.

While hunting and target shooting are reputable choices for owning a firearm, personal defense is the primary reason most of us own a handgun.

The LCP .380 ACP pistol was introduced in 2008. This is a double-action-only, hammer-fired handgun.

While it is reliable, the DAO trigger and small sights make it difficult to use past conversational distance. It is the standard pocket pistol for use at a range of a few feet format.

Original LCP .380
An original LCP .380. This is a reliable handgun. The LCP II is an improvement.

The LCP II is a much-redesigned handgun with excellent features. The 2016 introduction was successful and the pistol has been accepted well.

The new pistol features greatly improved sights, an improved grip, and the primary difference is the trigger. The new trigger is a single-action design.

This makes for much greater accuracy potential. The only safety is a trigger lever set in the face of the trigger that disengages the action until this lever is pressed flush with the trigger face.

The original pistol did not lock open on the last shot, common with inexpensive pocket guns. Ruger added a hold open on the last shot with the introduction of the LCP II.

LCP III Lite Rack .22
The Ruger LCP II Lite Rack .22 is a neat, lightweight and attractive handgun.

LCP II .22 vs. LCP II .380 ACP

Ruger recently introduced the Lite Rack .22 Long Rifle version of the LCP II. This pistol may be a useful plinker or kit gun or an understudy for the .380 ACP LCP II.

The LCP II .380 ACP isn’t a hard kicker by most standards, but it isn’t the most pleasant handgun to fire in extended range sessions.

The LCP II Lite Rack .22 is a joy to fire and use. The pistol is practically identical in size and operation to the .380 ACP version.

The grip and cocking serrations are the same. The primary difference is the barrel and magazine. The slide is not interchangeable with .380 ACP Ruger pistols.

LCP III Lite Rack .22 - Take-down
Take-down is simple.

LCP II .22 Features

The pistol operates differently than most .22s. While it is a blowback pistol, the barrel tilts to an extent. The slide is very easy to rack living up to the Lite Rack’s name.

The rear of the slide offers flared wings or slight protrusions that aid in racking the slide. This is an aid to those of lessened hand strength.

These bumps on the rear of the slide are handy, but small enough that they do not interfere with handling. A pocket holster is supplied with the pistol.

Only one magazine is supplied. An addition to the pistol is a manual safety. The safety is a bit different than most. The safety is pressed to the rear to the on position and thumbed forward to fire.

It isn’t the most natural handling safety, but it isn’t difficult to move to the off position as the pistol comes on target. An addition not found on the .380 ACP pistol is a magazine safety.

The pistol will not fire if the magazine isn’t in place. I have no real preference on the magazine safety, but this is the only firearm I own with such a safety save for a vintage Browning High Power.

The pistol magazines are easy enough to load, but not as easy as some larger .22 caliber handguns. The magazine holds 10 rounds, an impressive reserve for a small handgun.

LCP III Lite Rack .22 - Safety
The LCP II Lite Rack .22 features a safety that is not part of the LCPII .380 ACP design.

LCP II .22 Performance

I have fired the pistol a good bit during the past few weeks. It is reliable enough for plinking or carrying in a fishing kit. Finding the load it likes isn’t expensive, as .22 caliber ammunition isn’t expensive.

The user must decide where the gun fits in. If you own a .380 ACP LCP II, the Lite Rack .22 is a great understudy.

For those with limited hand strength, the .22 is easy to rack, no question there. Many citizens realize that crime occurs within their ZIP code and are eager to obtain a gun, any gun.

The LCP II requires a minimum of effort to use. The overwhelming surprise concerning this handgun is accuracy. The pistol shoots out of proportion with its size.

I was able to keep steel plates ringing at 15 yards, connecting on the eight-inch gong with every shot. Small targets at seven yards were easily addressed.

Unlike hard-kicking ultra-light .380 ACP pistols or snub nose .38 revolvers, this handgun invites practice. It is a fun gun.

That is enough reason to purchase the pistol. It doesn’t take up much space but it is a gun, and the .22 Long Rifle is as good a deterrent as any.

LCP III Lite Rack .22 - ammo
The only way to test .22 caliber reliability is to test-fire a good quantity of ammunition.

Conclusion

The pistol is accurate enough to take on a reptile at a few paces or serve for personal defense if used in the same general manner as a nasal inhaler.

Seldom does a small handgun have so much going for it.

Do you prefer .22 or .380 handguns? Let us know your thoughts on the new LCP II from Ruger in the comments below.

About the Author:

Wilburn Roberts

When Wilburn Roberts was a young peace officer, he adopted his present pen name at the suggestion of his chief, as some of the brass was leery of what he might write. This was also adopted out of respect for families of both victims and criminals. The pen name is the same and the man remains an outspoken proponent of using enough gun for the job.

He has been on the hit list of a well-known hate group, traveled in a dozen countries and written on many subjects, including investigating hate crimes and adopting the patrol carbine. He graduated second in his class with a degree in Police Science. It took him 20 years to work himself from Lieutenant to Sergeant and he calls it as he sees it.
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 (20)

  1. I purchased my Ruger LCP 22, approx 3 mo ago. I love it. I am small with small hands, arthritis in both hands, 74 yr old, & by no means a gun expert, even though I am a vet from the sixties.
    I’ve now shot this little pistol 120 times, with no misfires, no notta problems. CCI & Winchester LR’s.

    This is my primary carry, now. But I keep a Taurus 38 special, and a Bonds Arms Texas Defender, close by, especially while traveling. But both of those weapons kill my hands.

    So, if you are like me, I definitely recommend this pistol. Right now I am craving Kel Tec P32. 6.6 oz unloaded.

    Nobody should tell another person what gun to buy, only their story.

  2. With regards to .22 reliability, there are several factors involved. With the firearm itself, magazine misallignment, worn firing pin -often due to dry firing (no-no on rimfires without a snap cap or at least an empty case), weak spring, rough feed ramp, broken extractor and ejector. Most apply to any firearm. The particular issue with any rimfire is the primer quality control. Sometimes rounds will not have the entire circumfrence of the rim loaded with primer. Such rounds will or not fire, depending on chance orientation. If at a range, extracting and reorienting the round may let it fire, but it is best to just discard it, after a short wait to be sure it is not a hangfire. In my experience, which includes about 20,000 rounds fired in matches and practice, it seems to occur in 1/25 rounds with mil issue “white box” target rounds, and perhaps 1/50 otherwise in regular commercial rounds. Oh, and NEVER with superb 10x, or Ten-X from England. A very expensive top quality match ammo which costs around 4 times as much as regular quality .22 ammo.
    So when you add up the likelyhood of these faults, only considering the unique .22 issues (dull pin from dry fire and poor primer distribution), the reliability can be poor. With a perfect gun the ammo can still fail to a much greater extent than any center fire weapon. I refer here only to the pistol or revolver going “bang” , not the effect on the target. Tge comment aabout fresh, quality ammo is true. The less vibration, heat, etc the better your chances. An old ammo box bouncing in a toolbox in your pickup for a year will be less reliable than one kept in a dedk drawer in a home, and shot within a year. In which case a .22 can be a yseful defense weapon especially in summertime CCW, but not nearly as goid as .45!
    Much better than nothing.

  3. Here’s my experiences with my new Ruger LCPii in 22 both before and after going back to Ruger.

    First time out with the new gun using CCI-Blazer 40gr 1235fps, Federal 36gr 1260fps bulk pack, CCI Minimag 36gr 1260fps, CCI Velocitor 40gr, 1435fps, and Remington Golden Bullets. The following problems were not ammo specific using 3 OEM magazines shooting about 200 rounds through it. The gun was cleaned and lubed before shooting.

    1. Failure to go into battery (once every 3-4 mags usually when there are 3-5 rounds still left in the mag).
    2. Failure to feed a new round, like it’s not cycling far enough back to grab the next round, however, I am not using weak ammo (it even did this with a velocitor round). Other times it strips the new round but the bullet is too high and just slams into the barrel face above the chamber (once every 1-2 mags). This is not limp wristed.
    3. Failure to lock back on an empty mag (every 3-4 mags, even with velocitor rounds).
    4. Slide locks back with rounds still in the magazine.
    5. Failure to eject (sometimes the empty case stays straight ahead stuck to the bolt face (like there is no ejector present to throw the round out) and other times it stovepipes, about twice per mag). See notes when hand cycling below as these are probably related.
    6. If you hand cycle the slide with ammo, typically the rounds do not eject with any mag. They do not appear to even come into contact with the ejector. Sometimes the rim of the extracting round hits the feed lips on the mag making it impossible to completely pull the slide back so you have to drop the mag to get the round out. Sometimes the round stays stuck on the bolt face and will not eject (again like it’s not hitting the ejector). Sometimes the upwards pressure of the incoming round still in the magazine pinches the extracting round into the barrel and the extractor loses it’s grip on the rim. This makes it seem like there are 3 separate issues here: an extractor issue, an ejector issue, and a magazine issue.
    7. There appears to be a burr on the entire barrel crown like the tooling was getting dull and needed sharpened.

    The gun made it’s way back to Ruger and they replaced the slide, barrel, and slide stop (the slide is a different one and the barrel is too so I have no reason to doubt them). They shot 30 rounds (Aguila brass & Minmags) thru it without malfunction (“without malfunction” I find that hard to believe).

    Using CCI Minimag 36gr, CCI Velocitor 40gr, and Federal Champion 36gr I got the following when I tested the newly back gun:
    1. The 1st mag contained the Minimags as that was one of the rounds Ruger tested in this gun without malfunction. The first round just went “click” and failed to fire. When pulling the slide back, the unspent round would not eject so it got a double-feed when the unspent round hit the top of the barrel (same issue I had with the original slide/barrel).
    2. 3 rounds later it failed to load and was stuck out of battery (same problem with the first barrel).
    3.The 2nd mag had Velocitors in it and round #6 failed to fire. When trying to clear, the rim of the unspent round caught on the mag feed lips so I could’t pull the slide back all the way until I dropped the mag (same problem I had before).
    4. The 3rd mag had Federal Champions in it and round #5 failed to fire with a light strike and it too double-fed when I tried to clear it because it wouldn’t eject.

    Hand cycling gives me the same problems as before, rounds often won’t eject so anytime I get a failure to fire it double feeds when I try to clear it. Just as in incident #3 where you can’t pull the slide all the way back because the rim of the CCI round hits the feed lips, that can be easily duplicated by hand cycling.

    I can’t get thru a magazine without issues so I’ll call Ruger on Monday to have it go back again.

    This is my 5th Ruger over a 34 year span. The first 2 (bought in 1986 and 1990) worked great with no issues. The 3rd was a new SP101 that was so bad Ruger replaced it with a new gun. The 4th was a new Mkii I bought in 2005 and it was at the end of the 23 year run of the Mkii but it has been a troublesome gun. The 5th is this LCPii in 22LR which is a jammomatic. I went 13 years buying lots of guns but none Ruger after the SP101. I went 15 more gun buying years with none being Ruger until this LCPii. Frankly, their quality hasn’t changed since the early 90’s so I’m done with Ruger. 3 out of 5 duds is unacceptable. Even running good CCI ammo this LCPii jams more than my Jennings J-22 and that’s saying a lot!

    I would like to make this gun an “award winning” gun by awarding it the McKee “Mouse Gun” award as mine has been very Mickey Mouse.

  4. I traded a Gen1 Ruger LCP in .380 for this pistol. The long trigger pull of the .380 LCP was off-putting. While this won’t be my primary carry gun, it will certainly be on me when I’m walking through the woods. I have found there are .22 rounds that this gun will not always fire reliably. A good quality ammunition, such as CCI should be used. Some say that this should not be a problem after breaking in with a few hundred rounds. But until then, it will just be a pocket gun used as a back-up to whatever else I am carrying.

  5. Folks, 22LR will kill. When I was a young Marine, I trained frequently with a 22LR pistol for hostage rescue scenarios. Double tap to the head. Nobody is going to do that with this featured pistol. Most cannot attain the skills required. However, 10 rounds of 22LR center mast is going to make quite an impression on whoever receives said bullets. Also, most bad guys do not want to chance driving on, bullets flying into them, to take you out. There are exception,s but this is not often. Again, 10 rounds to said bad guy will do the job. Maybe this pistol is not optimal, but it will work. Always remember, getting shot hurts, and people do not want more of being shot. I can see someone on a very tight budget getting one of these. Not optimal, but better than no gun for sure.

  6. A couple of points I would like to make: NO typical CCW handgun caliber reliably has a one shot or even a 2-3 shot stop. None of them have adequate power, regardless of the Hollywood hype. Secondly, most bad guys don’t want to get shot with ANY caliber, so having a 22lr pistol would MOST likely deter him in making you his victim. Ladies who are not willing to carry a higher caliber handgun because of their loud noise and recoil are certainly better off with a 22lr handgun than none at all. And my experience with many ladies who have taken my CCW class have verified this fact. They won’t carry any handgun they are afraid to shoot. I encourage them to work their way up to a 9mm or 38sp, but to carry the 22cal until that happens. Skip the 380’s.

  7. If one owns a LCP II in .380 ACP, I can see why having a .22 version for more economical practice (and less punishment) would have a lot of positive benefits. Buying one if you’re not an LCP II owner is silly, especially when there’s much better .22 plinkers on the market. Short barrel .22’s leave a lot to be desired, because short barrels equate to a poor sight radius and poor ballistic performance for the cartridge. In the case of .22LR vs .22 WMG, in a short barrel gun, the advantages of the .22WMG just aren’t there. More bang, recoil, muzzle flash and cost for a very negligible gain in velocity and energy.
    Sorry, but unless you own the .380 version, there’s no reason to buy the 22LR version in my honest opinion.

  8. I’m curious about the comment on the .22’s “unreliability every time you pull the trigger”. I won’t argue the issues of size, compared to a .380 or larger caliber but I have several .22 rifles and pistols (along with pretty much very other caliber) and I really do not recall ever having a .22 round not fire. Argue the other points but I don’t believe reliability is an issue.

  9. I have been looking at .22LR handguns for a while. I will definitely check this out. BTW you can definitely use a .22 for self defense. Few hand guns are 1 shot 1 immediate kill (see .357 magnum history) Few rifles are unless you make a neurological shot. If you don’t believe me that means you have never gone deer hunting. Even a perfect heart shot will leave someone alive up to 30 seconds to continue their attack. The .22 penetrates but doesn’t exit many times bouncing around inside causing damage. The minimal kick means an average shooter can stay on target for multiple shots. Its also not likely to kill your family after going through 3 walls. It’s not for everyone but it has a place.

  10. I have to disagree with Rich that a .22 for self defense is a mistake. If that’s all you’ve got, it’s like the old saying “any port in a storm”. And I would question the unreliability to fire every time the trigger is pulled. I have trained many students in firearm familiarity starting with .22 LR handguns. The lack of heavy recoil, lack of excessive noise, dependability of and easily accessible ammo has proven to me it’s worthwhile. Most times when a cartridge won’t fire it’s due to out of date, improperly stored ammunition or the failure of a sure firing pin strike. Weak springs, over use of dry firing which can blunt the firing pin or damage the striker surface where the rim of the cartridge seats can result in FTFs. Frequent FTFs requires a check of the ammo or the mechanics of the firearm, don’t blame a good pistol for neglect.

  11. Gregg Joss, Have you been living under a rock? I live in NY and we ARE allowed to carry 10 rounds in a magazine. Cupom was forced to amend the SafeAct to allow this years ago.

  12. This comment is for Gregg above, a federal judge struck down the 7 round magazine portion of the NYS safe act several years ago and raised the capacity to 10 rounds. These are legal to own in NYS.

  13. Nice article! The easy to rack will be good for the folks with chronic arthritis who can’t rack a pistol with a hard slide! A gun is better than no gun! I like .22 cal weapons! I realize that depending on how the bullet enters and swirls around in the body it may or may not stop someone but it’s still better than nothing and some folks can’t operate a heavier gun due to chronic arthritis! I’d like to purchase one to add to my collection!

  14. I think 22’s are the most fun to shoot, cheaper than the rest but rim fire rounds are not as reliable for a life or death situation and although 22’s have caused more fatalities than 45’s I would still say .380 or better for defense. I personally would run away just as fast from a 22 as a 9mm though.

  15. I believe for close in work the .22LR is an exceptional choice. I carry one while driving,fishing hiking, etc.. My Sig Mosquito is awesome on accuracy. I have an inexpensive .22 I have in the semi, I drive within my home state, where it is allowed, for just in case. My opinion is never carry a gun you don’t want to give up until law enforcement want to return it. In the Spec War arena, we had Ruger MkIII with bull barrels and suppressors. Super accurate coming out of Crane. I will be grabbing up one of these. Both my wife and I have LCPII for carry already, and love them. Never sell the .22 as unreliable. CCI Stingers are an effective round with high velocity capable of inflicting a lot of damage. Practice, practice practice, and choose your ammo/firearm, with care

  16. This review was excellent. Just the facts,ma’am, and none of the hackneyed phrases used by every other gun writer.
    Information to help make a decision, not push a favorite. Where can I find more of Mr. Roberts’ reviews?
    I was on the fence, but now I’m getting one.

  17. The gun is only a tool…the person is the weapon. If you are well-practiced (which is most-likely the case with 22 caliber units), then your bullet placement will almost certainly be effective…and bullet placement is everything. While I am reluctant to endorse any 22 cal gun as the first and best choice for primary self-defense, I also don’t sell it short on effectiveness. In competent hands, they are as lethal as any…and lethal is lethal. Just my 2-cents.

  18. Is the LCP II .22 available with a 7 round magazine? That is the maximum size I can legally possess in New York state.
    THANKS!
    Gregg Joss

  19. All 22 caliber hand guns are fun but I think using a 22 for self defense is a mistake, because of it unreliability to fire every time you pull the trigger.
    In most cases one bullet will not be enough to stop a threat, as a mater of fact some times 3 or 4 bullets won’t do that job. (unless all your shots are to the head ). But if you must use a 22 caliber for protection, I would think the only 22 worth using would be the 22 magnum which pacts a better punch. Its too bad they don’t make too many small hand guns in 22 magnum. Most of them are either rifles, long barrel revolvers, or small one shot wonders.
    Honestly I would never depend on anything less than a 380 ACP. with R.I.P. bullets for defense. Even regular hollow points would make me feel uncomfortable.
    Leave the 22 caliber for practice, fun plinking, and training our young shooters.

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