Firearms

Ruger Lite Rack LCP II .22 LR — Pocket Guns

Ruger LCP II .22 LR on a paper target with a box of Federal Champion ammunition

People like itty-bitty sized guns. The idea of a gun you can stick in your pocket and take anywhere, while wearing just about anything, really seems to appeal to lots of folks. But itty-bitty guns are not easy to shoot well. A short sight radius and not much to hold onto makes it challenging to get them on target and hold them there long enough to pull the trigger. Solving these issues is what Ruger’s LCP II .22 LR is all about. It’s a .22 version for practice. It’s also a .22 version that could be the carry gun, when that’s all you can handle or conceal.

As a trainer, I’ve encountered many folks who bought small guns for the wrong reasons. If you don’t know guns and wake up one day deciding you need to carry one for personal protection, a small gun that can fit in your pocket is tempting. You go to a gun store, find a little gun, buy it, and think you’re ready to defend yourself.

Ruger LCP II .22 LR, left profile
Textured grip panes and extended magazine base aid in grip control. The safety lever is vertical rather than parallel to the frame, but easy to operate.

Most are thinking, “How hard can it be to shoot a gun?” That’s what they think, but it turns out it’s pretty hard when you don’t have much to hold onto, the gun kicks like a mule, and you’ve never had any instruction on stance, grip, sight alignment, breathing, trigger pull, and follow-through.

The Ruger Lite Rack LCP II .22 LR should be considered a training tool for learning to shoot .380 or 9mm guns. However, if these higher calibers absolutely don’t work for you, the .22 LR could be considered a bona fide carry gun. I was once adamantly against using a .22 LR as a defensive gun. Years have passed, and I’ve found the effects of aging and body abuse catching up with me. As a result, I’ve become more understanding. If a .22 is the only option for you, this little gun is built for the job. However, it will require some dedicated practice for you to learn to shoot it well.

Lite Rack Features

Let’s talk about how it shoots. The LCP II .22 LR utilizes a blowback operation with a single-action trigger. The trigger features about a ¾-inch take-up with a smooth, crisp break. The pull to get that break averages 6 pounds, 2 ounces on my test gun.

The frame is made of glass-filled nylon and is 5.20 inches long. The slide is made of alloy steel and is .81-inch wide. The barrel is stainless steel, 2.75 inches long with 6 grooves and a 1:16-inch twist. The gun weighs 11.2 ounces total. That weight alone makes it easy to see why people are attracted to it for a carry gun.

The LCP II .22 LR’s Lite Rack system includes slide serrations, cocking ears, and a lighter-than-normal recoil spring to allow for easy slide manipulation. The manual external safety is a bit different, because it is oriented vertically, while most handgun safeties are oriented parallel to the frame. It’s very easy to push off with your thumb as you’re acquiring the target.

Field stripped Ruger LCP II .22 LR with cleaning products
Take-down is pretty standard with a small pin just above the trigger.

The gun is equipped with a magazine disconnect safety, so it will not fire with the magazine removed. There’s a blade trigger safety and a drop safety that consists of a sear engineered with strong spring tension and a hammer catch to help prevent the hammer from contacting the firing pin — unless the trigger is pulled.

Texturing on the front, back, and sides of the grip ensure you can hold the pistol securely while operating the trigger. The fixed front and rear sights are black and integral to the slide. The gun ships with one 10-round magazine, magazine loader, and a pocket holster made from a textured material designed to keep the holster in your pocket when the gun is drawn. 10+1 rounds of .22 LR ammunition makes it a viable defensive weapon in the hands of someone who has trained well and can shoot well.

Shooting the LCP II

It took a little getting used to for me to shoot the LCP II consistently well. That’s actually an advantage, considering training is one of the natural roles of the gun. There’s not enough real estate on the frame for my normally aggressive grip. I can only wrap two fingers around the gun’s grip and then use a modified teacup with my support hand.

Sights on the Ruger LCP II .22 LR handgun
The sights are black and slightly larger than those on the LCP II .380. This is a hammer-fired single-action with an internal hammer.

The more I shoot the gun, the better I get at accounting for the small sights and grip. Fortunately, the smooth trigger pull makes it easy to keep sights on target through the break. The ammo is inexpensive, and Ruger says it’s okay to dry-fire this gun, so practice, practice, practice.

The sights, though bigger and better than those on the LCP and LCP II .380, are challenging for folks with old eyes. I know some people like all black sights, but my trifocals required a particular tilt of the head to find and focus on the front sight that took some getting used to. Ruger says the LCP II .22 LR accepts all LCP II .380 accessories, except magazines. I found a couple of lasers that fit to the front of the trigger guard and are grip activated. I think adding one would be a serious consideration, if I were to make this a carry gun.

It’s a given that a semi-automatic .22 LR is going to be ‘ammo sensitive.’ Slow rounds aren’t going to cycle the slide reliably. The owner’s manual for this firearm indicates subsonic or match grade ammo may not cycle the slide, but it should handle pretty much any factory normal or high-velocity rounds including hollow points. I put it to the test by trying normal and high-velocity rounds from several manufacturers.

Ruger LCP II .22 LR with CCI, Blazer, Norma, Winchester, and Federal ammunition
The author found the LCP II .22 LR not to be particularly ammo sensitive, handling all these rounds with ease.

At one point, I thought I was having a gun or ammo issue, but it turned out to be me. My strong-side thumb was pushing up the slide lock while shooting. This caused the slide to lock back while rounds were still in the magazine. Once I figured out what was happening, I had no issues with any of the six or seven brands of ammo I had in my range bag. What I like most about the LCP II .22 LR is how it encourages carriers of mouse guns to practice. The argument about ‘how tough mouse guns are to shoot’ goes away if you practice with them enough to be proficient.

In my own experience over the course of testing this gun, I became pretty good at shooting it. With that improved skill came a new appreciation for how a pocket gun could fit into the lifestyle adjustments people have to make as they age.

What’s your opinion of the Ruger LCP II .22 LR? Would you use if for practice, as a pocket back-up gun, or primary carry? Share your answers in the Comment section.

  • Ruger LCP II .22 LR on a paper target with a box of Federal Champion ammunition
  • Ruger Ruger LCP II .22 LR in a pocket holster with a magazine loading tool
  • Field stripped Ruger LCP II .22 LR with cleaning products
  • Ruger LCP II .22 LR newx to car keys and a pocket knife for size comparrison
  • Ruger LCP II .22 LR, right profile
  • Ruger LCP II .22 LR with CCI, Blazer, Norma, Winchester, and Federal ammunition
  • Author's hand holding a Ruger LCP II .22 LR gun
  • Ruger LCP II .22 LR, left profile
  • Sights on the Ruger LCP II .22 LR handgun

About the Author:

David Freeman

David is an NRA Instructor in pistol, rifle and shotgun, a Chief Range Safety Officer and is certified by the State of Texas to teach the Texas License to Carry Course and the Hunter Education Course. He has also owned and operated a gun store. David's passion is to pass along knowledge and information to help shooters of all ages and experience levels enjoy shooting sports and have the confidence to protect their homes and persons. He flew medevac helicopters in Vietnam and worked for many years as a corporate pilot before becoming actively involved in the firearm industry.
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 (10)

  1. This little pistol is a favorite of mine. Just plain FUN to shoot.
    Originally purchased as a practice pistol for my LCP Max 380 and it works great for that.
    Its also been a great pistol for teaching kids. Small, light recoil, easy racking, cheap ammo, and did I mention fun?

  2. As a 77 year old, I carry a LCP all because of its size. It is for self defense within 10 feet, point and shoot period. At the gas station, atm, on the street or going up to my front door, I’m okay. Any distance beyond that 10 feet, I’ll have to rely on situational awareness. I can still move pretty fast on these bony old legs.

  3. bought this little gem a few years back and decided to trick it out a little. Changed the barrel to one that is threaded and added a small cheaper type of suppressor to quiet down the bark of this puppy so I can fire it and not destroy my hearing.
    I also added a crimson trace laser targeting system that is very small and is turned on when you place your hand on the grip, so you have some idea what direction and where the 22 round is going to make impact.
    All these modes can be made by the gun owner with a few extra dollars and some help from U TUBE.
    The weapon looks pretty cool too!
    C.J.

  4. Are there any small pistols chambered for .22 mag.
    I have aa small NA Black Widow with .22 mag. which is easy to carry. Would like to see an auto in 22Mag.

  5. As an aged woman with arthritis in my hands and weak wrists, I love the Ruger LCP II Lite Rack 22lr. In fact, I like that Ruger so well, that I now own two of them.

    I have added a CTC “GREEN” Trigger Guard Laser with grip activation to the Ruger LCP II Lite Rack 22lr that I carry on my person all day, everyday. For my eyes, Green lasers are far superior to Red lasers, and are well worth the investment. They really do improve accuracy and quickness on target.

    Lasers, however, are NOT an excuse to stop practicing shooting the Ruger. Frequent range trips are a must for any shooter of any caliber or gun.

    With any of my 22lr guns, I do NOT shoot bulk ammo, lead bullets, standard velocity, or target 22’s. I ONLY practice with high quality, reliable, and deepest penetrating ammo that I actually carry for self-defense.

    For self-defense ammunition in my two Ruger LCP II .22lr, I have narrowed down my choices to three: The Federal Premium PUNCH, Aguila – INTERCEPTOR Solid Point, and CCI – VELOCITOR – Hollow Point.

    All three of these have worked 100% of the time with NO Failures-to-Feed, Failures-to-Fire, Failures-to-Eject, or Failure to Hold the Slide Open after the Last Round Fired in the Magazine. And this is after over 500 rounds fired of these three am munitions in each of my two Rugers.

    I do NOT use Segmenting Hollow Point .22lr’s for self-defense (my personal preference) – do your own research.

    Please do not use my test results as an indication of what your results will be. Each gun is different, and you need to confirm yourself through “live-fire” which ammunition works flawlessly or best in your gun.

    Nor am I suggesting that 500 rounds is a large enough sample size to risk your life on.

    Nevertheless, what I am suggesting is that you practice, practice, practice; and find the best .22lr self-defense ammunition for “your” gun; and only practice with that ammunition.

    Improvements, in .22lr ammunition including, technology, reliability and penetration, have come a long way over the years, as has the .22lr guns themselves.

    Finally, remember that shot placement is always important especially in .22lr. So, practice that as well as often as you can.

  6. I am an experienced, but aging, shooter. For CCW I have an S&W 9EZ, an S&W 380EZ and a Ruger LCP II .22. I carry the Ruger more than the other two guns combined. It has proven to be exceptionally reliable, exceptionally light and extremely easy to carry. It’s the old story about, “what’s the best carry gun?” It’s the one you have with you when you need it.

    One thing I dislike is the safety’s operation. Mine is very stiff and because it deactivates by a forward motion instead of a downward stroke it takes some getting used to. Ruger should have copied the 1911 safety “stroke” for the sake of uniformity. Maybe it would have been difficult or more expensive to execute, but for me it would have been worth the extra money.

  7. Good article. I like 22 caliber pistols for practice.
    I need to ask how is it that it’s ok to dry fire when most other rimfire pistols and rifles are not?

  8. While your comments are valid and the 22 is an easy shoot I train with the pistol and revolver that I carry. The small pistol is not meant to engage at long range for the most part.
    As an “old” shooter I employ both sight pictures and “point shooting” in training.
    Small pistols and revolvers can be very acratic at closer ranges – 25 yards or less. For longer ranges carful sighting is needed, however close targets and “point shooting” may not be a “bull-eye” however it will get one onto the target.
    Dave

  9. The gun is ammo sensitive. I use hi velocity for practice. CCI PUNCH for carry. It is small so hard to shoot accurately. If I had to use it to defend myself I would keep shooting until the threat is down.

  10. At Irwin’s Toy Box we believe the best gun to have in a gunfight is the one you have with you. The LCP family of of pocket pistols are great for those who can’t or won’t carry a larger hand gun from can to can’t.

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