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.
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.
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.
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.
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.