Ruger’s Lite Rack LCP II .22 LR

A Pocket Full of Rimfire for Practice or Defense

No, these keys aren’t oversized. The Ruger LCP II .22 LR truly is a pocket pistol.

We’re experiencing a renaissance of .22 rimfire offerings. There are lots of new .22s on the market and we’re having plenty of fun shooting and writing about them. Ruger has been producing rimfire .22s since their first gun back in 1949. In recent months, they’ve graced us with a trio of .22 revolvers followed up by a .22 version of their LCP II pocket gun.

No question there’s a place in this world for little bitty centerfire guns, but they’re difficult to shoot well. A short sight radius and limited surface area make it challenging getting them on target and holding still through the trigger press. 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 capable of serving as your carry gun if rimfire recoil and operation is all you can handle.

Note the cocking “ears” on the rear of the slide. This and a lighter recoil spring
make the pistol easy to manipulate.

While David found the vertical safety lever unusual, it’s intuitive to operate when you think about it.

The Price Of Small

As a trainer, I’ve encountered too many folks who bought small guns for the wrong reasons. If you’re not familiar with guns and wake up one day deciding you need to carry one for personal protection, a small gun fit in your pocket is tempting.

It’s an all-to-common occurrence. Someone who figures out they want to get their license to carry, goes to a gun store, finds a pretty little gun, buys it and signs up for a concealed carry class with no prior instruction, is usually in for a struggle.

How hard can it be to shoot a gun? That’s what they think, but it turns out it’s challenging if you have little to hold on to, the gun kicks like a mule and you’ve had no instruction on stance, grip, sight alignment, breathing, trigger pull and follow through.

The Ruger LCP II .380 and the ECP 9mm are some of the easier to shoot and operate small guns on the market. But they’re still a lot to handle, especially if you have strength issues in your hands.

Once he got used to the small size and grip technique, David found this little pocket
full of rimfire to be just fine for practice or self-defense.

Enter The Rimfire

The Ruger LiteRack LCP II .22 LR is a training tool to help you learn to shoot the .380 or 9mm guns. If those centerfires still don’t work for you, it can be a bona fide replacement. I was once adamantly opposed to using a .22 as a defensive gun. Yet I had customers who seemed to know better than I did a .22 would be their only option. Years have passed, and I’ve found the effects of aging and body abuse catching up with me, so I’ve become more understanding. If a .22 is the only option for you, this little gun is built for the job. But even it will require some dedicated practice as you learn to shoot it well.

A takedown pin just over the trigger releases the internals for field stripping and cleaning.

What’s In The LCP II?

The LCP II .22 LR uses a blowback operation with a single action trigger. There’s about a 0.75″ take-up with a smooth, crisp break averaging 6 lbs. 2 oz. on my test gun. With a frame made from glass-filled nylon, it’s only 5.2″ long. The slide is made of alloy steel and is only 0.81″ wide. The barrel is stainless steel, 2.75″ long with six grooves and 1:16″ twist. The gun weighs 11.2 oz. total. The light weight alone makes it easy to see why people are attracted to this size gun for carry.

The LCP II .22 LR’s LiteRack system includes refined slide serrations, pronounced cocking ears and a lighter recoil spring to allow for easy slide manipulation. There is a slightly unusual manual external safety because it’s oriented vertically — most handgun safeties are oriented parallel to the frame. No worries. It’s easy to push off with your thumb as you’re acquiring the target. The gun is equipped with a magazine disconnect safety, so it won’t fire with the magazine removed. There’s a blade trigger safety and a drop safety consisting of a sear engineered with strong spring tension and a hammer catch to help prevent the hammer from contacting the firing pin unless you press the trigger.

The Ruger LCP II ships with a magazine loader and textured pocket holster —
a friendly reminder to always use a proper holster.

Get A Grip!

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

It took a little getting used to for me to shoot the LCP II .22 LR consistently. Maybe that’s an advantage considering training is one of the natural roles of the gun. My challenge was 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 adjusting for the small sights and grip, plus 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. It took some getting used to. Ruger says the LCP II .22 LR accepts all LCP II .380 accessories except magazines, and I found a couple of grip-activated lasers to fit to the front of the trigger guard. I think adding one would be a serious consideration if I were to make this a carry gun.

David ran through the collection of rimfire in his shooting bag and found the LCP II to eat it all just fine.

Ammo Time

It’s a given semi-automatic .22 pistols are ammo-sensitive. Slow rounds will not 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 Ruger’s claim 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 fades if you practice with them enough to be proficient. In my experience over the course of testing this gun, I became pretty good at shooting it consistently. With improved skill came a new appreciation for how a pocket gun could fit into the lifestyle adjustments I’m having to make as I age.

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