If you follow my work, then you know that I am a strong proponent for pocket carry. While I never suggest that it is the best way to keep a gun on you, or that it is for everybody, you do owe it to yourself to explore it as an option. I like it because there is almost no conceivable outfit that can’t cover a small pistol in a properly fitted holster. Another reason that I like it is that if you find yourself in a situation where it looks like shit is about to go down, you can nonchalantly put your hand on your piece in preparation for what could happen next. Lastly, you never have the complaint of discomfort because if you can deal with the feeling of a wallet in your front pocket, a pistol in a soft rig is not a far stretch.
While the carry location has a host of benefits, the guns that make good candidates are usually trash. I mean, in some cases it’s better to just fill your strong side pocket with some rocks and hope for the best. Typical pocket pistols have lousy sights, poor ergonomics, and the dreaded low capacity. For the naysayers who cite those points, I don’t fault them. After all, what good is a pistol that can’t hit beyond knife distance and runs out of ammo faster than Jen Psaki runs away from a real question?
Circling back to two proven designs, Ruger merged the stack-and-a-half magazine with its popular LCP II platform and created a mega capacity .380 that boasts as much as a 12+1 round count. Not leaving themselves room to grow, they named the new pistol the LCP MAX, and I had the pleasure of running a few rounds through one this summer.
First things first, this thing was first. Yep, although Ruger was one of the last to put out an increased capacity 9mm subcompact, they were the first to pump up a .380 ACP. Ingeniously, they didn’t stray too far from the LCP II footprint and retained nearly identical controls, grip pattern, and the much-improved trigger that the original LCP was criticized for. You would think that they would have had to make it substantially thicker to accommodate a drastically wider magazine. However, through the magic of engineering, they were able to accomplish this feat without even adding a full tenth of an inch of girth.
While that was impressive, nothing got my attention like putting both it and my current carry pistol on the scale, loaded. With the flush-fit magazine containing 10 rounds plus one in the pipe, the LCP MAX in its included holster only weighed 1.1 ounces more than the six-shot gun that it was about to put out of service. A bit of that weight reduction comes from the lightweight holster that they throw in but, in the end, you have to factor in total weight when considering your carry setup
I couldn’t wait to take this thing to the range, and I just so happened to have a few boxes of Federal’s new PUNCH .380 ACP ammunition on hand. I was quite fond of this stuff last time I tested it, so I figured I’d see if lightning would strike twice. My first glance down the sights changed my entire opinion on the effective distance of a pocket pistol. After punching numerous one-hole groups into my 7-yard test target, I turned my attention to the rack of 8” plates that sat at 25 yards and cleaned it five times over. This little pistol was quite the shooter and I feel as confident with it as I do the compact 9mm that I carry when my dress allows.
Disassembly of the LCP MAX requires a tool, which is a strike in my book. However, if you need the takedown pin out bad enough you can likely get the job done with your keys or fingernails. After my 100-round test, the gun didn’t exhibit even the slightest hint of needing to be cleaned, so it’s unlikely that you’ll have to pull this thing apart in the fog of war anyway. Overall, I found it fun to shoot, I found it accurate, and I found it replacing what I currently keep in my pocket when I go to the mall. Ruger.com