Ruger LCP MAX Review

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This Ruger LCP MAX review is going to cover Ruger’s newest .380 offering.

The Ruger LCP and LCP II have been a staple in the American concealed carry market ever since their introduction. These .380 pistols are extremely popular for concealed carry, but despite their popularity, they lacked capacity and suitability.

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These guns are very small, holding only six rounds in the magazine. They are not much fun to shoot.

Ruger came up with the Ruger LCP MAX to try and rectify some of those issues.

Role

Ruger LCP MAX isn’t what I’d call a small gun. It’s not large either, but it’s definitely much larger than the Ruger LCP and LCP II by comparison.

Almost anybody can pocket-carry a Ruger LCP or LCP II. The LCP MAX is not within the size limits where I would suggest everyone could pocket-carry it.

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It’s a little on the big side if you have a leaner build or wear tighter-fitting pants.

But it’s certainly a gun that can be pocket-carried and is relatively lightweight, so it makes sense for that application.

The LCP MAX can also be used for inside the waistband (IWB) carry.

I’m sure there are some who will carry this outside of their waistbands. For the most part, this gun is going to be a lightweight tool used for pocket- or inside the waistband concealed carry.

Features

The Ruger LCP MAX has a 10-round capacity with a flush-fit magazine. This capacity is greatly improved over the original LCP and LCP II.

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Another major improvement they made involves the MAX’s sight, which we’ll get to later in the review.

Magwell

There likely aren’t many people that will carry a spare magazine for this gun, but if they do, it’s fairly easy to reload.

The magwell itself is not beveled, but the top of the magazine is beveled greatly.

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The gun goes from double-stacked to single-feed with a rather drastic bevel that makes it very easy to insert the magazine. It’s almost like you have the enhanced magwell built into the magazine itself.

Grip/Ergonomics

This gun does not have any removable back- or front straps.

What you see is what you get: a standard polymer grip. Overall, it is a little bit fatter than what you would expect from other pocket pistols due to the 10-round capacity. As far as beavertails go, there’s no real beavertail on the LCP MAX, but there is a well-rounded tang.

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The gun is comfortable to hold and it fits into the web of my hand well. It is a little bit smaller, but I have no complaints about the overall ergonomics of this firearm.

Texturing

The texturing on the Ruger LCP MAX is nice and aggressive, but not overly so. It feels about like 600- to 800-grit sandpaper.

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This is not a texturing that’s going to annoy you when carrying it inside the waistband up against your body, but it’s still going to provide enough traction to where the gun won’t slip around in your hand if your hand is wet.

General Feel

Overall, this gun does fill your hand.

If you have really small hands, I can see how this gun might be a little bit on the larger side, but if you have very large hands, this might be one of the few pocket pistols that you can hold reasonably well.

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If you have medium- to larger-sized hands like myself, you’re going to have issues getting your pinky on the bottom of the grip.

I can fit approximately one-third of my pinky on the grip of the gun, which does help a lot when it comes to controlling recoil, but unfortunately, it’s not what I would call a super-solid grip.

Somebody with smaller hands will have no trouble controlling this firearm and getting their pinky on the bottom.

Sights

The sights are definitely a high point of this Ruger LCP MAX review.

Ruger decided to massively improve the system by adding dovetailed sights, so if you’re not happy with the sights that come from the factory, you can actually switch these out.

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The older Ruger LCP models have not had this option.

The front sight on the Ruger LCP MAX is a Tritium sight with a thin white ring around it. It’s pretty much your standard front night sight. The rear sight, on the other hand, has a nice wide U-notch and serrations on the back of the sight blade with a fairly good picture.

I do wish there was a little more air between the rear sight and the front sight.

In the daylight, the front sight is so big that it definitely jumps out at you—not quite like a Big Dot would, but very similar in effect.

The front of the Ruger LCP MAX sight has a ledge on it, so you could technically use that to rack the gun off a belt or hard surface in case you have to clear a malfunction or chamber a round.

Red-Dot Options

This gun is a tilting-block firearm, and being in the lower-pressure .380, I’m not sure whether or not we’ll see red-dot options for the LCP MAX.

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This is a relatively thin gun and there aren’t many options out there that would fit it.

Even the Holosun 407k or RMRCC would hang over the side of the slide quite a bit.

Controls Ruger LCP MAX Review

Magazine Release

The magazine release on the LCP MAX is easy to reach and I have absolutely no issues with the design. It comes from the factory mounted on the left-hand side setup for a right-handed shooter.

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That being said, it is reversible, so you can switch it to the other side if you’re left-handed.

It’s well-rounded with no sharp edges and placed in a good position where people of all hand sizes will be able to reach it.

Slide Stop

The slide stop is mounted at the very rear of the gun.

I do have one complaint: it’s not 100% reliable. When you go to rack the slide on this gun, the slide stop will not actively lock back the slide unless you are putting pressure on the magazine from the bottom.

However, I’ve had this issue with every Ruger LCP that I’ve handled.

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For some reason, Ruger just doesn’t put a lot of time into making sure that these slide stops work as they should. If you plan to use that slide stop to drop the slide, I find it fairly easy to do even with my larger hands.

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If somebody had much larger hands than myself, they might have a hard time dropping the slide. The slide stop will likely sit somewhere behind the joint on their thumb.

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If you’re a left-handed user, comparably, you’re not going to be able to use your trigger finger to drop the slide stop.

You’ll have to just use your hand to rack the slide manually.

Overall Ergonomics

Overall, the ergonomics of the LCP MAX are quite good. I can’t complain about that in this review because it just fits my hand well, and I think that will be the same for almost anybody.

Ruger did a really good job of designing a gun that will work well for both small- and large-handed individuals.

Trigger Ruger LCP MAX Review

The trigger on the Ruger LCP MAX is a hammer-fired trigger and is technically single-action only. When people hear single-action only, they think of great triggers like the 1911.

Unfortunately, if you’re expecting that kind of performance out of this trigger, you’re going to be drastically disappointed.

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The trigger pull has light take-up as you disengage the safety.

That’s pretty standard and feels almost like any striker-fired gun. Once you get through that, you’re going to feel a wall before a fair bit of creep with some travel. From there, you’re going to hit another wall right before the break.

This trigger isn’t horrible, but it isn’t great either. If you’re used to striker-fired triggers like Glocks, Smith & Wesson M&Ps, or SIG P320s, you’ll find this trigger lacking.

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To reset the trigger on this firearm, you have to let the trigger almost all the way out.

While you don’t let it quite all the way, it goes so far out that you might as well completely let off the trigger to ensure that it does reset reliably. I could easily see how somebody could short-stroke the trigger on this when trying to reset.

Aftermarket

This gun is fairly new to the market, so there aren’t a lot of aftermarket offerings, but I suspect the aftermarket offerings will mirror those for the Ruger LCP and LCP II.

There really isn’t a lot you can do to this gun.

Sure, you could switch out the trigger shoe, magazine release, slide stop, or the sights, but given the price point of this gun, I don’t see people putting a lot of money in aftermarket parts for the LCP MAX.

Aftermarket support likely won’t be that large.

The nice thing is, this gun is also reverse-compatible with a lot of Ruger LCP II holsters.

Maintenance Ruger LCP MAX Review

Maintaining the Ruger LCP MAX is a little bit of a pain in my opinion. You have to get a knife or screwdriver to pull out the take-down pen located on the left-hand side.

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Is it a deal breaker? No, but that’s a slight complaint for this Ruger LCP MAX review.

Aesthetics

Aesthetically, I’m neutral on this gun.

It’s not a bad-looking gun, but nobody’s going to give it any awards either. It’s just there. It works. There’s nothing sexy about it, but there’s nothing ugly either.

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Shooting

I was excited to get this gun out to the range. When I got to shoot it, I was somewhat impressed by how low the recoil was when comparing it to the Ruger LCP and LCP II.

There was still a lot of muzzle flip and the gun definitely bucked in your hands, but it wasn’t painful to shoot like its smaller LCP brothers. Now, when it comes to actually hitting the target, that’s another matter.

This gun takes a lot of concentration to shoot accurately.

I’m a big fan of the Glock 42, and the first time I took the Glock 42 out to shoot accuracy at distance, I managed to pull a three to four-inch group off at 25 yards without trouble in around 12 to 15 seconds.

Accuracy

I would be lucky to shoot a similarly-sized group with the Ruger LCP MAX at three to five yards.

If you’re three yards in, this gun will get the job done.

If you have the time to try to place an accurate shot at five to seven yards, it can work, but it’s just a much harder gun to shoot than the Glock 42.

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My friend, a humble marksman who is a masterclass USPSA shooter in both Production and Open classes, acquired a Ruger LCP MAX for review.

He had a similar experience shooting the gun.

He’s a much better shot than I am and can get decent results with the gun. Still it’s still exceptionally hard for him to shoot and requires a lot of concentration.

Because of how hard this gun is to shoot, I’m going to take some points away from the Ruger LCP MAX.

Final Thoughts

Would I buy the Ruger LCP MAX for personal use? No.

This is not a gun that I plan to carry. Despite the Glock 42 holding only six rounds, its shootability makes it much more enticing to me than the Ruger LCP MAX.

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If I need a really small gun to carry, I’m more likely to go with the Ruger LCP as it is significantly smaller than the Ruger LCP MAX and allows me to conceal it much easier. Realistically, this gun doesn’t conceal better than a SIG P365. The only real advantage it offers is weight.

Due to this, the Ruger LCP MAX really doesn’t have a place for me.

Its sights are definitely a great upgrade, but I can’t really take advantage of them due to my inability to shoot this gun accurately.

I’d rather have six rounds with a Glock 42 that I can shoot well than 10 rounds with a Ruger LCP MAX where I don’t know where they’re going to hit.

If you have access to a friend with a Ruger LCP MAX or an indoor range where you can rent one before buying, I would highly suggest doing that before purchasing this firearm. It’s a good idea to do that in general. This gun I just found exceptionally hard to shoot, which is a rarity.

Due to this, I’m going to have to suggest being cautious before buying.

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I hope you found our review helpful, and if you have any questions or comments, please comment below.

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