Review: Ruger LCP MAX

The gun world buzzed a bit in early July, after the release of the Ruger LCP MAX. Why, you may ask? Ruger listened to what micro-compact pistol gun owners want – and that’s as much capacity as possible. It can carry 11 rounds of .380 Auto, and for a belly gun, that’s good.

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I received the LCP MAX recently, and after taking it apart, cleaning it and reassembling it, I took it out to the range. I decided not to do an accuracy test on it. It’s a little gun, and little ones like this one are intended on being used at close range for personal defense. Period.

Ruger and box

However, that being writ, I wanted to try lots of types of ammo in the gun. With a personal defense gun, especially, it is imperative to know what works. Not everything did.

So, I set up my target at a seven-yard distance, grabbed a bunch of different types of .380 ACP ammo – both target and personal defense rounds – and started slow. Right away, the gun punched holes in center mass at seven yards. So that meant I didn’t need to drift the rear sight, which is drift-able. The tritium with white outline sights made it easy to acquire that target, although if I got closer to the target, I would pull, point and shoot, frankly.

Here are some other reasons I like this little number:

  • Under one inch wide
  • Under 11 ounces unloaded
  • Secure Action Trigger – always consistent with a nice, smooth pull
  • Grip fit my hand well
  • Overall length is 5.17 inches – good for a jean pocket

The LCP MAX comes with 10-round magazine, but you may purchase a 12-round magazine ($39.95) with a flush-fit floorplate, which is a great option for larger hands and more capacity. 

Ruger in Box LCP MAX

Although it ships with a pocket holster, the holster does not adhere to your pocket. So … you will have to train to remove the holster from your pocket, and the gun from your holster … I would consider this holster more of a “pouch,” than an actual holster. I would put this into my console in my truck, or it might work between the seat and the console. However, check out the available variety of holsters for this gun (it also fits the LCP II holster, supposedly) at Ruger’s shopping site.

This firearm is so easily concealed, and it would also make the perfect ankle back-up gun.

Babbs shooting Ruger LCP MAX
(Jason Baird photo)

After I shot it on the range at seven yards, from an off-hand standing position, I went into a kneeling position – trying for a headshot – especially based on a church scenario, or other public gathering place situation where stopping a killer is of utmost importance. Again, accuracy wasn’t a problem. I just needed to work my way up a bit and eventually, started to understand how to make the shot consistently. Again, this pointed out to me the importance of training with the gun I’m going to carry.

I also practiced drawing it from a pocket and shooting at close range. Pretty easy peasy.

The other thing I noticed about this gun is that my hand didn’t hurt – even after 100 rounds. Thanks to its patented barrel cam geometry, which Ruger defines as “delays unlocking, slows the slide, and ultimately reduces felt recoil compared to other .380 Auto pistols,” the gun shot soft in my hand.

Ammo for LCP max

There were a few hiccups with some ammo, but that happens, and frankly it’s not the fault of the gun – as long as more ammo than not works through it.

Would I carry this gun? Most definitely. 

MSRP: $449

See more about the Ruger LCP MAX here.

  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at