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New Ruger LCP MAX: Changing The Pocket Gun Game

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The LCP MAX is Ruger's new double-stack .380 ACP CCW pistol. The same size as an LCP II, it can hold four to six more rounds in a pocket-sized package.

LCP MAX Specs:

In just the past few years the leading philosophy behind what makes a good CCW gun has changed quite rapidly, and that’s mostly thanks to industry innovation. Popular concealed carry pistols have not just been trending smaller, but also higher capacity. Slight geometric changes to their designs have allowed manufacturers to transform their once-popular single-stack pistols into double-stacks that are only marginally thicker in size. Sig Sauer started this trend when they released the XL version of their P365. Several companies followed suit with their own popular 9mm handguns, including Ruger with their MAX-9 pistol.

For those who like things even smaller, however, Ruger has just applied the same concept to their .380 LCP II with the release of the new Ruger LCP MAX.

Smaller Is Better

The debate between stopping power and ammunition capacity is an old one. Even cavemen probably deliberated over carrying a few small rocks or a couple of larger ones. 9mm has been pretty much settled as the best modern defensive handgun round, and many people simply refuse to carry any cartridge less powerful than that.

If that describes you, then the pistol you want to carry has likely already been released by a major manufacturer in the last couple of years. If you’re willing to trade a bit of power for a lot of extra concealability, however, then the new LCP MAX might be just what you’re looking for. It is nearly identical in dimensions to Ruger’s previously popular single-stack .380, the LCP II. The grip is only slightly thicker to accommodate the new double-stack magazine's additional four to six rounds, and the added thickness actually helps to improve the gun’s shootability as well.

While 9mm does offer objectively better terminal performance than .380, it is still a more than capable round. There are defensive loads for sale meeting the FBI’s penetration and expansion tests, and the LCP MAX has been engineered to reliably feed a variety of modern .380 defensive hollow points. While it may not hit quite as hard as 9mm, the ability to comfortably carry 13 rounds of .380 in your pocket certainly has its appeal.

Ruger’s 9mm equivalent, the MAX-9, is still large enough that it must be carried on the belt despite being a micro-compact. The LCP MAX remains firmly in the pocket-gun category while nearly doubling the capacity of previous designs like the LCP II. While it's true that smaller guns are also harder to shoot, the lower recoil of the .380 cartridge compared to 9mm helps compensate for that. Ruger also sells an extended 12-round capacity magazine with a finger extender that can give most shooters a full grip on the pistol.

Upgrades And Improvements

The LCP MAX is more than a double-stack LCP II. Changes to the design have been made to keep Ruger’s new pistol competitive when other manufacturers inevitably release their own iterations of the double-stack .380 concept. The LCP MAX’s ergonomics have been improved in the grip and slide to provide increased recoil control and easier manipulation. The magazine release button is now reversible to accommodate left-handed shooters, and the edges of the LCP MAX have been smoothed to ensure a snag-free draw.

The sights have also been vastly improved. The front sight is tritium with a painted white outline, and the rear sight is a large U-notch for quick-acquisition shooting.

There are pros and cons to each, of course, but Ruger’s MAX-9 and new LCP MAX now provide concealed carriers with two very small options that pack a lot of firepower. The war of tiny 9mm carry guns may just be winding down, but the battle for the best pocket-sized double-stack .380 has just begun. The new Ruger LCP MAX ships with one 10-round magazine, an optional extended floorplate, a magazine loader, and a pocket holster. MSRP is $449.

For more on Ruger, please visit

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