The Ruger LCP Max: A Tiny Terror?

If you’re into firearms at all, you know that the Ruger name is an American institution and an old standby in the firearms industry. Over the last few years, they’ve really stepped up in their highly concealable pistol game.

In June 2021, Ruger introduced their LCP Max pistol. The LCP Max is a natural progression of their LCP pistol line; the LCP holds 6+1 rounds and is a single-stack pistol. The LCP Max holds 10+1 (with optional 12+1 magazines available) and is a double-stack pistol, so the grip is a bit wider. More on that grip in a bit.

Aside from more capacity, the LCP Max’s sights are superior to those of the LCP. The LCP’s sights are pretty small and rudimentary. We’ll get into the Max’s sights more shortly, but they are much better.

And now, without further adieu, let’s jump into the review.

The Niche

I consider the LCP Max to be a niche gun. It’s pint-sized enough that you can make it disappear easily. Whether tucked into the waistband or an ankle holster, it fulfills the mission of staying hidden until called upon.

As I was fondling this little pistol, it occurred to me that the LCP Max wouldn’t be my first choice in a gun fight, but it’s far better than not being armed at all. And that, my dear readers, is the name of the game. We all know that Rule Number One of gunfighting is to have a gun, and this one allows you to have a gun in all but the most restrictive places.

Slip it into a pocket holster, drop it in a pocket, and it’s gone. No one will know it’s there.

Looking at it further, Ruger actually put a decent set of sights upon this tiny terror. The 12+1 magazine capacity also shoves this little thing into a more serious category. The regular LCP holds 6+1 rounds, which makes it slightly superior in the capacity category than, say, a 5-shot snubbie revolver. Not so with the LCP Max; it has twice the LCP’s capacity.

That’s a major win in my book.

Tech Specs

Ruger’s LCP Max weighs a feathery 10.6 ounces. The side width is very slim at just .81 inches, and the standard model has a black oxide finish. The model I reviewed has a stainless slide that was well done. The barrel length is 2.8 inches with an overall length of 5.17 inches. The height of the pistol is 4.12 inches – this is a small handgun!

LCP Max right side.
The little LCP Max easily slips into a pocket in a pocket holster. Its weight is feathery and you’ll forget you’re even carrying a pistol. There are forward and rear cocking serrations. It’s shown here with the 12-round magazine in place, which has an extended floor plate. Photo: Jim Davis.


The slide is made from alloy steel and features forward and rear cocking serrations. These do help because the slide is relatively small, so we can use all the help we can get when running the slide.

As mentioned, the slide on this particular pistol is stainless.

While I’m at it, I’ll mention that all the edges of the pistol’s slide and frame are nicely chamfered and smooth, so there are no sharp edges to catch on clothing or skin.


The grip is glass-filled nylon. Despite it being a double-stack grip, it’s still quite slim. This is one double-stack pistol that’s not likely to give many people problems because it’s still extremely manageable. Even those with small hands will be accommodated. When a friend saw the photo of the pistol in my hand, he laughed and opined that the pistol made my hands look like those of a linebacker. My hands are medium-sized at best, which made it funnier.

LCP Max in hand.
Even in smaller hands, the LCP Max is easy to grip, with all controls being well within reach. You can barely even tell it’s a double-stack because the grip is so thin! Photo: Jim Davis.

There is stippling on the sides and front of the grip so the user has some purchase, and it works well. The fact that the grip is not large also goes a long way toward the purchase.


The LCP Max ships with a 10-round magazine that is flush-fit (although Ruger includes extended floor plates with the 10-rounders). The 12-round magazines that are available have a slightly extended floor plate, which adds a little to the grip length. I tend to gravitate to the 12-rounders, both for extra capacity and that little bit of extra grip length, which gives the pinkie finger a landing zone. That tiny bit of extra length adds a lot of comfort.

LCP Max and 12 round magazine.
The LCP Max in .380 holds 12+1 rounds (comes standard with a 10+1 round magazine). The author recommends the extended floor plates for the magazines, as they extend the grip slightly, giving a full purchase. Photo: Jim Davis.


The trigger wears a blade safety on the trigger face, just like Glock pioneered decades ago, and it works well. Trigger pull is medium, being not heavy, nor light. There is considerable take-up before the wall is hit. The wall breaks crisply, and I’d estimate the weight is perhaps six pounds (I’m guessing here, as I did not have a trigger gauge to measure it). When the trigger breaks, it sounds sort of like a toy pistol. That sounds humorous, but I can’t really describe it any other way. There’s a toyish “Tink!” when it breaks.

Overall, the trigger for this type of pistol is set up very well, in that you have to purposely pull it, it’s not likely to go off without the shooter’s intention.

It’s worth mentioning that the pistol features an internal hammer.


I was pleased to see that the sights are steel, so they’re quite durable. They’re higher and more substantial than on the standard LCP. The rear sight is black and has horizontal serrations cut into it. The front sight is tritium with a white circle around it.

Despite the rear sight being plain black, the front sight is pleasantly visible, and the overall combination works very well. These sights weren’t thrown on the pistol as an afterthought but were well thought out and executed. You actually feel as though you could use them to hit a target!

LCP Max sights.
For such a tiny pistol, the sights are extremely well done! These weren’t merely thrown on as an afterthought; they actually function well! The front sight is tritium with a white circle. Photo: Jim Davis.

I know I sound a little bizarre raving about these sights on a subcompact pistol, but after some of the abysmal sights I’ve seen on other tiny pistols, these sights are such a home run that I had to accentuate the point. With all that said, at the range this pistol is intended to be deployed at, one will likely not need the sights. Still, they’re nice to have, just in case.

Finally, the front of the rear sight is squared in the event the shooter needs to rack the slide on a surface using the sight during an emergency.


I’m not a zealous fan of the .380 ACP cartridge, but it does bring some assets to the table. The recoil is fairly mild, even in such a small, light pistol as the LCP Max. The fact that the pistol is not miserable to shoot suggests that it might lead people to practice a little more with it. As well, follow-up shots are fast and easy.

My buddy carries Hornady 90-Grain Critical Defense rounds in this pistol, and I think that’s a stellar choice. I’ve used them in various pistols and they’re reliable and feed well. Aside from that, they expand reliably in testing. There are 25 rounds in a box and they retail at the time of writing for $22.99, which is a good buy.


The controls are simple. There’s a very tiny slide release that accomplishes what it needs to. It could be a little larger, but it is what it is. Personally, I release the slide by grabbing it with my hand and racking it because it uses gross motor skills, which are more accessible when the adrenaline is flowing.

The magazine release is large enough to easily find and efficiently pops the mags out of the magazine well when pressed.

At The Range

I won’t belabor this section of the review. The LCP Max does what it’s supposed to, which is rapidly putting rounds on close-range targets. Recoil was surprisingly low and accuracy was more than adequate for the task at hand. Reliability is 100%, as expected.

Parting Shots

Ruger is onto something here. They’ve produced a pistol that’s large enough to get your hands onto without being any larger than necessary for maximum concealment.

It holds a solid amount of ammo, at 12+1 rounds, to get the job done. It’s extremely light while still being controllable and allowing fast follow-up shots.

A bonus is that the LCP Max will fit most holsters designed for the LCP II pistol.

It can be concealed to the point that no one is going to know you’re carrying this thing. This is the pistol I’d carry if I didn’t want to really carry a pistol – it’s that light and concealable. For work or other places where I needed for people to not know I was carrying, or those occasions where I’m ducking into the store for a few items and don’t feel like gearing up, this is perfect.

At the time of this writing, the LCP Max can be found in gun shops in the high $300 range. I think this one’s worth checking out. Yes, it’s certainly a Tiny Terror.

Jim Davis served in the PA Dept. of Corrections for 16 ½ years as a corrections officer in the State Correctional Institute at Graterford and later at SCI Phoenix. He served on the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), several of those years as a sniper, and also the Fire Emergency Response Team (FERT). For 25 years, he was a professional instructor, teaching topics including Defensive Tactics, Riot Control and Tactical Operations, Immediate Responder, and cognitive programs as an adjunct instructor at the DOC Training Academy. He was then promoted to the title of corrections counselor, where he ran a caseload and facilitated cognitive therapy classes to inmates. His total service time was close to 29 years. He was involved in many violent encounters on duty, including incidents of fatalities. He is a dedicated Christian and attributes any skills that he has to the glory of God.

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