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  4. Ruger LCP Max Review: Pocket Powerhouse Gets an Upgrade
Ruger LCP Max Review: Pocket Powerhouse Gets an Upgrade preview image
Oct 06 2023
9 min read

Ruger LCP Max Review: Pocket Powerhouse Gets an Upgrade


The original Ruger LCP and LCP II are two of the OG pocket pistols that helped kick off the craze for tiny but effective handguns.

When the opportunity to do an LCP Max review came up, I jumped at it because I love Ruger and the other LCPs, so surely a bigger LCP would also be good, right?

ruger lcp max review and hands on test
Tiny, but effective.

Well, it turns out you don’t notice the extra size, and you get four extra rounds to boot. Honestly, I was expecting to like the LCP Max, but…I ended up loving it, and I bet you will, too, if you’re thinking about a small but potent defensive carry option.

Let’s talk about why that is.

Ruger LCP Max Review

Ruger LCP Max For Sale

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Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of this bad boy. The Ruger LCP Max is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a compact and reliable pistol for concealed carry and personal defense.

It’s small, lightweight, and goes bang every time without fail. Plus, it’s got some cool features that make it stand out from the crowd.


Caliber.380 ACP
Capacity10+1 rounds
Frame MaterialGlass-filled nylon
Barrel Length2.80 inches
Overall Length5.17 inches
Height4.12 inches
Width0.81 inches
Weight10.6 ounces

Pros & Cons

  • Compact and lightweight, so very easy to conceal and carry
  • Smooth trigger with a crisp break and short reset
  • Excellent grip texture for better control and recoil management
  • Grip extension floor plate helps larger hands get better control
  • Affordable price point relative to other similar subcompacts
  • Small size limits the gun’s possible capacity
  • Small size also means recoil is relatively snappy
  • Manual slide lock is on the smaller side

Testing The Ruger LCP Max

I put about 200 rounds through the Ruger LCP Max, and let me tell you, it was a blast. Even though it’s small, it fits nicely in my hand and feels comfortable to shoot. The grip texture is an improvement, giving me a secure hold, and that finger grip extension floorplate? It’s a game-changer, especially if you’ve got larger hands like mine.

How We Tested

For testing, I gathered up some friends of varying levels of firearms proficiency and dragged them to the range with me. I have a lot of experience with firearms; I’ve been shooting for 25 years and testing guns for the last decade, but I always find that a more average gun owner’s perspective is just as important.

matt collins testing the sar9
Big thanks to Jacob (pictured), Clough, and the other yahoos who help me test these guns. I’m sure it’s not just because you don’t have to pay for the ammo.

We took several hundred rounds of target ammo (generously provided by AmmoMan.com for this review) and a few boxes of various defensive loads to see how things shook out. The gun was reliable and fed, fired, and ejected everything we put through it.

The target ammo printed 1” groups at 7 yards and opened up to fist-sized groups at 25 yards, shooting off-hand. From a rest, I’m sure the gun would be more accurate, but that’s not really a real-world test.

Mechanically, the gun is highly accurate, and in a real-world situation, shooting one or two-handed, it’s very easy to be accurate thanks to the solid sights and the excellent trigger.

Ammo Used

AmmoMan.com very helpfully provided us with a couple hundred rounds of Winchester Target & Practice.

winchester target practice 380 auto ammo
Thanks again, guys! Ammo is expensive, and testing guns requires a lot of it.

We also tried some PMC bronze, some other loose range ammo, and Hornady Black and SIG V-Crown defensive loads.


I have to hand it to Ruger on this one. The LCP Max showed up and showed out when it came to reliability. Not a single hiccup during my range sessions. It ate up all kinds of ammo without any issues. Ruger knows how to make a gun you can trust when it counts.

ruger lcp max review at the indoor shooting range
She goes bang every time, she ejects every time, she feeds every time. What’s not to love?


Accuracy-wise, this little fellow surprised me. At self-defense distances of 7 yards, we were left with one ragged hole and 2” groups out at 20 yards. All in all, it’s more than accurate enough to get the job done, but the short sight radius limits what you’re doing at 50 yards and beyond.

Still, this thing is more than accurate enough for what it’s for, which is partially owed to the great trigger.

ruger lcp max groupings from range review
For a 20 yard grouping, I’ll take it.

Overall Feel

The Ruger LCP Max feels solid in your hand. It’s well-built, even with its lightweight construction.

The grip texture gives you that nice, secure hold, and the recoil is basically non-existent. The trigger pull is smooth and breaks like a dream. It’s also very easy to conceal given the micro-compact form factory. Slip it in your holster, and you’ll forget it’s even there.


Enhanced Grip Texture

This is where Ruger really stepped up their game. The grip texture on the LCP Max is a massive improvement over its predecessor. It’s aggressive and gives you a solid hold, even when things get sweaty. And that means better control and recoil management.

ruger lcp max review with 380 auto ammo and magazine
Recoil is basically non-existent, and having the nice grip texturing tames it further.

Finger Grip Extension Floorplate

Ruger knows that comfort matters. It included a finger grip extension floorplate with the LCP Max.

It extends the grip surface so your pinky finger has a place to rest comfortably. And let me tell you, it makes a world of difference, especially if you’ve got larger hands. Your grip will feel more secure, and you can shoot longer without discomfort.

Compact and Lightweight Design

Alright, folks, this is what makes the Ruger LCP Max a real winner. It’s small. It’s lightweight. And it’s perfect for concealed carry. It’s slim, it’s snag-free, and it’s easy to draw when you need it.

I love smaller pistols and consider myself something of a snob when it comes to miniature self-defense tools, and the LCP Max is easily one of the best out there right now.

ruger lcp max review with 380 auto ammo and magazine flashlight
My EDC (minus the bullets, those go in the gun).

Score Card

Reliability (10/10)  

500 rounds in now, and it hasn’t had any issues. I spoke with the range staff about one of their rentals, and it’s at 2,500 rounds without issues as well.

Ergonomics (9/10)

It fits my hand well. It fits my wife’s hand well. It fits my four tester’s/guinea pig’s hands well. It’s hard to complain here.

Customization (7/10)

It’s a newer, niche defensive gun, so the secondary market isn’t quite there yet. Holsters and such are easy to find, but there are not a lot of trigger or slide upgrades out there (right now).

Appearance (8/10)

It looks a little generic, but it’s a worker, not a safe queen.

Value (10/10)

It’s a Ruger, so it’s pretty much the best value in the industry right now in terms of performance to cost (or bang for your buck if you like puns).


Now let’s talk about some cool accessories that can complement and enhance your Ruger LCP Max experience.

Clip & Carry IWB Kydex Holster

Clip & Carry IWB Kydex Holster

An Inside-the-Waistband (IWB) holster is a must-have accessory for concealed carry. It allows you to securely and comfortably carry your Ruger LCP Max discreetly. Look for a high-quality IWB holster that offers good retention, adjustable cant, and a comfortable fit against your body.

+1 Mag Base Pad for the Ruger LCP MAX

+1 Mag Base Pad for the Ruger LCP MAX

While the Ruger LCP Max comes with a finger grip extension floorplate, some shooters may prefer additional grip surfaces for better control. Consider investing in a magazine extension that provides extra length and support for your fingers, improving your overall grip and comfort while shooting.

Tritium Night Sights – Orange

Tritium Night Sights - Orange

If you often find yourself in low-light environments or need to be prepared for self-defense scenarios at night, tritium night sights can significantly improve your sight picture. These night sights utilize glowing tritium inserts that provide visibility in dark conditions, allowing for quick and accurate target acquisition.

LaserMax CenterFire Laser Sight

LaserMax CenterFire Laser Sight for Ruger LCP

For those looking to enhance their aiming capabilities, a laser sight can be a valuable addition to the Ruger LCP Max. Laser sights offer quick target acquisition and can be particularly beneficial in low-light situations. Look for compact laser sights specifically designed to fit the Ruger LCP Max’s accessory rail.


Now if the LCP Max is a solid gun, but no gun is right for everyone. So, if it isn’t quite doing it for you, let’s take a look at some other options you may like better.

Glock 43

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If you’re looking for another great concealed carry option, check out the Glock 43. It’s slim, reliable, and packs a punch. With a capacity of 6+1 rounds, it’s a bit smaller than the Ruger LCP Max, but it’s got a larger grip for those of you with bigger hands.

Glock 43

See our full Glock 43 review here.

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ

Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield EZ 3.68" .380 ACP Black Armornite Pistol, No Thumb Safety, 8+1 Rounds
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Now, if you want something that’s easy to handle, take a look at the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ. It’s designed specifically for shooters who may struggle with operating the slide on traditional pistols. It’s got an easy-to-rack slide and a grip safety for added peace of mind. Plus, it’s got a larger frame and increased capacity compared to the Ruger LCP Max.

Shield EZ Chambered in 9mm, 380 auto, and 30 Super Carry
Shield EZ Chambered in 9mm, 380 auto, and 30 Super Carry

We haven’t had a chance to post a Shield EZ review in .380, but you can definitely go check out our review on the M&P9 Shield EZ for more information!

SIG Sauer P365

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With its high capacity (10+1 rounds standard, but upgradeable to 12 or 15 rounds), the Sig P365 offers a lot of firepower in a compact package. It features a textured grip, a crisp trigger, and modular options such as night sights and optic readiness.

Sig P365
Sig P365

While slightly larger and heavier than the LCP Max, the Sig P365 strikes a balance between compactness and increased capacity, making it a reliable choice for concealed carry.


Alright, folks, it’s time to wrap things up. The Ruger LCP Max is a top-notch choice if you’re on the hunt for a compact and reliable pistol for concealed carry and personal defense. It’s got enhanced features, improved grip texture, and it won’t break the bank. So go ahead, give it a shot (pun intended).

And don’t forget to leave a comment below with your thoughts on the Ruger LCP Max or any alternative options you recommend. I always love hearing about what you folks love shooting.

Written by Matt Collins
Matt Collins photo Matthew Collins, raised on a South Georgia island, embraced firearms and the outdoors from a young age. With degrees in English and Mechanical Engineering, he briefly worked in broadcast news before returning to his roots in 2015 to write about firearms. Collins has been featured in publications like Recoil, Backpacker, Outdoor Life, and Gun Digest, and has experience as a shooting instructor and gunsmith. His passion for guns extends to his hobbies, including competitive shooting and tinkering in his workshop. His writings on firearms and the outdoors are now a key part of GunMade.com.


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