Comparing capabilities

For a long time, I’ve wanted to do a comparison of two very popular pocket pistols; the Airweight J Frame and the Ruger LCP. This #wheelgunwednesday, I made it happen. In this case, I used a S&W 642-2 for the Airweight.

The test I used for the comparison was the Nevada Concealed Firearms Permit Qualification Course. I used this as the graduation exercise in my Snub Nose Revolver Classes many times. It’s still one of my favorite CCW qualification courses. The course goes as follows:

The humanoid target, B27 or B21 or equivalent as determined by the firearm instructor shall be utilized.

For 6 shot or higher capacity:

3 yards 6 rounds              No time limit      Freestyle

5 yards 12 rounds           No time limit      Freestyle

7 yards 12 rounds           No time limit      Freestyle

For 5 shot or lower capacity:

3 yards 5 rounds              No time limit      Freestyle

5 yards 10 rounds           No time limit      Freestyle

7 yards 10 rounds           No time limit      Freestyle

A total of 30 rounds for 6 shot or larger capacity, 25 rounds for 5 shot capacity must be fired. A 70% minimum (18/25, 21/30) must be scored to pass.

Notice that as with the majority of State Qualification Courses for Private Citizens, drawing from the holster is not required. Nevada is not one of the States that forbid drawing from the holster, so I include a little holster work.

The way I did the test was to:

  • Use the -1 zone of the IDPA target. Then, I fold the bottom tapered part up behind the target. This gives an area approximating the FBI QIT target, which I like.
  • Shoot 25 rounds with both guns, even though the LCP would fall into the ‘6 shot of higher capacity’ category. This gives an apples to applies comparison of the two guns.
  • Conduct the first Stage as five individual one shot draws.
  • Do the second and third stages as two individual strings of five shots each.
  • Carry the 642-2 in an AIWB holster, concealed under a polo shirt.
  • Carry the LCP in a pocket holster.
  • Start the draws with hand on gun.
  • Start the Five shot strings with the gun at Low Ready, aimed below the base of the target.

In the end, I was able to achieve slightly better results with the 642-2 (19.87 seconds) than with the LCP (20.71 seconds). I’m not sure a 4% difference is worth writing home to Mom about, though.

NV CFP 642

NV CFP LCP

Both guns were mostly stock. The front sights on both are painted with Fluorescent Orange paint. The LCP has a Hogue Hybrid Handall installed. This makes the gun much more pleasant to shoot and I highly recommend it. The 642-2 wears Sile rubber stocks, which are no longer made, unfortunately. No special trigger work has been done on either, other than a fair amount of dry practice.

In the end, either of these in your pocket will provide more personal protection than some big honking clunky autoloader that gets left home. What’s the best concealed carry handgun? The one you have on you.

6 responses

  1. Nice test. I have both (though a 442 Pro) but for work attire the LCP finds its way into my pocket more often. As point of note, the Ruger 7 round mag adds a nice grip for minimal cost in size…7 + 1 rounds of 380 isn’t a bad thing! Thanks again for your tests! Nice work. And you’re correct, the big Glock usually stays home!

  2. I very much appreciate your efforts here, and it was most interesting that you timed the qual. I will be trying this with my GLOCK Model 43, and report same. I usually have a G17 or 19 on me, but occasionally the 43(or a 26) works in.

  3. Hello-just shot this at lunch w/aG43 for more data. G43 out of Blackhawk pocket holster.
    3 yards, 5 individual draws/shots: 1.55,1.26,1.30,1.75(holster came out of pocket),1.19: TOTAL=7.05
    5 yards, 5 shot strings from ready: 2.17,2.03; TOTAL:4.20
    7 yards, 5 shot strings from ready: 2.55,3.23(4 w/“head shot”); TOTAL:5.78
    GRAND TOTAL: 17.03 on FBI “Q”
    Thanks!

  4. I have a set of stocks for my 442 that look about the same as yours. Says made in Italy inside. I cut the bottom finger groove off, just below the internal frame pocket, for better concealment. These work much better than the “boot grips” the gun came with. The boot grips conceal better, but hit dispersion at 40 yds is about twice the diameter, due to the gun moving in my hand under recoil. Practice also suffers due to it being painful to fire more than a couple speed loaders worth of ammo. I could shoot all day with the cut down stocks.
    Whacking off that 3rd finger position really helps with concealment, and doesn’t seem to hinder control. That’s shooting standard pressure ammo, as the gun isn’t rated for +P (it’s a -0).

  5. […] of backup guns, in this article Claude Werner compares a Smith J-frame to a Ruger LCP to find out which gun shoots better.  I think Claude may be a better shooter than I am.  I shoot […]

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