Tag Archives: EDC

The Ruger LCP Max – Compact, Reliable, & Chambered In .380 … But That’s Ok

I’ll put it right out there – I am a pistol cartridge snob. My favorite is 10mm Auto and my second is 9mm Luger. I held .380 in about the same regard as .22 LR for self-defense but then I ran into a weight problem. Yeah, I am overweight but I also wasn’t liking the weight and size of my Every Day Carry (EDC) pistol in all situtations – the SIG P365, which I think is an amazing pistol – but I wanted something smaller and lighter.

I looked at derringers and .22 pistols and just none of them really struck me as something I wanted to carry – I normally had Hornady Critical Duty 9mm +P in my P365 but it just weighed too much. Some derringers weigh a ton, some weigh less but you still have just two rounds. I read a stat once that most gun fights conclue in 5 rounds or less … just having two rounds didn’t sound appealing not to mention my big hands trying to hold a way too small pistol. Everything kept pushing me back to the P365 despite its weight. It was reliable and packed a heck of a punch.

Then my friend and FFL dealer, Scott Igert, of Michigan Gun Exchange, recommended I take a look at a Ruger LCP Max. It was light, compact, got great reviews … and was chambered in .380. Uh…. what?

The words “.380” and “amazing stopping power” will never be next to each other in the same sentence – at least not in a serious discussion. Let’s think about this for a minute. Depending on the load, a .22 long rifle cartridge will generate 120-160 foot pounds of energy. A .380 is maybe 190-294 foot pounds. The Critical Duty +P 9mm generates 369 foot pounds and 10mm Underwood 180gr is 676 foot pounds — all at the muzzle.

So, .380 has more energy than a .22 but pales in comparison to modern 9mm and 10mm loads. As I was feeling snobbish, I actually recalled a story the Kyle Lamb told about meeting a guy in a pistol shop and talking about the best pistol. Kyle told the fellow he had a Bersa .380 in his pocket and the other fellow started putting it down. Kyle then asked him where his pistol was and the guy stopped dead in his tracks – it was in his truck. The whole point is that carrying a pistol beats not carrying a pistol.

With that memory it dawned on me that having a .380 with me that was light and small beat not having anything with me due to complaints about weight, size, etc. So, I shut up and had Scott order me one while I started digging into ammo choices.

After doing some reading, I ordered in SIG, Federal, and Buffalo Bore ammo to give it a try. Then whent he pistol arrived, I field stripped, cleaned and lubricated it before heading to the range.

Time for me to do the safety briefing thing. First off, always clean and lubricate a new firearm. They are not good to go right out of the box. Second, not all pistols like all magazines or forms of ammunition. Be sure to thest your pistol with your different magazines and ammo before you rely on them. For most pistols you will find one or more combination that you need to steer clear of. Reliability doesn’t magically happen – you need to help it happen.
The Ruger LCP Max is a little pistol. Note on the lower right side of the photo the relatively big 10mm round on the left next to the small .380 round on the right,
This is my Glock 29 Gen 4 10mm on top and the LCP Max .380 under it for size comparison.

At the range, I put a few hundred rounds of 10mm through the Glock 29 and my RIA 56862 Tac Ultra HC. After shooting them, just picking up the little LCP Max made me realize it was a mouse gun. Then I loaded the little bullets into the little magazines and made little pew pews.

Okay, joking aside, I did not have one failure to feed, fire or eject. The litttle pistol did its job. After shooting the 10mms, the .380 recoil was very light to non-existent. I was shooting plates and bowling pins at about 30 feet. It knocked over the plates but the bowling pins would often just jiggle a bit and not fall over.

Tip: Want to have a fun first range session? Read your instruction manual, clean and lubricate your pistol and then cycle the slide back and forth a few hundred times to help things break in. It may sound goofy but it will make a world of difference for most firearms.
The LCP Max shot every type of ammo I brought with no problems at all.

A Compensating Ammo Load Out

`As I jokingly stated earlier, the .380 round is not a power house and there is not a SAAMI specification for .380 +P. Now maybe you have seen vendors say they load .380 +P but bear in mind it is their own recipe that will generate pressures only they know. How did I find this you? The Ruger LCP Max manual states in big bold letters not to run +P and I couldn’t figure out why so I started digging.

There are only four cartridges where SAAMI created a specifications for the higher pressure +P loads: .38, .38 Super, 9mm Luger and .45 ACP. That’s it. The shooting industry loves marketing and appealing to the guys that want the hot rod ammo so there are groups out there – both who sell ammunition and make firearms – who will stamp +P on everything but the end of the day, outside of the four rounds previously listed, there are no standard +P loads so watch out.

Personally, I will stick with name brand ammo and not push the envelope. Ti m Sundle, who owns Buffalo Bore ammunition, posted the observation that your typical .380 hollow points aren’t going to penetrate very far so consider using hard cast bullets for greater penetration. I always find his write ups about his ammo very interesting and click here for this standard pressure .380 ammo listing and his thoughts. Note, his real word testing with a Colt Mustang with a 2.75″ barrel ought to be close to the LCP Max because the LCP Max has a 2.8″ barrel – close enough to get an idea of the muzzle velocity of 910 FPS and about 193 foot pounds of energy.

Okay, rather than enter the world of ballistics calculators, let me put it this way – the relatively short 2.8″ barrel of the LCP Max will mean most ammo will not generate the velocities and energies they post. For example, Hornady lists a 1,000 feet per second and 200 foot pounds of energy but that is with a 4″ barrel and depending on other factors such as how long the slide will remain closed before beginning its rearword travel and releasing pressure will all affect the velocity and energy you actually realize.

If a person enters into a self-defense situtation with a .380, I doubt one round will end the fight – maybe it will but probably not. This is where the doctrine of shooting until the threat is ended enters in. I also run an alternating loadout in my mag. The first round is a good hollow point (such as Hornady’s Critical Defense or Sig’s VCrown) followed by a Buffalo Bore hard cast load, which is then followed by another hollow point, another hard cast and so forth.

Consider loading your mags alternating with hollow points and hard cast bullets. That is a Critical Duty load that will go in first and the a Buffalo Bore hard cast solid underneath it for penetration.

Carrying The Pistol

In terms of the ability to carry the LCP Max in a concealed manner, this is where the LCP Max shines. It is less than an inch thick (0.81″ actually), has a an overall length of just 5.17″ and weighs 10.6 ounces empty.

You can carry it in your pocket – mine came with a pocket holster – or wear and inside or outside the waist band holser. Because it is small you have a ton of options not to mention it doesn’t feel like you are carrying a boat anchor.

Hickok45’s Video Review

In this day and age, I realize a lot of folks like watching videos. I’m a writer and not really not into making videos but I do watch them when I am researching firearms. Here’s a good one from Hickok45 (his videos are always worth watching on YouTube – I subscribe to his channel):

Summary

There is no magical pistol or round that is perfect for every situation is what you should always bear in mind. You need to think and the pros and cons and select accordingly. The LCP Max is a reliable pistol and can serve defensively in urban situations where weight and/or size concerns limit what a person can carry. My preference is still the Sig P365 for normal self-defense duties and I do carry a Glock 29 10mm when traily hiking these days but the LCP Max has filled a niche for me when I need something small and light.

I hope this post helps you out!


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



SIG P365 Video Reviews Of This Excellent Concealed Carry Pistol

In the last post I told you that the SIG P365 is my concealed carry pistol of choice. I thought you might like to see some videos to see what others have to say as well.




And here’s one from SIG directly giving you an overview:


So you get the idea. It’s a pretty cool little pistol for concealed carry! If you are thinking about picking one of the models up and some magazines, the below links can take you to various seller’s web pages:


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



The SIG P365 Is My Concealed Carry Pistol

Given my work with tactical weapons I guess folks expect me to carry some exotic pistol. My every day carry (EDC) is a SIG P365 that I picked up some time in the early Summer of 2019 from my friend and FFL, Scott Igert who owns Michigan Gun Exchange. I don’t claim to be a concealed carry expert but Scott is. As a retired police officer and trainer, Scott knows his way around firearms.

He and I have known each other for years and he knows what I like. After I got my Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL), I asked him what pistol he would recommend given my preferences. He thought about it for a few seconds and then recommended that I take a look at the SIG P365.

The P365 trail blazed the category of micro-compact 9mm semi-auto pistols that was rated for +P ammo. The designers intended it to be very small, reliable and pack a punch. I’d say they succeeded. Yeah, there have been small pistols in the past but they had some very anemic chamberings and/or were low capacity such as the single or double-barrel derringers that could larger calibers.

The P365 has received a ton of rave reviews including Handgun of the Year from Guns & Ammo in 2018, NRA Golden Bullseye Award 2019, Ballistics Best Winnter 2018, 2018 Industry Choice Award and more. The reason is simple – it small, light, reliable and can deliver a hell of a punch.

The Magazines

The P365 has a novel way of stacking the rounds inside the magazine wherein the can fit 10 rounds in a very short magazine. The pistol comes with this 10 round magazine but you can also get 12 and 15 round magazines as well.

My P365 with the three magazine sizes – From left to right: the 15, 12 and 10 round models plus you can see the Desantis #106 Sof-Tuck holster that I have been using for a few months now. I like it more than Kydex because it doesn’t poke me.
Here’s a close up of the three sizes of magazines. I own two of each so I have a lot of flexibility in terms of what I am going to carry. That’s Hornady Critical Duty 135gr +P ammo peaking out.

I wear XL-size gloves and the pistol with the 10 round magazine has a very short grip. It’s not comfortable for me and I wouldn’t target shoot with it but it makes for a very concealable pistol. I was told once that the best pistol in the world will not save you if aren’t carrying it for whatever reason – it’s too heavy, it’s too long, it sticks out, etc. My point is that there do need to be trade-offs at times. There are definitely times I carry with the 10 round magazine due to the weight and size reduction.

Here’s the P365 with the 10 round magazine installed.

For me, the 12 round magazine is ideal. It’s just a tad longer and they’ve added a small grip extension to the bottom. This is what I use most of the time because it adds just a bit more weight and size plus I find it far more comfortable to hold.

They do offer a 15 round model and while I may have it as a backup somewhere, it is longer and heavier than what I really want to carry around. I have carried with it but rarely. The nice thing besides the higher capacity is that you basically have a full-sized grip.

Here’s the P365 with the 15-round magazine inserted. Plenty of grip space but it is heavier and longer.

The Holster

I’ve experimented with a few holsters and the most comfortable one I have is the Desantis Sof-Tuck model 106NA8JZ0 – this is the right handed model at it first the P365 and P365 SAS (the model with recessed sights and a ported barrel).

What I like is the softness – it doesn’t poke me when I sit down, bend over, etc. It keeps the pistol secure in my pants and really meets my needs for a basic holster.

Here’s a closer view of the Desantis #106 Sof-Tuck holster and the belt clip.
Here’s what I had with me the other day – you see the P365 in the holster with the 12 round magazine, one of the Streamlight 66608 350 Lumen USB rechargeable lights and a Kershaw 1600 Chive pocket knife. In the back are spare mags that were in the car.

Ammunition

What I am using is Hornady Critical Duty 135 grain +p ammo. Yes, it is rated for +P ammo but I wouldn’t shoot it all the time at the range. Critical Duty is not for everyone as it is designed with a degree of barrier penetration in mind. (Hornady has a nice summary on their website if you are interested click here.) I have run a number of types through the P365 including Federal HST 124gr and a variety of 115gr FMJ loads and the little pistol handled them all just fine.

I really want to put one thing out there for you to bear in mind though – always, always, always test your pistol with the ammo and magazines you plan to use. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a pistol not function correctly due to some combination of magazine and ammo but work perfectly fine with others. Sometimes folks new to shooting don’t realize this and it would be devastatingly bad in a self-defense situation to have your pistol jam when it tries to cycle.

How many rounds should you try? You’ll get a ton of answers on this. Statistics would tell you that at least 30 rounds is a fair sample and going past that is better in my opinion. Some guys will tell you 100 rounds, some will say 200 … they are all right in my honest opinion – shoot as much as you need to in order to become familiar with your pistol and that a given combination of magazines and ammo is going to work.

Also, to put it bluntly, shit happens. Practice clearing your pistol plus slapping in a new mag and continue firing. You just never know and if you’ve not practiced enough you are liable to fumble around under stress.

If you’d like to check out some video reviews, click here.

Summary

Again, this is my concealed carry that I entrust my family’s safety to. My Glock stays at home now because the little SIG is easy to carry, reliable and packs a punch. The P365 has proven to be so wildly successful that SIG released a larger XL model plus the SAS that has integral sights and barrel porting. While I don’t have first hand experience with them what I hear is very favorable and I definitely recommend the P365 to folks looking for solid concealed carry pistol.


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A Kershaw Knockout Knife and Streamlight Microstream LED Light Are In My Pocket These Days

I have quite a selection of folding knives that I use all the time for work – cutting open boxes, plastic pails, insulation, tubing, etc. It’s funny but I wind up rotating through them for one reason or another – it may be because one needs to be sharpened and is too dull (my ZT 0350 is that way right now) or because I just pick up the blade that is by my desk and drop it in my pocket as I head out to the shop. The same is true for whatever small light I am carrying. A while back, I posted about buying both a Kershaw Knockout and Streamlight Microstylus. I’m so happy with both that I figured an update was in order.

Kershaw Knockout

As mentioned, I did buy this blade some months back and posted about it For the last few months, my goto blade has been the Kershaw Knockout. It is a very decent medium sized pocket knife that has a 3.25″ blade made from Sandvik 142C28N steel. It is holding the edge remarkably well – I haven’t needed to sharpen it yet and am very impressed. Note, I use a Work Sharp Ken Onion edition sharpener to true up my blades and it can handle any steel.

The handle is very comfortable, The Knockout gets its name from the cut out in the handle where they rivet in the blade lock. It makes for a very easy to operate locking mechanism. I always like the flag they add to their American made knives also.
The blade is holding up great. You know, I don’t know the details behind the “Diamond Like Coating” – DLC – process but it is really impressive. I’ve beat my ZT 0350 half to death and that coating is holding up on that knife also. Also, you can see the Streamlight Microstream light.

The second reason is that it is remarkably light and thin. For its size, it really does not drag down my pocket. At the same time, the hande is big enough for me to get a firm grip to cut open plastic pails.

The third big reason is that it uses Kershaw’s “SpeedSafe” flipper mechanism for one handed opening. When I am working, being able to open the knife with only one hand is a huge benefit.

The Streamlight Microstream LED Light

I have bought a number of these little lights – my best guess is 6-8 of them. Simply put they hold up great and are at a very reasonable price especially given the quality. Here’s a blog post that I did after my initial purchase back in 201.

I have put at least four of them through the clotheswasher and as long as the base is on tight, they survive. If the base comes loose and water gets in then it is pretty much always game over.

This is a good photo both of the Knockout and the Microstream. The Microstream is 3.5″ long and has a diameter of about 0.6″.

What I can tell you is that I have never had one fail on me due to worksmanship. Dead battery, yes. The switch, body and LED have all held up just great.

I really like these lights because they are small, don’t weigh much, use regular AAA batteries and only cost $16.22 off Amazon. I should also point out that they produce 28 lumens of light and that little battery will last about 2-2.5 hours. I probably carry this light even more than I do a blade because it is just so handy and I can’t see as well as I used to.

In short, I am so happy with both that I wanted to post the update to you folks,


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.