Welcome to another episode of "I Carry," Shooting Illustrated's weekly video series covering the guns and gear needed to put together an ideal everyday-carry kit. Today, we have a Ruger LCR revolver in a Sticky Holsters pocket holster. Rounding out the gear is a Coast HX5 flashlight, a 5.11 Tactical Alpha Scout Tanto folding knife, a Tuff Products Quickstrips speed strip and Federal Premium HST .38 Special +P ammo.
Ruger LCR .38 Special Revolver (MSRP: $579)
The LCR represented such a radical change in Ruger’s revolver line that it might as well have been a laser gun. Previous to the introduction of the LCR line, Ruger’s small-frame revolver, the SP101, offered a five-shot .357 Mag. for concealed carry, but one that was literally double the weight of the competition. Bringing out the polymer-frame LCR gave Ruger a serious competitor for the pocket pistol market.
As a fighting revolver goes, the LCR series is all business. Sights are a pinned blade up front (replaceable with a big dot, tritium vial or other sighting system of your choice) and a U-notch rear sight; the cylinder is PVD-coated stainless steel and a Hogue Tamer grip helps with recoil—the LCR is rated for .38 Special +P ammunition. Interesting features of the LCR’s design include an aluminum inner frame and barrel sleeve with a polymer grip frame, and it’s here that the majority of weight savings is achieved.
This particular LCR sports a Crimson Trace green lasergrip upgrade. It makes the LCR a little harder to pocket carry, as the standard Hogue grips are a two-finger grip while the Crimson Trace has room for three—but there’s greater recoil control with the upgrade. Carrying the LCR with the laser grips in a pair of jeans might be difficult, but a good pair of cargo pants with larger pockets is not a problem. The obvious benefit of the Crimson Trace Laser grips is the instant-on capability combined with the immediate aiming point regardless of light level. I hesitate to call it a “must-have” accessory, but it’s pretty close.
Sticky Holsters Pocket Holster (MSRP: $29.95)
Sticky Holsters markets its holsters as inside the waistband without clips or straps. The proprietary outer material is specifically designed to catch and hold fabric, keeping the holster in place. While I’ve used them in this manner, I personally don’t care for it—I prefer my inside the waistband holsters to be secured. However, what that grippy outer material does very well is anchor the holster in a pocket—which makes it just about perfect for that carry method.
Tuff Products Quickstrips (MSRP: $9.45)
Loading a pocket-size revolver is cumbersome and requires a fair amount of diligence, so whichever method you choose, practice, practice, practice. I prefer a flat carrier for spare ammo over a round speedloader, and Tuff Products offers its QuickStrips in 5, 6, 7 and 8 round variants. Personally, I think having as much spare ammo as possible is a great idea, so I opt for the larger models whenever possible.
5.11 Tactical Alpha Scout Tanto Folding Knife (MSRP: $29.99)
How you carry an EDC pocket knife varies from person-to-person, and boils down to tip-up vs. tip-down as well as how the knife is oriented in the pocket. Ideally, it should be set up so that you can withdraw the knife from the pocket and open it with a minimum of wasted motion. The Alpha Scout Tanto offers a full range of clip-mounting possibilities, with all four positions (either tip-up or tip-down for both right- and left-hand configurations). G-10 scales, AUS8 stainless steel construction, a 3-inch-long blade and a standard liner lock round out the specs for this inexpensive folding knife.
Coast HX5 Light (MSRP: $25)
Up to 345 lumens (depending on power source), a protected tail cap and two-way carry, in a flashlight that retails for $25? You have my attention! Coast’s HX5 can run on alkaline, Nickel-Metal hydride (NiMH) or Lithium-ion batteries, and gives 130 lumens for 3 hours and 45 minutes on a standard AA battery. The clip allows bezel-up or down carry, and has the added benefit of being able to clip to the brim of a ball cap for hands-free operation. The beam can be focused as a spotlight or floodlight depending on application.
Federal Premium HST .38 Special +P Ammo (MSRP: $30.95)
As we’ve mentioned previously, when choosing a small firearm with a short barrel for concealed carry, your choice of ammunition is more important than with a full-size firearm. Shorter barrels mean less velocity, and ammunition designed for expansion at a certain velocity may not achieve full potential. Federal’s HST .38 Special +P is designed with low-flash propellants, proven HST bullet design and deep bullet seating to ensure consistent powder burn rates and peak performance.