Firearm: Ruger LCP Max (MSRP: $479)
In a world full of micro-9 mm double-stack handguns, it’s easy to overlook the Ruger LCP Max. Released a few months after Ruger’s own entry in the micro-9 double stack market, the Max-9, the LCP Max brought a similar effort to the company’s tiny .380, increasing magazine capacity to 10 from the 6 of the standard LCP. At half an inch taller and 1 ounce heavier, the LCP Max is very slightly larger than the standard LCP, yet with four additional rounds.
Let’s take a closer look at the size of the LCP Max. For a pistol with a 10-round, double-stack magazine, it’s only 5.17 inches long, 4.12 inches high and .81-inch wide. Weight is 10.6 ounces unloaded, making it one of, if not the, lightest handgun with a 10-round magazine on the market. Yes, it’s .380 ACP, not 9 mm, but .380 has come a long way in the past couple decades, with excellent choices like Federal Punch, Hornady Critical Defense and others making the diminutive round more potent. It’s not 9 mm or .45 ACP, by any measure, but it’s also not the 95-grain ball from the ‘80s, either.
Something that often gets overlooked in tiny pistols are the sights; in many, they’re pretty much an afterthought. Whether it’s a trench rear sight on a J-frame, the tiny nub of a front sight on a P3AT or gutter-style or no-sight options, little guns often have suboptimal sighting options. This is emphatically not true with the Ruger LCP Max, though. Not only are the sights properly dovetail-mounted on the slide, there’s even a tritium insert for low-light visibility. And, thanks to that dovetail mount, there are replacement sights available from companies like XS Sights.
Why choose the LCP Max over something like the SIG Sauer P365, though? Well, for starters, as small as the P365 is, the LCP Max is smaller. Lengthwise, it’s .63-inch shorter and .18-inch shorter in height. The P365’s feathery 17.8 ounce weight seems downright heavy compared to the LCP Max, which tips the scales nearly half a pound lighter. The LCP Max will fit in a back pocket or ankle holster easily, with 11 rounds of .380 ACP at the ready.
Holster: N8 Tactical mini-Xecutive (MSRP: $34.95)
While, yes, the Ruger LCP, even in Max form, is certainly small enough to pocket carry, not everyone is comfortable with or prefers that method. The beauty of the LCP Max’s small size is that it can be carried inside the waistband with ease, adding scant weight and requiring minimal cover garments. The new mini-Xecutive from N8 Tactical is a perfect candidate for this task, with adjustable retention and cant making it easy to carry anywhere on the belt line.
While the mini-Xecutive is available at an entry-level price, that doesn’t mean it’s bare bones. While both black and gray are standard colors, other color options and patterns are available at a slight upcharge. The single polymer clip comes standard, but can be upgraded to a monoblock clip, belt loops or an Ulticlip for customized concealment. You can even order the hardware in different colors. Currently available for a limited number of subcompact handguns, the mini-Xecutive line should see many new fits on the horizon.
Flashlight: Pelican 5000 flashlight (MSRP: $33.95)
We’ve added the Pelican 5000 flashlight to our minimalist kit to match the LCP Max and Mini-Xecutive in the small-yet-useful category. Roughly the size of a standard pen, the 5000 is 5.59 inches long, weighs 2.4 ounces with batteries and fits easily in a pocket. The 5000 offers three light modes—high, low and strobe—and is IPX8-rated for water resistance. The high setting yields 202 lumens with a run time of 75 minutes while the low setting offers 21 lumens for 7 hours. The 5000 also offers a pocket clip and a tailcap power switch, and can toggle between floodlight and spotlight by sliding the lens body.
One interesting feature is the 5000 runs on two AAA batteries. In a time where rechargeable flashlights are becoming the norm, it is curious to see that standard alkaline batteries are still a go-to, although the sheer ubiquitousness of the AAA battery isn’t a bad choice. One advantage of replaceable batteries over rechargeables is that replacement takes seconds, rather than hours; while AAA batteries have less power than CR123As, they’re still more affordable and easier to find.