The LC Charger, Ruger’s Scorned Middle Child?

in Authors, Garrett Negen, Gun Reviews, Handguns, Pistols

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Ruger 5.7x28mm LC Charger on rocks

The LC Charger splits the difference between Ruger’s standard-sized 5.7 Pistol and the LC Carbine. Is it the best of both, or is this configuration less useful than its predecessors? 

Initial Impressions On The LC Charger

Picking up this pistol for the first time is a strange experience. It’s long, awkward, heavy, and looks suspiciously like a stormtrooper’s E-11 blaster. First impressions are important and the LC Charger just showed up to the interview five minutes late and gave me a limp handshake. Not a great start but I’m willing to give it a chance. I can’t quite put my finger on it but there is something about this pistol that makes me like it 

Maybe it’s this pistol’s Galaxy Far Far Away vibe that resonates with my love of Star Wars. Or maybe it’s just because this is the closest thing we can get to the unobtainable H&K MP7. Either way, this pistol just feels cool and that’s enough for me to give it a try.


The 5.7x28mm is a really interesting cartridge. It was developed in the early 1990s as a replacement for 9mm for use in PDWs (personal defense weapons). I won’t get too deep into the weeds but, compared to 9mm, the 5.7 has higher mag capacities, less recoil,  better range, and is less likely to over-penetrate. It does all this while retaining similar terminal performance. 

9mm, 5.7x28mm, 5.56 NATO
bullets on rock
Left to Right: 9mm, 5.7x28mm, 5.56 NATO

The only factors I see dampening the round’s popularity are price and availability. Currently, 5.7 is about twice as expensive as 9mm and is nowhere near as common. Hopefully, as more gun and ammo manufacturers pick up the caliber, both of these issues will become less of a problem.

General Specs

If you are familiar with either of Rurger’s other 5.7s then this may feel like Deja Vu. The controls are nearly identical to the LC Carbine and 5.7 Pistol. This includes the mag release that rotates downwards to release the mag, the ambidextrous 1911 style safety, and the bolt release which is accessible by your thumb when shooting right-handed.

Ruger 5.7x28mm LC Charger on ground

The Charger has an interesting design in that just over half of the 10.3-inch barrel is enclosed inside the upper receiver. The remaining barrel is shrouded in a rectangular M-LOK handguard. The handguard is relatively short at only 3 ¾ inches. I wished they would have lengthened the handguard to be flush with the shoulder of the muzzle thread to make room for two entire M-LOK slots instead of the offset one and a half. 

Ruger 5.7x28mm LC Charger muzzle

The barrel is threaded 1/2×28″ and comes with a thread protector which I swapped for a flash hider. A birdcage flash hider was my first choice because it’s lightweight and doesn’t add much length to the pistol.

Available on GunsAmerica Now

    I appreciate the sharp grip texture found on this gun. Similar to grip tape, it gives me good control of the firearm. I prefer it over the type of texture that uses rounded blocks or ribs. 

    Ruger 5.7x28mm LC Charger magazine with rounds

    The mag is stamped steel with a plastic baseplate. Only one mag is included, so plan to buy a few spares.  Currently, they are only available in a ten or twenty-round capacity but +5 and +10 base plates are available. Expect to pay around $38 for a factory mag and $30 for a two-pack of OEM +5 baseplates. The +10 baseplates are made by Mag Supply USA and are $32 each. 

    Necessary Accessories

    Shooting this pistol as it comes from the factory is nearly impossible. First off, it doesn’t have sights so you’ll need to add some. I installed a Holosun HS403B in its low-mount configuration. The full-length top rail gives you plenty of room to mount whatever optic you want. I am trying to keep this gun compact so I went small. 

    Ruger 5.7x28mm LC Charger with mag on table

    You can’t shoot what you can’t see so the next necessity is a weapon light. Keeping with the compact mindset I added a Streamlight Rail Mount 1 to the upper left M-LOK slot. From that position, I can activate it with the thumb of my support hand without changing my grip. Plus, mounting the light on the same side as the charging handle doesn’t add as much bulk as it would if it were on the opposite side.  

    Sling Assist

    At this point the gun is shootable but trying to hold it like a standard pistol is still pretty awkward. The best solution I’ve found is to use the sling assist technique. 

    shooting Ruger 5.7x28mm LC Charger with sling

    Popularized by use with large format pistols like the MP5K, the sling assist method adds stability by creating tension between your body and the gun. With the sling assist method, you are pushing out against the sling instead of pulling a stock into your shoulder as you would on a typical sub-gun. 

    Ruger 5.7x28mm LC Charger grip and hand stop

    While using this technique you should always be aware of your support hand placement. Because you are pushing, not pulling, it is possible for your hand to slip and end up in front of the muzzle. To prevent this, Ruger includes a hand stop to keep your hand from passing the end of the rail. 

    Ruger 5.7x28mm LC Charger sling setup

    I originally removed the stop to accommodate a sling attachment point. I figured it was fine because I would keep my hand behind the sling and it would perform a similar function. After using it that way for a while I got tired of the QD sling stud rattling around so I removed it and replaced the hand stop. Now I just have the sling attached with a piece of 550 cord. However you set it up, just be sure to have something keeping your hand away from the muzzle. 

    Related Article: Introducing the Lightweight Ruger LC Carbine in 5.7x28mm

    LC Charger Shootability

    All in all this setup actually shoots pretty well. The 5.7×28 cartridge has remarkably little recoil and when fed through a heavier pistol like this, makes for an enjoyable shooting experience.

    I am not very impressed with the trigger but it isn’t unusable. It breaks around five pounds, has quite a bit of pretravel, a soft wall, a decent amount of overtravel, and a long reset. In addition to the manual safety, this pistol also has a blade safety in the center of the trigger that deactivates as the trigger is pulled.

    Ruger 5.7x28mm LC Charger accuracy

    To test the platform’s precision I shot some five-round groups from twenty-five yards. I averaged one-inch groups with Federal 40gr FMJ. I bet I could tighten them up if I used a magnified optic but one inch is plenty precise for my purposes.

    Practical Use

    This gun is definitely a fun range toy but it has a couple of practical applications too. First, the compact size makes it a great candidate for a truck gun. Unlike a rifle, It Is small enough to fit under the front seat of my truck. The sling also gives me stability for longer shots that I wouldn’t have with my Glock 19. 

    I also think it would make a good home-defense gun. It is easier to maneuver than a rifle and, once again, it offers more stability than a traditional pistol. The sling could add another advantage if the intruder got the drop on you. They will have a much harder time wrestling the gun away from you if it is slung to your body. 

    No matter how you configure this gun, my main advice is to train with it. Your shooting experience may not transfer to this platform as seamlessly as you expect.

    Addressing the Elephant

    I can’t finish this review without mentioning what I believe the original (and most effective) configuration of this pistol was supposed to be. I think Ruger designed this pistol to have a folding stabilizing brace. Unfortunately, due to the ATF’s recent decisions, stabilizing braces are no longer legal for this application. 

    The LC Charger, Ruger’s Scorned Middle Child?

    Many gun rights organizations are fighting for our right to legally use braces again. If they succeed, the LC Charger would be very easy to upgrade thanks to the rail section on the rear of the gun. But, if you don’t want to wait for everything to play out in court, this would also be a good platform to register as an SBR (Short Barreled Rifle).


    Overall, I really enjoyed my time with this pistol. It was a lot of fun figuring out what accessories would and wouldn’t work as well as how to shoot it accurately. As far as novelty goes I give it ten out of ten and with practice, I think it could be an effective defensive tool as well. Head over to Ruger’s Website if you want more information on the LC Charger or to find a dealer near you.

    *** Buy and Sell on GunsAmerica! All Local Sales are FREE! ***

    Send this to a friend