While there are many reasons folks don't carry their gun every day, one of several reasons I have found in talking with family, friends, and students is that the gun is just a lot of weight and bulk to carry and conceal every day... especially on hot, summer days when you don't feel like wearing clothing that makes for easy concealment of a gun. I would suggest that a quality "pocket pistol" like the Ruger LCP shoots a lot of holes in that excuse.
While many folks consider the 9mm or .38 Special as the minimum caliber for self-defense, I would say that modern .380 ACP cartridges offer at least a minimum level of ballistic punch that most two-legged varmints wouldn't want to tangle with. The Ruger LCP offers six-plus-one rounds of .380 ACP capacity in a package that is smaller than my wallet on payday, and that is pretty small.
The trigger is double-action only with a long, but smooth and fairly easy trigger pull. The magazine release button is easy to access and index, and there is a manually activated slide stop, but it doesn't hold the slide open after the last shot so you will have to cycle the action with a quick overhand as part of reloading the pistol. While the pistol is small, it uses a stiffer spring for recoil management, so some folks with arthritis or weaker hands may find grabbing the slide to cycle the action a bit more difficult than a larger pistol.
For those with larger hands, the Ruger LCP comes with two floor plates for it's magazine. One floor plate is flat while the other is extended and allows me to get my index finger on the trigger and two fingers fully on the grip, but poor Mr. Pinky still has to dangle in the wind.
Take-down for cleaning and maintenance is easy. First, always make sure the gun is unloaded and there is no ammunition around. Then you simply lock the slide back, remove the pin from the left side, slide the slide forward off the metal rails in the polymer frame, and then take out the guide rod/spring and barrel. Reassembly is just as easy.
Now any review or discussion of the Ruger LCP would probably not be complete without also taking a look at the Kel-Tec 3AT. Some folks argue that the Ruger LCP is just a copy of the Kel-Tec 3AT and while they are very similar, the overall design of a semi-automatic, locked breech, double action pistol is nothing new. Additionally, in my view as an owner of both pistols, the Ruger LCP is what the Kel-Tec 3AT should have been with a slide stop, a titanium firing pin, a better extractor, and a much higher quality of fit and finish.
My wife bought me our Kel-Tec 3AT as a present a few years ago. I couldn't get through a six-round magazine without two or more malfunctions. I called Kel-Tec and the technician said I should run at least a two-hundred rounds through the gun so the parts have time to "wear in". After two-hundred-plus rounds, it wasn't much better. On the second call to Kel-Tec, the technician said I could send it in, but there was a seven to ten week turn-around time due to a backlog of work needing done. He suggested, if I was comfortable, to use some 1,000-grit sand paper to polish the feedramp and clean up the grooves where the slide rides on the rails.
I do a fair bit of amateur gunsmithing, so I gave the little Kel-Tec an internal "fluff and buff" and I had much better results, but with over a thousand rounds through that gun, it's still only mostly reliable with FMJ "ball" ammo so I may send it back to Kel-Tec yet. I've shot several of these Kel-Tec 3AT's and have several friends that have owned this model with similar results, but two friends say Kel-Tec has been good with fixing most issues through their service department.
The Ruger LCP (lower in photo) on the other hand came out of the box and has given the gals and me no problems whatsoever. For us, the fit and finish, along with the ergonomics, is better then the Kel-Tec 3AT while both guns are pretty accurate, even with their diminutive sights and "snappy" recoil. I have no trouble putting seven rounds from the LCP into a six-inch Shoot'n-See target at ten yards off-hand, although this gun is best suited for up-close, self-defense work. Our two little LCP's reliably feed FMJ's, Federal Hydra-Shoks, and Winchester PDX-1's without any problems. I've purposely tried to slightly limp-wrist this little gun and it still cycles.
Many folks refer to the Ruger LCP as a "pocket pistol" because it does easily fit in your pocket. I would encourage anyone with a pocket pistol to carry it in holster, preferably a holster with a closed muzzle end if you carry it in your pocket to keep fuzzies and other items in your pocket from finding their way into the barrel.
The Good: The Ruger LCP is a reliable, quality pistol right out of the box. It's size and weight eliminate all excuses for not carrying a gun and it works as a terrific back-up gun that can be concealed almost anywhere. The street price at gun shops is very competitive and affordable.
The Not So Good: Mostly, my concerns are applicable to the Ruger LCP and most pistols of similar size. The diminutive sights and short sight radius are not easy to use without practice so don't try to pass this off as a beginners or ladies gun. The recoil can be a bit "snappy" for some folks preferences and cycling the slide can be difficult for folks with limitations in hand-strength or dexterity.
There are already a lot of reviews out there for the Ruger LCP, so if you need specifications or other detailed information like that, it's easy to find. We've had almost three years of experience with the Ruger LCP with well over a thousand rounds downrange from the one gun and it has just been a good, reliable firearm.
While I have carried everything from a .357 magnum and 1911 down to a .22 long rifle, my primary carry gun is usually a Ruger SR9 or Ruger SR9c, but in my opinion... you can't go wrong with the... Ruger LCP... a no-excuses, back-up plan.