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 LC380 Slide Locks Back Prematurely

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CW2 Ralph Long Posted - November 26 2017 : 6:53:00 PM
I recently acquired an LC380. Testing with Federal ball, Speer Gold Dots and Hornady Critical Defense, I immediately started having problems with failures to feed, usually close to the bottom of both magazines; usually the round moved to the feed ramp but no further. I called Ruger and, after following their directions for a home-cooked solution, to no avail, I received a mailing label. The gun went in and in a couple of weeks I got it back with two new recoil springs, an extractor, extractor plunger, extractor spring, two new magazines and a "barrel repaired." Ruger tech folks stated they had test fired the piece with 21 rounds of Black Hills ball and 21 of Hornady XTP ammo, no problems noted.

I finally got a chance to fire it this weekend. Almost immediately, I discovered a new problem. Both magazines lock the slide back after the fifth or sixth round. Something, maybe the follower, is engaging the slide lock. This happens about every other magazine with both mags. I have tried Federal ball and Speed Gold Dots with the same results.

Before I ship it back to Ruger, has anyone experienced this problem and/or have any ideas on resolving it?
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Ten Driver Posted - February 03 2018 : 04:07:46 AM
Excellent news! Stay warm!
CW2 Ralph Long Posted - February 02 2018 : 12:16:52 PM
Been busy with "cold cows" and frozen watter for a while and haven't been updating this thread. FYI: I got my LC380 back from Ruger after the second "trip to the doctor." This time they got it right. They sent me two replacement mags, replaced the slide stop, extractor and just about every spring in the pistol and test fired it with three different loads. I concur; it's 100% now. Ruger knew my gun was bought used and still took it in and worked on it till they got it right. I was out only the trips to my local FFL where it was picked up by FedEx.
Ten Driver Posted - November 28 2017 : 6:09:37 PM

There was a similar issue a few years back with another pistol (think it was the Glock 42?). Ammunition with a longer ogive was tripping the slide lock under recoil when the nose of the projectile hit it, thereby locking the slide open.

I think the problem was solved with a dimensional change to the slide lock. IIRC, some kitchen-table 'smiths were doing their own slide lock mods that seemed to stop it, before the factory caught up.

Swapping ammo to find a more compatible ogive also helped--something with a shorter or blunter projectile didn't have the necessary reach to hit the slide lock and cause the malfunction.

It makes sense that this condition gets worse as the magazine empties. The cartridge stack has more room to compress the magazine spring under recoil, which then shoves the stack back upwards with force. All this extra motion increases the chance that a cartridge will get sloppy and hit the slide lock as it's bouncing around. When the mag is fulller, the spring force is greater and the cartridges are more likely to stay in the proper position/alignment under the feed lips.

I'd certainly call Ruger again, but before I sent it off another time, I'd try:

1. A different shooter, to rule you out;

2. Different ammo (use what Ruger did--BH and XTP--because the ogives may be different than your Federal ball and GD's), to rule that out;

3. Perhaps a Wolff full power mag spring, if one is available for the gun, to rule that out.

Hope that helps!


CW2 Ralph Long Posted - November 26 2017 : 10:14:45 PM

No harm, no foul here. I have two LCPs (one's my wife's) and an LC9. I shoot all of them a good bit and have never experienced this with any others. I do kinda have "little girl" hands but experienced the new problem shooting with a good two hand grip. I'll let some else shoot it when I get some range time again just to check out your theory.

Ruger has been great to ship and try to fix their guns at no additional cost to me. I may just get another shipping label. write Ruger a letter, and try again.

Ten Driver Posted - November 26 2017 : 7:57:35 PM

I mean no insult by this, but are you sure it's not you?

Those little guns are hard to hold onto, and buck a lot. Is it possible your grasp is interfering with the slide travel somehow? That happens a lot with small guns in big hands.

First thing I would do is have a different shooter give it a try and see if the gun does the same thing in their hands. That will tell you a lot.

My apologies if you've already considered and eliminated these possibilities!

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