I recognize and acknowledge that there are long time Smith and Wesson fans........but there is no way an objective person who hasn't shot the Ruger LCR and a Smith "J" frame could choose the Smith. The Ruger wins out in almost every category.......
1. Trigger: The Ruger trigger is clearly superior to the Smith in this regard. Sure, you can send off your Smith and have a trigger job done, but NIB Rugers have a much smoother and easier trigger pull than the Smith.
2. Recoil: The Ruger with part polymer frame and standard Hogue "Tamer" grips makes shooting 38+p a real pleasure. Shoot a Smith 642 or 442 and you'll be looking in your range bag for your shooting glove. No way shooting the Smiths is as "good" as the Ruger.
3. Sights: I find the standard blade Ruger sights easier to find than those on the Smith.
4. Weight: Ruger-13.5oz, Smith 442 or 642-15 oz.
For the record, I own the Ruger LCR 38+P and Smith no-lock 642.
I will agree that Smith and Wesson has a longer track record with manufacturing pocket revolvers (going back to the 1950's) and the Ruger is the first using Polymer for a revolver and some folks like the more traditional materials (steel and aluminum) over these newer materials. Smith and Wesson must have seen the light though since I believe their 38+P Bodyguard is also made of polymer. Anyway, I like both my pocket revolvers.....but if I had to choose just one.....I'd go with the Ruger.