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Ruger SP-101 Reviews

Classic design and rock-solid reliability. Discuss everything from a vintage Cowboy-action to a snub-nose .38 special.

Postby The_Sarge » Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:46 pm

Fryguy- The SP101 is one of the smoothest shooting snubnoses there is. Even with the old CTC hard plastic grips, it shoots with little recoil from the 38 SPC. The 357 Mag naturally gives it a bit more kick, but very manageable. It is even better with light loads or sub-sonic rounds. I use mine in my classes for NRA and MoCCW. The description is not all together correct. It has a capacity of 6 for 32 thru 327 mag, but is a 5 shot for 38 and 357 mag.
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Postby FryGuy011 » Sat Aug 06, 2011 8:36 pm

Glad to hear it ironically enough the reason why I ask is cause I'm looking for a good snubnose gun for my fiance for her purse. I want a gun for her with no safety so she can use it without having to remember to turn off the safety and yet is small yet not light enough to where it delivers a vast amount of recoil. I looked into the Smith and Wesson 638 but it seems to light and the handle is to small for her to get a good grip on so it looks as if it would simply cause her to jerk her hand to much when firing. SP101 seems to be nothing more than a good solid chunk of steel on the other hand
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Postby SW-Insured » Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:18 am

Fryguy: There is not a more durable or more accurate snub nose than the SP-101, 2.25" barrel. When you refer to .38 cal for her purse carry, I hope she uses .38 +P loads for self defense. Standard .38 loads are inadequate defense rounds.



Unless she has weak hands, is gripping incorrectly, or is not properly using her support hand -- then she will have no problem with recoil using an SP-101 snub nose. Stay with +P loads that are 125 grain in bullet weight. Rem Golden Sabre is one of the best expanding hollow point loads. Avoid the 148 and 158 grain cartridges. The heavier bullet weight will deliver more felt recoil.



The drawbacks to the SP-101 are it's 5-round capacity with slow reloading and it's weight -- which fully loaded is nearing 2 lbs. Not heavy to a man, but to a woman, especially in smaller purses, she may opt to leaving it at home due to the gun's size and weight. Then she has nothing. Better take her with you to check before purchasing.



I purchased a Kahr PM9-9m for my wife who often carries in her purse. It's smaller, 40% lighter than the SP-101, has a 6+1 capacity, is double-action only, requires no external safety, faster to reload, and being a semi-auto with a Kahr's low-bore axis -- it has less recoil than small semi-autos and revolvers.
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Postby FryGuy011 » Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:09 am

I forgot one last important question. Can you lower the hammer when pulling the trigger while the cylinder is not in the frame cause it makes me nervous trying to lower the hammer when the chamber is loaded
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Postby fletchwe » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:33 am

Fryguy011> Have had a CCW/CPL since 1963 and own handguns ranging in size/caliber from the Ruger LCP - .380 to a Colt KIng Cobra -.357, 4" & Colt, 1911, .38 Super. Have had a Ruger SP101, .357, 2-1/4" since 1992. If the SP101 is your final choice, swap the factory grips for Hogue, molded. The number of rounds fired over the years has to be well over 200,000. Most of my collection has been purely for sport, but my carry is for self-defense. The SP101 is well made, reliable and accurate. But and the but applies to a good carry weapon. The SP101 has an exposed hammer which with any firearm of it's type can snag on clothing or a purse when you need it most. It is chambered for .357 which is overkill in self-defense. The .38+P, hollow point round will stop any agressor. So will the .380, hollow point. A good middle ground choice for light to average recoil would be the 9mm, hollow point. The diameter of the .380, 9mm, .38+P & .357 are identical. The difference is only the length, powder load & projectile weight. Doesn't matter if you're a 90# woman or a 250# man, there is only one reason to draw a firearm and that's because you simply can't escape the threat of bodily injury or death. Practice with silhouete targets and never beyond the recommended 21'. Beyond 21' you may still have the opportunity to escape. Practice body shots with the intention of seeing your aggressor drop. Stop firing when you run out of ammo. A deadly shot destroys vital organs. Likewise in a revolver holding only 5 rounds, 2 or 3 well placed are as deadly as 1 head shot. Round targets are intended for competition. Self defense is not competitive shooting. A lightweight, concealed hammer firearm may seem to be a negative to those intending to shoot 150 rounds to get the most from their 1/2 hour on the range. In reality, 20 rounds of solid practice won't break your wrist and may save your life.
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Postby SW-Insured » Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:29 am

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Postby Will_Carry » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:34 pm

Hi Fryguy!

Generally you don't pull the hammer back when it's loaded unless you are ready to shoot. Hammers are more for hunters anyway. If the hammer is a problem then you can get a hammerless snubby. Frankly hammers will catch on things like a grappling hook. I would recommend a hammerless or DAO revolver. It's much easier to operate, you don't have to worry about the hammer and the hammer won't catch on clothing.

The purse (from what I have read...I don't carry a purse. OK I carry my wife's purse sometimes) is a bad place to keep a pistol. The thought being that a purse is often the objective of purse snatchers and it is often out of reach when she is in her car or sitting at a bar or diner.

I have read posts from women shooters who have gotten away from purse carry.

As far as the 5 round capacity of a snubby being too few rounds. There is some truth to that but I still carry my snubby with 5 rounds of 38 special JHPs. I can shoot it accurately though.

The lowest recoil round in 38 special is a wadcutter or a "cowboy" load. Both of these rounds will put .38" holes in an attacker.

I would suggest getting training for you and your gal, if you can't just keep posting and you will get answers and advice.

Google Massad Ayoob and watch all his videos. He's da man!
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Postby roncodrummer » Sat Sep 17, 2011 3:36 pm

Just spent another afternoon with my daughter and my SP101 .357 magnum. Box of ammunition: $15.00, gas to shooting range:$4.00. Quality time spent with your kid: priceless.Now we BOTH love this firearm!
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Postby The_Sarge » Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:02 pm

Ruger has just came out with a 22LR SP101. It is an 8 shot double action with a 4.2 inch barrel. It's MSRP is $475 which is higher than the 38 or 357 models with their 2.5 or 3 inch barrels. It is Ruger's only double action 22LR revolver I know of. For small to medium sized handed people, it should be the gun of choice.
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Postby roncodrummer » Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:12 pm

Yeah, I just got an e-mail advertisement from Ruger about it. I just purchased a Bersa Thunder Carry .22LR and it quickly became one of my favorite firearms I own. I really love the SP101 .357 magnum I have and I'd love to find out about the .22 Seems a bit pricey though.
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