Ruger SP101 or GP100


February 9, 2007, 07:51 AM
I will be getting one of these soon in .357 caliber. It will be for concealed carry. Also pratice at the range. My question is which is stronger? I know the GP100 is a bit beefier but is that to say the sp101 isnt durable? :confused: I just wanna make sure that if I get the SP101 instead of the GP100 it can handle the firing it will be getting LOL. I love the range.

If you enjoyed reading about "Ruger SP101 or GP100" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
February 9, 2007, 08:03 AM
Try handling each one in person, if at all possible. I own a 4" GP100, and that sucker is absolutely HUGE. Now, I'm sure I could manage to conceal the thing (and keep my pants up, too), but it would be a tricky feat. I am told that the 3" GP100 has a different, smaller frame, and may be more suited to your goals than the larger GP100s (edit: several folks below who own 3" GP100s have stated otherwise; my apologies).

As for the strength, heh heh, the 4" GP100 is one heavy beast. I'm sort of a wimp, but the reason I bought the thing is because Everyone-And-Their-Momma said the GP100 could shoot the hottest .357 Mag loads all day, every day, and do so coming out of the fight head and shoulders above all other revolvers, Colt and S&W included.

I have no experience with the SP101s. :/

Adding a note to point out my erroneous statement.

February 9, 2007, 08:14 AM
They're both really stout. I'm not saying it couldn't be done, but you'd be hard pressed to wear out an SP101 even with a lifetime of heavy shooting if you felt so inclined.

I have experience with both in the 3" version, and I can tell you that the SP101 is going to be a lot easier to carry for most people. However, I prefer my GP100. The way I see it, it's a belt gun either way, and if it's a belt gun I might as well take the one I prefer. Either one is a darn good piece of kit.

I bought my former SP101 as a gift for someone else (it was a steal!) but got to hold onto it for about 7 months and play with it before it went to its intended owner. The thing I can say about the 3" version of the SP101, is it's a small framed gun but it could easily be your only handgun for your entire life, and it will actually facilitate the use of the .357 cartridge. I don't feel the same way about a lot of the Colt D frames or S&W J Frames in .357.

Keep in mind that with the compact grips and fixed sights, the GP100 is a tad less bulky than the adjustable sight fill size grip versions. It's still a heavy sucker though. I can't see being able to carry it without a real holster and a real belt. But I feel the same is true for the SP101, with the caveat its profile is thinner, which makes a big difference. Cylinder bulge is the main problem I run into trying to conceal any revolver.

February 9, 2007, 09:20 AM
i have an sp101 3" and traded away a gp100 4". both are great guns. however, for concealed carry, the sp101 is way ahead for easy carry. the larger gp100 makes a great gun for around the house and at the range, but the sp101 wins out for carry purposes. both are built like tanks. i'm looking at adding another sp101 DAO to the collection and would suggest it for concealed carry.

my sp101 is a great gun. it took some wolf springs and some polishing of internal parts to really smooth the trigger (and lots of dry fire) and its wonderful now.

February 9, 2007, 09:34 AM
I had an SP101 2.25 inch .357. With Federal 125JHP, it was about as unpleasant to shoot as any handgun I've ever shot. Don't know how the lightweight J-Frame shooters manage it.

February 9, 2007, 10:44 AM
I have the SP101 and what other posters have stated are pretty much dead on accurate. Handles recoil from the magnum loads better and conceals easily.

February 9, 2007, 10:50 AM
I have the KGP-161 and a SP-101 3" barrel 357 mag, for concealed carry I would go with the SP. A 3" GP-100 could be a another good choice.

February 9, 2007, 11:10 AM
Regarding the SP101, I found the stock grips to be a bit unpleasant and too small when firing full power loads and changed to a Hogue grip. Now it is easy to shoot but does sacrifice a bit of concealability.

February 9, 2007, 12:05 PM
I'm only allowed one handgun, and it has been the sp101 for awhile. I like the reliability, and ability to handle .357 for self defense and .38 for cheap range practice. I use pachmyr concealed handgrips for carry, and switch to the hogue monos for range practice. The smaller cylinder and 2 1/4" barrell hide easily IWB, and pocket carry for short periods of time or if the situation is dicey and you want a hand on it concealed. Its beautiful in stainless and the price is right for a quality handgun.

February 9, 2007, 12:19 PM
My question is which is stronger? I know the GP100 is a bit beefier but is that to say the sp101 isnít durable?
Many things have been said about the SP101 but I highly doubt "not durable" has ever been one of them.

The 3" & 4" GP100 are on the same frame so there is very little weight difference. They are 35 oz and 39.5 oz respectively, hardly comfortable for daily concealed carry. The 2.25" SP101 weighs 25.5 oz, hardly a light weight but much better for carry than the GP100. Also remember, those weights are for empty revolvers.

Both are great revolvers but if you intend upon carrying one of them it really should be the SP101. IMHO.

February 9, 2007, 06:24 PM
Another vote for the SP101 for a CCW. I have the DAO (spurless) with Trausch grips.
As far as durabilty goes, your wrist will break before the SP101 does.

February 9, 2007, 10:07 PM
Right now, I really like th SP101 more. It's still plenty robust but compact enough for CCW

February 9, 2007, 10:32 PM
I own a GP-100 3" with the short shroud and fixed sights. It is exciting to shoot with 357 to say the least. It has the same frame as my 4 inch. As a concealed carry piece I think it would be a bit heavy. The SP-101 as well as being smaller and lighter is easier to find aftermarket accessories for. Many companies offer sights, grips and other mods for the SP-101, Not near as many cater to the fixed sight GP-100. Either gun will serve you well and I doubt you will ever wear either one out.
Check out They do some cool stuff with the


February 9, 2007, 10:50 PM
sp101 for concealed carry

What he said!:D

February 10, 2007, 12:05 AM
For carry I would lean toward to SP101 like most everyone else. I don't have one, but I do have a 3" GP100 and really like it. I wouldn't try to carry it concealed though. As was said, if you want either, they are both belt guns vs. "pocket guns".

If you want a pocket gun as I do, I lean toward the Smith 642 or 442 (38spl.).

February 10, 2007, 08:19 AM
The 3" SP101 is a tad large/massive at 8" & 27 oz. The grip is a smaller/shortened variant of the short GP100 grip - and has very limited after market replacement choices. You need to like it 'as is' - check the fit in your hand carefully when you buy an SP101. As stated, it is a bit big and bulky for CC, while the similar 3" GP100 is more so, adding a .5" in length and over half a pound in weight, but adding that sixth round. A 4" GP100 weighs in at 41 ounces - and is 9.5" long - truely, a more massive firearm.

One thing to remember about Rugers... they aren't always the nicest examples of QC you'll find. Toolmarks are unsightly, but the burrs and frame roughness make many new ones less than fun to use. Every Ruger I have bought, including my LNIB 4" .32 SP101 last month, has arrived as a 'work in progress', some with really significant 'problems'. I would never want to trust my life to any unfired by me firearm, but especially so with a Ruger. All that said, I still have a small selection of Rugers - and plan to buy more... but, I have tools, too!

I would suggest a S&W 642 +P rated .38 Spcl - 442 if you like blued - at 6.3"/15 oz, they are a concealable weapon. They are quite effective with either the old standby Rem R38S12 158gr LSWCHP or made-for-snubby Speer 135gr GDHP's - both +P. If you want to plink, get a larger, more fun to grip, revolver - a S&W 4" 67 in .38 Spcl +P or a .357M 7-shot 620. They are 8.9-9.5" and 36-38 oz, while sporting the same size grips. You can get everything, wood or rubber, from S&W and other aftermarket grip sources to fit either. Both have the ability to present a far nicer trigger to the shooter than the GP100-style lockwork permits. New, the 642 will be less than an SP101, the 67 will be about what a GP100 runs, and the 620 runs about $60-$80 more. All will last a lifetime - the S&W's especially so, as an 800# will get you a free return label for repair. I admit to having more S&W's, all but one being made in 2001 or later - and many bearing the infamous Lock. There will be more of them, too...

Consider a more defined use specific revolver... ie, plinking or CC. Hard to plink with a pocket protector - and hard to hide a hogleg, too!


February 10, 2007, 10:59 AM
My opinion, based on owning a 4" fixed sight GP100 and a .357 SP101, is that you should rather get the SP101 for concealed carry. The SP101 still is a nice range gun. The GP100 is a great range gun ... but to carry it, it is a bit large and heavy.
Both have their advantages as primary carry or primary range guns, tough call, isn't it? Get both:D

February 10, 2007, 12:31 PM
I have had my .357 3" SP101 for about a month now and I have mainly used full power factory loads. The SP101 handles percieved recoil MUCH better than I would of ever thought. I thoroughly enjoy shooting the Buffalo and Double Tap offerings, it really makes for a show at the range.

I keep mine loaded with the Remington Express .357 magnum 125 grain semi-jacketed hollow points. These are good for 1350fps+ out of the SP101, yet the recoil and blast are remarkably low compared to the amount of power you are getting.

You always hear about the SP101's being built like tanks, but until you have one in your hands you can't fully appreciate how true this is. This is one .357 magnum that you won't have to worry about ever loosening up, so go ahead and blast away until your wrists are begging you to quit.

February 10, 2007, 02:02 PM
I'm afraid I have to disagree with Stainz just a bit. There certainly aren't a ton of choices for SP101 replacement grips but there are a LOT. Hogue makes great rubber grips for it along with a large selection of wood grips. Badger also makes a large selection of wood oversize grips or boot grips. The hogue monogrip in rubber will likely do the most to tame recoil. People who like the SP101 grip as it is tend to have hands that are medium running to smaller in size. The original grips is actually a very good one. The SP101 (I have the 3" barrel) is a dream to shoot .38's with but it is VERY heavy as a concealed carry piece at 27 oz. Even a micro .45 1911 is lighter at around 24-25 oz and my Kahr P9 is far lighter still.

My recommendation is that if you're seriously getting it for carry, consider the J frame Airweights and shoot a good .38 +p like the Speer Gold dot short barrel ammo. It's far lighter, manageable recoil and it'll be a pleasure to carry compared to the heavy SP101s.

Now if you have to have .357, and it's all about carry, I'd go with the SP101 2" but if you want to add the element of a field/hiking gun, or just really like the LOOKS of the SP101, then add the 3" barrel and consider keeping the hammer so you can cock it for field use. If you're going to bob the hammer on a 3" for concealed carry, then you might as well go with the 2" that's already minus the hammer unless, again, It's more about "looks" than we want to admit (that's what it is for me ;) )

Now my final recommendation if you just Love a GP100 or SP is to save up and eventually send it to someone for a real action job. You'll spend $130 to $150 but you'll end up with a gun that'll be as smooth as any S&W and will last for generations and the enjoyment of shooting it will go up dramatically. The spring options are okay but won't compare to a real action job. I was in the same boat you are and decided that for a true field gun the GP100 in 3 or 4" barrel would be best, but for hunting 6" GP100 was it, but I wanted to be able to carry mine once in a while so I went with the 3" SP101. Now I'm trying to make up my mind whether I want to get the hammer bobbed or not. If I get it bobbed, I want an action job to make that trigger much lighter and much much smoother.

Decisions, Decisions.

Good luck and God Bless

February 10, 2007, 03:21 PM
I've got a 6" Gp100 and the 2 1/4" Sp101 and love them both! Built like tanks!! You can't go wrong with either one of them. Just depends on what you are doing with them - CCW? go with the SP101 snub - target and other probably the 4 or 6" GP. Good luck

February 10, 2007, 07:40 PM
Stainz, wasn't the question between the two Rugers? I don't recall any S&W in the authors question.

I would recommend that you get the sp-101 in 2.25".

Good Luck, please let us know your choice and your results!

February 11, 2007, 08:59 AM

Hogue does indeed make a myriad of wood monogrips for the SP101 - but they differ only in the species of wood, as all are the same size and profile - which matches the rubber monogrip! I chose the rubber monogrip for my 4" .32 SP101, a definite plinker, due to it's availability and cost. I would prefer a squared heel/butt wood stock, but I'd have to make that. The Hogue's are a bit longer than the stock units, but those OEM's really provide better recoil aborption, in my experience, and would be better for a .357M. They are a tad 'sticky' for inside the pockets, however - reportedly, the French made grips (Trausch ?) - available from an Il source for ~$32 + s/h - aren't as 'sticky'.

Finally, as to the SP101's durability, consider it's heritage. It was originally designed as a .38 Special with both a down-sized GP100 lockwork and grip stud... with a frame opening cut to match the thus shorter cylinder. Bill Ruger interceded, wanting .357M capability. The cylinder was stout enough, but would only take shorter, ie, lighter, bullets. So, while it would take any +P .38 Special, even the .357M versions would only take 125gr .357M's. Ruger enlarged the frame/frame opening, permitting a longer cylinder, in their subsequent production, differentiating the model numbers by adding an 'X' to the newer (current) models. The smallish run of non-X models reportedly have increased in value due to their sparse numbers. One passed around at the local range like a hot potatoe last year. I would want 'more gun' for a plinker... certainly more than the 2-3" barrels the .38/.357M SP101's have. The 4", a la my recent .32M acquisition, is fun... I need a .22LR 4"-er to go with it, but they were axed years ago.

My stance re new Rugers is well known... I really like them - will buy more new ones - with reservations. I know they will need some work to look and function properly. I also know that my new S&W's, and there will be more of them, too, work well and look great right out of the box. My personal and home protectors are S&W's. I have some real fun Rugers. Everyone is different.


February 11, 2007, 09:23 AM
I have the SP101 2.25" in .357. This is a hand held tank, no other way to put it. I feed it a steady diet of full power rounds at the range and it simply asks for more when I'm done. I cannot see this gun ever breaking... at least not in my lifetime. I've shot every type of .357 I can find and never had an issue with any of them. Standard .38's feel like .22's coming out of this gun. I haven't tried any +p's through it yet since I was so comfortable with the .357's.

Spend the money to get it dehorned and maybe smooth the trigger a bit, but I found that after about 500 rounds the trigger was fine. As for CC, and I'm pretty small framed, I couldn't see carrying it in a pocket. For me IWB is not comfortable either, but a nice pancake OWB fits the bill. The weight is significant, but I'll put up with it given the extra control and less felt recoil. I like the feel of the weight on my hip... let's me know it there, where it's at, when I need it. I don't want it so comfortable that I forget it's there.

The factory grips beat me up pretty good so I replaced them with rubber Hogues and haven't looked back. I don't find them that much trouble for CC, but they do stick to clothing sometimes. I haven't tried the Pach's, so they may be better.

dance varmint
February 11, 2007, 01:51 PM
I looked at the 3-inch SP101 at Sportsman's Warehouse for $399.
With one exception, the fit and finish were fine, the trigger was
average smoothness, timing was OK. The exception was the ejector rod
was as sloppy as a cheap Chinese toy. If not for that, I might get
one and put some larger grips on it.

February 11, 2007, 02:31 PM
Hey Dance, on the ejector rod, mine is "gritty" but you have to realize that they way the ejector rod works on a ruger is different than an S&W so you'll notice they almost seem to be dangling a bit. If you look close at a pic of a Ruger, you'll see the rod slopes down inside of the ejector shroud. it doesn't stand straight out from the cylinder. It's part of the design. Not saying its good or bad although Ruger touts as a selling point. I noticed it on mine and wondered until I did some research. They do need polishing to be as smooth as a smith thought.

Just a thought

God Bless

Pat Cannon
March 15, 2007, 11:05 AM
The SP101 will take whatever you care to dish out. The GP100 will take more, but I think that will only matter if you want to handload dinosaur-killer ammo.

My everyday carry gun is an SP101. As far as grips & recoil goes: shooting .357 Magnum is a little rough -- I went out and bought the Hogue Monogrip the day after I first took it to the range. I've read online where other people say .357 from the SP101 with stock grips is no problem -- they are tougher than me. :) Certainly, .357 from the SP101 is WAY less painful, I can tell you from experience, than from a 14-ounce alloy snubby.

I just got a GP100. I only got it because I need a 6-shooter if I want to shoot revolver in IDPA. I like it, but it's quite a chunk of steel to carry. There's no way it'll relace my SP101 for that. And my GP100 is a 3" barrel bobbed hammer model, which must be the lightest one there is.

March 19, 2007, 05:22 PM
I currently own one of each; the GP-100 has a 6" barrel, but I have owned several 4" variants before; while I consider the GP-100 to hefty for CCW I have used hem for woods carry and scouting

the SP-101 has a 3" barrel and fits the gap between hunting sidearm (GP100) and CCW (S&W 642); it will handle magnums well and offers a size and weight that is conducive to CCW (unless you're wearing a Speedo)

for CCW dedicated, go with the SP101; if CCW is a smaller protion of a larger multifacted fate, then a 3" used GP-100 might fit the bill well for you

March 19, 2007, 05:37 PM
I see the GP-100 and the SP-101 as extremes. A perfect in-between gun is a Ruger Speed- or Security-Six w/2.75-inch barrel. It gives users the benefit of six full rounds without weighing them down. They can still be found for reasonable prices and, like I've said ad nausium, they're also great camp guns, trail guns, kit guns, etc.

All the Rugers are very popular.

March 19, 2007, 07:10 PM
The SP101 with the 2.25" barrel is the ideal compact CCW revolver IMNSHO, as long as it's carried in a holster. (It's not a pocket or ankle gun.) I carry one daily, and have two of them. AFAIC, there's no better choice for a revolver which you intend to carry and to shoot when loaded with full power .357 Magnum loads.
OTOH, if you really only intend to shoot and carry .38 Special+P loads, you can go lots lighter with one of the J-frame Smiths.

The GP100, even with the 3" barrel, is bigger than it needs to be for CCW, but is certainly a nice-shooting revolver. Mine has the 6" barrel.

Thor Bloodax
May 17, 2007, 08:37 PM
My GP100 3" shoots great. The grip fits my hand perfectly and with full house loads recoil is very manageable. See pic below. The Ruger GP100 target is 30 rounds rapid fire double action, 158 grain jhp with 15 grains of Unique powder.


May 17, 2007, 11:38 PM
Why not reach a compromise and go with an old Security Six or Speed Six?

If you enjoyed reading about "Ruger SP101 or GP100" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!