S&W Model 60 & Ruger SP101 - Comparison?


February 16, 2008, 09:43 PM
My shooting buddy Ralph is introducing handguns to his wife. They've had sessions at the range, and she liked his GP100. She
liked the feel of his Glock 19 until she fired it. Ralph is looking
for something for her as a CCW. She recently changed jobs
and it's a State job and sometimes the clients/neighborhoods
may be a bit dicey. He is reluctant to buy an SP101 although
the price is right, in case she doesn't like it. I have offered
to let him borrow my Model 60-15 s/3" Bbl. I'm not a S&W snob
I have shot his GP100 and they are fine Revos. fwiw.

SO, my question is How close in size/feel for equivalent ammo
loads are these two revolvers? ALso, how much difference would
a 3" Bbl. be compared to a 2 1/4" Bbl. - I know that's the
next Bbl. len. down on a 60 - what are the Bbl. Lengths avail on
a SP101 3" and less?


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February 16, 2008, 09:51 PM
The model 60 will be smaller, easier to pocket carry and feel a bit lighter. The SP101 will "feel" much bigger and is indeed a bit bigger and heavier. The upside of the SP101 is between the weight and the stock grips the recoil impulse is much less IMO.

All in all if you or she, do not plan on pocket carry I would highly suggest the SP101 over the 60.


February 16, 2008, 10:22 PM
Yeah, I seem to recall the weight empty for an SP101 is a few more than
a 60.... fwiw Ralph is a handloader and he can step up loads for his
wife from mild .38 Spcl. to +P - I've given him a couple hundred rounds of
once fired .357 Mag brass for reloading to +P or less velocity which he
likes to have for the range without the hassle of cylinder cleaning from buildup using .38 spcl brass.

Hey, my 60 is for the bedside - haven't got any leather for it yet,
my ccw is my 1911 - go figger.

Another factor is Ralph looks for economical handgun
purchases - might be worried she would like a S&W

1 old 0311
February 16, 2008, 10:25 PM
I own them both. The 60 is more of a 'pocket size pistol.'

The Lone Haranguer
February 17, 2008, 01:19 AM
The S&W, being smaller and slightly lighter, is easier to carry. The Ruger's larger size and more hand-filling cushioned grip makes it harder to carry, but much easier to actually shoot. The Ruger's available barrel lengths are 2 1/4 and 3 1/16 inches.

February 17, 2008, 01:25 AM
I'm not in favor of buying someone a gun they haven't actually tried. Kind of like buying them shoes they didn't try on. Maybe they'd like something else besides a model 60 or an SP101 - like a CZ or a Sig?

my 2 cents

February 17, 2008, 01:46 AM
Before I would recommend a gun for somebody to use in a life-threatening situation, they would need to shoot it against a timer. The less experienced the shooter is, the worse they are usually shooting smaller guns with defensive loads.

My wife carries a Glock 19 in a Galco purse.

chris in va
February 17, 2008, 01:53 AM
I can tell you the DA pull on my Ruger SP was really stiff until I put a 10# hammer spring on it. Something to think about.

Now my old model 36 is much easier to shoot DA in my opinion.

February 17, 2008, 02:06 AM
I don't have any experience with the Model 60 but I own several SP101s and my everyday carry is a S&W Model 36-7.

My girlfriend carries an SP101 daily and absolutely HATES to fire my Model 36. The recoil, even with standard .38 Special, is enough to make the web of her hand between thumb and forefinger swell, turn very red, and hurt like the dickens. She can fire her SP101 all day long with .357 or .38 and have none of those problems. The weight of the 101 definately does absorb recoil compared to my 36.

Have the lady shoot both and let her make the choice.

February 17, 2008, 06:34 AM
Lots of good honest advice so far.. My vote would be a s&w 642 no hammer to snag or a smith 640 for the weight..

February 17, 2008, 08:42 AM
I went with the Model 60. Smaller, less weight and better trigger.

February 17, 2008, 08:42 AM
Myself, I'd advise your friend to take his wife out and let her choose her own gun. Always seems to work better that way.

Having said that, I own both a S&W pre-Clinton-agreement .357 649 and a .357 SP101. The SP has replaced the 649 as my backup and off duty carry piece. The SP is a little bigger and heavier than the S&W. I carry IWB off duty and on my armor on duty so weight isn't that big a concern to me, it might be to others. For me, that means it shoots MUCH better and more comfortably; as a result, I shoot it more, meaning that I'm better with the SP than I ever was with the 649. With the 649, even light .357 ammo meant I had to re-grip the weapon with every shot. With the SP, I can unload a full cylinder of full-bore Remington 125gr .357 ammo with no problem at all, aside from somewhat longer shot times due to increased recoil. But the SP just plain stays put in my hand, even with .357 ammo. With .38+P ammo, the SP is even better. If you start talking about the alloy Smiths, they are even harder to control than the 649. Not uncontrollable for someone with experience, but maybe enough to turn off a newbie, or at least make it hard to shoot and practice with. Myself, I'd HIGHLY recommend the SP, but like I said above, it's worth it to have HER go and pick out a gun for her own use. He'll never hear the end of it if he picks it out for her and she doesn't like it!


Alan Fud
February 17, 2008, 10:56 AM
The SP101 with the factory bobbed hammer is a nice carry piece.

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