Leaning hard on an SP-101...


August 27, 2008, 09:12 PM
So anyway...
I've decided to buy an SP-101 as a most of the time carry gun.
I'm only planning to carry on a belt or IWB and in a coat pocket in the winter. I am also known for just sticking a handgun in my pocket if I need to go outside to check things out at night or just to have around. But that isn't really a concealment issue - sometimes I just sling the 30-30.
Anyhow, I'm leaning toward the 3" .357. I figure that the extra barrel length should make hitting a little easier and it should allow me to fully eject my empties. I also won't complain about the extra little bit of velocity. I figure that carried on a belt under a heavy T-shirt or IWB the extra 3/4 inch of barrel shouldn't make any real difference.
Any thoughts on the 2 inch vs. the three inch?

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Jeff F
August 27, 2008, 09:20 PM
I carry one all the time. Its a good little gun I can shoot pretty well. A Little on the heavy side but its solid and you can shoot quite a few rounds at the range before it starts to hurt you. I like the three inch better. I have conceal carried a 4 inch GP 100 a few times and no one was the wiser.

August 27, 2008, 09:25 PM
I agree with your assessment.

August 27, 2008, 09:32 PM
SP101's are all-around great defensive guns. The only thing I would recommend is that you get the SA/DA version, as the factory DAO triggers can be a bit rough. I used to have one and after shooting about 100 rounds my finger got a couple of blisters where the sharp edge of the trigger was rubbing on it. I could have radiused the trigger a bit or replaced the springs for a lighter pull, but decided to trade for something else since I had other short barreled revolvers at the time and didn't want to mess with it. That aside, they are superb weapons.

August 27, 2008, 10:33 PM
I have a 3" DA/SA on hold at a local gun shop right now and am waiting on funds from my CZ P01 magazines to put it on layaway.
I also prefer being able to cock the gun for better precision if it's needed.

I don't think this will be my only .357 but I'm looking at it is a gun that will mostly replace my Kahr P9 so being able to carry it most of the time is a big one.
But it will also get carried some in the woods. Black bears and people are the biggest potential threats in my area.
I've never been bothered by either, but I'd feel pretty safe knowing I had a .357 on my hip. Seems like a much more versatile choice than my reliable little Kahr.

August 27, 2008, 11:21 PM
I hope you're going to keep that little Kahr. I have both weapons you're talking about and love them both but the Kahr really does seem to be a much better CCW piece. More rounds, more accurate, just as good a trigger if not much better, better sights, faster reload, much much easier to conceal than the SP101, and especially if you replace the grips with something to take the sting out of full house .357's.

I love and carry my SP101 because there's just something about a revolver and for a knocking around woods gun there's nothing better than the 3" SP101 but the Kahr is just about the perfect CCW.

Anyway, although I have the 3" DA/SA SP101, I'd lover to get the 2' DAO version as well!


Big Boomer
August 27, 2008, 11:50 PM
Ditto to all, I have the 3" love it, carry it. FYI you should find the best performance out of the 158grain loads. Adds a little bit of penetration and almost the same velocities as the 125 grainers.

Although I do pack some mid range 125's in the Corbon DPX line.


August 28, 2008, 12:13 AM
....how cum none of MY gun pics turn out like that? I have 3 1/8" bbl SP 101 and yours looks better.

The lighting in your part of Texas can't be any better than mine! :scrutiny:

August 28, 2008, 12:18 AM
Agree with assessments above, and excellent picture posted.

August 28, 2008, 12:29 AM
On the Kahr - I never have liked it.
It doesn't fit my hand right and I'm only good for about 30 rounds before I start to get fatigued. OTOH, I've had both a .38 and a .357 snub before and I could pretty much shoot both of them until I ran out of ammo. And I can't do a damn thing about changing the grips other than to add a Hand-all, and I don't trust them to stay put after they're on.

I've been over this a few times in my mind.
It's a hard decision because the Kahr really is a good gun. It's reliable, small, accurate, light, and I have a decent holster and several magazines for it. I have no complaints with its performance and have carried it for about three years. I've probably put about 500 rounds through it in that time and I have no reservations about trusting my life to it.
Having said that, I've just never been able to like it.
Since I can't shoot it much, I don't feel as confident with it as I have with other guns I've owned. I want a CCW gun that I can get good with and the Kahr ain't it.
And as I said, I'll probably eventually look for a J-frame to carry for the times that the SP-101 is too big. I had one good J-frame once and like a jackass, I sold it.
It's one of the few guns I've sold that I regret selling.
And it shot to point of aim too...:banghead:

August 28, 2008, 01:03 AM
It's a mite heavy for pocket carry, in my opinion....I went to J-frames over that problem....

August 28, 2008, 04:29 AM
Agreed, it is a fine gun, but is a brick if you are planning to just toss ity your pocket.

My wife has the 2" version, no problems ejecting spent cases. I swapped the springs with some Wolffs reduced power, much better DA pull, still reliable without a single failure.

August 28, 2008, 06:54 AM
I don't think you can go wrong with the 3-1/8" version, although I prefer my 2-1/4" for IWB. I usually carry IWB using a Clipdraw rather than a holster; it's the minimalist approach, but it works very well. In a belt holster, the extra 7/8s of an inch won't matter. Second the preference for the SA/DA hammer, but I don't pocket carry. If that were going to be the primary carry method, I'd give serious consideration to the DAO. You don't want a snag when you really need the gun.

August 28, 2008, 10:45 AM
It's good points outweigh the negatives such as weight and extra bu lk over small pocket pistols. The sights are highly visible and it's extremely strong.

Mine is the 2.25" version and I find that it shoots more like a 4 inch than the general run of snubs. I like the short barrel for occasional carry in a side pocket but a friend has the longer barrel version and has done some astounding shooting on metallic silhouettes out past 100 yards.
Another friend has the four inch 32 mag and it is amazingly easy to hit six inch plates double action at 25 yards.
While muzzle blast is osteperous with full magnum loads, the grips distribute recoil very well. recoil has not gotten unpleasant with mine until i get to the 180-200 grain corbon hunting loads.

Phil DeGraves
August 28, 2008, 11:04 AM
If it works for you, great. For me, a 3" was too long for pocket carry and the Ruger was heavier than the S&W. They are nice shooters though. But I prefer a 2" steel frame Smith J. Good compromise of concealability and shootability.

August 28, 2008, 11:51 AM
The Ruger SP-101 is my EDC and, for carry, I prefer the shorter barrel. I carry it in a 2 0'clock carry holster by Comp-tac holster.

August 28, 2008, 12:01 PM
...unless they're too short-waisted for a three-inch revolver to clear the holster easily, will have an easier time learning with the nominally three-inch barrel. Among other factors, the added weight will give a little more stability against the force of the trigger stroke and will dampen the recoil a bit more.

As to trigger stroke, the 14-pound factory main spring is excessive and the SP101 will generally function reliably with Wolff's nine-pound main spring - leave the trigger-return spring alone! The SP101 will also benefit from some judicious smooting of crucial parts, best done by a gunsmith who understands the gun. Lots of dry-fire will go a long way to smooth out the action if there are no serious bumps or burrs on the castings and stampings.

August 28, 2008, 12:10 PM
Now I'm not so sure.
I don't realy plan to "pocket" carry other than in a coat pocket in the winter and for that 3/4 inch won't matter.
For my occasional look-see in the yard at night it won't matter either - I've stuck my dad's old Hawes 6.5 inch SAA clone in my pocket doing the same thing just as a quick way to carry the gun.
But I kind of like the aesthetics of the short barrel better.
Fortunately, I still have a little time before I'll even have money in hand for one.

August 28, 2008, 12:20 PM
Any thoughts on the 2 inch vs. the three inch?

I have owned both and vastly prefer the three inch. Especially since the gun is too heavy to be a pocket pistol.

Also agreed on the SA/DA version. Never been a fan of DAO anything.

P.S. - I really like the Hogue nylon Monogrip (81100) for the SP101. It doesn't "stick" to clothing when drawing like the rubber grips.

August 28, 2008, 01:45 PM
Up until recently I carried a Kahr PM9 in a pocket holster. It had been my always with me/backup gun for quite some time. I still have the PM9 and it's a very reliable gun.

I became alarmed recently when it exhibited a bunch of FTF's, with the rounds hanging up on the feed ramp, at the range. They turned out to be caused by a bad magazine. I took it apart and didn't see any obvious problems with the spring, follower or dirt/debris. I assembled and loaded it, put it back in the gun and imediately got two more FTFs out of the six rounds. I then completely discarded it. It didn't matter how firmly I held the gun it would jam every two to three rounds with this magazine. Since this magazine was only a couple months old and hadn't given me any problems in previous range visits it kinda got me to thinking. The only problems I've had with this gun, and most of my other semi-autos, have been attributed to a bad magazine. In this case it was a magazine that was in the gun that had previously tested to be good.

I recently purchased a S&W M&P 360 .357 Magnum scandium/stainless j-frame revolver that fits perfectly in my pocket. I've also replaced the stock S&W/Hogue grip with an aftermarket Hogue mono grip that makes shooting 158 gr. Gold Dot .357 magnums a lot easier while only adding slightly more bulk to my pocket.

I'll still belt or open carry my semi-autos from time to time because they've been 100% reliable with good magazines and the capacity comes in handy in todays world of multiple and heavily armed criminals. I feel much better now about my always with me/backup gun though:D

August 28, 2008, 02:07 PM
I'm going with the 3"...

August 29, 2008, 02:33 AM
I have a 3" I'm glad I bought it.

August 29, 2008, 02:44 AM
I believe the 3-1/16" SP101 to be one of the most sensible compact utility handguns in the universe. That being said, all three of my .357 SP101s are the snubbier length. The longer version has been on my short list for a long time, but I have always spent available funds on something else, including a 3" GP100 and 4" Speed Six. My 4" SP101 chambered in .32 H&R handles so well, I know I will love a 3-1/16" SP101, when I ever get around to buying one.

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