SP101 Help


April 23, 2009, 10:30 AM
I think that I have talked myself into finally getting one of these in .357. I really can't find out anything bad about them. And, I never see anyone selling the one they have so it must be pretty descent. I would like if every one could help me ant advantages with the 2" or 3" barrel. I know the 2" woould be easier to throw in a pocket, but I keep reading that it is a pretty heavy gun the no one really wants to pocket carry so that argument is out the door. The 3" would be more accurate with a little bit bigger sight radius, but this by no means would be a hunting pistol. So that argument is out the door. Just looking for what you have to say!! Thanks!

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April 23, 2009, 11:09 AM
Very timely post dld.
I'm in the same situation. I think I've decided on the 2" model. Seems more versatile for carry. I don't think I've ever heard or read anything bad about the SP101.
Curious as to what others have to say about this gun also

April 23, 2009, 02:39 PM
I have a 2 1/4" as well as two of my friends.

Only problem I've ever experienced with one is an absolutely abysmal trigger. Felt like it was full of sand and had a hitch on trigger reset.

After an hour with a dremel and a tub of Mother's Polish, everything is great.

It's as accurate as I am and soaks up recoil from full loads really well, except for the ABSOLUTE top load 125 grain rounds- which are a handful even in a fullsize gun.

It's pocketable, but is comparatively heavy.

April 23, 2009, 02:56 PM
I carry an sp-101 most of the time.
You are right that it is a very good gun that will outlast you.

There is no way I would pocket carry it though.
Too heavy and pretty good sized for a snub nosed revolver.
If you think you want to pocket carry, an Airweight of some sort would be the way to go. It makes a nice belt gun.

I have a 2" DAO loaded with remington 38+p 158 grain LSWCHP. That I carry in a Simply Rugged Silver Dollar Pancake IWB. Which I find to be a good holster if you carry strongside at 3 o'clock. Any further back and it gets mighty uncomfortable to me at 6'3" 210 lbs. YMMV.

I have no trouble keeping rounds where they need to be at typical defensive distances. That extra weight makes it a lot of fun to shoot.

My ideal version is not offered by Ruger. It would be DAO 3 inch in .38 special.
Which one could could come close to, albeit in .357, with a hammer swap or bob. I don't mind the recoil of .357 in an sp-101 but see the muzzle blast and sonic boom that comes with it as major minuses.

Long story short.
Try before you buy if at all possible.
If you are going to carry it on your belt I think the 3 inch would be hard to beat.

Lone Star
April 23, 2009, 03:01 PM
The three-inch form will give less blast and higher velocity.In a gun as heavy as the SP-101, I feel it is the better choice.

The only problem normally experienced with the design is that until very recently, the extractor rod was fitted loosely and droops and rattles.

Either that has been remedied, or I just got lucky and got a better fitted one.

Trigger pull on mine is fairly heavy, but it has smoothed up nicely. The SA pull on Rugers usually has more movement than on S&W or Colt guns, making the split second before a shot harder to hold the gun dead steady, but with practice, it's less a problem, and my Rugers shoot very well. Actually, I just checked the SA pull, and feel almost no movement before the sear releases.

Apart from one polishing flaw, my SP-101 shows exceptional quality control.

Lone Star

April 23, 2009, 03:05 PM
I would vote for the 3". I own a 2.25", and IMHO it's too heavy and bulky for pocket carry, but makes a great belt gun... and if it's going to be a belt gun, the extra barrel length is handy and does nothing bad to concealability.

Rob P.
April 23, 2009, 04:27 PM
I just bought a 3" SP101. I chose the 3" because it has a longer barrel and my purpose for the weapon was for protection against wild critters when out in the woods rather than home defense or CCW. I have other firearms which will do that job better than the revolver.

The longer barrel helps with recoil under magnum loads. However, the longer barrel means that holsters are hard to find and expensive when you do find them.

The SP101 is NOT a "pocket" pistol. It's too heavy and bulky for that. It is, however, a nice pistol for packing in a belt holster. Ruger designed the SP101 to last forever so you don't have to worry about "wearing it out" anytime soon. Get the IBOK for the SP101 no matter which barrel length you choose.

Last, the SP101 is in demand so if you don't like the one you bought, you can usually sell it for what you paid for it or just under than amt.

April 23, 2009, 04:35 PM
Bought mine as camping-hiking-fishing gun---so went with a 3''----makes for pretty good back up HD gun too.

I've dry fired the heck out it - so its pretty smooth now---its spent the last month in the closet with the hammer cocked in an effort to lighten the trigger--we'll see.

Now that the weather is nicer and I finally found some ammo---I'll probably go shoot it this weekend.

April 23, 2009, 08:04 PM
The difference in barrel length is less than one inch, 2-1/4" versus 3-1/16". That is not going to matter much except in these three ways: pocketability, balance, and sight radius. The first is absolute; either a pocket is deep enough, or it isn't. Balance is a personal thing, a matter of preference, that nobody can answer for another. As for sight radius, the practical effect, for me, is that I can see more daylight on either side of the front blade, within the rear notch. I perceive that as helpful, especially as my eyes seem to be aging faster than the rest of me.

If one wears an IWB holster forward of the hip bone, that extra length might matter, one way or the other. I actually prefer a 3" weapon in that position, rather than something shorter; it is more stable.

April 23, 2009, 09:25 PM
interesting to see so many of us thinking alike on this fine little revolver.
I've been trying to talk myself out of a Gemini custom stainless steel sp101 for a while now. For those concerned about the trigger on the stock version, this is the cure. Still have not quite talked myself into this, but
anyone consering the sp101 for serious self-defense use might want to visit the Gemini Customs web site and take a look at how slick these things really can be. Check out the moonclips and the fibre optic sight blades too.

April 23, 2009, 10:25 PM
I carry a 2 1/4" DAO SP101 every day. It's pocket carry but I am a very big guy and prefer loose fitting pants so it isn't a problem. If closer to average weight I think it would be a bit heavy for a front pocket. I put Crimson Trace laser grips on it and at 20 yards or less I can hip shoot and keep reasonable groups. I find the trigger pretty heavy but I am spoiled by my single actions and a K-22 and K-38. I keep it loaded with .38 Special +P rounds, 125 grain JHP. I can handle the recoil of .357s, which is fierce, but the .38s are much more controlable.


April 23, 2009, 10:52 PM
I've got nothing but good things to say about my new 3" SP101...even went so far as to shoot one handed w/ my off-hand (w/ the last of 5 cartridges) w/ .357 158 gr cci's ... which involved considerable muzzle flip, but doable in a pinch I guess. Probably helps that it came w/ nice soft rubber grips (not the old slippery plastic ones.)

I'm not sure if I've heard much negative about sp101's in this forum, but I guess every product is subject to an issue or two here and there:



April 23, 2009, 11:34 PM
I have the 2" DAO SP101. With a good belt, its weight in a pocket doesn't bother me unless I pack it for more than a few days. I'm not a big guy, though; just 5'9" and 150 lb.

What is a problem is finding pants with pockets big enough to hide it in. The grip shows a little with many of my pants, and I use the old factory grips, which are about as petite as they get.

If I did it over again I'd have bought the 3" version and carried the gun on a belt. As it is, I'd say it might make a good winter gun.

The only technical issue I've had with my SP is that sometimes the spent shells will get caught between the ejector star and the grip. I haven't heard of this problem with anybody else.

April 23, 2009, 11:36 PM
I have the 3" and love it.

April 24, 2009, 12:51 AM
The only technical issue I've had with my SP is that sometimes the spent shells will get caught between the ejector star and the grip. I haven't heard of this problem with anybody else.

Mine did this with .357 casings- one would always seem to get stuck against the grip. I took a razor blade and clearanced the rubber so there's plenty of room to eject, and my hand is still totally on the grip.

April 24, 2009, 04:44 AM
Thanks guys, I really have not heard anything to turn me against my future purchase. From the replys it seeems everyone would have been happy with the 3" but still no one seems disappointed!!! I do plan on gettting some crimson trace grips for it as it would be used primarily as a carry gun. Don't know if this effects opinions or not but this is the reason the revolver would be for me

April 24, 2009, 12:02 PM
Only problem I've ever experienced with one is an absolutely abysmal trigger.

OK, you can polish these things up pretty easily, but you can also purchase the Trapper reduced power spring kits for $12 that makes these triggers much better.

I have the 2 1/2" SS SP101 in .357mag. Love it! It is more accurate than you would expect. It is my carry/truck/nightstand gun. No need for the crimson trace grips. This is a defense gun, you'll be able to see or hear your target well enough to put a round or two in him/her if need be at indoor defensive ranges.


April 24, 2009, 08:40 PM
Oops, mis-read a post, and posted a totally irrelevant reply; so I deleted it.

April 25, 2009, 08:12 AM
I owned a 2 1/4" SP101 chambered for the .357 Magnum for many years but eventually sold it. It was well made and built like a tank, but too heavy for concealed carry according to my tastes. The trigger was stiff with the pull around 13 pounds or so and although comfortable to shoot it wasn't something I'd want to run a lot of magnum rounds through, if you know what I mean. In the end I figured that if I wanted a concealable 2" revolver then the Smith & Wesson Model 642 suited my needs far better. Now had Ruger made an SP101 with a four-inch barrel I might've kept the SP101 and simply replaced the barrel in order to use it for a home defense weapon, but considering that I had other revolvers which already fit the bill I couldn't find a use for the little Ruger other than as a safe queen and subsequently parted with it. They're good little guns, but whether they're right for you depends on your tastes and what you intend to use them for. Just my two cents worth.

Ben Shepherd
April 25, 2009, 09:48 AM
I have a couiple of them in the shorter barrel, one's a DAO, the other is SA/DA and have fired the 3" version on many occasions. Observations:

1. As noted above, the triggers are a bit rough. I just polished them up a bit and they're fine. I didn't go with aftermarket lighter springs. Too many folks end up with ammo sensitivity issues, and for their purpose, I'm not playing that game.

2. They are well built! My oldest one(the DAO) is right at the 100,000 round mark, and all but five or six boxes of ammo have been full power 357. It's smooth enough now that most who shoot it swear it's had a full trigger job.

3. I prefer aftermarket grips that allow the pinky finger to be on the grip instead of under it. Specifically the rubber Houge mono-grip. Perfect for me, as it fills my hand nicely, and has the correct grip angle so the sights line up on their own, as well as EXCELLENT recoil control with full power ammo.

4. Be aware that the fixed sights on these guns are factory regulated for full power 158 grain loads.(IME anyway).

5. Yes, it's a bit heavy for pocket carry, but that extra weight makes shooting magnum loads much easier.


If you want a snubby and intend to shoot mostly magnum ammo, I'd say it's the best choice out there. If you intend mostly 38's with the occasional 357 rounds, you honestly may want to look at something that's a touch lighter if it's for daily CCW use.

Revolver Ocelot
April 25, 2009, 09:52 AM
given this is no pocket gun and I feel that the one etra inch wouldn't make a whole lot of difference in concealability (espeacially for iwb carry) I'd say the 3" is worth it for the extra it has to offer.

April 25, 2009, 12:25 PM
As to people recommending the lighter springs:

My comments on the trigger earlier would not have been fixed by a spring set. The hitch on reset has to be polished out, and the grittiness on pull is just covered up by a lighter spring.

It's fixing the symptoms while ignoring the problem.

Besides, a smooth but heavy trigger will feel lighter than a light but rough trigger.

Ben Shepherd
April 25, 2009, 12:31 PM

BINGO. Excellent post.(As in, why didn't I think to post that?)

Also note- I've found Ruger triggers smooth up nicely on their own with use.

Vern Humphrey
April 25, 2009, 12:33 PM
I like the SP 101 very much -- I bought one for my oldest daughter for concealed carry, and was very impressed with it.

For what it's worth, I went with the 3 1/16" barrel and consider that the best choice after shooting it quite a bit.

April 25, 2009, 05:40 PM
I've been trying to talk myself out of a Gemini custom stainless steel sp101 for a while now.Here is the Gemini Customs three-inch I shot today with .38 Special Nyclads. Basically no felt recoil even though I put a whole bunch of rounds through my daughter's Ruger Mark II, and it hit hard on the plastic Maxwell House coffee cans that I was using as targets. Trigger is long but smooth. Very easy trigger to "stage".




April 30, 2009, 02:09 AM
It's fixing the symptoms while ignoring the problem.

Besides, a smooth but heavy trigger will feel lighter than a light but rough trigger.

I won't disagree with you one bit. My SP101 from the box has a pretty smooth action, so the springs were the best fit. It has, and will smooth up even more as it is shot more than the few thousand rounds that have been put through it now..


May 13, 2009, 05:56 PM
finally gave in and have a 2 inch sp 101 on way to Gemini now for work...
when it comes back I'll try and report on it for those interested.

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