Ruger Security-Six v. GP-100


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Confederate
April 1, 2010, 12:28 AM
Earlier this week, I picked up a stainless 4-inch Ruger GP-100 at a local gun store and as I said in another post, it felt like a boat anchor. As an owner of a number of stainless Ruger Security-Sixes (many of which have never been fired), I couldn't believe that anyone, given the choice, would ever prefer the GP-100, especially in 6-inch barrels!

The gun at the shop was being sold for $680 and tax ($720.80). The first thing I wondered was, how much would a NEW stainless steel Security-Six 4-inch sell for in today's market? And two, how many people would pick a GP-100 over a Security-Six if they were both new, both stainless, and both 4-inchers?

No, I'm not selling mine; I'm just wondering.

The GP-100 is about 40 ounces, unloaded. I know the prices are increasing on all guns, but I couldn't believe how much heavier the GP-100 was than my Security-Six.

So what's your take?

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BCCL
April 1, 2010, 12:37 AM
I've always preferred the Security Six to the GP-100. Just always thought the overall lines were better.

The GP-100 has always just had that "concrete block" look to me.

9mmepiphany
April 1, 2010, 02:18 AM
having owned both and shot and carried them extensively, i'd take the Security-Six over the GP-100 anyday.

the "Six" is just about the the perfect mid-sized .357Mag...just enough weight, just enough strenght.

the GP-100 was a block...it left with an ex-wife

GRIZ22
April 1, 2010, 05:15 AM
I have both and find the weight of the GP100 allows faster recovery time when shooting full bore magnums. It also has to be stronger, but I know the Security Six is a brute as it is.

frankiestoys
April 1, 2010, 08:34 AM
GP to heavy? :rolleyes:
Ya its built like a tank, but i dont think its too heavy! You guys need to hit the weights :neener:
Its a great revolver and so is the Security Six you can't go wrong with either one.

Zebraranger
April 1, 2010, 09:10 AM
Not Much Difference In Weight
I recently purchased a 4" Security Six stainless and this thread made me curious. I've never really noticed that much of a weight difference between the 4" security Six and my 6" GP100. So, I pulled out the digital postage scale and weighed both with empty cylinders. 4" Security Six = 2.7 lbs and the 6" GP100 = 2.13 lbs, only a 6 ounce difference. Considering the GP100 has 2 more inches of barrel, Thats not much of a difference, without that 2 additional inches of barrel, I bet they are pretty close. Either way, I like both and think they both are heavy built.

Hawk
April 1, 2010, 09:22 AM
The first thing I wondered was, how much would a NEW stainless steel Security-Six 4-inch sell for in today's market? And two, how many people would pick a GP-100 over a Security-Six if they were both new, both stainless, and both 4-inchers?

1. It would probably sell for roughly the price of the GP-100 or very slightly less. While folklore holds that Bill Ruger once asserted that he was losing money on every "Six" some believe the tale to be apocryphal.

2. Probably about 96% would pick up a GP-100 in preference to a "Six". He who forgets history will be condemned to repeat it - back when the GP-100 was first introduced sales of the "Six" went belly up in spectacular fashion. People had the choice in 1985, voted with their wallets and the "Six" sank without a ripple in 1989.

Blivet's theory of revolver desirability states that demand for a revolver is inversely proportional to its availability and directly proportional to the years since its discontinuation. Being both older than its brethren and discontinued confers a status on the "Six" which it never enjoyed during its life.

I'm not seeing any compelling reason to assume that history wouldn't repeat if the thing was exhumed and dusted off today. It wouldn't even get a "bump" from the CC crowd as the SP-101 and LCR have that niche saturated.

But, if it's left out to pasture with dignity, those few that bought them back when will be pleased with their purchase, will likely see a steady appreciation in price and may even witness the start of a cult following. "Bring back the 'Six'" threads will start showing up alongside the "bring back the Colt double action" threads. Of course, bringing back either would be financial suicide for the intrepid souls making the attempt but this shouldn't stop us for wishing for such.

Guy de Loimbard
April 1, 2010, 09:41 AM
I'd pick a new security six over a new GP. Heck, I picked an old SS over a new GP last year. The GP only weighs a few ounces more but it's all out front, and for a medium-frame .357, its grip is overly large.

GRIZ22
April 1, 2010, 10:22 AM
The GP only weighs a few ounces more but it's all out front, and for a medium-frame .357, its grip is overly large.

That few ounces makes a substantial difference as I noted in post #4. It's not really an intermediate frame more of an intermediate frame. The grip frame in the GP 100 is less limiting than the grip frame of a Security Six. You can fit smaller grips on a GP100.

People had the choice in 1985, voted with their wallets and the "Six" sank without a ripple in 1989.


There were a lot of things going on in the late 70s and early 80s many are not aware of. The philosophy of qualifying with duty ammo had come into the vogue. No longer were LE agencies qaulifying with wadcutters and loading up theie S&W Model 66s with magnums for duty. They were using magnums for everything. This was also a low point in S&W quality control. The combination ensured S&Ws were going out of time and other more catastrophic events. I helped conduct a durability test with some S&W 66s and Ruger Sercurity Sixes at this time. The longest a 66 ran with full magnums was 1500 rds. The Rugers all went well over 10,000 magnums and most made it to 20,000 with no trobule. The L frame was introduced in 1980, between the K and N in size, to provide more beef so the gun would last longer. It did help S&W sales and keep a niche in the handgun market.

The Security Six is much stronger than a K frame maybe as strong as or stronger than a L frame. Buyers recognized that the L was bigger, ergo, stronger. They didn't pay a lot of attention to the variations in design of the S&Ws vs the Security Six. Ruger needed to come out with an intermediate frame revolver and did so with the GP100 in 1985 to compete directly with the L frame.

md7
April 1, 2010, 12:03 PM
i like both the six series and the current GP100 lineup. having handled both, i don't really percieve that big of a difference in regards to weight. maybe there is, but i can't really tell. i do like both, but given the choice i would pick the GP100, and i did actually. i dunno, the grips just felt right to me, and doggoneit if i can't help but to like its looks too! its a 4" stainless that serves as my night stand gun. also chose the GP100 over the 686.

Hawk
April 1, 2010, 01:05 PM
The Security Six is much stronger than a K frame maybe as strong as or stronger than a L frame.

I wouldn't find myself arguing against that point. However, this thread is about "Six" vs. "GP". I'd speculate that what killed the "Six" was the "GP" with "Ks and Ls" playing a minor supporting role.

A guru at Rugerforum offers some interesting insights as well.
WVfishguy, As Paul Harvey says ... "here's the rest of the story". When Ruger designed their first DA revolver (Security-Six), they beefed up or totally redesigned the weak areas found in S&W and Colt DA revolvers. Their first model was a giant success, although they were fighting "brand loyalty" with most buyers. Foreign sales for police, domestic security companies, and even a lot of domestic law enforcement agencies bought Security-Sixes (to include Speed-Six, and Service-Six). Private sales were good too. These revolvers soon got a reputation for being way stronger than other brands with a much longer life expectancy and much lower maintenance requirements. The Security-Six models were sized about the same as a S&W K-frame.

In 1988, Ruger announced a new revolver ... the GP-100. It was built to compete with S&Ws Mods 586 & 686, which had taken over S&Ws 357 Mag sales. The GP-100 shared many of the same designs as the Security-Six but also introduced some new mechanical designs and features. Internally, the trigger spring design was changed as was the crane. The frame was beefed up even stronger than a Security-Six yet the overall weight was about the same. That's because the full sized grip frame was eliminated in favor of a lighter and more robust grip stud. Additionally, Ruger added the "plug-in" front sights.

Soon after the GP-100 became available, sales for Security-Sixes dropped like a rock. If ol' Bill said Security-Sixes cost too much to make, I suspect that was taken out of context and probably meant more like he couldn't make money on them. Following good business practices, Ruger discontinued the Security-Six product line. Another major influence was police departments had transitioned out of revolvers and into autoloaders. This made sales for revolvers slow ... especially when a new model would do everything the older model did only better.

Security-Six revolvers are great guns. They are one of the best deals available because prices have stayed pretty modest in most areas. GP-100s are a truly better design with a stronger frame. As for workmanship ... Ruger is Ruger ... you get what you get. I have seen and owned good and bad examples of both.

I find this of particular interest:
"This made sales for revolvers slow ... especially when a new model would do everything the older model did only better."

The general "revolver consensus" seems to hold that there has never been a newer model introduced that wasn't inferior to its predecessor in all ways. I'd submit the Ruger as an exception to the "older is always better" canard. It's not like a lot of craftsmanship was lost in the move from the Six to the GP - both models are "Johnny come latelys" to the S&W crowd.

I can certainly appreciate that some might prefer the Six, but their numbers were scant when the GP100 hit the streets - most seem to have developed the preference more recently.

9mmepiphany
April 1, 2010, 05:49 PM
I have both and find the weight of the GP100 allows faster recovery time when shooting full bore magnums.
...but it's slower during target transitions

Blue Brick
April 1, 2010, 06:32 PM
Wish they still made them.........

http://i140.photobucket.com/albums/r15/Blue_Brick/DSC01919.jpg

gwnorth
April 1, 2010, 08:17 PM
Using my own scales, my unloaded 4" stainless Service Six is 35.5oz and my unloaded 4" stainless GP100 is 39oz. My unloaded 6" blued steel GP100 is 45.5oz, but I do not have a 6" six series to weigh.

Personally, I really like both the sixes and the GP100. The GP100 is more comfortable to shoot .357 loads through, but the half-lug design of the sixes has cleaner, more classic look to it, and it's a bit faster when shifting targets rapidly (although slower on followup shots on a given target).

P.S. my 3" Service six is 34oz, and my 3" S&W65-3 is 32.5oz

Rexster
April 1, 2010, 09:19 PM
I have yet to find a commercially-made grip for the Speed Six that controls recoil for me as well as the factory grips on the SP101 and GP100. Yes, in my hands, at least, the old 4" Six kicks me more than even the lighter SP101. This does not mean I dislike my Speed Six; I like it very much, and shoot it well enough, but a whole qual course with magnum ammo is going to hurt a bit.

The weight difference between the Sixes and the GP100 is no big deal, in my opinion. I notice the difference, but I learned to conceal an N-frame in the 1980's, when as a broke young LEO I could not afford a medium-sized sixgun for carry off the clock, so I toted the same Model 58 all the time. (Of course, there are other good reasons for toting the same weapon at all times.) With slim grip panels, the Six is a bit more compact in that dimension than the GP100 factory grip, and especially when using an OWB holster.

I like my Ruger Speed Six, AND my SP101 fiveguns and GP100 sixguns. All have their places.

montess85
April 1, 2010, 09:38 PM
I have never personally handled a six....I do own a 6 inch ss GP and I love it....I dont find it heavy at all....Dont get me wrong I wouldnt want to carry it all day but its a blast to shoot and it soaks up recoil very well....I kind of wish i bought a 4 inch though....oh well i guess I will have to buy another...

whalerman
April 1, 2010, 09:44 PM
Excellent exchange. Posts by Hawk were particularly interesting.
Thanks.

Sidewinder72
April 1, 2010, 10:02 PM
I own a security six. and have always loved it. It is not my carry piece though. I used to have a six inch GP100 but traded it for a S&W 686. In my opinion the S&W is better.

Cranky CJ
April 1, 2010, 10:26 PM
I had the choice last saturday and did indeed pick the Security Six over a GP100. Held both and decided the six was the most comfortable. Having read a little about them, and putting faith in the Ruger name, went with a used Security Six as my first revolver.

Took it out wednesday for the frist time shooting only 38 special through it. Very enjoyable to shoot, the single action trigger is perfect. My boys (10 & 12) ended up dominating shooting it until we ran out of ammo for it. I may never know what a GP is like to shoot, but I certainly will not have any regrets with my purchase. For those that are wondering, I paid $400. Here is a picture.

http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/crankycj/securitysix017.jpg

tguil
April 1, 2010, 11:15 PM
I traded my Security Six for a GP 100 right after they came out. Never regretted it. However, I will keep my Speed Six forever. Would never consider trading it for an SP101 or LCR.

Confederate
April 1, 2010, 11:26 PM
Read the above with great interest, but side-by-side, I find the weight and balance of the Security-Six to be far superior (to me).

One reason sales dropped on the venerable old guns includes 1) the fact that newer models are almost always better accepted than older models; 2) that newer models are assumed to offer significant improvements; 3) that older models will lose value once the newer models appear; and 4) because older models become incrementally less available while newer models become incrementally more available.

Gun hacks also don't help. Gun magazines never feature old guns -- only new ones, which tend to be spread across one or two pages. And because they're in the back pockets of the manufacturers (which is why you'll never read a review that says a gun sucks), old gun models are allowed to die quiet, dignified deaths. There are no objective side-by-sides; it's all a stacked deck.

I've never seen the elimination of the grip as a plus for the GP-100. Neither does the GP-100 compete well with the 686, which to me is a more desireable gun.

The Security-Six is a lighter, better balanced gun for field carry than the 686, even if it's not quite as inherently accurate. The GP-100 feels like a brick with grips. Designed to retard muzzle flip, the weight is proportioned all for shooting, not for carrying or pointing. That's why I asked about side-by-side comparisons.

There's a point of diminishing marginal returns after which strength ceases to be a factor. Yes, the newer gun is stronger than the older, but the older was already built like a tank.

I routinely inspect my Security-Sixes and I know their feel and balance. When I picked up the GP-100 the other day, everything went *tilt*! Like an anchor, the weight tended to pull the gun down towards the end. The pointability seemed jarred.

This is simply my opinion, and others may vary. That's why I'm throwing it out. Maybe if I handled the gun for a few days and built up the reqisite muscles...who knows? But I think the older model would better compete with the 686 in that it's lighter -- and in my view a mugh better field gun. The frame also has grips, not a stump, which balances the gun better.

.

MIL-DOT
April 1, 2010, 11:27 PM
I sold a Romy G AK at a gunshow back during "The Panic", and that very night, on my way to our regular poker game, went and bought the GP100 I've been slobbering over for years. I looked at the Security Six, and the shorter 4" barrel for the GP100, but I wanted the MAC DADDY, and I spent almost exactly what I got for that AK ( $600) on the 6" GP100, and never regretted it, even after this thread.:D
P.S. i did put one of those Hogue finger-groove grips on it, and like it pretty well.

GP100man
April 1, 2010, 11:46 PM
What if?????

Ruger put ya on a waitin list & when they hit a magic number they broke out the tools & made a run of sixes!!!

I`d wait longer than ya think for a new in the box ,hot of the press 3" service six with rounded grips!!

MD satisfaction is worth every penny!!!

9mmepiphany
April 2, 2010, 12:15 AM
What if?????

Ruger put ya on a waitin list & when they hit a magic number they broke out the tools & made a run of sixes!!!

I`d wait longer than ya think for a new in the box ,hot of the press 3" service six with rounded grips!!

i'm sure that machinery is long gone...i remember reading an interview with Bill Ruger where he stated he wasn't sure they ever made any money on the Security-Six family

ceadermtnboy
April 2, 2010, 12:16 AM
I love the GP100 improvements! The tripple lock-up, offset cylinder notches, and awesome grip ( not the new houges ) all equal one of the finest and most well thought out revolvers ever made. The weight balances very nicely with the 4 inch full lug or 6 inch half lug barrells. Nothing wrong with the security sixes, but Bill Ruger improved the SS design for a reason and I personally think he got it right. Add some aftermarket Bowen rough country rear sights with a gold bead front and you get a lot of gun for the money!!

Confederate
April 2, 2010, 01:57 AM
Well, I don't think Bill Ruger had much to do with the GP-100, but his people did, and they primarily followed the 686 overall look.

I don't aim to make people with GP-100s not like their guns, but rather, say that the SS was the better gun in many respects, especially field use. It, too, had offset cylinder notches, but the unique lockup of the GP-100 never really translated into anything substantial, either in accuracy or durability.

Some gun hacks even went so far as to warn SS users not to shoot too many magnum rounds because they assumed the SSs were as suscepible as S&W K-frames to rapid wear.

It's one reason I never read such magazines to this day. I still have my lamp out looking for an honest one.

.

gwnorth
April 2, 2010, 08:18 AM
Neither does the GP-100 compete well with the 686, which to me is a more desireable gun.

Not saying that you are necessarily wrong, but I'd have to see some actual sales figures to believe that one. Every store I've ever been in that has a 686 sitting on a shelf also has GP100's, and I see and know a lot more folks with GP100's in their safes then 686's. Given that the weight difference is only an ounce or two, and otherwise the dimensions of the two models are near identical, I don't see a strong one-sided distinction between the two.

Personally, as much as I might like a 686, it is simply not worth the extra cash over a GP100 - it is simply not that much more refined a gun, or that much better a gun to justify S&W's pricing.

md7
April 2, 2010, 03:34 PM
+1 gwnorth,

a few years ago, i had the money saved to buy NIB either a SW 686, or a GP100. after research, reading, handling, and firing i came to the conclusion that both guns were well made, backed by solid companys, and should offer lifelong service. price was not the deciding for me. the ruger won out on its own merits. i like that it can be disassembled easily, has no locks, does not have side plate screws, and that it has a reputation for being able to adequatley handle hot loads on routine basis. i wanted a consitant, reliable, workhorse of a revolver, and feel that i obtained it in the GP100. not to say the 686 couldn't provide this. just that ruger seems to excell here.

if i had to make the decision again, i would. if they were priced the same, i would also still go with the GP100. not knocking the 686, i just have really grown to like and enjoy my GP.

jad0110
April 2, 2010, 10:05 PM
I prefer the Six series to the newer GPs. To me, the GP (like my 686) are noticeably more muzzle heavy compared to equivalent barrel length Sixes. Its a personal preference thing, I've just grown to prefer guns that balance closer to wrist with less weight hanging out closer to the front sight blade.

oldgoat46
April 2, 2010, 10:48 PM
The GP 100 is the most foolproof, sturdy fail safe handgun you can buy. I carry one with me just about every day in the back country.

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