SP101 vs GP100


September 14, 2012, 06:47 PM
So...I have been swooning over revolvers for a good minute now, and when I turn 21 im considering buying one. I have heard nothing but good things about Rugers and there at the top of my list. So, question for all you more experienced revolver guys, whats the difference between the SP101 and GP100? Thanks.

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September 14, 2012, 06:52 PM
The GP100 is a 'full-size' six-shot revolver, kind of like the old police revolvers.
The SP101 is a smaller 'snubbie' 5-shot gun, better for concealment.

September 14, 2012, 06:54 PM
The first thing that comes to mind is that the GP100 is 6 shots. The SP101 is 5. These links will tell you more.


Both are great revolvers.

September 14, 2012, 06:57 PM
Frame size. The GP100 is a "medium" frame size. A bit beefed up from service guns from the era when police carried .38 revolvers. The SP101 is a small frame, more along the lines of guns designed for concealed carry. Both have beefy investment cast frames and have some heft to them. In comparison between the Smith J Frame snub nose airweights and the SP101, the SP is heavier and more "tank" like. The GP100 is a full blown "heavy duty" .357. But not as large as the N frame, "large frame" guns Smith and Wesson made when .357 was a new cartridge (and still available in newer iterations). These large frames used a frame size previously intended for .44 and .45.

September 14, 2012, 06:57 PM
Thanks for the replies. Im leaning towards the GP100, kinda reminds me of the S&W L frame. I have a weakness for stainless 4" barreled revolvers. would have been nice if it had a half-underlug.

September 14, 2012, 07:30 PM
Good choice. You'll never wear it out. If anything, it's tougher than a tank!

September 14, 2012, 07:33 PM
Really like my 3" SP101.......and I really want a 4" SP101.
The GP100 (owned for a long time) feels like it should be chambered for .44 Mag - it's too big for my taste.

As always, YMMV.

September 14, 2012, 07:39 PM
I miss my (stolen) SP101...:(

September 14, 2012, 07:42 PM
Sorry to hear your revolver being stolen!

September 14, 2012, 07:47 PM
I own one of each.

I use the big one for playing at the range and the smaller one for CCW.

The biggun is a better target shooter/possible hunting gun since it can be fitted out with nice, adjustable and high viz. sights. Both front and rear sights are available for the GP100 to personalize the gun to your taste.

The little guy is just a nice sized handful of 357 magnum.
I have, since the above photo, fitted it with a glow in the dark front sight.
I like my SP101 for CCW.

Two different tools for different jobs...

P.S. If you really want either of these revolvers to shine go ahead and do/pay for a trigger job. It really is worth the time/money.

September 14, 2012, 08:33 PM
Well I got a year till I turn 21, but I was thinking when I do make the GP100 mine about buying a Wolff shooters pack. Thoughts?

September 14, 2012, 08:37 PM
I have the GP100. After installing lighter trigger and hammer springs it has a great trigger. I have a few friends who own Smiths who like my trigger as much as theirs.
Check youtube for videos on how to do it yourself. It's not hard.
Lots of dry firing will do what a trigger job will for smoothing out the action. My action is nice and smooth so I was able to get by with the lightest springs for both the hammer and the trigger.

I let a friend shoot it the other day and he liked shooting .357's out of this much better than his SP101. Mainly due to size I'm sure.

A fiberoptic front sight is a really nice addition. And really easy to do.

September 14, 2012, 09:20 PM
If you are patient and look at the classifieds in forums like this or on gunbroker, etc. there are older model GP-100's that had fixed sights and a 4" half lug barrel. I have 2 3" GP's at present with the older model rubber/wood grips. Favorite handguns, period. I also have a 6" GP and a 4" 686. All beauties but my favorites are the 3"s (with the original compact grips).

Cluster Bomb
September 14, 2012, 09:55 PM
the GP can be had in a small barrel, but it is bulky with a good sized grip I swooned over one at a LGS as a conceal carry but it was too lage for me but still wish i had got it.

the SP101 is a good conceal revolver, smaller than the GP but still heavy in 357.

The sp101 isnt all that big nor all that small. it is a good carry gun but i am not Huge on its weight. I have a charter arms bulldog 44sp that is liter than it.

The GP is a real attractive gun in real life. its one of those romantic revolvers you see every once in a while that is the quintessential revolver....

if your going to the range to shoot get a GP, if you want to carry get the sp101 if you must choose between the two. Otherwise to carry get a small S&W for the money or a Taurus they are awesome too.

September 14, 2012, 10:19 PM
I have a GP-100 with a 6" barrel, and based on my experience with it I am in the market for an SP-101 for CCW. I haven't heard of many people regretting either one.

September 14, 2012, 10:39 PM
Well I got a year till I turn @!, but I was thinking when I do make the GP100 mine about buying a Wolff shooters pack. Thoughts?

I used those springs in my GP100 and I think they are a great value.

However; my revolver is a range toy and I've spent a good bit of time bonding her on my work bench. I followed the guidance of a man with years of experience (IBOK) and smoothed up the action a lot. I experimented with various spring combinations and found a set that works *for my revolver with the ammo that I reload.

You should bond with your revolver.

Strip 'er down to the little bits n pieces and learn 'er inside and out.
Give 'er a little love. Smooth this, and that, find what springs she likes and shoot your pistol as much as you can.

Set aside the funds for a simple single stage reloading press and find her pet load; cast lead as well as a premium jacketed hollow point. Trust me, it's well worth it.

Owning a revolver like the GP100 can easily turn into a romance.

I have other pistols; I carry my .45 as a CCW preference, my SP101 when it's more prudent but nothing else that I own is as much fun to take out and shoot for a few hours than my GP100.

My .45 is a Springfield XD Compact and it's one ugly work horse.
My SP101 is a handful of loud and mean.

My GP100, on the other hand, is a sexy lady, whom I hate to let go at the end of the dance, and lament that our time has come to an end every time I lie her back into the gun case.

September 14, 2012, 10:46 PM
i have a 2.5" sp101 in .357 with rosewood badger grips.....and let me tell you, its a looker as well as a shooter.

its got a good heft to it which helps soak up the recoil of the .357 while being decently small enough to comfortably conceal carry all day.

September 14, 2012, 10:53 PM

And this is how well it shoots after the new springs. 10 yards .357.

The 4th round is part of another group when I was shooting DA fast.


September 14, 2012, 11:39 PM
you won't be diappointed with either. i have a 3" gp100 that i love, and will likely get a 2.25 sp101 someday.

September 15, 2012, 01:30 AM
I plan on getting a GP, but for now I'm happy with my Security Six.:)
The DA pull will loosen/smooth out with regular use. I've had my sp101 for 17 years and when it was new the DA pull was 13 lbs. I just checked it last night and it has dropped 3lbs

SP101 DA= 10.12 SA= 4.83
Security Six DA= 9.25 SA= 4.07


September 15, 2012, 07:07 AM
I have two of each and I find the GP's to be far superior.

September 15, 2012, 09:32 AM
I've had a 2.25" SP for years and it's a wonderful little gun. If you plan to carry at all I would strongly recommend an SP as the size and weight differences are significant. If it's strictly for the range the GP's weight becomes an advantage, helping to soak up recoil and hold steady for off hand shooting.

If you're looking for a gun that can do it all the 4" SP101 is a very sweet piece. At 30oz it's still 6oz lighter than the 3" GP, making it eminently "packable" as John Taffin might say, while retaining enough weight to control the recoil on heavy loads. It also has VERY nice fiber optic sights, the nicest I've seen on any Ruger and the slimmer width makes it far less obtrusive for carry.

If you go for a GP, I think the 6" is the way to go, the extra length & weight makes it even more pleasant to shoot and gives a longer sight radius to help with shot placement. There is also an aftermarket rail available, from Weigand Combat that allows installing an optic if you decide to some time. I'd like to get a 6" GP set up with a Trijicon RDS some time. I think it would be a fantastic hunting revolver for here in Ohio.

Regardless, either one is an outstanding choice and will be not only a lifetime gun, but can be an heirloom to pass on.

I do recommend checking over whichever you plan to buy carefully, especially making sure to dryfire it to try the trigger. As much as I love my Rugers, their quality control leaves a bit to be desired at times and I've found significant differences in individual guns, with triggers ranging from very nice to pretty crappy. Be a careful shopper and go home happy. If a shop won't let you try the trigger, buy elsewhere. Dry firing will NOT harm these guns, a fact noted by Ruger in the owners manual.

September 15, 2012, 09:33 AM
I dislike the SP101 also. The crane is not long enough to facilitate quick reloads with the factory grips. It's just a bit too big to be only a five shot revolver with 2 1/4" barrel. I also dislike the fixed sight channel; I'd prefer something from Bowen Classic Arms that gives a good sight picture.

September 15, 2012, 04:41 PM
They are both great handguns; and it like any other pistol it depends on your usage, and features desired. The SP101, 3" barrel is one of the most shootible CCW revolvers IMHO, especially if you plan to carry .357's. It carries great, all day in an IWB holster, not so much a pocket gun. It is one of those rare carry guns that is also pleasant to shoot. It is also a bargain IMHO.

FWIW - the SP101 fixed sights are quite acceptable out to 25 yards - I don't shoot mine any further, but I'm sure some folks do.

If you want to get into shooting all lot of hot reloads - the GP100 is great as it is a tank, and the sights can be adjusted for different loads. Little big for practical EDC, unless you plan to open carry. It's a little heavy as a field gun, IMHO - but many use it for this purpose.

September 15, 2012, 04:50 PM
I like my sp101, with the traush grips it handles the recoil from magnums very well.

Blue Brick
September 15, 2012, 04:56 PM
Get A PS6


September 15, 2012, 05:21 PM
Blue Brick, very nice. I like that one.

September 15, 2012, 07:43 PM
Thanks for the replies. Im leaning towards the GP100, kinda reminds me of the S&W L frame. I have a weakness for stainless 4" barreled revolvers. would have been nice if it had a half-underlug.
Kinda like this?


September 16, 2012, 08:54 AM
Im leaning towards the GP100, kinda reminds me of the S&W L frame. I have a weakness for stainless 4" barreled revolvers. would have been nice if it had a half-underlug.

If you like 4" stainless half lug revolvers, you are describing the Ruger Six Series in Stainless and the S&W Model 66 to a T. I don't have pictures of either, but skidder's picture above (top revolver) is a very nice 4" Security Six. I do own examples of both, and greatly enjoy both platforms, though I have a slight preference for the S&W K Frames.

The Ruger Security Six (square butt, adj sights), Police Service Six (square butt, fixed sights), Speed Six (round butt, fixed sights) and the S&W Model 66 K frame are all out of production, but they can be found fairly easily on the used market if you are patient. These 6 shot revolvers neatly split the difference in size between the GP100 and SP101. The Ruger Sixes are more robust, while the K Frame Smiths are generally more refined.

Your choice, just be sure it passes the revolver checkout. Interestingly, even though Rugers are more robust, on the used market I've found most are shot to total crap. That "built like a tank" mantra regarding Rugers seems to encourage people to abuse the mess out of them with atomic loads. They are well built, but they are certainly not indestructible. Consequently, I find it much easer to find a well cared for, mechanically solid S&W than a Ruger. Go figure.

The S&W K Frame will hold up fine, just stick to shooting .38s or 158 grain .357s (no 125 grain .357 loudenboomers).

September 16, 2012, 12:09 PM
I agree with jad0110.
I too love the Smith K-frame (wish they still made the 19/66). They are the perfect size IMO and that's why I have 3 Security Six models. Like a knot head I sold my 15 and 66 :banghead: when I was younger. These older guns take me back to a time when "bulk" was a major issue. LEOs where packing all day and they didn't want a "tank" glued to their hip. One of my dad's friends was a cop and he had a model 19. Since the auto replaced the revolver as the primary carry weapon the k-frame size was slowly fazed out. The market shifted to "compact" and "tank".
Since this size once ruled the world there are plenty of options on the used market.
If you're needing a gun for packing I would go with the Six/k-frame. For a range gun... the GP/L-frame would be fine.

September 16, 2012, 02:28 PM
Too bad the security/speed/serice six and model 19/66s are all out of production. Another one I had my eye on was the S&W 686 Mountain gun. S&W makes a special run of them for Lipseys every now and again. BTW, I plan to only use 158 grain .357 off-the-shelf loads, no Buffalo bore type super hot stuff. If I needed more power (Which I dont) id pick a bigger round to begin with. ;)

September 17, 2012, 06:22 AM
Got to give a nod to the GP-100.

I went a different way though. The GP-100 I have is a .327 Federal magnum model. It holds 7 shots. Speedloaders are made for it.

For CCW carry I do have the SP-101 in .327 Federal magnum.
This one holds 6 rounds instead of 5 shots.

I just like the versatility of the .327 Federal magnum/.32 H&R magnum/.32 S&W Long ammo combos.

There is a lot to say for the .357 magnum/.38 Special ammo versatility as well. Have a few of those, but a different brand of .357 magnum revolvers. Just a personal choice.

September 18, 2012, 08:54 PM
Plenty of others have addressed the differences. I will just say I am glad, and blessed, to own several of each. Life is good! :)

September 18, 2012, 09:31 PM
Both are a joy to shoot. If you want to eventually conceal, get the SP101. If not, or if you have bigger hands, get the GP100.

Just a thought, I'd get the 357 so you have the option of shooting 38s....they're so easy to shoot through either of those guns.

September 18, 2012, 09:32 PM
So jealous RevDerb! That's the exact model I wanted but can't find them anywhere! I got a S&W 686 instead....but I do wish it had the fiber optic front sight.

September 19, 2012, 03:18 AM
Oh if only they made a GP100 with a half-lug, tapered barrel and vented rib ;)
All kidding aside, thanks for the insight.

September 19, 2012, 08:17 AM
We got this 4(.2) SP101 for my wife's bedside gun after struggling for years to get her to like my bottom feeders. She finally has something she enjoys to shoot (with 158gr 38s) and it fits her hands. I could not be happier because she has something when I am not around.

Occasionally I just have to run some 158gr .357s in it just because.. well... I gotta. :cool:


September 20, 2012, 09:50 PM
All the new GPs and SPs come with solid black grips but there is no shortage of after market grips to replace the factory installed ones. I have a GP100 and SP101, both fantastic guns. Ive replaced the factory grips on the GP with Hogue Hardwood seen below and just ordered some panel inserts from this guy.


September 20, 2012, 10:18 PM
The Sp101 was my second hand gun. It's like that truck that you keep because you know when every thing else breaks it'll Start every time you turn the key. Except it looks a whole lot better than my old truck.
If your after different sights and easier loading you should check out ,"the perfected sp101". Just be cautioned, It's like buying the gun again. Bowens Classic Arms has a package that adds J style sights to the sp101 and champers the cylinder for easy holster. Also included is a trigger tune. Some other goodies I can't remember. I figured for the price I'd rather have two but to each his own.

Deaf Smith
September 20, 2012, 10:25 PM
So...I have been swooning over revolvers for a good minute now, and when I turn 21 im considering buying one. I have heard nothing but good things about Rugers and there at the top of my list. So, question for all you more experienced revolver guys, whats the difference between the SP101 and GP100? Thanks.
One is a 'aways gun' (the SP101) and the other is when needed gun (GP-100.)

One is the carry gun, the other the house gun.

One is the main gun and the other the backup gun/

You can guess which is which!



September 20, 2012, 10:34 PM
I had an SP101 but traded it. :(. It has the 5 round capacity, channel sights, thinner body, stiffer trigger and it is lighter.

The GP100 I still have. 6 rounds, adjustable sights, thicker and heavier, smoother trigger and at 6", not a CCW.

If you're just starting out, get the GP100. Much easier to manage and you'll enjoy it.

October 4, 2012, 10:10 PM
I fear I have been bit by the S&W bug....the 686 SSR is all I dream about now ;)

October 4, 2012, 10:23 PM
+1 for the sp101..... if you want to carry it, if its just for range and home the gp100 maybe a better choice. It all depends what you want it for as others have said.

October 4, 2012, 10:59 PM
...4(.2) SP101... :cool:


^^^This. Big enough for woodsbumming, small enough for C/C. One of my favorites.

October 5, 2012, 03:43 PM
I'm kinda partial to GP100s.

Especially the 3" models.


October 5, 2012, 04:23 PM
I fear I have been bit by the S&W bug....the 686 SSR is all I dream about now

Did somebody say S&W bug? That's not a bad one to have. Let me help... :evil:


Left to right: M-18, K-frame .22LR, M-19, K-frame .357 Magnum, M-586, L-frame .357 Magnum and a 629, N-frame .44 Magnum (no longer owned). Of the bunch the 18 gets shot the most, the 586 is the most fun for mowing down a rack of steel plates (load it with .38s it barely moves off target) and the 19 is the most likely to get carried out and about. I passed on a nice M-28 (N-frame .357) in favor of getting a new bicycle this fall, but the big frame is still on my want list.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Rugers and the GP-100 is one nice shooting revolver. But when it comes time to drop money, I normally find something in a used S&W.

October 5, 2012, 10:24 PM
Timely thread, I was just debating my first revolver purchase. Your wishlist looks a lot like mine OP. I was really impressed with how smooth the trigger was on both the GP100 and the Smith 686 I dry fired.

October 24, 2012, 12:56 AM
I dont know how to quote people, but to the poster above Ill probly wind up changing my mind again, I always do when it comes to revolvers ;)
The only thing ts stays constant is the stainless part LOL

October 24, 2012, 01:41 PM
I've got one of each. If you plan to carry at all, I'd go with the SP101. The 3" is a good all-around gun to me. The barrel is long enough that I can enjoy it at the range or use it as a woods gun without getting frustrated, and it is still long enough to convert a good bit of the magnum's blast-n-flash to velocity.

The GP100 is the better duty/hunting/range/HD gun, but it is too big (or more so heavy) to conceal carry in my mind.

October 25, 2012, 12:16 PM
Get the GP 100 now and the SP101 later or shop around and get a S&W

October 25, 2012, 08:50 PM
+1 for both, like TrueTexan said.

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