Ruger GP-100 as first gun

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The 4" GP-100 is an excellent first gun. I generally suggest a 22 as a first however. You'll shoot it more that the GP.
BTW, there are a lot of reasons why a GP-100 could be your last gun as well as your first one. There will be a lot more guns out there screaming "buy me" at you in years to come--but frankly I doubt you really "need" many of them. :neener:

Had the GP-100 been in existence in 1959 when I got interested in handgun shooting, I could have done everything between then and now (including an LEO career) with just that one piece. The equivalent at the time was the Smith M28, and the GP-100 is in fact a better gun than that was.:evil: It really hurts S&W fans to admit it, but other than the N frame mystique, it's true. And I have owned three. :p
I have the GP100 in 3,4, and 6 inch barrels. You cant go wrong with a GP100.
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Head over to and post ten times then you can get a copy of the GP-100 IBOK. Just what is the IBOK you ask? Well there is a very nice retired gunsmith that is one of the forum moderators over there that was nice enough to write a nice do it yourself manual on how to tune up a GP-100 to get a very nice trigger pull and smooth out the action quite a bit.

It's a great gun and it gets ever better with just a little bit of polishing up of the internals. You might want to look into picking up a Wolf springpack for your GP as well as this will allow you to tailor the trigger pull and smoothness of the action as well.

I've got a 6" and both the double and single action trigger pulls are smooth and light, very nice for target shooting. I used to really want a Smith 686 but after shooting a friends I actually like my GPO better.
I've decided to purchase a Ruger GP-100 4" barrel revolver as my first handgun. Anyone have a good reason why I shouldn't?

Nope. This could be your first and last revolver and you'd be none the wiser.

Anyhow, Bullitholz' suggestion of getting a copy of the GP100 IBOK (Iowegan's Book of Knowledge) is a must for GP100 owners/enthusiasts. Actually, I had less than 10 posts and emailed Iowegan for a copy and he promptly he emailed it. Fine gentleman.
I love my Smiths and I love my Rugers. Can't get enough of them.

I think Iowegian's no longer offering this, but there is a mailbot address that you can get it from, that's where I got mine.

Troll around over on Rugerforum and find it, just avoid the Lounge and Conceled Carry and Political, it can get a little hot in there!

Welcome to friendly territory!

Good question, and there's very little to say about the GP100 not being a great choice other than the fact that most of us start with .22s. I am NOT saying you shouldn't have the GP100. What I'm suggesting is that if you like your GP100, you may find that you get a lot more "range time" and practice for your dollar if you think about getting a .22 as well. Most of us start to flinch after we shoot a couple boxes of .357 :what: just plinking or doing informal target practice.

The GP100 is a fine firearm, sturdy, quality, and big enough to "do the job" if you're using it for self defense.

Glad to have you join us. You'll find that all you have to do is ask a question, and you will be rewarded with a couple answers and many more opinions! :scrutiny:
A 4" GP100 is an excellent choice. The main thing is to get a handgun that has a trigger you like, is of a manageable size and weight and has sights you can use. All of that varies by individual.

When I got a handgun for my youngest daughter after she graduated college I gave her a choice of anything she wanted. She liked the trigger and overall feel of a 3" GP100.

If you like the Gp100 then you have a fine revolver that will last 2 or more generations.
Thanks a lot for all the great words! I went to Virginia Arms Co. today and bought the gun! It's the stainless steel version with a 4" barrel. I'm excited to head to the range to get to know the gun better, but it feels great in my hand. It might be my first and last revolver, but I'm almost sure I'm going to get a S&W M&P 9mm as my next gun...I'm sure that will be a more controversial thread...and I'm going to apply for my concealed-carry permit soon.
So I finally got to the range. Sweet firearm, very solid to hold. I fired mostly .38 Special, which barely made the GP-100 move, but I also fired some .357 just to get the feel...kicked my butt a little bit, but I was still fairly accurate. The Blackwater sniper team in the lane next to me made me flinch a little bit, too, but it's all good :D
Every so often I think about selling one of my guns; all of them fall under consideration except my 4" SS GP-100. That gun will never purposely leave my possession. You cannot go wrong with this revolver, any way you slice it.
only reason against it would be if it's the house gun, it may be a bit large for your wife to use.

It's a good solid revolver, but it's big.
It's a good solid revolver, but it's big.
That's why I love it so much. .38 specials are like mouse farts, and full power .357s are pretty easy too. The heavy full lug barrel plays a big part in the recoil.
The GP was my first handgun. It will likely last you a lifetime of faithful service.

I advise you to never sell it. Sure, you may buy other guns, but never sell this to finance a new purchase. Determine to go to your grave with this one. You won't be sorry.
It's a good solid revolver, but it's big.
The fixed sight models with the half-underlug barrels & the small grips are a good bit less imposing in terms of size & weight.
Head over to and post ten times then you can get a copy of the GP-100 IBOK. Just what is the IBOK you ask? Well there is a very nice retired gunsmith that is one of the forum moderators over there that was nice enough to write a nice do it yourself manual on how to tune up a GP-100 to get a very nice trigger pull and smooth out the action quite a bit.

BullitHolz, thanks for the timely info. I am seriously thinking of buying a GP100. Nice to know there is a forum dedicated just to Ruger's and some very helpful people. :)
The GP-100 {Hmmm does 'GP' mean General Purpose?} will handle anything from the "Rodent Flatulence" .38Spl target & 'Cowboy Action' loads, all the way up to the just short of thermo-nuclear .357Mag rounds.

Next up on my "I want one of those" list.
GP100 is an excellent choice...

I think that Colts and Smiths are great, but if you want a no nonsense gun that will last and last and last, I think that the GP100 is the best .357 on the market.
I have a few rugers and the 4" gp100 is about my fav.Ilike the 4" better for woods carry.mine is a accurate revolver:).I am sure you will be very happy with yours.


it turned 20 years old this year:)
It will handle .357 loads all day long...

It is a relatively big gun (large frame), which I like!

Trigger action is nice, but not as nice as S&W.

Solid choice for a first gun, enjoy it.

The GP-100 is a great choice, its a very sturdy gun.

I've got the 6" full lug barrel and full power .357 magnums feel like .22 LR.
I have no reason not to encourage you to get a GP100 as a first handgun. :)

It's an excellent choice. I would recommend a .22 Revolver as a first choice, but many people don't have the money to spend on two guns when starting out. I like the .22 because it has little to no recoil, is cheap to shoot and be used for small game hunting, plinking and target shooting.

Just start with "soft" 38 Special loads, and practice the fundamentals a lot. Also, take a safety class and get some instruction that you have to pay for. I'm a firm believer in, "You get what you pay for."

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