Ruger sp101 2.25 or 3" bbl

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Jul 26, 2011
Mountains of Virginia
would like some feedback. have decided to get this gun but don't know which bbl length to go with. i probably won't conceal it on me very much but that's not to say it won't ever happen. any advice?

Honestly if you dont expect to use it as a conceal revolver I myself would opt for the 3 inch.
And on the rare occasions you might use it in that line it would not be that big of an issue.
If it's just for a plinker and non carry, I would go with the 3". But then again, if you aren't going to carry it, I would go with a GP100 3". I can shoot full house loads through my 3" GP all day and not end up with an aching or sore hand.
I carry mine mostly appedix carry (1 o'clock) so I have the 2.25 in. DAO. I you aren't gonna carry then go with the three incher.
Yup, 3" if not a carry gun. BTW, accurate as all get out.

.357 mag though, has a completely different feel than the more tame .38 spc, regardless of barrel length.

If .357 mag is the practice round of choice, I'd consider a GP100 or bigger.
I bought the 2.25 inch several years ago. I love it. But I thought at the time that I would use it for concealed carry. I never have. I bought the LCR when it came out and use it for CCW in my pocket. I now use the SP for a car gun. It is great for that. I have the Hogue grips on it, and I love it. I think if I were to buy it now, knowing it will mostly not be for concealed carry, I would go with the 3 inch. Also, I like the smaller size of the SP compared to the GP100. And I like the way it handles and feels. it is a great gun. It will take any load you want to put in it, and with the Hogue grips it is a great combination.
I carry mine nearly every day, and it is the 3". I don't really see the point in the shorter barrel, unless you are going to pocket carry, which the SP101 is kind of heavy for that anyway.
Tubeshooter, you are absolutely right. But since I acquired the LCR.357 I prefer it for carry as it is so light and has the power of .357 in a small package. I find that I can shoot it as well as the SP and can carry it in my pocket holster, which I prefer.

Now, if I was only going to have one gun, then the 3 inch SP101 would be at the top of the list. But not for everyday carry for my particular taste.
Fair enough. I carry a .38 snub that weighs about what your .357 LCR does about 90% of the time, with the SP getting the other 10%. Definitely a bit more comfortable to carry.

But if we're comparing apples to apples, you couldn't really fit the difference as far as difficulty to carry between SP 2.25" and SP 3" inside a thimble. That's all I'm saying, and I think that's what the OP is trying to figure out.
If you want a 3" SP101, your choice is the KSP-321X, 27 oz & MSRP $629. I submit the S&W 3" 60 Pro as an alternative:


Sure, the S&W, SKU #178013 23.2 oz, costs more - MSRP $779 - but it comes with attributes that the Ruger just doesn't have: adjustable rear sight, tritium Night Sight front sight, and great wood grips, not to mention the target barrel and better trigger. Sure, it will run you $80-$120 more - but you get 'more'. Both are fine for any SAAMI spec'd .357 Magnums, even if the casual shooter won't enjoy shooting them. The 60 Pro is a great .38 plinker - that adjustable sight really helps. Either model will require a holster - they aren't 'pocket-friendly'. Here is my 60 Pro - bought new locally 1/11 for $631 + s/t - in an S&W Accessories 3" J-frame holster, which it shares with the 3" 63 alongside:


I am sure the SP101 is a good revolver. My experience with my only example, a new 4" .32 H&RM model several years ago, was horrible. It was by far the worst new firearm I had ever bought, QC-wise. Oddly, I had bought a bunch of new Rugers that were well less, QC-wise, than I expected. The SP101 spelled the end here for Rugers - I now have all S&W's, albeit fewer. YMMV.

The barrel length difference is very slight; less than one inch. The only time it will really matter is with pocket carry, and most folks consider any SP101 to be too big and heavy for pocket carry, anyway. I actually do pocket-carry an SP101 quite a bit, though I prefer belt-level holster carry of my primary weapon. Pocket carry, for me, is for a secondary weapon.

I prefer the balance of the 3.06" SP101, when it comes to actually shooting them. The longer sight radius aids practical accuracy.

I really do like owning both barrel lengths.
I used to have a 2.25" SP; it was to be used for a woods gun. I was looking for the best of a J- and a K-frame. I would up carrying it concealed, in ankle, shoulder and belt holsters. For a while, I carried it in a belt pouch which allowed concealed carry without a cover garment. The short barrel allowed it to fit the pouch perfectly. Sadly, it was stolen, but I'm thinking about another--this time, it will be a 3-incher; the most likely carry would be a waist pack while hiking.
As has been said, the 3" will be slightly harder to conceal and a little heavier. There are also fewer hoster options, so if there is a particular holster you want to use, check first to see if it's available for the 3" option.
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