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Thread: ruger gp or sp

  1. #1
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    Jul 2008
    Gamaliel, Kentucky, United States

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    i have a small problem deciding so i hope yall can help me out, i have a chance to buy a new gun but only one and would like to know which yall think is best for the uses i'll need it for? i have a choice of a 4inch gp100, or a 3inch sp101, it will be open carried around my home area, out walking, and hiking in the woods. it will serve also as a home defense gun. now i know some will say get one and later get the other, but unless things get better with money this will be my only handgun for at least a year. so i need the best choice for what i'm using it for, i've checked both out and love both but can only get one. they are the same price and new, so for what i'm using it for which gun will be my best choice? thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    Regular Member PikesPeakMtnMan's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
    Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

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    The limited information that I can offer you is only that most holsters out there for the SP101 are designed for the shorter 2 1/2" barrel, not the 3 1/4".

    My g/f has an SP101 and no complaints yet, except for the holster issue.
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  3. #3
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    Nov 2006
    Fairfax Co., VA

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    +1 on PPMman's comment about holster availability.

    I wouldevaluate my carry mode.

    The GP100 is going to be noticeably heavier. Even the SP101 will require a gun belt (thick leather, less inclined to stretch out over time.) Even the SP101 will stretch a regular leather belt. The GP100 more so. Belt optionsare a whole 'nother discussion.

    The SP101 will be more comfortable to carry for extended periods; the shorter barrel (compared to the 4" GP100)will snag less on chair arms, car seats, etc.

    The GP100, being heavier will be easier to control recoil. Also, the bigger grip means you will be able to get all three fingers on the grip, compared to the two-fingers for an SP101 (unless you just buy a longer aftermarket grip).

    The SP101 will conceal easier for concealed carry. 5-shot cylinder width, versus a six-shot cylinder width, although the width difference is pretty minor. The SP101 is just a tad too big to really be a pocket gun. A coat pocket maybe, or a large cargo pocket.

    The GP100 with a 4" barrel, if you CC, is possibly going to need a high-ride holster where the cylinder is above the belt line. I think they do this to get the barrel above the bottom of a jacket, and to keep the barrel end of the holster from pushing into car seats and so forth.

    Regarding the GP100, if a spouse might have to use it, I would make sure her hand fit the gun. Some women can hardly reach the trigger properly on a K-frame Smith & Wesson.

    If it were my only handgun, and it was going to be my only handgun for a year, I personally would go for the GP100 and put up with the inconvenience of the larger gun. The inconveniences being outweighed, for me, by the extra shot and the bettercontrolof magnum loads offered by the heavier gun and the three-fingers-longgrip.Plus, it would save aggravation of hunting for aholster for a three-inch SP101. Personally, I hate hunting for holsters.

    Oh, I just realized. You didn't mention caliber. I'm working from the idea of each gun being a.357 magnum. Compared to say one a .357mag and the other a .38spl.

    And, I've overlooked whether either isstainless steel. The less-frequent wiping down with oil required by stainless steel might be important to you.
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  4. #4
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    The Northwoods, lakeland area, Wisconsin, USA

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    I have only seen the SP's in magazine ad's, but I have owned a GP100 4" stainless "Heavy Barrel" for over 20 years now, and I absolutly love the gun, and carry it almost daily.

    Have you checked the used market for GP's? I think I paid something like $350..0 new for mine back in the late 1980's

  5. #5
    Founder's Club Member Hawkflyer's Avatar
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    Prince William County, Virginia, USA

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    I will echo all of the comments made so far, but as the owner of both of these revolvers I have some thoughts as well. I have carried both models, the GP-100 4" and the SP-101 3". Without question I prefer the GP-100. My wife prefers the feel of the factory grips on the SP, but when it is time to actually shoot something she prefers the GP.

    Were I in your position, I would buy the GP-100. Since you plan to carry this outside for defensive purposes, the longer barrel provides a better sighting radius for better accuracy. The greater weight helps control recoil. The GP-100 is a six shot the SP-101 is a 5, and while this does increase the width of the cylinder the difference is insignificant. I would get the stainless model since it will suffer less from inattentive treatment.

    I would also suggest a set of Houge rubber grips for the GP-100 as well. These will offset the recoil some should you decide to shoot full house magnum ammo. In that regard since you may not be a fully practiced hand gunner, I would suggest you use .38 special +P or ++P ammo for your carry needs. The +P and ++P are a lot less powerful that .357 magnum, so they will not penetrate as many walls as magnum if you miss your target, and yet they still packs a punch.

    If you find that the +P or ++P are still too much recoil for you, then use .38 special ammo. .38 special is very pleasant to shot in the GP and it costs less. Also since the GP is designed to stand up to full house magnums, there are no standard .38 special loads that can wear out the GP-100 with the amount of shooting you are likely to do.

    By the way. Budget for a good holster as Citizen has already pointed out. Do not waste your money on the cheap Uncle Mike's nylon holsters they are junk and will not serve you well. I am an old guy so I prefer a good leather r holster, usually a pancake style. The younger folks like the new plastic or polymer designs usually with an active firearm retention system.

    But the fact is that holsters are a very individual choice and what works for me or someone else will likely not work for you. So shop and talk to a lot of people. Most handgun owners have a BIG box of holsters that did not work for them and many will let you have your pick to try out before you buy.

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  6. #6
    Wisconsin Carry, Inc. Shotgun's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Madison, Wisconsin, USA

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    I own and love both these guns. My GP100 is the 4" stainless with the full underlug barrel and the SP101 is the 2 and 1/4" barrel-- I don't think they made a 2.5" model guys-- in the nice "target gray" finish.

    The GP 100 shooting 125 grain .357's is definitely one of (if not the most) accurate handguns I have. The SP101 is plenty "combat accurate" but the sights are much more basic than those on the GP 100. But face it, in actual combat shootings, most people will neither use nor see the sights.

    Both are pretty solid and heavy compared to similar models from other manufacturers. I like that. I can comfortably shoot .357's from the SP all day, using the factory grips. I get approximately 2 and 1/2 fingers around the stock, which is enough for a firm hold. I put Pachmayr grips on the GP and prefer them over the factory grips, which aren't really that bad.

    In terms of actual carry, I've carried the SP more because it's size is more comfortable and easily concealed. I have OC'd with it, but that's comparatively uncommon. To me it's more of a gun for concealment.

    I have OC'd with the GP also a few times, but the SP is much less noticeable to lug around all day.

    I sometimes will load +P or +P+ .38's in both these guns. I find them very pleasant to shoot in both firearms. The +P+ are just a notch less than .357's in terms of recoil and muzzle blast. Standard pressure .38's seem like nothing in comparison.

    I have let some of my friends shoot the SP101 at the range and each has expressed pleasant surprise at how comfortable it is to shoot and how well it fits the hand and it's accuracy.

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