Ruger SP 101

Description

The Ruger SP 101 is a medium-frame revolver chambered in .357 Mag., .327 Fed. Mag., .38 Special and .22 LR. The SP 101 is a family of small revolvers that evolved from Ruger’s GP 101. The SP 101 was introduced in 1993 and they have been praised for its small size, large cartridge and ability to absorb recoil. It is smaller than most traditional .357s so the initial reaction was that it wouldn’t handle recoil well, but is said to absorb recoil very well.

The SP 101 is made of stainless steel with a satin finish and comes with cushioned rubber grips. It features a double-action trigger, which gives shooters a longer pull. The trigger also reduces the risk of accidental discharge when concealed because it requires more pressure on the trigger to set off the action, so it’s less likely something will snag it and pull it all the way back. The SP 101 is equipped with a transfer bar that acts as an intermediary between the hammer and the firing pin. The hammer will hit the bar and then the bar will press against the firing pin.

Optional features include Crimson Trace lasergrips, a type of laser sights. The laser activates when the shooter wraps their hand around it (add about $170). The .327 Fed. Mag. model has an adjustable rear sight. And the .357 Mag. is available without a hammer.

Ruger recommends the SP 101 for conceal carry.

ruger_sp101c1 ruger_sp101_.381 ruger_sp101_fed1 ruger_sp1014 ruber_sp101ct1 ruger_sp101a1 ruger_sp101b1

Specifications

.357 Mag.
Caliber:.357 Mag.
Grip:Black rubber
Crimson Trace lasergrips
Capacity:5
Sights:Fixed with black ramp front sight
Features:Transfer bar
Action:Revolver
Material/Finish:Stainless steel/satin
Size:Medium
Trigger:Double-action/single-action
Website:http://www.ruger.com…
Weight:1.5625 pounds
1.625 pounds
1.6875 pounds
Barrel Length:2.25"
3.06"
Twist:1 in 18.75"
Length:7"
8"
.327 Federal Mag.
Caliber:.327 Federal Mag.
Grip:Black rubber
Capacity:6
Sights:Adjustable rear sight and black ramp front sight
Features:Transfer bar
Action:Revolver
Material/Finish:Stainless steel/satin
Size:Medium
Trigger:Double-action/single-action
Website:http://www.ruger.com…
Weight:1.75 pounds
Barrel Length:3.06"
Twist:1 in 16"
Length:8"
.38 Special
Caliber:.38 Special
Grip:Black rubber
Capacity:5
Sights:Adjustable rear sight and black ramp front sight
Features:Transfer bar
Action:Revolver
Material/Finish:Stainless steel/satin
Size:Medium
Trigger:Double-action/single-action
Website:http://www.ruger.com…
Weight:1.625 pounds
Barrel Length:2.25"
Twist:1 in 18.75"
Length:7"
.22 LR
Caliber:.22 LR
Grip:Black rubber
Capacity:8
Sights:Adjustable rear sight with fiber optic front sight
Features:Transfer bar
Action:Revolver
Material/Finish:Stainless steel
Size:Medium
Trigger:Double-action/single-action
Website:http://www.ruger.com…
Weight:1.875 pounds
Barrel Length:4.2"
Twist:1 in 16"
Length:9.12"
MSRP$629.00

Editor Review

During my years in law enforcement, I never had difficulty selecting which sidearm to carry for my duty weapon.  It was an easy choice.  My difficulty arose when trying to select a secondary/backup pistol, I think I bought more small handguns and did more research just on those than for anything else.  During my selection process one of our Sergeants had just purchased a Ruger SP101 in .357 magnum.  I expressed how I thought it was a handsome firearm, so he encouraged me to buy one for myself. 

But my attraction for it faltered when I got to the range.

With my big hands, the grip, given that it was magnum, needed to be “beefier.” Even thought the barrel of my model was ported to reduce recoil—the recoil was still there. My return for the second shot was not steady.  Instead of pulling back on target easily, it veered off and it took me several moments to reacquire sight picture. 

Remember, when shooting defensively, you’re looking to focus on the front sight not the rear and front combined.  Because my hand is large the recoil forced me to shift my grip enough that I had difficultly maintaining good sight picture.  I think the addition of aftermarket grips would remedy this problem though—especially for a man with large hands.

On the range, it cycled smoothly and was every bit of a bad guy-stopper as my semi-auto.  The only problem was that I didn’t fire above 95 percent and I took that personally.  I blamed it on the gun. Sullen and with bruised ego, I traded it in for a different backup gun.

I wish that I had held on to it though. Like most Ruger revolvers, it was a good quality handgun.  It just needed a good quality hand to be in at the time.  While I never felt it was an exceptional gun, it truly wasn’t a poor quality gun either.