In 1989, a few years after the successful
introduction of the GP-100 6-shot double action revolver, Ruger
introduced the SP101. It
was first launched as a 5-shot, stainless steel, double action
revolver with a 2-¼” barrel. Over the years, various different models have been made in various
barrel lengths, from 2 1/4” to 4”, various calibers,
from 22 LR,
32 H&R, 327
Fed, 9mm to 357
Mag, and in various configurations, single/double action to
double action only to spurless hammers. The revolver has proven to be very popular and has been used
around the world by civilians and law enforcement agencies
A few years ago, Lipsey’s, one of the
nation’s biggest firearms distributors, introduced an
exclusive run of 5” barrel GP-100 revolvers chambered in 44
guns were blued with a ½ lug, 5” barrel, a gold bead front
sight, and smooth walnut stocks.
In keeping with the theme of this GP-100 exclusive, at
SHOT Show 2020, Lipsey’s announced a new exclusive Ruger SP101
with a blued ½ lug, 3” barrel version, chambered in 357
I had the opportunity to work with this gun
and, while it is a handful with the hotter 357 magnum loads, I
found it to be a great little revolver.
The gun comes from Ruger in the typical grey plastic
case. It has the
standard factory one-piece rubber grips with a set of nicely
carved and checkered wood inserts.
It also has a gold bead front sight and rear adjustable
sights, a much appreciated option which better allows the use of
both 38 special and 357 magnum ammunition without having the
point of impact issues so often seen with fixed sight guns.
The rear sight allows for a large amount of adjustment to
dial the point of impact to your preferred load.
For example, with the gun sighted in for 125-gr
self-defense 357 mag ammo, standard 38 special 158 gr target
loads shot about 8-10” high at 10 yards.
The rear adjustable sight, along with the tall gold bead
front sight, allowed for adjustments to bring this point of
impact down appropriately.
I tested the gun with various brands of
ammunition and this little SP-101 performed flawlessly with 38
Special target loads, 38 Special self-defense loads, 357 mag
target loads and 357 mag self-defense loads.
I will readily admit that 125 gr 357 magnum +P loads are
a handful in this gun, even though it’s an all-steel gun.
The recoil was significantly improved when shooting 38
Specials, even the 110 gr JHP loads felt much more comfortable.
This revolver would make for a great trail
gun, where it could be kept loaded with snake shot, if needed,
and either 38 specials or 357 magnums, depending on its intended
use. If it were me,
here in the Arizona outdoors, I’d have one round of snake shot
available as my first round, followed by a couple rounds of 38
specials. The last
two rounds would be 357 magnum self-defense loads, in case they
are needed for social work.
I’d carry reloads in a Quick Strip, like the ones
manufactured by TUFF Products.
They are lightweight, flat, and flexible, allowing for a
quick reload (I prefer 2 rounds at time), while storing flat in
a pants, coat or shirt pocket.
They come in packs of two, allowing for reloads of
different types of ammunition should you so desire, and come in
5-, 6-, 7- or 8-round configurations.
For outdoor use, I could easily get by with a couple of
these Quick Strips. With
this SP-101 loaded with 5 rounds, a 7-round and an 8-round Quick
Strip loaded with spare ammo, I’d be perfectly happy out and
about and would feel more than adequately prepared for anything
that may come my way. For
more “social” carry, and in self-defense situations, while I
always have a couple of Quick Strips with me, I also carry one
or two speed loaders, as they do allow for much quicker reloads,
which could come in handy in a gunfight.
As I was reviewing this revolver, Mike
“Doc” Barranti send along one of his wonderful basketweave
CCR holsters. This is an outside the belt holster that retains the revolver
very securely, without being impossible to get the gun out of
it, or back in it after use.
The holster has a retention screw allowing for best
adjustment to the gun, and to the user.
It also has a slot in the belt loop allowing for optimal
positioning of the holster on the belt, over a belt loop, for
the best, tightest and most secure fit.
Doc Barranti has been making high quality leather
holsters for almost 25 years.
His holsters are works of art, with strong influence from
the past leather masters such as SD Myres, Milt Sparks, and
Bruce Nelson. You
can’t go wrong with one of his holsters.
Along with Mike’s wonderful holster, Bobby
Tyler, of Tyler Gun Works, sent along a very nice set of stag
grip inserts. These
simply replace the factory wood inserts and are installed using
the factory grip screw. They
add a very nice, and classy, touch to the gun, some character as
well, and not to mention a little personalization.
Combined with the Barranti Holster, this makes for quite
a nice carry package.
Overall, I found this revolver to be very
reliable with all sorts of ammunition, whether it be mild 38
special target loads, or +P 357 magnum self-defense loads.
While it can be a handful with the latter, it is a pure
joy to shoot with the former.
Stick it in a masterpiece holster from Mike, at Barranti
Leather and you would be hard pressed to find a better suited
all-around revolver that is packable, easy to conceal, and
of this writing (August, 2020), this gun is available
exclusively from Lipsey’s and MSRP is $719.
out Ruger's product line at www.ruger.com.
a Lipsey's-affiliated dealer near you, click on the DEALER
FINDER at www.lipseys.com.
Visit Barranti Leather Co. online at www.barrantileather.com.
For a full line of custom work &
products, contact Tyler Gun Works at www.tylergunworks.com.
TUFF Products Quick Strips are available from
TUFF Products at www.tuffproducts.com,
or from a wide variety of retailers.
Order ammo online at www.luckygunner.com.
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