Purchased new in 1992
With the factory grips, this is as large a snub as I can still (barely) manage pants pocket carry. At 25-ounces, it is about as heavy as I care to go with for pocket carry; it is 10-ounces heavier than my S&W 442 Airweight. Conversely, it is also as small and light as I care to go with for full power .357 magnum loads. Shown is a Gaylord 8 Ball Deluxe coat pocket holster made by Lefty Lewis of Bell Charter Oak; intended for use in an overcoat pocket, it also works for me as a front pants pocket holster. The past three weeks I've worked in and around the house while carrying this combo and find it comfortable enough to live with. If someone knows what to look for, the print of the gun and holster is recognizable through the denim pants material; pants pocket carry of the SP101 is a bit of a stretch (pun intended).
If financial necessity limited me to owning only one small frame snub gun, I would choose the Ruger SP101 over the S&W J-Frames and Colt D-Frames. This choice would not be an easy one to make because I like all of my snubguns, but ammo wise the SP101 works out as the most versatile for me. I was in awe when I first touched off a round of Remington’s full power .357-magnum 125-grain semi-jacket hollowpoint ammunition in this gun. For a couple of years the little magnum intimidated me; it took patience for me to learn how to shoot a snub that generated such noise and recoil. I went back to basics; I did considerable shooting with light .38 Special target wadcutters, then laddered up to standard velocity 158-grain roundnose loads, +P 158-grain loads, the mild 110-grain .357 Magnum loads, finally managing the full power .357 loads. For the most part, I now shoot heavy .38 Special loads; the cartridges shown are Federal .38 Special +P+ 147 grain Hydra-Shoks. Click here for the .38 snub versus the .357 snub.
No single handgun design is perfect for everyone. Moreover, most individuals find that there is no single handgun design that is perfect for all occasions. Some people go unarmed when their carry-gun does not fit in with their activities. Some people attempt to cover all possibilities by buying several handguns in different sizes and weights; that can get very expensive. For my world, the SP101 is a good compromise. Your world likely will be different.
Click here for Stephen A. Camp’s review of the Ruger SP101 over at Syd’s Snubnose Files.
Click here for George Hill’s review of the Ruger SP101 over at Syd’s Snubnose files.
Click here for Snub Training’s review of the Ruger SP101.
Click here to find the year your SP101 was made.
Click here for an SP101 owner’s manual.
Click here for an SP101 parts list.