SP101 And GP100 Ruger- Which Is Better For Personal Protection?

Which pistol to carry for defense purposes is an important question. Over the years, I’ve switched between a number of different guns for carry purposes and to use at the range. Two of them have stood out above the others as the most appropriate for general carry – the SP101 and the gp100 Ruger.

sp101 vs gp100 ruger

sp101 vs gp100 ruger

I spent about ten years with an SP101 type model after it came to market in 1989 before recently switching to the GP100.

Today, I’ll tell you what I liked and didn’t like about both and we’ll compare the SP101 vs gp100 Ruger. Let’s get started.

The breakdown

The SP101 maintains the feel and functionality of classic concealed carry guns. It’s small, in the featherweight class, and easy to draw. 

  • The best thing about it in this case is that the gun handles like a high-performance weapon. It’s powerful, relatively easy to aim and shoot, and certainly is tough to detect before you draw
  • It comes as a 5-shot, 6-shot, or 8-shot
  • It has a strong recoil, though, and it does take a moment to position yourself before shooting. Those action shots in the movies where the character runs while drawing and shooting aren’t really that realistic with the SP101 – in actuality, there’s a good amount of kick and continuing to run in a straight line would be near impossible

The GP100 is actually a modernized version of what was known as the Security Six. Physically, the newer model is much cleaner and fires better. It is highly preferable to me in day-to-day situations. I keep urging my wife to get one too, because she is now jealous of mine. 

  • It has a comfortable feel to it and is certainly a featherweight at 2.2 pounds. It is popular with a handful of law enforcement departments around the world because of its versatility
  • Depending on the catalog number, this gun handles anything from the .357 Magnum to a .44 Special. It’s got a wide range of caliber fittings and barrel lengths, coming as a 5-shot, 6-shot, 7-shot, or 10-shot.
  • I’m not as big of a fan of the after-market support and add-ons for the GP100, this is one thing I really do love about the SP101.

Which is better for personal protection GP101 or SP101?

In short, the GP100 is a better gun for concealed carry and personal protection. The gun itself is an evolution of previous hand-held revolvers, marking an improvement upon them, and it has been modified even since as it fits different caliber and barrel lengths. The gun is more versatile and can be better fitted to your personal preferences.

I find it more comfortable in concealed mode, in fact I hardly even notice that it is there. I love .357 Magnums, and the flow of this gun throughout the loading and shooting process is very smooth.

The SP101 is more of a heavy-duty type small revolver. Over the years, it’s been used by police departments as a quick-grab backup weapon, and is designed for situations where it will be used by a highly trained professional.

I used it quite a bit at the range to get a good feel, and I’ve got to say that I was able to feel comfortable with the GP100 much faster than the SP101.

They are both great guns. But let’s say that you are carrying a gun for the instance when a bad guy pops out of nowhere and you (as a common citizen, not a police officer) have to react quickly and depend on your gun to perform every time. The GP100 is easier to handle and easier to shoot.

Amenities, action, and sights: Oh my!

Both of these handguns come in multiple versions, barrel lengths, and caliber, fit to taste.

What I really like about the GP100 is the shot capacity and variety of calibers. Almost all, with the exception of the GPF-840 and the 1757, are full shroud, which is a huge plus for me. I prefer one of the variations with adjustable sights, because I’m old school and like to try out many different options before settling on my emergency go-to.

Ruger GP 100 Match Champion (.357 Magnum)

Ruger GP 100 Match Champion (.357 Magnum). Image from hickok45

The SP101 is a bit heavier than many other revolvers (not enough to cause a major disturbance, but if weight is your biggest factor, this is another reason to go with the GP 100). This gun does have a smooth double action, along with a bobbed hammer, two things I really like and that kept it at my waist for nearly ten years. It offers large, high-visibility sights, which I also loved. However, during rapid fire, I found I had a harder time tracking the sights than I have with the GP100.

Ruger SP101 .357 Magnum. Image from hickok45

Scorecard

As a review, let’s take a look at the points each gun has in its category here at the end of the comparison:

GP100

  • More options for customization
  • Better sight tracking during rapid fire
  • Variety of calibers is a big plus
  • Shot capacity is a big plus
  • Definite proof that it has gotten better over the years

SP101

  • Better after-market support and add-ons.
  • Smooth double action and bobbed hammer making the shooting fun and painless.
  • Very consistent, but with a higher recoil issue and (I felt) tougher to master.

Conclusion

Both the GP100 and the SP101 are fine small size revolvers to keep by your side in concealed carry mode.

Both can get the job the done.

But what has really drawn me to switch from the SP101 to the GP100 is the ease of comfortability I felt when learning the gun that was new to me. It takes a lot to get an old timer like me to change his ways, but the GP100 is the best revolver I have ever shot. I’ll keep it by my side until I die.

If you have enjoyed this article, please share on social media. I’d love to see how far we can push the word of the GP100. Feel free to leave comments below, let’s get a discussion going!. Oh one thing, if you need the gun safe for this ruger gun, you can take a look my post about best handgun safe for the money

Harvey Specter
 

"Sometimes hunting is the only thing that makes sense"

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