In my last two articles, I profiled some good long-barreled hunting revolvers, but I'd thought I'd switch things up a bit by profiling a good conceal-carry weapon, the Ruger SP-101. Now this weapon is a smaller counterpart to the GP-100, and it takes .357 rounds, .38 + P and .38 Specials for the 5-shot. Whereas the GP-100 has six shots, you mostly get 5 shots with the SP-101, but you can also get an 8-shot out of the .22 LR. You can also get a 6-shot in .327 Federal Magnum (an updated version of .357 with less recoil) and .32 H & R Magnum (light recoil compared to the .38 Special) in 6-shot. A 9MM version was produced until 1998, and there was a more basic .22 LR that ceased production in 2003, but was redesigned in 2011.
.357 Fiber Optic Sighting 4.20" Barrel With Black Rubber/Wood Grip. A similar 8-Shot version also comes in .22 LR
.357 With 3.06" Barrel
You get your choice between a fiber optic or front ramp sight and fixed or adjustable rear sighting. The shortest barrel length available is 2.25 inches, with the longest being 4.20 inches. The range of the overall length varies from a short 7.20 inches to the longest being 9.12 inches. The hammer may be a problem for those intending to use it for conceal-carry, but it also has a blended hammer option for the 2.25 inch barrel version.
2.25" Barrel .357 With Non-Protruding Hammer
Some would consider the standard .357 piece a bit on the heftier side when it comes to conceal-carry firearms, but there are a variety of others like the 2.25 inch that feel much lighter. The only problem is shooting a .357 round from a 2.25 inch barrel. The energy from the blast can be more than some can handle, and noise from the blast is louder than other rounds.
Multiple Purpose Weapon
And despite its compact stature, the standard and small versions still pack quite a heavy punch, and it is quite accurate weapon. Many think snub nose revolvers aren't as accurate because of the short sight radius, but it is still a reliable piece, depending on the shooting skills of the owner, and the craftsmanship of the gun.
The SP-101 is not only a good gun for concealed carry, but self-defense, or general range/trail shooting. The trigger pull is around 12 pounds (lighter for single action), and the hefty frame of the SP-101 will keep the gun steady. Even with a recoil-heavy .357 round, it is still a good self-defense weapon, and the lighter and generally cheaper .38 specials is perfect for rapid fire, even better for the .32 H & R, but it's all about personal preference. With the .32 H & R, you get a better chance of firing quick shots without the gun in different places. Check out the recoil test between the .357 and .38 Special
As with any other revolver, the SP-101 is a great gun with plenty of choices in the types of rounds you can get, and it is a prime gun for personal protection. Some may have a problem with the grips, but you get the option of having multiple grips in the package, including the Hogue Monogrip, which is excellent for absorbing recoil. If you're looking for a good self-defense weapon, you can't go wrong with this one.