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Thread: SP101 vs. GP100

  1. #1
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    SP101 vs. GP100

    My recent acquisition of a 3" SP101 22LR has seriously peaked my interest in revolvers enough to persue a centerfire companion. There is a potential for carry, with being in the woods all day my biggest threat is stumbling across tweakers on their pot plants or potentially a black bear (unlikely due to location). The main purpose would be shooter development at the range, and potentially working it at IDPA while I work semi-auto at USPSA.

    I just can't freaking decide between an SP101 or GP100, as the size gap doesn't appear to be that large in photos. So I'm asking for what people would gravitate towards given the above usage. Hand size is a L glove with M length fingers.

    My biggest lessons learned with the J/K series was the sights are nothing like what I can find on a semi auto. My .22LR has an actual rear sight, and it makes a huge difference. If it's possible to get an acceptable sight picture with a front sight replacement and blackening the rear sight trench, I'm considering the 9mm SP101 simply due to the fact that I reload 9mm and this would give more trigger time than saving for a bulk purchase of 38/357

    My gut reaction is to get a Wiley Clap model of one of the two, since the sights they come with can't be done without significant aftermarket investment. I just have a problem determining whether to go SP101 or GP100 without having the opportunity to have my hands on anything but a SP101. The Wiley Clapp GP100 is $100 more than the SP101, which is reasonable - and the WC SP101 is about $125 more than the base SP101's.
    Nice people fall to the manipulator. The manipulator crumbles under the assertive. The assertive shrinks before the aggressive. The aggressive have no plan for the assaultive. The assaultive are unprepared for the homicidal.

  2. #2
    IS WHAT PLANTS CRAVE BehindBlueI's's Avatar
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    I don't care for the SP101. If I can carry it, I can carry a GP100. If I can't carry a GP100, that's LCR territory.
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  3. #3
    Site Supporter entropy's Avatar
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    For a field gun, I would (and have) picked the GP. The SP101 rides in the beltline. Think of the SP as a fat j-frame and the GP to be a chubby K.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by entropy View Post
    For a field gun, I would (and have) picked the GP. The SP101 rides in the beltline. Think of the SP as a fat j-frame and the GP to be a chubby K.
    For reference, as a field gun it will have to be concealed while wearing a 60-80 pound pack.


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    Nice people fall to the manipulator. The manipulator crumbles under the assertive. The assertive shrinks before the aggressive. The aggressive have no plan for the assaultive. The assaultive are unprepared for the homicidal.

  5. #5
    For general shooting practice I would go with the GP. I had the 4" .357 SP and the grip was just a bit cramped on my fingers, hampering shooting performance. However, I think I have longer fingers than yours so YMMV.

    However, a nice compromise between the two would be the SP Match Champion. It has a larger grip than the regular SP and comes with a tuned trigger and nice adjustable sights. It is still a very compact package for a gun that can hit targets with consistency and authority at 100 yards.

    The SP was small enough I could carry it in the pocket of my hunting jacket, no way I could do that with a 4" GP. it's a big difference if you care about carrying concealed.

  6. #6
    #LowLife4Life Bigghoss's Avatar
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    The difference between the SP101 and GP100 is pretty substantial. The SP is based on 5 rounds of .357 magnum and Ruger recently introduced a 7-shot version of the .357 GP100. I used to carry my GP100 as a woods gun until I switched to semiautos for everything.

    I recently sold my SP101 as it's kinda heavy for a snubby but I was using it as a pocket gun and the LCR is just plain better for that. If you're going to shoot .357 rounds you'll want to get at least the 3" barrel to take advantage of the extra powder the magnums have.

    The only way to really get an understanding of the size and weight is to feel them for yourself.

  7. #7
    I think some of this decision works backwards from the barrel length, cartridge and also weight (if you are carrying a 70 pound pack does a few ounces of pistol matter or does it mater more?). 357 needs at least the 3" to even approach 357 potential. If you are talking 2" then like BB says, the LCR is lighter and cheaper and smoother out of the box. But I just realized the WCs are 3", so that is where you must be at.

    I have a 3" SP, and I really think it is cool (but I am realizing that I think everything I have is really cool... ) it is a nice powerful medium size gun. I don't carry it much but will probably start carrying it more on long road trips when I will only be out of the car at gas stops and rest stops and it will be more comfortable seated.

    The GP is not that much bigger, but it is bigger, and as a result, heavier. But the 7 round version is maybe a game changer, but that is back to a 2.5" or 4.2" decision, and the 4.2" is a full lug 40oz deal. Seems like the slab side lighter profile Match Champion would be interesting if it were 7 rounds, but they only show it to be 2oz lighter. If they had a 7 round version of the fixed sight GP I would be wanting one, but I sorta want everything.

    The SP Match Champ 4.2" is 25% lighter and would give the powder room to burn.

    As much as I like my SP if I were doing it again today the 3" LCRx might have to get some consideration.
    Last edited by mmc45414; 03-31-2018 at 08:54 AM.

  8. #8
    Site Supporter entropy's Avatar
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    Depends on how you carry it and how you envision using it. I’ve mostly carried in a waistpack when backpacking. Size of the gun in this case woudnt be an issue. Depending on where you are and the type of mischief youre concerned about maight dictate too. I would want something a bit bigger out West for example. Just a thought.

  9. #9
    Site Supporter Rex G's Avatar
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    The SP 101 is slightly larger than an S&W J-Snub, and just large enough for me to shoot reasonably well, so that I am OK if the largest gun I am carrying is an SP101. There is not much clearance for a speed-loader, but I would rather not remove grip material, because I want every bit of that rubber to stay there, for better control of the weapon, and recoil mitigation. The best speed-load for an SP101 is another gun, at least for me. I really did carry multiple SP101 revolvers, for several years.

    The GP100, with the original, pre-Hogue, square-butt OEM grip, fits me better than any handgun I have ever tried. I have read some accounts of the occasional QC issue, but a carefully-selected and vetted GP100 is my idea of the perfect defensive revolving pistol.

    These are quite different handguns. The size gap actually IS substantial. Try to handle and test-shoot before making a buying decision.
    Last edited by Rex G; 03-31-2018 at 10:28 AM.

  10. #10
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    Here is a pic of all three. The 3" GP 100 is my do everything gun. I've shot IDPA with it, carried it on hikes and concealed. But the SP is easier to conceal and the MC is better for competition. So you just have to decide what is most important.

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