Monday, February 21, 2011

Ruger SP101 As A Newbie Handgun

The Truth About Guns blog has a review today of the Ruger SP101 3" .357 Magnum. They are looking for a revolver that can be concealed that would be ideal for the new shooter.

As the Complementary Spouse and I were thinking of this same revolver as her "first" gun, I found this review very helpful. I really can't find anything that I really disagree with in the review. While a semi-auto may in fact be the better beginner gun, Robert makes some good points about why a revolver instead of a semi-auto pistol.
There’s too much that can go wrong: loading the magazine, loading the magazine into the gun, racking the slide, remembering to rack the slide, remembering if you’ve racked the slide, remembering to deactivate a safety (where applicable), knowing when the gun is empty and knowing how to release the magazine.

And knowing how to clear the chamber, remembering to clear the chamber, keeping track of the muzzle while you reload a new magazine, remembering to reactivate the safety (where applicable), etc. Not to mention limp wristing.
The one thing I'd add to this list is that some women have a hard time racking the slide.

Now if Ruger would just do something about the rear sights... You can get rear sights installed as part of the Perfected SP101 package from revolver-smith Hamiltion Bowen. It will cost you $495 which is about what you'd pay, give or take, for the SP101.


  1. Sure, it'd be a fine first gun...perhaps better loaded with .38 Special. (And that would be for both sexes.) I don't know how the recoil of .357 is with a 3" gun, but once upon a time I had an SP101 with a 2 1/4" barrel and that thing was a BEAST with .357 Mag. I didn't shoot them through it often. ;-)

  2. To say that my wife objects quite strongly to semi-autos being all wrong for beginners is a gross understatement.

    Her first ever gun was a semi-auto handgun. She's done fine.

    While there may be more things to teach a newb, none of it is actually very complicated. Perhaps we should just teach and put down the ivory tower snob mantle about what a new shooter can absorb?

  3. I have to agree with McThag. The piece may have been technically accurate, but it was dripping with condescension toward beginning women shooters. Additionally, like his wife, I started on semi-autos, and I had no trouble figuring out the mechanics. It's not like they require a degree in rocket science to operate.