Gun show score!! (wifes, for now...) SP-101
I am relatively new to hand gunning (bought my FM Hi-Power a few months ago, but I read and researched for going on 2-3 years). I REALLY wanted an SP-101 as my first handgun, but I could never find one for less than ~$500 locally.
Interestingly enough, I rented one a while back and my wife (who enjoys shooting my Hi-Power) LOVED the wheel gun. She has been considering taking a ccw class with me. She understands gun safety very well and immediately decided that her firearm should have no manual safety. When I showed her a few guns with safety's she looked and me confused and said, "Why would they do that? Why would you ever put your finger on the trigger if you didnt want to shoot someone? That seems silly. My brain probably works better than some little lever". :D Its funny how she usually GETS IT before I do. (I was somewhat nervous about leaving the BHP cocked and locked for a while).
We went to the show on Saturday and she handled a few LCRs (I went there looking for a Kahr CW9) before seeing 2 used .357 mag SP-101s in a case. One had a 3" barrel with a hammer and the other 2 (1/8)" which was bobbed. She held each and dry fired them and, much to my surprise, she preferred the DAO version. Again she surprised me by saying "If I had to shoot someone, I wouldnt want to pull the hammer back anyway, plus it could snag on something. I should just practice with this one" :) Haha she even made the gun salesman proud.
The trigger was indeed smoother on the DAO (though heavy) and despite being used on the tag, the thing looks brand new with the exception of a very slight drag mark. We ended up getting it for $380 with a little haggling. We immediately put a hogue monogrip on it.
We bought a few boxes of cheap 158g HC SWC 38 specials($10/50) and a box of Blazer 158g .357mag JHP. We made to the range yesterday and she shot it EXTREMELY well with the 38's- about a 3" group at 7 yards right through the COM. The .357s were impressive but somewhat uncontrollable for her- large muzzle flame and recoil to match. She decided she would probably carry 38's as the .357s were a bit much for her 5' 110lb frame (she did get a big smile every time she shot one, though!).
I ended up shooting a ~2" group with it at 15 yards slow fire, and every round in the chest rapid fire with .357's. It made my 9mm BHP feel like .22 :p
I will say that the .38's we had were very DIRTY loads. After 50 the cylinder began to get gritty and difficult to turn. A quick spray of CLP loosened it right up, however. I'll try to stay away from that particular brand.
Anyway, im very happy with the purchase - as is the lady. She is very excited to have a gun to call her own and more importantly, something she is completely confident in deploying if she needs to.