Sp101 - 3 inch barrel VS 2 inch

This is a discussion on Sp101 - 3 inch barrel VS 2 inch within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I've decided that my next purchase is more then likely going to be a Ruger SP101. I have VERY little experience when it comes to ...

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Thread: Sp101 - 3 inch barrel VS 2 inch

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    VIP Member Array Rollo's Avatar
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    Sp101 - 3 inch barrel VS 2 inch

    I've decided that my next purchase is more then likely going to be a Ruger SP101. I have VERY little experience when it comes to wheel guns. This wouldn't be a pocket carry gun so it seems like the extra inch on the barrel would be the way to go simply from a ballistic stand point but due to my lack of experience with the platform I'm not sure. Is there a advantage to the 2 inch barrel over the 3 inch barrel on a .357 that isn't going to be pocket carried? I have heard people say that the .357 out of a 2 inch barrel is basically the same as .38spl +p
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    Senior Member Array GoBigOrange's Avatar
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    I've heard people say that as well about barrel length. They might be right but I always like to see evidence to back it up. If it were me personally, I would get the 2".

    The SP101 is next on my list of guns to buy.

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    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    I wanted the 3", but was trading a rifle in and had to choose from what was in stock and he had a 2" so I traded. I've been very pleased. The 2" carried appendix IWB easily, but I imagine that it would be difficult to sit down with that carry configuration with a 3". If you're going to carry IWB at 3 o'clock or back further or OWB, then the extra inch would be beneficial and not hinder carry. I've shot 38+P and .357 Mag from my 2" SP101 into steel plates and the impact on steel is a noticeable difference between the two rounds out of the same gun. I can only ascertain for myself that this translates into a noticeable difference in SD material. I'm no expert, but I can see impact damage on steel. Scientific enough for me. My opinion, out of the same length barrels, .38 is to .357 as .380 is to 9mm. All 4 are capable of SD.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
    I've decided that my next purchase is more then likely going to be a Ruger SP101. I have VERY little experience when it comes to wheel guns. This wouldn't be a pocket carry gun so it seems like the extra inch on the barrel would be the way to go simply from a ballistic stand point but due to my lack of experience with the platform I'm not sure. Is there a advantage to the 2 inch barrel over the 3 inch barrel on a .357 that isn't going to be pocket carried? I have heard people say that the .357 out of a 2 inch barrel is basically the same as .38spl +p
    I was thinking about one of these or the GP100. Odd's are that I would not carry it often because of my M&P, but I have been wanting one! I want a 4 inch though!
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    Member Array NoSlack's Avatar
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    I have the 3" and love it. If you're going to holster carry, why not get the extra inch for sight radius and whatever amount of FPS you can add? Having said that, I'm sure I'd be happy with a 2" too. For my 2" revolver, I have an LCR. This fits a 2" revolver philosophy of use better for my specific purposes (others have their own circumstances, I'm sure) as it's light and can easily be carried in a pocket should the need arise. For my SP101, I just wanted an over-built small-medium sized revolver. For that purpose the 3" made more sense to me. But you can't go wrong with either barrel length.

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    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    Based on figures I've seen, I won't carry less than a 3" in a .357 mag. It seems to be a good compromise between convenience and velocity. YMMV
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    Senior Member Array GlockJS's Avatar
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    Does anyone have a pic of a 3" and a 2" side by side to compare?
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    I had the same concern about the SP101...2" or 3"?
    I Googled and read as much as I could about opinions, and went with the 3"...longer sight radius, a little more weight, and not difficult to conceal.
    Probably either would work, and work well, but if I were to do it again, I'd still get the 3".OMO
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    Member Array richgp100z's Avatar
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    I have been carrying my Ruger SP101 in 2.25 inch barrel for about 20 years now and it shoots still like a brand new gun when I got it. SP101 is my edc and carrying 4 speedloaders of .357 rounds in my vest pockets. I always been a revolver man especially for Ruger revolvers. I do have my S&Ws in M10s,3,625-8,and a M65 4 inch barrel. All shoot well and I love my Ruger revolvers better.

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    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    I'm partial to 3" Six Shot Revolvers, like the GP100, but will admit to a 2.25" SP101 as well.

    If I'm only going to carry one, and I don't, the 3" gets my vote. The longer tube makes me want an extra round, so I go with Six-Shooters. The five shot, shorter barrelled gun is a BUG for me. The six round capacity, combined with the 3" tube is the perfect revolver compromize, IMO. I've found it to hide as easily as the five shot gun, so why not take advantage of that extra round?

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    VIP Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    It's a tradeoff, so you get a plus and a minus. The longer barrel gives you more everything - FPS, accuracy, and control. More length and weight, too.
    "It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
    Is there a advantage to the 2 inch barrel over the 3 inch barrel on a .357 that isn't going to be pocket carried?
    I've attempted to pocket carry the SP-101. It's a fair-sized gun. The 3" bbl makes it even "worse" for pocket carry. Impossible, I'd say. But if you're going to do IWB, particularly if OWB, then IMO the 3" bbl affords that much greater control of the gun under fire.
    Comes down to what size restrictions you're working with, given your holster and mode of carry. I like the 3" variety of the SP-101. For OWB certainly, but even IWB, it would be my choice, as well.
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    VIP Member Array Old School's Avatar
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    Cool

    I carry and shoot the SP-101 in 2 1/4" barrel configeration. I use the Winchester 110 gr. 357 round for most of my shooting and the Remington 125 gr. 357 Golden Saber for defensive carry. They both are a bit more than a .38 +p round . If there had been a 3" barrel SP on the table when I bought mine I would have gotten it because of the longer sight radius and the boost in fps and muzzle energy that the 3" barrel gives. That said I do not think in a defensive situation from arm length to 20 feet it will make any difference. As the distance increases it may.

    One of my favorite guns over the years was a S&W 65 round butt with 3" barrel but that went with an ex a few years back....
    Last edited by Old School; November 3rd, 2010 at 10:23 AM.
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    Senior Member Array mr surveyor's Avatar
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    I've carried revo's "in the field" for many years, and rusted a few blued Rossi's along the way. Then I tried a S&W 637 Airweight (1-7/8") and was very satisfied with how well it carried and held up in the nasty environment is was subjected to almost every day. But, I just couldn't shoot it as well as I wanted to. A few weeks ago I ran across a deal on a 3 inch SP101 that I could not pass up, and really wanted to go back to a .357 for my daily field gun. Being very physically "active" (for an old fart), I find OWB under a cover shirt the most comfortable way to carry a wheel gun, and used a high ride pancake style holster for the snubbies for years. I always carried using the "cross draw slots" on the strong side, and with the short barrel set up the very bottom edge of the closed holster was only an inch or so below the edge of the belt. Now, with the 3 inch SP101 and the holster I had made by Ray Cory (Lobo Leather), I have about 1-3/4" of leather extending below the bottom edge of the belt, but although the rig weighs almost twice what the 637 set-up weighed it still carries extremely well...and the trade off was well worth the difference. Unlike the typical j-frame grip design, the stock grip on the Ruger fits my short fingered bear paw hand well, and allows the sights to come up to poa perfectly. The short trigger reach in an absolute necesity for me, and the SP101 completely fills the need. Detail stripping for deep cleaning is also a very simple process, and it's refreshing to see a revolver manufacturer provide simple instructions.

    As for the decision of 2 inch or 3 inch I suppose you have the weigh all the factors and decide whether to sacrifice a bit of overall performance in ballistics and accuracy (due to sight radius), or deal with the extra couple of ounces of the longer barrel and a bit of inconvenience in concealement issues. Personally, I end up with more pocket change weight than the small amount of weight added by the longer barrel, and the increased performance is worth all the little inconveniences I may have had to deal with.

    Here's a pic of the SP101 in the LoboLeather



    Sorry for the blathering, but as you might notice I love the SP101


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    Member Array sinzitu's Avatar
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    I have the 2 1/4" SP101 but would have definitely gone with the 3" model if one was in stock at the time. Personally I don't find full power .357 loads harsh. I would imagine the extra inch steel would be even more benficial. I highly recommend trying a set of Hogue grips as well. Very comfortable to shoot.

    You should have no issue concealing either barrel length.

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