The snubbie saga: J-frame vs. K-frame vs. SP101

The snubbie saga: J-frame vs. K-frame vs. SP101

This is a discussion on The snubbie saga: J-frame vs. K-frame vs. SP101 within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; For the past few weeks, I've been searching high and low for a Ruger SP101. I was primarily looking for a knock-around gun. Something to ...

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Thread: The snubbie saga: J-frame vs. K-frame vs. SP101

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array TheGreatGonzo's Avatar
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    The snubbie saga: J-frame vs. K-frame vs. SP101

    For the past few weeks, I've been searching high and low for a Ruger SP101. I was primarily looking for a knock-around gun. Something to drop in my jacket pocket when walking the dog or maybe stick in my waistband for a quick trip to the gas station. I carry pretty much 24/7, everywhere I go, but I almost always carry a Sig P229 or P239, with the occasional switch to my Kahr K9 for hot weather t-shirt carry. It was not my intent to carry .357 loads in the snubbie, just .38 +P.

    I was having trouble finding one, but in the looking process, I stumbled on a very beautiful little S&W Model 19-3 2.5" nickel snubbie. I could not resist it and snatched it right up. To me, it seems just perfect for a carry gun. As luck would have it, an SP101 has now popped up at a local dealer. The thing is, now I'm not sure I actually need one. The M19 is just about perfect for belt carry and does not seem all that much larger than the SP101. At this point, if what I'm looking for is a true "drop in my pocket gun" and I'm not particularly looking for a .357 that I might be better served looking for a lovingly used, but not abused, j-frame S&W. The SP101 runs about $560 + tax and I'm thinking I could find a used j-frame somewhat cheaper than that. I have owned (and carried) various j-frames in the past and I have owned (and wished I never got rid of) an SP101, but never at the same time, so I can't really get a solid grip on the difference in size. I do know the SP101 is pretty chunky for a snubnose 5-shot, but that comes with being built like a tank.

    At this point, my mind is up in the air. I'm open to any insight, thoughts, or suggestions.
    Best regards,
    Gonzo
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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Bad Bob's Avatar
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    I really don't think the SP101 is appreciably smaller than your M19. If I want to step down from my K frame I step to a J frame. The SP has a shorter crane which makes speed loader use more a challenge that the J frame. I just feel that the J Frame is a better gun.
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  3. #3
    VIP Member Array old grunt's Avatar
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    I just came home from a run into town and my SP101 2.25" 357 was along for the ride. I LOVE it, but when I picked it up new, I had NO revolvers in the collection. My old Smiths(3" K-frame 64 and all my J-frames:36,60 and 640)were history. I wanted ONE solid snub and the SP101 fit the bill. I run 38Spl's too and put a Hogue MonoGrip on it. You, on the other hand, have that sweet Model 19 so it sounds like you're set. Neither that Smith or my Ruger are exactly "pocket guns", so if that's what you're looking for it might be time for an Airweight J-frame or a new Ruger LCR. Good Luck..let us know how you make out!
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Array TheGreatGonzo's Avatar
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    I'm definitely not getting rid of the 19-3! I'm just pondering...since it fulfills the role that I had in my mind for the SP101 (OWB carry), perhaps instead of still getting the SP101, I should look for a lighter j-frame instead.
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    VIP Member Array xXxplosive's Avatar
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    "J" frame................+1.

  6. #6
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    J frame. Easiest gun to carry and still packs a great punch. I carry a SW 442. Highly recommend it.
    BigJon


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  7. #7
    VIP Member Array Easy8's Avatar
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    002 (2).jpgI love snubbies, Carry a SP101 2.4 also S&W Mod 60 and a 642 love them all Use Milts summer special or a remora or hayesleather patriot OWB 642 I just throw in my pocket for fast trips had it ported shoots +Ps like butter

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    If you want the ability to carry it in a pocket, then you are looking at either a J frame or the Ruger LCR. The others are really too large/heavy for that role.
    The more good folks carry guns, the fewer shots the crazies can get off.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Array USM1976's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGreatGonzo View Post
    For the past few weeks, I've been searching high and low for a Ruger SP101. I was primarily looking for a knock-around gun. Something to drop in my jacket pocket when walking the dog or maybe stick in my waistband for a quick trip to the gas station. I carry pretty much 24/7, everywhere I go, but I almost always carry a Sig P229 or P239, with the occasional switch to my Kahr K9 for hot weather t-shirt carry. It was not my intent to carry .357 loads in the snubbie, just .38 +P.

    I was having trouble finding one, but in the looking process, I stumbled on a very beautiful little S&W Model 19-3 2.5" nickel snubbie. I could not resist it and snatched it right up. To me, it seems just perfect for a carry gun. As luck would have it, an SP101 has now popped up at a local dealer. The thing is, now I'm not sure I actually need one. The M19 is just about perfect for belt carry and does not seem all that much larger than the SP101. At this point, if what I'm looking for is a true "drop in my pocket gun" and I'm not particularly looking for a .357 that I might be better served looking for a lovingly used, but not abused, j-frame S&W. The SP101 runs about $560 + tax and I'm thinking I could find a used j-frame somewhat cheaper than that. I have owned (and carried) various j-frames in the past and I have owned (and wished I never got rid of) an SP101, but never at the same time, so I can't really get a solid grip on the difference in size. I do know the SP101 is pretty chunky for a snubnose 5-shot, but that comes with being built like a tank.

    At this point, my mind is up in the air. I'm open to any insight, thoughts, or suggestions.
    Best regards,
    Gonzo

    If you get rid of the Model 19 Nickel and you will always regret the move. It's subjective to the individual, but a S&W Model 19 nickel is much better than the Ruger SP101...J frames can be quite expensive...

    I bought a Model 66 (stainless) 2 1/2" in '77 while in the academy, and like a fool, I wish I still had the gun...thought I had to have something better...had the first of two gun fights with it...it worked...!!!

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array NONAME762's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10thmtn View Post
    If you want the ability to carry it in a pocket, then you are looking at either a J frame or the Ruger LCR. The others are really too large/heavy for that role.
    Well that's all well and good for you guys but I need sumpin with Mo Punch...So I'll be bringin' my 40Watt High Speed Phase Rifle with the 3 Shot 60mm Grenade Launcher and 16 WP Grenades. If THAT don't git er done I'll just Reach Down My Throat and pull out my Uranium Powered Energy Cell, Turn The Arming Ring 3/4th Turn Clockwise and Lob It At The Problem Child...and then RUN LIKE MY DERRIERE IS ON FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!FIRE IN THE HOLEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!YEHAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!IF Y'ALL SEE THE EOD MAN RUNNIN'...TRY TO KEEP UP WITH ME!!!!!!!!!!
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  11. #11
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    If you are going to conceal it nothing beats the J-frame

    unless you want to carry the .44 329 Night Guard ( but thats a lot of gun )
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Array TheGreatGonzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USM1976 View Post
    If you get rid of the Model 19 Nickel and you will always regret the move.
    Thanks, but as I stated above, I have no plans of getting rid of my M19. I'm talking about supplementing it.
    "Skin that smokewagon!".

  13. #13
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    "I stumbled on a very beautiful little S&W Model 19-3 2.5" nickel snubbie. I could not resist it and snatched it right up. To me, it seems just perfect for a carry gun."

    Here's only one opinion from someone who frankly does not admire the revolvers that are "built-like-a-tank." I don't want a hulking tank for a daily driver, much preferring my more maneuverable, peppy, and fuel-efficient car. I would get no satisfaction out of owning and using clunky, cast steel revolvers with actions that just aren't as smooth as the revolvers I favor. I don't feel that the Ruger revolver offers any actual increase in durability or service life over the forged steel Smith & Wesson revolver. I've never had a minute's trouble from any Smith & Wesson revolver that I used and abused and I'm still in process of giving several Smith & Wessons a lifetime of being "run through the wringer."

    That said, my brother-in-law acquired an SP 101 when they first hit the market. This revolver was stock, not slicked up, and not even broken in completely yet had the best action feel of any Ruger double-action revolver I'd ever handled or shot. I really liked the configuration of the original equipment grips. I liked the fact that the SP 101 remained well-mannered when fired with full-powered .357 Magnum ammunition featuring the heavier bullet weights. It was easy to make good hits with the revolver. For use with the .357 Magnum, the SP 101 is compact and quite "tote-able."

    The SP 101 seemed like a worthwhile product at first but then I got to thinking about it. It occurred to me that it really didn't have any more recoil than the 2 1/2-inch Smith & Wesson Model 66 kept around here, something which can be considered to be a good attribute of the SP 101. Of course the Model 66 is only the stainless steel version of your nickel Model 19. So a comparison of the K-Frame .357 snub and the SP 101 seemed in order.

    Realistically, if a person can conceal an SP 101 then he can conceal a 2 1/2-inch K-Frame Smith & Wesson. A round-butt Model 19 or Model 66 (or the fixed sight versions, the Model 13 or Model 65) is easy to conceal well. The K-Frames hold six shots to the SP 101's five shots. The K-Frames' superior double-action is admirably slick and smooth and not really available to the user of the SP 101 without an action job. An action job won't even bring the SP 101 to parity with the feel of the K-Frame in my opinion. The K-Frames also soak up .357 Magnum recoil acceptably for defensive purposes.

    I have no use for J-Frame .357 Magnums though others may like them. They are simply too small and light to be practical. The J-Frame .357 is a stunt and really a pretty silly way to do .357 Magnum. Steel J-Frames are best done in .38 Special. I have an Airweight but am not even fond of it. I don't buy into this "ever smaller, ever lighter" business that is so popular these days. For use with the .357 Magnum cartridge the SP 101 does make a lot more sense than the Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolver.

    My initial impression of the SP 101 made me begin to consider purchasing one as my first Ruger revolver. Further consideration though made me realize that it was not innovative enough to be uniquely useful to a person who already was a fan of the Smith & Wesson K-Frame Magnum snub.

    So in my view, you are correct. The 2 1/2-inch Smith & Wesson K-Frame Magnum is the perfect carry gun for the person who desires a snub in .357 Magnum.

    J-Frame versus K-Frame versus SP 101. You did ask, Gonzo.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Array crue2009's Avatar
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    true,the sp-101 is built like a tank and will last forever but it's also quite heavy..take a look at the lcr,IMO it's a better "drop in the pocket/carry everywhere you go gun" then the sp-101

  15. #15
    Senior Member Array sensei2's Avatar
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    i shoot my 2.5" K-frame MUCH better than my 2" (actually 1-7/8") Smith 642, alloy J-frame.

    for pocket carry, my opinion is that the SP-101 is too heavy - i prefer a 16 oz. maximum weight in a pants pocket carried gun.

    see if you can borrow or rent a SP-101 and possible other revolvers like the J-frames and LCR's. shooting them will tell you a lot about which one you should get.

    p.s. i don't like the new polymer frame S&W Bodyguard revolver very much. my advice is to avoid that one.

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