Ruger .357 vs Compact 1911s

This is a discussion on Ruger .357 vs Compact 1911s within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; After my recent thread, "First carry gun, SP101?" here: http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...ad.php?t=35671 I've been doing a lot of reading and research, and made a trip to the ...

View Poll Results: Which one?

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  • Ruger SP101 3" 5-shot

    37 23.87%
  • Ruger GP100 3" 6-shot

    30 19.35%
  • Para Warthog 3" 10+1

    18 11.61%
  • Kimber Ultra Carry 3" 7+1

    70 45.16%
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Thread: Ruger .357 vs Compact 1911s

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Pete Zaria's Avatar
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    Ruger .357 vs Compact 1911s

    After my recent thread, "First carry gun, SP101?" here: http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...ad.php?t=35671 I've been doing a lot of reading and research, and made a trip to the range to try out a few pieces.

    Right off the bat, I know I'm being obsessive about this, and probably researching my options too much - all of them are great weapons. But I want to make the right choice.

    I've pretty much narrowed my choice down to this:
    A 3" .357 Magnum revolver, or a 3" - 3.5" compact 1911. The $900 price tag of some of these 1911's is a bit high for me, but I intend to keep this piece for a very long time (if not my lifetime) so waiting a few months until I can afford what I really want seems like a good idea. I won't have my CWP for a few more weeks anyway.

    This will be a bit of a workhorse gun; it will see a lot of time on the range, a fair bit of time under my car seat, and a lot of time on my hip.

    Ammo price is a consideration because I like the theory of "practice with what you carry".

    Here are the contenders:

    Ruger SP101 3" .357 5-shot
    Ruger GP100 3" .357 6-shot
    Para "Warthog" 3" .45 ACP 10+1
    Kimber Ultra Carry 3" .45 ACP 7+1
    I would consider a Springfield XD in .45 but they don't seem to make a 3" - 3.5" model.
    I personally am not a Glock fan; I've shot a few, I know they're dependable, reliable weapons, but the trigger just doesn't feel right to me. Maybe with some practice, but I don't think that's what I'm looking for.

    I made myself a little comparison sheet between them all:





    By the way the muzzle energies listed were what I found to be a "high average" ME for defensive loads, out of a reloading book I have laying around. I know "mileage may vary" depending on ammo and barrel length, but I think those are realistic numbers for hot-ish loads out of any of these guns. The price for bulk ammo is what I found with a quick google search on "bulk ammo". I know the .45s might not cycle real cheap stuff, so I'd need to look around.

    Advantages of a revolver:
    .357 Magnum has infamous stopping power and very high one-shot-stop rates (I know, one-shot-stop rates can be deceiving)
    Less maintenance, less prone to failure
    Potentially more accurate
    Cheaper ammo (can shoot .38 Spcl too)
    Less expensive

    Advantages of a semiauto:
    Higher capacity
    Smaller, lighter, easier to carry package
    Faster reload times
    More accessories available

    I know that I need to go try out both before making a decision. I've shot several full-size 1911s and one or two "compact" models, but never a 3". I'd need to shoot one a bit before deciding to buy it.

    I'm interested in your input on these weapons and which would be your choice, if you could only have one CCW weapon.

    Thank you all very much for your time; I'm impressed with the community spirit and knowledge base here. Thanks again.

    Peace,
    Pete Zaria.
    Last edited by Pete Zaria; November 18th, 2007 at 11:53 PM. Reason: Added info, fixed typos

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array tanksoldier's Avatar
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    Actually, I'd try to find a .357 2.75" Ruger Speed Six if you want a revolver.

    That was my first CCW. Easier on the hand than an SP101, smaller package than the GP100.
    "I am a Soldier. I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight." GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

  4. #3
    Member Array N-frame Smith's Avatar
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    If you think you can accomodate the larger bulk and weight of the GP100 versus the SP101, then the GP is the way to go. I think most folks that pick a small frame 5 shot revolver do so due to the small size, so if that's not an issue for you then there's not reason to settle for the smaller gun. The GP will be more comfortable and accurate to shoot, period.

    I've never owned a 3" 1911, but I've had some 3.5" guns and didn't like them and have no reason to think a 3" would be any better for me. I decided a long time ago that with 1911's I would stick to a Commander size gun or larger, and the full size grip frame is a must for me. Just a personal preference, though there do seem to be more reports of reliability problems with the small 1911's.
    "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" - Patrick Henry

  5. #4
    Senior Member Array wvshooter's Avatar
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    Talking

    If you want "sexy" I'd go with the Kimber. That thing is so cute I want to cuddle it.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Array Sarge45's Avatar
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    Of the four you mentioned, the Kimber will "carry" the best and be most wearable. I am a 1911 carry fan but saying that I will add, stay away from anything Para, IMHO.

    Your SP101 is an excellent choice too, although it won't carry as flat as the Kimber.

    Summary... Kimber or SP101.

    Edit to add:

    N-Frame has a good point about the 3" 1911's. Go with a Kimber ProCarry or Kimber Compact at 4" minimum for best bet on reliability. I have each, as well as a 3.5" Colt Officers ACP and they are all great performers.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Array Pete Zaria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N-frame Smith View Post
    If you think you can accomodate the larger bulk and weight of the GP100 versus the SP101, then the GP is the way to go.

    I've never owned a 3" 1911, but I've had some 3.5" guns and didn't like them and have no reason to think a 3" would be any better for me. There do seem to be more reports of reliability problems with the small 1911's.
    You're quite right about the SP101 vs GP100; that extra round capacity may be worth the difference in weight. Getting to shoot both won't be a problem for me, but I probably won't get a chance to carry either one before purchasing, so I'll be doing some thinking about weight.

    As to the reliability of the 3" guns, I've heard most of it is about having a firm grip and ammunition choice. Find an ammo that your gun cycles well and keep a damn good grip on it, and they should be fine - and if it's not, send it back for repairs, right?


    Quote Originally Posted by Sarge45 View Post
    Of the four you mentioned, the Kimber will "carry" the best and be most wearable. I am a 1911 carry fan but saying that I will add, stay away from anything Para, IMHO.

    Your SP101 is an excellent choice too, although it won't carry as flat as the Kimber.

    Summary... Kimber or SP101.

    N-Frame has a good point about the 3" 1911's. Go with a Kimber ProCarry or Kimber Compact at 4" minimum for best bet on reliability. I have each, as well as a 3.5" Colt Officers ACP and they are all great performers.
    Why do you suggest avoiding Para? I know Kimber is an awesome name in 1911 pistols, but that Warthog really appeals to me - 11 rounds of .45 ACP in a small, light, easy-to-handle package. I've read mostly positive reviews about them, outside of a few reports of stove piping during the break-in period.

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR INPUT! KEEP IT COMIN'!

    Peace,
    Pete Zaria.

  8. #7
    Member Array johnnyrigger's Avatar
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    I have a Colt Defender 3" and i love it!! shoots good recoil is not that bad with 280 gr ball ammo, no jams of any kind after shooting 150rds with it. I also have a colt combat commander in 4.25" love it also!! My Commander has a full size frame and a small slide and barrel. so if i was going to get a new gun i think i would get a colt or a kimber in the 3", but if you got the money i would look a Wilson Combat for a CC gun. but that is just my .02c

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array BigEFan's Avatar
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    I know its not on your list but I have a Para SlimHawg on the way and will have a range report shortly after Thanksgiving. I'll let you know how it works out for me.
    Lex et Libertas — Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus, et Fidelis!

    "Not only do the people who put their lives on the line to protect the rest of us deserve better, we all deserve better than to have our own security undermined by those who undermine law enforcement." -Thomas Sowell

  10. #9
    Senior Member Array Pete Zaria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigEFan View Post
    I know its not on your list but I have a Para SlimHawg on the way and will have a range report shortly after Thanksgiving. I'll let you know how it works out for me.
    Looking forward to it! The SlimHawg is just the single-stack version of the Warthog so I'd think the performance would be very similar. I've heard the break-in period on them is kind of long, and they can be picky about ammo. But if you keep a good, firm grip on it, and find an ammo it likes, they're smooth shooting guns. Let me know if the articles and reviews I've read are accurate.

    Thanks again for all the input guys, I'm interested to see where this poll/thread goes. I'll definitely be making an "informed decision" when I go to buy.

    Peace,
    Pete Zaria.

  11. #10
    Member Array SevenSix9ine's Avatar
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    I've put about 100 rounds out of a co-workers warthog and loved it, I've played with it several times other than just shooting it and it feels well built. It's on my christmas list.

    -Alex

  12. #11
    Distinguished Member Array fotomaker57's Avatar
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    With all the mixed reviews of reliability on the 3" 1911 pistols. I would be leery of trusting my life to them. That said I wish you would consider a 4" version of the 1911. The difference in carrying or concealing is small but the difference in reliability is huge. Good luck with your choice.
    Mike
    The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
    Thomas Jefferson

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Vote for Kimber Ultra

    Of your four choices, I voted for the Kimber Ultra. My reasons were:

    1. I own a Kimber Pro and have a good opinion of the brand.
    2. The 3 inch 1911 is a good size for CCW, based on my ownership of a Colt Defender.
    3. I would rather have 8 rounds in the gun than 5 or 6.
    4. I am slightly cautious about the Para brand, and avoid it.
    5. I prefer the faster reload of the 1911 compared to the revolver.
    6. The 1911 has a better trigger than a Ruger revolver for fast, accurate shooting.
    7. There are more holster and custom part options for a 1911 than revolvers.

  14. #13
    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    I voted for the 3" GP100, big surprise there.

    Don't get me wrong, I love the 1911 platform, I just don't feel it's "all that and a bag of chips" for the average concealed weapon packer. Having pulled a gun on another person I can honestly say that the resistance of the double action trigger is a welcome thing.

    I am looking at this from a "legal aftermath" situation. I do not want to give a Prosecuting Attorney or plantiff's attorney any more "ammo" than he or she can conjure up. Another point is how will the gun look to a jury? Remember, most juries are not made up of "gun people".

    You will have to explain each and every choice and action you make. Why "muddy the waters" with things that may confuse a jury? I have carried a 1911 before, and may do so again, but my first choice has been a DAO Revolver for years.

    I have not been impressed with the reliability of less than 5" 1911's, and I'm not impressed with the reliability of some of them either. If you are going to carry a 1911 "style" pistol I wouldn't go smaller than a 4" version. Besides, the "butt" is the part that's hard to hide, not the slide.

    Early next year I will have a 3" GP100 as my EDC when I am Off-Duty, instead of my 4" N-Frame. I'm lucky, my Agency lets me carry what I want Off-Duty. That's not because they have a great policy on Off-Duty Carry but rather because they haven't really worked out a policy. They would "prefer" that nobody carry when not "on the clock" but I'm not too concerned with what they "prefer".

    If you feel that you must carry a 1911 make sure that you spend a lot of time and bullets making sure that your pistol is 100% reliable. Also, seek out training from a "reputable" trainer with documented credentials as an expert in the use of a pistol for self defense.

    When I start carrying a 1911 again it will not be before I take the gun and attend a class at Gunsite or LFI.

    Biker

  15. #14
    Senior Member Array SilenceDoGood's Avatar
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    If you want a reliable revolver get the s&w J frame. Heard nothing but great things. The 1911 platform has a VERY solid following, but there are certainly some mixed feelings about the 3" versions (on all brands). step it up to a 4" i'd say.
    "A government is like fire, a handy servant, but a dangerous master." -- George Washington

  16. #15
    Member Array Cloudpeak's Avatar
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    I think you've zeroed in on some nice guns and this makes choosing the right one a tough decision. The Para is a good looking gun but, in all of my cruising the net, they seem to have their share of problems. The short 1911s seem to come in for their fair share of critisism, as well. You don't see many problems with Ruger revolvers, that's for sure.

    I have a Springfield LW Champion (4" barrel) and, after initial feed problems, I think I have things pretty well squared away. I recently bought a 2 1/4" Ruger SP101 (my first double action revolver in 30+ years) and am having a lot of fun with it. No feeding problems with the Ruger The full size grip on the Champion is harder to conceal. The smaller grip of the SP101 seems to tuck in nicely and the grip doesn't print (when stuck in my waistband. I have yet to buy a holster for it). I think I'm going to end up carrying the Ruger when I decide on a holster. But, I really like the Champion. I guess that's why I bought both I keep coming back to the fact that a 5 shot that works when you need it would be preferable to a 1911 that has a jammed. But, darn, I really like my 1911s.

    Cloudpeak

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