What niche does your SP-101 fill?

This is a discussion on What niche does your SP-101 fill? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I recently had to move my gun safe from one room to another, which necessitated emptying it out for a bit. It gave me the ...

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Thread: What niche does your SP-101 fill?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array TheGreatGonzo's Avatar
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    What niche does your SP-101 fill?

    I recently had to move my gun safe from one room to another, which necessitated emptying it out for a bit. It gave me the chance to take a good long look at everything that was hiding out in there. And it made me start to ponder a bit about a couple of my guns. For example, my SP-101. It is a 2" .357 in the beautiful Target Gray finish. It sports a nice little Trijicon front site and Eagle Secret Service grips. I have some excellent leather for it, to include a Del Fatti rig. But I never carry it! When I choose to go with a 5-shot revolver, I carry my much smaller S&W 640. If I feel like a bigger wheel gun, I defer to my 3" S&W 686, 3" S&W Model 13, or 3" Ruger GP-100. So, aside from the beauty of the little piece, why am I holding on to it? For you guys who carry SP-101's on a regular basis, why is it your carry choice? For you guys who own them but don't carry them (like me), why not?
    Gonzo
    "Skin that smokewagon!".

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  3. #2
    Member Array FHBrumb's Avatar
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    Sell it to me? OK, maybe no...

    Anyway, I am seriously looking at getting one. It would be a thre purpose gun.

    1: Occasional carry in a third string role. My 45s are first and second.
    2: To teach my daughters about shooting handguns. They are both very petite, and firing full house 45acp from a semi would intimidate them. 38spl out of the SP101 would not.
    3: Sometimes we go up north into what CAN BE black bear country. An SP101 loaded with Double Tap 200gr flat point hardcast loads would fair better than anything I can shoot from a 45acp.

    In truth, I'm looking for the 3 inch version for my needs, but the SP101 is on a short list of potentials. I doubt I'd buy the 2 inch.

    Is your 686 a seven shot? I'd like a 6 shot 3 incher, but can't find one...
    Washington Post 06/28/2010 re: Supreme Court Decision
    "The court's decision means that the enigmatically worded Second Amendment... identifies an individual right to gun ownership, like the freedom of speech, that cannot be unduly restricted by Congress, state laws or city ordinances. "

  4. #3
    Senior Member Array TheGreatGonzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FHBrumb View Post
    Is your 686 a seven shot? I'd like a 6 shot 3 incher, but can't find one...

    No, it is the 6-shot US Customs CS-1 version. ONe of my all-time favorite guns. I also have a Taurus M608 3" 8-round .357 DAO. It was a very limited run made in 1996 and has a trigger like warm butter.
    "Skin that smokewagon!".

  5. #4
    Member Array llred's Avatar
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    I carry mine. The main reason is that I got a hell of a deal on it. I bought it new off of gun broker for $500 from a guy who bought it the day before, but who's wife didn't want him to get it. He sold me the gun 40 rounds of speer gold dot in .357, 50 rounds of Remington Golden Saber in .38+P, and a cheap bulldog brand holster. I thought it was a good deal and I talked him into paying the shipping.

    There was no way to get a S&W .357 for that price plus the ammo.

    Mine is my daily carry right now and I feel confident in using it. I average 2.5" groups at 15 yards with the speer gold dots, but I do have the 3" barrel.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Array Freedomofchoice's Avatar
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    I own one and love it, but rarely carry it because I'm lucky enough to have better choices for carry. My Glocks offer more rounds in a lighter package. There are times though, when I just choose to carry the SP 101, but when I do, I usually also carry my LCP in my weak side pocket.
    .

    Too light for heavy work, too heavy for light work!

    pb

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    I originally bought my SP as a designated Tackle Box (snake-shot loads) gun to cover Water Mocs while I bass fish. I found it to be so smooth, accurate, reliable & tough that it promoted itself to a varsity member of my carry squad. Yeah, I have plenty of other choices. But a "j-frame on steroids" that'll comfortably handle the hottest .357 mag loads I care to shoot fills a nice niche among my options.
    There are only TWO kinds of people in this world; those who describe the world as filled with two kinds of people...and those who don't.

  8. #7
    Distinguished Member Array Rexster's Avatar
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    If FHBrumb doesn't want it, I will take it!

    For several years, during which I carried a G22 as a primary duty handgun, and then only owned one P229 for duty and CC, a pair of SP101s became my 24/7 always/everywhere guns. Not necessarily both at the same time, but sometimes, yes, both. I purchased three Alessi ankle rigs for them, a right, a left, and a spare right. Ankle rigs are good for LEO back-up, and for certain other occasions, and no, before anyone asks, two ankle rigs at the same time is NOT advisable. I could shoot an SP101 as well as, and sometimes better than, a G22 at short range, and the G22 was better for long range due to the longer sight radius, not inherent accuracy.

    These days, when I only carry one P229, or for the very few times a P229 is a bit bulky, I still use the SP101s, and still use one for LEO back-up. It is my J-frames that mostly just sit in the safe, as I rarely need anything that small. When I do need go with something tiny, I may bypass the J and go directly to Seecamp, but even the Seecamp usually hibernates in the safe for now.

    FWIW, I had an experience in the 1980's that has made me almost religious in wanting to have two guns with me, and have trained myself to transition to a second gun if there is ANY doubt as to the functionality of gun number one. (I do train to simply reload if the autopistol in hand is simply empty.) Once, during a class that was run with with the "hot" range concept, when my G22 choked with live ammo still obviously in the gun, I transitioned to a pocketed SP101 without missing a beat. The SP101 had simply been my backup weapon while on the way to the class, and played its role when the moment came.

    When I retire, I may well revert to carrying just SP101s much or most of the time. I still have my ankle rigs, but will mostly use my excellent Milt Sparks PMKs, sometimes a Haugen crossdraw, and sometimes, but more rarely, Galco Concealables and some IWB rigs. (Just to be clear, I am a strong believer in carrying my primary "go to" gun on the hip that corresponds to my "strong-side" arm.) I now have three snubby-length .357 SP101s, with various hammer configurations, a recently-acquired 3-1/16" SP101 in .357, and, for little critters, a 4" version chambered in .32 H&R. I have my eye out for a .22 LR version, and deeply regret letting the one I had in the early 1990's get away from me.

    To me, the SP101 is a back-up gun that is big enough to act quite much like a primary service/duty gun. I find it easier to tote two SP101s than one "baby" Glock, and yes, I tried a G27 for a while. An SP101 can share ammo with my bigger field/utility sixguns, and fire that .357 ammo with relative comfort. An SP101 does not give much for an assailant to grab onto, while still giving me enough mass to inflict some contact damage, providing an assailant with some physical education. (I did NOT say "pistol-whip" anyone, that is a stupidly ineffective way to use a handgun as an impact weapon!) If I could only own ONE handgun, it would not be an SP101. If I could only own two or three handguns, SP101s would be numbers two and three. They are that good.
    Last edited by Rexster; June 10th, 2009 at 11:34 AM. Reason: clarity of adjectives

  9. #8
    Member Array FHBrumb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGreatGonzo View Post
    No, it is the 6-shot US Customs CS-1 version. ONe of my all-time favorite guns. I also have a Taurus M608 3" 8-round .357 DAO. It was a very limited run made in 1996 and has a trigger like warm butter.
    I covet thy 686! Post us up a pic, if you can.

    I don't really want a Taurus, but if I did, I'd look at a 3 inch 605 in stainless. I recently saw a couple on GB. I also saw the 605Ti, which is a Titanium variant. That looked pretty cool, but only a 2 inch barrel.

    I've seen the 3 inch SP101 357s for about $450. Likely, that's what I'll end up with. It seems that would be a pretty versitle pistol.
    Washington Post 06/28/2010 re: Supreme Court Decision
    "The court's decision means that the enigmatically worded Second Amendment... identifies an individual right to gun ownership, like the freedom of speech, that cannot be unduly restricted by Congress, state laws or city ordinances. "

  10. #9
    Member Array charliefox's Avatar
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    I just had a SP101 in .38 Special given to me. It is a SOLID chunk of gun - I've owned Rugers before but this is truly a hardy machine. I have no doubt it will find its way into my rotation, even though its the same size and heavier than my Glock 19!
    "Lawyers, Guns and Money"

  11. #10
    Member Array glock45's Avatar
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    I have four guns, 2 Glock .45s (G30SF and G21SF), an SP101 .357 mag DAO and a S&W 642 (wife's gun).
    My EDC is the G30 but for the last couple of weeks I haven't had it with me so I am carrying the SP101. Initially I bought it for my wife thinking she could carry it with .38 +P and I could carry it with .357 mag. The SP was a bit too heavy and big for my wife, so I ended up getting her the 642.
    Since I have started carrying this gun I have loved every minute of it. Prints less than my Glock and it is way more comfortable for IWB carry. In addition, I went to the range and shot some Double Tap Bonded Defense 125 grainers out of it and WOW!!! It is a monster load out of this little tank... more powerful than my Federal +P HSTs out of my .45....
    So, my SP101 is my number 2 carry gun. I still prefer the 10 rounds of .45 for urban everyday carry but my SP goes on my hip in a High Noon holster when I am going to crowded places, meetings, and when dress attire dictates.
    I am carrying it right now with Double Tap ammo and I feel I am very well armed....
    G21SF, G30, G36, Ruger SP101 DAO, S&W 642

  12. #11
    Member Array Air,Land&Sea's Avatar
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    It's the "best" all-around gun on the planet.
    Freedom of speech does not excuse one from freedom of thought.

  13. #12
    Senior Member Array LoveLeather's Avatar
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    Owning a 442, I used to wonder about the relevance of such a heavy gun with only 5 shots. Then Smith came out with the internal lock and I didn't want to shoot mine that much in case it ever wore out, since I wouldn't be able to buy another new one w/o the lock...so I picked up an SP101 to shoot in it's place....well, I have to say, they may both be small framed 5 shots, but that's where the similarity ends...I can hit way better at 7 yards rapid fire than with the aluminum frame...so now I carry they SP quite often...with the 442 mainly for the ankle....and although I've never been a fan of Ruger aesthetics, I find the SP even nicer looking that the Smith Model 60....


  14. #13
    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charliefox View Post
    even though its the same size and heavier than my Glock 19!
    And that's why mine stays at home.

  15. #14
    Member Array llred's Avatar
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    It isn't that heavy.


    Sounds like some of you guys need a workout. j/k

  16. #15
    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    heavier, not heavy.
    The cylinder is also thicker than the slide, holds 1/3 the number of rounds, I'm quicker with follow-up shots with my G23, and can practice more/range trip with the G23.

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