Ruger SP101 Review

Ruger SP101 Review in .357 Magnum


Semi-autos seem to be preferred by many shooters, and are standard for law enforcement and military almost worldwide. However, there is ruger SP101 Reviewstill a market for revolvers, or old -school wheel guns as some call them. Simplicity of operation, and reliability are very attractive features. I also find that I aim with greater care, rather than banging away at a target as is easy to do with a semi-auto. When you only have five or six rounds, you need to make every one of them count. I recently purchased a Ruger SP 101 in .357 Magnum, and I have enjoyed taking it to the range.


The Ruger SP101 is a stainless steel double action revolver available in .357, .38

9 mm .22., .32, and .327. The hand grips are black plastic. The SP101 retails for an average of $ 670.00. It comes in a hard black plastic case with the Ruger logo on it, , a Ruger long shanked black and red padlock for placement through one of the chambers, keys, and instruction manual. The Model no. 5719 has minimal fixed rear sights, and a fixed ramp front sight, while the Model no. 5771 has a green fiber optic front sight blade, and a more substantial adjustable rear sight. All SP101’s feature an integral safety feature- a transfer bar which prevents energy from the hammer falling being transferred to the firing pin except for when the trigger is pulled. Even a very hard blow to the hammer will not will not cause an accidental discharge. This review will address the specifications, performance, and my opinion of the SP101 Model no. 5719 in .357 Magnum.


  • Barrel length: 3.06 inches.
  • Overall Length: 8.00 inches.
  • Weight: 27.0 oz. ( 1.7 lbs).
  • Capacity: Five round cylinder.


The hand grip is comfortable even for someone with big hands, and as long as it’s kept properly lubricated, the cylinder swings freely once released, and spent rounds pop right out with the assistance of the ejector rod and gravity. It has a nice, crisp trigger pull, and it is easy to clean, with no dissembling required, and of course, you don’t have to spend time clearing jams. Again, simplicity and reliability are the hallmarks of a good revolver.

The SP101 is solidly built, but light enough to carry comfortably and small enough for easy CC (Concealed Carry) , or keeping in a glove compartment, between the seats compartment, nightstand drawer, or bedside quick access gun safe.

I can get some nice tight patterns with the SP101 at seven to 15 yards. After firing about 25 rounds through it in quick succession it will heat up a little, but the barrel and receiver can still be comfortably touched even after 150 rounds. I prefer to practice with mostly FMJ (Full Metal Jacket) .38’s as they are inexpensive at $25 for a box of 50, and they don’t foul the barrel as much, and offer lighter recoil. Loaded with .357 mag, the Ruger SP101 has a moderate, but manageable recoil. Loaded with .38, I find the recoil is minimal.

The only criticism I have are with the sights. I personally find it difficult to acquire the front sight blade when at an outdoor range in bright sunlight, wearing dark glasses. The rear sights are minimal, and the front sight blade does not offer enough contrast for me. I touched up the front sight with a little bit of bright orange paint, which makes acquisition much easier. A little detail that could be improved is the hard plastic case, which does not have a handle. I replaced with a foam padded, zippered hard case with a carry strap.


What I like best about the .357 magnum is that you can fire cheaper and lower recoil .38’s through it. The .357 case is the same diameter as the .38 casing, but a little longer, allowing for a larger powder load, and substantially enhanced ballistics.

Here are the upper and lower ranges of performance for factory loaded ammo:

  •  The .38 offers a muzzle velocity of 670 fps to 1200 fps, with 200 to 476 ft lbs of muzzle energy. The higher performances are +P loads, which contain more powder.
  • The . 357 offers a muzzle velocity of anywhere from 1080 fps to 1700 fps, with 402 to 802 ft lbs of muzzle energy.


Overall, I am very pleased with the Ruger SP101. It is a good choice for home defense, concealed carry, or as a trail gun. I would like to modify it with a a Crimson Trace laser sight hand grip for it at some point.


What’s your experiences with the Ruger SP101? Let us know in the comments.



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