Is the SP101 the right gun for me?

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TimmyR41

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 1, 2009
Messages
7
Location
PA
I don't know if this should go in the revolver board or in the concealed carry board. If I put it in the wrong place feel free to move it if possible.

Just to give a little background....I've been carrying my G19 IWB for the past year in a comp-tac ctac. Before getting my gun I always wore tshirts and after I made the decision to carry I also made a conscious decision to start dressing more around the gun. I started getting button down shirts and have attempted a few xl tshirts as well. As long as I wear a button down un-tucked I can conceal the gun. I can not with tshirts. It just prints too much. And there are a number of times that I would like to be carrying but a button down shirt is not appropriate. In those times i end up not carrying or carrying and worrying about printing the whole day.

So thats issue one. I'm looking for a gun that will conceal better under a regular tshirt. I find the part that is the killer for me with the g19 is the butt of the gun/magazine. It just sticks out like a sore thumb on me.

Issue 2 is this. I work in business attire. Not suit jacket attire but Dockers and a button down long sleeve dress shirt. Some days a tie and some days a polo. In any case I can not come close to tucking a shirt in around the g19. I would like a gun that i can slip in a pocket holster to get it from my vehicle to my office where I will put it in the drawer for the day. During the winter months I'm pretty sure i could put my g19 in my coat pocket in a holster and leave it there all day so winter isn't so much of a problem. Mainly the summer months when i'm not wearing a coat.

The majority of the time however I will be carrying IWB with this gun. So that brings me to the issue.

I've had my eye on a 2 1/4" SP101 for a bit now. I love the gun and the way it feels. It just doesn't feel that much smaller than my g19. From the reports I've heard from others its a great gun. I just don't know if its going to fit my needs. I have a few other options on the list as well.

Heres my short list so to speak.

Ruger SP101 2 1/4" .357 - This is really what I'm leaning towards if it will suit my needs.

Glock 26 - I do like this option though because it will take the mags from my 19 and the grip is shorter than the 19 so it should take care of the issue with printing on a tshrit.

Sig P238 - I can't see going any smaller than this. This one felt good in my hand as opposed to the LCP and Kahr 380's. I just didn't feel that there was enough to hang onto with those two. I just don't know about this one.

Smith 642 - I put this in there because its what most people have been saying I should go with. I don't know that I love it though.

So in any case. All that rambling comes down to this. Does anyone have any pictures comparing a glock 19 or glock 26 to the SP101, SP101 compared to the Smith or P238 would be awesome too.

Does anyone have experience with both the 19 and the SP101? Is the SP easier to carry than the 19 or does it just look like that on paper.

Ok well I think I've rambled enough for my first post. Any help I get will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

Landric

Bearcat
Joined
Dec 2, 2008
Messages
90
Location
North Carolina
I carry a SP101 2 1/4" DAO on a regular basis. I use either a Milt Sparks VM2 or a DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster, and I find that it conceals very well in either.

Some folks will tell you that the SP101 is to big and/or heavy for a pocket revolver. It all depends on your clothing and belt, I don't have any problem at all.

I find the SP101 easier to conceal IWB than any similar sized auto. The reason is that the weight of the gun is lower down, at the belt line (as opposed to in the butt), and the grips are more compact and thinner.

I suggest the DAO version for ease of carry, its smoother and easier to pocket. I think it will meet your needs well. It doesn't look a lot smaller than a Glock 19 or similar sized auto, but it is a lot easier to hide IMO.
 

Leucoandro

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jun 29, 2006
Messages
450
Location
Dededo, Guam
IMHO revolvers are much easier to conceal then Semi-Auto's, even if the revolver is wider and almost as long as a semi-auto.

As to the size of the Sp101, in comparisons I have seen, it seems it is larger than the glock sub-compact, but shorter than the glock compact.

What makes a revolver easier to conceal is where the bulk is placed. The bulk on a semi-auto, even a subcompact Glock, is all located in the grip, the part of the gun that will be sticking up above the belt line. All of the bulk on a revolver is in the cylinder, which sits in the belt line, or below. The curve of the grip also helps that part of the gun to blend into the shape of your body.

For concealed carry, I always carry my SP101 in a IWB sued leather holster at around 1 o'clock. The only thing you really need to remember with this type of carry is that unless you have a retention stracp, the gun can fall out when you take your pants off. You can get leather holsters that really lock the gun into place, and you can even get those holsters that are tuckable IWB.

For pocket carry, I find my SP101 to be a bit heavy and large for that. That is really starting to get into S&W J-Frame territory, or maybe the LCR (Still a new design, so you might want to wait until it proves itself). If you were to go with the S&W, I would go for one of the pre-lock versions. While the LCR has an internal lock in it as well, it does not seem to have the issues that the internal lock S&W's can have.

Another option is when you wear your kahki's, also throw on a blazer. That will cover your SP101 IWB until you get in the office.


Charlie
 

TimmyR41

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 1, 2009
Messages
7
Location
PA
I did look at the LCR. I forgot to put that one on there. Just doesn't feel as good as the SP101. I can't get a whole 3 fingers on them. The only reason I was ok with the Glock 26 was because I knew i could put pearce +0 mag extensions on them to get my pinky some real estate.

I'm sure i could get a new grip for the LCR but I really would prefer a .357 to the .38 if its gonna be an option.

Thanks for the responses so far though.

The one that my dealer has is a hammer version.

Also, I've picked up 3 SP101's so far. A 3" w/hammer and 2 2 1/4" with the hammer. All of them had rust or something on the barrel by the sight. Is that normal?
 

oldgoat46

Bearcat
Joined
Jun 23, 2009
Messages
31
Location
central florida
SP 101 is a great firearm. I have one and really like it. It is a very well built thus very heavy piece of hardware. It has a large grip and is difficult to conceal. I am not a large enough person to conceal carry one. I will say this. I carry one in myconsole as it is one very reliable quality made weapon. You certainly cannot go wrong in owning one.
 

TimmyR41

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 1, 2009
Messages
7
Location
PA
I guess that would probably help. I am 6'2" and about 215 lbs.

The grip is really what i'm worried about. anything below the belt while not the most comfortable is easily concealable. I'm actually considering getting the 3" version for longer sight radius and probably higher velocity. although that would pretty much rule out the pocket carry all together probably.

Maybe I should get the 3" with the hammer and the 2 1/4" without the hammer.
 

Pal Val

Buckeye
Joined
May 30, 2006
Messages
1,552
Location
S.E. PA, USA
The SP101 grip should be the least of your worries. You can get a really small Pachmayr one. I can tuck a 3" one in a IWB holster and it really doesn't show under a t shirt. I'm 6'2", 265 lbs.
 

Leucoandro

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jun 29, 2006
Messages
450
Location
Dededo, Guam
oldgoat46":1778ndby said:
SP 101 is a great firearm. I have one and really like it. It is a very well built thus very heavy piece of hardware. It has a large grip and is difficult to conceal. I am not a large enough person to conceal carry one. I will say this. I carry one in myconsole as it is one very reliable quality made weapon. You certainly cannot go wrong in owning one.

I am 5'10". Back when I was 140lbs, I had no problem concealing my SP101. It might be that I wear my t-shirts a little loose, while I know others that wear them with a bit closer fit. maybe that was the issue? My SP101 at 1 o'clock just does not print. Also maybe you had a holster that kept the grip up too high? the front of my grip rides on the top of my belt line.

Also, did you put the Hogue grips on your SP101? That will make the SP101 very hard to conceal for a slim person.


Charlie
 

Yosemite Sam

Hunter
Joined
Mar 18, 2002
Messages
2,113
Location
Cape Cod, MA, USA
It's very individual. I'm 5' 11"/175lbs, wear size 34 jeans, and cannot carry a 642 in my pocket to save my life. It looks and feels like a balled up fist in my pocket. I also question my ability to get it into play quickly. Dockers are a bit better than jeans, but still tight.

An SP101 is bigger, albeit not by much, than a 642.

I can carry a model 60 (another j-frame) all day in an IWB an no one is the wiser, but I don't carry at work because it's not allowed. The threat level is also exceptionally low, so I don't mind too much.

I do find the model 60 to be the most comfortable of just about any gun I've got to carry, be it semi auto or revolver. And I have some small semis, including a Walther PPS. That one is the lightest, but is still too big for pocket carry, for me.

Plenty of people like the Kel-Tecs and LCPs of the world for pocket carry. I feel uncomfortable just putting an empty pocket holster in my pocket, but I don't make a habit of carrying anything in my pockets other than a jackknife.

I don't think you'll find a Glock 26 to be that much more concealable than the 19, to be honest. Yeah, a little smaller, but they're blocky, and cause odd bulges (ooh, errr). I had an XD-SC for a while (same size as the 26) and it was less comfortable to carry than my Sig P228.

Good luck,

-- Sam
 

gobe

Bearcat
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Messages
94
Location
Eastern MO
I kinda get a kick out of this because I think everybody that carries concealed goes through this whole cycle. When I started carrying concealed, my sister-in-law just laughed and asked if I was a member of the 'holster of the month club'. My brother would get at least a holster a month for a couple of years. We've both probably got enough to fill a 55 gallon drum.

First, it started with what gun to carry. I started with a Springfield XD 40 sub-compact (It isn't 'sub-conpact' by my definition), but a darn good carry gun in the winter. Then I got a Ruger SP-101, .357 Mag, 2-1/4" bbl. Great carry gun, but you've got to dress for it. Nothing wrong with that. No. 3 was a S&W 442 J-frame in .38 Spl+P (I wanted all black for CCW.) The 642 is basically the same gun in SS and aluminum (silver). Completely shrouded hammer, lightweight and excellent for "deep cover" carry. Finally, a Kahr PM9 semi-auto in 9mm+P.

Then came the holsters! I won't bore you with the progression, but I'll tell you what ended up working for me. The XD40? Never carry. Good for home defense or in the car/truck shooting iron. Always carry? The S&W 442, .38 Spl+P with Cor Bon 135 gr Gold Dot short barrel loads. Ususally have it in a Nemesis pocket holster in my Duluth fire hose pants. Summer is challenging for CCW, so I have finally opted for 'deep cover' carrying rigs. I've tried a bunch of IBW and 'tuckable' holsters and you still have to dress around them IMHO.

I have finally found two "deep cover" rigs that don't look like holsters, but can be worn with almost everything without 'printing'. They are also comfortable and after wearing them for a while, you're not even aware you're carrying. The first was a SmartCarry that was highly recommended by a CCW Instructor. The second is even more comfortable. It's the DeepConcealment™ Shoulder Holster that you can find at Active Pro Gear.

Both of these work great for summer, no-coat, no vest, no-sweater and the S&W, SP-101 and PM9 carry equally well in both... although I DO have some reservations about carrying a semi-auto in the SmartCarry with one in the pipe!

During Fall and Winter I use a Simply Rugged Silver Dollar Pancake that was built for the SP-101, but works equally well with the S&W J-frame and a CrossBreed SuperTuck for the PM9. Also have a Fobus paddle for the XD40 that very comfortable with cover garments, but as I said, I don't carry that any more.

Summer? Always carry the S&W J-frame. Winter? The S&W becomes the back-up gun (BUG) and the SP-101 is primary. Nice thing about that is that you can carry a load of .357 Mags in the SP and .38 Spl Gold Dot +P's in the S&W with a couple of speedloaders carrying the .38 Spl Gold dots that will reload either revolver. If you need more than that, you better call in an air strike!

That's just what I finally cooked it down to, but unless I miss my guess ..... you'll go through some interesting 'cycles' until you get what feels good to you. Have fun and be safe!

"Concealed means CONCEALED!"
 

Yosemite Sam

Hunter
Joined
Mar 18, 2002
Messages
2,113
Location
Cape Cod, MA, USA
Oh, the other thing is, we as "carriers" are far more concerned about printing, etc, than non gun people. Most people aren't paying that much attention to you.

As one wise man once said, "You're not paranoid, you're conceited. Why in the world do you think other people are paying attention to you?"

Not implying anything about the OP here, just us folks that worry about every little bulge and bump. Like someone mentioned the other day, the general public is more likely to think that thing on your belt is a heart monitor or medical device than a gun. Unless they see the gun-like bits, of course...

-- Sam
 

s4s4u

Hunter
Joined
Dec 16, 2006
Messages
2,043
Location
MN, USA
prefer a .357 to the .38

In the SP101, or any snubby, I feel the opposite. The additional recoil, flash and noise of the .357 are demerits when it comes to P-Def.
 

TimmyR41

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 1, 2009
Messages
7
Location
PA
Thanks for the info. Few comments.

My preferance to the .357 is that I shot my friends and enjoyed shooting it. Don't know what it is but I like shooting guns with a little recoil. That's not to say I wouldn't carry .38 +p in it for defensive purposes. I also like having the option to shoot a few different types of ammo as opposed to just the .38.

Everyone says about carrying different (usually larger) guns in winter time. Am I the only one that generally dresses almost identically in the winter as I do in the summer. I mean I will wear jeans instead of shorts in the winter but usually I don't wear anything different up top. If anything sometimes I wear lighter cloths because it is so warm inside everywhere I go. I will generally have a jacket or something for when I am outside but it is not uncommon for me to wear short sleeves in the winter.

Aside from that, thanks for all the information so far.

I stopped by my favorite local gunshop on my way home from work tonight and he has a sp101 with the 2" barrel and exposed hammer in .357 for $460 and a smith 642 in .38 for $475. I didn't get a chance to pick up the 642 yet because he was real busy tonight but I will be able to later on.
 

Skeleton King

Bearcat
Joined
Aug 9, 2009
Messages
13
Location
Lebanon, TN
I have to agree with nn.

I would handle the SP in store and feel the weight. If it's still to big/heavy, the LCR will be the winner. It's really an awesome little wheel gun (getting one :O.)

Your entire hand isn't supposed to be on that gun really. It's a purpose-built revo, and it follows suit, but it's also a shooter.

Good luck!
 

TimmyR41

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 1, 2009
Messages
7
Location
PA
I have handled the SP in the store. 3 of them actually. It feels great in the hand and just feels like a well built gun. To me that is. I also handled the LCR and didn't really like it. Just not my bag you know. I haven't picked up the 642 yet though so that may still be an option.
 

I_Like_Pie

Blackhawk
Joined
Aug 24, 2006
Messages
659
Location
Chattanooga, TN
I am sold on a 442 for summer carry and an SP101 for winter carry. For what it is worth I have not noticed any advanage the 3" version has over the 2" sp101.

The great thing about a 442/sp101 combo is that they both use the same holsters and shoot about the same because of the weight difference (442-38+p vs SP w/357). I like that the 442 weighs 1/2 of the SP and can be carried in a pocket easily. Like that the SP hides well in a IWB holster at 4 o'clock.
 

Sassi

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 22, 2008
Messages
24
You can carry a 14 ounce revolver a lot easier than a 26 ounce revolver. My question would be can you shoot that 14 ounce gun as well as you can shoot the 26 ounce gun, using 38 +P ammo? It makes a big difference when you practice a lot and can hit a target with what you carry!!!
 

TimmyR41

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 1, 2009
Messages
7
Location
PA
Well I went to a gander mountain today. They had a 642 and a 640. I didn't really like the 642. Just doesn't fit my hand right. I'm sure I could get used to it but it seemed like my fingers kept bumping into things like the cylinder release and the cylinder itself. The 640 was a bit better however it didn't feel as well made as the sp101's I've picked up. It seemed lighter but the grip didn't feel quite as right in my hand and it was quite a bit more expensive than the ruger. When I picked the ruger up for the first time it just felt like it fit my hand like a glove.

So I think if I do end up getting a revolver it will probably be the sp101. Even with the 642's small size I didn't see where it would fit inmy pocket and if it would I think it would be difficult to draw if I needed it. So I would probably still carry it iwb most of the time and I don't know that there would be much difference between the 642 and the sp101 iwb aside from weight. I don't think the sp102 is much different weight wise than my fully loaded g19 and I don't have a problem with the weight of that iwb or owb so it shouldn't be much different aside from the fact that the sp101 is smaller size wise than the g19.

So all that to say unless I pick up a different revolver that changes my mind on the matter I think I will be getting the sp101 if I end up with a revolver.
 

GhosT

Blackhawk
Joined
Aug 22, 2007
Messages
556
Location
North East Ohio
Timmy R41,

Ya said...
"I guess that would probably help. I am 6'2" and about 215 lbs."

I'm 6'2" and 210 lbs.


My Sp101 2 1/4" .357 magnum....easily concealed with several holsters.

Surprisingly,
The UNCLE MIKES pancake holster fits best.
Cheap priced, a T shirt covers it well...
But that gun in that rig, never even notice it is there!
 
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