“What revolver should I buy?”

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If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been asked that question…!

On every forum, in my daily email, and in the phone calls I receive is a common query: “of the revolvers available at a dealer, which one should I buy?” These folks are looking for some guidance beyond the simple choice of caliber and barrel length – this is more along the lines of “who makes the ‘best’ revolver?”

The answer I give? Ruger. This, from an admitted revolver snob who’s known for working on Colt Pythons!

The GP100 and SP101, which are the most popular models, are mature designs. Their design is simple and rugged, and their construction has not changed due to fashion or cost-cutting.

The actions respond nicely to gunsmithing work; a well tuned Ruger can have a buttery-smooth, perfectly linear double action pull that will rival any of its competitors. The SP101, in particular, has an action that is many people feel is more “shootable” than its nearest competitor, the S&W “J” frame.

Speaking of the SP101, it has another advantage over its competition: better sights. The rear fixed notch is wide and deep compared to other guns, giving the little SP a much nicer sight picture.

The GP and SP guns, because of their stud grip frames, have trigger reaches that fit people with small hands very well; the GP100, fitted with the “compact” Ruger grip, has a shorter trigger reach than a S&W “L” frame! This is great news for those of us with smaller-than-average mitts.

The downsides? Fit and finish on Ruger revolvers is not up to the level of, say, older S&W guns. (Of course, new S&W’s aren’t up to the old S&W’s either, so that’s hardly a condemnation!) Rugers have lots of sharp edges, and their finishes are not terribly pretty – but, if you’re having custom work done anyhow, these are things that can be easily rectified.

Rugers don’t get the credit they deserve; if you don’t like the new MIM-internal lock S&W models, and want something of better pedigree than the Taurus line, take a hard look at Ruger. You might be surprised!

-=[ Grant ]=-

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About the Author:

Grant Cunningham is a renowned author and teacher in the fields of self defense, defensive shooting education and personal safety. He’s written several popular books on handguns and defensive shooting, including "The Book of the Revolver", "Shooter’s Guide To Handguns", "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals", "Defensive Pistol Fundamentals", and "Practice Strategies for Defensive Shooting" (Fall 2015.) Grant has also written articles on shooting, self defense, training and teaching for many magazines and shooting websites, including Concealed Carry Magazine, Gun Digest Magazine, the Association of Defensive Shooting Instructors ADSI) and the popular Personal Defense Network training website. He’s produced a DVD in the National Rifle Association’s Personal Firearm Defense series titled "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals" and teaches defensive shooting and personal safety courses all over the United States.
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