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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking to purchase a SP101, but can't decide between the two barrel lengths (2.25" versus 3.06"). It will be a home defense and range gun only. Not a CCW.

Question: What's the difference in recoil?? (yea.. using both .38 & .357 loads)

I'm both amused and disappointed by salesmen I ask. They all say there's no recoil difference because there's only less than an inch between the two barrel sizes. But in the back of my mind I know that "only less than an inch" difference is a 35% increase in barrel length. Furthermore, these guys all admit they've never shot the gun, let alone in both barrel lengths, when I ask.

Hope to hear from folks that have experienced recoil in both barrels.
 

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For your stated purposes, the 3" barrel would likely be better. There won't be that much difference in recoil, but you will get slightly better muzzle velocity with the 3". If you plan to shoot .357's, I'd highly recommend putting a hogue grip on it. I found .357s to be very uncomfortable to shoot out of the SP101 with the stock grips.

I really must ask, though, if you are just using the gun for home and range, is there a reason you are not considering the GP100. It is likely a much better gun for your stated purposes. .357s are much more fun to shoot from a GP, and if CCW isn't what you want it for, then the GP is likely a better shooter all around.

Just a thought.
 

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I agree with Stormbilly. I have a GP100 with a 6" barrel. My buddy has a SP101 with a 2.25" barrel.

At the range, the SP gets boring pretty fast.

I don't know as much about the comparison for home defense, but the longer barrel of the GP100 would seem to me to reduce muzzle flash plus the extra weight should reduce recoil significantly.
 

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If not for CCW then I would go with the longer barrel. What loads are you planning for the house? There are loads out there that will take an intruder out but not pennetrate walls into where precious family members may be. Ask around on the Forum. I am sure there are better minds then mine on the subject. What ever you chose will not be a bad choice. Good luck!
 

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Regarding opting for the GP, I should have mentined that the gun is primarily for my wife. She likes the smaller feel of the SP versus the GP. She'll shoot primarily .38's but still wants to fire .357's occasionally though.

Regarding the grips, I was strongly considering the Hogue grip for the reasons menitoned above. But what do you think about the Crimson Trace grip vs. stock then vs. Houge?
 

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I have the SP in 2 1/4" and have not shot the 3" version. I am not recoil sensitive so the 357 loads don't bother me. I have the stock grips with a set of Jim's (41 Magnum) inserts and the grips fit my hands well which certainly helps lessen recoil.

Given the choices you offered I would probably go with the short BBL for no good reason other that I may carry it in the future and at in the house distances it is equally accurate. Everyone else's reasons for the longer BBL are valid and I agree with the GP-100 suggestions as I own one of them in 4" and it is an excellent revolver.
 

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I got the 101 in the 3in barrel for my wife, for home defense. We also go on hikes and she likes the feel and balance of it. I put houge grips on it and that made much more comfortable. The recoil with 38s is no problem, however the 357s are a bit much for her. I plan on getting the gp100 for myself, but right now I carry the p89. Wally
 

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I love my 2.25, but I use it for CCW. However, I agree with those above go with the 3in or a GP100 3in.
 

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oertles, All the statistics favor the 3" except one ... pocket carry. If you use a holster, that extra 3/4" is not going to bother a bit. For your stated purposes, the 3" would be your best choice.

Barrel length has very little to do with recoil and is based solely on the weight of the gun and the power level of the ammo. Yes, that 3/4" difference accounts for about an ounce of weight so it will make a token difference in recoil but I'd doubt if you could possibly detect it. 38 Special +P ammo is very manageable in a SP-101 but for most people, 357s get a little rowdy ... especially women.
 
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I have both of the SP's mentioned in your question. And I agree with stormbilly's response.The GP is a little on the large side for me but the recoil is felt less. Just my cents.
 

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I looked at both and got the 3" and Simply Rugged pancake holster and I'd recomend them to anybody. I prefer the Smith J frames for a snub. 642 or 638 in a no-lock. They're smaller, lighter and pocket carry better. jmho
 

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I have owned both and now I have two of the 3-1/16" barreled versions. I think there is less muzzle flip with the longer barrel, which translates into a bit less perceived recoil. The longer sight radius improves practical accuracy, and the gun fits very nicely into an IWB holster.
 

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I agree with the other folks --- to meet the requirements you listed, "It will be a home defense and range gun only. Not a CCW. " ... get the 3 1/16" SP101.

I have owned SP101's in both barrel lengths, and while both shot good 25-yard groups from sandbags, when I'm shooting from a standing position, I get far better 25 yard groups with the 3 1/16" than the 2 1/4" barrel.

Therefore, since it appears that most SP101's have the 2 1/4" barrel, I agree with Iowegan when he said on page 2 of the SP101 IBOK, "The SP-101 was designed as a concealed carry gun. It is NOT a target gun, so don't expect bullseye accuracy."

....But while I've never been a "good shot" --- my 3 1/16" SP101 is so much fun to shoot --- I used it in two Bullseye matches this fall.

I should explain what I meant when I said that I'm getting "good" groups from sandbags....

While working up "target" loads for the 3 1/16" SP101, I tried the 148 grain Speer HBWC bullet, Starline .357 Mag brass, standard small pistol primers, with 3.2 grains of Bullseye. Shooting that load from sandbags at 25 yards, the center-to-center spread of four, 5-shot groups was: 2.53", 2.33", 1.97", and 1.92".

Overlaying the four targets showed that all twenty shots went into just over 3 inches and 16 of the 20 shots went into a 1 5/8" cluster.:D

I know that is not "X-ring, target accuracy," but it sure pleases me.:D

So at least for me, the 3 1/16" SP101 makes a great "home defense and range gun!"

JMHO -YRMV
 

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I agree with the concencus here; go with the longer barrel. What I like so much about my own 3" sp101 is that it shoots like a larger gun, but feels like a smaller one in hand (or on your belt). It really is a great compromise of size and performance.
 

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Regarding opting for the GP, I should have mentined that the gun is primarily for my wife. She likes the smaller feel of the SP versus the GP. She'll shoot primarily .38's but still wants to fire .357's occasionally though.

Regarding the grips, I was strongly considering the Hogue grip for the reasons menitoned above. But what do you think about the Crimson Trace grip vs. stock then vs. Houge?
I own the 2.25 with the CT grips and love shooting it--full .357 loads are felt much more than .38 but not abusive. I just find the .38 has much less muzzle flash and is likely all needed for SD. The laser grip is very comfortable, albeit a little larger than the stock grip but not by much. As for the laser...this is a very worthwhile investment, as in low light conditions which you are likely to encounter HD or CC, target acquisition is much easier. I am now looking to install on on my G27 also.
 

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In anyone's opinion, what holster fits best for the 2.25 SP101 with CT grips? IWB or OWB. TIA.
This is obviously a personal preference i.e., boxers or briefs, but this is what I have found out so far in my search. I have a High Noon Split Decision that I bought to carry IWB at the 10:00 position, but have found it to be a bit uncomfortable due to my SP having the hammer spur... The IWB holster that I have found to be most comfortable is the Crossbreed "Supertuck". The Supertuck is also easier to re-holster due to the kydex. However, with both of these I have found that I need to adjust my wardrobe for comfort to accomodate the extra couple of inches in my pants... I don't currently have an OWB holster but am considering going that route as my gut continues to get in the way...
 

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A fellow at Academy

A guy from Academy told me of a story of an old 80ish lady who had a .38 special with shot shells. Two teenagers broke into her house and she shot 'em in the face. One lost all of his teeth and the other went blind. I wasn't able to verify the story but maybe having a mix of .38 special rounds and .38 shot shells would be great for self-defense. I shot some of the shot shells at 15 yards with a 2 inch snubby and they were all over my target. You aren't gonna miss with that bad boy. So whatever SP101 you choose you may want to try the shot shells for self-defense. Sorry for getting off topic.
 
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