Take Charge Carry With Confidence

Ruger GP100 Review

This Ruger GP100 Review covers this iconic Ruger revolver. Produced since 1985 the GP100 is known for its durability.

Most revolver lovers fit into one of three categories. Classic Smith & Wesson fans, Ruger fans or you just love them all. The aesthetic and function of the Ruger GP100 is similar to most Ruger revolvers and drastically different from the Smith and Wesson Guns.

Ruger GP100 Review Right

This Ruger GP100 review will cover those differences as well as some similarities. 

Most consider the ruger GP100 a medium frame revolver. This title is given to most 6 round 357 revolvers weighing over 30 ounces when using a steel frame.

The Smith and Wesson and L and K frames fall into this category. The GP100 has a beefed up cylinder and frame like the L frame that will allow for a 7th round of 357 in some versions of the gun.

It’s a versatile gun in that it can also handle the 44 special cartridges. The frame isn’t beefy enough for a steady diet of high pressure 44 magnum but it’ll handle the lower pressure 44 special just fine.

What is the Ruger GP100 For?

With it’s medium size the GP100 is very versatile. It falls into the jack of all trades master of few categories.

If you’re looking for a good 357 to carry in the wood the 4 inch version is reasonably sized to carry in an OWB holster and still quick to draw. 

The 4 inch configuration was very popular for law enforcement as well as outdoorsmen.

If you want a gun built for target shooting or handgun hunting the 6 inch versions will do quite well. But if you’re trying to carry it in a holster that extra 2 inches of barrel can be a challenge to draw quickly.

The 2.5 and 3 inch variants are small enough that they can work for concealed carry. They’re quicker to draw and carry similar to a 5 inch 1911 in an IWB holster. 

Ruger GP100 Review Left

If you look at situations where it only took one shot to stop a threat 357 is hard to beat.

Remember the cylinder on revolvers isn’t counted in the barrel length. So when you add the length of the cylinder to the length of the barrel the guns end of carrying like semi autos with longer barrels.

While you can’t easily mount a light to the gun it could also be used for self defense.

Ruger Cast vs Smith and Wesson Forged Frames

Ruger is known for their investment casting. They’re one of the largest suppliers for the American firearms industry of cast frames. 

They also have a casting company that supplies casting for non firearms products. When it comes to casting Ruger knows what they’re doing.

Generally forgings are known to be more durable than casting but it’s not always that simple. A lot comes down to who is doing the casting and how the part is designed.

Ruger’s Cast revolver frames are known to be more durable than their Smith and Wesson forged counterparts. This rugged durability does come at a cost. 

That cost is weight. These Ruger GP100 revolvers weight a couple ounces more than the similar Smith & Wesson L frames. But they’re also able to handle higher pressure ammo but better. 

If you plan on shooting a lot of higher pressure handloads or hotter ammo like buffalo makes the Ruger GP100 is hard to beat. But you’re going to pay for that with weight.

Is its weight a good thing?

Weighing between 36 and 45 ounces depending on the barrel and grips the GP100 is not what most would call a lightweight revolver.

The advantage of this is even with more powerful cartridges like the 357 magnum the revolver is still controllable. 

Caliber, Capacity & Barrel Lengths

You can get the Ruger GP100 in a wide variety of calibers. Currently they’re producing a wider variety than Smith and Wesson. 

Ruger changes this up every year and often has distributor edition guns that come and go each year. So we won’t have them all mentioned in this review. 

Ruger breaks the GP100 down into two categories. The Ruger GP100 match and the Standard GP100.

The Ruger GP100 Match versions all have target style grips, upgraded sights and a smoother trigger. These versions are peers to the Smith and Wesson Performance Center line.

They’re currently available in 10mm and 357 magnum while holding 6 rounds. The 10mm version requires the use of moon clips.

A moon clip is a thin piece of stamped sheet metal that holds all the rounds together. 

The 10mm is a rimless cartridge so the moon clip is needed to properly eject the cartridges. If you shoot 10mm in a revolver without a moon clip you’ll need to pry the spend casings out one at a time.

The standard GP100 has barrels from 2.5 inches up to 6 inches. Calibers include 22LR, 327 magnum, 357 magnum, 10mm and 44 special. Most of the offers are 357 magnum. 

You can get the 357 version with 2.5 inch, 3 inch, 4.2inch and 6 inch barrels. Most of the other calibers only have 1 or two barrel length offerings.

The 357 versions are offered in 6 and 7 round capacities. The 6 round versions will offer you more speedloader options and tend to be quicker to reload.

Ruger GP100 Review Clyinder Open

It’s easier to line up 6 rounds than it is 7 when reloading the gun. The trigger strokes are also slightly different due to the rotation of the cylinder.

The 22 holds 10 rounds which is a lot of rounds for a 22 revolver and lots of fun until it comes time to reload!

Unfortunately the 44 special version only holds 5 rounds due to the rounds being larger than the 357 the gun was designed to shoot.

The 327 magnum holds 7 rounds. This is a cool little magnum cartridge that will recoil less than the 357 magnum version while offering similar velocities. If you want magnum performance but are recoil sensitive the 327 magnum is a great option.

Cylinder Release Latch

Like all current production DA/SA ruger revolvers the GP100 has a push button Cylinder. Historically most revolvers have a sliding cylinder release latch.

Ruger GP100 Review Cylinder Release

Ruger has popularized the push button release and now Kimber has adopted it on their K6s line of revolvers.

How well you can use this latch will depend on the grips you’re using and your hand size. 

We want this Ruger GP100 Review to educate you on how the gun will work for you. 

For reference with a smaller set of grips and my size large hands I can easily reach the grip without breaking my grip. If you have medium hands that are close to large you should still be able to reach it when using small grips.

People with all but the smallest hands should be able to easily use it when breaking their grip. Keep in mind that this only applies to right handed shooting.

This design is easier to use than the sliding release in my opinion. 


The sights will depend on the gun you have. All of the GP100 revolvers currently in production have dovetailed sights. 

Ruger GP100 Review Sight Picture

So if you don’t like front sight you can have your gunsmith replace it with something else.

Some of the gun also have a dovetail mounted rear sight while others have a trough milled into the top of the frame. 

There are also versions with target sights that are attached to the gun via screws. My personal preference is the dovetailed rear sights.

My gun has a Novak style rear fitted in the dovetail. Its a really good sight picture for a revolver. Similar to what you’ll find on most semi autos. 


We can’t write a GP100 review without covering the trigger. GP100 triggers have a different feeling than most revolver triggers. They’re similar to the Ruger SP101 and redhawk guns but different from the Ruger LCR trigger and Smith and Wesson guns.

The GP100 triggers are a different design than the SP101 and redhawk so they’re smoother but they still have a springy feel that most Ruger revolvers are known for.

I really can’t complain but it’s not as consistent as most Smith and Wesson triggers. 

At the end of the day this comes down to preference though. I’m a Smith and Wesson fan when it comes to triggers. So realize there is some bias in this GP100 review.


There aren’t a lot of grip options for the GP100 when you compare it to other guns like the Ruger SP101 or the smith and wesson L&K frame guns.

Ruger GP100 Review Grip

If you’re running rubber grips there will be a lot of material between your hand and the metal frame. 

This helps with recoil a lot!

While there aren’t as many grip options there don’t need to be because most of the grip options are pretty effective.

There are large target style grips as well as concealment style grips that come on the shorter barrel guns.

You might now find the look you like but you are likely to find a grip with good recoil mitigation for the size of the gun.


There are holsters, sights and grips for this gun but there aren’t a ton of sights and grips offered. It has nowhere near as many grip and sight options as other guns like the Smith and Wesson L frame guns. 

That said these guns come setup really well from the factory.

So you don’t need the aftermarket options as much as you do with the other guns.


This is always a personal preference but the GP100 has a more modern look. It’s not space age like the Chiappa Rhino but it’s not as elegant as a blue Smith and Wesson.

Ruger GP100 Review Front Left

In my opinion this gun looks like a duty hard use weapon. It’s the workhorse not a show pony.


They’re available in a matte stainless or black finish. I have seen polished stainless finishes on some of the distributor editions. 

I don’t have any experience with the black finish but the matte stainless is durable and holds up well to use.


These guns do shoot well. Even with the 36-45 ounce weight 357 magnum is still a handful but they’re still controllable. They’re very fun guns to shoot.


These guns have an MSRP that starts right at $1000 and goes up to almost $1300. They go for a little less at dealers. 

They aren’t cheap but they will last a long time. If you take care of them and don’t’ shoot a steady diet of hot 357 these guns will last multiple generations. 

Concluding Thoughts

The GP100 is a solid gun and if you’re looking for a medium sized revolver it’s hard to beat. 


  • Durability 
  • Sights
  • Caliber options
  • Trigger


  • Price
  • Weight 
  • Aftermarket

One Reply to “Ruger GP100 Review”

  1. Homeboy says:

    I have 2 GP100 ‘ in 357magnum. 1 is a 6 shot and 1 is the 7 shot. I also have a 327 Federal magnum. All are stainless with the 4.25″” bbl.They all look identical. They have night sights and I had trigger jobs done by a great gunsmith. They have cocobolo grips from Hogue with finger grips. I absolutely love all 3.I have 2 4″ S&W 686’s with cocobolo grips but factory triggers.My main EDC is the 7 round Ruger and I absolutely love it but sometimes it is a bit hard to hide. My Rugers look much better than the Smiths IMO and no locks.I shoot better with the Rugers but I have more practice with them. I carry them in a nice leather shoulder holster in cool weather.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *