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Ruger GP100 double-action revolver in .22LR (courtesy

Every gun rights advocate should own one stout .22 caliber revolver. Because guns? Because new shooters! A revolver is the best gun for introducing newbies to shooting. Open this, stick the cartridges in the holes (the pointy bits face forwards), close the cylinder, make sure it’s locked, get into a good stance, get a good grip, check out the sight picture, breathe, squeeze the trigger. When they do so, the .22 revolver’s mild recoil keeps things totally chill. I have a Ruger SP101 with a full Hogue grip for the task. Ruger’s new GP100 looks like a very suitable alternative . . .

It’s a ten-round wheel gun with an adjustable rear sight, fiber optic front sight and a 5.5″ half-lug barrel for “improved handing and lighter weight.” Which are the same thing, really. Interestingly, the .22LR model also offers “an improved fire control system that uses a lighter main spring than previous Ruger double-action .22 LR revolvers.” Not that there’s anything wrong with my SP101’s trigger.

I’d like to give the new GP100 a go – but only if Bill’s Boyz send us one for T&E. The new revolver MSRP’s at $829, making it the most expensive GP100 money can buy – other than their Match Champion models (go figure). Still, the “takedown of integrated subassemblies requires no special tools and allows for easy maintenance and assembly.” How great is that? Much greater if it were blued methinks. Sadly unavailable in this model.

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  1. Beautiful pistol, but it seems to be more expensive than the last S&W 686 I looked at. What’s up with that?

    • Exactly. It looks wonderful, but $800 for a .22 revolver is A LOT!

      You all know that I am a cheapskate, but my $115 used NEF R92 9 shot 6″ DA revolver works just fine as does my $129 Heritage Rough Rider.

      If I drop $800 on a revolver, it damn well better be a .44 magnum.

      • Well, I have no doubt that it’s of good quality, and it would probably outlast 3 generations, but I just look at it in price, even compared to the .357 Magnum GPs and wince.

        Even the SP101 in .22lr costs more than the other versions.

        And quality costs, I get that. I want a quality gun.

        On the other end of things, I think an LCRx 3″ in .22lr would be cool, like the LCRx 3″ in .38 Special Ruger made.

        Also, I guess it’s kind of a mute point seeing as .22lr no longer seems to be a cartridge. :/

        • They should make a few more of those 3″ LCRs. 9 mm, maybe a five shot .45 with clips, .22 conversion, .357,.327 etc.

        • You are right about the 3″ LCRs. It would be great if they came in .22 lr and 9mm (and under $500 street price).

  2. >> A revolver is the best gun for introducing newbies to shooting.

    I’m not so sure about that. The problem is the grip – you can’t quite do the most stable grip with a revolver because of the need to keep your fingers (and, in particular, thumb) away from the cylinder grip. So you have to tell them to move the supporting hand lower, which is both less natural and less efficient. Worse yet, when they move on to semi-auto pistols, they’ll have to relearn.

    • There IS a way. It’s a modified 1911 grip:

      Trigger hand thumb along frame, under cylider rlease,
      fleshy thumb side of palm of support hand against the grip and between same of trigger hand and the fingertips of trigger hand,
      thumb of support hand straight up and giving positive lateral pressure on thumb of trigger hand.

      Fundamentally transformed my revolver shooting.

      • I’m guessing my hands are too large because there’s only about a quarter inch between the base of the thumb and middle fingertip on my trigger hand. No room for any part of my support hand to touch the grip.

        Also, that appears to be an SP101 grip on that GP. I believe they’re interchangeable. Don’t own an SP, but I’m guessing if anything they’re thinner.

        • I’m 6′ tall and wear size 13 to 14 shoes. This grip fundamentally transformed my 686 shooting.
          A bit more of a challenge with the 101, but play with the idea till you get something that works.

        • I’m a GP guy and I love the wood side panel grips and loath the Hogues, but the Hogues are thinner side to side and longer front to back, so they, or your 686 grips might make a difference. I place my support hand index finger under the trigger guard and my thumb over the top of my trigger hand thumb. Not really much different from my hold on an auto, but the GPs shoot much better in my hands. It’s always good to try a few grips and stances out though.

    • I don’t know, I just tried it and placing your index finger in front of the trigger guard and your thumb up where the slide is supposed to be is pretty awkward on a GP100. Learning a different grip once you’ve figured out the revolver wouldn’t really be much of a challenge either. I’d say the biggest first step is mastering the SA trigger and starting off on a striker pistol might be frustrating for a newb.

      • I didn’t say anything about the index finger.
        Have TTAG give you my contact. I’ll explain in more detail.

        • I get your grip, but I believe int was referring to the fact that placing any of your digits near the cylinder gap will result in the immediate pursuit of a first aid kit. Never considered that a problem myself, and on a GP you have to use a rather awkward grip to get your finger or your thumb near the gap.

      • For revolver shooting, cross support thumb over shooting thumb, grip tighter with said support thumb…works well for moi.

        • That works great on my GP100s but I think my .44mag Blackhawk is just easier to shoot single handed. Once you gin up the courage to try it.

      • I can’t say specifically about GP-100 – never shot one – but with all my revolvers (S&W J-Frame, Rhino and Super Redhawk), the “natural” grip that I’m accustomed to from shooting semi-autos places my thumb squarely against the cylinder gap. It may well be a hand size or finger length issue, but I don’t think it would occur to me to measure another person’s thumb before giving them a revolver 🙂 And you have to police its placement when they actually use it, so that they don’t shift it. All in all, sounds like more trouble than it’s worth, and especially with new shooters, if they get their thumb burned without doing anything obviously wrong, it might sour them towards guns permanently.

        For similar reasons, when I give someone a handgun to shoot for the first time, it’s not just any semi-auto, but specifically a 1911 lookalike chambered in .22. Why? It has a large beaver tail, so there’s no way you can get a slide bite with that thing. Short of gross negligence wrt the basic safety rules (which requires more than just slipping your finger out of place), there’s no way to accidentally hurt yourself with that thing.

        • I can see getting your fingers too close to the gap on a J frame because they’re small, and I can see that on a Rhino because the barrel is at the bottom of the cylinder, but I’m not sure how it would be a problem on a Super Redhawk. Anyway, there’s just one extra rule when it comes to revolvers – keep your mitts away from the cylinder gap. That said, I’ve seen a newbie at the range get a nasty, nasty slide bite with an auto, so every firearm has it’s own considerations. Agree on the 1911 platform .22 though. SA trigger. Browning’s scaled down .22 1911 might be about perfect.

        • >> but I’m not sure how it would be a problem on a Super Redhawk.

          When you’re shooting .454 Casull, you (well, me) get really paranoid about this, because sticking your thumb out in front of that will blow the sticking part clean off. So even having the end of the thumb anywhere close the gap makes me really nervous.

          >> Browning’s scaled down .22 1911 might be about perfect.

          Mine’s full size (it’s the one that Walther/Umarex makes and Colt sells under their brand). It’s much lighter than the real thing, though, so I don’t think size is affecting much. And of course the grip angle and slim profile of a 1911 grip (which is fully retained here) is probably one of the most ergonomic handgun grips out there – if you have small fingers, you can still wrap it conveniently, and if you have a large palm, you still have plenty of grip length-wise to fill it.

        • Having never shot a handgun more powerful than .44mag I will concede you’re point on the .454. Someday I plan on owning a .460S&W, but until then, I can understand the paranoia/legitimate fear.

          I was thinking of the Browning more because of weight than girth. Trigger action seems most important to me. You don’t learn trigonometry until you’ve mastered basic math, the same should be true with triggers. Give them something easy, then move them on to crappy striker triggers. Probably doesn’t matter that much if its a SAA, DA/SA revolver or auto or SA pistol.

    • .22 pistols are good for starting new shooters out as well. Stuff like the Ruger Mark series, and the newer SR22’s work just fine for introducing new shooters. Still, I think it is better to start them out on a .22 rifle.

    • I just keep both my thumbs wrapped around the back of the grip, as high as I can where the hammer won’t hit me, weak hand thumb basically sitting on top of strong side index finger knuckle. If its good enough for Jerry Miculek, its good enough for me.

    • Actually the same grip that is commonly used for a revolver can be used for a semi-auto. I have been shooting both revolvers and semi-autos for years with little problem with the same revolver style grip.

      Now the thumb forward grip commonly used by many with semi-autos can also be used with many revolvers, but the shooters needs to be aware of the gas escaping from the cylinder gap.

  3. I have an SP 101 in .22

    It’s built like a tank.

    The problem ia the mechanism.
    I had the trigger lightened but that resulted in a trigger return and reset that is as long and “double-clicky” as an LC9 but, despite polishing of all surfaces, feels like riding in a wooden wagon over rubble

    I think the S&W mechanism might lend itself to a smoother trigger return.

  4. LOL….as if .22 was a real caliber. We all know “.22lr” is just a labeling code to denote empty shelf space.

    • This guy gets it. I love my little Bearcat Shopkeeper. I like my .22 handguns to be more in scale with the size of the cartridge. Sure, you get more capacity with a bigger gun, but if I’m going to haul a big-ass GP100 through the woods, I think I’d prefer it to be in a beefier caliber. The Bearcat is a great balance of utility and ease of carry, and it’s damn purty, too.

  5. A .22 LCRx would have been better… and cheaper.

    Yeah, it’s half the weight of the SP101 so the recoild will be more, but even then a .22 has little recoil. Also, the trigger would be super because it still has the LCR friction reducing cam system.

  6. If I remember right I paid 470 bucks for my single six convertible. Which was a steep price for a rimfire. But I had just given away a Walther p22 that was just not my cup of tea and I had no rimfire handgun.

    A solid, well made handgun will last generations.

    • It’s got a ten round (high capacity) clip and and an assault rifle caliber (.22 and .223, practically the same thing), so clearly a weapon designed solely for mass murder.

  7. Revolver credentials: I own more revos than semis. That said…
    I must disagree that the revolver is the better trainer handgun. Speaking as a full-time instructor who’s done literally hundreds of intro classes, there are some things we’ve learned from starting thousands on their way to handgun shooting.
    The biggest one pertinent to this discussion is: mastering the revolver trigger is beyond the ken of the great majority of new shooters. Mastering an M&P trigger is within the reach of the great majority of them; mastering the trigger of a Ruger 22/45 is doable for nearly everyone. I would put the percentages at something like 20% for revos and 90%+ for the 22/45, again, based on having watched thousands of newbies.
    The revo trigger can be learned, but it takes much more strength, finger length, and most of all, practice than does a regular semi’s trigger.
    Only in the most extreme cases will we suggest a revolver, when age, arthritis, and lack of hand strength (read: more mature women, of which we get many due to our female-owned status). We give up on teaching proper trigger use and let them go ahead and thumb-cock. Normally we don’t teach that and try hard to prevent it, but at the far end of the spectrum, a manually-cocked gun is still way better than a rolling pin.
    If there’s a hint of self-defense in the picture, thumb-cocking is a very bad habit to build. There’s no place for firing a DA revolver single-action if speed and protecting life is at issue. I practice what I say: I’ve been shooting the living daylights out of my ’69 Detective Special for many years and never once fired it SA, nor will I ever. The same goes for virtually ever other round gun I own. The only exception I might make is for hunting (with certain guns) and mechanical testing.
    Meanwhile, the revolver grip we teach is what we like to call the “Weaver clamp”- look up some pictures of the great Jack Weaver and they way he held his hands. You can discard the “Weaver stance”, long discredited by the use of timers and scoring rings, but he had an injury disability that forced him into that arm position.
    This grip is mentioned above, but we describe it differently. Basically, any ol’ strong-hand grip, usually with the thumb lowish, is surrounded and crushed by the support hand wrapped around the strong hand, with strong front-back pressure from the thumb being wrapped around the fleshy part of the strong-hand web. Try it- you won’t believe how much steadier you’ll shoot. And how much faster, especially on splits.
    One more aside, based on our actual range-time observations: we have a class with a “gun buffet” aimed at selecting a centerfire handgun. In it, we spread two dozen 9mms (for ammunition commonality) and three or four .38/.357 revos out. They get to handle and shoot all of them on the (enormous GAT Guns) 11-booth training range. We always separate the revos to the #11 booth (with their separate .38 ammunition) and the 9mm 1911 in the #1 booth. Then DA/SAs, semi-double-action semis, and finally the subcompacts and micros to the right.
    In virtually every one of these classes, and we’ve been doing them for years, the best holes in the paper are in the 1911 booth. Why? The trigger is the easiest to master.
    It’s always about the trigger.

    • Perhaps because I’m old enough to predate Facebook, I still reckon a manual transmission car is better to train new drivers on than an automatic…. Back when guns were way more common, new users somehow managed to learn how to operate revolvers. Heck, even single action ones. I know, this is The Age of Incompetence and all, but seriously, how hard can squeezing _any_ trigger really be. We’re not talking using a boomerang for self defense here!

  8. Are there any other idiots here who think that the msrp = actual street price?
    We have pedant readers of the gun world who can tell you how many obscure rifles were produced from X factory in the 1940’s be completely fail to realize that this revolver will not cost $800+ but quite a bit less.

    It is their main argument and criticism of the entire article. Christ.

    • Even retail on that’s going to be steep for a .22 though. I mean, the superblackhawk in .44 mag and the new model blackhawks seem to retail for like 100-200 less than MSRP…that’d still leave this at over 600 street price (assuming a full 200 under MSRP).

      • At check at Ye Local Gun Shoppe reveals their street price for Ruger stuff is Around $100 – $150 lower than MSRP, so that would take it from $829 to $679, best case. That still seems steep…

        But again, I’m betting it will be a fantastic quality firearm.

        But when I can get a Taurus Tracker that looks as nice, of good quality, for $400…

  9. It’s a nice revolver…for about $300.00 They’re on crack with that msrp.

  10. Why would a GP100 in 22 cost less than any other GP100? The same amount of work and materials go into it. This is not a polymer gun guys.
    I just (today) bought one for $699.99. It’ll be in the family for a long long time.

  11. I bought the 1st GP100 22LR (which I refer to as the GP22) that came into my local gun shop. Action is crisp and positive. Perfect ejection. No rough chambers. Double action trigger pull is a bit heavy. GP100s and SP101s have a well known tendency to slick up with use and I’m sure this one will slick up as well. Weight is a bit heavy for a trail gun and it is not as quick in handling as my Ruger Single Six, which is a superior trail gun. The GP22 is a range gun. I don’t think there will be any problem scoring tight groups at 50 yards or even 75 yards. I’ve only fired 300 rounds so far, but have no problem keeping all shots in the 10 ring at 25 yards double action. This gun will shoot! Expensive- yes. Worth it? Absolutely. Good luck wearing this thing out! Its a lot more fun to shoot than a Ruger Mk II pistol- and at least for me a lot more accurate.

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