Ruger SP101 in 9mm Luger
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“A moon clip is a ring-shaped or star-shaped piece of metal designed to hold multiple cartridges together as a unit,” reminds us, “for simultaneous insertion and extraction from a revolver cylinder.” If you’re shooting rimless ammo in a revolver, you gotta shoot for the moon. I mean with the moon. True that when you’re shooting the mooncliptastic SP101 in 9mm. The latest version of Ruger’s built-like-a-brick-sh*thouse wheelgun joins its ballistic brethren chambered in. . .

Ruger SP101 in 9mm

.327 Federal Magnum, .357 Magnum, .38 Special and .22 LR. The new moon unit (props to Frank Zappa) ships with three full moon clips that “act as both a speed loader for the 9mm rounds and aid in the ejection of the spent cartridges.” You got that right.

Actually, the 9mm SP101 re-joins its differently chambered siblings. Why did Ruger bring the five-shot 9mm SP101 back from the dead? I’m sure the fact that they made the announcement on Halloween had nothing to do with it. But what did?

Grips: Black Rubber, Black Synthetic
Front Sight: Black Ramp
Barrel Length: 2.25″
Material: Stainless Steel
Capacity: 5
Rear Sigh: tIntegral
Twist: 1:16″ RH
Finish: Satin Stainless
Overall Length: 7.20″
Weight: 25 oz.
Grooves: 5
CA Approved: No
MA Approved & Certified: No
Suggested Retail: $719.00

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  1. 1. The market is moving toward 9 mm. People who wish to add a revolver to their collection may not want to add another caliber to their ammo supply.

    2. There are a lot more ammo loadings available in 9mm than there are in .38/.357.

    • Hopefully the SP101 has enough mass to prevent bullet pulling that happens with some lighter weight 45ACP and 9mm revolvers.

      • I think it is heavy enough to limit crimp jump for the 9mm. Even if it isn’t 100%, it’s still far better than the LCR which seems to always do it on the last round.

        • You must be using the wrong ammo. I have been putting quite a bit of ammo down range with the LCR 9mm now for the past 3 years. And after selecting the right ammo for the gun, (of which there are many) just do not have any crimp jump. Crimp jump in these revolvers is blown way out of proportion from the internet. I average 150 to 200 rds per week. No problem. I love the 9mm.

      • Plenty of ammo…AND! I already own 9mm. No need for a new ammo family. This might be my first wheel gun. Need to check weight. It’s also kinda pricey.

      • The advantage of 9mm is much more than just cheaper ammo. Ballistics are better than any 38. 9mm is very easy to shoot, and you do not get the recoil of the 357. Recoil of the 9mm in the LCR is about the same as 38 Plus P. The LCR9mm is also much more rugged and built like the 357. But you also do not get the massive recoil, the high flash of the 357 nor the ear shattering noise. The 9mm is becoming more and more popular in the revolver lines. I suspect you will start to see more.

    • 9mm is cheaper and hotter than .38 spl +P especially if you use 9mm +P which almost replicates .357 without the harsh recoil of a full tilt magnum.

      • This is true when talking about a 2″-barrel snubby. You get similar ballistic performance, at greatly reduced recoil. The .357 explodes more ferociously but wastes its energy by shooting flames and noise out the barrel.

        However, once you get to a 3″ barrel revolver, the .357 holds a substantial advantage in velocity. At a 4″ barrel the comparison becomes a joke, the .357 is vastly more powerful. And out of an 18″ barrel the .357 will be so much more powerful that the joke isn’t even funny anymore.

        So yes, your comparison holds up in a 2″ barrel, and it’s the main reason why .357 snubbies are one of the most foolish carry choices. Beyond 3″, the .357 holds a huge advantage.

  2. Personally I don’t “get” 9mm out of a 2.25″ barrel-other than $. 3 or 4″ yeah. But choice is good…

    • 9mm out of a 2.25″ revolver should have roughly similar velocities to a 3.5″ semi-auto, due to the chamber being part of the latter’s stated length.

  3. I don’t care what they load in the SP101, that girl is a dang tank!
    I daily a 101 in 357. I’ve filled it with water, metal shavings, grinding dust, saw dust, mud, dirt, sand, sweat, paint, etc…
    Give it a ban with some carb cleaner or in the sink with dawn dish washing liquid, dry, lube, run.
    Eats 158gr XTP’s sitting on a mountain of H110 all day.


    I would buy a 9mm version as a backup in case my other 9mm tools fail and there’s still ammo around.

    • I posit that you can get about the same velocity with VV N105 but with a lot less flash. According to QL they have a 55% and 79% burns respectively. For me, even N105 is too slow for that gun. VV N350 gives up only a little velocity but burns 93% of the powder before it exits.

      • True, I should of mentioned that load isn’t specifically for this revolver. I have an HP-38 loading but its a little too spiky for my liking. The Coonan and Colt like the 110 loads but maybe I will work up some 105 loads just for the 101 since it seems to be a veteran now and not going anywhere.

    • Brought Ruger SP101 9mm Luger on
      for $615.00, 3/4/2014, used with 5 steel 5 round moon clips. that came with it.
      Shot wadcutter rounds though it at outdoor gun range outside of Kerrville Texas. With sister in law that was the most fun ever. Really relatively mild recoil. Brought at full retail cost as it had not been shot more than maybe more than a couple of times.
      It is a tank. Haven’t regretted buying it.

  4. Why? Because they can and might attract a few more customers. Also, now they have an answer to complaints about bullets jumping their crimp in the LCR. Personally, I prefer the .357 magnum. That’s the cartridge around which the current SP was designed. (Yes, I know it was originally released in 38.). If I were to add another caliber, it would be .327 Federal. As for the moon clips, I’ve never used them, but I’ve read that they bend easily. Don’t know if that’s true. And finally, I wish Ruger would bring back the ring hammer option on the SP.

    • A 6-shot SP101 in .327 Federal has my interest. I’ve never shot that cartridge before, anyone want to talk shit about it for a minute and convince me not to?

      • I got one for my wife. It may be the favorite gun I ever bought. It is very good for small hands and the recoil sensitive too. It’ll send the 50gr Lehighs to 2025fps with no over-pressure signs and very manageable recoil.

        • Oh and 100gr GDs (not available anymore) to 1500fps and they expanded beautifully in clear gel and stop at about 14″-15″.

        • First I should have noted the my wife’s SP101 has the 4.2″ barrel. I doubt that they are as terminally effective as the .357 can be but energy wise my two loads carry 455ft-lbs and 500ft-lbs respectively. Not quite as much as is possible a .357 with the same barrel length. I chose it because I thought it was close to .357 mag, had six instead of five shots, and, even maxed out, had easily controlled recoil.

      • I bought the LRC in .327 to teach girls to shoot have and love it. About as much recoil as .38 special in ..327 and they can practice with .32 wad cutters that have almost no recoil. From the 2″ barrel I would bet it has more stopping than a .38. And anyone that doesn’t shoot much can throw it in a bag and it will still come up shooting.

        • Love mine !!! …..Shoots the 32 acp (it’s actually semi rimmed) 32 S&W (short and long) 32 H&R magnum AND 327 Federal Magnum…… From mild to wild …….

  5. Nobody has mentioned that Charter Arms also markets a 9mm revolver – their 5-shot Pitbull rimless revolver in stainless at 22 oz. with a 2.5″ barrel and NO need for moon clips, and $200 cheaper. Some would criticize CA’s quality compared to a Ruger, but I’d dispute that. I have three CA revolvers (including a .45 ACP Pitbull) that work properly, are tight and (once I had action jobs done to smooth the trigger pull) accurate at self-defense distances. I compared them against my S&W Airweight and could find no real differences in quality or function. The only difference I note is that the S&W loads faster with a five-shot charger, whereas each round must be loaded into the Pitbull individually, or with a loading strip, and the cartridges require a little extra shove to fully seat them in their chambers because of the unique spring clip ejection device.

    • You can dispute it, but their reputation is pretty solid in “mediocre” category.

      Too many Bulldogs and Undercovers with missing thumb latches and peened recoil shields.

      Rather have a Charter than an RG or Rock Island but i’ll take a Ruger or even a Smith with the safety hole over a Charter any day.

    • i’d dispute Charter’s quality – at least on the 9mm Pitbull… bought one this year and had to send it in for a fix right away for numerous problems (firing pin, trigger, crane)… on the other hand, my two others, one rimfire and the other .38spl, work just fine

      • Better ballistics than .38(+P) without the recoil and skull-splitting blast of .357 in a small gun. Cheaper, more plentiful ammo that can be shared with your auto pistols. I don’t like the idea of having to use moonclips, but that’s my only problem with the concept as usually implemented. Personally, I wish they’d offer one in .40.

        • You can down-load a .357 too. Not all loads need to be hotter than the max in the book.

          The whole idea of moon clips in a self-defense revolver… just no. There’s a reason why revolvers should be fed ammo with a rimmed case head, and there’s a damn good reason why the ammo being fed into a revolver should have a roll crimp.

          As for a revolver in 10mm auto? There’s already a round made for a revolver that inspired the 10mm auto: The .41 Magnum. The .41 was here first, and Ruger already makes a revolver for it, called the Redhawk .41 Magnum Backpacker. 2.75″ barrel, lots of muzzle bloom, there ya go, got your 10mm ballistics for you already.

          S&W could ship a L-frame, five-shot .41. The problem for the .41 came with S&W put out their first revolver for the .41 in a N-frame. A N-frame is a large chunk o’ steel to be packing around all day, and people got tired of it quickly – the same way they got tired of hauling around a Model 29 in .44.

  6. I have an SLRX. It’s my EDC piece. The 15 oz. weight is something to be reckoned with when shooting +P, but it’s not too severe. I love the three inch barrel and the adjustable sights.

    I can definitely see the cost advantage with the nine, but you would need to do a bit of shooting to recover he cost of the gun.

  7. We’ll I’m pretty New to the gun game and I really like the 9mm round I’ve purchased a couple of other Gun’s in different rounds sold them real fast didn’t like for several reasons. I’m sticking with 22 Long rifle and 22 magnum and my trusty 9mm. Cost a big reason and volume of ammo on hand reasons. I really wished there where more rifles in 9mm and carbines. With that being said I’ve always learned keep things simple and having 4 or 5 different kinds of ammo laying is just to cunfsing to me. When I can buy bulk 9mm ammo or 22 in bulk at a good price I buy it. I’m in the process of purchasing another hand gun in 9mm and while shopping I was looking at several rifles and just not to many choices in 9 mm, so I changed my mind and am buying another 9mm hand gun.

  8. I have carried the older 9 mm SP 101 as a backup and LEOSA ( originally since 1994) and love it. No mechanical problems of any kind and when I had one squib round, I clamped the gun to a padded vise and pushed the projectile out with a rod and hammer. It is accurate and rugged with +p rounds and soaks up recoil nicely

  9. The Ruger SP-101 is a great little revolver. Only one real problem that I can see with the reboot of the 9MM version. The cylinder and full moon clips are a great disappointment. The clips have changed and they are not compatible with both versions of the gun. Second, in the new version of the gun, the cylinder has been modified and recessed for the new style clips and the cuts are not polished. I much preferred the old version over the new version. I have one of each and I am strongly considering getting rid of the new version and trying to find a good used old style version of the gun.

  10. I have a 3″ barrel in a .357 Magnum and shoot 38 +p’s in it. Weight is enough that it takes the sting out of it. There are some 38 +p’s around that have over 400 lbs. ft. of energy so the 357 makes it shoot well. I also have a sp101 9mm with a 2.5″ barrel and it stings when it shoots. I keep it in the chair beside me for home protection but I carry the 357 with the 38 +p’s, I shoot the 3″ barrel better and it has a lot less muzzle blast than the 9mm. That’s how I handle everything.

  11. I love my SIX shot 327 Federal Magnum but the 9 mm is tempting ……the convertible BlackHawk is nice and our Medusas really brought out the full accuracy potential of the 9 mm…….. Tempting ………


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