Introduced in .38 Special in 1989 and .357 Mag in 1991, the Ruger SP101 is about to celebrate its 20th birthday. This is no small feat in today’s firearms world but not surprising to anyone who has spent time with Ruger firearms, especially their family of single- and double-action revolvers.
I must admit that I am particularly fond of this little revolver because it was introduced into the market at a time when I was seriously in search of a handgun with the SP101’s capabilities. In the late 80s early 90s, the market for small revolvers and mini-pistols was just starting to perk. Terrorist attacks against US facilities and Americans living overseas was also on the rise. Various groups in the Middle East, Europe, South East Asia and Latin America had bombed several of our embassies, assassinated a number of US government and military officials, and kidnapped US citizens and government personnel who were working abroad. My own organization had already lost far too many people in embassy bombings and several of my colleagues had been taken hostage. Consequently, kidnapping became a special concern for our officers serving overseas. All of which was of particular interest to me since I had just received orders for an overseas post that at the time was at the top of the State Department’s terrorism threat list.