The Working Firearm

Private File

end of may 2005


Despite what the media has shown us, most pistols are used "up close and personal."  They are not commonly really  accurate, and they say that 80% of all pistol-shooting victims recover. 


When you see someone "shoot" on the television, they are not shooting.  A technician has placed a charge in a hole, plastered over it, and painted it.  On command, the charge blows out, and it looks like the shooter hit something.  Thought the holes should blow inwardly, we accept what we see on TV.  This article is not about that kind of working pistol.



Below are some of my notes about using a working firearm:

Have read that in Iraq a soldier shot a junkyard dog three times with a nine-millimeter, using ball ammo, before he could kill it.  Apparently not that much knock-down power.  Seems it would work on varmints.

A guy on another site writes about needing some belt-gun that he might use to shoot varmints.  He would come up on them, unexpectedly, in his farm-yard.   Said he shot a skunk with a 45 caliber pistol and had to clean the animal from all-over his chicken house.


On another site read that CCI shot shells are effective no-further-than-ten feet, and that probably, nothing smaller than the 38/357 size should be used.




My two-inch-barreled 357 should work well with the shot shells, for varmints. Pretty puny use of a four-hundred-dollar-pistol.  This is not the hunting-gray finish, but one I created with fine  sand-paper and steel wool.


An article about the SP101 that I found today has been added to the end of this page.




I think of the little Ruger SP101,  ( shown in two pictures, above, )  like the World War II Liberator, shown above.  They were dropped behind enemy lines so that Partisans could use them to get a better gun, "up close and personal."


Some archived files about the Liberator.





The Nine I bought from Ruger, a P95 DeCocker, was something like $375 just before Y2K. For over five years, it has granted me much peace-of-mind as a small, defensive weapon.





When I first came to North Carolina, I had a Ruger Security Six, with a six-inch barrel, that looked something like the above picture.  It was too large to carry, and hard to shoot.  The snub-nosed is smaller, and almost un-noticeable, and fine at close range.


The 45

Years ago someone I can not place told me the same information that is in the following quote: "The Colt .45 bullet is a big, slow-moving projectile. When it strikes a target, a great deal of energy is transferred from the bullet to the target. This provides the "knock-down" quality for which the gun is so famous."



New File

May be the best  45 I've seen- S&W model 1911  including the one shown below:



Now Ruger makes a 345 Compact 45 that I like .....



Roughly the same size and format of my nine, but in 45 caliber, with all its increased knock-down power.

Saw one like this, for about four-hundred dollars, locally. For the money, it probably beats the above two pistols, for self-defense. You don? t really know if we shall use such weapons at all, in the end game, or if we do, will they be more for farming, than for self-defense.

I like the little 45 as well as I do the nine, but can not quite see the use of it. Occasion of writing this is almost three weeks since left Hugh Strickland. Having no money coming in, and attributing many of my money problems to false spending, out of fear, how can I spend loan money on a new pistol?


This is good for me to write, and I think I will journal more in html.


Somehow, though I may never own such a gun, writing this article satisfies me.  Perhaps I will not be around when such stuff is used, and need to pass on stuff to others to come. Paul.


Ruger P345 Compact 45 Auto Pistol


The P345's compact size is a welcome new design for those who are familiar with the earlier bulky Ruger semi-autos.






Ruger's P345 compact .45 auto pistol






Ergonomically-designed grip is checkered for a very positive feel.






Sights are of the "three-dot" configuration, and are drift-adjustable for windage.






Sights are of the "three-dot" configuration, and are drift-adjustable for windage.






Thin-profile ambidextrous safety levers add little to the width of the gun, but are positive and easy to operate.






Magazine positions cartridges very close to the line of the chamber, and the barrel's integral feed ramp is polished for jam-free operation.







The P345 features a visual and tactile loaded chamber indicator.






Ruger's key locking system is simple, positive, unobtrusive, and easy to use or ignore as the shooter sees fit.






Ruger's key locking system is simple, positive, unobtrusive, and easy to use or ignore as the shooter sees fit.






Bushingless barrel design and full-length stainless guide rod offer reliability.






Barrel locks up with a cam block - a positive and rugged system.







Magazine release is well-located and easy to operate by either right-handers or Southpaws like Jeff.&nbs;







The forward section of the polymer frame features an integral accessory rail.    (  the one I saw did not have the front rail, though they said you could order one with that rail  )







Author tested the P345 with a good variety of factory and handloaded ammunition. Reliability was 100% and accuracy was acceptable for the pistol's intended purpose.   ( that means the author thinks it was accurate enough for close-range-high-power-self-defense )








June 2, 2005.  Not having worked in some three weeks, 21 days by-the-calendar, by tomorrow, I am a little sad.  I have a witness in my spirit that God is saying at the end of the 21 days victory will come.  (Look at Daniel.)  In the past, I have sold every pistol that I have owned, when times got rough enough.  The pistols on this page may have to be sold, and I want a record of the whole affair.  Paul.



Ruger SP101 Target Gray Stainless .357 Magnum

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

December 5th, 2003

It has been fourteen years since Ruger first introduced their stout little belly gun called the SP101. The SP101 is Ruger?s entry into the small frame concealed carry revolver market. Their Speed Six revolver had been phased out, and the SP101 was basically a scaled down GP100, which is Ruger?s full sized .357 Magnum service revolver. By limiting the SP capacity to five shots, Ruger was able to make the little revolver very compact. The cylinder diameter of the little Ruger is barely larger than that of a Smith & Wesson Chief?s Special, but due to the innovative design, the SP101 is much stronger than any other revolver in its class.

Most small frame revolvers on the market, whether they be five or six shot, are built on a design that is over one hundred years old. The removable frame side plates on these guns were built to handle low pressure cartridges of the period, which they do rather well. When magnum cartridges came into being, the old designs were just made larger to handle the extra intensity of firing the magnums. Still, magnum revolvers built on the removable side plate design tend to loosen with heavy use.

Ruger?s double action revolvers have always been built without a removable side plate. This adds needed strength to the frame area around the cylinder, without adding bulk to the revolver. The SP101 follows this design, and the result is a small revolver that can handle a steady diet of full power .357 Magnum ammunition. Other gun makers have since added the magnum chambering to their pocket revolvers by beefing them up in high stress areas, but they have neither the strength nor the durability of the SP101. The SP101 is simply the strongest small frame .357 Magnum available.

Now, lest one thinks that I do not like Smith & Wesson J-frame revolvers, I do. I have one in my pocket as I write this. They are light and very handy, but they will not stand up to the heavy use of full power magnum loads as well as the little Ruger will. The closest comparison to the SP101 is Smith?s model 60 .357 Magnum. The Ruger is about the same size and weighs one ounce more than the Smith, but is much stronger. S&W also has their Scandium series of small double action revolvers. They are of the same design as the stainless model 60, but weigh half as much at only twelve ounces. The Ruger SP101 weighs twenty-five ounces, which is a considerable difference if carried in a pants pocket. However, for that added weight you get a gun that is much stronger, easier to shoot well, has much less felt recoil, and will withstand years of hard use. In a good concealable belt holster, the little Ruger will ride all day comfortably, with no more of a bulge than any other small frame .38 or .357 revolver.

As stated earlier, the strength of the SP101 is due to its excellent design. The internal parts of the gun remove from either the top or bottom of the frame. Also, the ejector rod is built off-center of the cylinder, sitting lower than normal, allowing more steel on the underside of the barrel and at the frame where it joins. The cylinder locks into the frame at the rear of the extractor star and at the front of the crane, assuring positive and solid alignment of the cylinder and barrel. Being a five-shot, the bolt notches are offset, providing for a stronger chamber wall.

Ruger uses a very unique method of installing the rubber grips on the SP101. The grip slips up over a portion of the frame and is retained by a large pin that is hidden under the rosewood grip panel inserts. This makes for a very comfortable and secure grip on the handgun, resulting in greater recoil control and faster target reacquisition. The shape of the grip is actually made to fit the human hand, and is both compact and hand-filling. The grips on many handguns are too big at the bottom, where they shouldn?t be, and too small at the top, where the web receives the recoil. Ruger got the SP101 grip just right. However, for those with unusually small or large hands, the grip on the SP101 is easily exchanged for another. Recoil control is important for any handgun that is meant for social work, and especially for a small .357 Magnum. The Ruger?s grip contributes to easier control of the weapon for faster follow-up shots.

Since the introduction of the SP101, it has been offered in several variations and chamberings, the latest of which is the new .357 Magnum Target Gray revolver tested here. The Target Gray is a special process that Ruger uses on a few of their stainless revolvers to produce a unique finish. The Target Gray retains all of the positive properties of stainless steel, such as durability and corrosion resistance, while providing a darker non-glare finish to the surface of the metal. Ruger has offered this finish in the past on some of their target rifles, hence the name. Ruger is now offering this new finish on a few of their double action revolvers in limited numbers. On these revolvers, perhaps it should be called a "Tactical Gray" finish, to best describe its useful application. Whatever it is called, it is a very good-looking finish that is much more durable that the bluing on a carbon steel gun, and is not shiny and reflective like a standard stainless finish. The result of applying the Target Gray process to the SP101 is a handsome, businesslike appearance that won?t shine like a mirror when drawn from its holster.

For testing the SP101, I assembled a quantity of various ammunition and proceeded to my firing range. Among the various loads tested were Black Hills 158 grain JHP, Cor-Bon 110 and 125 grain .38 Plus P, Glaser Safety Slugs, .Black Hills 158 grain lead SWC, and various handloaded .357 Magnums stoked with 125 grain JHP bullets, all the way up to heavily loaded Cast Performance 187 grain Flat Point Gas Check LBT bullets. The Ruger gobbled up every round without a problem. Even with the heavy 187 grain loads, recoil was quite manageable, and induced no pain at all. At a range of 25 yards, accuracy testing produced five-shot groups of between two and one-quarter and three and one-half inches. Rapid fire, it was easy to keep even the heaviest loads on a silhouette torso at thirty yards.

The trigger on this SP101 is just as it should be on a double action combat revolver: smooth and easy. The trigger surface is just over one-quarter of an inch wide, and the double action pull measured ten and one-quarter pounds, but felt much lighter due to the ergonomics of the weapon. The crisp single action pull measured three and three-quarters of a pound. The square notch rear sight and pinned on front post made target acquisition relatively quick and easy. The SP?s ejector stroke measures just under one inch, and ejection of the empty cases was positive and simultaneous. The barrel on this SP101 measures 2.3 inches and has a cylinder diameter of 1.348 inches, making for a compact and powerful package.

The SP101 fills a niche between the super light titanium magnums and the larger service revolvers. It has the compact size of the smaller guns, with the strength and lifelong durability of the larger guns. If you want a compact, reliable, and easy to shoot .357 Magnum that will endure many thousands of magnum loads and last a lifetime, the SP101 is the best choice available. If you want a SP101 that has the new Target Gray finish, it is only available from one distributor; and that is Lipsey?s in Louisiana. This new gun is exclusive to Lipsey?s, so have your dealer contact them to order one. The good part is, this Target Gray SP101 sells for the same price as a standard SP101, but they must be ordered from Lipsey?s. The gun comes with a cable lock and instruction manual, and is packed in a green hard plastic case. Have your dealer contact Lipsey?s by phone at: 1-800-666-1333 or on the web at:

Jeff Quinn

All content ? 2003 All rights reserved.
Click pictures for a larger version.























This is not the hunting-gray finish, but one I created with fine  sand-paper and steel wool.






This is not the hunting-gray finish, but one I created with fine  sand-paper and steel wool.







This is not the hunting-gray finish, but one I created with fine  sand-paper and steel wool.