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Old September 12, 2012, 01:01 PM   #1
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GP100: 3" or 4" barrel?

I can't imagine this question not having been raised before but I can't find it. Sorry if this is a repeat.

The considerations I can list regarding 3" or 4" revolver barrel length and the weighting factors I would apply to each (1=minor, 5=major) are:

1. 3" is lighter (1)
2. 3" is easier to conceal/draw (2)
3. 4" easier to sight (2 for close range; 5 for longer range)
4. 3" has more flash; an intimidation factor but not great at the range (3)
5. 3" is more balanced ?? (need user comment) (4)
6. 3" looks better ?? (2)

From this, neither barrel length jumps out as the better. Can our forum members comment on this list, both the biases and the weighting factors?

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Old September 12, 2012, 01:12 PM   #2
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Depends on what you want to use it for. My 4 inch is a bit much to conceal, but wonderful at the range, in the woods and on my nightstand. I mainly CCW a G26 for conceal ability and rounds count. I would however see no problem CCW a 3 inch GP, but it would not be my first choice. I chose mine based on my first reasons. My carry revolver on occasion is an older stainless Taurus 85 and that conceals as well as my Glock. Hope this helps.
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Old September 12, 2012, 01:15 PM   #3
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I own the 3", my FIL has a 4"

For targets, I think I honestly prefer the 4" (adjustable target sights help)

For carry...well, either one is heavy as heck, 1" of barrel steel really doesn't make too much difference to me weightwise, but I can definitely bring the shorter barrel into play faster.

For CC, I have tried my 3" and it was a PITA to keep covered IWB without a big baggy sweatshirt - shoulder rig with a jacket has been the only way my skinny butt has been able to hide it so far. Big, fat rubber grip doesn't help either, but current lack of funding prevents trying something different
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Old September 12, 2012, 01:45 PM   #4
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All the Wiley Clapp versions of this gun on are 3". Is this version made in 4"? I wonder why..
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Old September 12, 2012, 01:49 PM   #5
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I carry my 3 inch GP a lot. It is big and pretty heavy, but no more or less then the 1911s I have carried in the past. Still have the big factory grips on plan on getting the compact grip soon.

I agree with Stressfire the extra inch would not make a whole lot of difference in weight. I think that extra inch would help my older eyes a bit though

I only have a 3 inch so I can't comment if the 4 inch balances better.

The 3 inch has a pinned front sight the 4 inch has the nifty quick change front sight. I wish Ruger had used that on both.
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Old September 12, 2012, 02:13 PM   #6
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I'm gonna go with the 4" because I have a 2.25" SP101 for carry and the extra inch will give better velocity.
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Old September 12, 2012, 02:40 PM   #7
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What are you going to do with the gun?

If you're going to carry it, either the 4" or 3" will work. The 3" barrel will carry a bit easier and come out of the holster a tad quicker. You should get just about the same level of accuracy between both--especially after installing trigger shims and reduced strength hammer and trigger reset springs.

Also, the GP100 with 3" barrel does not have a rear sight. You may want to have one put on.

If it's just a range gun, then go with the 4" barrel.
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Old September 12, 2012, 05:58 PM   #8
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It really depends on what you are going to use it for. All things considered, 3" for concealed carry, 4" for range and home defense.
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Old September 12, 2012, 06:12 PM   #9
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I personally wouldn't go with less than a 4".
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Old September 12, 2012, 10:35 PM   #10
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I have a Ruger SP101 just over 3", if it was 4" I might not carry it let alone carrying a 4" GP100. But for me it would be the 4" in GP100, I just shoot them so well.

I never shot it past 25 yards but my groups were pretty tight.
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Old September 13, 2012, 02:01 AM   #11
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In belt holster you are not going to notice anything between 3 or 4 inch. in a IWB a 3 or 2.5 inch gun will make a notable improvement in carry.

As to sights make sure you like shooting a fixed site revolver if you get the 3 inch gun, the traditional fixed site / groove in the top strap takes some getting used to.

The Wiley Clapp edition gun is a 3 inch gun with a glow front sight and a novak rear sight dovetailed into the top strap. It's a much better set up in my opinion and I have thus purchased a couple of them.
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Old September 13, 2012, 11:55 PM   #12
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I used to have a blued 4", but sold it off like an idiot. Still miss it. It used to ride in my truck's center console.

I currently have a stainless 3", and like it so much that when I found a used one at a local gun shop for a decent price, I put it on layaway. Now, I'll have two GP100s with 3" barrels.

I would not try to CCW my 4" (I'm a little guy), but I plan on carrying my 3" when the weather turns cold. BTW, the 3" isn't any more of a beast at the range than my 4" was. In fact, the 3" is one of my favorite range guns.

Here's a pic of my 3". I swapped out the UNGODLY and RIDICULOUSLY UGLY Hogue grips for some old-style Lett grips with cocobolo inserts. These are the compact sized grips, unique to the 3".

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Old September 14, 2012, 12:04 PM   #13
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I personally think the GP-100 is too big and heavy to carry comfortably unless you carry it in a somewhat traditional holster on your belt. But I admit, I have not made much of an effort there and I never seriously tried to carry my 3" GP. I lean toward my Colt Detective Special for a steel frame carry piece. So, take my "advice" for what it is.

I really like the 3" GP-100. I don't consider it much of a range gun beyond 15 yards, but that's enough for self defensive purposes.

I can't comment critically on the "balance" other than I have handled both but only owned the 3".
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Old September 14, 2012, 02:13 PM   #14
Terry A
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Mine is a 4" and I'm very happy with it. I like the extra inch sight radius.
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Old September 14, 2012, 02:20 PM   #15
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Ammo has come a long way. If you like the handling qualities of the 3inch then go for it. There are self defense loads that reliable expand at lower velocities and for critter defense at short ranges a 180 castcore will penetrate. I prefer the adjustable sights on the 686 2.5 & 3 inch barrels over the fixed Ruger sight.

lowercase that is a great looking revolver. I love the old style grips.
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Old September 14, 2012, 07:50 PM   #16
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While I believe the adjustable sight 4" would be better for an all purpose gun, mine serves duty as a nightstand gun so the 3" with fixed sights is perfect.

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Old September 14, 2012, 09:20 PM   #17
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I had a 4"... now I have a 6". For carry I use an LCR in .38+P - the LCR is a far better concealed carry gun.

My GP-100 is a range and wilderness carry gun. Too big for concealment no matter the barrel length. Being able to shoot 4-inch groups at 50 yards is more important to me than a short barrel. Just one opinion of many.
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