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Old March 17, 2014, 04:29 AM   #1
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Glock 19 VS Ruger SP101 -- which is better in this case..

Okay, so I've narrowed down my two top choices for a "nightstand" home defense gun. I already have A Glock, and Ruger, but I like them 100% equally, therefore I can't decide which is better to pick as a secondary back-up! From already trying them both out plenty of times, AND from online research to hear other people stories, I've gathered the following "plus and minuses" for each gun. Hopefully these plus and minuses will HELP me decide on which one is worthy being the secondary back-up.

The two I'm thinking of:
Glock 19
Ruger SP101, WITH the exposed hammer. I like SA/DA option on Revolvers. (I've never fired the one with an exposed hammer too, so that's part of it)

I'm going for sheer reliability here. One has gotta have a EDGE over the other!! From what I GATHER: A Glock obviously is more likely to experience MORE jams, but those jams can be easily cleared (tap/rack/bang). While a Revolver, if it exepericnes a jam it's "gone and out". I've had a Revolver cylinder jam up completely and it would not turn or open at all. So it spent a few days (maybe a week) at the gunsmith to get fixed. Imagine that in a self-defense situtation, it kinda made me wonder about revolvers... But anyways:

The pluses AND downsides for a Glock:
(remember this is a BRAND new Glock that is just test fired 50 to 100 times over the course of a couple months to ensure it works right, so all it's parts and springs will be in basically brand new condition, and since the Glock will only have 50 to 100 rounds through it grand total, it will very very very unlikely there will be any part related issues)

--No need to worry about a cylinder locking up as a Glock doesn't have a "cylinder", therefore it doesn't have to worry about having a cylinder locking up like a revolver does. Or timing issues with the cylinder. Or any cylinder related issues.
--Almost all Glock jams can be cleared in a few seconds with a tap/rap/bang. Remember: this is a NEW Glock, so there should be zero issues with any parts like springs breaking, etc. The only possible issues that I can think of occuring in a NEW Glock would be a FTE, stovepipe, etc, which can be fixed quickly with a tap/rack/bang. Correct me if I'm wrong, though. I can't think of any other type of jams a NEW Glock would experience besides a FTE/stovepipe/feeding problem/etc. That seems to be all you'd have to worry about, and can be easily fixed with a tap/rack/bang. So that's a plus. Any issue can be solved in 5-10 seconds with T/R/B.
--A Glock has less moving parts than a Ruger SP101, and is less "delicate" than a revolver. A revolver needs a lot of things to go perfectly right to work, while a Semi-auto not so much.
--A Glock has less OVERALL parts than a Ruger SP101. Does this matter? Maybe, maybe not. I suppose less parts = less chance of something going wrong, but that could just be a myth.
--Glock can fire even with broken parts. I've seen the video where the Guide rod melted, yet the Glock STILL continued to fire... Also I've heard that a Glock can still fire if other parts like the extractor break. Of course I'm not talking long term here, but in an emergency where you just need to get a few shots off, this is a huge plus for the Glock. While a Revolver, from what I read if even one minor part breaks, the whole thing stops working. True?
--Glock has less "exposed" parts. Just like most other semiautos, almost nothing is exposed. There is no hammer exposed like on some revolvers. There is no cylinder exposed like on revolvers. This "closed design" protects the important parts from getting dirt, crud, etc on them, and in general helps keep it from getting less dirty.

Now, pluses AND downsides to a RugerSP101:
(remember this is BRAND NEW Ruger SP101, tested fire maybe 50 times over the course of a few months to ensure it works right)
--No need to worry about FTE, stovepipe, etc. Just pull trigger again.
--No magazine on a revolver. By not having a magaizine, that's one extra relaibility plus already for the revolver. Instead it has a cylinder, but an issue with a cylinder is a lot worse than a magazine problem I'd imagine.
--The revolver has a cylinder, which can lock-up and make it completely useless. This can supposedly even happen to new revolvers. If the cylinder gets completely locked up for whatever reason in a self-defense situtation, then you are toast. I've read about a cylinder that locked up "randomly, for no reason" for a guy with a pretty new S&W revolver. I read another story where some guy had his Ruger revolver cylinder completely seize/lock up because I *believe* he said he simply had crud/dirt under the ejector area, and it caused his Revolver to totally jam up and become 100% useless, until he figured out what was causing it. So sometimes it's something minor that can be fixed in a few minutes (like something very minor binding up/locking up the cylinder) or it can be completely locked up beyond repair where it needs to go to a gunsmith.
--A cylinder locking up seems like a HUGE HUGE reliability downside, which right now seems like the Glock is now winning the reliability edge. I've seen the videos of people putting Glock buried in dirt for a year then picking it up and then firing them hundreds of rounds, YET from what I read from some online stories a Revolver can be rendered 100% inoperable by dirt or something simply getting in the wrong spot, which causes the cylinder to completey jam up? Is that true? That doesn't seem very good for the revolver reliability. I'm starting to wonder if the "Revolver is the most reliable, and simple" is more of a myth now. If those stories are true, then there is nothing simple about the revolver especially if a little dirt in the wrong spot can cause it to seize up completely..
--A revolver has more "exposed", I believe. What I mean is things like the cylinder, the hammer area (unless it's inclosed), etc. More "exposed" areas can lead to more dirt/gunk/ANYTHING getting into it, and if any of those items getting into a revolver can truly cause it to "seize up the cylinder" then that's not good.

So after thinking of all the pluses and minuses of a NEW Glock 19 as a home self-defense gun vs a NEW RugerSP101 as a home self-defense gun or a "Truck gun", to me it seems like the edge would go to the Glock, no? With the Glock it has less parts, and any issues can be fixed in seconds with a tap/rack/bang. But with a Revolver, IF it happened to experience a jam, like a cylinder locking up, you cannot fix it in a self-defense situtation. I've heard of revolver cylinders jamming up for minor reasons, but luckily it was when people where at the range, not sure how common this is or what causes it. So basically, if a Glock jams it's an easy fix. If a revolver jams, well, it's going to likely need to go to the gun-smith. So with all the "plus and minuses" I pointed out for both the Glock and the Ruger revolver, wouldn't the Glock probably take the edge in reliability? In conclusion: I know that a Glock is more likely to experience a FTE more likely than a Revolver is likely to experience a cylinder jam. BUT, since a FTE is easy to clear, while a Cylinder jam can often be impossible to clear, that means that a Glock jamming is more reliable than a Revolver jamming -- if that makes sense.

Last edited by Josh17; March 18, 2014 at 05:52 PM. Reason: To make it easier for people to understand. They keep skipping the thread and only reading the 1st post.
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Old March 17, 2014, 04:35 AM   #2
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All things being equal - if your guns are well maintained and cleaned as they should be and not abused, there's no reason why either shouldn't work. It just comes down to what you're most comfortable grabbing in an emergency. I'd be fine grabbing my 686+ 4" or my Glock 26.

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Old March 17, 2014, 06:10 AM   #3
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I agree with Laura. It seems you've put plenty of thought into your choices and IMO they are both more than suitable for your stated purpose. I think the only real "edge" will go to which one you shoot better and are most comfortable with.
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Old March 17, 2014, 06:44 AM   #4
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I'd pick the Glock hands down.

Reliability simply isn't an issue in a nightstand gun. With decent ammo either will work. FWIW I've had far more revolvers malfunction than semi's. But that always was after the 1st cylinder. Problems occur when reloading, bad ammo, or after guns had been shot quite a bit and were dirty or the ejector rod shot loose on S&W revolvers. Keep either gun clean and feed them quality ammo and forget about reliability.

My 4" barreled G-19 chronographs 1250 fps with 124 gr +P ammo. From a 2-3" barreled SP-101 you'll be lucky to get 1000-1200 fps with the same bullet weights. Likely much less and you will get far more recoil and muzzle blast with 1/3 the ammo available.

357 mag ammo earned its reputation in long barreled guns shooting heavy bullets. The published ballistics listed for the round are from 8" barrels and they don't come close to that from snub guns. Published numbers for semi's are taken from 4.5" barrels, much closer to what people actually use. When you start shooting either in barrels 4" and less 9mm starts to make a lot more sense.
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Old March 17, 2014, 06:50 AM   #5
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I'd go with the Glock. Size isn't an issue with a nightstand gun so go with capacity. Clean and function test it every few months and it should be fine forever.
My FNP45 Tactical duty gun doubles as my nightstand gun, I like the idea of having 16 rounds of .45acp readily available.

ETA: Also, even though I keep a flashlight at bedside I prefer a weapon light on my home defense gun, another plus for the Glock.
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Last edited by WC145; March 17, 2014 at 08:35 AM.
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Old March 17, 2014, 06:56 AM   #6
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Both are fine and while you certainly put a lot of thought into your post, I think, like others above me have said, it comes down to what you are more comfortable with.

If its is the SP, by all means get the SP. Same with the Glock. Bottom line is that if both are maintained, both will function when you need them too. What you really need is a gun that you are comfortable with and shoot well.

Cylinder bind and melted guide rods aside, don't over think your choice. Both guns are very good reliable weapons. At this point, it is about how the firearm feels and shoots.
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Old March 17, 2014, 07:01 AM   #7
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In your situation I would say the Ruger ,I really like my 19 and that would be my personal choice.But If your not going to train with it I would go with the revolver
for safety reasons alone.Grabbing a Glock off the night stand half awake might not be a good idea.
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Old March 17, 2014, 07:50 AM   #8
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Re hardware, I wouldn't worry about either.

The reliability issue is going to be with the user.

Snubbies need practice, for skills to stay sharp.
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Old March 17, 2014, 07:56 AM   #9
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I'm going for sheer reliability here.One has gotta have a EDGE over the other!!
I'm sorry, but I don't think you'll find anyone who can give you the answer your looking for regarding which is MORE reliable.

In my mind, reliability is the factor of greatest importance when selecting a handgun. But, its not the ONLY factor that influences my decision.

Here's a few other factors you might consider:

Which platform do you have more experience with?

Which can you shoot with the best speed and accuracy?

Being a HD gun, the capability of being able to attach a light to the rail of the Glock might be plus.

Are there other family members that would have access to this firearm? If so, which do they find easier to shoot? What platform are they more familiar with?

If I was selecting a handgun specifically for HD, these are a few questions that would go through my mind.

Hope it helps.
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Old March 17, 2014, 10:42 AM   #10
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Reliability simply isn't an issue in a nightstand gun
How so?

AFAIK - there's nothing magical about a nightstand like some claim a pyramid shaped container has that makes fruit not rot and razor blades stay sharp.

Reliability is an issue with any gun.
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Old March 17, 2014, 10:55 AM   #11
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Reliability is an issue with any gun.
OK, so answer the OP's question: Which is more reliable, the Glock or the Ruger?

If you can't make a distinction between them, then it's not an issue.
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Old March 17, 2014, 11:11 AM   #12
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I'm not the OP so I can't answer which gun would be the more reliable in his nightstand.
I have no clue what sort of crap is floating around in it.

Little tiny loose things that could bind up a revolver cylinder - or - some stuff in a tube (medication or whatever) that oozes out and turns into a mass of goo.

Just thinking of what's all jammed into the drawers in our nightstand makes me shudder. That's one of the last places in the house I'd try to jam a gun into. Each drawer is so overstuffed with junk that they hardly open.

Which is more reliable, the Glock or the Ruger?
Beats the heck out of me. I don't own either nor am I likely to.
I have an aversion to striker fired and I hate the Ruger revolver's trigger.
If you can't make a distinction between them, then it's not an issue
That makes no sense.
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Old March 17, 2014, 11:27 AM   #13
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Either will be fine. If you really want to absolutly break it down, the edge would, in my opinion,go with the revolver.

With an auto, there are springs kept under tension at rest. The firing pin spring, and the magazine spring are the two that would be first to POSSIBLY lose some tension, or, take a set.

With a revolver, most of the springs are at rest now and for the next hundred years or so.

A revolver will function absolutly dry. The trigger may be harder, but, you can add more energy to your finger to cycle it.

An auto, dry, will likely fire for the rounds that are in it, particularly a Glock. An auto with dried up coagulated grease MAY have a jam.

The difference is just absolutly miniscule though. With even basic maintenance, its a wash. Either would work fine, I just think if you are going to load it and ignore it for a few generations, the slightests edge would go to the stainless revolver.
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Old March 17, 2014, 11:28 AM   #14
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You're thinking about this too much. Both are fine. The revolver will take fewer rounds to establish its reliability if that matters, but personally if a Glock runs its first 50 rounds of FMJ without a hitch and runs a full magazine of my carry ammo through it, I call it good.

There has been a significant trend lately in the three gun fora in which I am a member asking about small revolvers as truck or nightstand guns.

To which I always ask- why does it need to be small? You can do a 4" GP100 or K-frame in .357. It will shoot easier and be more powerful. The main reason people buy small revolvers is for concealability... that's not an issue in your truck or your nightstand.
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Old March 17, 2014, 12:39 PM   #15
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I don't get your question. I think that if anybody were to read your post, they will come away with a strong suspicion that you want the Glock, but are trying to get talked out of it for some reason.

If you read the +/- for Glock, it reads like "Glock is uber reliable and any problem that may arise can be fixed in a heartbeat and it will function even when half broke". If you read the +/- for the Ruger, it reads " This thing can lock up ant any given moment and every conceived problem I can think of that may come up with a revolver is a major concern".

I think it is apparent you want the Glock and have already convinced yourself of it, you just want others to tell you that you made the right choice. Problem is, everyone's gun choice is their own and no one can tell you what is good for you.. only you can.

That said. I own a SP101 that rides on my belt during the day and sits in my nightstand while I sleep. I have full confidence in the reliability of this firearm and as long as I do my part to maintain it, I don't ever foresee a problem arising. I have over 1,000 rounds through it since I bought it this past July 2013 without a hitch. Personally, I would trust a loaded revolver at rest for extended periods of time over a semi-auto any day of the week and twice on Sunday. But that's me and that's what works for me.
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Old March 17, 2014, 06:02 PM   #16
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If you go into the gun shop on a day that starts with an S, pick the Ruger. If it's a day that starts with T, pick the Glock. The M-W-F days, flip a coin.

My experience: a properly running 9mm Glock is as dependable as a DA revolver. No question in my mind at all. My well-worn Glock 17 is less picky than either of my S&W .357s. A little gritty from unburned powder? The G-pistol will work, the revolver may not go back into battery after the reload. Sloppy with ejecting the empties out of the cylinder on the revolver? Uh-oh, you might get a rim under the extractor, have fun with clearing that. Tuned and oh-so buttery smooth DA trigger? Best check to make sure it will light off your ammo of choice. (This applies to any tuned action, FYI, I'm not specifically picking on my 586 that is a bit snobby about what I feed it.)

A Glock? Add ammo, shoot, reload, shoot, reload, shoot, reload, shoot, reload, shoot. At some point it gets too dirty to touch so you clean it and keep doing it.

If I may ask, which one is closer to what you currently shoot and practice with? Because if you're only going to shoot 50-100 rounds a year through it, you're not going to be familiar with using it. This especially with a 5-shot revolver, you'll want to be competent reloading with speedloaders in case you need it.
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Old March 17, 2014, 06:22 PM   #17
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I just want to throw this out there: you should probably shoot whatever you pick more often than that. If your life may depend on this gun don't you want to have more practice with it than that? I like to know my guns like I know myself.

I have looked at both of these guns hard. I almost baught the Ruger last year, I did buy the Glock this year. It made more sense to me.
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Old March 17, 2014, 06:49 PM   #18
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I thought this was an actual question. Pretty sure its not...

Since the glock has no negatives and the revolver has a ton of them.

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Old March 17, 2014, 07:01 PM   #19
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Since the revolver has no negatives, and the glock has a ton of them.
I'd go with the Ruger.
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Old March 17, 2014, 07:38 PM   #20
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Either of your choices are fine. If I were limited to them I'd get the Glock 19. I have its 40S&W twin the G23 and am pleased with it.

I would fire a LOT more testing rounds though!!!
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Old March 17, 2014, 07:44 PM   #21
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Ford vs Chevy
Dog vs Cat
Semi auto vs Revolver

These "versus" threads are always interesting.
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Old March 17, 2014, 08:13 PM   #22
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Take it from someone who fired a .357 out of a snub indoors without hearing protection, it's not a good experience. After only a single round I developed tinnitus in my left ear, tinnitus is permanent ringing in the ear and as a result I can never enjoy peace and quiet again. Stick with the Glock 19.
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Old March 17, 2014, 08:21 PM   #23
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I'd guess that shooting a glock indoors without hearing protection just may cause some hearing problems also.
Always use hearing protection.
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Old March 17, 2014, 08:44 PM   #24
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I'd guess that shooting a glock indoors without hearing protection just may cause some hearing problems also.
Absolutely, but full power .357 magnums, especially out of a snub, are on a whole other level than a 9mm. As the DB level increases, so does the potential for damage to your ears, and there is a large gap from the 9mm and the .357 magnum. There is the old saying I would rather be deaf than dead, and while I agree with that, if I can choose to minimize the damage I may cause to what hearing I have left, I absolutely will. My bedside gun is a 5" barreled 9mm, which compared to a 2" .357 sounds like powder puffs.
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Old March 17, 2014, 10:01 PM   #25
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No, it was a question. I don't think anyone fully read my post, which is expected in a long post. I said:
Now please correct me if I'm wrong on any of the points I made below, that's why I'm asking/posting here.
So I wanted to know if all the POINTS I made on the Glock where correct, and if I was missing anything. Same for the Ruger. All I did was do a lot of online research, and found the major negatives for both the weapons. By researching online I found MORE negatives for the Revolver than I did for the Glock, and I pointed them out in the post and I simply wanted to know "is this all correct?"

Also I said the negatives for the Glock where:
Having a Magazine, having FTE, stovepipes, failure to feed, etc. BUT, those are ALL the Glock negatives I could think of occuring in a brand NEW Glock... Like I said before, correct me if I'm wrong?
While the Revolver, even if brand new, it CAN experience a cylinder lock-up and other major issues, because from what I researched it's "very delicate and everything most be 100% for it to work". Again, correct me if I'm WRONG about the Revolver.

BTW, I already said I could practice with either one in my post, I can go to the rental range and rent a Glock 19 and practice with it 5 times a week if I wanted, same goes for the Ruger SP101. I've also fired both, and have no personal perference between the two. I just wanted to know if all my "plus and minuses" points I gathered from various online websites was correct or incorrect.

If they are all correct points, and I didn't miss anything, then I'm going with the Glock because it seems like the semi-auto has many more pluses and less negatives than the Revolver does, but like I said correct me if I'm wrong on any of those points.
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