Which one is better, in your opinion?
This is the way I look at is if I wanted a Ruger revolver for HD, it would be the GP100 with the 4" or even possibly the 6" barrel. Heavier barrel means less recoil. Also, the hammer can be cocked for a lighter SA trigger if desired.
If I wanted a Ruger revolver for Carry, it would be the SP101 with a 2.25" barrel and the shaved hammer. The grip is also shorter and would be easier to conceal on the SP101.
A GP100 could easily be carried with the right holster/belt and garments just like any other firearm, but it wouldn't be my first choice for carry. YMMV.
I have carried a GP100 4" but totaly agree with BB. If you can afford it buy two guns. If not the SP101 in 3"
I have to agree with BB too. Thats exactly my setup. 6" GP100 for HD and one fun range gun & 2.25" SP101 for CC.
...that I traded into recently is the best-shooting revolver I've owned in years...I carry the .38Spl 158gr LSWCHP+P and that's all the power I need...it hides as well as my S&W Bodyguard 2"...which I carry for backup...both IWB at 11 and 12 o'clock respectively...the 4" all have adj. sights and I don't like them...the extra inch isn't important to me....
I went with the 2.25 SP101 with a spurless hammer for CCW. I love it. It conceals well, and, even though it is small, it is heavy enough to absorb the shock of the .357 Magnum loads. I am contemplating my next gun for home defense. Perhaps I'll get a GP100 or maybe a 1911 . . .
The GP-100 is a great revolver. With a good set of grip stocks, it can handle any .357 Magnum load out there. It is a very good home defense gun, or a good sidearm to carry when hunting. If you put over sized grips on it to help with heavy-hitting loads, it's a bit hard to conceal, though.
The SP-101 is the strongest of all the snub-nosed revolvers, and also the heaviest, which makes it a little more pleasant to shoot, but a little more uncomfortable to carry. But, it is still easier to carry than a 1911, and is my choice for the smallest .357 magnum. Anything lighter than the SP-101, and I'll drop down to a .38 special chambering, and just use 158 gr. +P loads.
The light-weight .357's are not much fun to shoot, and practice is very important with a smaller gun, because they are considerably harder to shoot well, due to the shortened sighting radius. My personal preference is the ~3" model SP-101, because the extra barrel length is not really any harder to conceal with a good IWB holster (since it is really the grip that must be hidden), and that extra inch makes quite a bit of difference in my ability to shoot it accurately.
Never handled a SP101 but I love my GP100.
Built solid and handles 357 recoil real good.
I have both and love them.. I think you need 2 guns though as the GP is a bit harder to conceal, but is a great shooter..
The SP is a little tough on your hands shooting the 357 loads, so i use them mainly for carry, shoot some at the range for practice but shoot mostly the 38sp loads at the range.
Once you buy one you will buy the other they are that nice.
+1 all the above. One big and one little. Both excellent. GP100 3" and SP101 3" split the middle/difference to serve double duty for ccw and home defense. The 4" GP100 would be a bit much to tote around in my humble opinion but a great home defense revolver.