Ruger’s Classy SP101 TALO Special

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

The TALO SP101 Deluxe in its shipping case
TALO SP101 Deluxe is shipped in a standard Ruger hard case suitable for air travel.

Introduction To the TALO SP101

The SP101 was first introduced in 1989 as Ruger’s entry into the small-frame revolver market. Along with the GP100, the SP101 replaced the legacy Security Six and Speed Six series of revolvers. Since that time, the little wheel gun has developed a loyal following. According to their website, Ruger currently offers the SP101 in 15 different configurations. Calibers include .357 Magnum, .38 Special +P, .327 Magnum, and .22 Long Rifle. Current options in barrel length are 2.25”, 3”, and 4.2”. The cylinder capacity for the .38 Special/.357 Magnum is five rounds. While all SP101 models feature an external hammer, several models come from the factory with a bobbed hammer spur which is a nice touch. Ruger SP101 Models

Frame and trigger on the TALO SP101 with elegant designs etched into the metal
The unique design of the SP101’s frame eliminates the need for a sideplate. This significantly strengthens the pistol.
Close angled shot of the SP101 trigger and handle
The trigger on the SP101 is nicely radiused and contoured.
Etched designs in the barrel of the Ruger SP101
The two inch barrel is crowned and the front sight blade is pinned for easy replacement.

The SP101 and the GP101, series of revolvers features a solid frame design that eliminates a traditional sideplate. The result is a much stronger frame that can handle magnum pressures and higher round counts than other similar revolvers. Both have been described as a “tank” for their ruggedness and durability. The guns are almost indestructible.

The TALO SP101 with a fully loaded chamber of .357 Magnum ammunition
The construction of the SP101 is designed to withstand full .357 Magnum loads.

The TALO Touch

Founded in 1964, TALO is one of the country’s older firearm’s distributors. TALO is a buying cooperative that commissions limited edition and exclusive models from the leading manufacturers. Their website lists 20 companies that they are currently partnered with, one of those being Ruger. On the TALO website, they list 134 different Ruger collaborations. One of these commissions is a SP101 Deluxe. TALO Ruger Collection

Thanks to the great folks in Ruger’s marketing department, I was able to obtain a TALO exclusive Ruger SP101 Deluxe, in .357 Magnum. Ruger lists this model as having limited availability, but it is on the TALO site. TALO SP101 Deluxe

Ruger’s Classy SP101 TALO Special
The factory engraving, on the SP101 Deluxe, is executed in a balanced and evenly proportioned.
Closeup on the TALO SP101 fine engraving
Even under close examination, the engraving is well done.
Ruger’s Classy SP101 TALO Special
The engraving, on the left side of the barrel, features two lines of scrollwork.

The TALO SP101 Deluxe is based on the stainless model and is chambered in .357 Magnum. It features a 2.25” barrel, a pinned black front sight ramp, and black rubber stocks with an engraved wood inserts. However, what makes this SP101 special, the machine engraving that covers the majority of the revolver. Now, I admit, I am a snob when it comes to engraving. I find it much easier to find engraving that I don’t like than engraving that I like! I have to admit that the scroll and relief work on the SP101 is very attractive. It is tastefully executed and the engraving is proportional to the locations on the pistol.

Ruger’s Classy SP101 TALO Special
The right side of the barrel has three lines of scrollwork.
Top view of the TALO SP101 and its sights
The top strap of the frame has two lines of engraving on either side of the sight track.

SP101 Range Time

Being all stainless, the SP101 is a very solid pistol that weighs a hefty 26 ounces. While a little heavy for a pocket gun, the little snub is a great shooter and ideal for belt carry. The stocks are small in overall diameter but the shape really works. The trigger on our sample was clean with no grit or stacking. The single action broke at a nice 5 lbs. but felt much lighter.

I took the SP101 to the range for a full workup. This included testing three defensive loads for accuracy and consistency as well as shooting a number of drills. Since our pistol is chambered in .357 Magnum, I felt obligated to shoot at least one magnum load. I selected Hornady’s 135 gr. Critical Duty that features the FlexLock projectile. The FlexLock is designed to meet, or surpass, the FBI ballistic protocol, to include barrier penetration.

Out of the 2.25” barrel, the Critical Duty load averaged 1, 156 fps. I also tested Speer’s 135 gr. +P Gold Dot Short Barrel load. The Gold Dot averaged 891 fps. Finally, I tested Georgia Arms Ultimate Defense 148 gr. Wadcutter. This load is specifically designed to produce adequate penetration of both bare gel and 4-layers of denim when shot from a 1 7/8” barrel found on Smith J-frame revolvers. This load averaged a mild 743 fps.

The TALO SP101 with Hornady ammunition on a wooden table
Range time with SP101 was a pleasant surprise. The little gun handled magnum loads with ease.
Ruger’s Classy SP101 TALO Special

The SP101 shoots well

Shooting the SP101 Deluxe left me with a very positive impression. The stainless construction helped absorb recoil of even the stout Magnum loads. In addition, the stocks proved to be outstanding. Frankly, I was not looking forward to shooting magnum loads out of the little Ruger. My worries vanished after the first cylinder full. The combination of the weight, and the excellently designed stocks, made magnums down right pleasant to shoot. This made shooting the .38 loads were very anticlimactic! I also appreciated the smooth and radiused trigger.

READ MORE: My Favorite 22 Pistol: Ruger 22/45 Tactical

After spending some time ringing steel from 40 yards, or so, I decided to shoot the Hardwired Tactical Snubby Super Test. The Snubby Super Test was created by Wayne Dobbs and Darryl Bolke, both retired law enforcement officers and snub aficionados. They live with small revolvers on a daily basis and teach how to run them effectively. This is a very challenging drill that provides a good assessment of the shooter’s skill level. The drill is shot on a NRA B-8 bullseye target. The course of fire is shown below.

Snubby Super Test
DistanceRounds FiredTimePosition
10 Yards58 secondsBoth Hands
5 Yards55 secondsBoth Hands
3 Yards53 SecondsStrong Hand Only
Hardwired Tactical
The SP101 with a used target and brass casings on a wooden table
The author’s target from the Snubby Super Test.

Test Results

The shooter can either start from a low ready or with his hand on the pistol in a pocket. This is not for the faint of heart, especially the 3 yard line. Five rounds in 3 seconds is pretty spicy, especially from the strong hand only. At the three yard line, I got off to a great start with a time of 2.36 with one round in the 8-ring. I was down 2 points. The 5-yard line went well with a time of 4.50 with a score of -3 points. The 10-yard line is the most challenging due to the range and the black front sight on a black target. My 10-yard time was 5.49 and I lost only 5 points. My total score was a 140/150, or 93.3%. For my first run with the SP101, I was very happy.

The more I shot the little Ruger, the more I liked it. It is one of those guns that I didn’t want to stop shooting. We ran through 40 rounds or more of .357 Magnums and probably 150 rounds of various .38 Special loads. It was just a lot of fun! I see why the SP101 has such a following.


Q: What caliber options are available for the Ruger TALO SP101?

A: The Ruger TALO SP101 is commonly available in .357 Magnum, .327 Federal Magnum, .22 long rifle, and .38 Special calibers.

Q: What is the capacity of the Ruger TALO SP101’s cylinder?

A: The revolver features a 5-round capacity. Some other models offer 6.

Q: Is the Ruger TALO SP101 suitable for concealed carry?

A: Yes, the SP101’s compact size and sturdy build make it a popular choice for concealed carry, definitely worth consideration.

Q: How much does the TALO SP101 cost?

A: The current MSRP for the gun is $1,253.00

Final Impressions On the SP101

Even without the engraving, the TALO SP101 is a great revolver. A standard SP101 retails for $919. The TALO edition sells for about $300 more. My only criticism is the all black front sight blade. When shooting a B-8 target, the black front sight was a challenge. I would like to see it offered with a high visibility insert. This is easily accomplished since the sight is pinned in place.

While the TALO edition is limited in availability, it can be found. I visited Ruger’s website and, by clicking the “buy now” button, I found several for sale. TALO also offers the same engraving package on a blued SP101.

If you are looking to spice up your daily carry, or want a BBQ gun, then the little SP101 may just be the wheelgun for you.

Ruger SP101 TALO Deluxe
SKU/Model Number5764
Caliber.357 Magnum
MaterialStainless Steel
FinishSatin Stainless
Barrel Length2.25”
Overall Length7”
Weight26 oz.
Rear SightFix
Front SightPinned Black Ramp
StocksBlack Rubber/Engraved Wood Insert

*** Buy and Sell on GunsAmerica! All Local Sales are FREE! ***

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Dano bardwell September 22, 2023, 1:40 pm

    Automated engraving ??? What ever happened to old fashioned hand hewn craftsmanship? I don’t think even a Mexican cartel boss would be caught with a sp101 Talo !

  • ejharbet September 22, 2023, 9:39 am

    machine engraving for the price of hand engraved? $1300 nah.
    aa much as I love ruger guns the recent price hikes have me glad that I have what I want.

  • Mac September 19, 2023, 8:36 pm

    These same grips with the wood inserts have been around on various Ruger revolvers for years…nothing new or “Talo” about them I don’t believe. A hefty price for the name/association, even at $300 less for the non-deluxe version. As for the drill channel on the left side, indeed what/why…??? Very ugly…has to be more to it than mfg.

  • Todd September 19, 2023, 10:37 am

    If they can sell this without the ‘BILLboard’…. why not the rest of the line too?!?!?

    • ejharbet September 22, 2023, 9:43 am

      talo lawyers defend talo for not having the “billboard” once these guns leave ruger ruger has less liability. I could be wrong about this and don’t mind being corrected

  • Steve Campbell September 18, 2023, 9:08 am

    Why the big “drill channel” under the cylinder latch on the left side. My older SP101 has a hole in the frame there, but not the big drill channel. In my opinion, that is unsightly compared to the older versions. Must be a cheaper way of manufacturing it.

  • GomeznSA September 17, 2023, 1:18 pm

    The TALO might be a ‘good’ choice for a barbeque gun but the plain jane version is good enough for us mere mortals. I happen to have one in .327Federal. The extra weight helps with recoil control and is almost pleasant to shoot with .32H&R loads. As to using it for daily carry IMHO it is a bit ‘beefy’ and bulky – similar in size to a 2.5″ S&W K frame. I’ll stick to the LCRx for carry 😉

    • Kane September 18, 2023, 10:31 pm

      Plus a LEO will scratch their initials on a firearm involved in any investigation, even a clearly justifiable use of self defense. It’s a cool gun but maybe NOT for CC or OC.

Send this to a friend