Retro Photo:
No Ordinary .357


No Ordinary .357

The first magazine devoted exclusively to handguns, American Handgunner has been educating and entertaining firearm enthusiasts and professionals for more than 45 years and remains a reliable source of handgun news and reviews.

With an extensive archive of classic issues, ‘Retro Photo’ is a regular series digging up photos, ads and graphics from the print pages of American Handgunner dating back to 1976.

Ruger ad, American Handgunner Sep/Oct 1988

An evolution of the popular Ruger Security-Six, the GP100 was introduced in 1985 as a double-action, exposed hammer, full-size grip frame revolver. Engineered to withstand a heavy dose of .357 Magnum loads, the revolver featured a thicker frame with integral side panels and grip “peg” to accommodate a wide variety of custom grips, including Ruger’s factory rubber option.

A handgun market still dominated by revolvers at the time, Ruger took aim at their competition in Smith & Wesson with an ad run in the Sep/Oct 1988 issue of American Handgunner. Calling out design differences between the GP100 and the Smith & Wesson L-Frames like the Model 586 and 686, Ruger didn’t hold back.

“Unlike the Smith and Wesson .357 frame, which is adapted from a frame built for lighter cartridges, the Ruger frame is visibly stronger in all of the critical areas supporting the barrel,” ending with “no .357 Magnum can stand up to the GP1OO for long-term reliability and ease of shooting a big cartridge without fatigue.”

A bold statement, it’s even more audacious when viewed through a modern lens, as we typically don’t see this kind of attack marketing in today’s advertising, especially within the firearms industry.

Today, the Ruger GP100 and Smith & Wesson 586 and 686, and their many variants, remain in production and popular choices among handgun hunters, backcountry enthusiasts, competitors and wheelgunners alike. Just like any firearm comparison, there are pros and cons to both, but it’d be hard to go wrong with either.
Read American Handgunner Sep/Oct 1988

Read American Handgunner Classic Issues