Guns Handguns

Gun Review: Ruger GP-100 Match Champion

We might live in the era of the semi-auto, but revolvers still hold their own
John B. Snow Avatar

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Match Champion
The Match Champion is a slicked-up GP-100 that is built to be ready for competition out of the box. Photograph by Bill Buckley

The Match Champion is a slicked-up GP-100 that is built to be ready for competition out of the box. With racy lines, a reduced weight, and some well-thought-out add-ons, it has the air of an aficionados’ wheel gun.

Ruger went to some lengths to enhance its ergonomics, starting with the Hogue hardwood grips.

The sinuous lines of the grips feel as good to hold as they look. The contours fit well in my hand, allowing for positive control without unnecessary bulk. The smooth edges on the grips prevented the gun from biting under recoil, making it comfortable to shoot, while the stippled laser-cut texturing gave enough purchase to keep the revolver from getting loose, even when I was shooting high-octane .357 loads.

Master the trigger

The trigger pull on my sample was not as light as those on some of my tuned revolvers, but it had a smooth and consistent pull, and with a little dry-fire practice and range time, I found it easy to achieve good shot-to-shot splits on steel.

As with any double-action revolver, trigger control is one of the keys to fast, accurate shooting, and you do this by pre-loading the trigger prior to the sights settling on whatever target you’re shooting at. In essence, you want to start your trigger pull as you extend the revolver toward the target for the first shot, timing it so the trigger is ready to break with very little additional pressure as the sights align on what you’re aiming at.

This same principal applies with follow-up shots. You want to start the trigger moving for a follow-up shot the moment the revolver moves under recoil, so that by the time the front sight moves back on to the target, you’re ready to shoot again.

Built for speed

The Match Champion is available with two types of sights: fixed and adjustable. I opted for the fixed low-profile Novak sights. The large, round fiber-optic inset in the front sight draws your attention like a lighthouse beacon on a foggy night, another boon to fast shooting.

The barrel length—4.2 inches—is also helpful for putting lead downrange in a hurry. It gives the gun good balance and pointability without adding extra weight and material. In keeping with this “just right” vibe, the slab-sided barrel is machined with a half-lug profile that encases the ejector rod.

I spent a lot of time with the revolver, shooting mostly bargain-priced .38 Spl. loads, which was a smart move, as pulling the trigger on it is addictive.

For action shooting, the accuracy is more than adequate. Even smaller steel targets at extended ranges—25 yards and more—are within its capabilities.

Most important, the gun is just fun to shoot.

As with other GP-100s, the Match Champion is durable and built to withstand abuse. Should the need arise, it is easy to take down and service without special tools.

The Match Champion has an MSRP of $929, but the real-world price is closer to $700, making it a good value.