Wiley Clapp is a grumpy old curmudgeon who is, undoubtedly, the smartest man I know in regards to handguns. While attending a writer event at Gunsite several years ago, I was riding back to the hotel with him when I initiated a discussion on the Browning Hi-Power. I have owned several and read extensively, so I felt more than adequate to discuss the virtues of the gun. Wiley corrected a few of my assertions and then launched into a 30-minute long discussion of the gun, its history, design characteristics and how the gun could be improved. “Discussion” is the wrong word as I just sat and listened, because when I talk I don’t learn and I obviously had a lot to learn in this case.
Wiley has been writing for the gun press as long as I can remember and is someone that everyone in the industry respects. With a background in both the military (a Vietnam Marine with combat experience) and law enforcement (a deputy in a large California Sheriff’s Office), Wiley knows both combat and competition, but it is the combat handgun that receives most of his attention. In the last several years, Wiley has worked with distributors to manufacture classic combat handguns to his specifications—and while you might not agree with his platform, you can’t argue they are not well thought out and appointed. His latest collaboration involves the Ruger GP100, one of the best-built and most reliable revolvers on the planet. And like his other creations, this one has a number of unique and
It is not surprising that Wiley chose the GP100 as a basis for his fighting revolver. Designed 25 years ago to replace the Security/Service/Speed Six revolver series, the GP100 was designed to shoot thousands of rounds of full-power .357 Mag ammunition without the worry of cracked forcing cones, blown topstraps, stretched frames or any other mechanical failures due to prolonged use. All of the internal components in a GP100 come out the bottom, meaning there is no sideplate in the frame—thereby increasing the strength (long life) of the GP100. In addition, the GP100 has long been known for its excellent trigger action right from the factory. As everyone reading this knows…the better the trigger, the better you will shoot the gun.
Specifically designed from its namesake’s voluminous knowledge of combat handguns, the Wiley Clapp GP100 is an excellent example of what is needed on a revolver that may someday be used to save your life.
To create his version of the perfect combat revolver, Wiley teamed with Robert Coyle of TALO, Inc. a distributor well known for introducing one of a kind custom handguns. The Clapp-inspired GP100 is an attractive revolver with a heavy matte stainless steel finish. The combination rubber/wood insert grips have a distinctive pattern that Wiley first introduced on his custom 1911 pistol, which was also released by TALO. The rubber front- and backstraps help reduce felt recoil, while the distinctive checkered pattern on the wood side panels coincide with how the fingers engage the grip. The result is a grip configuration that is both functional and elegant in appearance.
Another unique feature is the use of Novak Lo-Mount sights. Wiley makes no secret of his friendship with custom gunsmith Wayne Novak or that he feels the Novak sight system is among the best combat sights available. If you were to ask me about placing a Novak sight on a revolver, I would say it would be awkward—but actually seeing them I admit they are quite pleasing to the eye and look very sleek on the GP100. The rear sight is flat black (no dots) and adjustable for windage by loosening the setscrew. The front sight incorporates a large, very visible lime-green fiber optic rod while retaining a square front sight post configuration. The green rod is visible under a wide range of light environments, catching any available light that is available and contrasts nicely with the flat black rear. I know from past conversations that Wiley is a fan of brass bead front sights, so the use of a fiber optic sight is very “new age” indeed.