I started carrying a backup gun as soon as I could; as a young cop with a family, quality handguns were just a little out of financial reach. I knew that a second gun was the way to go. I read Skeeter Skelton’s stories relating how a backup gun could have saved him a thumping. I read Mas Ayoob’s reports on the Stakeout Unit’s “New York Reload.” Not having one was a matter of money, not desire.
While the security industries had a “J-ish” 5-shot .357 Magnum, they didn’t see wide issue. The first that had any legs, and it’s still around now, was the Ruger SP101. Originally in .38 Special, some intrepid souls punched them out for short overall length .357 Magnum rounds. Ruger came out with a short version in .357 Magnum. It was marked to use only 125-grain .357 loads, as the magnums with 158-grain bullets were too long for the cylinder.