Obscure Object of Desire: The Ruger Police Service Six

by Tommy Grant

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I’m relatively new to serious revolver shooting. Wheel guns were always fun for me, but they were plinkers. Only now am I learning how to shoot one quickly and efficiently.

This has led me to acquire a few revolvers and spend what feels like a healthy amount of my retirement funds on .38 Special ammunition. My latest acquisition is a Ruger Police Service Six, which I got for less than $400. Any amateur gun nut knows about the Ruger Speed Six revolvers.

However, what they may not know, and what I didn’t know, was that the Sixes were an entire family of revolvers. This includes the Speed Six, which is the most famous. Then there is the Security Six and the Service Six. The Service Six, also occasionally known as the Police Service Six, is the subject of today’s article.

The Dawn of the Sixes

The Sixes were the product of Bill Ruger’s desire for some of that sweet, sweet double-action revolver market. It was the 1970s. Hai1r was long, cars were cool, and revolvers ruled the police market. Ruger made revolvers, but they were limited to the single-action variety, and the police and defensive market was huge. Ruger got into the double action, duty, and defense-ready revolvers in 1972.

According to Legend and Ruger, the engineers were given a fresh sheet of paper and an unlimited budget. According to Ruger, they represented the first major innovation in revolvers since the double action mechanism. They used solid frames made of investment cast. Parts were installed through the bottom of the gun. These solid side walls promised a strong and capable revolver.

Ruger is fairly well known for their rugged and reliable revolvers. The SP101 and GP100 revolvers are tanks. The Sixes appeared to be fairly tank-like themselves. This specific model weighs in excess of 30 ounces and feels like I could hammer nails with it.

The Ruger Police Service Six

The Speed Six and the Security Six embraced the .357 Magnum cartridge. It was the bee’s knees of fighting revolver cartridges for this era. The Service Six came in .357 Magnum, as well as 9mm and .38 Special.

The Police Service Six models were .38 Special only as far as I can see. Service Six models were simpler guns with fixed sights. They came in either 2.75 or 4-inch barrels. The Service Six in .38 Special were built on the standard .357 frame, making them an overengineered .38 Special.

The United States military adopted a Service Six in .38 Special as the M108. It was issued to aviators, female MPs, and CID. This specific model had a lanyard loop but was fairly standard other than that. Ruger designed and designated the Police Service Six as the Police Service Six because Ruger aimed to capture the police agencies that wouldn’t issue a magnum revolver. Police administrative staff couldn’t issue a magnum. Imagine the fright and headlines that would incur.

The Police Service Six revolver and all the Service Six revolvers use a square butt design. The Speed Six has a round butt. The Security Six also used the square butt design. It’s an interesting debate in terms of which is better, but the square butt seems to work well for me so far.

We get a partial underlug. The sight is a front ramp that’s large and serrated for reduced glare. It needs a dab of white paint, but it works. Overall, it might be basic, but it feels well-made and seems to be a solid revolver.

To The Range

With a revolver, I’m an okay shot. The 856 Defender and its red dot makes me better than I have any right to be. With iron sights, well, I’m a work in progress. However, at first shot, I loved this revolver. I loaded the gun and had my stuff at a small table 25 yards out. My intent was to grab my table and move up, but just for fun, I decided to take a few shots at the 25-yard line.

I aimed at a six-inch gong, cocked the single-action hammer and sunk the front sight into the notch and let it fly. A distinct ding ran out, and the gong swung. In my excitement, I let the next five shots fly. I switched gongs between shots and landed all six shots. My ego was most certainly stroked.

For the rest of the day, I was blasting away and achieving accuracy with a revolver that was completely new to me. Punching headshots into an FBI Q target at 25 yards with a double action pull was a thrill. Stepping back to 50 yards and hitting that same Q target with a single action shot pulled me on cloud nine. Although not every round hit where I wanted it at fifty yards, enough did to make me happy.

Getting Close

My option came with a leather holster. While I wasn’t the fastest from this old leather gun bucket, once I cleared it, I could quickly put a 125-grain .38 caliber hole where I needed to. Laying down multiple shots in quick succession wasn’t hard either.

Up close, I could punch a fast double tap and land the rounds almost on top of each other. The recoil was nothing. Not even a little. Throwing shots at multiple targets gave me a huge thrill. I felt like Hutch from Starsky and Hutch shooting three targets with two rounds each in fast succession. I’m still working with speed strips, but pulling off the El Presidente was fun, although I won’t post my times!

The smooth recoil and smooth trigger made it finally click why people love revolvers so much. I liked revolvers, but I love the Ruger Police Security Six.

Modern Carry Options

I loved this gun so much that I want to find a good IWB option for it! This gun is a total blast. I want to add a little white paint to the front sight, but that’s about it. I’m happy to continue to spend my retirement on a .38 Special to keep shooting the Ruger Police Service Six. These guns all tend to be fairly affordable and are great revolvers. Revolvers don’t seem to be the cheapest of firearms, so getting a good one for a good price is tough to beat.

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