The engraving is highly appealing to me as are the classic look of the grips. I like that the markings on the engraved pistol are much more subdued whereas on the match champion it SCREAMS it's name on the slab sided barrel. Those bold face decals have certain charm their own, but it's a little gaudy IMO (which is some kind of ironic coming from a guy considering a firearm with engraved scrolling).
I was curious about the top of that top strap though... if it's more scrolling i'd be groovy on it. If it's a reminder to read the manual I'll instantly cross it off my list.
Unfortunately nowhere I've visited locally has a GP100 match champion in stock or the deluxe version of the GP100 either so I can't get handsy and finger them a bit before I try.
Despite my desire for engraving, this pistol is intended to be the kind of gun that always comes along for a range visit. Something about slowly dropping the rounds into the cylinder of a six shooter and hearing that 'da-thunk' is just so zen-like. Combine it with the mental and physical concentration to align the sights and it really is a form of meditation.
But with that in mind, I do care about how it shoots. That leads me towards the match champion, but reading around some old threads it's been said by some folks have that the Match Champion's internal improvements are minimal/questionable at best. I read at least one user claiming that of the specific examples at his LGS, the MC didn't even have the best trigger pull. I also saw pics of some examples that were... sub-standard.
My own experience with the SP101 Match Champion was that it was a nice pistol but either came with cracked grips or the grips cracked after the first magnum loads went through it. It also had a squirrly feeling ejector rod (which, to be fair - Ruger offered to fix immediately and without complaint). It still hasn't made it's way back to Ruger yet because I love it too much, flaws and all, to let it leave my safe just yet.
wproct, I appreciate the heads up on the sights. I didn't realize they actually utilize a different type of fiber optic AND mounting method.
Can anyone guess as to which pistol will appreciate in value more over time (or depreciate the least)? Obviously the engraved pistol has a higher initial purchase price - but other than the engraving there isn't anything particularly unique about it.. whereas the Match Champion has several features not really available stock on any other GP100 including the tapered cylinder and slab side barrel mod on a half underlug.
Of course I could always have someone do some engraving on the match champion for a truly unique piece... hmmm... life is full of tough choices