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Ruger Mk IV 22/45 – Review

By: Jared Noble

There are few things in the firearms world that are so widely loved as a good semi-automatic rimfire pistol. Good for the kids, the wallet, and the ego, on the top of this list in my somewhat humble opinion is Ruger’s MK IV series of capable plinkers.

Its predecessor – the Ruger Standard – was introduced nearly 75 years ago by Bill Ruger as a low-cost entry into sport and target shooting and has remained, through various iterations, one of the most popular rimfire pistols on the market to this day. My personal 22/45 is one of the newer variants dubbed the “Lite” model for its shorter barrel, and lighter aluminum frame, coming out of the box at only 25 ounces. These models are outfitted with with a picatinny rail for mounting an optic system as well as being equipped with an adjustable rear/fixed front iron sight combination. In addition to the rail, the 4.4” barrels are threaded to accept any .22 muzzle device threaded in ½-28. Those options allow the end user to customize each unit for their specific needs be it, teaching, plinking, or shooting Steel Challenge matches at your local club. My 22/45 has seen a few different configurations, up to and including having a Night Force slapped onto it because this is America and I am an adult – legally. Currently, it is set up to compete in Steel Challenge style matches. These are “simple” static courses of fire with targets ranging from 10-40 yards, generally with 4 targets to be engaged before ending on a “stop” plate. For this game, I’ve got a Swampfox Kingslayer red dot, TandemKross Game Changer Compensator, and the Accurizing Kit from Volquartsen. The last part involves a little bit of “complex” gunsmithing but with the one button take down and simple design of the guts of the 22/45, even I got through it without issue. It smooths out some internals, changes some controls as well as the trigger shoe, and allows for overtravel adjustment. It’s a great investment if you’re looking to get everything possible out of your Ruger. Did you chuckle when you saw that my .22’s comped? That’s because you’re stupid. Gasses exist, and while recoil and jump on a .22 is minimal at best, it can be negated even more by a compensator – the new TX22SC from Taurus actually comes with these equipped as the SC stands for…..Steel Challenge and when you’re trying to run a 5 shot string in 2 seconds, every little bit helps. I’ve put around 1k rounds through it at this point and have had exactly zero issues of any kind. On the range, the 22/45s feel very familiar in hand with their 1911 grip angle and ergonomics. The controls are all in the right spots including the ambidextrous safety at the top of the grip panels – where both God and John Moses Browning intended it to be. Trigger pull out of the box is crisp with very little take up, coming in at an average of about 4.5-4.8lbs. The kit I mentioned earlier drops that significantly, dipping into the 2-2.5lb range. I have not had an opportunity to ransom rest it but accuracy using all manner of bulk ammo is consistently great, improving only slightly with higher velocity Stinger rounds. I’ve read there are some feeding issues with the magazines provided by Ruger but have yet to experience any myself – again, testing with various bulk options from this, the last, and the four preceding decades. Suppressed, the pistol is nothing short of a riot to shoot. It balances really well and there is little to no POA/POI shift at indoor range distances. Doing 10 round dumps with it will give you all the “I’m a super cool movie guy” vibes you can handle. And some giggling. Lots of giggling. Additional aftermarket support for these Rugers is deep and plentiful. Grips, Sights, Triggers, Bolts, Springs…….if it can be lighter, faster, or smoother – someone out there has already got you covered. Volquartsen, I believe is still the King of the Hill for all things rimfire and their accessories for this system get great reviews. I can attest to the accurizing kit’s effectiveness personally. While the 22/45 Lite may be my personal favorite, there are many other variants of the MK IV line that each have their own unique set of features and use cases . . . up to and including going 1:1 on IPSC Silhouettes at 200 yards in a full value Texas cross wind, unsupported, and suppressed because why not – Matt was able to get a single hit out at 400 also but I still think he cheated somehow.

MK IV Models and Features:
Standard – Tapered Barrel, 4.75” and 6” barrel lengths, forward “target” style grips Target – Aluminum or Steel Frame, 5.5” and 10” Bull Barrel, forward “target” style grips, or Walnut Grips.
Hunter – Fluted 6.8” Barrel, F/O Front Sight Tactical – 4.4” Barrel, Threaded, Upper and Lower Accessory Rails 22/45 – 5.5” Barrel, Steel Frame, Adj Rear, 1911 style grips 22/45 Lite – 4.4” Barrel, Aluminum Frame, Adj Rear sight, 1911 style grips, threaded. 22/45 Lite Tactical – Steel Frame, 4.4” Barrel, Adj Rear Sight, Threaded, Upper and Lower Accessory Rails

Each one of those variants has variants of their own and even some regional and distributor exclusive models thrown in – the Davidsons Tac Lite is pretty sweet! With prices ranging from the mid 400s and topping out near 1K USD, there’s something in this rimfire family for everyone. While writing this, I found out that there’s a 22/45 Lite with Walnut target grips that are going to negate all of the pennies I got paid to pen this. To summarize this as shortly as possible – Ruger 22/45 Good. You buy.

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