On the heels of its newly released Mark IV pistol, an update to a .22 rimfire series that began production in 1949, Ruger has completely ousted the old Mark III line with the introduction of the Ruger Mark IV 22/45 Lite.
The biggest improvement over previous models, which necessitated numerous internal changes, is the one-button takedown. Mark II and Mark III pistols are notoriously difficult to disassemble for cleaning and maintenance, requiring a rubber mallet, a wooden dowel, and a paper clip, at the very least. Ruger managed to rework its flagship pistol without causing any significant changes to the way it looks, feels, or handles, and allow users to simply depress a button beneath the bolt to cause the pistol to come apart into frame, receiver, and bolt.
The company has now expanded this innovation, as some expected they would, to its popular 22/45 series.
Some gun history: The original Ruger Standard pistol was based on the Japanese Baby Nambu pistol brought back from World War II. In 1982, the Ruger Mark II was introduced along with the Mark II 22/45, which had a polymer grip frame with a grip angle of 45 degrees to match the M1911A1 service pistol, instead of the 35-degree original steel grip based on the Luger. The idea was to allow servicemembers, and others who preferred the 1911, to train with inexpensive .22LR ammo with a gun that had a familiar grip.
According to Ruger, the Mark IV 22/45 Lite combines a lightweight, precision molded, polymer grip frame with replaceable Hogue black rubber grip panels, with an aircraft grade aluminum upper receiver. The receiver features an anodized bronze color and pattern-drilled vents for a custom pistol look.
The Mark IV 22/45 also includes the new-model magazine release button and bolt catch lever and ambidextrous manual safety lever.
While the Mark IV Target and Hunter models will accept Mark III magazines, it seems the mags for the Mark IV 22/45 had to be redesigned so they will reliably drop free from the frame when ejected, something all versions of the Mark III had issues with, and something that made unmodified mags a poor choice for competitive shooters.
Living up to its name, the new 22/45 weighs in at just 25 ounces with a 4.4-inch stainless steel barrel. The pistol also includes adjustable target sights and an installed Picatinny rail for mounting optics. It also has a factory-threaded 1/2”-28 muzzle to accept popular muzzle brakes and suppressors.
Ruger has also announced that the Mark IV Target and Hunter models are now available with some new wrap-around wood target grips with finger grooves.
|Ruger Mark IV 22/45|
|Grips:||Checkered 1911 Hogue Rubber|