Ruger Recalls Most Mark IV Pistols Over Safety Issue

The company says to not use an affected gun until it's fixed.
The company says to not use an affected gun until it's fixed.mfg photo

If you bought a Ruger Mark IV pistol before June 1, 2017, listen up: Ruger announced yesterday that all Mark IV pistols, including the 22/45 models, manufactured before that date "have the potential to discharge unintentionally if the safety is not utilized correctly" and are being recalled for a retrofit including a new safety and sear.

The company says that if the trigger on some Mark IV pistols is pulled while the safety lever is midway between the "safe" and "Fire" positions, meaning it's not fully engaged in either position, the pistol may or may not fire when the trigger is pulled.

The problem is that if the gun doesn’t fire and the trigger is released, and then the safety lever is moved from the mid-position to the “fire” position, the gun could go off.

So here’s the scenario. You’re at the range and ready to shoot. You flick off the safety on the Mark IV, but it's not moved completely to the firing position. You don’t realize this, so you pull the trigger. When the gun doesn’t go off, you look at the safety and see it’s not all the way over. You flick it to “fire” so you can get to shooting, and the gun goes off with your finger off the trigger. This is especially dangerous if you aren’t extremely careful to keep the muzzle downrange while operating or inspecting the safety lever.

“Although only a small percentage of pistols appear to be affected and we are not aware of any injuries, Ruger is firmly committed to safety and would like to retrofit all potentially affected pistols with an updated safety mechanism. Until your Mark IV pistol has been retrofitted or you verify that it is not subject to the recall, we strongly recommend that you not use your pistol."

The company says they received a “small number” of reports from the field that this problem existed and they then conducted additional testing and confirmed the problem.

If you are a Mark IV owner, go here to use the serial number on your pistol to see if it falls in the recall window. The affected serial numbers begin with "401" for 2017 models or "WBR" for 2016 models.

Newer Mark IV pistols with serial numbers beginning with “500” are not affected.

The company says any Mark IV or 22/45 pistol that has already had its safety mechanism retrofitted will display a letter “S” in the white dot that is visible when the safety is engaged.

The good news is that the problem exists only in the grip frame assembly of the gun, meaning to have Ruger fix it, you can simply ship the part to them, as it is not a serialized gun part. So there’s no need to go through an FFL. You keep the magazine, barrel, bolt, and pistol upper.

Ruger says you should remove any aftermarket accessories you may have added to the grip frame, such as grip panels, as they cannot guarantee their return. The retrofit will replace the pistol’s safety and sear, which will also not be returned. The company says this will not affect the gun’s trigger pull.

As for the question of “how long will this take?” in it’s FAQs page, Ruger says “we will make every effort to complete the retrofit and return your grip frame assembly within one week of receiving it.”

To send your Mark IV in for a retrofit, go to this website and enter your serial number in the form. You'll then be given the opportunity to enter your name, address, phone number, and email address.

When Ruger is ready to fix your gun, they will send you a box. DO NOT ship Ruger your grip frame until they ask for it.

“When we are ready to retrofit your grip frame assembly, we will send you a box, prepaid shipping label, and detailed shipping instructions so you can send your grip frame assembly to us. We will make every effort to return your grip frame assembly within one week of receipt. Sending it now will not get it back to you any sooner; it will only mean that we have it longer.”

Once you submit your info, the website tells you that Ruger will return your grip frame assembly with a free Mark IV magazine as a “thank you for your participation.” Customers in states with magazine restrictions will receive a ShopRuger gift certificate instead.

Until then, Ruger says you should keep your Mark IV in the gun locker and not use it until the retrofit has been performed.