This may come as a surprise to many people, but I’ve often had a hole in my gun safe when it came to .22 semi-auto pistols. The reason was simple: I donated my Browning Buck Mark to a worthy cause (a young lady who couldn’t afford to buy a gun, ever, because she was a single mother in a low-paying job), and anyway, everyone else in the family had a .22 pistol (Daughter and The Mrs. each had a Buckmark, and the Son&Heir a couple of Ruger Mk IIs), so I never really needed one for myself. If I was going to teach someone to shoot — which was often — I just borrowed one of the Buckmarks, and off I went. Then the kids started leaving the house, taking their pistols with them, the little beasts, and we had to sell Connie’s Buckmark to pay the water bill one month. So while my other pistol needs were (ahem) more than adequately filled, for the longest time I had no .22 semi-auto pistol of any description in my safe. (I have never mentioned this before now, because I’m pretty sure that not owning a .22 pistol may actually be breaking some Texas state law.)
Well, everyone should have a little .22 pistol in the house because… do I really need to explain this? Anyway, one of my friends got sick of me bellyaching about it, and for my birthday in November last year, he got me an excellent present: a prepaid order for the new Ruger Mk IV 22/45 model pistol — due for release “sometime next year”, as he put it. Well, “next year” became this year, and what with recent events, the thing slipped my mind completely.
So last week I got a call from the gun store saying in essence, “How long do you want us to hold onto this shiny new gun for you?”, and after kicking myself a few times, off I went to pick it up.
I’ve respected Ruger .22 pistols in many respects for a long time, and owned a couple before, but my major quibble — in fact the thing that made me pause before buying a new Ruger (back when I had the money to actually buy guns… aaah, those were good times) — was not Ruger’s perennially iffy triggers, but the hassle involved in field-stripping the little buggers for cleaning (Cliff Notes: disassembly, easy; reassembly, “I’m-gonna-throw-this-bloody-thing-in-the-pool! “). This was why for many years, my .22 pistol of choice was the Browning Buckmark, which was far less problematic in this regard (and had a better trigger, too).
Anyway, the hole in my gun safe has now been filled with this creature:
Note the shrouded barrel (which is a little “tactical” for me, but it also means that yay, there’s no room for Ruger’s annoying little message that — get this — guns can be dangerous). It also has a threaded barrel tip, which means that if suppressors are taken off the NFA registry soon (and they might be), I’ll have one badass-looking .22 pistol.
“Yeah, yeah, Kim… but how does it shoot, and what’s it like to take apart?”
The shooting is fine. The trigger is about the same as or even slightly better than other Ruger .22 pistols, i.e. acceptable, and the gun is more accurate than I can shoot it. (I forgot the targets at the range, sorry.)
But the real surprise comes with the field-stripping — and this is going to cause the prices of Mk II and Mk III pistols to drop as their owners sell them off to replace them with the Mk IV.
This new Ruger pistol is probably easier to field-strip and reassemble than any other .22 pistol on the market. Here’s how it works:
- Remove all boolets (and the mag) from the gun. (I can’t believe I still have to tell people this, but every year…)
- Cock the piece and click the safety catch up into SAFE.
- Press the little button under the slide tabs at the back.
- Lift the slide assembly off the frame.
And that’s it: no special tools, no screwdrivers, no coins, nothing. The firing pin assembly is loose in the slide, and just drops out into your hand for cleaning. Here’s a pic-by-pic:
And now for the best part: the reassembly.
- Slip the firing pin assembly back into the slide (it can only go one way).
- Place the hinge hook back into the front of the frame.
- Drop the slide back onto the frame, and push it closed until you hear the click.
And that, my friends, is why this new pistol from Ruger is the frigging bee’s knees. (I should point out that the field-stripping routine is the same for the regular Mk IV Standard “Luger-style”grip as my 22/45 model with its “1911” grip.) I don’t know how reliable the Mk IV is — I’ll report back after a few hundred more rounds have passed through it, oh, say by the end of the month — but it’s a Ruger, so the chances are good
I have only two more words to say about the Ruger Mk IV pistol: get one.