Ruger’s Mark IV .22LR Target Pistol

By: Frank Melloni
Photos by: Ben Battles and Frank Melloni

All of the qualities we’ve come to love of Bill Ruger’s iconic rimfire pistol, with none of the frustrations

As an instructor one of the first pistols that I put in a student’s hands is a .22LR as they are highly accurate, quiet and all but absent of recoil. These firearms always lead to immediate success and a new shooter now has been “bitten by the bug”. Seeing the joy of a successful shooter is what keeps any good instructor going as well.

Few .22LR pistols can compete with Ruger’s iconic Mark series of pistols. As early as 1949 the Mark I pistol became known for its accuracy, value and driving people crazy when it came to reassembly. This hindrance stayed with the pistol all the way through the Mark III series. With Ruger’s competitors edging up on them over this sole issue they decided it is time to address takedown problems, and brought about the latest revision of this American classic, the Mark IV.

The heart and soul of the Ruger Mark IV. This one button is all it takes to field strip it. While that might scare some people, keep in mind that the safety must be engaged first. This feature eliminates the possibility of it ever happening accidently while firing. The Mark IV breaks down into just 3 parts; the bolt, barrel and grip—all of which fall from eachother freely during dissasembly.

The Mark IV keeps every single feature that we love. It is evident that this firearm is built from the feedback of the people who love them. It’s “the people’s pistol”, if you will. The Mark IV line comes in many different new styles and Ruger even corrected the magazine hang up, but nothing grabs more attention than the single-button takedown and the zero-effort reassembly.

Another departure from the Mark III is the serrated lever-type safety vs. the button type. Not only is it easier to engage/dissengage, it’s also now ambidextrous. Bigger, and allowing for more positive function, the slide stop lever is also new and improved.

Back to the trim styles. The Mark IV comes in eight variations. The lineup includes the Standard, Tactical, Target, Hunter, Competition, 22/45, 22/45 LITE, and 22/45 Tactical editions. For our friends living in California, New York or anywhere else outside of America, be careful as the LITE and the Tactical versions have threaded barrels intended for scary muzzle devices that can be used to do awful things like protect your hearing.

There are three versions of the Mark IV Target model—an all-black model with standard polymer grips, and all-stainless model with standard polymer grips, and our test sample, all-black with attractive, hand-filling rose-colored laminate grips. With built-in finger grooves, stippling for traction and tastefully-engraved Ruger logo, they’re a nice upgrade over standard.

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