There’s not much that can be said about Ruger’s Mark line of .22 LR pistols that hasn’t already been written. Thousands of times. Many of them right here (see our reviews of the Mark IV Target and 22/45 Lite). Still, we’ll try.
The Ruger Mark pistols have long been at or near the top of the rimfire pistol heap. Bill Ruger started the company — seventy years ago as of 2019 — with the Luger-like .22 Ruger Standard, the forerunner to today’s Ruger Mark IV and the line has been a huge seller ever since.
These are the first handguns that tens (hundreds?) of thousands of new shooters fired and for a lot of very good reasons. They’re great training tools that are well-made, affordable, accurate, easy to operate, and produce next to no recoil. They’re also a hell of a lot of fun no matter how experienced you are. Lots of gun owners believe a gun safe isn’t adequately stocked without one.
The only thing about Ruger’s Mark pistols, up to and including the Mark III, that vexed owners was their famously intricate takedown process. It required a background in mechanical engineering and many hours of YouTube study for first-timers to master. And even then, lots didn’t dare attempt it.
But all of that was finally remedied in 2016 with the introduction of the new Mark IV line. While a number of new Ruger Mark IV models (including the 22/45 Lite, Hunter and 22/45 Tactical), were introduced first, this gun is the more traditional 22/45 bull barrel version.
That button with the Ruger logo just below the bolt is the takedown button that allows the upper to easily tilt up and lift off the lower. The Mark IV disassembles more simply than just about any semi-auto handgun of any caliber on the market.
Once the upper is off, slide the bolt out the back of the barrel assembly and you’re fully field stripped with easy access for routine cleaning. No more excuses for a dirty gun.
The 22/45’s manual of arms is the same as any other Ruger Mark pistol. The “ears” on the bolt let the shooter charge the gun once one of the two included 10-round magazines is inserted and the bolt locks open when empty.
The Ruger Mark IV 22/45 has an excellent adjustable rear sight.
The tall ramped blade front sight is fixed, but is easily removable with the turn of a screw.
The 22/45 provides a near-ideal sight picture and its looong sight radius ensures you’ll hit exactly what you point it at.
If you want to attach a Picatinny rail to mount a red dot or other optic to the Mark IV 22/45, the barrel comes drilled and tapped.
Unlike Ruger’s standard Mark IV models, the 22/45 grip frame mimics the same grip angle, feel and even the double diamond checkered grip panels as JMB’s 1911 design (hence the 45 in 22/45). On the left side, the slide stop (it’s actually a bolt stop as there is no slide), thumb safety and magazine release are right where they should be on a 1911-style pistol.
A wide variety of aftermarket options are available if you want to replace the 22/45’s black synthetic panels. The Mark IV 22/45 comes with two ten-round magazines that easily drop free of the gun when released. Be aware that Mark pistols have a magazine disconnect safety so it won’t fire unless a mag has been inserted.
The 22/45’s trigger has a short take-up, breaking cleanly with a very short reset. The trigger pull weight is a little more than you might expect in a pistol designed to mimic a 1911. Ours broke at a hair over 5 lbs.
Accuracy, however, was not an issue. We tested the Mark IV 22/45 with a variety of loads from CCI, American Eagle, Remington and Aguila. The pistol put up tiny half-inch groups as far out as 25 yards without even breathing hard. That big bull barrel gives you the ability to reach out and touch whatever target, can, bottle, or small game you want to perforate.
Specifications: Ruger Mark IV 22/45
Barrel Length: 5.5 inches
Overall Length: 9.75 inches
Height: 5.5 inches
Weight: 34.4 oz.
Sights: Rear adjustable, front fixed
MSRP: $409 (about $339 from Brownells)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Style: * * * *
The Ruger Mark pistols are certified American classics and have been for decades. The Mark IV changes little if anything over previous versions. They may not be exactly beautiful, but we’ve grown to love them anyway.
Ergonomics: * * * * *
The 22/45 gives you the easy grip angle, ambidextrous thumb safety and slimness of a 1911, which is why you buy this gun over a standard Mark IV in the first place. This isn’t a lightweight handgun. The bull barrel version weights about as much as a 1911, too (over half a pound more than the 22/45 Lite), but that’s a good thing.
Reliability: * * * * *
Perfect. Not even one FTF (which is usually the fault of .22 ammo) in hundreds of rounds fired.
Customize This: * * * * *
Ruger Mark pistols are some of the most heavily supported aftermarket guns you can buy. There’s nothing about the Mark IV 22/45 you can’t replace or upgrade if you want to.
Overall: * * * * *
You have to look really hard to find fault with this gun (some will quibble with the trigger, but not us). Now that the Marks have Ruger’s one-button takedown feature, these may be the most pleasurable handguns to shoot and own you can buy. Get one.