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Gun Review: Ruger Mark IV 22/45 Lite .22LR

Today, we shooters enjoy more options than ever before. The industry as a whole is quick to meet demand and maybe no company is faster at gauging shooter enthusiasm and meeting the demand than Ruger. The company continues to release gun after gun that shooters not only want, but have been actively hoping for. Today we are taking a look at a little gun that is huge on features and fun, which is always in demand.

The 22/45 Lite series isn’t especially new. It has been out for a while, but it represents a unique line that are prefect for just about any shooter. The gun that I’m reviewing here is model number 43918, which is finished in what Ruger calls Diamond Grey.

Ruger offers the 22/45 in a variety of colors and to my eye, the Diamond Grey looks so neat in person and the photos hardly do it justice.

The 22/45 Lite line is available in more than just Diamond Grey. It also comes in magenta, OD green, red, and yes, even black. Ruger makes one in a finish you’ll like.

Each model features interesting ventilation cutouts in the aluminum receiver that not only look good, but also serve to further lighten the pistol. The unloaded weight of the pistol is a light, but not too light 25oz. I like that it has both good balance and doesn’t feel like a boat anchor in the hand.

The gun’s rubber 1911-style grips look like traditional double diamond grips, giving a good purchase on the gun, which is a plus when trying to steady a pistol this light.

The gun has a great many good and well-thought out features. Among the first is a threaded muzzle, a feature that’s becoming something of a must-have on modern pistols due to the increased popularity of suppressors and the wide variety of muzzle devices available today. The threads are cut ½-28” for easy accessory mounting.

This model features multiple options for sighting. In addition to the adjustable iron sights (rear adjustable), the pistol has a length of rail mounted to the receiver. This makes it a snap to add red dots or other types of reflex sights. The rail is also removable should you decide to stick with irons.

The gun has a number of other features that make it very easy to use. The magazine and bolt releases are both large easy to reach. The safety is ambidextrous and clearly marked. As an added safety feature, the gun won’t fire with the magazine removed. Some people like that feature and some hate it. I’m pretty indifferent on this point and don’t see it as a hindrance.

One of the most prominent features of Ruger’s Mark IV .22LR line of pistols is one-button takedown. Unlike earlier generations of Ruger’s popular Mark guns which required an engineering degree to disassemble, the Mark IVs models are a snap.

To disassemble the pistol, simply ensure it’s clear and the safety is engaged, then push the button on the rear of the gun. This allows the receiver to tilt up and off the frame and the bolt assembly to drop free.

Reassembly is just as easy. All you have to do in insert said bolt assembly, hook the grip onto the receiver, and push down. No tools are required to do the job. Even new shooters I took out to shot the gun commented on how easy it was to take apart and put back together.

Shooting the gun revealed that it got along with just about everything I put through it. I shot over 1,000 rounds during the course of my testing and it only had issues with a friend’s 15-year-old mixed bag of leftovers. Even then, it only caused a jam twice out of about 100 rounds of mixed ammo. It had no issues with modern production .22LR from Federal, Remington, Winchester, and several others.

Best of all, accuracy was stellar at all ranges I shot. From the bench at 25 yards it routinely put ten shots into 2” with Federal 36gr Champion Target. Remington 40gr RN loads produced about 3” at 25 yards. Overall I noticed that the Federal loads were generally the most accurate from this gun.

The Mark IV 22/45 has pretty much everything you need and could want and nothing you don’t. It ships with two 10-round magazines, but extras — you will want more — are readily available everywhere. In fact, I highly recommend buying lots as they tend to get emptied with some regularity.

In addition to being a blast to use at the range, the gun is also useful for small game hunting, pest control, and it would make a great choice for backpacking, especially with a small red sitting on the rail.

The Mark IV 22/45 is a fantastic gun and it is just so enjoyable and easy to shoot that I hardly wanted to put it down.

Specifications: Ruger 22/45 Lite
Action: Magazine fed semiautomatic
Barrel Length: 4.4”
Overall Length: 8.4”
Weight: 25oz
Capacity: 10+1
MSRP: $559.00 (about $450 street)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Aesthetics * * * * *
I love how this gun looks. I wish that the grips came in a different color from the factory other than just black rubber, but that can be easily changed.

Handling * * * * *
The controls are right where you want them on this baby. The familiar 1911-style grip angle makes it easy to point and fire rapidly.

Accuracy * * * * *
Accuracy can be an issue in a featherweight gun. Not this one. The 22/45 Lite is a tack driver and just couldn’t miss steel plates, cans, or anything else I pointed it at.

Reliability * * * *
With new, clean ammo this gun runs like a sewing machine. Because a few of us had some issues with it with cheaper and old ammo, I have to take off a star, but I don’t really want to.

Carry * * * * 
This isn’t a gun that you’ll probably use as your EDC, but it’s a great size for general use. It feels weightless in a chest harness like a Kit Bag from Hill People Gear, which is something that many backpackers and hikers may have. It is just so light that it makes everything easy.

Overall * * * * *
I like this gun. A lot. It comes in cool colors, is extremely accurate, and very light. It fills about 99% of roles you want in a .22LR pistol and looks good doing it.

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  1. Good review, I love mine too. When paired with my Dead Air Mask suppressor it’s a hoot to shoot!

    Of note, there was a recall about a year ago. If you purchase one used, you may want to research whether the serial number was on the list.

  2. The fact that the gun won’t fire with the magazine removed is a good feature, for a 22 rim fire. many folks just starting their shooting career don’t have the experience to remember there is a round in the chamber when the mag is removed. Since this gun would not normally be used as an EDC weapon. I don’t see any down side.
    The price is a bit steep though.

    • If you shop around and checkout places like Gun.Deals, you can eventually find an acceptable price for a MKIV. I recently purchased a Ruger MKIV 22/45 Tactical on the site GrabAGun for $355. Lowest price I’ve seen yet.

    • First thing I did with my Mark IV 22/45 (regular, not light) was have the the mag-disconnect safety removed and the trigger smoothed out. Who needs that?

      • My point is that we have fewer and fewer companies making unique firearms than in the past. We have few, if any, options for a high-quality firearm made in the US than ever before.

        If I had to point to a “golden age” with the greatest number of options, it would be the post-WWII era of ’47 to ’59 or so. There were options for inexpensive firearms, and there were high quality (and very high quality) firearms made for American consumers.

        eg, You can’t get a new Python today, for example. There are no .22 rifles like the Winchester 52, Remington 37, Kimber Model 82, made today etc.

        You can’t get a Colt Woodsman new, nor the Match. You have to wait for quality revolvers or a Model 41 or 52 from S&W.

        There is no Winchester Model 21, nor 24. Most all the quality O/U shotguns come from Italy, for which shooters pay big bucks – which could be made at those prices here in the US. But American gun companies are content to keep making shoddier and shoddier crap to chase lower and lower prices.

        The only people who think that “we [American] shooters enjoy more options than ever before” must be people so young, they have no recollection of what the US gun makers used to offer the American gun consumer. And like so many young people today, they think that history started when they were born.

        Hint: No, it didn’t. If you knew anything about the history of the US gun market, you’d know what we’ve lost.

        • Hey, big fella. We got AR’s and GLOCK’s.

          Ain’t that enough for you? 🙂

          It seems to be enough for most of them.

        • I think that most if not all companies are looking only for the “big bucks”. If they think they can make a dollar more, by discontinuing one rifle and building another totally different one, they will do it.

  3. I recently purchased a Ruger MKIV 22/45 Tactical and love it! It’s not the “Lite” model, doesn’t have the barrel shroud cutouts, but has a second rail under the barrel, which is great for a laser or light. I wish all of my various different pistols took-down as easily as this MKIV. Anyone thinking of buying one of these great pistols, do it! You won’t be disappointed.

    • Until the first time you shoot it, then try to put it back together 😉

      Okay, its not difficult, but “whatever the opposite of intuitive is” 😀

      • The manual tells you how to put a Ruger Mk I/II/III back together.

        It’s not rocket science. You point the muzzle up at an angle as you’re pushing the mainspring housing latch down flush.

      • The MKIV goes back together just as easily as it’s taken down. Previous models were a little trickier, but the MKIV is a snap….literally.

  4. I bought a brand new Mk 3 (.22) at a gun show a couple of years ago for my wife to play with.. After a box or two a pin vibrated out and jammed up the whole works. A letter to Ruger prompted an immediate response and Fed.Ex. postage. It was returned in about two weeks no charge. They back up what they sell. JJ White

    • Any company can turn out a lemon. How they satisfy the purchaser of said lemon speaks volumes for the company.

      In my experience Savage has good customer service, also.

  5. not in favor of the colors, but color don’t shoot .it needs a chin rail for lazer that will make it top pick for me. very good rat-snapper.

    • They’re good guns.

      I have a Mk II 22/45 I bought back in the 90s. After twentysomething years of use and I dont-know-how-many bricks of ammo, the screw holding the front sight on needed tightening.

      It has had no other mechanical issues whatsoever. If I ever wear it out, I would replace it with a Mk-whatever-is-current without hesitation.

  6. “Unlike earlier generations of Ruger’s popular Mark guns which required an engineering degree to disassemble, the Mark IVs models are a snap.”

    As the owner of a first gen 22/45, this is very welcome. May even make it worth repurchasing. It’s also amazing how a lot of the things I had to go to the after-market for (threaded light barrel anodized in my favorite color, replaceable grips, upper drilled to receive an accessory rail) are now factory equipment.

    • I’ve owned a Mk I, a II and a III.

      I also possess an engineering degree.

      I never needed any of my engineering training (nor my subsequent gunsmith degree training) to take apart a Mk I/II/III. Never needed anything from either degree to put one back together, either.

      For the life of me, I have no idea why so many people are so confounded by re-assembling the Ruger Mk I/II/III pistols. They’re very, very basic pistols. They’re soooo much easier to deal with than a Browning Buckmark, S&W Model 41, etc.

      • “I have no idea why so many people are so confounded by re-assembling the Ruger Mk I/II/III pistols”

        Because we’re not a literal gunsmith with an engineering degree, humblebragger. 🙂

        • As I said – my engineering degree doesn’t play into it. It’s not a “smart” gun, so it doesn’t have electronics – and that’s about all a EE degree could matter in guns, aside from some material science that was rammed down my throat, and the mathematics to be able to read & work modern exterior ballistics equations.

          The Ruger .22 pistols just aren’t that difficult to re-assemble. They’re not. What people seem unwilling to do is point the muzzle of the unloaded gun upwards in order to make the strut drop into the detent in the mainspring enclosure. That’s what’s defeating 99% of people who have a Mk I, II, or III when they’re trying to re-assemble it. They simply refuse to allow the muzzle to point upwards while they’re doing this.

          The manual tells you that this must be done. People don’t seem to read the manuals, I guess. When I show people how to do this, I get all manner of “but, but, but, but…” and safety lectures. Well, first, if someone is re-assembling a gun with one in the pipe, they’re a very special type of stupid. Second, the Ruger pistols are hardly the only guns where a gunsmith has to move the muzzle all over the place as s/he is working on it. This is why there is never, ever any loaded ammo on my bench.

          And I’m really serious when I say that there are other .22LR pistols that make the Rugers look like children’s toys for re-assembly. There are several other .22 pistols I can think of where, when I’m re-assembling them, I’m turning the air around me blue with my cursing and obscenities… Rugers? They’re like re-assembly an AK. All big parts, easily stuffed in, nothing launched across rooms, etc.

        • “The Ruger .22 pistols just aren’t that difficult to re-assemble”

          Keep shrieking that at the decades of actual user experience that says otherwise. Your post is non-factual.

        • Eric,

          What you’re using here is a logical fallacy known as “appeal to the masses.” ie, if a huge number of people think X is true, therefore it is true. eg, if millions of people think the world is flat, therefore it is flat.

          I’ve been into a bunch of rimfire handguns. A lot more rimfire handguns, in fact, than most people here at TTAG will ever shoot, never mind disassemble down to the pins.

          From that experience, I can say that the Ruger Mk I, II, and III are easy to disassemble and re-assemble, compared to most all other rimfire semi-autos. I need almost no tools to do a detail strip on a Ruger. Basically, a flat screwdriver to get the grip panels off, a paper clip or wire loop to pull the mainspring catch, maybe a soft-faced hammer if I want to take the barrel off the frame. The rest of everything falls out of the gun – I don’t have to drive pins out with punches.

          The High Standards are about the next easiest to disassemble/reassemble. Walter P22’s aren’t difficult, but there’s more parts and more tools. Same for the Colt Woodsman pistols.

          By the time we’re up to the S&W Model 41’s, now we’re into the realm of real expertise to get the gun apart and back together.

          I’ve taught dozens of people how to take apart their Mk I/II/III’s. Everyone has had an “ah-ha!” moment when I show them the one thing they’re not doing to get the pistol back together. If I’m going into something like a S&W 41, within a minute, most gun owners are just spectators – they have no hope of following what I’m doing – either on the way in, or on re-assembly. The Rugers? There are few enough parts that are easily enough removed/replaced that almost everyone can follow along without a problem.

        • Bro, I tried to give you an out with the humble brag comment. Just stop, you make yourself seem even more silly.

        • Ok Eric, I have a 22/45 MkIII Lite. I’ve never broken it down or cleaned it. I’ve got about 500 rounds through it so it’s probably passed time. I will follow DG’s advice here and RTFM when I break it down Thursday and clean it and post the results right here. I’m a certified loser, high school drop out, so no EE degree, gunsmith training or anything like that.

        • Ok, broke it down and reassembled 3 times, timed myself the last time. I did not remove the extractor. From pistol sitting on the table, disassemble, reassemble, test fire (dry fire), set down and hit stop. One minute and 18 seconds. Damn that was hard.

  7. We don’t like it, Holes are for moles. We like the solid barrel bull. We had a one with the barrel bull all decked out hologram dot, lights Lazer, we called it the Zombie gun . He could shoot airborne clay pigeons with it.

  8. Nice gun for shooting squirls off the bird feeder. But I can’t think what else it would be usefull for lmfao.

    • Well Bruce, I guess you just don’t need a nice shooting 22 cal. pistol, do you? I suppose you only have 10mm, 44mag and 357’s around your house.

  9. I fell in love with the purple Mark IV 22/45 lite. Bought me one for my birthday in 2019. Added a red dot, laser, D ring, and compensator. It looks amazing!! Seriously, it’s totally awesome!
    I have a vintage S&W 38 special for ordinary and functional. A Sig Mosquito from my first step into the gun pool (I have since learned). I received a Sig P238 for Christmas. It’s a rainbow and I added the trigger mount green laser. It’s so pretty, I wish I could wear it instead of wearing a holster. I’m now looking for a 9mm. Sig and Ruger both have a rosegold that kind of rings my chimes.

    I realize most of you rough and tough soldiers of fortune need the burly boys. I just wanted to remind you that you are not alone in the gun market and that women can have different needs in how a gun looks. We do NOT compromise that with accuracy and durability! (ok, the mosquito was an entry-level lapse. But it still shoots adequately) I’m all about target shooting and home defense. There are 3 women in this house, and between us, we have 11 pistols. Cherchez la femme!!

  10. I purchased a mk 4 and the barrel is not threaed. Can this be remedied. Like gun but. Need a muzzel break. Any help would be apppricited.

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  12. Good Independence Day: Ruger Mike here checking in. Been a little silent here. I have several LR’s in my collection. 2 of which are in the black phoenix 2 are red. and rifle . Love them !!! Haven’t shot in years but do take them out clean,them and put them back . I’m a Ruger Fan to the core. Grew up on them and prefer them. That said. I first saw the 22/45 lite and BAMMM. fell in love with it {Diamond Grey, Never shot} ordered it and then packed it up and put it away then ordered another one with suppressor . Waiting on the stamp to get here. Pistol is at my local gun store{Baynes Army , Milledgeville GA}Great guy’s Victor}Can’t wait to shoot it!!! but any way they are fine weapons and service is the best no questions asked. GO RUGER !!!


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