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Ruger’s Mark rimfire pistols have been around in one form or another since 1949. A great number of people don’t know the fascinating history or this gun, which began life as what was only called the Standard Model. In this review we will be taking a look at the Mark IV Target variant and what it offers to today’s discerning shooter.

As a simple primer, the Ruger Standard Model has been improved in generational upgrades over its long run. The gun we have here is from the Mark IV series and it represents the most modern variant of that original design.

Those familiar with the earlier Ruger Mark models probably know that the biggest improvement to the Mark IV series is the one-button takedown feature that allows the barrel to easily tilt up and off of the receiver. This greatly simplifies cleaning.

Earlier Mark pistols required a mechanical engineering degree a series of complicated, intricate three-handed maneuvers, the help of multiple YouTube videos and a rabbit’s foot. With the Mark IV, though, those days are thankfully history.

The Mark IV is solidly constructed, primarily of stainless steel. This is not a lightweight gun by any stretch of the imagination, weighing in at about 43oz loaded. That’s more than many all-steel 1911 and the same as a stainless SIG P226. Most of that weight is centered in the mass of the Mark IV Target’s bull barrel.

Despite the weight, the Mark IV isn’t at all what I would describe as ‘massive.’ In fact, it’s fairly slender, smooth on the edges, and attractive in appearance. It’s my belief that the weight comes from refinement of design and purpose, not over-engineering.

The gun has several safety features that make it an ideal choice for new shooters, but none that are a disadvantage for skilled enthusiasts. The first is the pistol won’t fire if the magazine is absent.

This seems like a fairly silly thing to include on a modern gun, and many experienced shooters howl about that. But it’s something that is relevant to new shooters and anyone who may have missed a small, easily overlooked .22 round that the extractor failed to pick up. The gun also features a manual frame safety.

As far as firing the gun goes, the Mark IV Target is easy to load and even easier to shoot. The magazines have a button on the side that allows the follower to be easily moved down with the thumb, therefore enabling the shooter to effortlessly drop cartridges in. Magazines — the Mark IV Target comes with two — hold ten rounds.

The slide (which is more of a bolt, similar to what you would expect on an AR in that it is contained inside the receiver) is very easy to pull back, which is a consideration for shooters with limited grip strength.

The trigger is crisp and light with a very quick reset. I was very pleased by how well it shot right out of the box. Unlike many guns I test, I decided to go straight to having fun with it and opted to skip chronograph and formal group testing.

Instead I went to my local outdoor store and picked up whatever .22 ammo they had on sale or I had coupons for. I then proceeded to spend the next several weeks putting thousands of rounds through this fun-to-shoot pistol.

During the course of my testing, I experienced several failures to fire, all due to bad rounds. That’s not unusual when shooting a lot of .22LR. I had a bunch of old .22 ammo that I found (I somehow just keep finding it in my house) and used it up as well. I experienced no more problems with it than I did with the modern stuff, about two to three bad primers per thousand rounds.

It was at this time that I actually sat down at the bench and shot the gun for groups. I used bulk Federal 36gr plinking ammo for this portion as well as a box of Wolf Match ammunition. The gun was easily able to print one-inch groups at 25 yards from a rest. I was also fully able to make hits on my 10” steel plate at 50 and 100 yards. Suffice it to say, the Mark IV Target shoots and shoots well.

I like that it has a threaded muzzle which is great for those who want to shoot with a compensator or suppressor. Don’t laugh about the comp. Despite the Mark IV Target’s already mild recoil, there are plenty of people who shoot speed matches and bowling pin competitions who use one. In addition to the muzzle, like all Ruger Mark pistols, there is an almost infinite array of options and opportunities to customize this pistol should you so desire.

My impressions of this gun are overwhelmingly positive. It’s hard not to be impressed with a pistol that’s been around for generations, shoots as well as this one does and features a build quality that ensures that your grandchildren will enjoy shooting it some day, too.

Specifications: Ruger Mark IV Target

Caliber: .22LR
Barrel Length: 5.5”
Overall Length: 9.75”
Width: 1.2″
Height: 5.5″
Weight: 42.8oz
Capacity: 10+1 rounds
MSRP: $689 (seen for usually less via Brownells)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy * * * * *
This is one of the most accurate .22LR pistols that I’ve had the pleasure of shooting. The Mark IV Target just put rounds right where I wanted them to go every time.

Handling * * * * *
The gun is easy to point and shoot, as you would expect coming the fourth generation of the world’s most successful .22 pistol line. The Mark IV target is on the heavy side, but that means recoil is almost non-existent and putting ten rounds on a steel plate at 25 yards in just a couple of seconds couldn’t be easier.

Ergonomics * * * * *
The grip angle is perfect for accuracy and target shooting. Controls on the gun are right where they should be, easy to reach and manipulate.

Reliability * * * * *
I fired some pretty low-quality, old, and dirty ammo that I hesitate to even call serviceable, but it all went bang if it could go bang and cycled the gun. Aside from the odd dud round that was clearly the ammo’s fault, the gun easily cycled and fired everything.

Customize This: * * * * *
Unlike many other .22 pistols, the Mark IV Target has some excellent features including a drilled and tapped receiver, a threaded muzzle, removable grips, and removable sights. There is a huge aftermarket for these guns and it’s very easily customized.

Overall * * * * *
This is a truly great gun. It’s slightly heavy for use in camp or on the trail, but it’s prefect for just about everything else you could ever need an accurate .22 pistol for. It’s the ideal gun for teaching fundamentals to beginners, but is also easily exploited in the hands of an expert.


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    • “Despite the Mark IV Target’s already mild recoil, there are plenty of people who shoot speed matches and bowling pin competitions two use one.”

      “Two use one”——- indeed it does stink.

    • In the first sentence, the writer is referring to the entire “Mark” series that started in 1949….not specifically about the Mark IV series. Reading comprehension doesn’t appear to be your strong suit.

    • these are the people that make the world kind of scary. Not only is he wrong(“Mark” Series IS correct) but he is aggressively wrong about something trivial, and decided to seek some kind of validation here. All he needed to do was take a second look before making a rude comment. Very weird people exist.

      Also this pistol is very boring.

    • He was referring to the entire Mark generations of the pistol, Mark I thru the current Mark IV, I believe. Hence the ‘Mark’ term without a series designation.

      • He was referring to the entire Mark generations of the pistol, Mark I thru the current Mark IV .

        Don’t you hate it when commenters don’t read the above comments before posting?

  1. Shouldn’t the sentence about stripping the older models read something like:

    …requires reading and re-reading the instructions until you thoroughly understand them…

      • I remember the first time I pulled my Ruger 10/22 apart. Getting the bolt back onto the charging handle and guide rod took 30 minutes of sore fingers and bad language.

        Later attempts were a bit quicker and less painful.

    • Field stripping is easy, it’s getting it back together that requires an engineering degree, a mage, and good scotch.

  2. Oh my – a couple of typos slipped past TTAG’s extensive copy editing division!

    Decent review of a legendary pistol. I enjoyed it!

  3. I have heard about issues with the pin walking out on the new take-down lever. In the photos I can see the pin had definitely moved to the left. Did you have to push it back when testing the gun? I’m referring to the black pin on the upper rear of the grip.

    • I have the Target model just like this one except for a non threaded barrel and I had/have the pin walking issue. It walks out about an eight of an inch every 300 rds or so. My pistol has somewhere around 1500 rds through it. Sent it off to Ruger this past Monday and it’s supposed to be here on the 1st. Quick turn around so good on Ruger customer service. Hopefully it’s fixed and I’ve heard of Ruger including goodies so I’m also hoping it comes back with three mags instead of two. Other than that pin walking out the gun has functioned very well.

  4. I went with SW 22 Victory when I bought a .22 semi. The victory was stainless and had what I thought a better trigger. And a lot less money.
    For 689 you can truck out an sw22 quite well.

    • I’ve shot both the Mk IV and the Victory and thought that the S&W was a bit nicer in some ways. I really liked the SW22 but, egad, it looks like the Smith boys hired a plumbing contractor to style the damn thing. Or maybe they just lateraled-in the entire design team from Hi-Point.

      • The SW22 barrel screw can come loose if it’s not tightened properly. If that happens it won’t go into battery. That’s the only issue I’ve ever had with it.

  5. I own the SW Victory and the Mark IV target. Both are excellent firearms.
    The only thing I like better are the magazines for the Victory.
    Smoother round loading and internal spring. Other than that, both are very high quality and very precise.

  6. I’m very fond of my MK II (KMK 512), and after 36 years of dis/re/assembling it I don’t have to think much about it at all. If it has a downside it’s the stupid mag release on the heel of the grip. I don’t have a problem with it, but I use the gun to train new shooters, and I have to watch them like a hawk during mag changes to make sure they don’t point it in an unsafe direction.

    So I’m gonna check into a MK IV.

  7. First , to much pulling at the short hairs . Next I have one that’s government model mk ‘ll with 7″ bull barrel and very often out shoot rifle shooters, the gun work’s that well , no trick to it !! Stay well 👽👽👽👽

  8. Be aware of when holstered the mag release sticks out to far and can be pushed in with little effort by the side of your holster and releasing your mag. Keep this in mind when buying a holster.release should of been a tad shorter especially at 30.00 a mag if in the field and this happens. Also the rear sight should of been white out lined, not black on my opinion these are the only two big concerns.

  9. Iv had my Mark 3 target bull Stan for over 33 years . I took it apart befor YouTube was showing it on tv . Polished all I could . Trigger pull was 4 1/2 . After it was 2 1/2 .
    With bigger grips 149$ .it was and still is one fine shooting gun . The only thing iv replased is fring pin . I know it’s been shoot over , 100.000 , rounds . and it’s not good to drifire 22 rim fire The fring pin hits the barrel it will start holding the shell in after frittering Had to open it up . I did the work my self,. Just don’t drifire . Just got my new hunter Mark 4 . Love it . A little heave . But iv got use to it . I just target shot . The ejector Brock after 160 000rounds 14 palls of wallmart 62.99 each. Just called Ruger there spending a new spring plunger and ejector.

  10. “The trigger is crisp and light”

    Your review stands alone as the only one I’ve seen that calls an almost five pound trigger pull “crisp and light.”

  11. I’ve had a Mk II for about 40 years and l love it. But for me the big problem is not reassembly after field stripping or the mag release but rather how frequently the gun needs detail stripping and cleaning. Powder and dust get into the trigger group components and really gunk up the trigger bar and bolt stop assembly with grit collecting between the components and the frame. It doesn’t take all that many rounds to produce enough grit to affect function. Has this problem been corrected in the subsequent Mk III and Mk IV variants? Detail stripping and reassembly isn’t particularly difficult but it is tedious and the risk of losing tiny plungers and springs is high.

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