There is nothing like shooting a good .22-caliber pistol. The satisfaction, fun and practicality of these little handguns has rocked the shooting world for decades. Some of the most well-made handguns in the world have been chambered in .22 LR. I can think of several, off-hand, that were built like fine Swiss watches. The Colt Woodsman and the Walther PP .22 LR come to mind. These are prizes in the handgun world, if you ask me.
I grew up shooting .22-caliber pistols. My first handgun was a Colt New Frontier .22 revolver that I carried almost every day for years knocking around in the desert. There’s no telling how many thousands of rounds I fired through that revolver. I still have it and cherish it.
These days, I have the opportunity to shoot quite a few handguns of a more potent strain. I love shooting 10 mm pistols and .44 Mag. revolvers. But when it comes down to it, there’s still nothing like plinking with a good .22 pistol. Not only are .22s fun to shoot, they provide the shooter with great practice, inexpensively.
I recently added a new .22 LR pistol to my small-bore handgun arsenal: a Ruger Mark IV 22/45 semi-automatic pistol. The Ruger Mark Series of pistols has enjoyed extreme success since its inception way back when. The original semi-auto pistol, designed by Bill Ruger and introduced in 1949, and its successors could be a burden to disassemble and reassemble, even though early factory literature stated the contrary. After the initial “Standard” model, Ruger made various changes to the pistol in the forms of the Mark II and Mark III. These models were outstanding guns, but still did not entirely address the assembly issue.
Enter the Mark IV version. This version of Ruger pistol completely resolves the takedown issue. The Ruger Mark IV 22/45 looks very similar to the original version of the Ruger pistol but is very different in many aspects. There is a small button on the rear of the receiver that, when pressed, causes the barrel to tip upward and forward, allowing it to be immediately removed from the frame. Re-assembly is just as convenient.
My recently acquired Ruger Mark IV 22/45 has the same convenient takedown features as the standard Mark IV, but the gripframe is set up in a similar configuration to the 1911 automatic pistol. My pistol came from the factory with rubber, Pachmayer-like checkered grip panes which are virtually identical to 1911 panels. An extra set of checkered wood panels was also provided. The thumb-safety and slide-release components are located in the same place they are on the 1911 pistol. The thumb safety is ambidextrous. There is no grip safety on the 22/45.
My Mark IV was actually a part of a small, special run of guns for Black Hills Ammunition, and is marked “Black Hills” on the right side of the receiver. Very cool indeed. The barrel shroud features a green colored coating. This color coating might sound a little strange at first, but believe me, it grows on you. The sights are all-black, with an adjustable rear sight. Thankfully, no white dots. The top of the receiver is fitted with a Picatinny rail for any add-on devices the shooter might be interested in. The end of the barrel is threaded for quick and easy installation of a suppressor. For those who didn't get in on the limited run of Black Hills guns, many of these features, sans the wood grips, can be had in the form of the Mark IV 22/45 Lite line of guns.
Shooting the Ruger Mark IV 22/45 is, as one would expect, a boatload of fun. I’ve found the little pistol to be extremely accurate and have not experienced a malfunction of any kind. Of course, the ease of takedown is a huge plus. The little 22/45 is by far one of the finest .22 pistols to come along in a good while. I plan to use and carry this gun almost as much as I did my old Colt .22 revolver.