Ruger has just announced their next generation rimfire pistol, the Ruger Mark IV. While it shares many of the qualities and features of the Mark III series including the cylindrical receiver design and time-tested target pistol grip, the new Mark IV can be broken down for field-stripping with the push of a button.
The Ruger Mark and earlier Standard pistols are some of the most popular rimfire handguns on the market — if not the most popular. The Mark IV represents one of the fundamental changes to the design since it was first introduced in 1949.
To field-strip the Mark IV you remove the magazine, empty the chamber and put the safety on. Then press the takedown button below the bolt and tilt the barreled receiver off the frame. The bolt slips right out the back exposing critical parts for easy cleaning.
This is far removed from the older design’s frustrating process for disassembly and re-assembly. And while there are shooters out there who can take apart a Mark III and put it back together blindfolded, a lot of people opt for other guns because they don’t want the extra hassle.
Other improvements include a redesigned ambidextrous thumb safety and more powerful drop-free magazine ejection. The Mark IV retains the magazine safety but drops the loaded chamber indicator. They are backwards-compatible with Mark III magazines and have the same standard 10-round capacity. In addition to iron sights, the Mark IV pistols are drilled and tapped for optics.
Ruger is launching the Mark IV in two series, the Mark IV Target and the Mark IV Hunter, all chambered for .22 Long Rifle. The Target series has two versions, an all stainless steel model and a black steel and aluminum gun. The stainless steel pistol has a matte stainless finish on the receiver and grip frame. The black model has an anodized alloy frame and blued steel barreled receiver. Both have 5.5-inch barrels and black target sights.
The Hunter series currently has just a single model, another matte stainless gun. The Hunter features a fluted, 6.9-inch bull barrel and a fiber optic front sight. And while the Target models have checkered polymer grips, the Hunter pistol has checkered hardwood grips. All three launch models have fully-adjustable rear sights.
Ruger is pricing Mark IV pistols in-line with Mark III pistols. The Mark IV Target series starts at $529 — by comparison, the Mark III Target series starts at $499. The Hunter is the most expensive Mark IV with a suggested retail price of $769. The Mark IV Hunter is actually less expensive than the Mark III version by $30.
It will take some time for the Mark IV aftermarket to catch up to the Mark III in terms of upgrades and accessories. But the Mark IV isn’t for high-speed and high-precision competition shooters. It’s for more casual shooters looking for a .22 for a fun day at the range. Given Ruger’s dominance in the world of rimfire handguns, though, it won’t be too long before the aftermarket catches up.
It’ll be interesting to see what’s next in store for the new Mark IV.