My Favorite 22 Pistol: Ruger 22/45 Tactical

Ruger 22/45 Tactical laying on gravel

I recently submitted the paperwork for a Rugged Mustang22 suppressor. In anticipation of my new silencer, I have been looking for the best host pistol. Ruger’s 22/45 Tactical suits the bill perfectly.

Ruger’s Mark series of 22 pistols need no introduction. My entire life I have seen my cousins, uncles, and brother use these guns to great effect. One particularly memorable event was when my cousin Jeff used his long-barreled Mark 2 to hit a balloon at 400 yards. The shared attitude of the group went from skepticism to disbelief to amazement as Jeff, with only three shots, spotted his impacts and made the hit. If he would be able to repeat the feat, I’m not sure, but even being able to do it once is enough for a good story. 

While I could aspire to take on my cousin’s record and drill balloons from 400 yards, my priorities are elsewhere. I am outfitting this pistol to be my secondary weapon while hog hunting or for neutralizing pests that have acquired a taste for chicken at my in-law’s farm. 

These purposes dictated my choice of the 22/45 Tactical. Its under-barrel rail allows me to mount a Streamlight TLR-VIR 2, a combination of white light and IR laser/illuminator. I use this light/illuminator to shoot at night and under night vision.

Ruger 22/45 Tactical with Streamlight TLR-VIR2 mounted

The relatively short 4.4” threaded barrel accepts a suppressor without making the overall length of the pistol too unwieldy. I would have preferred a shorter barrel but there are aftermarket options available if I want to make it more compact in the future. Plus, I don’t want to lose my under-barrel rail space.

This pistol’s iron sights are fully adjustable for both windage and elevation. The chamfered corners and smooth finish show that care was taken when manufacturing these sights.

The optics rail gives me plenty of space to mount the red dot of my choice. Having a red dot on a pistol is a feature I have grown really fond of over the last couple of years. It encourages the shooter to focus on the target versus the front sight post, resulting in better target awareness and more precision for longer shots. 

Ruger 22/45 Tactical with Streamlight and Holosun Red Dot

I started off with a Holosun 403r mounted directly to the rail but later opted for the smaller Holosun 407c and Lobos Industries 407c mount. Although it isn’t quite low enough to co-witness the iron sights with the red dot, the lower profile is still much appreciated. Plus, the clean, fitted edges of the Lobos mount look really nice.


Ruger 22/45 Tactical shown with target and lot of different brands of 22 ammo.

I was satisfied with the precision of this pistol. It seemed that the best groups came from lower velocity ammunition; the best from Remington thunderbolts and CCI standard velocity. These two rounds gave me 1.5” groups at 25 yards. The groups from the higher velocity rounds were notably worse. CCI Stingers, for example, had a spread of nearly five inches.

Another benefit to the design of this pistol is that the optics rail is mounted directly to the barrel. This forgoes any potential misalignment between the barrel and slide that would affect a slide-mounted optic.

Ruger 22/45 Tactical left side of gun

The trigger is neither good nor bad. It has a pull weight of just under five pounds with minimal take-up. Once the trigger reaches the wall it creeps a bit further before breaking. Even though it isn’t a clean break, the pull is smooth and consistent so it hasn’t been an issue for me.

Last round bolt hold-open is an important feature that was not overlooked on this pistol. The release lever is located just forward of the safety selector on the left side. It has functioned consistently with a variety of ammunition.

If you plan to suppress this pistol, the small ejection port is a detail you should not overlook. The small port helps to retain the combustion gasses that are pushed back into the receiver by the suppressor. At the very least you don’t get lines of gunshot residue on your support hand. More importantly, it reduces the visible sparks that emit from the chamber during each shot. This is especially beneficial when shooting under night vision. Finally, The smaller ejection port size seems to slightly reduce the sound signature of the action and returning gasses by pushing them in a singular direction. 

Ruger 22/45 Tactical with 3 magazines

Magazine construction is simple but effective. None of my four mags have had any problem reliably feeding a variety of rounds. Two ten-round magazines are included with the pistol and additional mags are reasonably priced. I was able to get two OEM mags for about thirty bucks.

If you are right-handed, the ambidextrous safety selector can be frustrating because it hits your dominant hand when you try to actuate it. Thankfully, the instructions that come with the pistol show you how to remove the right side selector and they provide a flush-fit cap to replace it.

Ruger 22/45 Tactical with red dot, flashlight, and suppressor mounted.
My 9mm suppressor is hefty, but it will work for now

I have really enjoyed shooting this pistol and I can’t wait for my 22suppressor to come in so I can complete the build. It fits my needs so well that I can not think of one substantial critique. As a result, I have no problem justifying the $659 MSRP.

If you are interested in this pistol or any of the Mark series 22s, check out Ruger’s website to learn more or to find a dealer near you.

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  • Linwood Crowder May 10, 2023, 11:47 pm

    Thanks for sharing the helpful info and pics! Have you been able to find an OWB holster for your Mark IV tactical with red dot and tactical light?

  • Dave March 31, 2023, 7:05 am

    I bought a gen 3 22/45 lightweight to run a suppressor. It was the worst jamomatic pistol ever. Mag changes didn’t help. Also the trigger is a mushy piece of crap. I stuck with it due to the threaded barrel. Many many $ later, after changing the trigger, I deleted the magazine cut off. That piece was causing the bulk of the jams (2-3 per mag full). It now seldom jams and is an accurate shooter. I later bought a SW Victory pistol, it is 10 times the pistol. Good trigger, eats all ammo, accurate, easy to clean.

  • Elmer Fudd March 28, 2023, 8:34 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to write.

    I own the 22/45 Lite. I had to laugh when you stated that it was “too unwieldy”. Get a proper .22 suppressor. This pistol was meant to suppress, not to hang an IR light off the bottom. How many animals are you shooting with NOD’s on? I Hog Hunt and your setup is a No Go. I use a Vortex Viper, it has a lower profile and it’s fine out to 25 Yards.

    BTW – CCI standard velocity don’t work as well as Blazer IMO, both are subsonic and the Blazer cycles better.

    • Garrett Negen May 19, 2023, 11:11 pm

      A 22 suppressor is in the works. The 9mm can is just a stand-in. As far a hunting under NODs, I do it quite often. I don’t plan to make it my go to for hog hunting but it’s perfect for racoons/opossums in the chicken coop.

  • Kane March 27, 2023, 11:57 am

    I have 2 Ruger MK II’s, 1 Ruger MK III 22/45, 4 Ruger MKIV’s where to 2 are standard models and 2 are 22/45’s and 1 Volquartsen Scorpion built from the MKII standard design. The 22/45’s have a handle that resembles the 1911 grip style and angle where the MK standard was Ruger’s copy of the Japanese WWII side arm Nambu Type 14 but looks like a P08 Luger. I hope to someday find a cherry MKI standard to complete my collection.

    Anyone who loves the Ruger MK series should look into the accessories offered by Volquartsen and Tandemkross. Lots of people shy away from the early MK series because the field stripping can be tricky but with MK IV and videos that should no longer be a problem.

    Over the years Ruger add safety features that most shooters do NOT want. For instance the MK III’s have a loaded chamber indicator and the MK IV’s have magazine disconectors but there are after market parts that make those parts expendable. I have swapped out lots of the features that blue states forced upon Ruger. Volquatsen offers an accurizer (sp?) kit and Tandenkross offers a similiar kit with a revamped blast deflector. Plus the aftermarket upgrades on the hammers, sears and triggers really change the performance factor.

    These kits are drop in parts and I have done most of the work myself. It frustating at first but it is more gratifying to do a low tech build project and the go shoot your pistol. Both Tandemkross and Volquartsen have online videos that make all the differance between a home project and a trip to the g-smith. Watch the videos over and over again until you figure out the tricks or if you have just one Ruger MK then pay a g-smith and skip the likely frustrating challenge.

    • Kane April 6, 2023, 10:39 am

      BTW, Voloquartsen parts and videos are more challenging to figure out than Tandemkross.

      From the unsubscribed files.

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