Volquartsen Camo Black Mamba 22LR: Full Pistol Review

Volquartsen Camo Black Mamba 22LR: Full Pistol Review

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Introducing the 22LR Volquartsen Black Mamba – a meticulously crafted masterpiece that redefines the capabilities of what a pistol should be. Built upon a polymer Ruger MK IV 22/45 frame enhanced with an Accurizing Kit, this firearm embodies performance. Enclosed in an aluminum-shrouded LLV Competition Upper, the stainless steel barrel with a stainless steel breech ensures top-notch reliability. With features like an accessory rail for weapon lights, a threaded barrel, and an optic-ready slide, the Black Mamba emerges as a versatile powerhouse, prepared for everything from competitive shooting to casual plinking.

Volquartsen Camo Black Mamba 22LR Specifications:

Approximate weight: 1lb 12oz
Overall Length: 11.0″
Magazine Capacity: 10
Trigger Weight: 2.25lb
Twist Rate: 1:16
Muzzle Threads: Yes

Black Mamba Out of the Box

From the factory, Volquartsen includes two 10-round magazines and an installed compensator. The package also includes a tool for easily removing or installing the compensator, along with some stickers and an owner’s manual, all neatly packed in a durable hard carrying case.

Volquartsen Camo Black Mamba 22LR with all included contents
Volquartsen Camo Black Mamba 22LR with all included contents

As is the case with any firearm, the first step is fully decking it out. For the duration of this review, I ran a Vortex Defender CCW red dot, a Streamlight TLR-VIR II, and a suppressor. This transformed the Black Mamba into the ultimate setup for plinking and night shooting, just as I had intended.

The perfect night plinking pistol FT Streamlight TLR-VIR II, Vortex Defender CCW, and a suppressor
The perfect night plinking pistol FT Streamlight TLR-VIR II, Vortex Defender CCW, and a suppressor


While Volquartsen offers 25 variants of the 22LR Black Mamba with varying barrel lengths and color schemes, I chose to use the 4.5″ Camo Black Mamba for this review. This optic-ready version had the threaded barrel and bottom Picatinny rail for mounting weapon lights which was a necessity for me.

Encased within an aluminum shroud, the 4.5″ stainless steel barrel incorporates a stainless steel breech. While I ended up getting good groups which I will talk about more later, this design provides match grade accuracy in a lightweight package.

Nice and dirty chamber after shooting suppressed
Nice and dirty chamber after shooting suppressed


Featuring 1/2×28 threads, the Black Mamba is ready for mounting either a suppressor or a compensator. From the factory, Volquartsen provides an effective and aesthetically pleasing compensator. While this works well, I spent 95% of my time shooting with a suppressor. There aren’t many things more satisfying than shooting a suppressed 22LR. Nevertheless, the compensator is highly effective and would be the optimal choice for those interested in competitive shooting.

Volquartsen 22LR compensator
Volquartsen 22LR compensator


One of the most desirable features of the Black Mamba is its compatibility with the Ruger Mark IV 22/45 frame. While Volquartsen has been selling its own enhanced uppers for the Ruger platform for some time, the Black Mamba is in a league of its own.

The upper boasts a Picatinny rail section on both the top and bottom, intricately machined into the upper itself. A black anodized finish not only provides corrosion resistance but also serves as an excellent base color for the camo scheme. The competition bolt, coated with DLC for durability, operates seamlessly and is easily manipulated by both left and right-handed shooters.

Machined Picatinny rail sections for optics and weapon lights/lasers
Machined Picatinny rail sections for optics and weapon lights/lasers

Sights On the Black Mamba

While the best iron sights are a topic for debate, I have always preferred a blacked-out rear and fiber optic front. Luckily for me, that is exactly what Volquartsen uses for most of their Black Mamba lineup. The rear sight features anti-glare serrations, and the green front fiber optic sight offers great contrast. However, I think a red dot provides more advantages than irons so I ran one for the duration of this review. The mount I have sits just high enough to render the irons useless, but some low mounts may allow for co-witnessing the irons with the red dot.

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Volquartsen Black Mamba iron sights
Volquartsen Black Mamba iron sights


The Black Mamba build incorporates a polymer Ruger MK IV 22/45 frame that has undergone customization with Volquartsen’s Accurizing Kit. Additionally, the frame has been equipped with their magazine release, which, when used alongside the accompanying magazine base pads in the Black Mamba package, resolves feeding issues. This is achieved by elevating the magazine’s position within the frame, ensuring a more positive engagement of the bolt with each feeding round. The Black Mamba retains the convenient push-button takedown functionality characteristic of the Ruger MK IV platform.

Frame with ambi-saftey selector
Frame with ambi-safety selector

This pistol also features a black rubber Hogue grip. The grip features finger grooves that fit my hands well and provide an anti-slip grip due to the textured rubber surface. At the rear of the frame, there are also small spikes for some additional texturing.

Hogue rubber grip
Hogue rubber grip


The controls for the Black Mamba are identical to the Ruger Mark IV controls. This will bring a sense of familiarity for many consumers. My only complaint in regards to the controls is the location of the safety. While each side can be removed to better fit left or right-handed shooters, it still just doesn’t feel as natural as other pistols. This is an issue I have with the Mark IV platform though and is not unique to the Black Mamba.

Safety, mag release, and slide lock
Safety, mag release, and slide lock


Volquartsen provides two 10-round magazines with this pistol. Throughout my testing and hundreds of rounds, I never had a single magazine-related issue. The magazine that comes with the gun features an improved textured magazine follower button, SureFeed magazine springs, and a Volquartsen base pad. Fully decked out, these mags run $48 a piece.

Volquartsen magazine and baseplate with SureFeed springs
Volquartsen magazine and baseplate with SureFeed springs


I am happy to report that the trigger for the Black Mamba is great. The takeup is very light and smooth leading to a well-defined wall. When pulling past the wall, I measured the trigger to break at right around 2.5 lbs. The break is clean and the reset is short, positive, and right back on the wall of the trigger ready for the next shot. The trigger shape is unique but works well, and Volquartsen includes an overtravel screw to eliminate excessive trigger movement.

Trigger for the Black Mamba
Trigger for the Black Mamba

Volquartsen Black Mamba 22LR Precision

Aiming to test this out, I shot 5-round groups with 7 different types of ammunition from 10 yards. Conditions were not ideal as it was below freezing, snowing, and windy. However, even with these conditions, I was able to achieve around 0.5″ groups on average. I think this pistol is capable of even better and that I was the limiting factor. Even so, I am still happy with these results.

Each box of ammunition placed next its respective 5-round group shot from 10 yards
Each box of ammunition placed next to its respective 5-round group shot from 10 yards


So we have gone over most of the features, but how does the Black Mamba shoot? Well after my testing I will say it shoots quite well. I was easily able to engage steel silhouettes out to 100 yards and achieve good groups on paper. It shoots flat, and is very controllable. The Hogue grips fit my hands well and the Black Mamba has all the features I desired in a 22LR pistol. The non-reciprocating slide keeps the red dot sitting stationary to provide a less disturbed field of view when shooting quickly. The bottom rail is machined into the upper and provides a reliable and secure mounting solution for an IR laser as well as weapon lights. Utilizing 1/2×28 threads, this pistol is also the perfect host for a suppressor.

Shooting steel with the Black Mamba in the snow
Shooting steel with the Black Mamba in the snow

As previously stated, 95% of my shooting was done with a suppressor which notoriously makes the internals more gummed up. However, the Black Mamba handled it very well and powered through. While I tested 7 different types of ammo, I only had continued cycling issues with Norma TAC-22. Aguila, Remington, Winchester, and CCI all worked well with only the occasional malfunction. I found this weird as the same Norma ammunition worked great for my Vudoo Gun Works Target 22LR review I was working on at the same time, but some guns are finicky. Luckily most ammunition worked well with the Black Mamba. For those who want to see this pistol in action, I made the short video below:

Volquartsen Black Mamba 22LR Summary

In the realm of 22LR pistols, the Volquartsen Camo Black Mamba stands out as a top choice, excelling in activities ranging from plinking to competition and even hunting. Its Picatinny rail sections on the upper’s top and bottom ensure a robust and dependable mounting system, making it an excellent host for IR lasers and red dots while also performing reliably when suppressed. The pistol’s continual operation when suppressed distinguishes it from other 22 pistols. Coupled with an appealing camo scheme, it fulfills my night vision-plinking dreams. Priced between $1,451 and $1,854, the Black Mamba cost may seem steep, but its numerous enhancements over the Ruger Mark IV 22/45 platform in my mind help justify the investment for a premium pistol.

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  • [email protected] March 29, 2024, 9:58 am

    sounds good but I bought a ruger 22 45 a while back the damn thing never feed properly.no warranty on a new gun I was told was really disappointed it felt good in my hand fit my back pocket on my security rounds and wouldn’t feed.well I got a Smith and Wesson victory model surprise that cured the problem.like I said really disappointed.

    • LJ March 29, 2024, 1:47 pm

      As a former FFL from ’84 to ’94 I sold many Ruger .22’s over those years and never had one to fail, or come back with any problems, that were not addressed by Ruger in a timely manner. I currently own 7 Mark’s from an early MK I thru the current MK IV Lite and have yet to see one with FTF issues, unless it was caused by a particular brand of ammo it didn’t like. Or a dirty gun, or a damaged magazine. Most .22LR semi-auto pistols can be temperamental with some brands of ammo, especially if you don’t keep them clean. That’s why I wouldn’t be carrying one in my ‘back pocket’ on my ‘security rounds’. Maybe drop a .38 snubbie in your back pocket for that duty. Even a $1800 Volquartsen can be ammo sensitive when it comes to .22LR fodder.

      As far as Ruger customer service, over the 20 or so Ruger’s I’ve owned over the last 40+ years, only two did I have issues with. The first was a .44 carbine I bought used back in 1977 and the stock cracked behind the top of the receiver. Probably because of the extremely hot .44 mag hand loads I was shooting back then. The other was a recently purchased Gunsite Scout in .308 that for some reason the bolt would bind up and not properly cycle.

      Both times Ruger fixed the problems – no questions asked. Ruger sent me a brand new walnut stock for the .44 and didn’t charge me one dime. Even after telling them I was shooting hi-powered hand loads and it was probably my fault.

      The .308 apparently slipped by quality control. But they polished the bolt and receiver that seem fixed that problem – along with an apology letter. Again, no charge, and no questions asked.

      So to imply Ruger doesn’t stand behind their products, especially a brand new one, just doesn’t make sense to me. Few gun manufacturers offer written warranties anymore. Liability reasons I guess. And frankly, I have a hard time believing they didn’t go out of their way to make you a happy customer. That doesn’t sound like the Ruger I know, even if Bill is no longer with us and running the company.

  • LJ March 29, 2024, 8:12 am

    I like Volquartsen. I’ve been using their trigger groups for years. But I’m asking myself what a $1400 – $1800 .22/45 can do better than my tried and true Ruger 22/45 can do. As long as I swab the barrel every 20 rounds or so, I can put 5 shots in a ragged hole at 25 yrds off a sand bag with no problem whatsoever. Many a squirrel has fallen prey with a head-shot out to 50 yrds and ended up in a pot of dumplings with the ‘ol Ruger. And that is with the factory trigger. This ‘toy’ is little too expensive for my retired budget!

    • Kane April 3, 2024, 1:43 pm

      Hickock45 talks a bit about buying higher quality guns. He points out that the increase in quality will come at a premium price. IOW you will pay a much higher price rate for a much smaller incremental increase in quality, This would apply to the AR15, 1911’s and the Ruger MK series and many other firearms. I love top shelf 1911’s but with the Ruger MK series, I tend to agree that given the price I am are better off with the less costly versions over the Volquartsens. I just buy a few kits like the magazine disconnect.

      • LJ April 3, 2024, 3:13 pm

        Agreed! I really enjoy watching Hickock45 and his sons’ videos. Very entertaining, and no doubt Bud’s Gun Shop loves him too!

        I have no doubt ANYTHING from Volquartsen is going to be of the very highest quality. I’ve been using their various gun parts for years, with great success. I believe it’s all relative. If someone can afford to spend $1800 on a .22LR plinker then who am I to question that? But it would take steadier hands, and better eye’s, for me to realize any benefit over my Rugers and Brownings!

  • Gabe March 29, 2024, 2:07 am

    The shogun looks great. I like the shot gun with picatinny rail. Hop it can match my red dot magnifier. Some details about the red dot magnifier in the link below. https://www.cvlife.com/products/cvlife-auto-brightness-adjustment-red-dot-sight-with-3x-magnifier-combo

  • Kane March 25, 2024, 9:24 pm

    Nice article, cool video and awesome Volquartsen Black Mamba. I have a Volquartsen Scorpion MKII set up with a compensator and wooden Altamont grips for a Ruger standard MKII (discontinued). The manufactorer recommended ammo on my gun is 40 grain led, I guess to somehow protect the barrel threads.

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