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Ruger MK IV 22/45 Lite: First Look

The Ruger family of semi automatic pistols chambered in .22 Long Rifle goes back more that 70 years. Each time a model was changed or improved upon the name changed along with it. In the seven decades it’s been in production it has changed with the times. Starting with the “Standard” then the Mark I, Mark II, Mark III and finally to our featured pistol the Ruger Mark IV. In all this time we have seen the Ruger Mark series come in all sorts of variations from thin barrels, to long pencil barrels and a wide range of target and bull barrels in the Hunter series. Today we are fortunate enough to have the lightest of all the Ruger Mark series of pistols the Ruger Mk IV 22/45 Lite to test and introduce to our audience.

More Than A Catchy Name

The name Ruger Mk IV 22/45 Lite isn’t just a catchy name, it’s an accurate description of the pistol, coming in at 25 ounces which is nearly 1/2 the weight of the full length stainless steel Ruger MK IV Hunter model. Aside from being ridiculously light the MK IV 22/45 has a nice list of other features that made us run out and grab one to review. Lets break them down top to bottom. In order of importance to us here at the site

Huge Improvements Over Older Models

Anyone who has owned a Ruger Mark series of pistols absolutely hates to clean them. We all love the gun but breakdown of the pistol was something that would cause a priest to swear. Those days are gone with Ruger engineers coming up with a way to break the pistol down into three main parts, lower, upper and bolt. This is all completed with pushing ONE button and rotating the barrel off of the frame. Don’t believe us ? watch this NRA video featuring Shooting Illustrated and the Ruger Mark IV

Improved Feature #1: Easier Breakdown

Improved Feature #2: Top Rail

The addition of a top rail means that a shooter can take advantage of the dropping prices and expanding selections of red dot pistol optics on the market. Manufacturers such as Holosun, Primary Arms, Leupold to name just a few offer an enormous range of pistol optics for any budget. The addition of a rail and the option to add a red dot is something very new for rimfire pistols in general and the Ruger Mark IV in particular. Centerfire shooters have enjoyed pistol optics for years, now rimfire shooters can join the fun as well.

Ready for Your Favorite Optic
Photo:Rick Dembroski

Improved Feature #3: Threaded for Your Pleasure

With this iteration of the Ruger Mark series of pistols we see an added muzzle feature in the form of threads. The 1/2″-28 threads at the end of the barrel are just begging for your favorite rimfire silencer to be added to it. If you don’t have a silencer or live in a NFA unfriendly state, thats ok too. The 1/2-28 threads will allow you to add your choice of compensator to the Mark IV 22/45. Popular options for this type of accessory are Tandemcross Game Changer Pro, the Tactical Solutions Pac-Lite and the Volquartsen Forward Blow Compensator.

This addition of 1/2-28 threaded end caps on rifles and pistols is becoming more common as states relax rules regarding silencers and the market for muzzle devices continues to expand. We had all hoped that with a President who portrayed himself friendly to the firearms community that the “Hearing Protection Act” would make silencers transferred on a ATF Form 4473 and quicker to receiver. Alas silencers are instead still ruled by the of the ancient and ridiculously slow system that has been in place 70 years, but I’m not bitter.

1/2-28 Threads Hidden Under Protecting Cap
Photo: Rick Dembroski

Improved Feature #4: Weight Reduction

We already hit on it earlier in the article but since it’s the last major improved feature we figured we would reiterate the facts again. The Ruger Mk IV 22/45 Lite is ridiculously light and perfect for hunters who want to get out and shoot small game or birds. This is going to be a big benefit to myself and other hunters here in Alaska who can always use a lightweight and reliable .22 to take small game like rabbits and willow ptramigan and spruce hens.

The 25 ounce Mk IV 22/45 Lite sports an almost 4.5″ barrel and can easily be stuffed into any jacket, pack or a hip holster and it’s weight is hardly noticeable. I’m not sure if Ruger engineers had Alaska small game hunters in mind then they designed this but we appreciate all the science and engineering into making this pistol so light and compact. The small game like the one shown below might disagree.

Small Game Will Not Be Happy About the 22/45 Lite
Photo:Rick Dembroski

Overall Impressions

It’s pretty obvious at this point the Ruger Mk IV 22/45 Lite is a huge hit with us. An affordable, lightweight, durable and good looking gun packed with features will always be a hit with us if it performs well. So far this pistol is killing it on the range consuming every brand of .22LR we have in our stockpiles. There is one small issue with the pistol that we have to note in the interest of full disclosure and it has to do with the magazines.

The Ruger Mk 4 22/45 magazines are not comparable with the previous generation of the 22/45 (Mk III). To us that is not a deal breaker but it might be an issue to shooters who wanted to pick up a Mk IV and already own a Mk III. There is also a second issue with the magazines that isn’t as frustrating. The magazines are only 10 round capacity and as of the writing of this article only Ruger manufactures them. You can expect to pay $35-40 for a two pack of Ruger factory magazines. This isn’t a deal breaker just something to be aware of if you are considering adding the Ruger Mk IV 22/45 in any configuration to your collection.

If you are in the market for a .22 LR pistol like I was I can honestly say that the Ruger 22/45 is a solid purchase if you can find them should provide you with years of shooting enjoyment with little problems. I chose to use my own personal funds to purchase this particular model and it was not provided to me by Ruger. I don’t regret using my own cash and that should say alot, when a writer is willing to put his money where his mouth is.

What do you think of the Ruger Mk IV family of pistols ? Do you have one ? would you consider one ? Drop us a line in the comments section and let us know.

Breakdown Into Three Pieces Takes Seconds
Photo:Rick Dembroski


Manufacturer: Sturm Ruger & Co

Location of Manufacture: Prescott, Arizona USA

Model: Mk IV 22/45 Lite

Caliber: .22 LR

Capacity: 10+ 1

Barrel Length: 4.40″


  • Frame – Polymer
  • Barrel – Steel
  • Receiver – Aluminum

Weight: 25 Ounces


  • Build in USA
  • 1/2-28 Threaded Barrel
  • Top Mounted Picatinny Rail
  • 1911 Style Grip Panels
  • Ambidextrous Controls
  • Ships with Two Magazines
  • Available in 8 color options

Pricing: $450-$550 Average

About the Author /

Rick Dembroski spent 10 of the best years of his life as a USAF Civil Engineer, traveling the globe, drinking beer, and causing chaos. His superiors dubbed him "King of Useless Knowledge" a title that he still loves to this day. After his military career he chose to stay in the frozen north of Alaska and currently works as an Emergency Management Specialist combining his love of chaos with preparedness to ensure people know how to survive disasters.

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