Handgun Beauties: Ruger Standard .22

Handgun Beauties: Ruger Standard .22

In 1949, Bill Ruger wanted to produce and market a .22 semiautomatic handgun. He acquired a Japanese Nambu from a returning Marine and duplicated the gun in his garage, calling it the “Ruger Baby Nambu.” He later modified the design—changing the profile but retaining the Nambu’s basic operation—but he lacked the money to pursue his dream.

He approached his wealthy friend Alex Sturm, who immediately jumped on the bandwagon with a contribution of $50,000 to produce the gun, which they named the Standard model. Aimed at hunters and target shooters, it was priced at $37.50, which was much less expensive than the competition. It sold well because of its resemblance to the famed German Luger pistol—although Bill Ruger later said the Colt Woodsman was also an influence.

Ruger was able to keep manufacturing costs down by forming the receivers from two stamped sheet metal parts welded together, and he used coiled springs made from piano wire as opposed to the customary flat springs. And instead of a slide like that found on John Browning’s designs, Ruger’s blowback-operated gun employed a cylindrical bolt that cycled within a tubular receiver.

Most novel to this gun was a pair of “ears” sticking out from the rear of the bolt to aid in charging the gun. The bolt was left in the white and finished smooth; the exterior featured a polished blue finish. The gun was originally offered with a 4.75-inch barrel, but in 1954 the barrel length was changed to six inches.


After purchasing my pistol. I changed the grips to wood, but the Standard model came with grip panels of checkered rubber with a red eagle logo designed by Alex Sturm. (Later, following Sturm’s untimely death, Bill Ruger changed the logo color to black.)


The gun has a manual, 1911-type thumb safety, and the bolt can be locked open via this safety. A mere snick of the lever downward allows the bolt to move forward. My gun was built in 1974, and to this day the action closes with a resounding “clunk.” The bolt does not lock back after the last shot; this was later corrected on the Mark II.


The gun’s nine-round magazine sports a lock at the base of the grip frame. The original chrome-plated trigger was listed as a two-stage. The trigger on mine still breaks at four pounds even and seems to get better every year.

Ruger’s .22 pistol has undergone numerous changes over the years, and it continues to sell in the thousands each year. I think it will be a favorite for decades to come, thanks to the genius of Bill Ruger.




Recommended for You

SIG SAUER has introduced the American Made P210 Standard pistol to the U.S. Commercial Market. Semi-Auto

SIG P210 Standard Pistol: Legendary and American Made

Handguns Online Staff - April 23, 2019

SIG SAUER has introduced the American Made P210 Standard pistol to the U.S. Commercial Market.

Do you remember the first time you fired a gun? If you're like most, you were somewhat Training

Pro Tips For Controlling Recoil

Richard Nance - April 11, 2017

Do you remember the first time you fired a gun? If you're like most, you were somewhat

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer SKU # 180023) is an easy-racking, soft-shooting pistol. Compact

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 Review

James Tarr - November 06, 2018

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

The New Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun Load

The New Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun Load

Speer's Jared Hinton shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun load.

Handgun Basics

Handgun Basics

SIG Academy's Hana Bilodeau joins Rich and Jim to discuss the essential skills all handgunners should master.

Performance Center M&P Shield M2.0

Performance Center M&P Shield M2.0

From Smith & Wesson, the M&P Shield M2.0 is a great option for a carry gun with optics option.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

I don't have a distinct recollection of the first time I reloaded a cartridge – it's been a long Ammo

To Cast a Good Bullet

Bart Skelton - June 28, 2012

I don't have a distinct recollection of the first time I reloaded a cartridge – it's been a...

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer SKU # 180023) is an easy-racking, soft-shooting pistol. Compact

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 Review

James Tarr - November 06, 2018

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer...

One of the newest in the Micro 9 series, the Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall is a serious pistol designed for personal defense. Compact

Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall Review

Jeff Chudwin - January 29, 2019

One of the newest in the Micro 9 series, the Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall is a serious pistol...

See More Stories

More Semi-Auto

Mossberg dives into the CCW market with the MC1sc 9mm pistol (#89001), their first striker-fired semiautomatic. Semi-Auto

Mossberg MC1sc 9mm Pistol Review

Brad Fitzpatrick

Mossberg dives into the CCW market with the MC1sc 9mm pistol (#89001), their first...

The American-made CZ P-10 F Optics-Ready 9mm is ready to take on the heavy hitters. Semi-Auto

CZ P-10 F Optics-Ready Review

Brad Fitzpatrick - August 21, 2019

The American-made CZ P-10 F Optics-Ready 9mm is ready to take on the heavy hitters.

The new Glock 48 has been specifically designed to be the “Canadian Glock 19,” but the end result is an interesting handgun that should be of great interest to Americans as well. Semi-Auto

Glock 48 Review

James Tarr - August 14, 2019

The new Glock 48 has been specifically designed to be the “Canadian Glock 19,” but the end...

See More Semi-Auto

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.