Skip to main content

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.




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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Pistol Skills Drills - Hardball

Pistol Skills Drills - Hardball's Headache

The Hardball's Headache pistol drill is very similar to the El Presidente drill with a higher level of difficulty due to two added twists.

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.

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.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

With the introduction of the XD-M Elite line of pistols, Springfield Armory one-ups itself.Springfield Armory XD-M Elite Precision Review Reviews

Springfield Armory XD-M Elite Precision Review

James Tarr - August 21, 2020

With the introduction of the XD-M Elite line of pistols, Springfield Armory one-ups itself.

Available in .38 Super, 9mm and .45 ACP, the Ed Brown 1911 Executive Commander offers a terrific balance of weight, power and shootability.Ed Brown 1911 Executive Commander 9mm Review 1911

Ed Brown 1911 Executive Commander 9mm Review

J. Scott Rupp - May 08, 2019

Available in .38 Super, 9mm and .45 ACP, the Ed Brown 1911 Executive Commander offers a...

If you're in the market for a 17-round, compact .22LR pistol that's feature packed, then the P17 is definitely an option for you.KelTec P17 22LR Pistol – Feature Packed, Accurate & Fun to Shoot Rimfire

KelTec P17 22LR Pistol – Feature Packed, Accurate & Fun to Shoot

Handguns Staff - August 14, 2020

If you're in the market for a 17-round, compact .22LR pistol that's feature packed, then the...

The defensive handgun market is ripe with affordable, accurate and dependable choices, but these six compact high-capacity 9mm pistols stand out from the rest of the field.6 Best Compact High-Capacity 9mm Handguns Compact

6 Best Compact High-Capacity 9mm Handguns

Jeff John - July 08, 2020

The defensive handgun market is ripe with affordable, accurate and dependable choices, but...

See More Trending Articles

More Semi-Auto

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

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

Mossberg MC1sc 9mm Pistol Review

Brad Fitzpatrick

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

The iconic Walther PPK/S is back, and now it is made in the USA.Walther PPK/S Review Semi-Auto

Walther PPK/S Review

James Tarr - October 10, 2019

The iconic Walther PPK/S is back, and now it is made in the USA.

CMMG has announced the Banshee 10mm Mk10 with a Radial Delayed Blowback operating system and Last-Round Bolt Hold Open; the bar has been raised when it comes to innovating the AR to handle powerful cartridges like the 10mm. CMMG Banshee 10mm Mk10 First Look Semi-Auto

CMMG Banshee 10mm Mk10 First Look

Handguns Digital Staff - September 13, 2019

CMMG has announced the Banshee 10mm Mk10 with a Radial Delayed Blowback operating system and...

See More Semi-Auto

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

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

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Handguns subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now