Ruger 22/45 Lite Review
Part 1 - Introduction, Specifications and Summary
September 10, 2012
It was nearly 20 years
ago when I had my first chance to shoot one of the Ruger Mark II
rimfire pistols. It was a slabbed sided stainless steel
competition model and it was a great
shooting pistol. I was so impressed with the performance of
that pistol that it sparked my interests in
purchasing one for myself. As I did my research, I
quickly found that Ruger also had their 22/45 line of pistols which
had a 1911-ish style grip angle and after having a chance to examine both
guns closely, I decided that I preferred the feel of the 22/45 style
pistol. For some reason (maybe wife, kids, mortgage,
car payment, food, etc.) I couldn't convince myself to make the
purchase. Fast forward about 18 years and I was eyeing the 22/45
pistols again and came very close to purchasing Ruger's "Threaded
Barrel" version that came out about two years ago. I
thought then that this pistol would be a fun addition to my rimfire
collection and I was looking to add a threaded barrel version to one day
use with a suppressor. Again, for some reason (probably
reviewing other firearms) I didn't make the purchase. This year, Ruger
introduced their new 22/45 Lite Pistol and it features a threaded
barrel and a light weight aluminum upper with a gold anodized finish
which adds an interesting look to the pistol. Since I liked the
idea of this new light weight version (about 9.2 ounces lighter than
their Threaded Barrel version) and since Ruger went with a
non-standard (for Ruger) design incorporating the aluminum upper
with a stainless barrel sleeve, I thought now was the time to make
getting a Ruger 22/45 Lite Pistol a priority for my collection and
Their was also one more
motivating factor that boosted this pistol up on my priority list.
Back in May I purchased and submitted the transfer paperwork for a
new suppressor. I should be getting my transfer paperwork
back in a couple of months on a new C3 Defense rimfire suppressor and I wanted to
have a pistol platform ready for my suppressor review.
Obviously a threaded barrel is required for the suppressor and the
reduced weight of the 22/45 Lite Pistol should be a good feature
considering I will increase the total weight of the pistol with the addition of a
Ruger list MRSP as $469
for this pistol, but you can find it online for about $370 plus S&H
and transfer fees. The cost (depending on where you compare)
of the Lite model is only about $20 to $30 more than the Threaded
Barrel model and I feel the added cost of the Lite is well worth the 9.2 ounce reduction in
During my reviews I like to compare my results
to the manufacturer's claims where possible so the following text in
colored italics was taken directly from the
on 8/10/12 and gives an Overview, Key Features, and Specifications
for the Ruger 22/45 Lite Pistol. The
are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this
review with either photos, commentary or both. I may also add
commentary after these marks as necessary to explain some items if
Classic Feel, Modern Design.
No other 22 LR pistol provides the feel
of the classic 1911 pistol with the proven reliability and value
of the Ruger® 22/45™ pistols.
The perfect trainer, it allows for
low-cost practice and provides shooters with the familiar and
preferred grip shape and feel of the famous 1911 45 caliber
In addition to the identical grip angles, the 22/45
features the same fire control locations (manual safeties,
magazine releases and bolt hold-opens) as the 1911, making them
perfect for 45 caliber shooters looking for an affordable way to
Also perfect for plinking, target shooting, and small
game hunting, the 22/45 is available in a variety of
configurations and barrel lengths, each with the same trusted
reliability that Ruger has delivered since 1949.
Aluminum Upper: Upper receiver, which is finished in a striking
gold anodize, is made of aircraft grade aluminum and features
serrated cuts, making the pistol extremely lightweight.
4.4" Stainless Barrel Sleeve is kept in place by a tension nut ,
ensuring the same great accuracy and reliability of the Ruger®
Accurate sighting system features precision-adjustable sights.
Upper receiver is drilled and tapped for Weaver-style scope base
adapters for easy mounting of optics.
Comfortable, precision-molded Zytel® polymer grip frame with
serrated front strap and back strap.
rubber grip panels are replaceable and can be swapped with other
grip panels (not included).
Internal cylindrical bolt construction ensures permanent
alignment and higher accuracy potential than conventional
Manual safety positively locks the sear when applied.
Patented loaded chamber indicator provides visual and tactical
indication of chamber condition.
Magazine disconnect prevents discharge when the magazine has
Also features: contoured ejection port
; easy-to-grasp tapered
bolt ears' a conveniently located
; push button magazine release
on the left side of the frame
; two magazines
; hard plastic case
(soft case provided with pistol)
Catalog Number: P45MK3ALRP
Model Number: 3900
Caliber: 22 LR
Finish: Gold Anodize
Rear Sight: Adjustable
Front Sight: Fixed
Barrel Length: 4.40"
Barrel Style: Threaded
the review pistol measured 8.40"
across the upper receiver and 1.14"
across the grip panels
Weight: 22.80 oz.
Grips: Replaceable Panels
Grip Frame: Zytel® Polymer
Twist: 1:16" RH
MA Approved & Certified: No
CA Approved: No
Suggested Retail: $469.00
online for about $370 plus S&H and transfer fees
Safety: Manual, magazine disconnect and internal
This review is broken down into multiple
parts with this page providing links to each part along with an
overall summary of the specifications, pros and cons, and my final "bottom
comments. Make sure you take time to checkout the other parts
of the review because they contain many photos and
lots of commentary. Also, there is an extreme amount of detail in those
parts which is not covered on this page.
As you read these Pros and Cons below,
keep in mind that it is hard to keep my particular preferences from creeping in the
equation. Therefore, it is important that you take the time to
look at the other parts of this review so you can decide yourself on
items which may be more of a personal preference.
The 22/45 Lite is a very light weight .22LR pistol and is great
fun to shoot.
Stylish look with the gold anodized finish and black accents.
The threaded barrel is compensator/suppressor ready.
Built on a proven Mark III pistol platform.
Capable of 5-shot group sizes less than 3/4" at 13 yards from a
The 4.40" barrel produces velocities between 850 to 900 ft/sec
with standard velocity ammunition so you don't have to worry
about purchasing special "subsonic" ammunition if you are going
to shoot a suppressor.
After studying the internal features of
this pistol for weeks, I feel that the 22/45 pistol is a simple
yet clever design and I can understand why the Ruger Mark
pistols have been so popular over the years.
Pro/Con/Comment? You decide:
The filler screws in the holes for mounting the Weaver-style
adapter plate did not have any type of thread locking compound
on them and were easily unscrewed from the receiver. I
would imagine these screws would work loose over time and fall
out. Make sure you check yours and correct if needed.
For years I have been hearing people
complain about the disassembly and reassembly of the Ruger Mark
pistols. Maybe I'm the lucky one, but I feel that this pistol is very
easy to disassemble. There are some details you need
to watch on reassembly, but overall I still felt reassembly was simple.
I'm sure if this pistol had been tighter and if it had required a
wooden dowel and mallet to take apart and put back together, I may have a slightly different opinion.
The thing that seemed to stand out more was the need to insert the
magazine to disengage the magazine disconnect safety. Overall,
I wouldn't let anyone sway your opinion on the purchase of this
pistol based on any aspects with disassembly and reassembly.
During my range tests, I shot about 890 rounds of various types
of ammunition. The pistol proved to be reliable with all
but the Aguila Subsonic. Although the Aguila clearly
produced the best 5-shot group size with an average of 0.66", I
would not recommend shooting it in the future with this pistol.
Watch for the trigger pull. On the
pistol I received for review, the trigger pull was heavier than
normal for this style pistol. The trigger pull measured an average of 6.8 pounds and
I believe it is normally in the range from 4 to 5 pounds. This is
something you should watch out for when purchasing this pistol
(or any firearm).
Other reputable reviews on the internet have confirmed this 4 to
5 pound range. A couple of dry fires in the store should
give you a good indication on the pull weight. You may get
a verbal lashing from the sales person about dry firing a
rimfire pistol, but knowing you have a decent pull before you
buy it will be well worth the lashing and maybe save you the
trouble of having to get an aftermarket trigger or trigger job
in the future. You can also inform the sales person that the Ruger
instruction manual states to "pull
the trigger to un-cock the gun" in
Step 10 on Page 26, so some dry fires must be allowed.
The Ruger 22/45 Lite Pistol is a light weight
pistol that is fun to shoot. The gold anodized upper adds an
attractive look that many people will like (I do). When you
couple these with the threaded barrel making this pistol suppressor
ready, I think the 22/45 Lite will be made for many more years to
come. The pistol I received for review didn't have what I
would consider to be a typical trigger pull and if I didn't have a
little knowledge on how to help correct the issue, I may have sent
it back for Ruger to correct. This tells me that Ruger doesn't
stack the deck when sending out firearms for reviews and based on
reading some other reputable reviews, my pistol was a fluke.
The key point to remember when purchasing any product is to do your
research and then look it over closely in the store. If the
firearm they bring to the counter doesn't checkout, tell them to
bring you another one. It is your hard earned money and you
deserve a gun in great condition. I feel that the Ruger 22/45
Lite Pistol falls in the high value category and I wouldn't hesitate
recommending you checking one out the next time you are at the gun
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