The Ruger Standard was the gun the made Ruger's name in the gunsmithing business, being their first firearm and arguably the most successful of them. A .22 caliber target pistol, the Standard began production in 1949, lasting until 1981, and formed the basis of other Ruger .22 Long Rifle pistols.
The Ruger Standard featured a unique and novel design for the receiver mechanism, using a cycling cylindrical bolt within a tubular reciever, rather than the conventional slide of Browning origin. This bolt featured protrusions often referred to as "ears" which were used to pull the bolt back to load the initial round as well as cock the pistol. Despite the novelty of the reciever the Standard used the conventional method of blowback to operate the pistol.
The majority of Ruger Standards were made and finished with blued carbon steel, with the bolt (which was visible as it protruded from the rear of the frame) left with out a finish, commonly referred to as being "in the white". The sights were fixed partridge sights combined with a dovetail rear sight. Later models had adjustable sights.
The Standard featured a manual safety, which was only capable of being engaged when the Standard was cocked. However the safety could also be used to lock the bolt open when the safety was used with the bolt pulled back. A variety of barrels were avaliable on the Standard, ranging from 4in to 10in, with other lengths avaliable to the customer within a special order.
The Standard, having been designed by William Ruger, gained the financial backing of Alexander Sturm for large scale production, with the overall appearence harking back to the older Luger P08 Pistol. This began Ruger's tradition of hinting at former designs within thier own, with one such example being the Blackhawk (which was based on the world renowned Colt Peacemaker). Sturm was also impressed by the low cost construction and manufacturing process, particularly as the frame and barrel being able to made less expensively due to the low pressure .22 Long Rifle round (which was the only round that the Standard was designed for).
The Ruger Standard was exclusively chambered for the .22 Long Rifle cartridge, shot from a nine or ten round magazine. This low cost round, combined with the low cost design made the Standard one of the most popular target pistols of its time.
The Ruger Standard had originally appeared in 1949. One year later Ruger released the MK I Target, a variant of the Standard, which was specifically tuned to be used in target shooting. The Standard would also form the basis of more modern Ruger designs, such as the MK II and MK III pistols.
The Standard was the original design of the Ruger Standard, which lasted until 1981. It was initially only avaliable with a 4in barrel but longer barrel lengths would be added later to improve its market potential.
The "A 100" was a modification made in 1971 made to the frame (following the redesigned forming dies which had worn out in 22 years) which improved the Standard's frame making it stronger and better balanced. This modification put the Standard in line with the later Ruger MK II Auto Pistol.
MK I TargetEdit
The MK I Target was a more tuneable version of the Standard, featuring an adjustable target style trigger, micro-adjustable rear sight (accompanied by a undercut front blade, which reduced glare) and a new 6.875in barrel. This model was not as popular as the original and hence has become a difficult to obtain collectors piece.
MK II Auto PistolEditThe Ruger MK II Auto Pistol was an evolution of the Standard which lasted from 1981 until 2005, itself replaced by an evolution of its design. This design became more popular than the original with other modifications and variants avaliable.
MK III Edit
The MK III is the current version of the Ruger Standard, with further improvements made to the design from the MK II Auto Pistol with production beginning in 2005.
The Ruger Standard, with its unusual design features and strong design almost exclusively held the .22 target pistol market to itself, improving the prospects for Sturm's $50,000 investment in the design. The Standard still exists in production, albeit in the guise of the MK III, although the fundamental features still exist. From the Ruger Standard, the name Sturm, Ruger & Co. has become one affiliated to strong design and recently the fourth largest arms manufacturer in the United States.