Very rarely do we find ourselves eating our words and changing our perspective by 180-degrees. Normally our gut instincts and first impressions do not fail us. However, when it came to the Ruger Mark III .22 pistol, sadly, we must admit that we were wrong.
You see, normally we aren’t a fan of Lugers. For whatever reason, the look isn’t appealing, nor is the historical ties to the Nazi’s a draw to the gun either. So when looking for a new competition pistol (as well as a plinker) we found both reviews and information leading us back repeatedly to the Mark III. The problem is–it’s more than a bit Luger-ish. However, you cannot argue with results and our love for this gun has grown to the point that we could not imagine an arsenal without it.
For a mid-sized gun, the nearly 45-degree backward angle of the grip looks like it could be uncomfortable, but is, in fact, perfect in keeping your hand at a slight, forward angle that is not only comfortable, but we find it better for aiming at longer distances. The barrel and slide combination is low, narrow and very close to the grip so that aiming with one hand or two feels natural and like a true extension of your arm.
Trigger feel and placement are excellent, with the only exception that there is a tiny bit more creep that we would like straight out of the box. The break is crisp and has no overtravel whatsoever. Accurate to within half an inch at 25 yards using halfway decent ammo, it takes equally well to rapid plinking or slow, controlled fire. Although we have yet to find a .22 make of ammo that did not feed perfectly through this gun –even when subway-tunnel is dirty – but accuracy will diminish a little with the cheapo stuff.
What about takedown and cleaning–you ask?
Now is where things get a bit dicey. You see, while yes, you can feed any .22 ammo into this puppy, you are going to have to clean it eventually. And while a little superficial cleaning does work here and there, eventually you are going to have to disassemble this gun. Hang on to your hats.
Frankly, we’ve filled out business tax forms less complicated than the disassembly of this pistol. Rarely do full grown men burst into sobbing tears when gun cleaning, but we have heard stories of the manliest males coming over with cake and beer to console the owner of a disassembled Ruger Mark III, so that all could have a good healing cry together. To save time, lets just say that a good half-hour of YouTube videos on the subject will help get you through it while you dry your eyes. This would be the one and only “big negative” with this review of the pistol – but it’s a big one.
However, let me also reiterate that the gun is reliable, durable, accurate and a blast to shoot. The Mark III comes generously loaded with two 10-round magazines, gun lock, superb iron sights and picatinny rail for mounting optics (competition model). There is also a host of after-market accessories for the Mark III, including some highly recommended replacement and “accurizing” parts from Volquartzen.
Other than the nightmarish takedown procedure and the slight flaw in that trigger creep (again, completely alterable with the Volquartzen parts or a visit to your favorite gunsmith), you have the ideal pistol here for both plinking or any kind of competition that you can lay on this pistol. Don’t worry, the Ruger Mark III can take it and is top-notch in our book.