They say you never forget your first love. I've stated before that the first gun I ever purchased was a Ruger 10/22 rifle on my 18th birthday. Coincidentally, when I was a eighteen years old I worked at a record store. (For the youngins out there, 'records' were black vinyl discs that you'd spin around on a turntable and music could be heard) That record store was owned by a woman whose husband was into the outdoors and shooting. When he discovered we shared similar interests, he showed me his Ruger MkII .22LR pistol. Although I had a pretty fair amount of experience with a .22 rifle and shotguns, I was essentially a novice when it came to handguns.
One Saturday afternoon we loaded up into Mike's pickup truck and drove to the county landfill, otherwise known as the 'rimfire shooting gallery'. In addition to the requisite soup cans, beer bottles and the like, people would discard their old appliances, refrigerators, etc. A freshly disposed of appliance, free of bullet holes, was a prize to be sure. Mike explained the operation of the Ruger pistol, how to hold it and aim it. We started with relatively large targets. When those became too easy, he moved me on to pop and tin cans.
Nearly thirty years has gone by now and I can still recall that day. I found that I had a knack for handgun shooting. My eyes were young and clear and my reflexes sharp. That Ruger MkII seemed to me to be the perfect .22LR handgun. Mike let me shoot his Ruger pistol several times after that first day. Though I was still three years shy of being able to purchase one myself, but I put it on my 'to do' list.
Soon thereafter I would enlist in the Marine Corps and gain tremendous experience with centerfire handguns, but the Ruger pistol yet lingered in my thoughts. I was married and had children before I found a used MkII in a gun shop that seemed to by the exact replica of the one I'd learned to shoot with all those years earlier.
Ruger MkIII 22/45
When Ruger introduced the upgraded version of the MkII, the MkIII 22/45 pistol, I wondered to myself why I'd ever need anything other than my original .22 pistol. Working as an outdoor writer, I had the opportunity to review the then new pistol and found that I had to admit that I liked it even more than the original.
A few years ago Ruger introduced two new models of the MkIII 22/45 with factory threaded barrels to accept sound suppressors; the Model 10149 and 10150. The 10150 model has fixed sights while the 10149 includes Picatinny rails both atop the frame and fixed below the bull barrel.
In this review we are going to consider the Model 10149 with rails. The release of this pistol acknowledged two important trends in modern shooting sports; the rampant popularity of both sound suppressors and mini red-dot sights. Shooters nationwide are falling in love with the crop of mini and micro red-dot sights from a large number of manufacturers and more citizens possess suppressors than even before. I installed a mini red dot sight from SigArms. Any of the mini or micro red dots will work.
The 22/45 Threaded Barrel (TB) arrived from Ruger with two ten round magazines and padded case. A deep blue finish was applied to the steel components with a grip stocks having a polished hardwood appearance. The bull barrel is 4.5 inches long with a 1 in 16 right hand twist. The barrel threads are industry standard 1/2x28 TPI (threads per inch). Overall length is 8.5 inches and the empty weight is 32 ounces. Controls on the 22/45 include a magazine release button, manual safety button, and bolt release. All of these are found on the left hand side of the frame. A wide, serrated target trigger is used.
AAC Rimfire Suppressor
On hand for this review was a .22 Rimfire suppressor from Advanced Armament Corporation or AAC for short. For nearly two decades now AAC has been pushing the envelope in suppressor technology in the United States. The model featured herein has a standard blue finish and threaded securely onto the Ruger barrel.
Sound suppressors function essentially like an automobile muffler. The truth is that modern car mufflers are all descendants of the original Hiram P. Maxim design. A sound suppressor simply uses a series of baffles and chambers to capture, slow, and cool the propellant gases from the cartridge before they exit the muzzle of the gun. Naturally this takes place in a fraction of a second but it is occurring nonetheless.
If you were to purchase only one silencer or sound suppressor, a .22LR 'can' would seem to be the most practical. When you use sub-sonic ammunition the shot is truly hearing-safe. Men, women, and young people will all appreciate an afternoon of shooting enjoyment without the need to muffle their ears from the harmful noise of gunfire. New shooters can focus on marksmanship fundamentals without being distracted by the "bang". As these words go to print silencers are legal to own in 39 of the 50 states or what I like to call "Free America".
While the Ruger MkII .22 pistol may indeed be my first love when it comes to handguns, the new Ruger MkIII 22/45 is the .22LR pistol I shoot more than any other rimfire. The addition of the mini red dot sight and silencer truly complete the package and make the pistol a joy to shoot. Although the current ammunition supply situation is difficult for those you enjoy recreational shooting, that does not detract from the shear enjoyment of a sunny afternoon spent with your favorite rimfire pistol in hand.
Thinking back to my first experience with a pistol, I will be forever grateful to my old friend Mike for taking the time to introduce me to the joys of handgun shooting. If you have the opportunity to take a new shooter out to the range I hope you will seize upon that chance. You never know the positive influence you might have on the person.
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