Founded way back in 1949, Ruger and its handguns are synonymous with affordability and high quality. By 2004, Ruger had manufactured over 20 million firearms.
In 2008 they expanded the business to include Ruger Custom Shop, offering competition-grade versions and customizable accessories. They now produce an extensive range of firearms to meet all your needs.
In this overview of the Ruger brand, we take a look at their history and the pistol that launched them into popularity. We also cover their best guns of all time, their most popular handguns today, and what makes them such a successful brand.
A Brief History Of The Ruger Brand
To celebrate the introduction of our Ruger American Full Size & Compact 9mm & 45 ACP bundle, let’s take a look at what makes this iconic firearm manufacturer such a success.
The Story Of Sturm, Ruger, and Co.
Sturm, Ruger, and Co. is the US’s largest firearm manufacturer and 2nd largest pistol, rifle, and revolver manufacturer.
It was founded in 1949 when William Ruger, previously a manufacturer of hand tools, approached Alexander McCormick Sturm with his first design.
The Ruger Design
Based on an axis power design, incorporating the looks of a 9mm German Luger and Colt Woodsmen, it launched the company into popularity.
Some believe that the Ruger standard was inspired by the Luger. But it’s said that it was based on a Japanese Nambu pistol that was acquired by William Ruger after WWII.
Alexander Sturm and William Ruger started their business with an investment of $50,000, which was put up by Sturm. This was a considerable amount back in 1949, but it sure paid off.
Ruger, Sturm, and Co are now worth over $1 billion. This success is a testament to the quality of the brand.
The Success Of The Ruger Standard
Only two years after starting their business, Sturm contracted hepatitis and died. William Ruger changed the logo’s colors to black and white in remembrance of him.
But the new firearm manufacturing company was a great success. The launch of the Ruger Standard catapulted them into the spotlight. The company logo reverted to the original red and white colors after the 50th anniversary of their first pistol.
William Ruger continued and established a reputation for being one of the most innovative firearm designers in the world. Sturm, Ruger, and Co. have been publicly traded since 1969. In 1990 the company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Sadly, William Ruger passed away in 2002.
Ruger’s Entry Into The Ammo Market
In 2015, Sturm, Ruger, and Co announced that they would be branching out into the ammo business too. In partnership with PolyCase Ammunition LLC based in Georgia, Ruger would be putting its brand on bullets for a .45-caliber handgun and .38-caliber pistol.
The Philosophy and Motto
Ruger is an iconic American-owned and operated firearm manufacturer, employing hunters and shooters of all levels of experience. Their philosophy is to give people the firearms they want, designed by people who understand their needs. Their motto is: “Arms makers for responsible citizens”.
In keeping with this motto and philosophy, the company has made significant donations to the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. This is in aid of the cause to keep the right to bear firearms legal in the United States.
The 3 Most Popular Ruger Firearms Of All Time
Since its inception, Sturm, Ruger, and Co have manufactured such a wide array of firearms it’s hard to choose an outright favorite.
These include bolt action rifles, autoloading rifles, single-shot rifles, shotguns, centerfire pistols, rimfire pistols, double-action revolvers, as well as single-action revolvers.
But the most popular Ruger firearms over the years are undoubtedly the Ruger Standard pistol, Ruger 10/22 rifle, and Ruger Single-Six revolver.
Let’s take a closer look at each one of these icons.
The Ruger Standard Pistol
The Ruger Standard Model is a rimfire semi-automatic pistol that was introduced in 1949. The first firearm was manufactured by Sturm, Ruger & Co. it was an inexpensive .22 caliber rimfire designed for sport, target shooting, and plinking.
The Standard and its successors have become the most successful .22 caliber semi-automatic pistols ever produced.
The Ruger 10/22 Rifle
The standard carbine version of this rifle has been in continuous production since 1964. There’s no question that it’s one of the most successful rimfire rifle designs of all time.
The 10/22 was an enormous success right from the first line in the series. To date, Sturm and Ruger have produced more than six million units of the .22 rifle.
It is, without a doubt, America’s favorite rimfire rifle. The 10/22 is most commonly used by hunters and tactical shooters.
The Ruger 10/22 series of semi-automatic rifles are chambered for the .22 Long Rifle rimfire cartridge, using a patented 10-round rotary magazine.
The Ruger Single-Six Revolver
The Ruger Single-Six single-action rimfire revolver came onto the scene in June 1953.
At first, the Single-Six was not too safe to carry around with all six chambers loaded, as the hammer always rested on a loaded chamber. One hard fall and “Bang!”
To add a new safety measure, a transfer bar was included in the design, allowing the revolver to fire only when the trigger is pulled. If you own one of the old model Single-Sixes, you can get the transfer bar upgrade from Ruger free of charge.
But while this is recommended for your safety, some users feel that there is a loss of that smooth hammer action. We’ll leave that to you to decide.
Twenty years after it first launched onto the scene, it evolved into the “New Model Single-Six” as it’s known today. This was thanks to the inclusion of the transfer bar mechanism. This feature now allows you to carry your single-six revolver safely with all six chambers loaded.
The Most Popular Ruger Handguns Available Today
There are so many possibilities in the Ruger catalog. But these are some of the most popular Ruger handguns today:
Ruger Mark IV
The very first handgun that Sturm and Ruger produced was the Ruger Standard. The standard line was renamed the Mark I, with the Mark II coming out in 1982 and the Mark III in 2005. The Mark IV is the latest design within the Mark line.
In 2011, Ruger brought out a slightly larger, 9mm version of their popular .380-caliber LCP, which they named the LC9. It’s one of the most compact 9mm pistols on the market and is ideal for concealed carry and personal protection.
If you need a well-priced handgun for self-defense, this is a good bet. The EC9 has the same sub-compact size but a lower price point than the LC9. This does mean, though, that there are fewer features. That said, it’s lightweight and compact and also ideal for personal protection.
Ruger American 9mm Pistol
Introduced in 2016 as a combat gun, it’s available for civilian purchase and use.
The American is available as a 9mm and a .45 ACP. It comes standard with three sizes of modular wrap-around grips to accommodate palm swell and trigger reach. This is built for heavy-duty use with +P ammo.
Ruger American Pistol .45 ACP
The .45 version of the American Pistol is only slightly larger than the 9mm. It does not, however, come supplied with the small grip module, but only the medium and large ones. It’s reported to be as easy to handle and fire as the 9mm pistol.
Ruger Security 9 Compact Pro 9mm Pistol
The Ruger American was initially developed for military and police use. The subsequent Security-9 model which was launched in 2018 is primarily designed for personal and home defense. This is the perfect firearm designed for everyday security, and it’s also an affordable option.
Ruger MAX-9 Pro 9mm Luger Pistol
The MAX-9 Pro has all the features you want in a handgun in a comfortable, everyday carry size. Released in early 2021, it’s slim, lightweight, and compact.
To meet the current trend of optics-ready pistols, the MAX-9 has a slide cut for J-Point and Shield-pattern MRDs. It also features Tritium Fiber Optic front sights as standard.
BONUS: Marlin Lever Guns
While the lever guns from Marlin like the Marlin 1895 aren’t actually handguns, they’re definitely popular enough to make our list. Ruger recently purchased the Marlin brand and began producing its line of lever guns again.
These guns are the classic American long gun with a heritage stretching back to the Model 1881. You can expect the same classic design as the traditional lever guns but are now backed by Ruger’s reputation for producing high-quality, reliable firearms.
Our Final Word On The Ruger Brand
Sturm, Ruger & Co. is a leading manufacturer of innovative and reliable firearms. The company offers almost 800 variations of more than 30 product lines. Ruger firearms are made in America, by Americans, and for Americans. If you’ve recently purchased a Ruger firearm or are thinking of purchasing one, you may also be excited to know that a new MCK model that works with your firearm is about to hit the market. Check out our new Ruger MCK here, or contact us today to learn more.