Ruger: All-American Ingenuity

— Kat StevensCADRE Dispatch

Ruger is known for reliable, useful firearms that span various applications, from self-defenders to hunters to competition shooters. Let’s take a look at the fascinating history behind this storied manufacturer.

who founded ruger?

Although the company was founded in 1949, Ruger can trace its roots to around 1938. That’s when founder — and college student, at the time — William B. Ruger decided to work on the design for a light machine gun.

A few years later, he acquired a pair of Nambu pistols from Marines returning home at the end of World War II. Purportedly, he used them to learn more about designing and manufacturing handguns. This gave him an entrance of sorts into the firearms manufacturing world, and by 1949 he and Alexander McCormick Sturm founded their own company. That company was named Sturm, Ruger, & Co. and is commonly known today simply as Ruger.

Bill Ruger (left) and Alexander Sturm (right). (Photo source: American Rifleman)

The two men founded the company with an initial $50,000 investment. They wasted no time getting guns into production and set up shop in Southport, Connecticut. In 1951, Sturm passed away, but Bill Ruger chose to keep the company’s original name in honor of his memory.

Today, the company continues to produce a steady stream of firearms and is said to be perhaps among the last of the all-American manufacturers in the United States.

production floor inside of the Ruger manufacturing facility.
A look inside Ruger’s manufacturing facility. (Photo: Ruger)

Ruger firearms are truly made in America. The gun maker’s headquarters remain in Southport, Connecticut, and they have manufacturing facilities in Newport, New Hampshire; Mayodan, North Carolina; and Prescott, Arizona. The company manufactures more than 800 firearms spread out across 40 product lines, and those numbers are constantly growing.

Does Ruger own Marlin?

Yes, Ruger owns Marlin Firearms. They bought the company in 2020 after Remington Outdoors Company’s brands were separated and sold off.

Ruger began producing Marlin Firearms lever-actions in 2021, starting with the Marlin 1895 SBL chambered in 45-70 Government. Since then Ruger has continued to release Marlin brand levers with an exceptional eye for quality control.

Ruger’s first handgun

An advertisement for the Standard Model pistol.

The Ruger Standard Model was the pistol that launched the manufacturer into the gun market — and also into relative popularity. It entered production in 1949 and has remained in production to this day, albeit through different variants.

The first Ruger Standard handgun was chambered in 22 LR and made with target shooters and plinkers in mind. Designed by Bill Ruger himself, it had some interesting key features. For example, Ruger used stamped, welded sheet metal to form the receiver of the guns and piano wire instead of flat springs. This made for a gun that was both affordably priced and a solid performer — a combination that Ruger has maintained throughout the history of the company.

Eight Standard Model pistols were made initially, with the first two guns remaining in Ruger’s collection. Others were specifically made for reviews by outdoor writers, something that was and is necessary for publicity and marketing.

The third serialized gun of the lineup went to Jack Boudreau, who was at that time Ruger’s assembly department foreman. This is especially noteworthy because he was allowed to purchase the gun, making Boudreau the first person to ever buy a gun from Ruger.

Variants of the Standard Model include the MK I Target, MK II, MK II Target, MK II Government Model, MK III, MK III Target, 22/45, and MK IV. Based on Ruger’s history of refining the gun and releasing improved variants it seems quite likely there will be more to come.

The RUGER 10/22

The Ruger 10/22 is a family of rimfire rifles that was designed in 1964 and remains in production today. 10/22 guns are incredibly popular and are certainly among the company’s best sellers.

10/22 rifle
The Ruger 10/22 is a popular rimfire that’s been in production for decades.

The first Ruger 10/22 was chambered in 22 LR and was a carbine-length firearm. Over time, models in the line were made chambered in 22 WMR and 17 HMR, but the 22 LR guns seem to be the most well-liked.

In the 10/22 family, there are currently nine models including the Carbine, Takedown, Collector’s Series, Sporter, Takedown Lite, Competition, Target, Tactical, and Compact. Within those nine models are a wide variety of lengths, stock styles, colors, and specifications.

Of course, there is one defining feature of the Ruger 10/22 line, and that’s the 10-round rotary magazine. There are also larger capacity detachable box magazines available, but the patented rotary design is something the line is known for.

ruger revolvers

Not only does Ruger manufacture an extensive revolver line but their revolvers are well-made and a pleasure to shoot.

ruger gp100
Ruger offers a full line of revolvers including the pictured GP100. (Photo credit: Ruger)

Ruger makes single-action, double-action only, and single-action/double-action revolvers chambered in everything from 22 LR to 44 Magnum. Their revolvers are made for a variety of uses including deep concealment and hunting. Popular models include the LCR and Super Redhawk.

The company’s revolvers have proven themselves rugged and reliable for decades and are a fantastic option for gun owners interested in adding a revolver to their collection.

Proven Performance and Reliability

Ruger’s firearms are well-made and designed to be used. Countless models across the company’s lines have proven themselves for everything from hunting to self-defense.

Whether you’re in the market for a new hunting rifle, a revolver, or a semi-automatic handgun for concealed carry or duty use, Ruger has you covered. They are trusted for good reason.

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