5 Facts About Ruger You Probably Didn’t Know

posted on March 4, 2019

Sturm, Ruger & Company, commonly shortened to just Ruger, has been in the firearms industry for 70 years steadily building their brand with reliable yet affordable options. The creation of Alexander Sturm and William Ruger at the end of World War II, Ruger has carved its own path through the gun industry and landed at the top of the gun maker pile.

Ruger Mark 1 rimfire pistol
Ruger Mark 1, the company's first target pistol.

How did Ruger get its start and what has made the company so special? Shooting Sports USA has gathered the top facts about Ruger that explore what sets this gun maker apart from the rest.

5.  Sturm, Ruger & Company was founded in 1949 with a $50,000 investment. Sturm, Ruger & Company began its gun making adventures in 1949 in Southport, CT. With a scanty investment of $50,000 by founders Alexander Sturm and William Ruger, the company initially faced detractors who claimed the fledgling gun shop wouldn’t survive in the current market. At the time, while Sturm and Ruger rented out space in a small machine shop, the gun industry was experiencing a decline. Many felt that Sturm and Ruger’s entry into the industry was a doomed venture.

William Batterman Ruger and Alexander McCormick Sturm
William Batterman Ruger and Alexander McCormick Sturm.

The company, obviously, proved its critics wrong becoming one of the most prolific American gun manufacturers. Sturm, Ruger & Company eventually became a publicly traded company in 1969 with Ruger officially hitting the New York Stock Exchange in 1990. Today, the company is worth $1 billion.

4.  The Ruger Standard was the first commercially produced .22 LR caliber pistol. Once the decision was made to enter the gun making business, Sturm and Ruger set out to bring a brand-new pistol to market. Ruger himself had already replicated two Japanese Nambu pistols he had picked up from a returning Marine at the end of World War II. After duplicating the pistols, the two business owners began working together on a new .22 LR caliber design later known as the Ruger Standard. Sturm and Ruger used the German Luger 9mm and American Colt Woodsman as inspiration for the pistol.

Ruger .22 LR pistol patent
The original Ruger .22 LR pistol patent.

The Ruger Standard not only launched the company into a full-fledged business, but also earned a place in history becoming the first commercially available .22 LR caliber pistol to hit consumer shelves.

3.  Ruger almost owned the AR-15 patent. In the late 1950s Sturm, Ruger & Co was approached by Armalite Chief Engineer Eugene Stoner with a revolutionary semi-automatic sporting rifle design. Stoner was looking to offload the Armalite Rifle, or AR-15, to a manufacturer who could license, and mass produce the rifle. Ruger passed on the design, allowing Colt to swoop in and buy the rights to the AR-15 in 1959. After some modifications, Colt sold the AR-15 to the U.S. military, renaming it the M16.

Ruger AR-556
Ruger AR-556 rifle.

Though Ruger missed the opportunity to become equated with the AR-15 moniker, its AR-556 is still one of the most popular AR platform rifles currently on the market.

2.  Ruger is synonymous with .22 LR rimfire products. Ruger’s robust inventory includes products ranging from revolvers to pistols to ARs in a variety of calibers, but the company has always remained loyal to its .22 LR fanbase. Considered a dominant maker of .22 LR caliber rifles and pistols, Ruger is best known for its Ruger 10/22 and Mark series.

Ruger 10/22 Target Lite
Field Editor Chris Christian says, “Ruger’s venerable 10/22 semi-auto .22 LR is, without a doubt, the most popular choice in any action shooting event that allows rimfire rifles.” Pictured here is the Ruger 10/22 Target Lite.

Referred to as “America’s Favorite Rifle,” the Ruger 10/22 brings an affordable yet reliable build to the .22 LR rifle consumer space. With eight configurations, Ruger’s 10/22 is one of the most popular .22 LR rifles and a big seller for the company. The Mark series is also a favorite among .22 LR fans, building on the company’s original Standard pistol.

1.  Ruger is one of the largest firearms manufacturers in the world. Ruger is a dominant force in the gun industry, pumping out over a million guns annually. The company has pulled some big numbers in the past as well, delivering over 15 million guns from 1986 to 2010―earning it the top spot in gun manufacturing from 2008 to 2011.

Ruger PC Carbine
The Ruger PC Carbine paired with an optic is perfect for USPSA, Steel Challenge and varmint shooting. Photo by USPSA

According to the most recent Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Export Report, Ruger output over 2 million firearms in 2016. The breakdown includes over 1 million pistols; 701,992 rifles; 248,548 revolvers; and 183 shotguns. Currently, the company supplies more than 400 variations of firearms over 40 total product lines―a figure that lands it as the only full-line producer of U.S.-made firearms.

Learn more about the new Ruger Custom Shop Doug Koenig SR1911 pistol.


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