The Ruger Standard is one of the most common and well-known firearms in use today. The first product developed by Sturm and Ruger, it was an immediate success. A simple weapon with excellent grips and an aesthetic that recalls Georg Luger’s immortal Parabellum P ’08, the Standard and its successors have been a mainstay of instructors for more than a half-century.
The Standard has been updated from time to time and the current model is the Mark III, introduced in the early 80s.
Chambered for .22 long rifle, the Mark III has extremely light recoil and negligible muzzle flash, two things that often intimidate the novice. It is accurate, easy to use but still provides just enough complexity to teach the novice the basics of using an auto-loader (though .22 revolvers are also a lot of fun).
A few years back, one could also add that they had the virtue of allowing shooters to practice their skills at a lower cost, since .22 long rifle ammunition was both plentiful and cheap (now it is neither).
With a novice, a little recoil goes a long way, and while I have heard people suggest 9mm as a cartridge suitable for training, I cannot agree.
The experience of the flash, recoil, noise and impact can be scary. If it is too much, it can turn a potential shooter away from the hobby completely.
In the right measure, however, the sensation of recoil can be turned to exhilaration once the shooter learns to control this power. I’ve said it elsewhere, but a recurring theme of teaching women to shoot is their sudden sense of giddy empowerment. People who once thought guns dangerous and useless are, with the proper instruction and just a few rounds of ammunition, transformed into assertive and happy firearms enthusiasts.
And they always take their targets home with them.
To perform this miracle, one must have the right tool. A firearm with too much recoil or weight will easily intimidate the novice shooter, making the undertaking counterproductive.
Thus, an essential element in providing positive first exposure to firearms is the appropriate weapon.
For generations of shooters, Ruger Standard series of pistols has served that purpose.
It is all-steel, but reasonably lightweight because of the type of ammunition it handles. The grip is comfortable and intuitive, though perhaps not as ergonomic as some of the more upscale pistols out there.
One of the nice features is the open magazine design which allows the shooter to see exactly how many rounds are in it and which includes a spring assist to facilitate easy loading.
This makes it easy for a student to understand every aspect of firearms uses, from loading the magazine to inserting it, chambering a round and firing. One of the innovations of the Mark III is that it indicates if a round is chambered, which is particularly useful in explaining that simply removing the magazine is not enough to unload a firearm.
Beyond training, the Standard is ideal for competition shooting as well as hunting small game. There are several different variants but all share the quality finish, accuracy and reliability.
It is a measure of the reputation of this excellent tool that if one remarks on the need to purchase a good training and plinking weapon, the suggestion of the Ruger Standard always and everywhere met with nods of agreement and approval.