As the fourth largest manufacture of guns in America, there are virtually no gun enthusiasts who have not heard of the Ruger brand name. Sturm, Ruger, and Company, Inc., better known simply as Ruger, founded in 1949, makes a wide variety of weapons, but most people know them best because of their various pistols and revolvers. It was a desire to combine weapons in order to create something practical, functional, and efficient that lead to the first Ruger pistol, and the success of this weapon began a trend that has lasted many years since.
A Brief History of the Company
Alex Sturm and William (Bill) Ruger founded the company based on an initial concept designed to copy the Baby Nambu pistol, incorporating ideas from the German’s Luger and American’s Colt Woodsman to create something unique. This was done with the hope of designing something that would appeal to hunters, target shooters, military/law enforcement, and gunsmiths, and although the military application was very limited the company has been a tremendous success overall.
The weapons appeal to both civilians (average target shooters and hunters) and gunsmiths especially, and this is a very popular weapon for copying or building from blueprints.
The Ruger Company is an award-winning gun manufacturer in addition to being popular, winning awards such as Handgun of the Year, Manufacturer of the Year, Rifle of the Year, and Shotgun of the Year on numerous occasions. This includes wins by multiple weapons (seven Handgun of the Year wins and two apiece for Manufacturer, Shotgun, and Rifle of the Year), not simply a great weapon that continues to win as it improves over the years.
Types of Ruger Firearms to Consider
There are four different types of Ruger firearm essentially, although many people build weapons based on blueprints that are similar but modified and others take an existing Ruger and modify it significantly. The four basic groups are pistols (semi-automatic), rifles, revolvers, and shotguns, and there have been dozens of weapons that fall into each category over the years (some have been discontinued, others have not to date). Here are just a few notable mentions, although there are many more:
- Ruger American Rifle: used mostly for target-shooting but also ideal for those learning to hunt.
- Ruger MK III: one of the more popular semi-automatic pistols, with unique features from less efficient predecessors. The Hunter is a very high-end version of this weapon that is harder and more expensive to find.
- Ruger Blackhawk: similar to the Colt Single Action Army (SAA), designed to meet the growing demand for “cowboy” revolvers during the 1950s. There are various models available depending on desired bullets, unique grip options, and other accessory/optional specifications.
- Ruger SP-101: one of several very popular double-action revolvers made by the company with a small frame but all-steel construction. There are several models offered for those who want a double-action, and these are some of the most popular weapons made by the company.
Finding Parts to Build a Ruger
The Internet has many different ways to purchase what is necessary to build a Ruger, or lookalike, with the right blueprint and background information. Some gunsmiths choose to start from scratch, using tools such as a drill press and metal lathe, among many others, to create something from the ground up virtually. These are usually far more experienced gunsmiths, but some beginners opt for this route when they have the confidence or the right amount of tutelage.
Others choose to purchase a gun blueprint and then find a kit for making that particular type of weapon, also usually using the Internet or a private seller to find just the right kit. Keep in mind that either method still requires the builder to follow the letter of the law in his or her respective home location, so be really careful to research gun building/gun ownership laws prior to starting the project.
In most of the United States, the gunsmith will need to be licensed to build the weapon, own the weapon, and operate the weapon. If any of these conditions cannot be met, it is best to leave the actual gunsmith activities alone and enjoy the weapons online, in gun shows or gun stores, or at the home of a friend. It is not worth going to jail, paying a fine, or other potential penalties in the United States.
Ruger also has a submachine gun, although it is lesser known than the other four types of weapons, and it is very difficult (and can be expensive) to find. The Ruger MP9 was designed by the same creator of the Uzi, and is often touted as the same gun with a lot of improvements. It is one of the few Ruger weapons specifically designed for law enforcement or military application, but it was only sold in very limited numbers in the United States. It is operated in automatic or semi-automatic positions, and features a barrel that is easy to detach with a closed bolt firing mechanism.