Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Review
Part 3 - External & Operational Features
April 10, 2017

Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Review

In this part of the review I try to cover all of the external and operational features of the new Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol.  As I have already mentioned, the Mark IV Hunter is an extremely attractive rimfire pistol.  The one shown in this review is the version with the Target style grip panels.


Figure 1
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Iso Right

The pistol has a satin finished stainless steel fluted barrel and stainless steel receiver mounted on a full stainless steel grip frame.


Figure 2
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Iso Left

As you might imagine, the all stainless construction lends itself to a hefty pistol.  This version weighed in at 2 pounds 13 ounces (45 ounces) which includes the weight of an empty magazine.  It is not something I would want to carry on a regular basis, but its weight does lend itself to the hunter or target roll depending on what you are hunting or shooting.

Figure 3
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Weight

The pistol has an overall length of 11.04" which is close enough to the 11.12" advertised.  This version of the pistol is widest at the grip which is coming in at about 1.46" which is the same as the specification.

Figure 4
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Top View

The height of the pistol is about 5.56".

Figure 5
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Right View

These next photos showing the other sides of the pistol are included to have a full set of photos in this part of the review.

Figure 6
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Bottom View

Figure 7                                                        Figure 8                                                      Figure 9  
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Front View Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Left View Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Rear View

The stainless steel barrel has a bull barrel profile, is fluted and has a total barrel length of about 6.88" (6 and 7/8").  The flutes on the barrel allow for increased surface area for cooling along with reducing a little weight from the pistol.  They also add to the attractive styling of this handgun.  The top of the barrel has a slightly shorter flute than the sides which allows for a place to install the front sight.

Figure 10
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Barrel Top

The left and right (shown) sides are mirror images.

Figure 11
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Barrel Right

The bottom has an even shorter flute positioned forward on the barrel to allow for Ruger's warning "READ INSTRUCTION MANUAL BEFORE USING FIREARM".

Figure 12
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Barrel Bottom

The end of the barrel comes with a recessed crown and you can just barely see the rifling which is a 6-groove 1:16" right hand twist.  This twist rate is what Ruger puts in all their rimfire firearms.

Figure 13
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Barrel Muzzle

The front sight is a HI VIZ LITEWAVE™ Interchangeable Front Sight that comes with three interchangeable LitePipes and a key to hold and change the LitePipes.  The colors of the LitePipe that come with the pistol are white, yellow and red.  You can order replacement LitePipes at the Hi VIZ website.  The sight is held in place with a single screw that seemed very tight.  I did not remove the screw.

Figure 14                                                             Figure 15                       
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Front Sight Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol HiViz Inserts

This pistol also comes with an adjustable rear sight that is adjustable for both elevation and windage.  I couldn't locate any marking on the sight so I'm not sure who actually manufactures this sight.  The rear sight is mounted to the pistol via a dovetail slot and secured in place with a set screw.  The set screw on this pistol was only marginally tight and did not have any thread locking compound securing it tight.  The sight seemed very tight in the dovetail slot.

Figure 16
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Rear Sight

This Hunter model comes with a V-notch rear sight with a white line marking the center of the V.

Figure 17
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Rear Sight

These next two photos show you the recommended sight picture on this pistol.  Honestly, I'm not a big fan of the V-notch configuration and would have preferred a standard U-notch rear sight.  Although I did not purchase the U-notch blade, it looks like you can get one from Brownell's here for about $4.

Figure 18                                                           Figure 19
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Sight Picture  Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Sight Picture

The receiver comes drilled and tapped in three locations to mount Ruger's Weaver-styled scope base adapter or their Picatinny Rail.  The holes are filled with a stainless steel threaded plug.  These threaded plugs are not held in place with thread locker and can easily be turned so I recommend putting a drop of thread locker on them or removing them if you are not planning on installing an optic. Personally I believe that Ruger should have shipped a scope base or rail on this model pistol, especially when you consider it comes with the target grips and optics are becoming so popular in the market.

Figure 20
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Ejection Port

Since it was always part of my plan to put an optic on this pistol, I went ahead and ordered the Picatinny Rail from  The cost was $14.95 plus S&H.  Again, for such a small increase in price, Ruger should have provided this with the pistol.

Figure 21
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Optics Rail

This next photo shows my final configuration with the rail and Burris FastFire 3 installed.  The rail is designed to be able to work with or without the rear sight.  When the rear sight is installed, it causes the rail to extend over the barrel slightly.  This rail length is needed when installing something like a traditional handgun scope.  It would be nice if Ruger also provided an option for a short rail for those wanting a cleaner look when installing a small reflex sight.

Figure 22
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Burris FastFire 3

The right side of the pistol is marked with "HUNTER" and the serial number engraved into the receiver.  The grip also sports the Ruger logo.  You can also see the right side lever for the ambidextrous safety.  In the up position, the pistol is in the Safe mode and when down, it is in the fire mode. There are no color markings indicating the status around the right side safety lever.   As I mentioned in my first impressions, the right side safety seems to make contact with my knuckle and this bugged me.  Considering the effort Ruger put into making an ambidextrous safety, I'm a little surprised they didn't put some effort into an ambidextrous magazine release.  This may be because the magazines are designed for a left side button which may take away compatibility between this pistol's magazines and the Mark III.

Figure 23
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Ambidextrous Safety

I believe Ruger knew this was the case and they provide a bushing that could be installed in place of the lever to remove this issue for right handed shooters.  It was very simple to change using a 3/32" Allen wrench.

Figure 24
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Ambidextrous Safety Removed

The left side of the pistol is marked with "RUGER MARK IV" in bold lettering with "22LR PRESCOTT AZ USA" below.  I like the lettering (font style and size) Ruger used for their markings and it seems to give the pistol a sophisticated stylish look.  The black finished controls on this side of the pistol are the safety lever, bolt stop (slide catch) and magazine release button.  The safety lever has more of a smooth throw than a detent feel.  The bolt stop can be pushed down relatively easily to release the bolt and pushing the magazine release will allow the magazines to very positively shoot out the bottom of the grip, although, the size of the target trips make operation of these controls very difficult with your hand gripping the pistol in the shooting position.  For me, I had to shift (reposition) the pistol in my hand to work these controls with the large target grip.

Figure 25
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Manual Safety

Because of the difficulty of operating the controls with the target grips and because I wanted to evaluate how operating these compared to standard grips, I went ahead and ordered a set of the Mark IV Black Grips from for $10.95 plus S&H.

Figure 26
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Grip Panels

Replacing the grip panels is easy by just removing the two screws on each panel.  The photo below shows the black panels installed.  Clearly the pistol grip had a smaller feel since the girth at mid grip changed from about 6.25" to about 5.05", but I still felt like I had to shift the pistol slightly to reliably operate the controls.  I could see where an extended bolt release would be helpful and I must not be the only one because Volquartsen already has the aftermarket part available.

Figure 27
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Black Grip Pannels

The pistol comes with a black aluminum trigger that is ridged and is about 0.35" in width.  The trigger pull on this pistol came in at 4 pounds 15 ounces (basically 5 pounds) based on an average of 10 pulls using a Lyman Digital Trigger Pull Gauge.  The trigger starts out with about 0.08" of take-up, then about another 0.05" of creep before it breaks where it then has about another 0.08" of overtravel.  The trigger resets at about 0.13" from the max pull position.  OK... what does this all mean?  Basically you get a 5 pound trigger with some creep and overtravel.  I think I understand the desire to be safe and keep the trigger pull around 5 pounds, but I wish Ruger would have at least included some type of overtravel stop.  I feel this pistol is a great candidate for an aftermarket trigger like the Volquartsen Accurizing Kit which is advertised to give you a crisp, clean 2.5 pound trigger pull.

Also worth noting is that the pistol comes with a magazine disconnect which means that you cannot fire the pistol without a magazine inserted.

Figure 27
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Trigger

Now I want to point out the biggest difference between this Mark IV and any other Mark series pistol... the black takedown button at the rear below the tail of the bolt.  In my mind, that little button is what Ruger should have added years ago.  I bet the folks at Ruger are still asking themselves why they didn't do this sooner.  The design change that made this a one button takedown took away the single biggest issue/gripe that anyone could have with the Ruger Mark pistols.  I go over the steps for disassembly in Part 4, but the bottom line is that it is extremely easy.

Also note that the rear of the bolt has gripping surfaces on the sides to allow pulling the bolt rearward.

Figure 28
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Takedown Button

This next photo shows the stainless steel bolt pulled rearward and the chamber open.

Figure 29
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Chamber Open

This Hunter model came with some beautiful oversized rosewood target grips.  The grips are actually made by Altamont for Ruger which include the Ruger logo on each side.  If for some reason you purchased another model that did not include these grips, you can purchase them from or from the Altamont website where they currently offer six different grip styles.

Figure 30                                                         Figure 31
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Target Grip Front  Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Target Grip Back

The bottom of the frame has some chamfers/bevels to aid with inserting the magazine.  Also notice the black bar which is the magazine ejection plunger.

Figure 32
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Target Grip Bottom

This pistol came with two 10-round blued steel magazines.  These magazines are the same as that for the Mark III pistols, but are not compatible with any of the 22/45 versions.

Figure 33                                                         Figure 34                                                            
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Magazine Bottom Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Magazine Right

The magazine includes a button on the left side to aid in loading.

Figure 35
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Magazine Rear

Figure 36
Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol Magazine Left



The Ruger Mark IV Hunter Pistol is a very attractive and quality pistol just like you got with the Mark IIIs, but the Mark IV includes the one button takedown which is a true game-changer for the Mark series pistols.  Most likely you will be able to find some good deals on the Mark III pistols and if you don't mind their more complicated disassembly sequence, you will end up with a pistol that includes the same level of quality as that of the Mark IVs.

For more detailed photos and commentary, make sure you check out the other parts of this review and feel free to leave comments below.  The following links are provided to help you see other parts of this review. 

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