Well, I shot my new Ruger Mark III yesterday and thought I'd give y'all a review in case anyone is thinking about getting one.
Here is the gun:
Kind of a Luger looking thing.
The Mark III is very well balanced. It points supremely well. It's not heavy but not too light. It has the same grip angle as a 1911 .45 and has the controls (slide release, magazine release, safety) in basically the same place as a 1911 (so I'm told; I don't own a 1911 so I can't verify this).
The gun is smooth and solid. Smooth action with only 4 jams (out of 350 rounds of various kinds of dirty .22LR so that's not bad). The Mark III is solid. No rattles. In fairness, I should say that the gun is new so it's tight. But this thing is put together well.
The sights are good. Since it's the Target model, they're adjustable. I think adjustable sights on a practice gun is a big plus. I don't need adjustable sights on a full-sized handgun that I will only shoot occasionally (and hopefully never because I have to use it). Accuracy isn't my number 1 concern with a full-size.
That's because I can practice for thousands of rounds with a .22LR pistol. Cheap. Sights and trigger. Sights and trigger. Repeat a few thousand times and you'll be amazed how you can pick up any semi-auto and shoot it way better because you've practiced with a semi-auto .22LR. Same thing with a full-sized revolver after practicing with a .22LR revolver. You'll be amazed. And that's the main reason to get a Mark III: to practice for using a full-sized semi-auto pistol. I can feel my 9mm shooting getting better and better the more I fire the Mark III. But all work and no fun is no good. The Mark III is way fun too. And wouldn't be a hunting pistol for small game. A Mark III could be a self-defense gun in a pinch (it's only a .22LR). It's not concealable really but you know the first rule of gunfighting: "Bring a gun." A .22LR is better than nothing.
OK, back to the review. The trigger is great. Light and crisp. (It's the second best trigger on a gun I own. The best is a S&W Model 63 in .22LR--that trigger is like butter.) Given the price of this gun (you’ll need to keep reading until the bottom) I didn’t expect much of a trigger. I was very happy with it.
Accuracy is great. Here's a group of 10 shots at 25 yards with a rest:
This was after only about 200 shots had ever been through it and I was still learning how to shoot with it. Not bad. This group was with Aguila Match Pistol 38 grain lead round nose. It's not fancy ammo at about $35 a brick (which is 500 rounds).
Another thing I like about the Mark III is the loaded chamber indicator. It's a little bar that juts out a little bit when the chamber is loaded; it's easy to see when you're handling the gun or about to shoot. At first I thought it was a "lawyer feature" to reduce liability. But it's actually pretty handy. And it doesn't get in the way.
My Mark III seems to take many kinds of ammo (you know how finicky .22LRs can be). It took el cheapo Federal Champion Value Pack (the blue box with 525 in a brick), Aguila Super Extra 38 grain, and did very nicely with the Aguila Match Pistol 40 grain mentioned above. Interestingly, the Mark III wouldn’t fully cycle with Winchester Subsonic. I guess that’s because, as a subsonic round, it has less powder so there is less gas to cycle the action. So I would predict that a Mark III wouldn’t work with underpowered .22LR ammo.
There are a few little things I don't like about the Mark III. The first is the magazine. It is dependable, which is the most important thing. But to load it, you have to push down on a single button. Some magazines like this, the S&W 422 comes to mind, have two buttons so you can grab them with two fingers instead of one, which is more comfortable.
Also, the magazine goes into the mag well in a slightly weird angle. I quickly got used to it, but I like being able to jam a magazine in without having to think about it.
Another thing I dislike is the takedown method. It has an odd way of disassembly and reassembly. Nothing worse than an AR-15, and I got used to that, but I can say that I’ll be doing a full takedown to clean this gun less often than I do for other guns that are easier.
I got the blued Target model with a plastic hand grip. It's fine but the stainless steel with wood grips would be amazing. But my blued version is perfect for what I got it for: affordable practice on a semi-auto pistol.
Besides being balanced and solid, the next best reason to get a Mark III is the price. Mine was $289. And that was at not-known-for-their-prices Cabela’s. It was marked "used" but had never been fired and was new in box. I've seen the stainless steel models with wood handles for $370 or so. But you can get a very, very good .22LR semi-auto pistol for practicing for under $300.
And it's fun. Get one if you can.