The Beginner Gun
Several readers have emailed me to ask about the particular pistol that I start new shooters on. Frequently, this Ruger MKII is the first gun they fire. It was a special order gun, a stainless four inch bull barreled model. I installed a Volquartsen sear, hammer, and trigger. The sights are stock.
The Volquartsen trigger group gives the pistol an unmatchable crisp single action trigger pull. The four inch bull barrel gives it a balance like few other 22 pistols I have handled. These qualities plus the low cost of ammunition and near absent recoil make this the ideal pistol for a beginner to learn on.
Being the perfect handgun for a beginner does not mean this pistol is less than what it should be, however. A beginner's pistol should be durable, easy to maintain, easy to use, and reliable. Fighting with contrary equipment is the quickest route to turning off a new shooter. This particular Ruger MKII is extremely accurate as well as being very easy to handle. I frequently use it myself for low cost training. It's an accurate, reliable, portable 22 caliber lead launcher. A hoot to shoot.
One of the things I always wished I could change on the short barreled stainless Ruger though was the grips. The blond grips with the red Ruger medallions were pretty, but they just did not fit my hand the way I wished. One would think that as popular as the Ruger MKII is, nice grips would be more common. They can be found, but they frequently top $50 a pair. Thus, when I found a pair of checkered cocobolo grips with palm swells listed at CDNN, I quickly ordered a pair.
It took two days to receive my package from CDNN, and I was surprised to see that they gave me a break on shipping. The one thing that sometimes keeps me from ordering small parts from the Abilene, Texas gun emporium is that they typically use a flat rate for all shipping. A twenty-six dollar set of grips is not that great a deal if the shipping is fifteen bucks. At seven and a half for shipping, the deal becomes tolerable.
I have never been a proponent of thumb rests on handguns. I am of a mind that individual hands are unique, and unless a given grip is crafted for a given hand, protrusions on the grip are as likely to be cumbersome as they are beneficial. That being said, when I screwed these grips onto the Ruger MKII this afternoon, they totally transformed the pistol. The grips fit my hands perfectly. The pistol now points like a natural extension of my hand.
Even though the wood is a bit darker than I would have liked, the checkering is nicely cut. The screw holes were in perfect alignment. The real benefit came in the shootability of the pistol. The gun now comes to sights as naturally as pointing my finger. For $26.99, these grips are a fantastic investment in improving a Ruger MKII pistol. My only regret is that they do not have the Ruger medallion inset into them. As soon as I can find a trashed set of Ruger grips, that will change. Next, perhaps I'll install a Hi-Viz fiber optic front sight.......
Nugun agrees on the Ruger 22 pistol as a first gun.