The United States’ Ruger Standard is a semi-automatic pistol which was introduced in 1949.  This pistol was actually the first one produced by manufacturer Sturm, Ruger and Company.  This weapon represented the introduction of what would become a popular product line - .22 Long Rifle rim-fire cartridge pistols.


This particular pistol was intended as a casual inexpensive, sport and target shooting weapon.  The Ruger Standard, however, went on to achieve far greater status. 


Step back in time as you step into the Firearms and Ordnance Gallery at the Armed Forces History Museum.  Authentic weapons, including a variety of pistols from around the world, dating throughout history can be witnessed in this astonishing collection. 


Design and Development

Bill Ruger, designer of the Ruger Standard, was a self-taught engineer who held a strong desire to manufacture and promote a new handgun.  His first project was inspired by a WWII Nambu pistol, which he acquired from a U.S. Marine who had served during the war.  Ruger used the Nambu to successfully duplicate two smaller versions of the pistol.  He then used the basic outline of the weapon to create his first prototype.  Ruger did not have the capital, however, to fund the introduction of this prototype. 


Eventually, Alex Sturm saw the design and was impressed by a number of its features.  Not only did he like the sleek traditional look of the prototype, he was also impressed with its vague similarity to the classic Luger pistol.  Sturm felt that others would share in the sentiment of the weapons nostalgic-Luger style and decided to invest $50,000.  This relationship was the beginning of Sturm, Ruger and Company, a venture that would result in one of the most successful firearms manufacturers in the United States. 


Ruger’s design, the company’s first product, would be known as simply the ‘Standard’ model.  Ruger used his engineering knowledge to incorporate a number of pioneering techniques in producing this new pistol.  These innovative techniques were easy to incorporate and equated into a cost savings which gave the company a distinct advantage in underselling the competition.  Adding to their competitive edge in the market was Sturm’s creation of their trademark – the ‘Red Eagle’ coat of arms emblem.  The emblem designed medallion was featured on the grip’s left panel.


After the pistol’s debut in the magazine ‘American Rifleman’, the orders came rolling in.  Ruger however felt strong about not cashing the checks until the orders were filled.  This set the business standard for the company and contributed to their overall success due to their ‘in the black’ operation. 


Regrettably, Alex Sturm passed away in November of 1951 and was never able to witness the company’s success.  Ruger, both as a memorial and show of respect, had the company’s eagle emblem background changed from red to black on all future models on the ‘Standard’.


Specifications for the Ruger Standard

  • Designed:  1949
  • Production Run:  1949 to present day
  • Number of Variants:  8
  • Cartridge:  .22 Long Rifle
  • Action:  Blowback


The design of the Ruger ‘Standard became widely accepted and one of the most successful .22 semi-automatic pistols ever manufactured.  This United States’ Ruger Standard Semi-Automatic Pistol – in its basic form – remained in constant production for 33 years after its inception.