Austrian pistols, Italian shotguns, and German rifles get a ton of attention in the firearms world.
But what if you want to buy American?
Well you’re in luck. The United States is home to some of the most iconic and respected gun manufacturers on the face of the planet.
Although Sturm, Ruger & Co probably isn’t the first American manufacturer that comes to mind, Ruger churns out more firearms each year than any other company in the United States.
While quantity doesn’t always equal quality, with Ruger it 100% does.
If you’re looking to buy American, Ruger does not disappoint.
That said, with a ton of models available, how do you pick without going broke and buying them all?
Join me for a look at some of Ruger’s coolest firearms. We’ll walk through some of the best guns Ruger has to offer, tell you what role they fill, and hopefully help you expand your wishlist.
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Who is Ruger?
Founded in 1947, Sturm, Ruger & Co is kind of the new kid on the block.
In a world of Remingtons and Winchesters, Berettas and Brownings, Ruger has barely reached its adolescence.
But while average teens are busy scarfing down junk food, hitting on cheerleaders, and mastering the basics of personal hygiene, (no, it does not involve copious amounts of Axe body spray), Ruger has been showing off their exceptional talent.
They’re kind of like that super annoying overachiever we used to make fun of back in high school.
While Ruger is way cooler than that aggravating classmate from our youth, the company is definitely an overachiever.
According to sales stats from 2015, Ruger is the most prolific firearms manufacturer in the United States. Smith & Wesson comes in a pretty distant second.
Ruger firearms are all designed right here in the good old U. S. A.
The company also supports the American job market with large manufacturing facilities in Arizona, Missouri, New Hampshire, and North Carolina.
Ruger is best known for producing affordable firearms. Only Ruger’s budget-minded guns differ from most other bargain-basement options.
Until about 2004, Ruger’s slogan was “rugged and reliable” and their products continue to live up to those words.
Although Ruger firearms may be affordable, they definitely aren’t the bad kind of “cheap.”
Ruger’s weapons are durable, dependable, and accurate. They are also pretty simple, which can be a refreshing ray of sunshine in the world of modern firearms.
These are practical, everyday weapons for practical, everyday Americans.
The Best Ruger Firearms
Ruger’s line-up is vast, so narrowing it down to the coolest of the cool was no easy task.
After much consideration, here are what we think are the best models Ruger has to offer. These pistols, rifles, and revolvers are all pretty freakin’ sweet.
1. Ruger LCP II
Ruger introduced their .380-chambered LCP pocket pistol at the 2008 SHOT show.
While the LCP has enjoyed some insane popularity, Ruger refined and improved the design with the newer LCP II.
With a feather-lite, glass-filled nylon frame, the LCP II weighs a mere 10.6-ounces. And at just over 5-inches long and less than 1-wide, this is a really small gun.
If you need a concealed carry weapon that offers zero printing, or a deep-concealment back-up pistol, the LCP II is hard to beat.
Although the LCP II is super tiny, it is well-balanced, ergonomically designed, and tuned for shootability.
It’s still a pocket pistol, and pocket pistols have a reputation for being really difficult to shoot. However, the LCP II is surprisingly easy to handle.
Honestly, the LCP II sets the bar for micro pistols, and that bar is pretty damn high.
You can check out our full review of the Ruger LCP II here.
2. Ruger LC9s
When it comes to personal protection, 9mm tends to do a much better job than .380 Auto.
Since Ruger isn’t stupid, they built on their proven LCP design, chambered it in nine mil, and gave us the LC9s, which stands for Lightweight Compact 9mm striker-fired.
The LC9s is a pretty compact handgun. It measures only 6-inches from stem to stern and weighs a paltry 17.2-ounces without ammo.
Although that’s a tad bulkier than the LCP, the LC9s is still super easy to conceal.
Not only does the LC9s score big in the concealability department, it’s also a seriously good-looking gun.
Its smooth lines and sculpted nose scream debonair secret agent. Although everything about the LC9s is built for concealment, its stunning good looks will make you want to show it off.
The lightweight, compact design of the LC9s doesn’t do much to absorb recoil, but this is a pocket pistol.
You just can’t expect a pocket pistol to shoot like a full-size weapon. That being said, it shoots rather nicely compared to other subcompacts.
For a while, we thought Ruger was abandoning production of the LC9s, but it seems they’ve since seen the error of their ways. This nice little pocket pistol is back and hopefully here to stay.
Want a closer look at the Ruger LC9s? We have a thorough review.
3. Ruger American Pistol
Although a military contract has thus far eluded Ruger, that doesn’t mean they haven’t made some pretty darned good attempts.
The Ruger American Pistol is one of those efforts.
While it didn’t succeed in winning a contract with the United States Army, the civilian market has thoroughly embraced this sweet-shooting pistol.
The American Pistol features a pre-tensioned striker system for reliable ignition without a super heavy trigger pull.
It also has a barrel cam that helps reduce felt recoil. Along with enhanced ergonomics and ambidextrous controls, this pistol is a dream to shoot.
Ruger makes the American Pistol in compact, full-size duty, and competition configurations.
While the compact version sheds some length and weight for easier concealed carry, it doesn’t shed much in shoot-ability.
The competition model features upgraded sights, a longer barrel, and a little extra weight for easier handling.
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
4. Ruger LCR
Members of the revolver fan club either absolutely love Ruger’s LCR or absolutely hate it.
However, it’s hard to argue that Ruger’s design brought the snub nose revolver into the 21st century.
Ruger incorporated cutting-edge polymer that has become almost standard on modern semi-automatic handguns into the Lightweight Compact Revolver design.
The company also took advantage of high-tech aerospace-grade aluminum alloy in the frame.
But don’t worry, the LCR still features a tough steel cylinder to accommodate high chamber pressures so your gun doesn’t fly apart when you shoot.
That’s a handy feature, to say the least.
Lightweight polymer and aluminum combine to create a bantamweight revolver. This thing measures 6.5-inches long and weighs only 13.5-ounces soaking wet. (Do not get this thing soaking wet. It’s only a figure of speech.)
The LCR is chambered for .38 Special and holds five rounds in the cylinder.
It also has a dehorned frame and no external hammer, which provides an incredibly smooth draw, even from deep concealment.
Read our review of the LCR here!
5. Ruger 10/22
The Ruger 10/22 is inarguably the most popular rimfire rifle of all time.
Incredibly inexpensive and conveniently lightweight, the 10/22 has introduced more young people to shooting sports than any other rifle.
It has been in continuous production since 1964, earning it legendary status.
This rimfire rock star has plenty to offer shooters of every level, from brand-new beginners to experienced marksmen. It has a tried-and-true action design, detachable rotary magazine, and a super affordable price tag.
Ruger 10/22 shooters also have access to a slew of aftermarket accessories and upgrades. It’s like the Barbie doll of the rimfire world.
Check out some of our favorite 10/22 upgrades here.
The 10/22 comes in several different styles, so you can choose everything from practical to tactical.
There’s even a premium competition model optimized for the most serious shooters and a take-down version that caters to the survival crowd.
Want to dive deeper into the world of the 10/22? Check out what we consider The 6 Best Ruger 10/22 Models.
Have a Ruger 10/22? Give it a rating below to let others know what you think.
6. Ruger American Rifle
First introduced in 2011, the Ruger American Rifle is a relative newcomer to the bolt action scene.
However, this model is becoming increasing popular, especially among average-Joe big game hunters.
There isn’t anything super sexy about the Ruger American. But what it lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for with a decent, customizable trigger, lightweight free-float synthetic stock, and a cold-hammer-forged steel barrel.
What makes this rifle really stand out is its price tag. With quality features hunters of the past could only find on super expensive rifles, this one is ready for serious shooting straight out of the box ready.
Is it perfect? Nah. But it is perfectly priced for proletariat shooters like me.
Shooters can choose rifles chambered for everything from .243 Winchester to .450 Bushmaster.
There’s even a rimfire version perfect for varmints and small game.
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
7. Ruger Precision Rifle
If the Ruger American offered an affordable, high-quality hunting option for the masses, the Ruger Precision Rifle did the same thing for long-range competition shooters.
If you’ve ever been interested in testing your skills on the precision shooting landscape but don’t have a ton of cash to invest in a high-performance rig, the RPR makes a nice entry-level option.
All the components are precision machined for reliable performance and accurate shooting. The thing also looks pretty darned cool.
The average RPR weighs under 10-pounds, which is a smidge light for a precision shooter.
However, the rifle uses an in-line design that helps manage recoil, even in magnum calibers.
RPR models also come standard with a hybrid muzzle brake to tame some of the recoil while minimizing blast and reducing noise to the sides. Your fellow range shooters will greatly appreciate this feature.
8. Ruger Mini-14
First introduced in 1973, the Mini-14 is definitely one of Ruger’s most popular models.
Basically a scaled-down M-1 Garand, the Mini-14 is a short-stroke, gas piston rifle with a rotating bolt.
A durable workhorse-of-a-rifle, the Mini-14 has been a favorite general-use weapon for law enforcement and rural ranchers for years.
It’s chambered in practical 5.56 NATO, but it’s NOT an AR-15.
There are plenty of shooters out there who appreciate this, especially with gun legislation constantly looming on the horizon.
However, it does have a workable rate of fire of 40 rounds per minute and accepts 20- or 30-round mags.
If you need to go bigger, Ruger offers the same rifle design in the Mini Thirty, which is chambered for 7.62×39.
If you like the Garand-style of the Mini-14 and need to blow through some Soviet surplus ammo, this is the gun for the job.
It also meets most state’s minimum caliber requirements for whitetails, if that’s more your thing.
9. Ruger AR-556
Ruger takes pride in producing quality firearms for everyday Americans, so it should come as no surprise that they would give the insanely popular AR-15 platform a shot (pun thoroughly intended).
The Ruger AR-556 uses a gas impingement system which helps keep the overall weight of the weapon manageable and gives it a slight edge in the accuracy department.
There’s really nothing fancy about the AR-556. It’s just a mil-spec basic kit.
So, why does it make this list of cool Ruger weapons?
Mostly because Ruger managed to eliminate the intimidation factor for anyone unfamiliar with the AR-15 platform.
Yes, it’s just a basic mil-spec kit, but it’s the lack of bells and whistles that make this the perfect entry-level AR for the average, working-class Joe.
Ruger’s all-American appeal paired with its “rugged reliability” make for a variety of interesting, well-performing guns. From the classic 10/22 and Mini-14 to the more modern Ruger LCP II and AR-556, you’ll find something that works within the Ruger inventory.
By the way, these aren’t the only awesome firearms Ruger puts out. There are plenty of other high-quality options, including the Ruger SR1911, Ruger Wrangler, and the Ruger PC Charger — check out our full reviews on each.
However, space and reader attention spans are limited, so we kept this list to 10.
If you’ve made it this far, we want to hear about your Ruger experiences. Tell us all about the good, the bad, and the ugly in the comments section below. If you want more Ruger pistols and revolvers, we have you covered with the Best Ruger Pistols & Revolvers.