Ruger Mark II: The Best Survival Pistol?

Ruger Mark II best survival pistolIf the .22 really is the best survival ammunition, then the best survival pistol must be something that uses these loads.

One that’s reliably thrown .22LR rounds downrange for about 30 years now is the Ruger Mark II. Could it be the best survival pistol? It does match the characteristics of the best survival pistols outlined in this previous Living Ready article.

Best Survival Pistol: The Case for the Ruger Mark II

Best survival pistols

Order What’s in Your Bug Out Bag? from

Living Ready‘s book, What’s in Your Bug Out Bag?, features bug out strategies from the real world. The staff asked preppers across North America to share the contents of their bags, including guns.

The Ruger Mark II made an impression on John Farkas. To him, it’s the best survival pistol. Here’s why:

The Ruger Mark II rimfire pistol holds ten rounds of .22LR and is perfect as a lightweight hunting pistol. As an added bonus, ammo is cheap and plentiful.

John hopes that he will have a full-size pistol, or better yet, a rifle with him if the bag is ever needed. He keeps the Ruger in his bag as a backup.

In his own words, Farkas explains his bug out bag strategy.

I clean and refill my canteens every week. Clothing depends on the time of year. I try to keep this a 3-day bag. Weight is always a concern. I want to be as comfortable as possible, but still able to carry over long distances.

The contents change from time to time, but these are the basics that I always keep. I take this bag with me to work and vacation (as long as I’m not flying).

My wife and two children (9 and 10) each have a bag. They each contain basic clothing, canteens, food, first aid items, hygiene items, GPS radio, poncho and casualty blanket.

Is the Ruger Mark II the Best Survival Pistol?

Ruger Mark II Exploded Gun Drawing
What do you think? Is the Ruger Mark II the best survival pistol? Leave a comment below.

Don’t skip this Ruger Mark II exploded gun drawing from Gun Digest, sister pub to Living Ready.



9 thoughts on “Ruger Mark II: The Best Survival Pistol?

  1. noobers

    my ideal prepared rifle for survival is not a net weapon .

    it depends on the environment.
    for urban lets say stuck in a high population area . i would have my 30 carbine . small simple hard to break good stopping .

    wilderness would be my nylon 66 not ideal but it works and is indestructible (been stolen once knocked off walls bad ammo run trough it )

    in a emergency i would be stuck with either the daily use 38 . or a datonics . both good . but i would be hesitant to engage in a fight for resources . only self defense . my first order of business would be getting out of that urban environment and getting back to my tack and trade

  2. DJnRF

    There has always been discussions and opinions on a firearm for a survival situation. The unfortunate thing that leads to these continued ideas is that no one seems to be able to correctly identify just what a survival situation is in reality. I will attempt to explain what it is before I give my opinion, and how I arrived at that conclusion.

    The very first thing that must be remembered is that no survival situation is a tactical combat situation. Never is combat a part of a survival situation. That is something completely different. For years I have tried to instill this in the minds of many in writings, lectures, and classes. I even have redefined ‘Survival’ in My dictionary. “Survival is ones own ability to cope with and overcome any adverse or threatening situation, condition, casualty, or event.” I have even determined that one who continues to live on after they have been in an airplane crash is merely a fortunate victim of that crash if they were not the one responsible in flying that plane. The exact same thing exists for continues to live on after a serious surgical intervention. That person was, indeed, very fortunate, but they did not perform their own surgery. That was at the hand of a very skilled surgeon who was the one responsible for their continued life.

    Whereas, a survival situation may be brought about by man, it is no different than one brought about by nature. From the very first entry into such a situation you are in a survival situation. You then must follow the rules of survival. Food, water, shelter, and protection. Protection must be from the elements of nature, AND the nature of man! You have no other resources to depend upon such as a backup for your ‘mission’, incoming supplies, and added intelligence for planning a combat strategy. As stated previously herein, Survival is Not a combat situation.
    In the event of your need to fight the nature of man, your entire duty to yourself is to not make a victim of yourself and family by engaging in such combat. Avoid it, and evade it at all costs. That is your Protection in such a circumstance.

    It may be true that you could have need to fire at such an opponent, but it must be to stop their advance sufficiently until you can evade that circumstance. Maybe, if you are good enough, and lucky, you might actually be able to seriously wound or kill that opponent, but it isn’t your main concern. You are not an animal that is protecting a specific territory. On this part you must remember the words of General George S. Patton: “Fixed fortifications are monuments to the stupidity of man.” If someone else decides to take the area you have decided that you like, and have made your camp, evade the attacker, escape, and maybe you can come back later. If you have the idea that a ‘place’ is not expendable, then you should not have ‘prepped’ for a survival situation, but instead should have developed a combat plan, and ‘prepped’ for that. (Over many years I have never found anyone who has done this. Their ideas have never been based upon a well formed and prepared strategy, and with the proper logistical needs and equipment, and personnel.)

    The most likely scenario for a SHTF situation will be a natural and catastrophic disaster. Where the nature of man might enter the scenario becomes one of protection just enough so as to evade and escape.

    Some have indicated that they would ‘need’ something big enough in a firearm that would take down a bear. (A bear being the largest animal in the world that could be a threat.) That issue would require a high caliber rifle, or a very large caliber pistol. But, again your main duty is to avoid, evade, and escape the situation as your protection. It is not to hunt, or do combat with the animal.

    Hunting for food is one thing that is part of the requirements by necessity. This hunting may be done by a firearm, fishing, trapping, or by any other means you know how to do. But this brings me to one last point.

    Where ever you might decide to go in a SHTF situation, you had better have planned well so as to know the area well, possible food availability, water and how to purify, how to start fires without matches or lighters, how to build temporary shelters, and alternate sites nearby. All of this includes the type(s) of dangerous animals, plants, insects, snakes, and spiders. True survival preparation is never what you have, but what you know that will cause you to survive the situation. All of what you have can just make that task
    somewhat easier. Think not? If not, then how did we even get here? Not even our founding fathers of our country had the ‘things’ we have today, or the knowledge we have today. They just knew how to really survive with next to nothing other than their teachings. How much of these primitive teachings have you learned? Don’t count on the things we have come to enjoy being in existence during such a condition.

    After consideration of all these things that are requirements for a true survival, why would any firearm larger than a .22 caliber have a
    place? As another had mentioned in this posting, any wound by a small caliber in such a situation could be as dangerous as if by an elephant gun. The noise alone can scare off most man and animal as they don’t want to encounter any type of such noise or injury. It buys you time to get away, fast and as quietly as possible.

    I do have a number of firearms, including my AR, a police riot 12 ga, a 30-06 rifle, and a .357 S&W revolver. However, I also have a
    Ruger Mk II, bull barrel, and an AR-7 survival rifle. These latter two are in my pack. My pack is packed 24-7, and opened twice each year to change items and supplies. (In Spring and in Fall to cover the most needed items for those seasons.) My pack and gear is all current military for the size and durability, to get the best for the least expense. (Some was acquired directly from military duties.)
    I have enough packs such as this for both of us, wife and self. I also have specially made up small (not too small) survival kits that I have made and taught in classes where I have them in vehicles, in the packs, and at home. I have two 500 round boxes of ammo in my packs, as well as more spare easily accessible in my home. I also have spare mags for the Ruger and the AR-7.

    Where I sit here, I do have a personal defense pistol within two feet of my. It is a S&W, .38 Airweight Bodyguard revolver. However I also have a Ruger Mk II, .22, bull barrel five feet from me, in a canvas military holster than mounts onto my fully stocked military rescue, survival vest that is in another room here. Besides the knives I have in each survival kit, and a Scout knife in my pocket, both packs and the vest have bayonets, with the vest also having a machete.

    I have been studying and doing this for over fifty years, and have found that what I have is the most needed, and most useful for any type of survival situation. I just finished making a water still to make two cups of pure, distilled water at any time I can make a fire. It also contains some survival supplies to make it a very small kit. Everything I have is designed to be carried as in most survival situations there will be no roads, or fuel availability with which a vehicle will get very far. But, then again, maybe ‘Bugging Out’ might not be such a good option either.

    My final word here: The Ruger Mk II and the AR-7 Survival rifle make the very best survival firearms you can have. (I just have the bull barrel Ruger since I have always liked the weight to steady my aim.)

    1. Utilitarian

      DJnRF has written one of the most relevant and knowledgeable summaries of the realities of SHTF preparation, and day to day preparedness I have seen in a while. As a lifetime Alaskan preparedness is a way of life, but I could never have said it so well. I hope his words are read and read again.

  3. beemerphill

    The MKII Ruger can be beat in accuracy, magazine capacity, and probably every other category, but if I could only have one firearm to trust my life to, this would be it. Mine was purchased the first year that the MKII came out, and has never failed me. It has had many thousands of rounds thru it, and is still a sound and accurate firearm. As to self-defense-a larger caliber would provide more stopping power, but this little pistol will put the rounds where you want them to go, and if you place them right, it will do the job. It will also put game on the table on a regular basis. It is more than accurate, and about as reliable as they get. Don’t forget, 200 rounds of 22LR ammo will fit in your jacket pocket with room left over for other items. Do I like this pistol? You bet !!

  4. JLA

    The Mk.2 is a nice pistol, but if I were going to carry a Ruger semi-auto I’d go with a 22/45 Lite. Why carry the extra weight if you don’t have to? That being said, the Ruger semi-autos would not be my first choice as a survival pistol.

    If I were going to go with a .22lr I would likely choose a 4″ Taurus 922 double action revolver. It has a 9 shot capacity and can be switched from .22WMR to .22lr in just a few seconds. That’s good versatility. You can use the .22 WMR for self-defense and the .22lr for hunting.

    I actually keep a NAA 4″ Mini Master .22lr-.22WMR w/adjustable sights & a Laserlyte laser tucked into my survival kit for hunting and/or defense just in case I don’t happen to have another suitable firearm on me in an emergency. (My 1911 is a fantastic carry gun, but a squirrel gun it is not!) With some practice it can be shot quite accurately.

  5. Utilitarian

    I have a Mark 1 that I also have carried many times over a period of 30 years or so. It is, typical to Ruger, an outstanding and reliable firearm. I would agree with everything that has been said, only adding that having a couple of ‘extra’ magazines is a must because they can be a bit fumbly to load, even with practice. I also have a Taurus Tracker revolver in.22, which holds nine shots and will fire any .22 round with 100% reliability. I believe that versatility can be invaluable.

  6. BiffSarin

    I HAVE to weigh in on this because I have the exact gun in the photo. I find that, while the 22lr is obviously not ideal for self defense, with high velocity hollow points, it can become a very formidable weapon. And lets face it, if the S has HTF, then nobody, with whom you might come in contact, is going to want any sort of wound, bullet or otherwise. Medical care would be fairly hard to come by in a SHTF scenario, so any serious wound would have a high mortality rate. If the bullet or bullets didn’t kill you immediately, the wound would almost certainly get infected and kill you more slowly and painfully. The added benefits of the relatively light weight of the weapon and the particularly light weight of the ammunition, make this a serious contender for a one gun situation. Would I rather have a 9mm, 45 or 5.56 in a confrontation? Sure, but weigh 300 rounds of 5.56 and then do the same with the 22LR. With a 22, you can literally carry twice the ammo for less than half the weight of most other calibers. If you are in a Bug Out Vehicle then weight is less of a consideration, but if you are on foot, every ounce counts.

  7. kentuckylr

    I have had a SS bull barrell MKII for over 25 years. It is the most fun handgun I have, and can shoot the eye out of a crow on the fly. Cleaning can be a little daunting the first time, but after that is not bad. Reliability is terrific. Maybe a little heavy, and not good for CC, but a small price to pay for reliability, accuracy, and pure, cheap, fun.