The name Ruger (shortened from Sturm, Ruger & Company) is ubiquitous in the shooting industry.
Their Ruger Mark 1 pistol is nearly as recognizable as their iconic phoenix logo, and since their founding seven decades ago, Ruger has become the largest producer of firearms in the United States.
In honor of their 70th anniversary, let’s take a look at five interesting Ruger facts about the firearms giant you may not be familiar with.
1. Ruger was nearly the owner of the patent for AR-15 rifles.
Armalite Chief Engineer Eugene Stoner spoke with Ruger in the late 1950s in an attempt to interest the manufacturer in licensing and producing the Armalite Rifle, or AR-15.
Ruger ultimately passed on producing the cutting-edge semiautomatic rifle, and Colt stepped in and bought the rights to the AR-15.
Colt later sold the design to the United States military, which renamed the rifle the M16.
Though some may view that initial passing as a mistake, today Ruger produces one of the most popular AR models on the market: the AR-556.
2. Ruger’s first digital news announcement was for the .480 Ruger.
Way back in December 2001, Ruger published their first news announcement on their website. It heralded the coming of the caliber .480 Ruger, the very first cartridge to bear the Ruger name.
In the article, Ruger also announced the Ruger Super Redhawk revolver chambered in .480 Ruger, a gun geared toward big game hunters.
3. Ruger once produced heads for golf clubs.
Not limited to merely firearms and ammo, Ruger-manufactured golf club heads to be used on Callaway golf drivers.
The enlarged heads, crafted of titanium, were produced by Ruger’s investment castings business.
Ruger then entered into a joint venture with Callaway in 1995 to produce the Big Bertha driver head, and eventually bought out Callaway’s portion of the venture.
Ruger continued to manufacture clubs for a multitude of golf brands until 2005.
4. Ruger has more than one million social media followers.
At the time of this writing, Ruger has more than 1.15 million followers between Facebook and Twitter alone. That’s more than the entire populations of Rhode Island, Delaware and Wyoming.
5. Hank William’s Jr.’s logo was inspired by Ruger.
While not quite identical, the logo used by legendary outlaw country music singer Hank Williams Jr. was directly inspired by Ruger’s triumphant phoenix.
According to country music lore, Hank (who had been an avid shooter and collector of Ruger firearms) was given permission from Ruger co-founder Bill Ruger to use the symbol sometime in the 1970s.
Williams liked the logo not only due to the brand it represented, but because it’s a phoenix, which he felt represented the rebirth of his career after a near-fatal mountain-climbing accident in 1975.
Well, there you have it—five lesser-known Ruger facts to impress your friends.
Hopefully you found these Ruger facts fun and interesting, and if there are any others we forgot to include, feel free to let us know in the comments below!