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Tactical Solutions Pac-Lite Ruger Mk1 Upgrade

Some 30 years ago, I purchased a Ruger Mark1 (MK1) Target pistol.  It came with adjustable sights and a 6 7/8" tapered barrel.  I added some aftermarket grips to it and shot the heck out of it back in the 70's when I was stationed in the Tidewater area of Virginia.  Since then, Ruger has produced the Mark2 and Mark3 versions.  I still like the old Mk1 and decided that it was time to give it a little make-over. 


I had recently viewed a show on the Outdoor channel that covered steel shooting.  There was a segment that covered the various aspects of the sport and the participants were shooting .22 caliber handguns.  They interviewed one of the shooters who was sponsored (or so it appeared) by Tactical Solutions.  I liked what I saw and went digging for more info on the web.  The following week, I stopped by my local firearms dealer and ordered a black Pac-Lite 6" fluted barrel for the Mk1 pistol.  Normally, one would not have to go through a firearms dealer to obtain a barrel but this is not the case with the Ruger pistol.  On this model, the barrel and receiver (as a combined unit) carry the firearm's serial number....hence, one needs to purchase the Pac-Lite barrel through a FFL holder. 


The Pac-Lite barrel/receiver for the Ruger pistol is available in 4.5", 6", and 8.5" lengths.  The 6" version that I ordered weighs a whopping 7.4 ounces....no, that wasn't a typo....it's just 7.4 oz.  The barrel is machined out of a solid aluminum bar and is lined with a chromoly steel liner.  The life expectancy of this barrel is the same as any other.  I'm betting that it will be handed down to one of my kids (or grandchildren) with plenty of life left in it.


For sights, I opted to spend a few more dollars and picked up the Integral Rail (sometimes referred to as the long scope base).  This integrates a fully adjustable rear sight into a rail that can be used to mount a scope or a reflex sight.  The rail adds just 2 ounces to the barrel/receiver.  I had the receiver tapped at Tactical Solutions before the Pac-Lite was shipped.  It was cheaper for them to do it than to have a local gunsmith do the job and I knew it would arrive in fine shape.

The barrel arrived with the integral rail already attached.  In the shipping tube was a set of installation instructions.  The instructions were quite complete (including the 2 pages of state attorney general warnings).  One thing that I found unsatisfactory was the photos in the instructions.  While there appeared to be more than a sufficient number of them, the reproduction quality sucked, to put it bluntly.  When will companies learn that making photo copies of photo copies result in very poor quality copies....especially when the document is on its 24th cloning, give or take a few generations.  Luckily, the written instructions were good and I somewhat remembered a couple of things from 30 years ago. 

So with that, let's get down to disassembling the Ruger Mk1 so the new Pac-Lite barrel can be installed.

First, I verified that the magazine was not in the firearm and I then checked to ensure a cartridge was not in the chamber.  It is important that you visually verify that the chamber is empty.  Don't assume that pulling the bolt to the rear will guarantee an ejected cartridge should one be present.  Make certain the pistol is EMPTY!

In order to remove the barrel, the pistol must be un-cocked.  I again verified the pistol was empty/unloaded and then pointed it in a safe direction so I could safely pull the trigger and drop the hammer.  With the hammer un-cocked, the tension is removed from the mainspring and allows the firearm to be disassembled. 


Tactical solutions recommends using a paper clip to raise the mainspring housing latch and I'll agree that it worked very well.....much better than your thumbnail (ouch!) or a screwdriver. 


Lift the mainspring latch up out of the grip frame as far as you can.  This puts the latch at about a 90 degree angle to the grip. 


Pull straight down on the mainspring housing until the pin clears its hole in the top of the receiver.  Some pistols may be tighter than others.  A light tap with a plastic or wooden mallet on the end of the mainspring housing pin (which protrudes through the top of the receiver) while pulling downward on the mainspring housing can help things along. 

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