ARES Defense STEP-22LS Pistol

Ares Defense pistol

ARES Defense announced a new .22 LR pistol system called the STEP-22LS. In case you were curious about the name, it stands for Strategic Target Engagement Pistol, Low Signature. The system is offered under the company’s special product division: FightLite. These units mount directly onto the frame of a Ruger 22/45 and Mk-I, -II and -III pistols.

The new system features an integrated sound suppressor which promises noise reduction of up to 40 dB. According to the company, the suppressor is user serviceable and uses a modified K baffle system.

FightLite uses a tensioned 2.5″ barrel with a match chamber. Combined with the integral suppressor system, its overall length is 11″ With a 22/45 frame, the pistol weighs 24.3 ounces unloaded.

Picatinny type rails are located on the top of the unit and at the 6 o’clock position under the barrel. These units have a suggested retail price of $699.

Ares Defense is the same company that introduced the SCR, a rifle that takes the AR-15 and gives it a more traditional look. Because of the way it looks, it is legal in many places where a standard AR is not. The company also makes AR rifles that are fed by M249 type belts (disintegrating links) of ammunition. The company definitely likes to think outside of the box and develop new things.

Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is


  • Cesare Renzi

    Looks like a Ruger.

    • Giolli Joker

      As the article implies, the one pictured uses the frame of a Ruger 22/45.

    • m-cameron

      …..thats because it is……..

    • Cesare Renzi


    • DeathFromTheShadows

      it is BASED on a ruger… didn’t read the copy?

  • Dr. Spatslov

    What do you have against reading the posts that go with the pictures?

  • Duray

    Front slide serrations!….on a weapon with no slide. Facepalm

    • Volk

      Yeah, those are almost as tryhard as the name. Shame cause otherwise I like the company and their products, perhaps even this one.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      Functionless and screws up the whole aesthetic.

    • m-cameron

      people complaining about products they are never going to own.Facepalm

      • wetcorps

        This is what blog comments are for. Deal with it.

    • PL

      +10 tactical

  • derpmaster

    No irons? I guess you pretty much have to use a red dot with this. Not interested.

    • m-cameron

      lets be honest, you werent going to buy one anyways…..

      • derpmaster

        I like the idea of an integrally suppressed 22. Shorter overall package and whatnot.

        If they made one for the Buckmark with decent iron sights I’d be interested.

        • JumpIf NotZero

          Um, you now have it 100% backwards, but was close with your first post!

          Integrals ARE NOT supposed to be shorter than muzzle cans. There is no general reason why X barrel length + Y can will necessarily be shorter or longer. Now, aesthetically, sometimes you could get away with proportions like a 2″ barrel an an integral 7″ can that would look wonky as separate parts.

          There are two reasons to use an integral:

          1. Porting. If you integrate the can and port the barrel to reduce muzzle velocity, this is an entirely outdated idea however. This is what you did when subsonic ammo wasn’t available.

          2. Long sight radius. You actually nailed it with your first post. By extending the front, you have a better position for the front sight. By not using a front sight on this, there is no reason to permanently attach the can (assuming they’re not porting because it’s dumb).

          A better option is actually a 2-3″ barrel with a removable can, IF you are set on running a red dot. With that short a barrel, irons would be not-ideal. I’d even argue that for the application a 1-2″ barrel would be best.

          • DeathFromTheShadows

            sadly you are mistaken and obviously don’t know the physics involved. porting a barrel makes it louder, and does not bleed off pressure making it easier to suppress since you have increased the explosive signature. The integrated suppressor simply makes for a smaller permanently aligned package. Being impressed with your own lack of knowledge made you miss the obvious point… NO BAFFLE HITS doe to misalignment…

    • Bill

      For the type of use this pistol is designed for, irons wouldn’t be used anyway.

  • Pete M

    Integrally suppressed for $650? Not a bad price. I’d have to hear one first; doesn’t look like a lot of volume in there.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      2.5″ barrel, there is a chance it’s pretty good. But 40db…. No, I highly doubt it. Also not crazy about the idea of small K baffles like that.

  • John

    Well if this is ANYTHING like the Shrike, don’t expect any deliveries for about ten years.

  • Wanderlust

    A bit too much rail for me

  • Devil_Doc

    The same Ares that ran off Dimitri Karras?

    • Cymond

      I don’t think so. That’s Ares Armor, this is Ares Defense.
      This is the Ares that took people’s deposits on a beltfed AR-15 upper and then took 10 years to deliver.

  • I’d love to see something like this in .32 ACP.

    • DeathFromTheShadows

      32 acp is a worthless caliber

      • It’s actually ideal for this application. Extremely quiet caliber compared to even .380 or 9mm (and used in the famously quiet Welrod pistol) but offers dramatically more mass, penetration, and reliability than .22 LR.

        The .32 ACP typically uses about 2 grains of powder and is a low pressure round, while .380 uses 4+ grains, and 9mm 6+ grains, and substantially higher pressure.

        The result is that .32 ACP could be effectively as quiet as .22 LR, but with much better performance.

        • DeathFromTheShadows

          Mark, your load information is as off as your ideas about the .32. the fact is a 32 grain .22lr is more powerful than a .32, with the notable exception of the size hole it creates. In fact during WWII German officers were literally tossing them in metal recovery bins when they could get a 9mm kurz (380) or a full 9mm, because they could “Töten Sie einen Hund, aber kein Jude” (kill a dog but not kill a Jew”… You really should learn your facts, not make them up.
          32 loads: You will notice that your 1-2 grain loads are all lead projo. jacketed bullets typically double that

          As for .380s, Same thing… The hand loads you have been looking at are all low pressure loads for lead to prevent leading and using slow burning powders, as such the loads are for extremely short barreled pieces such as the Beretta Tomcat. and yes these are low pressure rounds however even on the high pressure FMJ and JHP loads the round just doesnt develop the 1000 FPS a .22 does, and when you do the math, it dont add up.

          • The .22LR is in no way shape or form more powerful than the .32 ACP when fired out of a pistol, amusing Nazi anecdotes notwithstanding.

            Per Gunblast’s velocity test of the 4.18″ barrel MP .22 (this was the most comprehensive chrono data for a .22lr pistol I was able to find,) the hottest .22lr was the CCI Velocitor, 40gr @ 1,112 fps / 110 ft/lbs of energy. A more standard .22lr, the CCI Mini Mag, was 40gr @ 952 ft/s / 81 ft/lbs.

            Standard loadS for .32 ACP:

            2.2gr TiteGroup x 71gr FMJ = 890 ft/s / 125 ft/lbs.

            2.4gr TiteGroup x 60gr XTP = 1050 ft/s / 147 ft/lbs.

            Hotter loads offered for .32 ACP

            Buffalo Bore 75gr hardcast @ 1001fps 3″ barrel / 167 ft/lbs

            Furthermore .32 ACP offers both hardcast projectiles for deep penetration, or hollow points that expand modestly to .43″ and penetrate to 11.”

            The Welrod Pistol, considered the quietest suppressed pistol ever made, served from WWII to Desert Storm.

            Chambered in .32 ACP.

            But yeah, you know, .22 is obviously superior.

  • Cymond

    If it’s anything like the ARES RCU, it’ll get a lot of hype and then be discontinued in less than a year.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    There’s no slide on this gun.
    Plus I doubt anyone is taking a 22 into combat.

    • DeathFromTheShadows

      first off .22s are a training arm, so yes battle conditions count, second it doesnt need a slide to have to be grabbed by the barrel to be cocked by forcing the hammer against the leg… Its a technique that is even taught in combat revolver courses… Your mother should have had her IUD reinserted