Israel Adopts Ruger SR-22 in “Less Lethal” Sniper Role

    A eagle-eyed reader emailed us a photo taken in the West Bank shortly after a Palestinian, disguised as a member of the Press, attacked an Israeli soldier with a knife. Our reader spotted, in the background (cropped and enlarged), a young Israeli soldier carrying a Ruger SR-22. I am not often surprised, but this was the first time I had ever seen a soldier of any nation with an SR-22.

    The Ruger SR-22 is Ruger’s official tactical version of the Ruger 10/22 which was introduced in September 2009. It features a Nordic Components enclosure, in which sits a Ruger 10/22 receiver and trigger group. It features an M4-style stock (compatible with all AR-15 stocks), full length handguard (with option for a full length picatinny rail), standard AR-15 pistol grip and a threaded barrel with a 1/2”-28 threaded suppressor.

    The Israeli soldier in the above photo is using what appears to be a stock SR-22 along with a Ruger BX-25 magazine and an aftermarket flash suppressor. The scope looks like a mid-zoom (~12x) and would have a ballistic reticle such as mil-dot (judging by the turrets). The factory backup-iron sights have been removed and a Harris bipod attached to the underside of the handguard.

    The Israeli use of the Ruger 10/22 is nothing new, but until now they were using old wooden stocked Ruger 10/22 rifles with a fully suppressed barrels, not an unsuppressed Ruger SR-22 rifle.

    ruger 1022 israel

    israel ruger 1022

    The IDF will not disclose under what circumstances they will use the “Ruger” (as they refer to the weapon) saying that it is classified. We know it was originally used as a less-lethal weapon. Israeli press have quoted military staff saying it is “nonlethal”, but in my opinion the Israeli journalists are either mis-translating into English or are unaware of the distinction between “less-lethal” and “non-lethal”.

    For a number of years after 2001, possibly more than five years, the IDF stopped using the Ruger 10/22 after a number of protesters were killed with the rifle. In an 18 month period between mid-2008 and the end of 2009, after its reintroduction, one Israeli newspaper reported that the IDF had expended about $300,000 USD worth of .22 LR ammunition, which at 2015 consumer pricing would work out to be over 1.5 million rounds of ammunition, or 20,000 per week!

    The IDF deny it is a riot control weapon, but it does appear to have been deployed on rioters. It is mostly likely a last ditch weapon intended to incapacitate, but ideally not to kill, threats without minimal collateral damage.

    UPDATE: An IDF soldier stated in the comments that the Israeli newspaper I quoted had an agenda. He wrote …

    1)- The Ruger is never considered “less than lethal”, I don’t know who came up with that. Here is the IDF regulation on the matter in the picture below, which specifically classifies the Ruger as “lethal” and “is only allowed to be used in situations where live fire may be used in events of extreme danger”:

    UPDATE UPDATE: I have been given further information from an anonymous source. The Ruger is used by the IDF for …

    • Killing dogs in the vicinity of a target
    • Injuring leaders of violent demonstrations or violent participants of a violent demonstration.
    • The IDF uses it as a mid-range system that is “less lethal than” military caliber rifles (5.56mm/7.62mm) and capable of hurting severely enough to stop them using committing violence (throwing rocks or molotov cocktails).
    • Can be used more accuracy at distances, unlike a rubber bullet or baton round.
    • It is used when it is not safe enough to get close enough to use a rubber bullet or baton round.

    Thanks to FuzzyBunny for sharing the photo of the SR-22




    Steve Johnson

    I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!