I happened to see an article this morning in American Rifleman titled Five Reasons To Reconsider The Ruger Mini-14 and to be honest I had to chuckle. These guys were really reaching on this one in an effort to try come up with reasons to buy a Ruger Mini-14 over an AR platform rifle. Let’s take a look at their reasoning:
- The AR may appear too tactical and the controls may not be intuitive – I get the whole gray man thing and the Mini may come with wood furniture but let’s be honest here the Mini was designed (as it mentions in the article) to look like the Garand and M14 which were tactical before tactical was cool. The controls on the AR15 are about as basic and straightforward as they get. Every beginner I have ever taught picked them up in no time at all. The hook-rock-lock magazine insertion of the Mini is so much more difficult to get right than the straight in of an AR.
- The Latest Minis are more accurate – This headline would make the uninformed think the Mini is more accurate than the AR which by and large (yes, there will be exceptions) is untrue. If you read the paragraph underneath that headline the writer even says that 2′ groups at 100 yards is possible and not everyone needs a 1/2 MOA rifle…true, enough but if I can pay less money and get better accuracy, why wouldn’t I? The author also goes on to state that increased accuracy in semi-auto rifles leads to less reliability and increased sensitivity to different ammo types. My experience with the several ARs I have is that for the most part they’ll eat just about anything and are far less picky and more reliable than the Minis I have worked with.
- The Minis are available in stainless steel – making them more resistant to harsh environmental conditions than a rifle designed out of aluminum, polymer and steels generally coated to be far more impervious to the elements than stainless steel alone?
- 20 and 30 rounds magazines are readily available and reasonably priced – from a single manufacturer and double the price of AR mags
- It’s ow available in 300 Blackout – Awesome! Or I can buy a single AR lower and shoot 5.56/.223, .22 LR, 300 BLK, 6.5 SPC, 6.8 Grendel, 50 Beowulf, .458 Socom, 7.62×39, 5.45×39, 9 mm, .45 ACP, etc… In many cases, I can even use the same magazines and bolts between different calibers.
If you like the looks and style of the Mini and can live with the mediocre accuracy buy one. I personally like the Ruger Mini. I want one (one day) but no amount of advertising dollar induced hyperbole can turn it into a better or more practical rifle than an AR that sells for half the cost and takes magazines that are half the cost.