Really Reaching: The Mini-14

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?
  4. 20 and 30 rounds magazines are readily available and reasonably priced – from a single manufacturer and double the price of AR mags
  5. 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.



10 thoughts on “Really Reaching: The Mini-14

  1. Good summary.

    This type of article is far too common; you can just taste the fact that somewhere along the line, someone has been biased financially. I’ve given away product, I know how the system works. “Get a free item – even if it’s a loaner – and you tend to like it.” An honest reviewer is one who buys the product, uses it for months, then reviews it. If they never publish any negative reviews, they’re probably not honest.

    I love the idea of the mini-14, but it’s execution is horrible and I don’t see any reason to own one.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Nice! I used one as an armored truck guard. For what I was using it for (shooting inside of 25 yards) it worked fine. This was also in the middle of the Crime Bill Era, and thus AR’s weren’t really around in large numbers. It was Mini’s, M1 Carbines, and shotguns.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the Mini and I want one. If that was my only choice I would definitely go for it but in today’s market the AR is a far better and more cost effective choice. Really the only justification, unless you live in the occupied zones where ARs are verbotten, is because you prefer the look.

      God Bless

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have heard good things about the Kel-Tec sub 2000. It is a compact foldable rifle that shoots 9mm and uses Glock mags. They MSRP less than $500. I would love to find one of those. I do not see myself getting a Mini 14 or an AR.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t have any personal experience with KelTec products. I have heard great things and awful things but don’t know which is true. If I had to guess I would say it’s probably a little of both. I will say that their designs are very cool. The P3AT was the inspiration for a whole generation of .380 pocket pistols.

      As far as a 9mm carbine goes, I really like the idea…a lot, especially if it uses the same magazines as my self defense handgun. From what I have seen 9mm out of a carbine-length barrel is a very potent round. It would be limited in effective range to around 100, or maybe 150 yards but since I live in a suburban environment the chance of needing to take shots that long are incredibly slim.

      I already have a lever-action carbine in a common caliber with my revolvers (.38/.357) and I would like to add one in 9mm. It will likely be an AR pattern carbine as they are starting to become more available and the prices are coming down plus I am very familiar with the manual of arms. I would likely start out buying just a 9mm upper and using it on the lower I already have. If I like it, I can always buy a dedicated lower later on.

      That’s one of the things I really like about the AR platform, it’s modularity. One lower, built out with a good trigger and stock, can be converted between various calibers. On the same lower I can have uppers in .22lr, 9mm, .40, .45, 5.56/.223, .300, 6.5, 6.8, 7.62×39, 5.45×39, .450, .500 or any one of several more calibers. All with the same manual of arms. In addition, from a hunting perspective, I can switch from short range brush gun, to longer distance configuration for hunting out of a stand to a night hunt configuration in minutes and generally without tools.

      Not trying to talk you into one, just sharing.

      God bless


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