Should You Buy A Mini-14 Over An AR15?


Should you buy a Mini-14 Over an AR15? Maybe that isn’t a relevant question for you. Maybe you have already bought completely into having an AR-15. That’s a great choice. But there are legitimate reasons why you may want to consider having a Mini-14.

If you’re not familiar with it, the Mini-14 is a semi-automatic rifle by Ruger that is magazine fed and gets its name from being a smaller version of the M14 using 223 ammo. However, there are some reasons why you may want to consider adding a Mini-14 to your collection. James at TFBTV gives eight of these reasons (with our commentary):

  1. Lower profile: Many (ignorant) people think they know what guns are dangerous by how they look (that includes many lawmakers, unfortunately). The Mini-14 is less likely to make people think “assault rifle” than an AR-15 simply because it looks a bit more like a traditional hunting rifle. But it’s not a traditional hunting rifle.
  2. “Outstanding” stock trigger: 5.5 – 6 lbs of pull and a short break make the later model Mini-14s’ triggers pull very nicely.
  3. Maneuverability: The Mini-14 is a shorter weapon than an AR-15 (and you can either saw off the stock or install a folding stock to make it even shorter). This means more ease of movement. It can also mean that it’s easier to stash in a bug out bag, for example, so that you can be ready to go, and it can be quick to grab if you have to move out quickly. Also, the fact that it’s shorter means that it will be easier to stash away so that unwanted prying eyes are less likely to see it (if you stash it in your car under a blanket, for example) when walking by your vehicle. Less likely to be seen means less likely to be stolen.
  4. Sight Radius: Believe it or not, the Mini-14 has a longer sight radius than the AR-15. The Mini-14 has a pin site almost at the end of the muzzle. The longer the site radius, the more accurate the shot. Why is this? “Gun Noob” writes,

    By being able to see and adjust for those slight deviations [from every twitch, shake and jerk your body makes], your shot is going to be more accurate. Considering that a long sight radius is accompanied by a similarly long barrel, the bullet will generally be more stable and will be travelling faster when it hits the target.

    So it’s not really that a longer sight radius gives you better accuracy (some might even argue a shorter barrel is more rigid and thus gives better accuracy), but it’s just easier to be more accurate since you can see the movement.

  5. Piston Operated: Some argue that this piston operation works cleaner than the gas tube system in the AR-15.
  6. Accuracy: While this may have previously been a problem, the post-2008 Mini-14s have seen improvements from Ruger which have improved accuracy on these weapons.
  7. Cold Hammer Forged Barrel: Great durability. It’s nice that it comes stock with this weapon.
  8. All-Stainless: You can get the Mini-14 all stainless from the factory which is nice if your location has humidity issues.

You can see TFBTV’s video here:


So, there you have 8 reasons why you may want to consider a Mini-14 over an AR15.

Personally, I have no experience with the Ruger Mini-14, but I trust Greg Ellifritz and he wrote an article called “Hating on the Ruger Mini-14“.

What are your thoughts? Sound off below.



    • Bill Ruger designed the mini 14 to sell to the goverment why would he not design it for the 5.56 ammo?

    • Ruger says it fires both. My manual says it fires both. As I recall, both designations are on the barrel (of course I would have to go check the safe to verify it). Where did you get the idea it doesn’t?

    • Actually it does. The Ruger folks approve the use of 5.56mm in it. I too cannot fathom the barrel markings, but it is proofed for the G.I. loads. As to accuracy, my 580 series stainless Ranch Rifle is plenty accurate, nailing palm sized targets at 100 yds offhand.

  1. Personally speaking, I wouldn’t be influenced in my choice of rifles by thoughts regarding which one might be less objectionable to Know Nothing Anti Gun Nuts,as respecting buying a rifle or a handgun fr that matter, I’m buying or not a piece of machinery, and am not influenced by someone’s guess about what might be acceptable or less objectionable to the above mentioned Know Nothing Anti Gun Nut types.

  2. The late models DO fire 5.56. I know because i have one. The book says “….223/5.56 Nato.”

  3. I have both, aRuger Mini 14 and a Bushmaster AR15. My Bushmaster fires both rounds but loses accuracy when firing a.223 round because its diameter tad smaller which affects accuracy. So why would you want to shot anything other less than a 5.56. My Mini 14 is all stainless but I purchased it with the wooden stock which makes it considerably heavier. I agree with the article that the Mini 14 looks more like a hunting rifle than my AR. My Mini is a very accurate and reliable addition to my collection. My Mini was my second firarm purchase, my first was my Ruger 1911 Comander .45 semi auto. I happen to Ruger’s, very well made firearms for the money and very accurate.

  4. 1. It used to be that mini-14’s were cheaper to buy, especially in bulk for police departments, than AR’s. so they got picked up on as a patrol carbine because the were handy and compact. And of course by the general bargain hunting weapon. But that’s where any ‘comparison’s ended. Not many, if any, PDs carry them anymore. And the knowledgeable gun shooter knows that now that decent ARs are not much over the price of a Ruger why waste your money?

    As a personal combat weapon it sucks in so many ways that I’m not wasting a long post to explain it. look it up if you want proof. The original .308 M-14 was also a POS weapon for anything other than a medium range sniper with fast repeat shots. But now, a slightly tricked AR with a heavier bullet or different round beats it hands down in pragmatic application in combat.

    And of course, those are some of the reasons no militaries or serious police agencies use them anymore, and neither should you. And i’m not talking from an armchair, I’ve used both in real time combat and police ‘activities’ and a mini-14 would be my last option only if there were nothing else. It took an inferior combat weapon and made it worse.

    • i have a mini 14 and i used a M14 in the Marine corps and in viet nam in both.

    • I was issued an M-14 in the Marine Corps in 1968. In 1970 I fired expert with it at Camp Pendleton and was invited to try out for the rifle team. Our final string of fire was from 600 yds using only iron sights. The M-14 was accurate out to this range and no one had a problem with it or its accuracy. It was very dependable and was only replaced by the M-16 because of its weight and the weight of the ammo. So tell me again why it was a POS???

      • No doubt..the m14 is a very good rifle..not a piece of shit like the one commentator..a lot of guys refused to to use the ar15..fucking total unreliable jamming death to the operator stuck with using it.The Marines
        especially hated the ar..since the Marines trains shooters and the Amy trains spray and get the heavy barrel on the m14 and it wins shooting comps all the damn time…what i’m trying to say here is mahatma,you are full of shit pal.

  5. A large number of us swore by the M-14 in Vietnam. It knocked things down, usually on the first try, and if it didn’t, you had another ready to go. The M-16 often needed full auto to bring things down. The M-14 also made a great club, and with a bayonet it made a pretty good spear. The one drawback to the M-14 was weight of the rifle and ammo, not the range since sniping was not a normal role of the M-14 in combat.

  6. I have been a military and police firearms instructor for More than 40 years and I have never been happy with a mini 14. Accuracy has always been lacking, magazine’s are harder to find as are repair parts. Configuration of the mini to individuals wants and needs is more difficult as is cost. Initially the mini is more expensive than a well laid out ar. So no thanks, I’ll keep my ar 15 and let Ruger keep the mini 14.

  7. I picked a Mini 30 over both peanut calibers!
    I loved my M-14 and it shot well, so looked hard at Ruger. AR weapons to many small parts to lose or break!
    Chose toe Mini 30– which IS legal to hunt with. Some States ban the smaller caliber as not enough stopping power for deer! 7.62×39 works fine!
    Ruger better than AK47s !

  8. I believe the AR’s handle more accessories, etc., but the Mini-14 is a well built gun, and performs flawlessly.

  9. Don’t know what year they started, but my mini will shoot 223 and 556 with out a problem and reaches out VERY Effectively!!!!!

  10. I’ve had both. Not a AR can by any account, but you can’t hit a bull in the butt with one. I own several of ol Bill’s guns, but the mini 14 was a serious piece of JUNK.

  11. had a M14 in viet nam 19666 and all the time i was in the usmc 1962-1968 .now i have a mini 14 love both

  12. I own both and I can honestly say that both are great weapons, the Ruger is most likely to survive a liberal government and is why I own both.. I have some great shooting range time with both and NEVER a issue with either, but to be honest I have taken a little more care in cleaning the mini then my AR. I do fear a misfire in the mini although never had one..

  13. Dean Halvorsen, just a quick note the 223 Remington is in fact the same exact bullet diameter as the 5.56mm. Both are .224 i.e. standard 22 caliber diameter. The difference in the chambering is that the 5.56 has a ten thousandths of an inch longer neck. This means 223 shell can fire in a 5.56 but SAAMI recommends against firing a 5.56 cartridge in a 223 chamber. Stated reason is it causes massive over pressure situation. Most reloading manuals will give you this info. My guess is that Ruger simply chambers to 5.56 specs therefore allowing the firing of both cartridges in their firearms, now.

  14. I had a friend who had an Ar for many years and he loved it. when we went shooting he would let me shoot it. It was ok but I really didn’t think it was that great. When I got my Mini 14 I let him shoot it. He was impressed with it so much that he sold his AR the next day and bought a Mini 14 and has not fired an AR again. As far as all the stuff you can put on an AR you can put that same stuff on a Mini if you get a synthetic stock. I’ll bet if you need all that stuff you probably need Viagra.

  15. As a retired Police officer and a Firearms instructor for 25 years, When I went to Rifle Instructor school, two officers had Ruger Mini 14’s. On the first day, Both rifles broke and had to be taken out of service. I had one myself, but never could get past where the safety was, and having to put my finger inside the trigger guard to release it. Too fearful of accidentily disconnecting the safety and an unintentional discharge.

  16. I am a Vietnam combat vet. that survived 11 engagements. I carried 3 different versions of the AR and I will have to say it almost cost me my life do to malfunctions. The CAR was the only one I didn’t have trouble with.
    The design of the bolt face in an AR has several locking lugs that must seat into the receiver to function. Any dirt or sand that gets into that area will cause a failure. Also any dirt in the chamber or on the ammo will cause a failure which was a real problem in “Nam. I don’t feel the AR is reliable when the chips are down and the lead is flying. I had 7 malfunctions in one fire fight. I own 2 Minis and I have never had a jam or malfunction of any kind. They are simple in design, and are reliable. When you’re life in on the line, you want the weapon that will work without problems in real combat conditions, and is relatively accurate. Most fire fights are within 100 yards. I’ ll bet my life on the Mini. And yes , it will eat both types of ammo without a problem..

  17. I have both the mini-14 and the mini-30. Both rifles have been extremely reliable, accurate and i have had zero problems with either one. My only gripe is on their very strict tolerances and the fact that they do need to be kept clean and well oiled (even oiled while at the range), or they tend to hand up while feeding rounds. I have both an AR-15 (Colt), and an AK-47 (Chech model) and they are more forgiving to the dust and dirt of the field, range, etc… With that being said, I personally would put up my mini-14 or mini-30 against the AR15 or the AK47 side by side any day!

Comments are closed.