Ruger Mini 14 Vs. AR-15

The Mini 14 and the AR 15 have some strong similarities. But does one have an advantage over the other? This is an excellent question that doesn’t really have a straight forward answer but we will give you all the facts so that you can make that decision for yourself.

First, what will you be using the weapon for? Target Shooting? Hunting? Or are you using it for more tactical applications? For the sake of this article we will be focusing more on the tactical aspect.

before you purchase any gun it is important to know the capabilities and limitations of that weapon system. I have highlighted major specifications below.

Ruger Mini 14

ruger Mini-14

Weight: Just under 7 lbs.

Length: 37.25 inches

Cartridge: .223 or NATO 5.56

Aftermarket parts / options: Limited

Price: $800


AR-15 (Mil-Spec)

ruger mini 14

Weight: Just under 7 lbs

Length: 29.75 inches (stock collapsed with standard 14.5″ barrel)

Cartridge: .223 or NATO 5.56

Aftermarket parts / options: Vast (will make your head spin)

Price: $1,000+


As you can see, the Ruger and the AR have a lot in common. They both fire the same caliber round so they are interchangeable in that sense. Because of this, the two rifles will also have similar ballistics with max effective ranges out to about 500 yards point target. Both rifles are very close in weight coming in at just under 7 lbs. This of course will vary depending on your setup.

Now for the differences. The AR-15 is 7.5 inches shorter when the buttstock is collapsed all the way down. From a tactical aspect, this is a significant advantage, especially if you’re working in tight spaces or inside buildings and urban environments.

The AR 15 also has almost limitless options and aftermarket parts. All of the parts on an AR are interchangeable with the M4 and M16 that the military uses which is an advantage in a post end of the world scenario. The AR15 is extremely popular and there are countless aftermarket suppliers. You can modify these weapons any way you see fit with lights, lasers, optics of every variety, etc. You can even swap out upper receivers that have different barrel sizes for different shooting applications. Your options are limitless. Hands down, the AR wins in this category.

Lastly, we get to price. The Ruger typically runs about $800 new for a standard model but you might be able to save a few bucks on A true Mil-spec AR-15 is typically going to cost you at least 1,000 bucks but you can easily spend $1,500-$1,700 to get what you want. I always recommend Bravo Company for AR’s, their manufacturing process is top-notch and they are a leader in the industry. All of my AR’s are from Bravo Company.

A cheaper and better option in my opinion is to build your own AR15. This will save you a little money and the end result is a rifle exactly the way you want it totally customized to you. If you’re interested in this option, check

So my conclusion is this… If your a simple man (or woman) with simple tastes, go with the Ruger. It’s a great rifle and it wont let you down. But if you’re a true tactical shooter, you absolutely must! have an AR15. No question about it.

Ruger Mini-14 Review

There are so many variations of assault rifles for sale on the market that it makes sense to do your due diligence before buying. The mini 14 is a great option if you hadn’t already considered it. It is a fairly small and lightweight semi-automatic rifle. No matter which version is chosen, it comes with a .223 Remington cartridge. Its cartridge is very similar to military cartridges, making it great for hunting or self-defense shooting. Its buff, action stock and wood design is interesting, as it looks and feels very close to military weapons used even prior to the Vietnam era.

The Rifle

The rifle itself is very lightweight, weighing just over six pounds on average. The weight depends upon the model and material. It typically comes out of the box with iron sights but can be fitted with optics if you so choose.

Girl with Ruger Mini 14This small little rifle fits well and is well balanced. To protect the shooter, the forward grip is set far enough back to avoid the heat from the gases and gas system. There is a rubber pad on the stock, which is great as it helps to reduce slippage.

The rifle is available in both plastic and wood grain. While the wood grain is beautiful, it does retain heat. The wood option would not be great for those using the gun as tactical defense weapon, as it will heat up quickly possibly burning the shooter. Both the wood and plastic versions fit well in the hands. There are also sling attachments which are placed near the end of the stock and underneath the gas block.


The Mini-14 uses a fixed gas piston system with no piston rod. It uses a rotating bolt, similar to the M1A. The rotating bolt recoils quickly and rotates, making it great for combat shooting. The gun is quite reliable, making it great outside in the dirt and mud.


Here is where a lot of complaints come in, as the Mini-14 only comes with a 5 round magazine. Even worse, that is the only magazine available directly from Ruger themselves. However, there are many aftermarket retailers which offer different magazines. These retailers can easily be found by searching Google.

While the 5 round magazine isn’t totally useless, it isn’t great for self-defense or combat shooting. The stock magaizne is perfectly acceptable for hunting though. In addition, the magazines are easy to load without failure.


In the end, the Ruger is a handy little rifle, especially with its affordability and quality. However, keep in mind that this gun is not really ideal for high-speed scenarios.

History & Facts of The Ruger Mini 14

Ruger Mini 14Developed by Ruger in 1974, the Mini 14 was modeled after the M-14 service rifle. The M-14 was the standard issue rifle for infantry troops until is was replaced by the M-16 during the Vietnam era.

The rifle is a Shoulder fired, gas operated, rotating bolt, semi-automatic carbine chambered in NATO 5.56mm. The non-target versions can also fire the civilian .223 Remington cartridge much like the mil-spec AR-15’s that are so popular today. the rifle is magazine fed and comes standard with iron sights although many optics may be attached.

The commonality of the ammo that this weapon system uses makes it very popular amongst small-game hunters, ranchers, law enforcement and security personnel.

Many people like the iron and wood feel of the Mini 14 over the plastic and polymer of todays AR weapon systems. Taking into consideration that you can shoot the same ammo in either one however, there is no reason why you can’t have both.

Today there are different variants of the Mini 14 some of which are much more modernized for tactical applications. you can also get the Mini-30 which is chambered in 7.62×39, the same ammo used by SKS and Ak platforms. The great thing about the Mini-30 is that ammo is widely available and is cheap, cheap, cheap… For now at least.

Both the Mini 14 and the Mini 30 can be found with bolt action only although only a small number were manufactured and are very rare. Ruger also makes the Mini 6.8 which fires 6.8mm ammunition but I wouldn’t recommend buying weapons with such odd calibers.

Regardless of what you choose, Ruger makes a great weapon and the Mini 14 is no exception. The ranch models can be had for about 900 bucks but you can find them used or on sites like for cheaper.

You can also find a lot of aftermarket accessories for this gun which include various optics,   fixed and folding stocks, extended magazines, flash suppressors, bipods, etc, etc. Accessories are great and they make the rifle as well as the shooter more adaptable but many people take it too far. Just remember to keep it as simple as possible

A quick Google search will yield plenty of retailers where you can buy such parts. One of my favorite places to buy weapons and parts online is at I’ll always shop around for the best deal but cheaper than dirt has a great reputation and they have never steered me wrong.