How to Set Up Your AR | AR Setup and AR Accessories

If you have ever gone to a major gun show, NRA show, or to the huge SHOT Show; then you have seen literally hundreds of booths by companies all claiming to have the “Latest and Greatest” weapons and accessories for you to spend your hard-earned money on. Every one of those booths has something “New” and “Better” than the same thing that they were selling last year. Don’t get me wrong; every company out there has to come up with some “new” product every show. So, basically, we have hundreds of “new” items there that looked just like last year’s “new” items. 

My point: New doesn’t mean better. Stick to gear that has a proven track record. Keep it simple. Keep it light. Keep it the best quality that you can afford.

VIDEO: Want to know the best way to set up your AR? You don’t have to upgrade to this year’s “latest and greatest.” I had it taught to me, year’s back, that “you don’t need a new gun until you can out-shoot the one in your hands.” Do you really need a gun that’s capable of .25 MOA groups when you (as a shooter) are only capable of shooting 2 MOA groups? Do you really need this year’s “fastest Shotgun” when you drop half the shotgun shells while loading on the move in a 3-gun competition? Master what you have. When you can outperform your gear; then you upgrade. 

The hot weapon out right now is the “AR” family of rifles. Again, there are hundreds of choices. So, which should I pick? I appreciate you asking. I spent over 26 years in the military, most of that in SOF units, behind a “AR style” M-16 or M-4 Carbine. I had the honor of serving in units that had the latitude to pick and choose accessories (so long as they were MilSpec) and got to try most optics and accessories under the sun. Some are good and some are great; others, not so much.

Which AR to Buy

Let’s start with what rifle to buy.  You don’t have to own one of everything. I would rather own one type of weapon system and shoot thousands of rounds through it, than own twenty different types of weapons and only shoot a few hundred rounds through each type. Where’s the muscle memory or good shooting habits? Which one would be more proficient with the gun in their hand? So, for me; let’s get an AR. 

Quality of the AR

Now, all ARs are not created Equal. That said, you don’t have to buy the most expensive rifle either. The most important factor for me is that the rifle has got to be reliable. It has to go “Bang” everytime I pull the trigger. In the middle of a shooting competition, if your rifle jams, that could be the difference with 10th and 50th place; not that big a deal. However, in combat, you have got to win that fight. If your rifle screws up in the middle of a room, the other guy is not going to just stand there while you try to fix it, and he is not going to miss from only 10 feet away. You came in second place, because you skimped on reliability; good job. Your family members will be proud of you for saving them that hundred dollars, but would rather have you around than a less than ideal rifle.

AR Accuracy 

Second, I want a rifle capable of delivering accurate shots. This is important to me because I have a military sniper’s background, and I teach Precision Rifle courses to LE/Military and civilians alike. I also live on 63 acres of rolling hills. Just ask the deer eating apples in my orchard how accurate my weapons are. We can discuss it while we eat venison burgers. If you live in a small apartment, then long-range accuracy isn’t that important. 

AR Optics 

Third, is you have to be able to hit where you are aiming. That means you need Iron Sights and/or an optic like a reddot scope. You might notice I said “Iron Sights” before I mentioned optics. That is because I believe all new shooters should first master Iron Sights and also that Iron Sights won’t run out of batteries, like some optics will. That said, there is a reason all SOF units run optics on their rifles. They are a great force multiplier; helping to deliver faster, more accurate shots, under stress when it really matters. So, master the Irons; but then invest in a good MilSpec Optic. I’m often asked which brand I recommend… again, get MilSpec and buy the best optic you can afford.

Lights for an AR

Fourth, you need a visible light on your rifle. Why? Well, for my old unit, 90% of our raids and combat ops were during hours of limited visibility. One op that was during the day, was on the second floor of a 400-room apartment building which had the power cut off a month earlier. Even during the day, it was dark as spades in there. You have to be able to identify is it a “Threat, not a Threat, or a Threat that warrants Deadly Force.” So, a good visible weapon light is high on my list. It has to be something that can handle the blast from the muzzle. Again, there are lots of great brands out there, like Surefire and Streamlight. I recommend you get one that has an “instant on” feature; don’t leave it turned on, as it gives away your position. 

Other AR Accessories 

That’s it. I add a sling, as I have trained to transition to my pistol, if my rifle goes down. However, you’ll notice that I haven’t listed all the other dozens of items that we often see people adding to their guns, just because they look “Cool” on TV. If your mission requires it, like IR illuminators or Suppressors, then add it; but understand that every ounce you add is one more ounce that is going to slow down your presentation during a gunfight. Ounces add up to pounds; and pounds add up to slower response times. 

What about the next gun show?  You don’t have to upgrade to this year’s “latest and greatest.” I had it taught to me, year’s back, that “you don’t need a new gun until you can out-shoot the one in your hands.” Do you really need a gun that’s capable of .25 MOA groups when you (as a shooter) are only capable of shooting 2 MOA groups? Do you really need this year’s “fastest Shotgun” when you drop half the shotgun shells while loading on the move in a 3-gun competition? Master what you have. When you can outperform your gear; then you upgrade. 

So, again, keep it simple. Look at your mission; what do you actually want to use your AR rifle for? Then, spend your hard-earned cash on the best quality gear you can afford, that supports what you are actually going to use it for. You can buy all the bells and whistles and make yourself a ten pound rifle that looks great sitting on the shelf. Or, you can be that guy with the slick lightweight blaster, fast as hell, outshooting everyone else on the range.  Your choice. 

I hope you enjoyed the video. We put out a new Tactical Rifleman video every Friday. Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you next time.

Strength & Honor, TR.

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Are Integral Suppressors Worth the Hype?

Recently, suppressors have found their share of the spotlight in the shooting community. Firearm enthusiasts are outfitting more and more rifles with sound suppressors, or silencers as the government terms them. According to the ATF there are nearly 1 million legal suppressors in circulation in America today. The market for rifle customization has skyrocketed in recent years, and the number of accessory manufacturers has grown right alongside the trend for custom rifles and parts. Adding a suppressor to your rifle takes a little more than just a threaded barrel, there are details to consider in regards to the type of suppressor, the law, and the rifle itself. In fact, a threaded barrel might not even be required as you’ll learn in this discussion of integral suppressors.

Types of Rifle Suppressors

There are three types of suppressors on the market today. Most shooters and people familiar with the firearm industry will quickly identify the most common, the screw on suppressor.

• Screw On Suppressor-
Screw on suppressors are easy to add onto a threaded barrel, and are commonly available in most mainstream centerfire and rimfire calibers. Adding a screw on suppressor onto the popular AR-15 rifle, a bolt action rifle, or even a semi automatic pistol requires a threaded barrel, a compatible bore size, and an ATF stamp.

• Quick Attach Suppressor-
Another type of suppressor available for shooters today is the quick attach suppressor. Quick attach suppressors use a type of either locking or non-locking adaptor or muzzle break that threads onto the rifle barrel. The greatest advantage to using quick attach suppressors is the ability to swap a shooting suppressor between rifles that are not threaded the same. You will often find shooters who are running a 7.62mm suppressor on their 5.56mm rifle are using a quick attach system. Quick attach suppressors still require a threaded barrel for the adaptor to screw to, and the suppressor attaches to the adaptor. Another advantage to the locking quick attach suppressor setup is its ability to prevent the suppressor from coming unscrewed when doing high volume shooting, an issue that occurs with screw on type suppressors.

• Integral Suppressor-
One type of suppressor that is a totally new look and idea compared to the screw on and quick attach suppressor is the integral suppressor. Integral suppressors utilize sound suppression technology built directly into the rifle barrel. Choosing to shoot an integral suppressor requires you to either purchase an integrally suppressed rifle to start with, or to buy an integrally suppressed barrel for a rifle you already own. The idea of an integrally suppressed rifle barrel is gaining some traction in the shooting world, and for good reason. Technically, dropping an integrally suppressed upper into an AR-15 or a factory suppressed barrel from Ruger into your 10-22 is easy to accomplish. So here is a look at what the hype is all about.

Integral Suppressor Considerations


Accuracy –
Integral suppressors offer improved accuracy over their screw on and quick attach cousins. Integral suppressors typically keep the weight of the suppressor technology balanced across the barrel and not hanging out over the end of the barrel on the muzzle, making for a balanced rifle that is easier to get on and keep on target. Because the suppressor is built into the rifle barrel, there is no impact shift to contend with. Impact shift is a concern when removing or adding a screw on or quick attach suppressor. Taking a suppressor on or off a rifle or pistol commonly changes the point of impact requiring zeroing a scope, tuning a red dot, or adjusting iron sights everytime you go from suppressed to not and back again.

Because integral suppressors incorporate the sound suppression technology into the barrel without adding bulk and mass to the end of the muzzle, there are no issues with optics and sights being blocked. When mounting a scope or optical rail system onto a rifle with integral suppression, scope rings can be kept low to aid in optimal eye relief and accuracy.

Since the suppressor is actually built into the barrel on integrally suppressed firearms, manufacturers are able to make rifles shorter, lighter, and better handling than removable suppressors with the same DB reduction. Ergonomics are improved when the suppressor is built into the rifle on purpose. Handling, feel, and ease of use are improved with integrally suppressed firearms compared to detachable type suppressed weapons.

Heat Protection-
Heat buildup in a rifle suppressor is an issue that is common especially when running semi auto rifles with larger capacity magazines. In either .22 rimfire, 5.56 AR-15, or in higher powered AR-10, high volume shooting and rapid fire will overheat a detachable suppressor. Integral suppressors are not immune for heat buildup, but they can take considerably more rapid fire. Integral suppressors are able to dissipate heat more efficiently than detachable suppressors, many even have built in heat protection in their design.


It’s apparent that integral suppressors have many advantages over removable firearm suppressors. With so many reasons to choose an integral suppressor, why are they not as common among shooters? There are some disadvantages to consider when investigating integrally suppressed rifles.

Legal Issues-
Each suppressor a shooter owns requires a $200 federal tax stamp issued through the ATF. The biggest advantage to removable suppressors is the ability to use a single suppressor on multiple weapons. Generally, integral suppressors do not lend themselves to sharing between guns, and each integrally suppressed firearm requires its own $200 stamp. The legal requirement of a $200 stamp for each suppressor owned essentially increases the cost of any integrally suppressed firearm by $200.

Suppressed barrels on integrally suppressed firearms have a unique serial number identifying the issued tax stamp for that suppressor. If a barrel becomes damaged or worn out, shooters can’t just drop in a new suppressed barrel. If you must replace the serialized portion of your integrally suppressed weapon, the barrel, the replacement requires its own $200 stamp in addition to the cost of the new barrel and returning the firearm back to the manufacturer for repair or replacement.

Loaning Your Rifle-
Most states allow shooters to loan their personal firearms to other residents of the same state. It’s not uncommon for an uncle or grandpa to loan a deer rifle for the season, or brothers or friends to borrow a rifle for a test drive before buying one of their own. Loaning of suppressors, or silencers is prohibited by federal law. Loaning, or borrowing a suppressor, either integrated or detachable is a federal offense.

Putting it All Together

Sound suppressed firearms offer shooters an alternative to risking tinnitus and hearing loss due to loud recoil. The use of a suppressor not only makes shooting more enjoyable, but safer for the shooters and others at the range as well. The largest disadvantage to running a sound suppressor of any type is the legal cost and wait period. Integral suppressors seem to compound the legal issue by tying the firearm itself to the suppressor serial number, tax, and form.

There is a movement in the shooting community to ease the burden of owning a suppressor through legislation and the Federal Hearing Protection Act. The hope is suppressors will be deregulated from the 1934 National Firearms Act and treated as simply an accessory to a firearm. Getting traction in congress and momentum to get a bill passed is not easy or fast. If shooters are successful in helping to pass common sense firearm suppressor legislation, the issues surrounding an integral suppressor for your rifle may be a thing of the past.

Pistol Stabilizing Braces

There are only a few achievements in the firearm industry that can truly be considered revolutionary. Most of the time these items are fads and only popular at the time they were invented. However, some are so game-changing they rock the industry so much that it changes federal policy for the good. One such example is the pistol stabilizing brace. Specifically the SB Tactical stabilizing brace.

Just a mere six years ago large pistols like that AR-15 pistol were a niche within a niche. Less than a handful of manufacturers made AR-15 pistols. They were not well received simply due to the fact that they were difficult to shoot. Sure you could add a stock after you filed Form 1 along with a passport photo and a copy of your fingerprints to the ATF. Oh and don’t forget the $200 dollars in taxes you need to pay for your Tax Stamp. Then you wait several months for the ATF to approve your request to put a stock on your pistol. Now you have a registered Short Barreled Rifle (SBR). Sure the Tax Stamp is an inconvenience and the cost is considered prohibitive to some, while some people have issue with submitting and requesting the federal government for anything. So unless you wanted to spend the money SBRing your AR-15 pistol, they are relegated to range toy status.

SB Tactical’s Alex Bosco

Well at the same time USMC and Army veteran Alex Bosco returned to the States. He went to a shooting range with a disabled combat veteran. This veteran had difficulty controlling the firearm they were shooting. There had to be a better way. That is when Alex came up with the pistol stabilizing brace. It was a rubber like material that slides over a pistol buffer tube. There are two wings that straddle the shooter’s forearm and a velcro strap secures the brace. Without the brace holding an AR pistol with one hand is awkward. The balance is terrible and most of the weight is past your hand. The brace helps carry this weight on your forearm.

Alex founded SB Tactical and submitted his pistol stabilizing brace to the ATF to make sure it does not alter the pistol. Remember, adding a stock to a pistol makes it an SBR and without the approval and tax stamp, it is a felony to make them. ATF evaluated the pistol stabilizing brace and approved it. Since it was made of a soft material it was not suitable for shouldering and therefor was not considered a stock.

In 2013, with his ATF approval letter, Alex shopped the stabilizing brace to various firearm manufacturers. The first two companies to adopt the pistol stabilizing brace was Century Arms International and SIG Sauer. Century Arms International use of the brace was not as well-known as SIG Sauer. SIG launched their line of SIG AR pistols with the infamous “SIG Brace”. For years people assumed SB of SB Tactical stood for SIG Brace.

In March 2014, the ATF issued a second letter stating that “for the following reasons, we have determined that firing a pistol from the shoulder would not cause the pistol to be reclassified as an SBR: FTB classifies weapons based on their physical design characteristics. While usage/functionality of the weapon does influence the intended design, it is not the sole criterion for determining the classification of a weapon. Generally speaking, we do not classify weapons based on how an individual uses a weapon.”

This is when a paradigm shift occurs in the firearm industry. The floodgates open and nearly every manufacturer of AR-15 starts rolling out their own version of an AR pistol. Of course stabilizing braces were not exclusive to AR style firearms. SB Tactical made a brace for AK pistols as well as braces for HK and CZ firearms.

Shouldering the Brace

Everything seemed to be going great until too many people submitted questions to the ATF about shouldering a brace. Then in 2015 ATF issued an OPEN LETTER about the use of a stabilizing brace as a shoulder stock. They issued this letter just before SHOT Show in January 2015 that resulted in widespread confusion and legal concerns in the firearms industry. The letter stated that, “the pistol stabilizing brace was neither ‘designed’ nor approved to be used as a shoulder stock, and therefore use as a shoulder stock constitutes a ‘redesign’ of the device because a possessor has changed the very function of the item.”

2015 and 2016 were dark times for the brace industry. A couple of competitors had entered the market and while they have received their own approval letters for their designs, they do not have the same language as SB Tactical’s approval letters. The OPEN LETTER was addressed to the public. Whereas approval letters only apply to the specific entity mentioned within. There was some confusion at the time. Some competitors tried to distance themselves from the OPEN LETTER stating that “Stabilizing Brace” mentioned in the letter does not apply to them as that corresponds directly to SB Tactical. Far from the truth.

For 2 years after the OPEN LETTER, Alex Bosco spent a significant amount of personal time and money on lawyers to clarify the OPEN LETTER with the ATF Firearms Technology Branch (FTB). The FTB are the guys in charge of making the decisions that make up the OPEN LETTER. They have to be the ones to clearly define what makes a pistol and what makes a rifle. Two years SB Tactical and their layers went back and forth with the ATF and to their credit, a miraculous event occurred. After further review of their products in March 2017, the ATF issued a private letter to SB Tactical that their previous 2015 interpretations were incorrect.

Stabilizing Braces in the Present

It is now over a year later and the world of stabilizing braces is going strong. As mentioned earlier, there is only a handful of industry changing accessories that are so amazing that they dominate the market. Almost every firearm manufacturer offers a product with a brace. In some cases, the brace has led and influenced firearm development. It opened the market to many new options of firearms that might not have been made or imported. Pistols can be imported into the US without needing 922R compliance. This is not the case regarding rifles.

The CZ Scorpion Evo 3, The H&K SP5K (civilian version of their MP5K) and even the CZ Bren pistol have become extremely popular. However, they would not be as popular if they did not have a brace option. SB Tactical makes dedicated braces for those weapon systems.

Their latest brace, the SBA3 is a five-position adjustable brace that is a hybrid of polymer and rubber. It comes with a Mil-Spec carbine buffer tube so you can install it on your pistol AR-15 of choice. Normally Mil-Spec carbine buffer tubes have six positions but due to the length set by the ATF regarding braces, the SBA3 does not use the sixth position, therefore, it stays within the legal limit of braces.

The industry would be stagnant if it were not for the hard-earned groundwork that SB-Tactical laid out in the past six years. We would not have seen the industry explode with pistol ARs and other large frame pistols if it were not for them.

Sporting Goods Store Destroying Assault-Style Weapons

Feature and Original Post Here: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

When a retailer closes its door to selling a manufacturer’s products the process is to usually return unsold merchandise. However, When Dick’s Sporting Goods decided to no longer sell assault-style rifles at its Field and Stream stores they decided they would destroy the merchandise.

“We are in the process of destroying all firearms and accessories that are no longer for sale as a result of our February 28th policy change,” a spokeswoman told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. This decision was made following the shooting at Parkland, Fla., high school. In addition Dick’s Sporting Goods plans to no longer sell high capacity magazines or sell firearms to anyone under 21 years old. This now has Dick’s facing two lawsuits for limiting firearm purchases by age.

The so called “assault-style weapons or rifles” is a term used to describe semi-automatic rifles with large magazines that were designed for combat and rapid fire use” – 1994 U.S. Department of Justice. These are also weapons described to feature a detachable magazine, pistol grips, and other accessories that make the rifle look like military rifles.

Read the full post here.

The AR-15 Versus the Mini-14

The short barrel carbine rifle is a remarkably popular rifle system with endless use cases and versatility. Rifles like the AR15, Mini30, Mini14, and AK47 offer adaptability at the range and in the field. While the AR15 is by far the most popular carbine rifle among shooters today, discerning shooters often consider other rifle platforms the industry offers. One rifle that has quite the following is the Mini14, a design steeped in tradition and birthed by the tried and proven M1 Garand. Comparing the Mini14 and AR15 platforms reveals many similarities and differences, confirming strengths and weaknesses one may have over the other. This article features a headtohead comparison between these two popular rifles.

The Case for the Mini14 

Jeff Cooper, perhaps the father of the modern rifle and pistol tactical techniques, said of the Mini-14: “It seems to me that the Mini-14 is a curiously successful marriage of the .30 US carbine and the .223 cartridge.  It will do everything the carbine would do, but better; and everything the M-16 will do, but better.” (Guns for Home Defense)


Introduced by Sturm, Ruger in 1973, the Mini-14 chambered in .223 caliber was called the Mini-14 because of its design based on a scaled-down version of the M14 rifle. Mechanically similar to the battle-proven M1 Garand the Mini-14 is built with a self-cleaning, fixed-piston gas system.  Featuring an adjustable ghost ring iron sight and detachable box magazines, the Mini-14 is produced in a variety of models, the most popular being the ranch rifle. Outfitted with either wood or plastic traditional style stocks in blued and stainless finish, the Mini-14 ranch rifle is a handy fast action reliable carbine.   

The Mini-14 has found a loyal following with shooters who have experience shooting the M1, M14, and M1A, and appreciate the design in the .223 caliber. The Garand rifle platform was said by General Patton, “In my opinion, the M1 rifle is the greatest battle implement ever devised.”  In the hands of a rifleman, the Mini-14 is a powerful, tough and proven rifle capable of many functions across use cases; including home defense, tactical, and sporting. 

The Case for the AR15 

Developed by Armalite in 1956, the AR platform was developed in hopes of fulfilling a US military contract. Armalite was not selected for the military contract and sold the platform to Colt Manufacturing. Colt developed the platform for the civilian rifle market and the most popular carbine platform in America was born. 

Easily the most adaptable, flexible, and versatile rifle platform ever devised; the AR-15 is modular in nature, allowing for customization with an endless array of aftermarket components.  Built on synthetic stocks, grips, and rails the AR-15 has become known as the “black rifle” because of its similarity in appearance to the military issue M 16. Many non-shooters mistakenly classify the AR-15 as a non-civilian grade rifle simply because of its appearance.   

Accurate and capable, the lightweight carbine AR-15 rifle is produced by many arms makers in many configurations for defense, sporting, and tactical use. Versatile enough for long range and excellent for in close tactical shooting, the AR-15 has proven itself as the modern sporting rifle of the day. 


The fact is that many shooters have already made up their minds concerning which platform is better than the other when it comes to the AR-15 versus the Mini-14. However, this decision most likely was made without considering all the factors. Brand loyalty runs deep in the firearms world, so it’ll take a high-level view between the two platforms to leave the opinions at home. 

Pros for the Mini-14  

  • Perception – The Mini-14 is considered a “safe” rifle in most states with strict gun laws. Unfortunately, many states have laws restricting the possession of AR-15 rifles. If you live, work, or travel in one of these states, a Mini-14 ranch rifle with a wooden stock and a 5 or 10 round magazine might be the solution. The look of a wooden stock on a sporting rifle is easier to digest for many non-shooting folks, it looks like Grandpa’s bolt gun. 

Unfortunately, there is a large debate surrounding the AR-15 and its possession  as a legal rifle, most being caused simply by the appearance of the gun. Be sure to know your local laws pertaining to owning a carbine before deciding on which carbine is right for you.      

  • Stock Trigger – The Mini-14 by Sturm Ruger is manufactured with an exceptional trigger when it comes to carbines. Shooters know that a quality trigger is a vital part of accuracy. The trigger group on the Mini-14 is not easily swapped or adjusted, thankfully Ruger equips the rifle with a quality trigger. 

Generally speaking, the trigger group on stock AR-15 rifles are not that impressive. With that in mind, upgrading the trigger on your AR-15 is easy to do, but at a cost.

  • Piston Operation – The fixed gas piston system used in the Mini 14, based on the M1 Garand, is cleaner and more efficient than the direct impingement action typically used in the AR 15 platform.  This feature leads to a cleaner running rifle with less fouling and jamming in the Mini 14 than the AR 15.  The Mini 14 is not equipped with a forward bolt assist, because it doesn’t need one. 

AR-15 carbines have a reputation of being finicky with issues like short stroking and ejection failures. The direct impingement action in the AR-15 platform is more likely to see jamming issues than the Mini-14 action. 

  • Low Profile – The Mini-14 rifle has a lower profile compared to the AR-15 design. The low profile composition allows for lower mounted optics, and for a traditional “hunting rifle look”. 

AR-15 rifles are built with a higher profile, options like pistol grips and flat top rails create a higher profile. The raised profile of the AR-15 rifle makes mounting optics interesting, and gives the rifle more of a tactical look. 

  • Cold Hammer Forged Barrel – Sturm Ruger outfits their Mini-14 rifles with an extremely durable forged barrel from the factory. The durability of a cold hammered barrel cannot be beaten. The end result of the cold hammered forged barrel is longer barrel life. 

Most AR-15 rifle platforms come standard with pencil barrels. Lighter weight factory barrels are not as durable as the forged barrel standard on the Mini-14.  AR-15 barrels are easy to swap and upgrade, but again, at an added expense. 

Pros for the AR15  

  • Accessories and Customizing – The greatest advantage of the AR-15 over any other rifle system is its ability to be easily customized.  The interchangeable nature of the AR-15 makes for a rifle platform that is totally customizable and adaptable. This coupled with the popularity of AR-15 rifles has driven an explosion in the market around AR accessories and options for customizing your AR.  From AR optics to stocks, slings, barrels, foregrips, and heat shields, there are countless options for customizing your AR-15. 

The Mini-14 platform does not lend itself to added accessories or customizing.  The Mini-14 carbine rifle is only produced by Sturm Ruger, limiting the production of aftermarket options for the rifle. 

  • Accuracy – Stemming from the availability of quality accessories and customizing parts, the AR-15 can be made to produce extreme accuracy.  With all things being equal in consideration of ammunition and range conditions, expect greater accuracy from an AR-15 over the Mini-14. 

The largest complaint and shortcoming of the Mini-14 rifle is accuracy. Designed to be used as a varmint style ranch rifle, the Mini-14 has respectable accuracy inside of 200 yards, but don’t expect it to perform like a bench rest rifle. 

  • Magazine Availability – Because of the fantastic popularity of the AR-15 rifle, there are legions of companies building and selling magazines for the AR. If you plan to keep a healthy stock of mags for your rifle at a decent price, then the AR-15 is for you.

The Ruger Mini-14 does not have the circulation of the AR-15 platform and you’re much less likely to find as many options when it comes to price and variety for the Mini-14 magazines.

  • Options with Manufacturers – Colt’s patent on the AR platform expired in 1977 opening the market to all manufacturers. The number of companies selling the AR-15 rifle platform and rifles based on its design is too hard to define.  From traditional arms companies like Remington to tactical rifle companies like Bushmaster, the AR-15 market is full of various gun builders all competing for your business. 

The only manufacturer of the Mini 14 platform is Sturm Ruger. Consider that even though Ruger makes the Mini-14, they also produce a line of AR-15 rifles. 

The debate between the Mini-14 versus AR-15 rifles is one based on both personal preference and use case. Both systems have their pros and cons, and their die-hard followers as well.  Shooting either rifle at the range or on the hunt is enjoyable and fulfilling. At the end of the day, maybe it’s best if you decide which you should own by shooting and testing both.