The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate – Part 3 of 3

A Team Mini-14 Ruger Rifle People Hate

In part two we looked at some of the places the Mini-14 has found its way into service over the years. There are three more worthy of note. Let’s take a look.


The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

The Rugers were purchased to replace the odd assortment of SMGs the CRS had floating around after WWII. With the military replacing the MAS-49/56 and adopting the FAMAS in 5.56x45mm. The French National Police needed something in the same chambering.

The Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité had a special contract drawn up with Ruger and adopted the Mini-14 as the Mousqueton AMD.

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

The contract specified that a Mini-14 with a 18 inch barrel be made for the French National Police with a checkered walnut stock, non slip rubber butt pad, M1 carbine-style oiler/sling mount, and different markings on the receiver heel.

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

The CRS are reserves for the Franch National Police. They’re primarily involved in general security missions, but they’re best known for crowd and riot control.

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

In January 2009, the French Government implemented a rapprochement (“bringing together”) of the police and the gendarmerie. While this policy falls short of a complete merger, as the gendarmes have kept their military status (while the CRS are a highly unionized civilian body), this has led to more commonality in terms of equipment for the two forces.

Additionally, the Mini-14 isn’t to be replaced and is to be kept in service since that frees up other rifles like the FAMAS and HK G36 for more front-line police units.

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

The CRS has been called out due to numerous terrorist incidents over the years and have taken part in manhunts and security missions that have resulted from terror attacks.


Once a colony of France, Haiti has had a torturous past of revolution, conflict, and violence. In 1991, General Raoul Cedras overthrew the elected president and placed himself into power after staging a coup d’état against Jean-Bertrand Aristide. From 1991 to 1994, he ruled Haiti as it’s de facto leader until the US removed him during Operation Uphold Democracy.  With US Armed Forces staged in Puerto Rico and southern Florida; an airborne invasion was launched. Spearheaded by elements of the Joint Special Operations Command like the 75th Ranger Regiment, followed by 3rd Special Forces Group (Green Berets), the US Army 7th Transportation Group, and the 10th Mountain Division. The US removed General Cedras from power.

US Troops in Haiti during Operation Uphold Democracy

During this operation, the Haitian Armed Forces was disbanded and the Haitian National Police was formed in 1995 to replace it.

Since that time, the National Police has been tasked with being the primary organization for the security of Haiti’s national sovereignty and enforcement of law and order.  The National Police has numerous units including SWAT Teams, which uses the Israeli Galil as their primary rifle.

Haitian SWAT training with USMC

But the regular patrol officers carry stainless 580 Series Ruger Mini-14s in polymer stocks. A good choice actually for the humid environments of Haiti.

The National Police especially put those Mini-14s into good use after the 2010 Earthquake.


Until 2009, the Civil Police of the State of Minas Gerais had a special tactics unit called the Grupo De Resposta Especial (Special Response Group). the GRE was tasked with special police operations under the State Department of Special Operations. 

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

Developed by the Civil Police a SWAT-type unit, the GRE had a staff of thirty agents, access to twenty-five vehicles, and a helicopter, and was equipped with small weapons such as the FAMAE SAF SMG, IMBEL M964A1 FAL, the Itajubá Model 968 Mosquefal. And, of course, the Ruger Mini-14.

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

The GRE was abolished in 2009 after policies adopted by the Civil Government of Minas Gerais changed the makeup and mission of the Civil Police. The Ruger Mini-14 has served and continues to serve the group. It’s seen service in the Caribbean, North America, Europe, Africa, and Latin America. Though it’s been outpaced by the AR-15. It isn’t outclassed for today’s civil needs.

United States of America

The Ruger Mini-14 has served various law enforcement agencies across the US in one form or another. Two of the more famous ones are the New York City Police Department and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

Here we have officers using Mini-14s in force-on-force training at the Rodmans Neck Fire Range in the Bronx, NY.

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

These are members of the NYPD Emergency Service Unit in firearm quals at the Rodmans Neck Fire Range in the Bronx, NY.

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

NYPD ESU out on the streets with both a Mini-14 and a AR-15.

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

But now let’s look at one of the biggest current users of the Mini-14, The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. The story of how the San Bernardino Sheriff came to use the Mini-14 started with the Norco Shootout of 1980.

The Norco shootout was an armed confrontation between five heavily armed bank robbers and deputies of the Riverside County and San Bernardino County sheriffs’ epartments in Norco, California on May 9, 1980. Two of the five perpetrators and one sheriff’s deputy were killed, nine other law enforcement officers were wounded, and gunfire damaged at least 30 police cars and one police helicopter.

At approximately 3:40 p.m., five men armed with shotguns, an AR-15, an HK91, an HK93, handguns, and an improvised explosive device robbed the Norco branch of Security Pacific Bank. Deputies of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department responding to the bank robbery call confronted the perpetrators outside the bank and a shootout ensued, killing one perpetrator. The perpetrators then stole a vehicle in the bank parking lot and fled the scene, leading police on a 25-mile car chase into neighboring San Bernardino County.

Riverside County deputies were joined in the pursuit by officers of other area law enforcement agencies, including the California Highway Patrol and San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. The perpetrators then ambushed the pursuing deputies and engaged them in another shootout in unincorporated San Bernardino County near Lytle Creek before escaping into a wooded area in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains.

The day after the Norco Shootout, Sheriff Frank Bland ordered as many Mini-14s from Ruger as they could and had them flown to San Bernardino on a private plane to better equip his deputies.

Two days later, three of the four surviving perpetrators were arrested in the area of the ambush; the fourth was killed by police. The three who were arrested were convicted of 46 felonies and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

The San Bernardino Sheriff have been buying and issuing Mini-14s since then and was one of the first agencies in the US to equip itself with rifles at the patrol level.

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

San Bernardino Sheriff has continued to use the Mini-14 even when all surrounding agencies have moved to the AR-15. Some of the more famous responses featuring the Mini have been during the Christopher Dorner manhunt and the 2015 Farook and Malik terrorist attack.

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

Another noteworthy use of the Mini-14 was when Ammon Bundy and his militia took over and occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon. The Ruger was front and center.

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

I’ve owned and enjoyed them for years and they serve right alongside my other non AR-15 pattern rifles.

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate

Daewoo K2, Ruger Mini-14, Zastava M90NP, MSAR XM17-E4, and Kel-Tec SU-16C

The Mini-14 does a great job at punching paper and protecting the homestead, right alongside the others.

So stop hating on the Mini-14 and embrace your inner A-Team. You’ll be surprised at how well you might like one.

The Ruger Mini-14, A Rifle Folks Love to Hate A Team

Photography done by A. Valdes


  1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

    I regret having to sell my stainless ranch that had the stainless GB-type folder on it.

    I sold the folding stock separate on eBay and got $300 for it in 2002.

    Not particularly accurate, but the last 3 numbers of the serial number of the 176-series ranch rifle were 223…

    1. avatar Forward Assist says:

      Wow. Just wow. Not that I respect the Minin14 I the morning but I certainly respect the author for some serious research. I trust a book is in the works?

      But on to the snarky humor…

      I understand that the police chose the mini14 because it was less lethal because it fired only a small .22 caliber bullet as compared to the powerful and deadly AR15.

      1. avatar PUINSHER says:


        1. avatar BeoBear says:

          Guess in the rush to stab the all caps button and express your inner anger you didn’t actually read the comment. A failing common to angry folks so you’re forgiven.

  2. avatar Kevin says:

    Mr. Valdes, this was a very informative and enjoyable series of articles. Thank you very much, sir.

    I wonder if there are other “not so popular” firearms that might be candidates for similar series in the future?

  3. avatar Brandon says:

    Interesting that the closeup shot of the Mousqueton receiver doesn’t show a selector, but every other photo shows them carrying AC556’s with the selector.

  4. avatar DrewR says:

    Nice article, quite informative. I agree with Kevin, this would make a great series, and your picture above shows you already have some interesting contenders in the safe.

    I think it would be wise for Ruger to release some special edition Mini 14s in the variants mentioned in the article, maybe through Talo. I sure wouldn’t mind having one of the French style ones.

  5. avatar Dave Lewis says:

    I bought a Mini-30 (186 series serial number) back in the late 1980s that was intended as a mild recoil deer rifle for my teen aged son. A year or two later he bought himself a Browning BAR semi auto in -06 so the recoil concerns went away pretty quickly. I kept the Mini and it sits in my safe as my only rifle that fires 7.62×39. One never knows. It feeds the cheap steel case Russian ammunition but I’d much rather shoot reloadable brass case ammo. Even the Privi stuff that Academy sells under their logo isn’t all that bad. If I can do 3-4″ at 100 yards with good hand loads I’m having an excellent day.

    I’ve shot Mini 14s quite a number of times although I’ve never owned one. They were very popular in law enforcement when I started with the sheriff in 1991 and stayed in service for at least 10 more years in my part of the world. I know that Mini 14s were issued by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma prisons, and several other state agencies. A number of PDs and sheriffs departments (including my agency) allowed their officers to carry privately purchased Mini 14s following appropriate training and qualification. These days almost all of the Minis have been replaced by DOD surplus M-16s – and some still have the giggle switch – or semi auto AR15s (department issue or private purchase).

    Some people have asked why Ruger never made a .308 version of the Mini 14. Back in the early to mid 80s Ruger worked on such a project and showed some prototypes of a .308 Mini. The working name for the rifle was the X-GI (X as in experimental or X as in EX or former?). I have an old Gun Digest from that era with an advertisement for the rifle, so you know that Ruger was getting pretty serious. The X-GI never went into production. I understand that Ruger just couldn’t make a receiver in that frame size that would handle the power of a .308. Somebody claimed that it would probably have been okay with commercial ammunition, but there were many hot military surplus out there that would have blown the rifle up. I don’t know how true that is as I’m going by 30 year old memories and equally as old internet rumors. Anyway the reason for the Mini 30 was Ruger’s desire to build a rifle on the Mini platform that could legally be used for white tail deer in almost all states. Given today’s metallurgy I think that Ruger could take another shot at the X-GI but I don’t know if there’s really a market for such a rifle except for the one they’d sell to me.

    My biggest gripe about the Minis’ today is the price. You can buy a pretty decent AR that takes $10 or $12 Magpul magazines, a supply of spare magazines, and a hundred rounds of ammunition for the cost of a Mini 14. A wooden stock Mini 14 is legal in a few areas where the ARs aren’t and it won’t cause the snowflakes to wet their panties so maybe the Mini still has some advantages

    1. avatar Tim says:

      Apologies for the copy/paste from my post on part 1/3, but watch the firing pin if you’re shooting too much Russian 7.62×39. I learned the hard way that the primers on the Russian ammo were harder (to prevent slamfires on SKS/AK) and would peen and mushroom and eventually break the firing pin.

      An $8 part on an AR, but on a Mini-30, that’s a trip back to the factory for the whole rifle

      1. avatar BLAMMO says:

        I think you can just send back the bolt. And they probably won’t charge you anything except your one-way shipping.

        Yeah, Ruger won’t sell you a firing pin, so you have to keep a complete spare bolt on hand if you can’t tolerate the down-time on the rifle. A $100 spare vs. a $10 spare (AR firing pin).

    2. avatar CarlosT says:

      This would isn’t intended as snark: isn’t a .308 version of the Mini-14 an M1A?

    3. avatar Risky says:

      “Somebody claimed that it would probably have been okay with commercial ammunition, but there were many hot military surplus out there that would have blown the rifle up. I don’t know how true that is as I’m going by 30 year old memories and equally as old internet rumors.”

      Definitely rumor. Commercial .308 Winchester is rated for higher pressure than military 7.62x51mm. There’s simply no such thing as “hot” 7.62 NATO like there is 5.56 NATO and 9mm NATO. Commercial ammo is what blows up 7.62 milsurps and not the other way around.

  6. avatar yolo says:

    At my local range we got this guy who shoots a few mini-14s in various calibers I believe I don’t know all of the designations he even has one in 300 blackout. He loves that ruger.

    He also always wears these really short khakis that go 6 inches above his knee. He must be ex-rhodesia or something.

    After he’s done shooting he always goes down the line and gives everyone who happens to be shooting a big pinch or slap in the butt and asks if they are a straight shooter, then yells “yeehaw” or “yip yip yip”.

  7. avatar RCC says:

    Queensland police in Australia used to carry mini 14 ranch in stainless in gun case in boot of patrol cars in the 1980’s Later replaced with AR15 clone.

    Spent a Saturday afternoon with police destroying abandoned and sick horses once. First the “expert” officer missed a horse at 10 yards, then could not remove the magazine so I showed him how to. Then even better when I asked said it was unloaded he said yes. So I reached over, cleared it and watched live round fly away. Let his boss do some yelling.

    My own Mini 14 with 4×40 scope and hand loads shot moa.

    1. avatar yolo says:

      Australian police shooting abandoned/sick horses? Okay….

  8. avatar Rick Taylor says:

    I have always liked mine. Bought it used and found it to be handy, reliable and accurate enough for its intended purpose. If I ever have to “repel boarders” it will be my gun of choice.

  9. avatar achmed says:

    Great series. Have to be honest, doesn’t make me want to buy a mini 14, but a very informative and interesting series.

  10. avatar Paul McMichael says:

    Ruger is selling an AR platform today. Why not sell us the GB model and the factory folding stock again? In stainless, it’s the perfect off shore rifle and damned fine for most other chores.

  11. avatar Paul McMichael says:

    Bill Tiger’s prejudices be damned.

  12. avatar I_Like_Pie says:

    Thank you. This was an excellent and well researched series.

  13. avatar Nickel Plated says:

    Is it me or are alot of those French Minis missing the rear sight? Seems like the whole rear of the receiver is just milled smooth. But it appears to have a rear sight installed just forward of the receiver on the rear of the handguard. Surprised that wasn’t mentioned in the article. Seems like a pretty notable feature special to the French rifles..

  14. avatar Ralph says:

    Good writing, good content, good job Luis! I hope that you have some other pet firearms that you’d like to write about.

  15. avatar Paul McMichael says:

    Ruger’s. Damn spell check!

  16. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

    My longest shot prior to Texas Firearms Festival 2016 was 426 yards on a crow from a Mini-14 with 3-9 optic.

    I owned a Mini-30 for a week before I traded it off. They’re not bad guns, it’s just that there are better guns.

  17. avatar FedUp says:

    So that’s how The A-Team could fire hundreds of shots at the bad guys in every episode without hitting a single one of them in five seasons.

  18. avatar Faceman says:

    The a-team is clearly under appreciated with you guys
    Basically McGyver with Guns and explosions….What else could you ask for?

    The mini-14 was my first rifle I purchased at 18. A stainless laminated stock version to which I replaced with a Butler Creek folder.

    The crap on TV nowadays (with the exception of documentaries and a few others) is mostly horrible.

    1. avatar Robert says:

      I’m going to have to pull my tongue out of my cheek following this, but here goes —
      I used to enjoy watching the A-Team back in the day. What amaze me though, was how many shots these Army “Specialsts” got off without ever shooting anybody.

  19. avatar GS650G says:

    The Mini is an OK gun but I agree there are better guns out there. The magazine costs mean you will spend more on building a collection of mags than the gun in some cases. If you can acquire one cheaply or for free it’s a taker. Just try to get 2 mags with it.

    1. avatar Oda Nobunaga says:

      And this is why I don’t want the piece of shite. Forget the accuracy issues that need to be fixed (try to at least) the sheer fact that the magazines are so over priced OR that Ruger hasn’t decided to switch the thung over to an AR-15 magazine is ridiculously stupid… TO ME. The same goes for the Mini-30. Really? It won’t take Ak mags and you think it make since to sell 40 dollar magazines. Maybe this is why I don’t own anything by Ruger.

  20. avatar nathan monroe says:

    I own two mini 14’s, one .223 and a 300 blk. I like both of them and there are some accuracy issues but they can be corrected. I would recommend them based on reliability and endurance alone.

  21. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    no hate here. i’ve always thought of the real m14 as bad ass.
    i’d love to see the cz75 represented in all 24 countries that have employed it. that number does not include countries that adopted clones of the design, of which (clones) there are twenty.

  22. avatar Mike says:

    RUC were issued Mini-14.
    The Mini 14 used to be cheaper than AR15s, not so now.
    The two things they have going for it are folding stocks and it does not look as scary as an AR15

  23. avatar Mikial says:

    “These are members of the NYPD Emergency Service Unit in firearm quals at the Rodmans Neck Fire Range in the Bronx, NY.”

    Sorry, I actually like Mini-14s, but these guys look like a bunch of geeks who just showed up for paint ball Sunday.

  24. avatar J. D. Smith says:

    Risky my M1A is stamped .308NM on the barrel. There has been much discussion about M1A’s and only using 7.62 NATO. What are the readers thoughts on this?

    And I too own a Mini. My grandson and I have had shitloads of fun with it.

    Has .223 stamped on the receiver. Shouldn’t what’s stamped on the firearm be the type of ammo that should be used?

    1. avatar VieteranGunsmith says:

      J. D. Smith:

      Your rifle can safely fire 7.62 NATO ammunition, as well as commercial loads of .308 Winchester. The bore diameter, overall cartridge length and shoulder profiles are within acceptable tolerances for your chamber to safely fire either. That being said, your barrel marking indicates the chamber is cut for .308 Winchester and is configured for target use (hence the National Match designation). You have a fine weapon and as long as you feed it proper ammunition it should serve you well.

      That being said, every rifle has an affinity for a certain load within it’s caliber. I think you will find it is most accurate with .308 Winchester caliber target specific loads rather than 7.62 NATO, however, nothing is absolute when it comes to downrange ballistics and accuracy.

      I hope you have fun finding out what your rifle prefers.

  25. avatar VieteranGunsmith says:

    The only design flaw common to the M1 Garand, the M1 Carbine (M2 also) the M1A (M14) and the Mini14 is this: the hammer can fall before the bolt is in battery. You can test this by pulling the charging handle to the rear and holding it, the squeezing the trigger while letting the bolt slowly go forward. When the bolt is about 7/8 of it’s travel forward you will hear (and see if you watch through the action slot in the right side of the receiver) that the hammer has indeed followed the bolt and will strike the firing pin before the bolt is in battery. (PLEASE TEST THIS WITH A DUMMY ROUND OR ON AN EMPTY CHAMBER)

    This is the one flaw that is present in the design, and it has been known to cause premature firing with the bolt out of battery. That is the reason you should be sure to maintain your weapon and keep the bolt bearing surfaces clean and lubricated. Anything that impedes the closing of the bolt into battery can cause a real problem for the shooter. If you do not have to fire rapid fire strings on a regular basis it would be best to avoid that because as the weapon cycles and builds up firing residue within the action (especially using surplus ammo of unknown load and origin), these weapons can start to cycle poorly. That is why it is vitally important that they be kept well cleaned and lubricated. This is not a weapon you can fire and forget, it is essential that you maintain it.

    I know because I worked as a gunsmith and I have seen the stock and operating rod blown apart more than once in Mini 14’s. In one case the shooter was using some ammo he acquired at a gun show. He showed me some of it – they were proof loads mixed in with an assorted variety of other ammo in 5.56. I am certain that he had an out of battery firing with one of the proof loads since the case was stuck to what was left of the bolt – the extractor was nowhere to be seen. That man was fortunate in that he escaped injury except for some facial powder burns.

    These are all fine weapons – when used and maintained properly. There is no reason to fear that you will experience out of battery firing, as long as you are aware of the possibility, and take careful measures of how to prevent it.

  26. avatar Infidel762X51 says:

    Love my minis, especially since I swapped out the upper half of the gas block for a rail and mount illuminated schout scopes.

  27. avatar Tony says:

    One of my all time favourite rifles . My dad had a 180 prefix gun – no scope mount. He bought it new just before I was born- I’m now 38 and the rifle sits quietly in my safe . Occasionally I take it out hunting or culling or even just plinking . I’ve rung steel at 500 with open sights and with a good handload she will shoot less than 2moa and in some cases 1moa. I’ve also run everything from 40 -69 grains through it . The one thing I don’t like about the rifle? That I don’t have five more of them .

  28. avatar Hayden G Carroll says:

    I have always been drawn to to the Mini 14. I think its reserved appearance is good looking, and, due to this, I can use this rifle in more restrictive States. I own several AR variants as well, and comparing the two is a waste of time, like comparing sausage to bacon. In a cost effective sense, I do feel the AR platform is a better option, allowing the consumer to cost effectively (to a degree) obtain and load out the firearm, however, that doesn’t make the AR the end all be all, in my opinion. I say don’t choose between firearms, just buy them and enjoy them. Great article, thanks for putting it all together!

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