December 2002

Entry-Type AR-15s Are Short. Is One of These Rifles for You?

Short ARís spell SWAT, but Rugerís Mini-14 does not. We examine three short-stocked, short-barreled .223 options.

In previous tests on these pages we’ve been far more excited about lightweight AR-15 types than about the normal, full-size military configuration of that rifle. We looked long and hard at the Carbon 15, and one or two others. We think we’re not alone in our attraction to the lighter .223 rifles, judging from our letters. But how about “entry” type carbines, with short barrels and stocks? Do they have any use in the field? Many a cop and shooter want the smallest, lightest yet most efficient .223 autoloader available, so here we present three more alternatives. Two of them are built around the AR-15 concept, but have short stocks and barrels to cut weight and bulk. The third is the often-overlooked Ruger Mini-14 semiauto, which is a lot less imposing in its wood-stocked configuration, but may be just what the doctor ordered if you need a .223 semiauto that is less intimidating but just as effective as the AR-15 types.

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