|Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle|
Safety: On the Ruger Mini-14, the safety is located on the front of the trigger guard and simply needs to be pushed forward in order to fire the firearm.
|Ruger Mini-14 Safety|
On the AR-15 the safety is on a lever mounted along the side of the firearm.
Charging Bolt: On the AR-15, the charging bolt is on the back of the receiver. This requires shooters to move their hand far from the firearm's other controls to chamber a round. You can see the charging handle is the T-shaped part at the top of the photo below.
|AR-15 Partially Disassembled|
On the Ruger Mini-14, the slide handle is on the right hand side (see photo below) just as it is on countless other civilian semi-automatic rifles.
|Ruger Mini-14 Slide|
Magazine Release: On the Ruger Mini-14, the magazine release is just behind the magazine. It's in a similar location on countless civilian semi-automatic rifles.
|Ruger Mini-14 Magazine Release|
|M4 Carbine Magazine Release|
Major Controls: If you look at the overall locations of key controls on the Ruger Mini-14, you'll see that they are all located close together in a manner that they can quickly be accessed with one hand.
|Ruger Mini-14 Key Controls|
On the AR-15, some controls are on the left-hand side of the rifle while the magazine release and bolt forward assist is on the right-hand side of the rifle. If you have been in the military and had the benefit of a large bellicose man screaming at you until you can take an M-16 apart in the dark, running an AR-15 is easy. But, for the rest of us, it may take time and training.
|Key Controls on the AR-15 or M4 Carbine|
As a civilian without the benefit of countless government studies or battlefield experience, it just seems like the manual of arms for a Ruger Mini-14 would make for faster operation. In a military operation with a whole well trained unit, the control locations on an AR-15 may not make much different. If you are on alert or on patrol, you are ready to go. However, if you are a civilian responding to the sound of broken glass in your home late at night, you will likely have to instinctively insert a magazine, chamber a round, and take the rifle off safe as quickly as you safely can. In such a situation, the simplicity of the Ruger Mini-14 may be a deciding factor.
|Mossberg Plinkster 702 Semi-Automatic .22 Rifle|
If you can run a Mossberg Plinkster, you can run a Ruger Mini-14. If you have only run a Mossberg Plinkster, you may find an AR-15 confusing when it counts. It's just one thing to think about when you choose a rifle for home defense.