A marvelous piece of engineering from Ruger, the Mini-14 rifles have been enticing shooters for quite a long time. Since its appearance in the market in 1973, this rifle has been favored by hunters, law enforcement and plinkers. But the sights of the Mini-14 have always been a point of debate among shooters. So here we’ll be talking about Mini-14 sights, their upgrades and the best ones available in the market.
Quick Take: Top 3 Sights for the Mini 14
Here's our picks for some of the best sights for your Mini 14:
- Meprolight Ruger Mini 14 Night Sights Front Sight
- Magpul Generation II Sight Set
- Williams Mini 14 Rear Sights
Read on for more info on sights in general and for reviews of these and more sights!
The Drawback of Standard Mini 14 Sights
The Mini 14 draws inspiration from two renowned rifles of their time - the M14 rifle and M1 Garand. The Mini 14 has a receiver similar to an M14 and the gas-operated action and breech-bolt locking system of an M1 Garand. It fires a .223 (5.56mm) round, although different versions of the rifle may differ in this. The Mini 14 is manufactured in many different variants, like the Ranch version(with scope base), the Mini 30 (7.62x39mm) and the AC-556(assault rifle type).
One concern among the users of the Mini 14 is its standard iron sights. Many shooters have grown spoiled with the advent of advanced optic systems and scopes. However, some people like to stick with the more traditional iron sights.
The most basic and problematic drawback of Mini 14 rear sights is that you can’t adjust them with your bare hands. For the basic factory versions, you’ll need a 5/64” hex wrench to make an adjustment in the windage or elevation. Almost all rifles manufactured today have adjustment knobs for their iron sights. So this can seem like a big deal.
Another problem with Mini 14 sights is the front sight installation. The factory front sight is influenced by the M1 Garand. In order to remove and install a new sight, you have to do some drilling and sanding, which isn’t easy unless you are a gunsmith.
Sight upgrades can provide you with improved eye relief and a better stance and field of view while aiming at your targets.
Front, Rear or Both
Just to keep things straight: if you are using a scope with your Mini 14, it doesn’t mean you have to remove both your sights. The latest Mini 14 models (582 and later) have holes drilled and tapped over the receiver so you can simply attach a Ruger scope base (weaver style) and just slide your scope on top of it. Some models come with scope rings, so you won’t need to buy a rail or mount.
The front sight isn’t going to mess with your optics because it generally isn’t in the way. Once you zoom in and have zeroed in your target, the front sight practically disappears from the sight picture. So you won’t even realize it’s there.
Similar is the case with the rear sights. If you’re using a scope mount, you don’t need to remove the rear sight. There are two basic reasons for it. The first is that it won’t interfere with your optics. Secondly, the iron sights are a sort of backup for contingency situations. Sure you’re not going to a war with your Mini 14, but if your scope breaks or the batteries go dead, you can still aim & shoot with your rifle.
But if you don’t like iron sights at all, you can take them off your Mini 14. There are people who do this. But this is a matter of sole discretion.
If you are teaching a beginner to shoot, you might want to keep the iron sights intact to help teach the basics. However, some people believe that teaching the basics with red dot sights is better because you don’t have to align and create a sight picture.
Best Aftermarket Front Sights For The Mini 14
With the advent of optics and rifle scopes, iron sights have lost a bit of their importance. But they still are an important part of the rifle. With growing technology, different types of sights have been designed which can compensate for basic rifle scopes. Let’s take a look at some of them below.
An exceptional piece from Meprolight, these front sights can be used at night as well. No, they don’t have batteries, but they do have a tritium illuminated dot.
These sights can be used with Mini 14 winged front sights. The bright green dot helps you to create a sight picture quickly. This Winchester-style front sight is backed up by the manufacturer’s 5-year warranty.
- Made from stainless steel, so can be used in any weather condition. You don’t have to worry about corrosion and rusting.
- The bright green dot will help you with aiming in low light conditions. Perfect for use with scopes which don’t have night vision.
- Price of this front sight is quite high.
- Compatible only with Mini 14 and M1A.
A perfect front and rear sight set for your Mini 14. This Generation-II sight set comprises of a foldable rear sight and a front sight. The rear sight pops up when you press its left side. These sights need to have a Picatinny rail base on top of the rifle for installation. That’s not a problem though, at least for the newer Mini 14’s that have pre-drilled holes over the receiver. The impact-resistant polymer construction makes it durable and usable under all weather conditions.
- Easy spring-loaded flip-up operation. The spring pressure keeps sight erect and is ideal for easy folding.
- Compatible with all types of Picatinny and STANAG 4694 rails. Provides same height over bore as your standard iron sights.
- Polymer construction might not suit everyone.
- Not adaptable for rail gas blocks.
Best Aftermarket Rear Sights For The Mini 14
The Williams Rear sight is a very nice replacement for the factory-manufactured flip-up sight. People tend to break the original sights after prolonged usage. This rear sight can be easily screwed on top of the receiver of your Mini 14 with a hex key. The windage and elevation are adjustable using screwdrivers. It gives your gun the advantage of peep sights.
- Easier to install than other aftermarket rear sights. Simply place and screw down the sight onto the receiver.
- Gives a great sight picture.
- Good value for money.
- Not very sturdy. Some users have complained about losing it while traveling through trails in the forest.
- Requires some fitting and adjustment after installation.
This Techsights product is an inexpensive and effective replacement for the factory sights of your Mini 14. These rear sights have been exclusively designed for Ranch models of 5800 series manufactured before 2005 and for 5800 models after 2005. The site features a .062 aperture with easy-click adjustments for elevation and windage.
- Easy adjustment of windage and elevation without the need for special tools; a coin or bullet tip suffices.
- Easy installation with GI type rear sight. Doesn’t interfere with scope installation.
- Not very good for short range engagements under 50 yards because the aperture is small.
Ruger also offers this simple factory replacement rear sight of the Mini 14. If you are happy with the existing original rear sight and just need to replace it, this is for you. This rear sight rifle assembly is for pre-2005 Mini rifles. The windage and elevation adjustments need to be done through a tool. You need a wedge or a mount to place this on a Mini 14 if you don’t already have one in place.
- OEM replacement. Suitable for people who like the original rear sights.
- Folding leaf sights for easy conversion to peep sight.
- Difficult to make adjustments.
The Mini 14 is a renowned rifle especially among hunters and law enforcement agencies. Conventional iron sights can be replaced with latest technology optics, but they still come in handy under rigorous situations. They are less expensive than optics as well. You can also use iron sights in combination with optical rifle scopes. The aftermarket upgrades and replacements for the original Mini 14 sights are quite impressive and will surely help your accuracy.