> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Review: Mini-14 Gunfighting



Review: Mini-14 Gunfighting

Tom Cornelius and the Mini-14
We have a Mini-14 in the extended family, so I was interested when One Source Tactical/Suarez International (S.I.) released a training DVD specifically for this weapon system. I actually picked up the DVD several months back, right around the initial release. Popped it in the DVD player when I first got it, but found that background/wind noise on one of the first segments made it difficult to listen to. Put it away and just finally got around to watching it.

Read my full review below.

Production Values and Polish
Unlike most S.I. videos, this is not hosted/taught by Gabe Suarez. Tom Cornelius, an S.I. instructor is featured here. He lacks some of Gabe's charisma and machismo, which is part of the charm of other S.I. material. Otherwise, Tom seems familiar with the Mini-14 and versed in the S.I. way of fighting.

The video has pretty low production values, especially when compared to the Magpul Dynamics offerings. As mentioned, some of the segments are difficult to listen to due to background noise (at least with my sound system), namely wind over the microphone. They could have at least rented a professional mic for Tom Cornelius to wear. The compression or digitization or whatever that they used also needs some improvement--there's definite pixelation during movement on some scenes. Early 90s graphics and music are part of the S.I. charm.

Training Content
Tom discusses the Mini-14
Onto the most important part - the content. The video is divided essentially into two segments--an overview of the Mini-14 and then fighting with the Mini-14.

The "overview" section is pretty basic stuff. History of the rifle, loading magazines, chambering rounds, etc. Tom does some defending/promoting of the Mini-14 in comparison to other rifles (AKs, AR-15s), which I felt was probably unnecessary. If you've dropped $30 on a Mini-14 training video, you're probably already a fan. Overall, this section is informative, if a little dry and basic. If you're an experienced gun owner and have read through the Mini-14s manual or dry practiced with it a bit, then you probably won't get much out of this part of the DVD. If you're a new Mini-14 owner, this will help you get comfortable with how your rifle works, how to sight it in, etc.

The "fighting" section is pretty much a rehash of the S.I. basics. If you've seen other S.I. videos, like Kalashnikov Rifle Gunfighting or similar, this DVD has basically the same material (though I think it's better taught/explained in the other DVDs). Gear overview is usual S.I. stuff--simple two point sling, sneaky bag for backup mags. Then, the training portion goes through various ready positions, "cave man EOtech," shoulder changes, Suarez-style transitions, moving and shooting, that kind of thing. If you haven't seen an S.I. DVD before, this would be a useful intro for you. If you have, it's a rehash.

The DVD misses some opportunities to showcase additional Mini-14 specific material. There's no discussion of putting a scope on the rifle, which I found a little surprising given the usual S.I. preference for a forward mounted red-dot. For that matter, there's no recommended configuration at all. The Mini-14 has a fair amount of after market support and a number of variations, but Tom seems to stick with a stock rifle and ignore the options out there. For example, at one point he complains about the lack of a pistol grip on the Mini-14, saying simply "it is what it is." There are, of course, several after market stocks and even factory models for the Mini-14 that have pistol grips on them.

Also, for all the defending of the Mini-14 design that Tom does, he doesn't do a lot to promote or explain its benefits. Yes, the Mini-14 has a similar magazine release to the AK-47, but what advantage is that? Why would you pick a Mini over an AR-15? Missed opportunity to explain some of the nuances and advantages of the Mini-14, which is more what I was looking for from this video.

My biggest complaint is that the DVD seems to think that owners are "stuck" with their Mini-14s and have an inferiority complex when comparing them to other rifles. The DVDs full title "Mini-14 Gunfighting: As Good as Any Other Rifle" gives that viewpoint away. I guess "Mini-14: It's Mediocre!" and "Mini-14: Why would you own this instead of an AK?" was left on the cutting room floor.

Closing Thoughts
Overall, if you're an experienced Mini-14 owner and have watched/participated in some CQB or combat carbine training, you probably won't get a lot out Publish Postof this DVD. Spend the 90 minutes of viewing time on dry practice and thinking through running the rifle. If you are a new Mini-14 gun owner, interested in an overview of the weapon and some intro S.I. gunfighting stuff, and don't mind some lower-end production values, this could be right up your alley.