How to start IPSC Mini Rifle on a budget

Following on from the article about starting IPSC Action Air on a budget, we thought it best to continue on with the next discipline of interest. IPSC Mini Rifle is the next most common discipline to take part (at least in the UK). This discipline is however subject to law on whether you are able to use the firearms involved. We recommend you check your government regulations and law before taking action from this article.

In the United Kingdom, Section 21 of the Firearms Act 1968 prohibits a person from possession of any type of firearm if you have been given a custodial sentence when convicted of a criminal offence. Ownership of a firearm such as a semi-automatic .22 rimfire requires the ownership of a firearms certificate and a valid slot.

Choosing a .22LR Semi Automatic Rifle

If you have the ability to own your own rifle, we do have a few recommendations based on what is available in the UK. This may not translate in your country due to economic value, market availability and what your law permits. Choosing your rifle can somewhat be effected by the division you want to compete. For Mini Rifle, this is not the case, especially if you want to do so on a budget.

As long as they are available, the Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 series of rifles are the best value for money, and one of the most reliable systems available for a .22 rimfire cartridge. The 15-22 is a great budget rifle with the ability to perform for any level of competitor and at a reasonable price, especially on the second hand market. With the ability to modify with most of the furniture on the rifle, including the trigger, the 15-22 can also be improved upon in performance as the competitor requires.

Open Division

Open division allows for the competitor to use electronic optics, compensators, ports, and bipods. This includes weights and recoil pads however for the sake of budget, we will be focusing on a single optic setup. There are many budget optics we recommend, however we advise care in not using AIrsoft or off brand optics as they don’t promise reliability nor precision.

Generally, you will not find a good budget optic for less than £100 and we don’t recommend you try. The Vortex Crossfire 2 MOA Dot Sight is a budget friendly and light optic with the ability to provide the basic needs of quick target acquisition. Alternatives include but are not limited to the Holosun HE403B Dot Sight and the Sightmark Ultra Shot R-Spec Reflex Sight. We would not recommend any variable optics as your budget will increase considerably, however it is possible to upgrade to such in the future.

Standard Division

Standard division is more restrictive to the other division. You are not allowed electronic optics, compensators, ports or bipods (a vertical foregrip no longer than 152 mm is permitted). In this regard, the only sighting optic we recommend would be either what front and rear sight posts are provided with your rifle, or purchase a set. Although plastic is suitable for general close range targeting, a more robust set of metal sights would improve precision and allow for better groupings at distance. If you need to purchase front and rear sight posts, we would recommend a pair of Magpul MBUS flip-up sights which are reasonably priced and reliable.


If you have chosen a Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22, even if you haven’t, it probably takes 15-22 magazines. We would obviously recommend the 15-22 magazine. Although these magazines are to be considered consumables, they are fairly reliable and can be upgraded for more capacity. Because these magazines can last over a year of use, we recommend having three to four magazines. The average long stage only requires two to three magazines however the extra magazine would cover loss or damage.

Allied Equipment

The only equipment that needs to be held by allied equipment are the rifle’s magazines. Similar to the pistol belts, a two part belt and a set of three compatible rifle magazine pouches. A two part belt is an inner belt and outer belt configuration designed for practical shooting. The inner belt is threaded like a normal belt, around your trouser belt loops and has hook and loop on the outside. The outer belt attaches to the inner belt and will be what your magazine attachments will be applied to. Suitable magazine holders typically need to be able to retain your magazines whilst you manoeuvre around stages.

Personal Protective Equipment

The most important part of your gear is your personal protective equipment. Due to the use of firearms which can cause ear damage due to unsafe decibel readings during firing, both eye and ear protection is required when participating in IPSC Mini Rifle.

Good eye protection starts with a good safety rating which wraps around your eyes. An additional benefit would include the quality of the lenses which prevent distortion and/or improves visibility when shooting. There are a multitude of brands and different price points for eye protection with no poor options other than the use of eye wear which is not designed for sport.

Good ear protection can be a mixed bag with regards to the types of ear protection available. The most important feature to look for in ear protection is that it can protect your ears by reducing sound by 20+ decibels (Noise Reduction Rating). You must also make sure that the ear protection you do use, has a good seal around the contours of your ears, or inside them.

Passive ear protection is by far the cheapest and most effective form of protection available. This type of ear protection however does not allow the user to hear better or more natural sounds such as other voices and range commands.

Active hearing protection is similar to passive, however has an electronic element which uses microphones to feed safe levels of audio to the user. Different quality active hearing protection, offer different levels of comfort, quality noise and noise reduction ratings. Some active hearing protection can enhance the noises around you whilst protecting from unsafe levels of noise, these can be more expensive and unsafe… for your budget.

Budget Example

We have given some guidance on what equipment is needed and how you can choose that equipment, however we have not given a fair assessment on how much all your hear may cost. This is because prices on the market can vary and the number of options may change based on your region. In our example, we have provided an average costing which leads to a total of £828.63. However, if you already have a rifle, the cost would decrease substantially and resemble more of a cost near £233.63. This example provides all we would expect a new competitor to need to shoot IPSC Mini Rifle at any match level without any extra equipment. It is your choice whether you want to add to your budget to cut from it, however this should not stop you from being able to compete.

Gear TypeProduct NamePriceQuantitySub-Total
.22LR Semi Automatic RifleSmith & Wesson M&P 15-22 Sport£5951£595
MagazinesSmith & Wesson 15-22 Magazine 25 RND£32.953£98.85
Allied Equipment“The Stiffy” 2 Part IPSC Competition Belt£59.991£59.99
Allied EquipmentKydex Custom 15-22 Magazine Carrier£23.992£47.98
Personal Protective EquipmentBolle RUSH+CLEAR Safety Glasses£9.251£9.25
Personal Protective EquipmentSurefire EP4 Sonic Ear Defenders£17.561£17.56
Optics (Open Division)Sightmark Ultra Shot R-Spec Reflex Sight£149.99

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