The Mini factory handguard is homely, no, fugly and hideous.
It serves the purpose of keeping your hand off the hot barrel, but that's about it.
A $14 Choate handguard does the same thing, and is trimmer and way better looking. And the Choate has cooling slots down it's whole length, not just 40% of it like the Ruger one.
Then there is the Ultimak. Machined aluminum, and factory coated with Graphite Black Cerakote.
Not just a good place to mount a scope or red dot, but a fantastic place.
80% of the Ultimak has Picatinny slots.
With it, you can mount your optic down low, very close to your iron sight height. The Mini's stock has some drop to it, in order to get down and use your irons.
Mount a scope over the action, even as low as you can get it, and you have to scoot your head up on the stock a bit to see through the scope. Depending on the size of your scope, and the height of your rings, you might even have to put a riser pad on the stock.
You won't be able to mount the scope much lower either, or it will hit your rear sight, interfere with ejection, and make cleaning the action more difficult.
The Ultimak allow you to mount a scope or dot low to the bore.
Now when you shoulder the Mini quickly you are looking right through the center of the scope ( or dot).
The optic, being out over the barrel, is never, ever going to get hit by ejecting brass, make you have to remove your rear sight, and you don't have to remove your scope to do a good action cleaning.
It helps stiffen the barrel aiding accuracy, and acts as a heat sink as well.
Much like a strut. But as nice as struts are, you can't mount an optic on them.
Besides minor mods like taming the excess gas by using a smaller bushing, adding fore and aft bushings to cushion metal to metal parts, and improving the trigger, my greatest accuracy gains have been after I added the Ultimak.
With good loads, groups like this are possible.
Even with cheap steel case Silver Bear:
I feel the best advantage of getting your optic away from the action is having a great increase in your peripheral vision.
Most of us grew up having a scope 3 inches from our eye, and keeping the other eye closed when shooting. Can't get any more "tunnel vision" than that.
With the optic 8 to 11 inches from your eye, and shooting with both eyes open, you are much more likely to see additional threats off to the side, or see that bigger buck that you didn't notice at first.
I slap on a Nikon 2.5-8x scope for load testing, but dislike the extra pound of weight on the handy Minis. Most of the time all my Minis have a FastFire dot, the size of your thumb and weighs less than an ounce.
I still shoot irons and scopes on occasion, but once you try a quality dot on the Ultimak, you won't go back.
Super quick for multiple targets, great in low light, and plenty accurate enough for minute of bad guy out past 300 yards.
I put a Fastfire/Ultimak combo on my daughter's Mini-30 too.
It's gonna cost more than just slapping a scope or dot on using the factory rail or supplied scope rings.
The Ultimak runs $140, and if you like a scope, you'll need to get a long eye relief version, but there are a good dozen choices.
Of course, red dot optics have no set eye relief, so you can use any of the good ones, Leupold Deltapoint, Trijicon RMR, Aimpoint Micro.
But for half the money of those, the Burris FastFire III is also a quality optic that you can depend on.