© 2015, The Author(s). Abstract: We carefully analyze the conditions for an abelian gauged linear σ-model to exhibit nontrivial IR behavior described by a nonsingular superconformal field theory determining a superstring vacuum. This is done without reference to a geometric phase, by associating singular behavior to a noncompact space of (semi-)classical vacua. We find that models determined by reflexive combinatorial data are nonsingular for generic values of their parameters. This condition has the pleasant feature that the mirror of a nonsingular gauged linear σ-model is another such model, but it is clearly too strong and we provide an example of a non-reflexive mirror pair. We discuss a weaker condition inspired by considering extremal transitions, which is also mirror symmetric and which we conjecture to be sufficient. We apply these ideas to extremal transitions and to understanding the way in which both Berglund-Hübsch mirror symmetry and the Vafa-Witten mirror orbifold with discrete torsion can be seen as special cases of the general combinatorial duality of gauged linear σ-models. In the former case we encounter an example showing that our weaker condition is still not necessary.