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AR 15 Ammo: Home Defense Rifle, Hunting Rifle, and Plinker

The black rifle is a highly versatile rifle, and AR 15 ammo is no different. It can be used in a wide variety of roles, and can be adapted to function for almost any task. One of the biggest factors in the AR 15 being effective in different roles is proper ammunition selection. Let’s talk about the big three guns the venerable black rifle can become, just by using different AR 15 ammo: A hunting rifle, a home defense rifle, and a plinking gun.


In General, self-defense is the most important category on this list. In a self-defense scenario you’re fighting for your life. If you’re using a home defense AR 15 then your great concern is likely collateral damage. With this in mind, you’ll need AR 15 ammo that’s effective but less likely to harm someone through over-penetration. Every round has an over-penetration risk but it can be minimized. Our writer’s popular ammunition of choice for his home defense AR 15 is Speer Gold Dot, 55-grain .223. It’s a blistering fast AR 15 round with a velocity of over 3,000 FPS.

This AR 15 ammo also features a soft point. This soft point expands and fragments when it hits its target, causing serious trauma. On an attacker this causes more damage, creates a bigger hole, and generates more blood loss than a conventional full metal jacket round. This makes it an effective round for self-defense against even large attackers. The soft point of the round also means it’s more likely to break apart when it strikes a hard surface and much less likely to maintain much power through walls – a critical factor to consider in the home, where collateral damage concerns can be high.


Hunting with the AR 15 as a platform is gaining steam. Why purchase different rifles when one can do almost any task? The AR 15 is perfectly capable of hunting medium to small game, and certain variants, like uppers chambered in .50 Beowulf, can take down damn near anything. The AR 15 is perfect for both white tail deer and hogs. As a hunter your goal should be to humanely take game and minimize any suffering. You do this through proper ammo selection. Hunting ammo is different than defensive ammo, and it’s widely available for the AR 15.

Deer Ammo

For deer, the Hornady Whitetail in .223 the best AR 15 ammo for deer hunting ( “Whitetail” is even in the name). These 60-grain projectiles use Hornady’s Interlock technology, which keeps the round bound tight and accurate until it hits your target. Once penetrated, the Interlock projectile separates inside the animal, guaranteeing a near-instant kill. These rounds are tailored with the optimal ballistics and powder count to guarantee consistent performance in the field.

Hog Ammo

Hogs are becoming more than a game animal. They’re becoming a huge pest problem throughout North America and they destroy hundreds of thousands of acres every year. Lucky for us, hunting them has basically become a public service. Hogs vary in size, but are not as thin skinned as deer on average. Their thick hide need a good penetrator to get through. The Remington Hog Hammer rounds are designed to penetrate just that, and expand upon contact. They feature a 62-grain bullet topped with a Barnes TSX point. This AR 15 ammo is perfect for punching through the hide of a hog.

Practice Shooting

Practice AR 15 ammo is the least selective ammo you can buy, and it’s also the cheapest. The most important thing is to know your range’s rules, usually regarding steel core ammo. Some of the cheapest quality ammunition is the M855 and the M193. The M855 has a steel core and isn’t always great for indoor ranges. M193 lacks a steel core and is priced competitively.

Steel ammo is another choice. Steel ammo from Wolf and Tula isn’t the best ammo, but it’s cheap. It’s generally reliable, and we’ve never heard of it being dangerous. Outside of their steel ammo, Wolf now produces a cheap brand of brass ammo that’s been good to go for me.

Choosing Ammo

Ammunition choice is a critical decision to make when deciding what your black rifle will be used for – especially if you’re intending to protect your family with a home defense AR 15. The ammunition we chose above isn’t just based on personal preferences. They’re from companies with reputations for success. These aren’t the only rounds out there for these tasks. Just ensure you research the quality of the ammunition and the reputation of the company. Lastly, make sure you’re using reliable, proven magazines. A whimpy, cheap magazine with a cruddy follower will make even the best AR 15 ammo useless – invest in some magazines you know will work, like PMAGs. 



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