One of the more lively debates in the gun world centers on finding the perfect home defense weapon. It’s a debate that’s often raged in gun stores, in message boards and forums, as well as between professional firearms instructors. The main three categories in the argument are the rifle, shotgun, and pistol. You can call us biased, but we tend to stick to the rifle, specifically the AR 15 - and no, this isn’t just because we sell everything related to the black rifle. We’ll try not to preach, but we will tell you the advantages the platform offers as a home defense gun and we’ll clear up a few misconceptions about the home defense AR 15.
Build it to Fit Your Needs
First and foremost you can easily build your own AR 15 to meet your home defense needs, customizing it more than any other home defense gun. There is such a huge market for AR 15s and you can modify every aspect of your rifle, down to its barrel length, muzzle device, caliber, stock, trigger, and more. Tossing a rail system on allows easy mounting of accessories like flashlights and lasers, making it an excellent night gun.
Being able to customize the weapon you’ll trust your life to makes it an excellent tool for home defense. Even by browsing our store alone, you’ll find all the parts you need to build an affordable AR 15 for home defense. Compared to handguns and shotguns, an AR 15 is downright inexpensive to buy, build, and own.
The AR 15 gives you at least 30 rounds of rifle ammunition, and aftermarket magazines can put that number even higher. Handguns are great, but there is a reason the rifle is the primary fighting arm of every military. Rifle rounds are substantially more powerful and better suited for engaging threats, near and far. Most handguns tap out at around 17 to 20 rounds with standard magazines, well below the 30 round an AR 15 packs. You can argue for the handgun with the availability of extended magazines to get you to 30 rounds, but you can buy a 60-round Magpul drum and still have twice the ammo. Also, extra magazines are affordable and plentiful! Most handgun magazines are absurd in cost compared to AR magazines.
Due to its size and design, the AR 15 has considerably less recoil than a shotgun. At the same time, it’s still a nest of hornets with 30 rounds of .223 or 5.56 on tap. The recoil is controllable for any person of nearly any size. The military issues the M16 and M4 to every service member regardless of their frame or bulk, because both rifles have been proven as easy to shoot.
A standard carbine-length AR 15 with a 16-inch barrel and collapsible stock is already a superbly maneuverable weapon, making it perfect as a home defense gun. It’s easy to handle indoors and in vehicles. However, for even more maneuverability you can go with an AR 15 pistol. The pistol lacks some stability without a proper stock or some alternative accessories, but in a home defense encounter you’re shooting at very close range and that stability isn’t always necessary.
It Will Over-penetrate
Actually, an AR 15 loaded with the right ammunition is the best round to avoid over-penetration. Like any gun it’ll chew through drywall, but it’s more likely to yaw and tumble, quickly losing energy before it causes substantial collateral damage. Of course, you need to use defensive ammunition, not something like an M855 with a penetrator core.
It’s Less Maneuverable than a Handgun
In some ways this misconception is almost true. However, if you take a handgun and extend your arms to full presentation you’ll find that you’re presenting just as much length as you would with an AR pistol. Even with a full-size AR 15 rifle, shouldered and at the high-ready, you’re not pushing out any further. A pistol can be used closer to the body, but you sacrifice recoil control, sight picture, and aim.
It doesn’t Have enough “Stopping Power”
Stopping power isn’t a real thing. Sorry, we have to be blunt and shut this down. Unless you’re trying to stop a threat with a .22 LR, it just isn’t a factor. The bad guy will feel the trauma of 5.56 rounds destroying vital organs just as much as they will feel the hit from a .45 ACP or a 12 gauge shell of buckshot. Shot placement is the key to stopping an attacker. Shot placement means hitting a vital spot on the human body. The AR 15 is the easiest to shoot of the three defensive firearms classes, so it’s often the easiest weapon to get proper shot placement with.
The Home Defense AR 15 is #1
The home defense AR 15 is, in our humble but informed opinion, the most capable home defense weapon on the market. It’s lightweight, it has little recoil, it’s accurate and easy to shoot, and it just so happens to be affordable and easy to build on your own. If you want your own home defense AR 15 rifle, or pistol, start your build here.