Home Defense

Are AR-15s Any Good For Home Defense?

This is a question that comes up often. “Are AR-15s any good for home defense?” Some people may say a shotgun is all you need, that the sound of racking a shotgun is enough to scare off an intruder. However, I believe an AR-15 is superior to the shotgun for home defense. Here’s why:

It’s light. The average weight of an AR-15 is roughly 7.5 pounds when fully loaded, give or take a pound. While not as light as a handgun, it’s still light enough to carry around. A sling makes it even easier to transport.

Easy to handle. Due to AR-15s being built to be shouldered, combined with the inherent low recoil of .223 Rem/5.56 NATO rounds, it’s extremely easy to handle an AR-15.

Ammunition is readily available. While not as cheap as 9mm or .22LR ammo, .223/5.56 ammo isn’t too bad. Depending on the brand, you can pick up .223 Rem or 5.56 NATO ammo in bulk for fair prices. For instance, you can purchase 1,000 rounds of 56g .223 Rem Red Army Standard for ~$199, or 1,000 rounds of the more expensive but highly rated 55g .223 Rem Wolf Gold FMJs for ~$279 for plinking/training purposes. For home defense, you can look into 77g Sierra Open Tip Match Black Hills rounds if overpenetration is a non-issue (if you live in the middle of no where) for ~$57 for 50rds or 50g Barnes TSX Black Hills ammo for ~$75 for 50rds if you live in a busy area. Home defense is pricier but that’s because they’re not meant for plinking. I usually only keep a few boxes of home defense ammo around. It’s a small price to pay to ensure the safety of me and my family.

Good ammo capacity. The standard capacity for an AR-15 is 30 rounds. Sure, that’s a lot of bullets but how many stories have you read where there have been multiple attackers? Plus there are a lot of factors to consider such as adrenaline, the amount of light, movement, and more that may hinder your accuracy. Or the fact that a drug-fueled criminal may need multiple shots to take them down. Having 30 rounds will help give you an edge if you take all of these into account.

X-15 50rd drum mag by X Products and Lancer L5AWM Smoke 30rd mags, all filled with 5.56 ammunition

Minimal chance of overpenetration. While most .223/5.56 rounds will pass through a wall or two, they usually won’t go past that. That’s due to the fact that these rounds were designed to twist and tumble upon initial impact. You don’t have to worry about the bullets going through multiple houses. However, most handgun bullets will easily rip through a house unless it hits a hard point such as a brick wall or a thick piece of metal. That makes handguns risky to use in crowded areas.

Customizable. You can add or remove many accessories with ease on an AR-15. Want to make it easy to acquire targets? Throw a red dot optic on your rifle such as the super affordable and highly-praised Sig Sauer Romeo5 for a mere ~$116. Want to make sure you have secondary sights in case the red dot dies? Slap on back up irons. Add a sling so you can conveniently carry the AR-15. Depending on the type of magazine you use, you can increase the capacity even more, such as using Taran Tactical’s Extended Base Pad which adds another +5 rounds of ammo. Attach a foregrip to assist with muzzle control. You can even make the AR-15 a “pistol” as defined by the ATF, making it shorter and thus lighter and easier to maneuver with. The possibilities are nearly endless.

One of my AR-15s in pistol configuration, outfitted with a Sig Sauer Romeo5 red dot, Strike Industries Viper Carbine Handguard and other various customizations

Relatively affordable. It’s easy to pop into a gun shop and pick up a decent AR-15 for a few hundred dollars. You can go cheap and pick up a Palmetto State Armory fully assembled lower for ~$179 and a complete upper for ~$219 for a grand total of ~$398, plus shipping & transfer fees. Then all you have to do is snap the two pieces together and voila, you have a basic AR-15.

I could list more reasons but I think you get the point. The AR-15 is an excellent home defense firearm. We even have five real life examples that show AR-15s being used defensively. I will end on this note though: any gun is better than no gun when it comes to home defense.


Our Amazon Picks:

Sig Sauer SOR52001 Romeo5 1x20mm Compact 2 Moa Red Dot Sight, $116
Magpul Industries USA MBUS Front & Rear Flip Up Backup Sight GEN 2, $84
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Categories: Home Defense

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