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Long Guns, Short Yardage: Is .223 the Best Home Defense Caliber?

by James Tarr   |  February 10th, 2012 212
Home defense

Advances in bullet technology make the .223 an excellent choice for home defense.


One sure way to liven up a day at the range is to ask a group of shooters what they think is the best weapon for home defense. For years that argument was divided into two camps: the pistol crowd and the shotgun crowd. Proponents of the pistol argue its compactness and maneuverability; the shotgunners argue stopping power and “fudge factor” when aiming, as it’s a little harder to miss, even when stressed, when you’re sending a cloud of projectiles downrange out of a long gun. In the past few years, however, a third school of thought has steadily been growing—that of the rifle as the best home-defense weapon. Specifically, the AR15 platform and the .223/5.56mm cartridge.

At a recent Winchester event, I found out about a new NSSF survey revealing that more than 12 percent of the respondents said they had purchased rifle ammunition in the past year for self-defense. The results shouldn’t have surprised me as much as they did. I was reminded that the NSSF did a survey of over 12,000 respondents in 2010, and home defense was the No. 2 reason (behind recreational shooting, before hunting) for owning a “Modern Sporting Rifle,” NSSF’s term for ARs.

No-Limit Projectiles
While careers have been made arguing over the effectiveness of the FMJ rounds our troops have been required to use in their M16s and M4s, civilians interested in using an AR-style rifle for personal defense don’t have those same limitations on their choice of projectiles. In the last few years, manufacturers have really made a concerted effort to produce ammunition designed for self-defense—not hunting or plinking or target shooting, but rounds specifically created for defense against two-legged predators.

The new .223 PDX1 loads from Winchester, with their split-core technology (SCT), are the latest example of these types of rifle rounds that have benefitted from modern manufacturing technology. Winchester performs exhaustive testing of the terminal performance of all of their defensive products, in ballistic gelatin and through the types of barriers likely to be encountered (as a result of the FBI test protocols established over 20 years ago).

But before we get to the bullet specifics, let’s talk about why the concept of using a rifle for home defense is seeing a surge.

Military-style rifles have always been popular in this country, but since September 11, 2001, the sales of the AR15 and its clones have skyrocketed—just look at how many companies are making them now. There are a number of factors behind this—increased exposure to the weapon system via media, fears of terrorism and the realization of just how fun the darn things are to shoot. Fully 30 percent of the respondents in the NSSF survey purchased their “MSR” in just the last two years.

The Overpenetration Question
Overpenetration has always been a concern when discussing the use of firearms in a dwelling, so the knee-jerk reaction has been to immediately eliminate a rifle as a suitable option. However, in the last several decades there have been exhaustive studies about what pistol and shotgun projectiles do when fired indoors, and those results are very interesting (and not in a good way).

Proponents of the pistol for home defense like to think that because it’s “just” a pistol round, overpenetration really won’t be an issue. Such is not the case. Drywall sheets and hollow-core doors (which are what you’ll find in the majority of homes and apartments in this country) offer almost no resistance to bullets. Unless brick or cinderblock was used somewhere in your construction, any pistol cartridge powerful enough to be thought of as suitable for self-defense is likely to fly completely through every wall in your abode. In fact, hollowpoint pistol bullets tend to plug up as they go through drywall, turning them—in effect—into round-nose bullets. Round buckshot pellets are just as bad, and shotgun slugs are worse.

These same concerns about overpenetration are what kept people away from considering the rifle for home defense. For years many people just assumed they knew what would happen to a rifle bullet fired indoors—it would go through every wall available and then exit the building. While armor-piercing and FMJ ammunition is specifically designed to do this, extensive testing has shown that light, extremely fast-moving .223 projectiles (including FMJs) often fragment when they hit a barrier as soft as thin plywood.

When talking about the effectiveness of rifle bullets on people, ballisticians and armchair commandos throw around a number of technical terms, such as “hydrostatic shock” and “temporary wound cavity.” The simple fact is that the more of its energy a bullet can dump into a target, the more effective it will be. Full metal jacketed ammunition has a tendency to zip right through, and while the resulting wound might cause the person to bleed to death, until they do there’s a good chance they’ll go on posing a threat. Projectiles designed either to stop in the body or cause a great deal of tissue upset work much better at immediately stopping the threat. That’s why police talk about the “stopping power” of a cartridge rather than its “killing power.”

When using rifle ammunition with projectiles designed specifically for personal defense, such as Winchester’s new .223 PDX1 loadings, fragmentation is assured. Bullets striking an intruder will separate into smaller, lighter pieces and—most likely—not overpenetrate and exit the body as errant shrapnel. All of the energy generated will then be transferred into the target. If the round fired is a miss and hits only wood or drywall, the projectile will break apart into smaller pieces—while these are still dangerous, their potential for injury, or penetration of additional walls, is much less than a pistol bullet or buckshot pellet. Many SWAT teams are using M4-type rifles, and overpenetration, when your teammate may be on the other side of the wall, is a major concern.

A Split-Core Solution
The Winchester .223 PDX1 projectile has a split core. The front half of the bullet has a protected hollowpoint to initiate expansion. It is not bonded to the back half of the bullet, so when it impacts it expands and fragments, usually in the first six inches of travel. This creates a very impressive wound cavity. The rear core of the bullet is welded to the jacket to ensure penetration. Winchester engineers did this because much of the .223 ammunition marketed for self-defense is loaded with nothing more than thin-jacketed repurposed varmint bullets, which expand very rapidly but may not penetrate deeply enough to be effective on a man-sized target. With Winchester’s PDX1’s SCT bullet, you can have the best of both worlds.

New for 2011 from Winchester are a 77-grain .223 PDX1 loading and a 120-grain .308 offering. Both have been optimized for massive and rapid energy deposit and are being marketed as personal defense rounds suitable for use at what, for a rifle, is point-blank range (25 yards and under). But even with advanced bullet design, I’m not sure I’d want to use anything heavier than a .223 inside a home. But plenty of people live in rural areas where their property line is “over there somewhere,” and for them, and for the police marksman who often has to shoot through glass, a rapidly expanding .308 Winchester round would be very useful.

Just how effective are these rifle rounds? Our troops have been in combat overseas for more than eight years, and I’ve heard hundreds of anecdotes about the effectiveness of the 5.56. Our troops are usually engaging the enemy in urban environments, at distances often similar to what a homeowner might encounter when confronted by an intruder. For every story about an insurgent soaking up hit after hit without effect, you can find troops who will tell you that when you hit what you’re aiming at, the M4 puts the bad guys down—and this is with ammo specifically designed not to expand.

Why the AR Rules
Looking at the AR platform itself, I think it has several selling points that make it a better choice for home defense than a pistol or shotgun, at least in most circumstances. First, while it may not be as maneuverable indoors as a pistol, the length of the rifle will make it point much more naturally, increasing the chances of hitting the target. Second, unlike shotguns, most such rifles will be fed by 20- or 30-round magazines and have much less recoil than a smoothbore.

The M4 is the preferred arm of SWAT teams across the country. Most of the shooting data involving AR-style rifles loaded with modern expanding ammunition comes from law enforcement sources. While they do not go out of their way to broadcast their investigative and autopsy findings, actual shooting results show that ARs loaded with modern defensive ammunition designed to expand—such as the .223 PDX1—work very, very well.

Personally, though I put on a pistol every day when I get dressed, my designated home-defense weapon is a lightweight M4-style carbine from Bravo Company. I keep it out of sight but conveniently located for easy access.

I love my Glock, but there are certain things a pistol just can’t do.


  • guest Sef

    I have a mini 14 at home and will consider it my new home defense arm with these new winchester pdx1's.

    • old vet

      Hope you have a flash hider that works, those things are "blinding" in the dark.

    • seanx40

      I too have my Mini-14 ready for such a thing. And I have a flash hider. I don't bother with expensive rounds, such as the PDX. I think Winchester 45 grain "varmint" loads would be great on two legged varmints too. And not punch through the walls. Do you really think any human is going to walk away from a few of those in the chest?

    • Gabe McKinney

      I had a Ruger Mini 14 Ranch Rifle 223 cal and I could not hit anything over 100 yards with a 20 inch pattern.. I sold it and got a rock river coyote with 20" barrell and a Nikon 20 power scope. You can nearly drive nails at 100 yards. We shot head shots at 400 yards. So it is no comparison between the Mini 14 and the RR Coyote. They are fun to shoot.

      • Eddie b

        Huh..I can hit anything out or 300 yds uphill with mine. No scope either! Mine is an older one thoug. wonder if that make a difference.. I hear both ways, so it must be the year made. Rock River makes great rifles.

      • Den

        Ruger put in new machining and retired the old worn machining that were used to manufacture the Mini 14. The new Mini 14 tolerances are wonderfully tight/close and accuracy is significantly improved.

    • Slabsides

      Prefer something with a short barrel, harder to grab, easier to retain in a scuffle. Don't want levers, mags, safeties in the middle of the night. I go with a short barreled revolver loaded with a frangible high velocity round and sporting a trijicon type high-viz sight. I lLike the old BAT design cartridges. Cookie cutter high velocity. Will penetrate body armor or heavy clothing but not exit the perp. Tends to stop better than rifle round in standard building materials. Having said this if I am certain there is an intruder in my dwelling I am waiting in my bedroom while the police respond instead of going on a room clearing exercise. Own and like several AR type rifles but not my first choice for "things that go bump in the night".

  • Minarchist_1776

    If I were to ever have to defend myself from a pack of wild, ravening chihuahuas in a clean room then I would look to an AR style weapon chambered in .223 to do the job. If I were to ever have to defend my home against dangerous people who might shoot back then I would use almost anything except an AR for that. The fact that so many police departments have switched to M4s is no more of a valid argument for a home owner to get an M4 than it is for one lemming to follow the rest of the lemmings over the cliff.

    IMHO you can get yourself a much more effective close quarters weapon and save a ton of money by going to a good pump action shotgun. While 12 gauge would be the preferred caliber loaded with #4 buck (to lessen potential problems with over penetration) 16 or 20 gauge shotguns could also get the job done. And if you decide you need penetration then slug loads are just about the king of the hill.

    Also, I don't care how handy your carbine is, a pistol is handier. Depending on what caliber your pistol is chambered in you can actually have superior one shot stopping power than an AR variant in .223 does, again saving yourself a lot of money. Recommended pistol calibers would be along the lines of .38 Special, .357 magnum, .40 S&W, 10 mm, .45 ACP, .45 Colt, .44 Special and .44 Magnum.

    If you feel that you need to have a rifle, then by God, get a *rifle*. The absolute *minimum* for serious use in home defense IMHO would be something along the lines of 6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser, 6.5 mm Grendel, 6.5 mm Creedmore, .260 Remington or 6.8mm Remington SPC.

    Personally I have a revolver in .45 Colt as my "ready" weapon with the ability to bring a 12 gauge pump action shotgun or a battle rifle clone in 7.62x51mm NATO (.308 Winchester) on line if it turns out such an increase in firepower is actually needed. Ask yourself, if ARs in .223 are such hot stuff, why is the Army bending over backwards to try to make sure that there are people in every squad getting armed with M-14 variants these days?

    • Matt

      The Army is bending over backwards to get M-14's in the field because at the distances you can encounter in Afghanistan the 5.56 just doesn't cut it. You'll have a hard time defending your decision to use lethal force at several hundred yards. The article was about home D.

      • Minarchist_1776

        Yes, the article was about home. Now, how many times do you want to have to shoot somebody who could shoot you back at close range before they are incapacitated to the point they can't fire their weapon? I do not recall all of the details off the top of my head, but there was an infamous case involving several FBI agents trying to stop a couple of bank robbers in a car before they entered a subdivision of homes down in Miami, FL. This occurred sometime in the early to mid 90's and resulted in one of the most intense shootouts in the history of the FBI. The end result of the shootout was that while the robbers were eventually killed, they had managed to tag all of the FBI agents at least once and killed several of them. As a result of this shootout the FBI ended up dropping the 9mm as their preferred weapon and went to the .40 S&W.

        Why am I mentioning this here in this context? Well, these bank robbers were not your average ne'er do wells. They were former military police personnel gone bad. They were exceptionally good with their weapons, and as I said one of them managed to tag all of the FBI agents at least once. The point to all this? The bad guy in question was using …….. a Ruger Mini-14 chambered in .223. Engagement ranges were less than 20 feet. The bad guy shooter did not "fail", his weapon and ammunition did. The people he shot were not wounded badly enough to take them out of the fight with one hit. As a result he had to shoot each one multiple times. While the people he was shooting at returned fire, eventually killing him.

        Now imagine that instead of a bad guy with a Ruger Mini-14 (or AR or any other .223 platform), squaring off against the FBI, it's you with the .223 trying to defend your home against an aggressive street gang or other serious threat. They are willing to take casualties to press home an attack, and as your weapon is not generating reliable one shot stops you have to shoot each assailant multiple times to take them out of the fight. Any guess as to what the eventual outcome of that scenario will be? By the way, the firefight between the bad guys and the FBI agents finally ended when one of the FBI agents who had one of his arms broken by a hit from the mini-14 nevertheless managed to keep his 12 gauge pump action shotgun going and got multiple hits on the robbers as they tried to flee in their vehicle.

        Which brings up another point about the M-16/AR-15/M4/variant platform chambered in .223. When the military adopted that as their more or less "standard" longarm, it was not the only weapon that was available to troops. You almost never encounter a LONE soldier. Usually the smallest unit one will encounter is a squad of about a dozen people. While the armament of such a unit will vary depending on the service they are in and the parent unit to which they are attached, they have a lot more weaponry available to them in general then just M-16 variants. They also have grenades, grenade launchers, SAWs, etc.. They also likely have somebody with a radio who can call in ammunition resupply, air strikes, helicopter gunship support, heavy artillery, etc.. They may also have the support of the armored personnel carriers they are riding which would have at least .30 cal if not .50 cal machine guns, possibly rapid fire cannon and or belt fed fully automatic grenade launchers. With all of that support available the military could almost get away with dressing their standard infantry guys up in pink tutus and "arming" them with purple feather dusters.

        Now let's look at you in a home defense scenario. Unless you are blessed with a spouse who can be relied on to hold up her end of a firefight (or older children who are responsible/trained well enough to help) then it's all going to come down to you and you alone. If you can't get the job done with just what you happen to have available when the balloon goes up then it isn't going to get done and you are going to lose. You can try calling for help, but if the situation is really that bad will dialing 911 actually do you any good? Even if everything goes "perfectly" from your point of view the minimum response time you can expect from the police is somewhere between 3 to 5 minutes. That is an eternity in a firefight and may not be anywhere near fast enough to do you any good. Indeed, if you find yourself in a situation where you actually NEED the potential firepower represented by a battle rifle clone odds are that it is because the police aren't available (some sort of scenario similar/analogous to Hurricane Katrina hitting New Orleans) or worse, that it is the *police* who are the problem.

        Thus my reason for ranting that if you're going to get a battle rifle clone, get a battle *RIFLE* clone chambered in .308. For lesser/more common situations good pistols and shotguns can do fine. Getting an M-16 or similar weapon gets you something that won't generate reliable one shot stops and the inadequacies of which in combat can be partially covered by the support weaponry organic to a military unit. Support weaponry which you as a civilian won't have.

        • Mack Missiletoe

          .223 rifle is better than pistol! It works much better than you realize. I used to not like .223 until I realized it does interesting things… much more interesting than the 5 bullet shots the bad guy takes from a pistol, walks away, and thinks he's invincible due to an amazing ER/OR Hospital staff.

          70 gr .223 HP. 'nuff said.

        • igor

          The FBI shoot out in Miami was April 11, 1986. It changed LE firearms training and mindset in the use of revolvers v. semi-autos as well as use of proper holsters, practical and rapid availability to replenish ammunition, but most importantly, tactics. There were many things learned and we are light years ahead of things compared to 1986, when that occurred. LE pushed into semi-auto pistols based on that shootout and many others in the eighties. LE should have listened to Col. Cooper before that happened. Now everyone does.
          A gun light is a great thing because you can id and see your target as well as your sights. The muzzle flash after the first round will destroy any night vision you had. If you get a light, practice with it and don't keep it on between shots unless the target is down. Too many people don't know how to use them tactically. LE has rounds available to them with a low muzzle flash.
          There is no panacea in the form of ammunition or caliber for alleviating over penetration on walls in a home unless you have a concrete or block wall as a back stop.. Hollow point .223 can and has penetrated exterior stick and stucco walls with devastating results to those on the other side. The same with pistol rounds and buckshot. No matter what you choose, make sure you hit your target and can account for misses not hurting any one they aren't supposed to. LE and civilians are very accountable for hitting innocent people.
          Stress shooting for your life isn't the same as shooting targets. Bullets coming at you is stressful. Stress inoculation (simunitions, paintball) with some potential pain and forcing you to think in practice while under stress helps, but doesn't alleviate all of it.
          To add to the problem, many home invasion suspects are using body armor……
          Bottom line; there is no perfect gun, ammunition or scenario.

        • Blue Centurion

          Sounds like the usual phallic talk about bigger is better. You're only partially right about your synopsis of the FBI shoot out, someone else corrected you with the date, and it was initially the 10mm that the FBI went with which eventually became the 10mm short…..40 S&W.

          I don't care how "large" your bore is….proper shot placement is more important. 77gr SMK in a 5.56 pressure round is being used VERY effectively by SOC in Afghanistan. It is especially well received in SBR's.

          • AFG Joe

            Im out here in AFG.
            While shot placement matters, if you cannot range the enemy using 77grn is not going to make a whole lotta good. AFG winds wreak havoc on POI. Shooting from a M4 is even worse.
            Dunno whos getting 77grn SMK, all we have is 62grn green tip.
            I'd like to trade up to a M14 if I could.

          • Truesnix

            Any one notice how the 5.56 went from 55grn, to 62grn, to 77grn and then the SOF guys in Afghanistan requested a bigger round because the lack of terminal performance of 5.56. The 6.8SPC was the result of that effort.

    • old vet

      I agree with most of what you say here. I have an old Ithica 16 GA pump I got really cheap because some mid- Missouri constable cut it down (what a shame) to riot length, used it for patrol 'til the all knowing town fathers made him use something "better". He actually broke stock off "persuading someone with it. Replaced it with ugly choat. Anyway with a load of #2 buck, it makes a great house gun. Also works good as close range rabbit or quail gun.

      • old vet

        P. S. my "tactical" light is a sure fire, electrical taped to barrel.Works fine.

    • Ralphie

      Well said Minarchist!
      Why would anyone rely on a varmint round for self defense? Unless the attackers are "a pack of wild, ravening chihuahuas" LOL!

    • JRLutz

      I have video on the ballistic's between a 5.56 and a 7.62 x 39 mm both are FMJ being shot through 2 each 8" x 8" PT Lumber and if you saw this video well you would know what caliber you would use for self defense. I own both Rifles/Ammo too, Ruger Mini 14 and a 30. I could tell you another story about my 37 grain Sabot Rounds that shoot faster 4000 + FPS than the 5.56/223. There is more variety in the 30 cal round, 37, 80 , 112 , 123 and 154 grain bullets. Does anyone know which caliber I use for Deer Hunting? Use the caliber that will stop animals then that will settle the agrument about the need to stop Humans.

    • Randy

      Hope you are not too attached to your family members, you will be missing a few of them. The M14 has been revived as a sniping rifle not a CQB rifle. If you plan on sniping your home invaders, then the m14 would be a very good choice!!

    • Dorobuta

      You need to google the box-o-truth. Might change your mind.

      The M-14 is largely counter-sniper and counter RPG. The 7.62 can engage an RP{G gunner at the edge of their effective envelope. Plus, in place the mountainous regions we are currently fighting in, the engagement distances can be long. In an urban environment, the M-4 shines.

    • Steve

      IMHO…the H stands for humble. I think you should just use IMO.

      • Grant

        The H in IMHO actually stands for honest. It was an honest opinion.

    • guest

      Because they need a weapon with longer range in each squad.

    • Kendric

      It's all about shot placement, mate.

  • Rick Saxby

    I was one of those people that thought hand gun for home defense was your best option but now I think I'm going to get a flash light on my AR and use that instead. There is no question about it, you can do all sorts of things with the AR that you can't do with a pistol. Wish I had a Bravo like you do though. I got a Double Star and its cool and all I just wish I had something a little more high end.

    Rick Saxby,

    • GDM

      Your absolutely right. The weapon of choice may not and probably wont be available when the s–t h-ts the fan. What ever you cn grab, kel-tec su16ca , mossberberg 12 guage, 22 ruger single six , know where it is and how to use it. where to place your shots and weras not to shot. It happens in a 100th of a nano second so all you out there that have not been there shut up and learn, practice so its second nature and you may, just may survive a home invasion or other criticle situation.

  • KevinO

    I just might look into another AR but till then I have my Hi-Point 995ts 9mm ready with my Springfield DX40. I have an AR but with the A2 attached handle, a bit clumsy in the house.

    • James Martin

      I love the ar 15 for some reason it has less recoil, then my 9mm hi point carbine. I still would use the 9mm carabine in the house though due to over penetration of the 223. the 9mm carabine lets the 9 bullet carry more power due to the barrel length.

  • Thomas Acton

    for up close and personal and INSIDE MY HOME, give me a Glock 21.
    For those who have never fired a rifle in a closed room environment…. after that first round, you wont hear anything else for a while.

    • old vet

      You are soooo right, had the unfortunate experience of firing a M-16 (several times) under a hootch, could only hear "bells" for a while, still say "what" a lot. That Glock is still awfull loud.

    • Tony Puentes

      keeping electronic ear muffs next to firearms. But a moment to don, if you can spare the moment.

    • Viper

      14 rounds of 45 is perfection

    • northstar19

      I agree, Thomas Acton. As for me, I'm a simple man. I feel that my Glock 17, loaded with 9mm hollow point, is sufficient to defend my home.

  • Mehul Kamdar

    I would think that an M1 30 carbine would take care of overpenetration issues much better than a 223 and it would also have a marginally larger surface area. it would also be much easier for women, older people and children to shoot if required.

    • Randy

      most common ammo used in the M1 carbine is surplus mil spec. Bad ammo for home defense. round nose ball ammo will penetrate almost anything without disruption of the projectile.

    • pyrolughterfighter

      It sure is tough to beat an A1 carbine. Nice choice.

    • Jstanley01

      A 12-guage shotgun for in-house, an M1 carbine for outside in the neighborhood, one 7.62 Nato each for a car gun and a battle rifle, and pistols as backups at all times of course. I'm wondering what hole I might have covering likely scenarios that a 5.56 might be needed to plug. But I can't think of any.

  • rolandthunder

    To be honest I can defend my home with a 22. (I dont. I have a 40S&W and a 12g Pump) You really dont need a cannon. And you dont need something that fires 30 rounds. Although both do tip the odds in your favor. My point is that anything will work if you know how to use it. You have to study, plan, and practice. Know your house and property. Think about how your home will be entered. Where are they going to go how are they going to try to exit. What do you have for cover and concealment? Do you know the difference? Are you proficient enough with your weapon of choice to put bullets on target? If yes. Can you do it in the dark under stress? Are you good enough with your iron sights to get by when the batteries in your laser or red dot fail? So basically get what your comfortable with, and then study, plan, and practice. Your mind needs to be your weapon of choice.

    • old vet

      Very true, can't overstate the stress factor though adrenaline does strange things both ways. I've seen highly trained guys do really dumb mistakes, such as drop magazines instead of hitting safety. Also seen individuals take amazing amounts of punishment and keep moving, imagine if you magnify the adrenaline with meth or other "meds". As far as batteries failing should not happen if reasonable care is practiced. Don't ever believe you will know exactly how you will react or perform if the worst happens. Be ready for good old "Murfy's" law.

      • Old Detailer

        I found that playing one-on-one paintball in close quarters with single-shot paintball guns (called a 'stock gun') will give you good experience with high stress shooting. The experience is invaluable in teaching that you are not James Bond..,you can be mortally wounded in a gun fight.

        And people will also find it is entirely possible to shoot at each other point blank and miss when you are pumped up on adrenalin. It is one thing to practice with a paper target…it is a WHOLE 'NUTHER deal to shoot at a target that is shooting back at you. The pain of getting hit point blank by a 300 fps paintball will get your adrenal glands pumping. It's a lot of fun, but there is real life application to it also.

    • Randy

      Right on target!!

    • Dorobuta

      30 rnds is good insurance. There could be multiple intruders – it is not so rare anymore for 3 or 4 thugs to do a home invasion. Under stress you will miss more.

      However, if you are going to use a carbine – you need to take some classes.

      In any event, train, practice, practice some more, and then practice some more. (Don't forget weak hand)

    • Bob

      The 22 is a very good home defense weapon. Besides, 9 out of 10 Mafia assassins can't be wrong…

  • OldMiss

    Heres a question: how many keep their long gun next to the nightstand, at the ready?
    Mine are safely in Plano boxes, locked.
    My hand gun on the other hand, that is on the nightstand. If it is not on the nightstand, it is on my person. I have positive control of it at all times.
    Do I have time to get my keys, get to the closet, pull out long gun of choice, unlock it, load it, all while stressed, before bad guy gets to me?

    I think choosing a handgun over a shotgun over a long rifle depends on where you live. Apartment dweller, or rural rancher.
    Fragmenting ammo is a good idea!

  • old war horse

    I like the idea of splitting core ammo, but seems to me relying on unproven technology to save your bacon,well Ill wait to see some field reports before I buy.
    Not that keen on mixing ammo neither. Grab the wrong mag in the dark understress and load up FMJ thinking PDX. hate to think of hurting my neighbors by accidnet.

    • Aaron

      I don't know about the specific .224 bullets mentioned in this piece but we have been using Nossler Partition bullets in 243's for deer hunting for years, they work very well. Good knock down and penetration and they can survive minor brush strikes intact

  • ToryII

    I wouldn't buy an AR in 5.56. I'd buy it in either .308 or 7.62X39. If you do decide to buy an AR then buy the short barrel (16", and measure it for legallity). Imagine that, an AK or AR in 7.62X39 with a barrel shorter than shotgun length of 18". The .308 could overpenetrate. The (AK or AR) 7.62X39 has stopping power and may not overpenetrate and the short barrel makes it easy to swing in a hallway and its high capacity magazine gives you firepower when five or more Burglars raid your home for your SAFE.

    • Dorobuta

      At the distances within your home. the .223 is well within its optimum envelope. Fragmentation at near muzzle velocity is a given. We're not talking 1000 yd shots. We're talking about 20-30 feet in most cases.

      If you understand how (training anyone?) to use a carbine in the house, then the muzzle on the M4 is not any further out than the muzzle on a handgun.

      Again, google the BOX-O-TRUTH for the scope on over penetration. It will open your eyes to a number of popular misconceptions out there.

    • old vet

      For crying out loud, if you really feel you need a center fire rifle to defend yourself in a house use a REAL one. When the time comes to defend your actions the lawyers love holding up the menacing looking ARs and AKs. to the jury.

      • Old Detailer

        GREAT point!

  • old vet

    A centerfire rifle of any kind would never be my first choice for a dedicated "house gun" , first off, the excess penetration with any useful load, why chance killing a neighbor, you will not be able to pick your backstop in a conflict. The only time a rifle would be called for is if events may expand outdoors. A good shotgun is best preferably one that won't be missed while the law confiscates it during litigation that will surely follow if you have to use it on some "poor victim of society".

    • Dorobuta

      The shotgun, with any kind of useful self-defense load, i.e buckshot, will over penetrate more than a .223 will.

      There are plenty of sources of information regarding the penetrate of various calibers and weapons through drywall and typical house / apartment construction.

      The results generally fly in the face of so called conventional wisdom.

      • old vet

        ANY useful load at close range with a shotgun would include any load, even dove and quail. I know this from a very unfortunate experience. Even a load of #8 shot at close range is one massive chunk of lead for any application. If you actually check to see what most who have a .223 around keep to feed it, most have old 193 ball. Your so called BOX O TRUTH, or whatever, is merely an experimental study, what matters in the real world is what someone grabs when the doodoo hits the ventilator.

  • old vet

    In truth, if you notice, this is really a cleverly disguised Winchester ammo add.

    • DwnwLibermedia

      Yep, you are not the only one who noticed. Shameful. G&A should change its name to Ads&Marketing.

  • Will Carry

    I will keep my handguns for home defense. I think you people must be playing to many video games, when you start telling me I need an AR for home defense.

    • old vet

      Too many games, period, these authors are so deep in their 3 gun and tact. stuff, they can't see beyond their A.R.s To admit that indoors, unless you are part of a SWAT raid, you are well served with a shotgun or good handgun. preferably with lazer or light attached. Nice ad for the Winchester ammo though.

    • @Chubbyfreen

      Though I don't keep any kind of rifle at the handy for home defense, I think that some people may not be able to afford a "collection" of guns like many of us have, and so, if one can really only afford one gun at this time, the AR platform might serve in more than one capacity. If the have-nots start revolting (not that many of them aren't already revolting, by the looks of the OWS crowd) because their Constitutionally-guaranteed welfare checks, EBT cards and Medicaid being to bounce, then, the home with only one firearm may be glad it was an AR more so than a Glock–not that anything's wrong with a Glock–but it might not be the best choice when the welfare "zombies" are setting houses on fire.

      • Jstanley01

        The AR platform is affordable? If I could afford only one weapon, it would be a 30-30 lever action. If I could afford an AR, for the same money I'd get the 30-30, a shotgun, and a revolving pistol instead.

        • Duster

          I complete agree! I have an AR! Love it! But a good LA 30.30 is hard to beat!

  • sgt.ret

    Is there some kind of lobbying going on for the AR behind the scenes in this mag? Seems like every month in the printed mag and the web site, there in ALWAYS some kind of 'supposed' new AR uses and or models. We all know by now both the usefulness, and limitations of the .223 round. Home defense? I dont think so. Even with special ammo, I would not take the chance of over penetration with loved ones in the house. I know from experiance the VERY large profit margins in manufacturing AR's (around 300%, usually more) , and it seems like thats the single driving force in these articles that push this rifle so hard.

    • old vet

      What he said.

      • Dandandaman

        That is what the consumer wants. So, G&A is going to push them to sell more in all 31 flavors, in every application. Use it as a sniper rifle! Use it as a home defense (no matter what the ammo, this idea is just plain dumb)! Coming next issue, Walk your dog with it!
        How many different ways can you review a mil-spec AR? Add a full length M1913 rail? Flip up sights? A few new chamberings have been nice (.300 Blackout). But how many reviews do we need for the anemic .223? And is the military failed 6.8SPC really make for a "hog slayer?"

        • guest

          Why bother with all these new loads? 30-06, the 6.5×55, 30-30 Winchester have all been around for 100+ years and can do all that.

          • Dandanaman

            Nope! If it cannot fit into a AR platform it will never appear in G&A!

    • MNTom

      Yep, built my own ar based on an rra lower and paid less than half what they were asking for at the gun store.

  • Kalifornacation

    DId anyone find the pic of the guy, aiming around the corner of a couch with a AR laughable?

    • Linda

      That was the first thing I laughed at. That couch or any other furniture won't proect you from bullets only help make you less visible and no where to run.

      I prefer back up room if confronted, maybe hide around a door frame knee low?

      Someone mentioned 5 guys barging in? Wow! Is this Fort Knox? Most home invasions I read about or 2-3 maybe? Shoot the first one and the others are gone?

      I will trust my .357 with defense HP by my bed in a nightime pinch with a speed loader near it.

      Be safe. Plan ahead. Don't over kill. You are trying to stop a threat not go to war and shoot up the house and neighbors.

      • Logan

        There has been an increase in home invasions where I am from and some of those people have been reported as wearing soft armor and even plates.
        And as far as I'm concerned, if someone is coming in my house and trying to hurt my family, it is war. No such thing as overkill in a fight for your life. In south Florida a few months ago, there was a 22 yr old kid driving and an older man stopped beside him at a stop light, started yelling at him for something he did while driving, brandished his handgun and the younger man drew and shot the man five times. The daughter tried to say it was overkill. That was not overkill. It was the young man being scared for his life.

        Sorry if I'm a little off topic. I felt it was related to the overkill statement.

        • Linda

          Understandably different situations call for different repsonses, but typically, with the proper gun and [practive a person or persons can be stopped with 2-3 shot in the body mass.

          I was taught in CWL class to be careful and not overkill someone by pumping excess bullets into them, because the law ask what is needed to stop a threat, not necessarily kill them. Based on that, training and advice I made my statement. Your intent in a court of law is to stop a threat, not kill people or continue to overkill with un neccesary bullets. Defending a lot of shots can be problematic in a court of law.

          • chuck1217

            My instructor told us the same, but he winked as he did it. The idea is you shoot to stop the threat, but if it kills the attacker you may be better off (cause usually it's their word against ours and if he isn't available to testify..).we hope we live in a no-duty-to-retreat state,castle doctrine state- and that the local prosecutor is smart enough to know this: if they don't charge you then you are not acquitted, and vulnerable to a civil lawsuit for killing a family member. If you are acquitted those laws prevent civil lawsuits after the shooting. I am not a lawyer, and read this in a magazine, so do check with legal experts in your area before taking my info- or anyone else's- as the gospel. Obviously there are many variables no matter where ya live.

          • Robert Rook

            Good old Alabama, where the 'Enhanced Castle Doctrine' is eminent, yes you only ever shoot to 'stop' even if stopping takes 3 reloads to do it. Take the British police maxim, shoot until they drop the weapon and no longer a threat, usually this means that they are in no condition to complain. Most savvy police/sheriff when faced with a 2:00 am home invasion look very sympathetically towards the 'frightened and distraught' householder defending his/hers family.

          • Tim Stahlzie

            …still rather be judged by 12 then Carried by 6.

          • zipper

            “the law” = horse8h1t; many people believe(and with some credence) that you keep firing until he drops(dead)— threat is “stopped.”
            the corrupt Legal System adheres to the Joe Biden Theory of self-defense. follow THAT and you likely won’t have to testify in any courtroom- you’ll be Dead!

        • old vet

          If someone is going through enough planning to wear plates or soft armor then it is beyond simple "home invasion" and all bets are off. Your local establishment is obviously not doing it's job.

    • Thom Sulick

      HilaRIOUS lmfao!

    • chunwi

      I haven,t stopped laughing…

  • Commoncentsz

    20 or 30 rounds for home defense? Who the heck do you have invading? Zombies? Oh! Wait! This is G&A! Of course!

    • Linda

      Has the revolution started already and I missed it?

    • Andy

      Raise your hand if you would rather have 29 too many or one too few. Unfortunately, it is not the case that home invasions always involve a single intruder.

  • Boxotru

    There is a really great web site where this old retired guy shoots stuff (Box o truth). He uses a lot of dry wall, wood, cinder blocks, you know, stuff houses are built out of. Not ballistic gel. Well, in one he shoots a 5.56 frangible ammo. It fragments, but goes through 4 pieces of 1/2 inch dry wall spaced 10 feet apart. The spread on the final 4th wall is pretty big.

    • Randy

      And you need to continue with the fact that pistol bullets will penetrate through several of those same barriers some even more so than a high velocity rifle bullet.

  • A.W.H

    The best home defense weapon is a shotgun. Gads, who can argue that. I've got a Benelli M4, Tactical Semi-auto, 6 rnd. (8 if you wanna replace the limiter) with a sideplate of 6 more rnds., attached tactical light, and a one point sling. Have a combo of both .00 buckshot and one ounce slugs. If you haven't seen a 12 gauge slug do its thing…One of those followed by buckshot and the party's over.

    • chuck1217

      I depend on mine, too, but I keep #4 and #5 shot in it, have been told it's best for preventing over-penetration, but at HD range still awfully messy.

    • Old Detailer

      I just saw a home defense demonstration of the Benelli M4 with birdshot fired into a double drywall made up with 1/2" sheetrock. Range 12 feet: first sheet of drywall had a big hole in it and the second sheet was pentrated by 10% of shot. My guess is that would be survivable for the person on the other side of the wall. Not so much for the bad guy in front of it. My thought is that you can keep applying round after round of birdshot with a M-4 until the person decides it's not worth sticking around to bleed out…especially if you aim for his head (people with no eyes will have a hard time attacking you).

      As for slugs and buck…I thought the arguement was about over penetration? Hahahaha!

  • RWA

    I'll choose a 9mm carbine / handgun combo for shooting INSIDE my home. 223 will leave someone in the house deaf…not cool, especially since it could be me or a family member..

  • Grant

    Product placement much? This should have been titled as an article about Winchester's PDX1.

    I think talk of over-penetration by proponents of pistols and shotguns is over-rated. As the article mentions, even buck-shot will penetrate walls to some degree. You're better off being aware of your target and what is beyond it regardless of what weapon you use. And it should be noted that armed assailants can and will use cover if a firefight happens. The undeniable fact is that any projectile lethal enough to stop your intruder is lethal enough to hurt your friends or loved ones. This includes the PDX1.

    Unless you are so concerned about penetration that you're willing to use birdshot or high-end frangible rounds, go with hollow point bullets in an intermediate rifle cartridge. They will fragment or begin to tumble quickly, but will still kill a bad-guy hiding behind a wall or piece of furniture.

    • Old Detailer

      I've heard that hollow point rounds clog with drywall and penetrate just as well as ball ammo. (Unconfirmed, but from a good source)

  • Mike Dixon

    How about a nice M1 Carbine

  • John

    Man am I glad to see I am not alone here in my thoughts on using a rifle round inside a house. M&P aside I know how popular the AR15 is now especially the SBR. All you have to do is read some of the AR/M4 forums to see how dedicated people are to this awsome platform. We are free to make our own choices and live with them, but its strange how they overstate the terminal balistics, shrug off the overall length issue, and compare 9mm 147 grain FMJ to .223 now available with a split core to improve fragmentation. This is apples and grapes but 9mm frangible is also available and cheep. The biggest complaint about the 9mm with M&P is that its bounces off body armour. The way I understand it velocity trumps weight when it comes to penetration, all you have to do is compare it for yourself or look at all the vidieos out there like Boxtru said.

  • bhp9

    For urban or suburban areas its pure lunacy. Over-penetration will result and a bullet going through a wall can exit the house and kill bystanders. A shotgun loaded with no. 4 bird shot will keep you from being sued out of existence.

  • bhp9

    One of the above posts mentioned the Miami shoot out where the 9mm was blamed for not stopping the bad guys. The real truth was the agency was too dumb to know what bullet weight works best in the 9mm and that always has been the 124 grain or even a heavier bullet. Even the 115 grain bullets used that day went through one of the bad guys arms and then all the way into his chest stopping just short of the heart. If the heavier bullets would have been used extensive testing as far back as 1945 proved beyond all doubt it would have penetrated deeply enough to kill the man.

  • Jeff

    Wow, is this "World of War"? I hope my neighbors will not read this even though my house is all brick. For the record, I don't own an AR clone and don't plan on getting one, but in a pinch you will have to use what you've got. My handy gun is an old school 9mm Model 39 loaded with hydra-shocks, with an LCR for backup. If I had TIME, the Maverick 12 gauge pump is loaded with 8 rounds of Centurion buck 'n ball. Hopefully I won't ever need it, but if I had my druthers the cheap-o shotgun with the zombie loads would be "it ". But, I doubt I'd have the time…and neither would anybody else. I don't doubt there are those with a SAW stashed under their bed but let's get real here.

  • Tom

    My first line home defence weapon is a Marlin lever action chambered in .35 . It's cheap, short and easy to maneuver. If you hit the bad guy he is not likley to return fire. You do have to think about secondary penetration though. And it's loud

  • Eric

    7.62 x39 are aka the AK47 is better at close range and it will knock them down!!! its kinda like a 45 acp vs. a 9mm i will take the bigger and slower round any day!!!!

  • killergreek

    Nice ad for Winchester, Tarr.

  • chuck1217

    Don't wanta sound like a conspiracy theory kinda guy but, as many of us know a lot of experts are saying our economy, thus society, is going to get worse before it gets better. The possibility of riots, roving gangs going around robbing people is potentially only months away. Who knows when the economy will be back to what it was just 3-4 years ago? I pray the roving gangs etc don't appear, but I sure intend to get a rifle soon as I can, and my current wish is for a 223. Very versatile, good compliment to my pump shotgun (18.5" barrel) and my pistols.

    • Don Kildebeck

      Likely we will never see the economy as it was. Regarding roving gangs, its important to remember that any group like this is going to be looking for the highest value targets with the lowest level of resistance. One bullet fired out of your house into the air will send the gang away to the next house or block over.

      • Robert Rook

        Don, that is a very good point,'most' criminals do not like to be shot at, look at police reports or the NRA mag and see how many turn tail when fired upon, the ones that do not follow that are usually drugged up, and apart from running them through a meat grinder nothing will stop them.

  • @Chubbyfreen

    People critical of G&A for producing articles suggesting uses for advertisers' wares are apparently not aware that a number of publications–including some major newspapers across the country have gone belly up. Why? Advertising revenues are down, and subscribers are unwilling/unable to pay the true cost of producing the medium in question. Advertisers are a fact of life in publishing–whether in print or online. Unless you'd like to pay $20.00 per issue of printed magazines, or per month to subscribe to online publications, you'll have to accept the fact that advertisers are subsidizing the cost of producing whichever media you're enjoying. And, what's wrong with reading articles about ways in which an advertisers products might fit into your life–and if you disagree, posting a comment and engaging in the chat as we all have today. I learn something everytime I come to this site, thanks to you guys who "chat" as well as the authors who write the blogs…I'm glad ALL of you are here.

    • old vet

      Very good comments and well stated. There is nothing wrong with pushing a sponsors product, the polite, and right thing is to state if it is an advertisement. Ammunition companies come up with new products all the time and it is their goal to sell as much as possible. If someone uses it for the wrong application they have a disclaimer on every box protecting themselves. The consumer does not have this protection. You are quite correct as far as the spirit of these blogs, they are one of the free-est means of spreading info. Glad your here too!

    • Boxotru

      Highlighting a particular manufactures product is one thing.
      Constructing an entire article around the idea of needing a AR with 30 magazine for home defense as an ad for the ammo? That is entirely something different.
      If I buy a gun magazine, and I do if it features even one gun I am interested in, I expect it to have articles written with objectivity, and journalistic integrity. Not a constructed article that amounts to a ad.
      As one of the few industries in America that has not suffered from the economic downturn, I dont think gun manufactures, gun ammo manufactures, and the associated industries are suffering at all. As for G&A subscriptions or revenue I cannot say. What I can say is they appear to have traded in quality writing for revenue.

  • OTH70

    The writer misses the point, and maybe promoting the new WW round was the purpose for the article. An AR or an M-4 doesn't need to be loaded with anything heavier than a 55 grain varmint type load for a target across a room or two. Why go for any of the heavier bullets that will penetrate more building materials? We don't need to shoot for 100 yard groups in a home protection scenario. Even the 1 in 7" barrels will provide plenty of accuracy (better than any combat pistol) with the lighter bullet tactical loads. They don't penetrate a lot of drywall or 2 x 4's because they are so frangible. Flash and report really aren't a major issue when your life is threatened. I am not getting rid of my handguns, and at least one is always loaded and ready, but my M-4 has been considered a "house gun" sincde I bought it, and is always ready for the occasional coyote or bobcat that gets too close to the house, (live in a rural area), also..

    • old vet

      Everyone has a different scenario to cope with here, I have nothing against a good 556 rifle, even if in the type of suburb I live in would make me prefer a good shotgun. I own a mini 14, for the simple reason I lived with an m16, for a time and have never totally trusted them since, even if today's ARs are a different animal. The Mini was much cheaper, is hell for reliable and accurate enough. I feel if someone feels strongly enough about their firearm, go with it.

  • simon rogers

    it"s all about where you put the round on your bad guy.,one good center mass shot or head shot will pretty much do the trick.Me i like my45acp,with tangible rounds,is good for one shot stops,however as the other guy had said if you are going after a ravaging pack of chihuahuas,go for the 223. 12 gauge will get just about anything done.Its all about where you put you rounds and being able to hit you target.308 on the field i like it.

    • Robert Rook

      Simon, did you ever read the FBI report that claims the 'One Stop Shot' is a fallacy, someone drugged to the eyeballs even with a macerated heart still has a few seconds to pull the trigger of their firearm and shoot back, although technically they are dead. Most people fall down when they are shot because they say "Oh Sh*t I have been shot" however the military types are trained to overcome that natural feeling and carry on, a good military friend of mine had 7 bullets removed after being shot, he survived luckily, nothing terminal. He is proud of those puckered scars …. lol

  • Mike Bell

    Why use 223, when the 300 Blackout was designed for this?? three times more energy in the same gun. 110gr Barnes or the Hornady Vmax. DRT from the muzzle out to 200 yards. Both LE and Military are going to the bigger 308 bullets but using the same guns with just a barrel swap.

    • JOhn

      Same foot pounds.

    • John

      I love it go to 300 blackout but it just cost per round holding me back as of now.

  • jerry

    I sure could use a donation for one of these.

  • Animalhd1

    Sig 226 in .40 S&W with night sights! Screw the lights keep it dark and have the tactical advantage!

    • northstar19

      Animalhd1 — I'm with you. But I'll even trust my Sig 226 9mm — with night sights.

  • Hatts

    A shot gun is the best defense in suburb areas .A 38 or 40 cal 45 cal is a great back up.Rifles have to much of a range and most areas of defense in a home range from a foot 10 yards.Unless you plan on shooting the perpetrator in the back as they run away at 50 yards and even then a good shot gun with the right shell will probably be just as good as a rifle.You must be aware of your surroundings.Getting behind a couch is probably not your best bet.I do find that very laughable.M1 carbines or any rifle for that matter is going to go further then the perpetrator and god forbid your loved one is behind them, or your neighbor, or even a family pet and guard dogs if you have them.Common sense should tell you that you know your home and business enough to know where your going to make your defense and what you have in mind should a someone were to be in your kill zone. A 223 as defense, well if that all you have at the time.Know what it can and will do.The most important thing after that is know what it will not ,an what you do not want it to do, and that is take out the ones you love or collateral damage to other living beings in the kill zone.Just knowing your area with what you have gives yo and advantage.So why 223 ? Shotguns and Pistol are fine close at range and .If a rifle of any kind is what you have know where the projectile is going to end up.I personally wouldn't use 223 or M1 Carbine .I do however have 22 LR Pistol and Rifles I load with stinger hollows;still wouldn't use them unless that's all I had time to grab.Even the sound of a pump shotgun slide makes a person run.You should have seen the look on the face of the person that ran from my home when they heard an ran out of my home.NO SHOTS fired by the way.I don't think war is what a home invasion is about but I do believe you should give them something that give's them thought about what you will do if they do have a weapon your not going to back off.Unless your being invaded buy an army of troops.Keep it real and keep others safe around you in your kill zone that you care about.Don't let bullets fly beyond the perpetrators body,and don;t duck behind the couch .

  • Double Diamond

    Surprised by the lack of comments on noise levels…if you've ever fired a gun inside you'll know that it is deafening, also ridiculous flash.

    For HD I use a Glock 23 with a suppressor. .40 cal 180 grain flying ash trays.

    My back up is a S&W 686 .357 Mag.

    If one don't get-em the other will.

    Ok I believe in the 5.56 for defense with the proper ammo, as always depends on the situation. Everyone has just about covered every scenario known to mankind or the walking dead, good show too.

    SBR's are the stuff. Short, portable and much better ballistics than a pistol.

    • old vet

      Go back over comments, I believe noise level. flash, were ALL addressed, and all good points. not every one has access to suppressors and such, this is about what everybody can access or should be.

  • Snug

    Interesting article and if my house is invaded by prairie dogs I'll'certainly consider the .223 a proper option.
    On the other hand; it is TOO DAMN LOUD,has a muzzle flash that kills night vision,is less convient than a short shotgun you can buy for $1000 less,and ammunition that doesn't over-penetrate costs about $2.00 a round if you buy it instead of freebies from manufacturers

    • JOhn

      Less lound than a 9mm a shotgun though a little more that a .22lr

  • JMacDougal

    With All Due Respect, While I Continue To Keep Loaded.357s Within Reach I Am Most Comfortable With One Of My M-1 Rifles In.30-'06 As My Primary Go To Weapon In Case Of Emergency–150grain Projectile Moving At Nearly 3000FPS Settles The Old Argument Re:Light & Fast VS. Heavy & Slow… And I WANT Penetration, Should I Be Faced With An Adversary With Some Cover/Protection . As For Accessability, A Hardcase Under The Bed, Sleeved & Leaning Just Inside My Closet, Or In A Softcase Hanging In The Closet Between The Shirts, A Couple Of Bandoleers Of M-2 Ball Hanging On A Nail … Great Visual Deterrent Also, No Doubt…

    A)Better To Have It & Not Need It Than To Need It & Not Have It…
    B)Better To Be Judged By 12 Than Carried By 6.

  • William

    After the FBI shootout was over, the autopsy determined one of the suspect's eardrums were blown out from the concussion and report of the .223 rifle being fired from inside the car. I can't imagine being able to quickly put on hearing protection during a home invasion especially if you were awakened in the middle of the night. I sure as hell wouldn't want to fire off a .223 from inside the house. Not that a handgun is going to be any less of course.

    • old vet

      Correct, the blast from a .223 is horrible in a confine. I discharged several rounds of 193 ball in a hidey hole under a hootch. only the first round was really loud, the rest just seemed to pound my eardrums farther in.

  • Mugsy

    Seems to me any time you tell the Prosecuting Attorney you have a rifle in a city for home defense you are
    opening yourself up to a huge civil lawsuit. The judge or jury is going to have to look at you &
    your "military" looking AR & really wonder about you. I live in a rural state and shotguns are common & since we changed the concealed carry law in Iowa, & now working on "Castle Doctrine," handguns for personal defense are also becoming more common. While shooting an M4 is fun on the range or shooting a coyote on the farm, it still looks military as does the mini-14 (to anyone with a memory of their dad in WWII) Practice with a pistol on an "action range;" practice with an empty pistol around your home & get that safe room. Imagine you're in the jury-box…gee was your life really in "imminent danger" if you had to get out your rifle?

    • JMacDougal

      You make some excellent points. Even living in Kalifornia I will take living to tell the tale & dealing with authorities, lawyers & the consequences of my actions over political correctness every time.

  • BJC

    Tactical rifles have their own advantages but home defense is not one of them unless you are under attack from outside. Look at anyone training with an AR type weapon and you will notice they have tunnel vision, they are tucked in behind some sort of optic mounted on the gun, this is not good when you are inside a dark house with most likely more than one perpetrator to deal with. For this situation I have a tactical shotgun that holds 9 rounds in the mag, has a light and extra rounds mounted on it, & has a pistol grip. I keep it loaded with standard OO buck non magnum ammo. This way you can scan the entire room with both eye's for multiple targets. If you are in bed and are confronted with a threat nothing is faster than a pistol and in my opinion larger bore, lower power is better 45acp or, 40 s&w would be my choice. In my home its a Mossberg 590A, and a Kimber TLE RL. Hope I never have to use either one.

    • Old Detailer

      Best reply for me because I live in a high density surban area with only 10-20 feet of seperation between homes. My choice is the Taurus Judge. In my neighborhood a paramilitary weapon would be just insane. Even a 9mm in the hands of an expert marksman would be borderline nuts in a fire fight since only about 21% of rounds actually hit their target (FBI study). A "spray and pray" weapon and tactical awarness is trumps for me! That said, I still would rather have a Benelli 12 ga pump with an extended magazine and an array of shell types for the angry mobs on Dec 21. = )

  • Sam

    The gun is not the issue. Your training and actions are. When you hear THE bump in the night or the dog is going nuts, DO NOT turn on the light. Get your gun ready FIRST, get to your best postion and then call 911. Cut phone line may make the cell phone best. Tell the operator YOUR ADDRESS FIRST. What is happening is NOT as important at first. Now make a loud announcement that the cops are on the way, you do have a gun, and you will use it. Now SHUT UP! They will read your voice and decide whether you are still a "good" victim or not. Do NOT keep warning or go looking for them. You do not even know how many there are. Your warning will be on the 911 recording. If they do come to find you, you have even more legal justification. We can not help you until we arrive. DO NOT go looking even if you THINK they have gone. Pretty much, our "arrivals" are way after the fact anyway. Hard core honesty: Your safety and the safey of your loved one IS ON YOU!!! You have a right NOT to talk until you have your lawyer. There are obviously a variety of circumstances and a lot is not covered here. Practice for possible differences due to time of day, the layout of your house and loved ones, etc.

    • JMacDougal

      EXCELLENT Advice —

    • cole

      The most sensible post I've seen!

    • luckyish

      Sound advise from a law enforcement view and legal standpoint. Let them come to you.

  • Thomas Deal

    I think a security system would be my first line of defense and then whatever piece I carried that day will be on the headboard and I will have faith in it until I can get to a short shotgun .I wouldn't go for an ar because I think it would be to hard to manuever with it down the hallway ! semper fidelis

  • Oneslackr

    Why do so many people feel like they have to be armed 24/7 or otherwise the 'evil doers' are going to get them? Where do most of these people live that they feel the need to have access to a loaded gun around the clock? Cracktown or Psychoville, USA? I think some people are overly paranoid about society or their fellow citizens. I'm glad I don't have that kind of outlook on the world, always worried that the bogeyman is going to get me..

    I'm about to turn 43 years old on the 25th. I have lived in 2 different countries & in numerous cities in 7 different states over my lifetime. I spent 4 months per year over a 7 year period crisscrossing this country from Portland, ME to Portland, OR & from Brownsville, TX to the upper peninsula of Michigan. I also passed through and/or spent time in every wide spot in the road between these places as part of my former job as an auditor. Prior to that I spent 3.5 years working in south central L.A., Compton, & Watts (all crappy gang & drug infested neighborhoods in the Los Angeles area). Trust me, I didn't exactly blend in in those neighborhoods, being a blonde headed white guy, & most of the time I worked in those areas by myself. Even so I never felt unsafe or like my life was in danger in any of those areas. I also never felt the need to be armed. In fact I have never had any problems or issues with anyone trying to attack me no matter where I have gone in this country. My point being that the odds of someone randomly attacking you are overblown in many people's minds. While there are plenty of criminals/bad people out in the world it isn't nearly as dangerous as some people seem to think it is or the media makes it out to be.

    I have also never felt the need to have a loaded gun ready to go on my night stand or even in my house. Then again I'm not worried that someone is going to invade my house any second. I probably have a greater chance of getting killed by a swarm of honeybees than by some thug or psycho axe murderer kicking in my front door. Are people really that worried that someone is going to harm them? If so then IMO that is a sad way to live.

    I'm not saying people shouldn't own guns or even have a loaded handgun if that's what helps them sleep at night. But now they should use a rifle for home defense? Really. If you're so worried about killing someone in their tracks because of a perceived threat, that will likely never happen in ones lifetime, then why stop with an AR/M4 rifle with a 30 round magazine. People would be a lot safer & have much greater fire power by parking an M1 Abram in front of their house. Better yet why not just sleep inside the tank every night just in case the bad guys decide to come for you….Don't forget to check under your bed & in your closets for the bogeyman before you crawl into your M1 tank & turn the lights off at night. LOL…

    • Sam

      Pardon me if I suggest you are incredibly ego centered. I guess you have never had a fire in your house, so you shouldn't keep fire extinguishers close by either? And of course, women should NEVER carry pepper spray in their hand or a concelaed pistol should they? Law enforcement responds to MANY crimes. Actually, many involve NO innocent people when evil people attack their evil enemies. However, we also respond to innocent vicitims who are left behind, the criminal gone. Those criminals will commit many more crimes and make many more victims before they are caught. ONE successful crime can destroy your whole life and the life of your loved ones. I have seen folks who think like you have their whole world reversed when they and/or their loved ones become victims of ONE crime. It actually has resulted in suicides. Last year in this country there were many thousands of incidents where an innocent person prevented themselves or another person from becoming a victim, ONLY because they were armed. Maybe the cases involving the shooting of a criminal is why that same thug never later accosted you. Should this happen to you, I am sure you will no longer be so bloody pompous. You might just be very bloody.

    • JMacDougal

      Must be nice to live on your planet.

    • John Doe

      I bet his real name is Charles Schumer or Diane Fienstein. You heard him folks, you are completely safe, turn in your guns to be destroyed.

      What a *#&&!(!@

    • JiminGA

      Long ago I lived in a small southern town where you didn't need to lock your house and could leave your keys in the car when parked downtown. That all changed when a bad guy invaded a neighbor's house with intent to take his young daughter. The dad fought the intruder and came within 1/4" of death from a knife wound. The dad did not own a gun, and the family moved away because their kids were too afraid to remain there.

      I now live in a distant suburb of Atlanta where crime was nonexistent 20 years ago. Today, we have home invasions, armed robberies, and even robberies of churches.

      You are either a fool or just not paying attention, and all here pray your foolishness doesn't bring harm to you or your family. I'm sure all here join me in subscribing to the idea of "prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.

    • Uncle Percy

      Anti gun guy on a gun web site. He lives in bizzaro world and he is a liar. I would like to drop him off in E. St Louis at night so he could tell those people who live there how safe they are.

      • Fundinn Gangulfsson

        Hmm, too bad my family no longer has mafia connections there.

    • cole

      Absolutely… though unfortunately your opinion is unlikely to get much of a hearing from this bunch of paranoid cowboys.

    • northstar19

      Oneslackr — You must have a LOT of good karma from your past lives. Have you heard the saying? God protects children, drunkards, and Americans. You must be on that list. Another saying: Better to have a gun and not need it, than to need a gun and not have it. Nevertheless, go with God.

    • 124andmore

      You are incredibly naive. Google 'home invasions in u.s.'

  • Tom

    Now thats just silly

  • nadnerb05

    Granted I keep an 8 shot S&W 627PC 357 mag, a couple of moonclips and a Surefire backup next to my bed but my thought has always been that the pump shotgun is the best home defense weapon for the sole reason that hearing the racking of the pump is a fairly significant deterent. Heck if I'd go near a home where I heard a pump shotgun rack.

    • John

      I understand what you are saying about where you sraw the line with HD wepons. We frequently hear about the rack the shotgun warning and the bad guy pees his pants and runs, not always true and if they were armed and ready for example in an HD situation you just gave your position away and now they have `the drop on you'.

  • JOhn

    Bullet: 75 gr. BTHP T2 TAP®
    B.C.: .355 S.D.: .214
    Muzzle Velocity: 2660 fps
    Barrel: 16"
    Twist Rate: 1 in 9"
    Total Penetration: 13.25"
    Max. Cavity: 6"
    Depth to Max. Cav.: 4.5"
    Entry: .5"
    21 rounds on tap.
    Retained Weight: 34 gr

    • Jon

      youre twist rate is not compatibale with a 75grn bullet a 1 in 9 can only handle 69grn max to stabelize according to everthing Ive read?

  • John Doe

    The expert on the FBI shootout in LA seems to have forgotten that the shootout went on for so long because the cops only had pistols and shotguns at the outset of the shootout. The bad guys were finally killed when the local PD borrowed some AR15s from a local gun shop. Oh, yeah, the cops used AR15s in .223 Remington to stop bad guys WEARING BODY ARMOR! The expert is right, you can't use .223 to stop bad guys, even ones wearing body armor. It is completely ineffective. lol.

  • Jimbo

    #4 buckshot. Just how likely are you to need a 20 or 30 round clip in a small house?

    • frudoc

      While I understand what you are saying, it seems that a growing number of home invasions are being perpetrated by groups of people. Three to five people would not be surprising. Given this, I can understand why someone would want to have more ammo rather than less, and have it readily usable. I am not arguing for any particular firearm, but merely pointing out that there is a reasonable argument for 20 rounds rather than six or ten. I'd sure hate to run out of ready ammo as the fourth or fifth guy is approaching.

      One more thing to note is that a drug-loaded criminal – or more than one – will often take more than a few shots to take down. I think that is also worth considering.

    • 124andmore

      The answer to that question depends on how many thugs there are and how good of a shot you are.

  • JiminGA

    There's an old saying about home defense…."use your handgun to fight your way to your shotgun". My Glock sleeps next to me (or is on my hip) and my 12 ga pump is in a gunsafe with a digital lock (I have 5 grandkids). I can have the Mossberg in my hands in 5 seconds. Also in the safe is an AR 15 with mags loaded with both FMJ for punching paper and soft nose for bad guys a little farther away. My point is…..any strategy for home defense includes all three weapons

    • JmacDougal

      I mean you no disrespect, I was told pistols are for figting your way to a "real gun". I think we're on the same page…

    • prentice

      I like that saying, I think I will use my sigma to fight my way to my mossberg.

  • JustCaude

    That's fine, delete the truth it's the American way!

  • Oneslackr

    Hey Sam, JMacDougal, & John Doe. You guys crack me up. Yeah, it's great on my planet. I don't go around quivering in fear everyday while armed to the teeth. Why don't you run along now & put your tinfoil hats on nice & tight & go hide in your bunkers & keep making a bunch of assumptions….

    If you really must know I'm an NRA member & I own guns too. I just don't feel the need to be personally armed 24/7. I also don't keep my weapons loaded in my house.

    BTW, reading comprehension is your friend. All of you should try it some time. Why don't you point out to me from my original post where I said that everyone should turn in all of their guns or that people shouldn't own guns or women shouldn't have pepper spray or concealed handguns.

    In fact I said the exact opposite & I quote: "I'm not saying people shouldn't own guns or even have a loaded handgun if that's what helps them sleep at night."

    Why do the 3 of you get all worked up when someone has a difference of opinion & chooses not to go around armed 24/7? I guess it really burns up people like you when someone else has an opinion that doesn't conform to your narrow view of the world, doesn't it? Especially, when it's from someone who owns guns themselves.

    Unlike you my masculinity/ego is not tied directly to my guns. I guess if anyone questions the need for so many guns the 3 of you feel like your manhood is being questioned & your ego gets bruised. Maybe some guys need large guns to compensate for smaller things….I personally don't have that problem…LOL Oh no, now I'm stooping to your level & making a bunch of assumptions. LOL

    • Uncle P

      Liar on epic level. NRA member? Why would you if you fear nothing.

    • northstar19

      Oneslackr — a bit arrogant? and condescending? I might ask, why do people need to go about the world looking down their noses at others 24/7, and then making troll-like comments on various gun forums? In the future, try not to become emotionnally entangled with those you disagree with. Haven't you found out yet? It doesn't pay. Nevertheless, go with God.

  • Montana

    Oneslackr, while I do not agree with you…you are entitled to your opinions just like everyone else here. That is your fundamental right endowed to you by our constitution; the same constitution that allows Americans to keep and bear arms. Why not exercise this right? Law abiding citizens that carry firearms for personal defense do so (re: should do so) for just that reason personal defense, no responsible CCW holder leaves his house in the morning saying "I am going to have to shoot someone today". It is preparation for a possible eventuality, like putting on your seat belt or having car insurance. This is not a community made up of cowboy gunslingers looking for a shoot out at high noon. These are concerned and aware citizens that take a proactive approach to being prepared for life's ugly (and all to common) situations nor do we "walk around quivering in fear every day". Guess why? That's right, because underneath that slick northface jacket and my beaming smile is my glock that neither you nor anyone else noticed.
    Everybody else:
    1) Humans are more important than hardware…have you practiced mag changes and malfunction clearance with that 1200 dollar black rifle? If so great thats another tool in your box….I am just saying that the best gun for any self defense situation is the one in your hand…that you are comfortable with and have trained with personal preference aside shot placement is the key…buy some training instead of that fancy new toy.
    2) Hey guys what about pistol caliber carbines…mag capacity, contact with hands and shoulder=better accuracy…just a thought…GO!

    • Oneslackr

      While you might disagree with me at least you didn't start making a bunch of unfounded assumptions like some of the previous posters, so I applaud you for that. Like you said everyone is entitled to their opinion. If people wish to legally carry concealed good for them. If they want to have loaded guns hidden in every corner of their house that is their choice.

      However, like tens of millions of other people in this country I don't choose to do either & don't feel the need to do so. Could I encounter a situation where I would wish that I was armed. Sure I could but the odds are fairly low.

      Almost all of the people that I have personally known in my 43 years of life have not even been gun owners or have ever even shot a gun. No one I personally know has a concealed weapons permit. No one I personally know is even a hunter. Yet despite the fact that they haven't been anywhere near a gun they have all managed to make it through life without getting attacked or killed. So it is possible to make it through life without being armed 24/7…The fact that I am a gun owner makes me the odd one out in my family & among my friends. BTW, I'm a conservative & so are the majority of my friends/family members. Not all liberals are gun grabbers & not all conservatives are gun hoarders. To each their own…..

      • Rich

        Here’s food for thought, and you can share it with those friends. It’s like when you take martial arts classes. You train and train for years and just maybe you will never have to use those skills. But there may come that one time when you need to…and the outcome of that one occurrence may mean the difference between your family having or not having a loved one.

        That one time may mean the difference too between living a long life or a short one.

  • Heretic


  • old vet

    Just received my latest G&A. out of curiosity I actually counted how many pages were devoted to AR types. If took them out, would be really thin. What's the deal?

  • Fred

    If you live in a house with wide open spaces (like I used to), then a long gun like an AR is a great choice. If you live in an apartment or an old house built like a rat maze (like I do now), then the extra gun length is an issue. Walk around your living space and measure the logical shooting distances. The very longest open shooting distance in my entire house is 7-yards, and that's across an unfinished basement. Well-placed shots under 7-yards with any reasonable handgun, rifle, or shotgun, loaded with the right kind of ammunition, is going to do the trick. By the way, keep a set of electronically amplified shooting muffs with your gun. You can slap them on, turn them up to help you hear the intruder, and you won't go deaf when you touch off the kinds of cannons some of the guys responding here think you need to defend yourself.

  • John

    First off I’ve seen a lot of people talk about the “P.C.” of the way a firearm looks but I’ve never read anything to back that up. Second off I believe that the Police are taking any firearm regardless of what it looks like if it is involved in the shooting of another person.
    I got nothing adjust shotguns or a handgun of reasonable caliber. I just like my AR-15 by the bed-side because is only about 33 inches for me to shoulder, almost no recoil, really the best long gun for a woman for that and the very light-weight. I don’t really care if it looks like something made for Rambo anybody can put one hole on top of another at 50 100 yards let alone 7 yard and less. I got half a dozen add-ons including light laser vertical grip and with a 20 round magazine plus 1 on the scale sill reads out only 8 pounds. Only a fraction of the noise of any center fire let alone a shotgun is close courters. With the carful pick of round the .223/5.56 will leave devastating damage that only a shotgun can rival.
    If you don’t think the .223 is good for nothing but parie dogs there are at last count 20 different caliber that can do too, with no FFL dealers of gunsmiths to deal with.

    • old vet

      O.K., Got a real nice set up with your AR15. If it suits you, go with it. Got to question your statement about it's noise level. Unless you have it suppressed that thing is almost as loud as any other high power rifle. Most 12 GA loads will have less noise level ( it's just a matter of pressure ) and a handgun caliber rifle even less. Either way if it's your firearm of choice, practice and practice some more.

  • John

    The average unsuppressed sound levels for the 5.56 mm/
    223 caliber semiautomatic rifle at the military standard
    recording distance was 164 dB and 155 dB at the shooter’s
    ear. The average suppressed levels were 137.4 dB and 134.2
    dB, respectively (difference of 26.6 dB and 29.8 dB,
    The average unsuppressed sound levels for the boltaction
    7.62 3 51 mm/308 caliber rifle at the military standard
    recording distance was 165.7 dB and 157.2 dB at the
    ear. The average suppressed sound levels were 138.9 dB
    and 131.2 dB, respectively (difference of 26.8 dB and 26
    dB, respectively). As for a shotgun the dB level is about 170dB in 18 inch barrel.

  • Flashing Lights

    To everone The average unsuppressed sound levels for the 5.56 mm/
    223 caliber semiautomatic rifle at the military standard
    recording distance was 164 dB and 155 dB at the shooter’s
    ear. The average suppressed levels were 137.4 dB and 134.2
    dB, respectively (difference of 26.6 dB and 29.8 dB,
    The average unsuppressed sound levels for the boltaction
    7.62 3 51 mm/308 caliber rifle at the military standard
    recording distance was 165.7 dB and 157.2 dB at the
    ear. The average suppressed sound levels were 138.9 dB
    and 131.2 dB, respectively (difference of 26.8 dB and 26
    dB, respectively). As for a shotgun the dB level is about 170dB in 18 inch barrel.

  • Flashing Lights
    • old vet

      This is a study in reference to earplugs of various types as apposed to supressors . no mention in it to twelve gauge of any kind. Go ahead, fire that M4 all you want indoors with no protectors. It's your ears.

  • James

    For home defense, my first choice would be to grab my .45 Hi Point carbine loaded with Hornady 185 grain jhp FTX bullets. You cannot argue against the stopping power of the .45 cal. With its 18 inch barrel and flashlight attachment/laser or just plain iron sights the carbine chambered in .45 makes it the perfect close quarters in the dark, home defense weapon. If the fight is taken outdoors, this carbine is surprisingly accurate at even 100 yards. In addition, since its a pistol cartridge used in a rifle, you would he surprised how quiet it shoots. For home defense, I would choose my .45 carbine over the .223, hands down.

    • Flashing Lights

      Hope that HI Point works well.

  • Flashing Lights

    An AR-15 is pretty loud but I have shot it with my plugs out by mistake and it was just a loud crack and little report. Less than a 12 ga with hearing protection on.
    Obviously because of the flash suppresser.

  • james

    .223 is deadly, so is a .22. The US Military has been using sub par firearms since about 1965, no inspiration there. Police use of a firearm, as a reference? No way. If all you have is .223, use it, but I would not buy one. 12 gauge shotgun is cheaper. Any firearm/caliber/shot is only as effective as the shooter using it. (Brief note only).

    • John

      Can't aruge with that.

  • Rick Corbin


  • Todd

    Gun writers do two things. 1) sell advertising, all hthis money is in AR's at the moment. 2) they sell fear and the way to gauge that is in coment sections just like this one. If there were 10, 000 comments for this article, the writer would compose another extreme article such as this. A pistol that one can shoot while half asleep and a good dog is what you need. Not to be a badass rambo type, remember that you are most likely going to be standing there in your bathrobe, pjs or underwear!!

    • BeGe1

      Ummm, I don’t know how much shooting you’ve ever done, but “A pistol that one can shoot while half asleep” speaking out against carbine length rifles is a bit backwards. Pistols take SIGNIFICANTLY more skill and concentration to use effectively compared to a carbine. Being able to use a the firearm better under stress and in less than optimum conditions is a point in the carbine’s favor, not pistols.

  • Duster

    Ok,.. it has gone on too long. I understand that G&A writers are paid to write,. but suggesting that a centerfire rifle cartridge of any kind is the poorest advice that you can give to anyone regarding in home defense! Anybody that was swayed by this to switch to a cf rifle,… You belong on the Zombie blog. You have no ability or desire to do your own research. You're lemmings. Follow me to the cliff.

  • guest

    Mossberg 590 Mariner under the bed- 8 in the mag- 6 on the side saddle- Beretta 9mm in the night stand-JHP

  • Daniel Sims

    For CQCB or (Home Defence) does it really matter if its a hand gun, shot gun, or from a rifle?? One good shot from just about anything dead center mass and he/she/it is going down! If you can't shoot very well & do not need something that will keep going that might end up hurtting your friends/neighbors then maybe try the Taurus Judge in the .410 shotshell or the Smith & Wesson Governor in the .410 shotshell??? If your a good shot and can shoot straight under high pressure at close range in nine times out of ten very low light then one well placed shot from a .45acp, .357mag, or .40s&w will/can stop who or what ever your shooting at pretty quick if it does comes into your home uninvited! I do how ever keep my 870 tactical in a quick run & grab place just like my 1911 close to my nightstand. The 870 has the intimidation factor & I don't want to honestly hurt some dumb kid who might just be trying to play a prank around my house but at the same time if I do have to use it cause some one does break in (again) to do harm & or other, than I know I have more then enough gun to stop who or what ever comes in uninvited!

    • wtfyall

      Y'all got problems.

    • BeGe1

      *”One good shot from just about anything dead center mass and he/she/it is going down!”*

      Not true at all. Pistol rounds especially are known for many (even most) people surviving and being dangerous long after taking center of mass hits. One good center of mass shot with anything will kill eventually without immediate treatment, yes…but stop a threat immediately? No. In fact, the real world numbers for most pistol rounds are about 30% as 1 shot physical stops. Rifle and shotgun rounds are significantly better, but also no guarantee.

  • Alex

    I don't think I'll ever be a fan of using such a large weapon for home defense, just too hard to wield around corners. I sleep with a UMP .45 on my night with a pre ban Mac 10 inside it. If an intruder is still standing after that many rounds of .45 I'm pretty sure he deserves to do what he planned on doing.

    • John

      8 pounds with everything +ammo

  • John
    • John

      Opps, just serch for Gary K. Roberts report,

  • Jon

    xd40sc on dog crate at side of bed, 12ga 00 and deer slugs at end of bed, bushmaster with light, laser combo at ready and rott in dog crate sleep real good, no worries here

    • .45StayAlive

      Why is your dog in a crate?!?!

  • Rick in MI

    I have a Colt .45ACP handy. But, if I felt the need of a rifle for home defense, I think my Marlin 336 in 30/30 or perhaps even my old .410 would be better choices than most.

  • .45StayAlive

    Seems to me a lot of people are making comments here for an article they didn't bother to read. Or maybe their reading comprehension is a bit off. As the article states, defensive pistol ammunition and buckshot both penetrate more than .223 defense loads. Therefore, anyone writing that they wouldn't use an AR in the house because of over-penetration concerns is wasting bandwidth with their comments.

    Check out the website for "The Box O' Truth" for real world tests of ammunition penetration. Unfortunately, on that Website, hollow point .223 was not tested (the full metal jacket loads penetrated about the same as buckshot and pistol ammo and not as much as 12 gauge slugs. In other tests, lightweight, hollow point 5.56 and .223 rounds do not penetrate as much as 9mm or .45ACP – but the .223 causes far more tissue damage and does it to the needed 12 inches.

    I've got lots of handguns (mostly .45ACPs) stashed in lots of places in my house. But there's an M4 behind my bed when I sleep and it tends to sit next to me at night when I work in my home office (it's next to me know). As Clint Smith says, "A handgun is the perfect weapon to use to fight your way to your rifle."

  • Andy

    As a former Marine, I am very comfortable with the AR format. I bought one mostly because of this. I have found that an M4 is short enough to be maneuverable in close quarters, and given the 31 round capacity and extreme ease of use, it is fitting for me. I think being comfortable with your weapon trumps any one-size-fits-all "best" home defense weapon. From my experience, it can be very difficult to hit stationary targets of almost any distance with a handgun. Now, if you have a moving target, I would have a much harder time hitting the intruder with the handgun vs the M4. Given that every round is vital, the 15-20 extra rounds provided by the M4, along with the comparatively easier ability to provide accurate fire on the target with the short rifle, I am more likely to hot my target and not run out of ammo. It's much faster and more accurate to put a couple hammer pairs on target with an M4 than a handgun. Anyway, that's how I roll. Do what you are comfortable with. It doesn't matter to me if a .45 with a 10 roun mag can stop an intruder with one shot. I want to hit my target and not run out of ammo. Nobody is coming near me with my ability to place 31 fast and accurate 5.56 rounds center mass. In reference to the comment about having scopes and such on the AR's and their hindrance to sight acquisition, I would point out that one barely needs to be able to aim in close quarters with an AR. Point and shoot. It's much harder to jerk a shot wide with the AR at. 5-15 feet or whatever. Iron sights is where it's at anyway (cheap, durable, accurate). Above all else, get a gun for home defense, and make it your best friend.

    • Andy

      Also, about the guy peeping from behind the couch, he does not have cover obviously. Most things in your home don't provide cover anyway (at least not most things that allow you to shoot from behind, retreat, etc). What's he supposed to do, stand in the middle of the room in plain sight? Despite not having cover, his position provides him some serious advantages, so I don't find him ridiculous. He has concealment. If you have found a spot like this to hide behind and wait, it shows you know where your enemy is comig from–probably through a passage, hallway, or door. So his concealment provides him the ability to already have his aim directed at approximately center mass where his enemy will e funneled in from. He will have the element of surprise here and almost certainly shoot his target before the intruder even knows he's there. No matter what gun you prefer, remember that you have the advantage, given that you have not been completely surprised and defeated before being able to react. In mout ops, if a baddy is holed up in his home, armed, and ready, your fireteam or squad will sustain casualties. We as homeowners have the advantage in most scenarios. I would say that owning an alert dog that barks and ANY gun is more important than worrying about the difference between a 5.56 and a .45 or whatever. Being able to react and have the first shot is paramount in my book.

  • JDP

    12 ga pump w/ 00 buckshot is ultimate HD protection. Seriously, a rifle for HD?? Any gun will "work" (although I wouldn't choose a .22 rimfire), but 9 rounds of 00 buckshot is a no brainer.

  • John
  • wtfyall

    Where the heck do you people live? Dang.

  • northstar19

    Where is Oneslackr now? Since all the recent mass shootings? I want to hear your most recent opinions about self defense. Please report in. Now.

    • Dennis

      I just can't comprehend what ever one is so worried about that they need to be armed.
      Have any of you had some one break into your home and threaten your life.
      30 round magazine for home protection, what are you thinking.
      I just hope none of you are living next to me.
      Some one in my town that thought they had to be armed dropped a gun at the grocery store a few month ago, and yes the gun fired, it was a miracle no one was hurt.
      I think a lot of you people need physiological concealing
      Yes I am a gun owner and enjoy target shooting competitions, I have been shooting for over 40 years. I don't keep a loaded weapon in the house or carry concealed as I don't see the need to,

      • MakerMarked

        uh, what?

      • BeGe1

        Your question: *”Have any of you had some one break into your home and threaten your life[?]”*

        My answer: Yes. And I live in a rural area with practically no crime compared to most places.

        According to the FBI, 82% of people in the US will be the victim (or attempted victim) of a violent crime in their lifetimes, and 53% will be more than once. I am not unique in my answer to that question. Each individual day the chances are relatively low…but we live tens of thousands of days. Roll the dice that many times and even low probability things become almost a sure bet.

        A guy in your town dropped a gun and had it go off? Every pistol I carry could be thrown down a flight of stairs a hundred times without going off. He was negligent for carrying a pistol not designed for proper carry and in a holster that wouldn’t retain it, and could have due process done to him that would constitutionally strip his 2nd amendment rights because of that. Why would you blame the idea of carrying instead of the actual person that screwed it up? I know a guy that drove his car at 100 mph into a tree…does that mean I started speaking out against people driving? No, it was that idiot’s fault for doing things in an unsafe way (pertaining to both the driver and the carrier), they need to pay said consequences and THEY need to be blamed. It was not the fact that he was driving…it was the fact that he was driving unsafely. And likewise, it was not the fact that he was carrying, it was the fact that he was carrying unsafely.

        Also, anyone that cannot properly name a type of counseling should not be recommending it. “Physiological” counseling…really? Get counseling about my physiology? Maybe you should receive “psychiatric” counseling. After all, the father of modern psychiatric practices once said that a fear of weapons is a sign of retarded emotional and sexual maturity.

  • Andy

    I have an AR 15, 12g pump gun and a Glock .40S&W. The Glock is most accessible, on the nightstand, but the shotgun is also just a step away and would definitely be my first choice if I have the time to gt to it. The Glock and the shotgun both have weapon lights on them. As I see it, the AR is the gun of choice in the event that there are riots and looters in the streets or some such similar situation, but I can't see it as an indoor defensive weapon. Sure, the Seals and Rangers use full auto M4's to clear buildings but that isn't wuite the same thing. About the only situation where I would want the AR would be if a bad guy was hiding behind a hostage. The AR is the only thing I would want for that shot – but I don't see that in my situation as very likely.

    Drywall isn't stopping any of these rounds. The idea that buckshot will stop in the wall is a myth. If you hit a wall, yeah… otherwise it will be the third or fourth wall.

    • Andy

      Sorry – meant to say if you hit a stud, otherwise it will be the third or fourth wall.

  • Gary

    For everyone who has posted about how a AR15 is a bad choice because of close quarters, what does the military use to clear houses? It isn't a handgun. A shotgun may be used to get through a door. But the M4 is still king for clearing a building. Close quarters combat. Of course our barrel is 14.5" vs 16". Pay for the stamp and get an SBR.

  • Joe Johnson

    I think the shotgun is the best gun for home defense, but that is my opinion. AR’s can be a good choice, but are expensive if you don’t have the budget for one.

  • Dave

    Sorry I don’t get why I should call the police every time my dog barks or a hear bump. That’s retarted! And to top that I def. am not going to bunker down in my room with my kids on the opposite side of the house. Think again, me and my Kimber 45 will destroy anything under 15ft without failure pressure added I think adrenaline would over come that small amount of fear when your family is on the line. Thanks but in most cases if I get up I carry my .45 I love my ar and the ability to strike quick and with plenty of round, but my .45 will do, or the 12 guage beside my bed depends on how eminent the threat is and if I know where they are and how many. I also have spare mags loaded and placed in a strategical advantage around the house. Think ahead people it could happen.

  • Iowa cowboy

    Here in rural Iowa our true home defense at night against the
    neighborhood intruders is a bit different. The lone red fox, packs of
    3-6 hungry stray dogs and packs 5-8 coyotes attacking our livestock,
    chickens, cats and even our dogs both during broad daylight and 3am are
    out typical intruder issues. Yes, in the very early spring even hungry
    coyotes will drop in during the daylight.

    Probably most shots are taken at only 10-50 yards at best. More like 20 yards. In broad daylight I was once challenged by 4 stray dogs in my own yard 10 feet from the house. Not wanting to kill some neighbors “pet” I kept the .40 Glock holstered and picked up my trusty garden hoe. Waving the hoe around scared all but one off. One unwise bastard decided to press the issue and challenged me on my own property! Clunk. Bad ending for the dog. Two days later they were back. Nailed the first one with my trusty single round bolt .410 with a Bernneke slug. The other two pressed on! Now I owned a club. In this case I would rather have a 30 round AR to take care of the issue. No time for dropping in another round. Hurried back into the house and returned with the Glock. Three dead chickens and one dead barn cat later they ran off with plenty of
    ineffective .40 rounds chasing them off at over 60 yards. Not the
    Glocks fault.

    Now rethinking accruing the AR with its handy 30 rounds. My late Grampa loved his big game .300 Weatherby bolt and Dad his deer gun, a .30-06 pump. But in this case they may not be truly the best for our farm. Dropping to a kneeling position I could have probably dropped each and every one with a decent .223 AR well out to the distant fence line. Plus the AR’s are easy to add night shooting gear. Try that on Dads old out of production wood stock .30-06.

    Last point. The wife can shoot the .223 all day long, confidently out to
    100 yards. Way farther range then needed to hit our hungry visitors.
    She handed the .12 ga pump and my old .30-30 pump back after a single
    shot from each. So for our home defense, she can safely and confidently use the .233 against both two legged and four legged intruders. Not so much with the .40 Glock that she dislikes. So each case there are many choices. Choose the best one for your situation and your family. Then add training and plenty of practice. Take care all!

  • Panther13

    Love the article and comments. I am looking at an AR15 that will shoot the 223/5.56..Is tis enough weapon or is it going to make a jacked up crack head madder? I don’t have 2k to drop on a weapon but this is loaded up with add ons for 650.00. I keep a 9mm CCW, an old 12 gauge that will splatter any intruder. Had it since I was 10. Im 53 anyway, I’m wanting to add to the arsenal at home wight he way things are going. We all shoot here and training our teens.

  • J. Galt

    I would never consider using a .223 rifle as a home defense gun. Miss and put the bullet through a window and you could hit someone 2 or 3 blocks away. I fired the M-16 extensively when I was in the army and the round is in no way appropriate for home defense (unless you live on a farm or a ranch maybe). End of discussion. Period.

  • zipper

    dark room at night and something just woke you up from a deep sleep. as your eyes begin to focus and you become aware of your surroundings, there in the doorway of your bedroom is the intruder. you grab your gun and quickly point-and-shoot. the muzzle flash and blast are dazzling. you miss, or possibly land a non-lethal hit. now what? gonna blindly empty a 30-rd AR mag?
    in contrast, given the same scenario, that same single shot from my 12-ga with a 2-3/4″ load of #1Buck will put (16) .30-cal pellets into the target. like to hedge your bets? try a 3″ #1Buck load with (24)! pellets.
    if he’s still standing, i’ve got (5) more “gifts” to give. if that doesn’t “stop the threat,” you’re not dealing with anything mortal. say a quick prayer and dive out a window.

  • JIM stone

    Home alarm system with loud warning. Outside lights at night, Dog, Then short 12 gauge with #4.

  • KevinW

    I find the idea of a home invasion where one has time to locate, load, and charge an assault rifle, then rush around exchanging rounds with an assailant a complete farce. Sam’s suggestions make a lot of sense, and are supported by police advice we received after my wife was threatened. Your first and greatest advantage is familiarity with your home, use it to stay safe and limit exposure to harm as follows: 1.) Have a charged and active cell phone at the ready. 2.) Have a designated safe hiding spaces within the home that have been double checked to have cell service. 3.)Practice moving from common activity spaces in the home to the safe spaces, add new ones as needed to cut reaction time and exposure, so that you have the advantage of movement and stealth in the highly unlikely instance of home invasion. Include mock practice-calling with the phone to 911(don’t call in, but say all of the words, at the volume you intend to use – make that procedure routine. 4.)If you must have a gun, pistols offer the same home-safe round options as any rifle round, with far less cartridge charge to drive projectiles through walls. If in doubt, have custom hand loads made for the purpose. Also, select safe spaces where firing from them is into walls that have nobody one cares about beyond (exterior walls or hard walls for example). Keep a pistol in the safe space, in locked (quality bio-metric boxes are ideal) bolted down boxes, concealed from view. Consider wheel guns over semi-auto, as having an at-ready automatic, cocked and loaded, is quite dangerous and likely to result in self injury, while a panic induced failure to pipe that first round (same will apply to AR weapons) will result in more panic failure to operate. Double action revolvers are somewhat fool-proof, and jam proof. LOUD is good BTW. 5.)If you have a gun, you must take it to the range and practice with it, you must know the weapon, feel comfortable with it, and can hit targets consistently within the distances you set out within the home surrounding your safe hiding space.Use the same gun everywhere, having varieties of weapons around only creates errors. 6.) Have safe words for family members to yell, should someone be caught off guard and frightened from an unusual situation that makes safe members look like intruders. 7.) Finally, keep in mind that if you shoot and kill someone, you will suffer consequences, from guilt and fear of retribution, legal action, and defense attorney fees. The more it looks like you did everything to avoid shooting anyone, the less costly the results will be. Anyone who believes killing another human being, regardless of circumstances, is easy and satisfying, is fooling themselves. It’s not easy for those trained to do that act in the military and police forces, it is not going to be easier for untrained non-psychopathic civilians. Don’t be marketed into making bad decisions and assumptions that can put you and family at risk.

  • Peter Pocket

    Ditto to what Sam said since I have given similar advice on other forums. In a recent post, I advised people to practice different scenarios every day because you don’t know where you will be if confronted with a threat and depending on how quickly that threat will be upon you also will need to change tactics.

    My advice is to NOT rely on just an AR or any long gun, for that matter, be it a shotgun or a 10/22. Why? Because it can be grabbed out of your hands or knocked out of the way if the threat is within 3 feet of you. Not so with a pistol or anything that can be held at your side and used without fear of being disarmed.

    I would have a pistol along with a long gun since the pistol can be retrieved faster and help you work your way to your long gun if you need to. Another advantage is being able to fire from just about any position. Lying on your back. hiding behind a couch. Standing on your head (just joking). But, you get the idea.

    If you are going to use an AR platform and the .223 strictly for home defense, I would opt for an AR pistol with a taclight and laser. Not everyone has multiple AR’s, and if they have just one, it is highly likely they’ve tricked it out to the max and stored their pride and joy in a nice, protective case to keep all of its goodies intact. Not exactly ready for prime time combat.

    If they ever make a threaded barrel and suppressor for the Extar, that would be my ideal AR platform for self-defense: a pistol with no recoil that will hold off a mob.

    Don’t forget, also, about extended mags for handguns. A 30-rounder in a pistol may look awkward, but you can’t argue with something you can fire 30 times around the corner with just your hand exposed, although a 14- to 19-round standard full-size pistol, .40SW or 9mm, with an extra mag should be sufficient.

    It also depends where you live. On the flip side, the latest rash of home invasions have involved three or more, even inside gated communities. But, they are also the young ones who will book it at the first sound of gunfire.

    Conversely, If you live not far from gang territory, that’s the one situation where an extended gun battle with multiple perps is a genuine nightmare. If that was my situation, I’d have a handgun, an AR, and an optional grenade launcher. :-)

  • NRNS

    Yet another idiot who propagates the myth that shotgun pellets spread immediately upon leaving the barrel. Your spread is about 1″ or less for every yard in distance. So even at 30 feet, your spread is still going to be about the size of a fist on target. Yes, you still have to aim. God, people are stupid.

  • Jjmc

    A plug to sell AR’s if I ever heard one. There are plenty of new pistol rounds created to do exactly the same thing. Good luck to the doofus swinging a rifle around in the confines of a home trying to successfully check corners and behind doorways. The AR is not the Swiss Army gun that some people want it to be, I don’t care what the gun companies with their special ammos say.

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