Updated March 10, 2021
According to FBI statistics, more than 6,600 home invasions occur in the United States each day — that’s approximately one invasion every 12 seconds. Many property owners choose to protect themselves and their loved ones by keeping a weapon within easy reach. While pistols and shotguns have been the preferred weapon of choice in many households, using an AR-15 for home defense continues to grow in popularity.
What Are the Benefits of an AR-15 for Home Defense?
There are advantages to using an AR-15 for home defense instead of pistols and shotguns:
- Accuracy: One common misconception is that a pistol is the most accurate weapon for home defense purposes. While it is true that you can quickly grab and aim a pistol, you are also more likely to miss your target. Shotguns are also notorious for their poor precision. The AR-15 offers several points of contact that provide greater stability when firing, and the barrel length can improve aiming. What’s more, the AR-15 provides greater accuracy if you need to fire at an intruder from a distance.
- Accessibility: While you can easily store any weapon under a bed to keep it within easy reach, it will take time to grab and ultimately fire it. You can set up your AR-15 in a two-point sling in any location in your home, so it is always in the “ready to fire” position when you need it.
- Manageability: A typical base model AR-15 only weighs around 7 pounds — you won't get fatigued carrying it and you'll have an easier time using it. The light weight also makes it a good option if there are other people in your home who may need to use the firearm. The typical AR-15 is light enough that almost anyone can use it safely and effectively.
- Recoil: Pistols, and especially shotguns, can produce significant recoil when firing, making them difficult to use in a stressful home defense situation. An AR-15, on the other hand, produces little to no recoil, which contributes to its accuracy and ease of use.
- Capacity: FBI stats also reveal that home invasions often involve more than one assailant. A shotgun’s firing capacity is typically just a couple of rounds, while a handgun may hold up to 15 rounds. Additionally, some states have laws limiting magazine capacity to 10 rounds. When every round counts, you will want the ammo in your magazine to have more power and accuracy. An AR-15 self-defense rifle commonly utilizes the 5.56 NATO or 300 Blackout caliber bullets, which has excellent ballistic performance over most pistol calibers.
- Safety: The last thing you want to have happen in a home invasion situation is to hit a family member or other innocent bystander. In addition to the greater accuracy, using an AR-15 home defense rifle gives you a high level of flexibility when choosing ammunition. If you live in close quarters with several people in the household, consider choosing a lower velocity/hollow point rounds designed for home defense to limit the risk of having errant rounds penetrate the walls in your home. A shotgun loaded with double-ought buckshot could blow a hole through a door or wall and strike an unintended target.
- Extras: The base model of an AR-15 is a perfectly functional gun and will provide all of these benefits, but you can enhance those features by adding on extra accessories like laser sights, scopes, red dot sights and slings. A red dot sight, for example, will improve your accuracy significantly in a home defense situation.
- Customization: Handguns and rifles are sometimes difficult to customize without an in-depth knowledge of firearm anatomy. Most AR-15s, on the other hand, feature Picatinny rails on the forend, allowing you to add parts and accessories easily. And if your AR-15 didn't come with a rail, you can easily swap one in. Any add-ons will also add to the weight of the gun, but since it starts at such a low weight, you can do quite a bit of customizing before it starts to affect your maneuverability.
What to Consider When Choosing a Gun for Home Defense
Choosing a firearm to protect your home and family from intruders is no small task. If someone breaks in and you are not prepared or have made the wrong choice, it could result in lost possessions or even lost lives. However, if you plan to keep any sort of firearm in your home for self-defense, it's important to be aware of your state's gun regulations before buying. The only people who should be in legal trouble following a home invasion are the invaders.
Understand that an actual self-defense situation is very different from time spent at the range. Range practice is calm and controlled, and your targets are usually stationary. In a real-life situation, your accuracy will probably suffer. Rounds that miss your target do not just stop — they continue traveling until they hit something. Consider your specific environment and select a gun and ammunition that will cause the least damage to surrounding property and innocent bystanders.
The most important thing to consider when choosing the best gun to defend your home is safety. You should choose a firearm that you feel comfortable using and having in your home. You should also take precautions to ensure anyone who may need to use the firearm has had the proper training to do so.
While the AR-15 is lightweight and easy enough for almost anyone to use, proper training is still required to ensure safety. If you choose to bring an AR-15 or any other firearm into your home, make sure everyone spends some time at the range and understands proper firearm safety.
Customize Your AR-15 for Ultimate Home Defense
Though a lot of it boils down to preference, it is hard to deny that AR-15s are among the best firearms to defend your home. Adding accessories to your gun can help enhance its features and provide you with better protection.
At Wing Tactical, we offer a wide selection of tried and tested AR-15 accessories to protect you and your family. Browse our online catalog of AR-15 parts and accessories