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Posted: 8/20/2001 10:29:30 AM EDT
What do y'all think about using a AR-15 for home defense, and what would be the best ammo for that use? I normally keep a 1911 close by for that purpose but I've been thinking I'd rather have the AR in some circumstances. I'm thinking the best type of AR for said use would have a 14.5" barrel, flash suppressor (which means pre-ban), red dot sight or night sights. Thoughts?
Link Posted: 8/20/2001 10:36:43 AM EDT
I vote for 'not a good idea' unless you live out in the sticks where the increased ranges bring out an AR's defensive capabilities. Too many overpenetration concerns with a rifle round. I actively avoid any rifle for home defense for that reason (of course, the AR is handy just in case...). A good, short shotgun with a full buttstock, attached light and shooting 4 buck or something close to it is the ideal combination. Back it up with your favorite handgun. CB
Link Posted: 8/20/2001 10:38:41 AM EDT
It sounds good, but then, you also have to take your surroundings into consideration. if you live in an apt, or thin-walled home close to others, a shotgun might be a better first choice. At the ranges you are likely to use them, any good trap load or upland load will work just as well as buckshot or slugs, with much less worry about ventilating your neighbors. Remember, when the adrenalin hits, even the best marksman here can have a wild shot. In any even, the best defense weapon is whatever you have on hand that works, that YOU can shoot well.
Link Posted: 8/20/2001 10:38:52 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/20/2001 10:35:02 AM EDT by Landon]
Well, I think there may be a overpenetration issue or two, but that's just me. I personally use a Barrett M82 for home defense. [@:D] Fact is, there is 1 round that is best for home defense. It is not a matter of opinion. 12 Gauge. Oh, sure. You could have some fantasy of having to make a head shot on a bad guy holding your wife/kid/dog/television hostage, where the shotgun wouldn't work; but I seriously think the chances of that are so slim that they don't outweigh the advantages of the shottie over most anything else for close range. 100% Knock Down Power at close ranges- Full energy treansfer to the target, no overpenetration if you use the right loads, fast handling like a carbine, easy to hit your target (A good thing when you are still half disoriented from sleep and the door gets kicked in) it goes on and on. The AR15/M16 is meant for a soldier on an offensive manuver with fellow soldiers in support. It is not meant as a home defense weapon. And while it can certianly double as such, there are much better tools for that particular job.
Link Posted: 8/20/2001 10:41:53 AM EDT
Most home encounters are going to be fast and hard, so a red dot scope is going to be harder to use, especially if switched off. Go for nightsights. If you live in a new, sheetrock house, get a shotgun instead, like Claybuster stated. Practice with it, know it inside and out, how it shoots if you are nervous, how it shoots in indoor envirornments, if possible. Ice
Link Posted: 8/20/2001 10:59:30 AM EDT
Actually, the best firearm for home defense is a handgun. I have had the unfortunate pleasure of chasing burglars through my house. You definately don't want to be running through narrow doorways with a 'long gun'. There is always the possibility of clothes lining your self while running through a dark hallway. I have some experience with this, I've done it when I was a kid while rushing to go play baseball. "Wait up guys!" The bat was only like a 28" or 29". I was trying to hold it straight like a lance but while rounding a corner, the front of the bat just caught one side of the door frame then the other. and Bam! I was on my back with the wind knocked out of me. Imagine doing that with an intruder in your house.
Link Posted: 8/20/2001 11:11:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/20/2001 11:07:53 AM EDT by fight4yourrights]
5.56mm 55gr FMJ supposedly penetrates walls LESS than 12 gauge buckshot. There is an article on Olyarms, addressing this[url]http://www.olyarms.com/223pen.html[/url] The biggest problem is your HEARING. An AR-15 going off indoors would be deafening. Make sure you wear electronic earmuffs, so you can hear the badguys and still hear when you are done.
Link Posted: 8/20/2001 11:11:54 AM EDT
My concern with the AR-15 for home defense is not so much over-penetration, but noise. A 12 gauge or pistol in the confined spaces of an ordinary home WILL permanently damage your hearing. The blast of a short barreled .223 will have even more effect. If you have time to put on/in hearing protection, this may not apply as much, but I know from personal experience that the muzzle blast in a confined space is stunning - even with foam plugs. I agree with Sodie, if I’m going to be moving through my house I’d rather have a handgun than a long gun. For an ensconced defense, a long gun may make sense, but the power advantage just doesn’t overcome the liability when you have to move through tight quarters.
Link Posted: 8/20/2001 11:16:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/20/2001 11:11:57 AM EDT by fight4yourrights]
[url]http://www.olyarms.com/snoco.html[/url] [size=5].223/5.56 Penetration Tests vs. .40 S&W and 12 ga. Slug[/size=5] [b]Overview [/b] The final results were that the .223 demonstrated less penetration capability than the 12 gauge slug and the .40S&W [handgun round]. Testing Medium Type 250A Ordnance Gelatin was cast into blocks, 6"x6"x16". A small piece of wall was constructed to duplicate the standard exterior walls found in [the Pacific Northwest] area. This piece of wall was sheeted with ½" wafer board, covered with a 2nd piece of ½" wafer board to simulate siding. This wall was built using a 2x4 frame and finished on the inside with ½" sheet rock. The interior [of the wall] was lined with fiberglass insulation. Weapons Used CAR-15, cal .223 Rem./5.56x45mm with a 16" barrel. Glock M22, cal .40S&W. Remington 870, 12 ga. Ammunition Used Federal .223 Remington, 55 grain HP. Winchester .40S&W, 180 grain HP. Federal 12 ga., 2 ¾", rifled slug. Procedure All rounds were fired from a distance of 12 feet. After each round was fired, its penetration was recorded and bullet performance noted. After a bullet was fired into the [bare] gelatin, another bullet of the same type was fired through the section of wall and into the gelatin. This was done in order to determine its penetration potential in the event a stray round were to hit the wall of a building. Results Caliber Testing medium Penetration Condition of bullet .223 Rem. gelatin only 9.5" two pieces .223 Rem. wall & gelatin 5.5" * fragmented .40S&W gelatin only 13.5" mushroomed .40S&W wall & gelatin 22" * no deformation .40S&W wall & gelatin 22" * no deformation .40S&W† wall & gelatin 19.5" * slight deformation 12 ga. wall & gelatin 27.5" mushroomed * these measurements do not include penetration of the 6" wall. † CCI Gold Dot. [b]Summary [/b] [b][red]The 55 grain HP .223 has less penetration than any of the other ammunition tested. [/red][/b]Based on the results of this testing, there appears to be no basis for concern regarding the overpenetration of the .223 [HP] round. In fact, it seems even safer in this regard than .40 S&W handgun ammunition. The hollow point cavity in the .40S&W round filled with material when shot through the wall. This caused [these bullets] to fail to expand when they entered the gelatin. As a result, they penetrated 8.5" farther than when shot directly into the gelatin. When the .223 [HP] was shot through he wall it began to fragment and as a result penetrated the gelatin only 5.5". Because the .223 [HP] begins to break up on impact, it has less potential for damage or injury than the 12 ga. in the event of a ricochet. The .223 [HP] is obviously safer in an urban environment than the 12 ga. with slugs or buckshot. Additional testing conducted proved that the .223 would penetrate a car door or glass. The .223 rounds fired into windshields began to break up after entering the glass and did not retain much energy. In most cases these rounds split in two.
Link Posted: 8/20/2001 11:17:52 AM EDT
I have a article on Hornady ammo for a 223 and it penetrated less than a 9mm. I believe it is a TAP round. They shot all kinds of building materials to test it. The last statement of the article was that law enforcement agencies were considering going back to AR's instead of HK's.
Link Posted: 8/20/2001 11:21:52 AM EDT
Noise is a good point. That is one of the main reasons I switched from a .357 back to a 9MM for home defense. On my local outdoor range, we have a overhang like most ranges do. I noticed that the noise was a helluva lot louder when standing under the overhang than when out in the open air (duh)- It bugged my eyes out... The 9 wasn't nearly as bad... As far as a long gun, well, I guess that depends. If you have a family or a wife and kids where you may have to potentially venture out to take on the intruder, I guess that makes sense... But for me, should I hear breaking glass at 3:30 AM, it's as simple as dialing 911, throwing down the phone, and drawing a bead on the bedroom door. My TV isn't worth the risk, and I make sure to keep anything of super importance to me in my bedroom.
Link Posted: 8/20/2001 11:24:44 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/20/2001 11:20:55 AM EDT by Landon]
Originally Posted By fight4yourrights: 5.56mm 55gr FMJ supposedly penetrates walls LESS than ****12 gauge buckshot.****
View Quote
Originally Posted By fight4yourrights: .223/5.56 Penetration Tests vs. .40 S&W and *****12 ga. Slug******
View Quote
Link Posted: 8/20/2001 11:35:49 AM EDT
While I agree with the results of the study I have to say that I'm MUCH more concerned about over-penetration of my homes INTERIOR walls. Not the exterior walls. I HAVE fired my AR at a test wall with two 1/2 drywall spaced 4 inches apart. Using 55g. SP the bullet went through the wall and well into a 4x12 timber. Same setup shot with [b]4 Buck[/b] from the same range (10 feet) and you get a 2" hole in the first drywall, a 4" diffused hole in the second drywall and dents on the timber. Much more to my liking considering that my house is a warren of interior walls. Now, about Sodie prefering a handgun for 'chasing burglars through my house'? Bad tactic, I submit. Good tactic? Arm yourself, remain in a defensible location and call the cops. If someone comes into the defensible area, blast 'im. I know, locations of master bedrooms in homes makes defending the kids problematic. I have the same problem. That's why Boogie lives with us. She'll wake up the whole neighborhood if someone as much as wiggles a doorknob or taps a window after it gets dark. I know as I've tested her numerous times. That's when I arm myself. As for head shots with shotguns. NEVER load slugs in the magazine of a defense shotgun. Talk about overpenetration. Keep a couple in a sidesaddle and download/reload with a slug if you need it. I'd take a head shot on a 'hostage holder' in my home from any position in any light condition with a slug. Low light, use the tritium ghost ring and get one hole groups at those ranges. No light, put the dot between his eyes with same result. Of course, hostage scenarios are fun to practice (lots!) but, rarely, exist in real life. Not that you shouldn't PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE every goofy scenario you can imagine in your wildest dreams. It's fun and you are DEFINITELY doing yourself a favor every time you shoot your defensive firearm of choice. CB
Link Posted: 8/20/2001 11:43:29 AM EDT
Does anyone know if the Hornady TAP ammo is similiar to the Vmax bullet? Couldn't find a description except for ballistics on Hornady's site. Can civvies get it?
Link Posted: 8/20/2001 11:44:22 AM EDT
If you are worried about interior wall penetration, birdshot, such as any good trap load, should greadly reduce the overpenetration danger. Plus, at the distances you would encounter in a home, the pattern should not open up, and should perform quite well on a hostile target.
Link Posted: 8/20/2001 11:49:11 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Landon: Fact is, there is 1 round that is best for home defense. It is not a matter of opinion. 12 Gauge.
View Quote
I tend to agree! There is no other weapon with as much outright power at close range as a properly fed 12 guage. Since I live away from neighbors, I load it with 00 Buck for the first several rounds fired and the last two out of the tube are slugs, if needed. Also, there is the risk of "clotheslining" your self as mentioned, but this can be largely limited by training. Further, I would be inclined to take up a cover position within the bedroom and wait for the door to open. That's where a weapon light can save you - light up the target just before cuttting loose. You really don't want to accidently shoot the wrong person (not likely in my case). I just hope if it is the police creeping around (like maybe investigating a report of a break in) that they will not keep it a secret from me! Just yell "POLICE" very loud, and I'll take an extra instant to ID myself too! AFAIAC, a handgun is good for fighting your way to the real weapon (quote stolen from someone famous). I keep one of those handy too!
Link Posted: 8/20/2001 2:51:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/20/2001 2:47:16 PM EDT by BISHOP]
[img]http://members.aol.com/bishop042/carfront.jpg[/img] [img]http://members.aol.com/bishop042/carwammo.jpg[/img] Easy to manuver. 4Pos. Stock. Loaded with Frangable ammo. Just stick a Surefire on the front and you'd be all set!!!!! I can put the entire gun under my pillow and feel safe all night... [:D] BISHOP
Link Posted: 8/20/2001 3:17:20 PM EDT
I'd love to use an AR15 for home defense but like already mentioned, glad I saw a few people mention it, the NOISE of the muzzle blast indoors absolutely frightens me. I don't really feel that ordinary hearing protection is a wise choice as you do need to have your sense of hearing to some degree. Perhaps if I one day get a set of electronic hearing protectors I wouldn't be opposed to drapping them over the front sight near the muzzle so they'd be quick to put on, that way I can protect my hearing during the shots fired but not lose my ability to hear what's going on in my surroundings. Even my 45 and my 12gauge frighten me when I consider what their indoor muzzle blast will be like. Of the loads I'd prefer to use for an AR15 in a home defense situation, it would either be the lightest construction lead spire points I could find(Hornady SPSX if I remember the name right) or the Hornady Vmax line of bullets. I've seen these things just blow to bits at the slightest impacts and overpenetration would likely be the least of any of your conventional defensive firearms be it handgun or shotgun and at typical defensive distances. As for the configuration, I've got a Trijicon Reflex on there right now so there's no worries about switching on a sight or draining batteries and if absolutely neccesary there's a 500A Surefire on the rifle to light up the target momentarily for identification purposes but I'm going to reserve the AR15 home defense role for when I'm living single. I do like the idea that a rather average woman could likely control an AR15 and load an AR15 with greater ease than that of a shotgun or a handgun but that is a situation I can't comment on since I have no significant other, the gals who have shot my AR15s though really do like the things and don't struggle with the things nearly as much as they do with my shotgun or my handguns. And then ofcourse, we've got the wrongful death suit that could potentially be filed against you by the survivors of the "victim/intruder" even if you weren't found criminally responsible and the shooting was justified as defensive. Imagine a lawyer going after you for your militaristic rifle and him painting you as a militant nutjob who sat at home all day long with the windows and front door open just waiting for a person to enter your home so you could shoot them. If I lived in a "make my day" state like Colorado where defense of your life is always justified then maybe I wouldn't worry about using an AR15 for home defense but I live in Commiefornia where I'd likely be skinned alive even if I justifiably shot in self defense. Not only that but if the rifle was taken into evidence for evidence and testing reasons for whatever reason, what are the chances that I'd get my legally registered AR15 back? In my town it's probably very likely cause I'm in a conservative area, but down in LA or the Bay Area? FORGET IT, even if you were in the right! Better to use something you can throw away if neccesary but still count on, like a cheap Remington Express 870 that you bought for 180-220 bucks at Walmart and then took the plug out of.
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