Sturdy locks and a home security system can go a long way towards protecting your home and your family, but what about when your home is invaded while the family is there? Between 2003 and 2007, an average of 3.7 million home burglaries occurred each year. Of that 3.7 million, 27.6 percent of those burglaries happened when at least one household member was present. That’s nearly a million homes burglarized each year with at least one family member at home.
The baseball bat behind the bedroom door isn’t exactly going to cut it anymore. We aren’t trying to fear monger by sharing these statistics, only to help you see that your concerns about home defense are supported by crime statistics. We know home defense is one of the more commonly cited reasons gun owners will purchase a new firearm. It makes sense because a firearm is a good way to keep you and your family more than an arm’s length away from a home invader. So, if you’re looking for a good home defense option, how do you choose?
AR 15 fans across the nation point to this platform as a great option for home defense. And we might be a bit biased here at RailScales, but we can see why. A shotgun may be the traditional option for home defense, but there are several benefits that the AR 15 brings to the ring that, in our opinion, pushes it to the front of the pack. Those reasons include:
The AR 15 was originally designed to be lighter and smaller but still powerful so it would be easier to use and more accurate during combat situations. Those qualities carry over to make it a good option for home defense as well. The AR 15 is going to have less recoil than a shotgun or a pistol, meaning better accuracy without as much time in between shots. Add that to the size, and it makes it easier to get into a strong stance quickly. This set of qualities also makes the AR a good platform if you’ll have multiple people in the house who may need to handle it. Men and women both tend to shoot with better accuracy with an AR 15, and the learning curve isn’t as steep as, say, a pistol’s. If all the potential users in the home can handle a single firearm comfortably, this helps improve safety. Of course, everyone will need to keep up with range time, but the necessary level of familiarity and comfort is likely to come easier.
Along with a quick learning curve, another big benefit to the AR 15 carbine is how easily maneuverable it can be. The shorter barrel makes it easier to maneuver around tight spaces like hallways or furniture-filled rooms. Attach a sling, and you can go from hands-free to a strong stance quickly. Even without a sling, the AR is made to help you get a strong grip quickly. Adding on rail scales to the handguard rail can further boost grip and adding on a hand stop can give you a sturdy spot against the front of the gun if you need to leverage the edge of furniture or a doorway without sacrificing control.
It’s also important to consider what your firearm will be shooting. In a home defense situation, shotgun ammunition offers a broader spread. The spread can reduce the stopping power of each shot, making them less effective. Add in that the spread also causes more widespread damage to your home and furnishings, and you can see why shotgun ammo make it a less appealing choice. On the flip side, the AR is occasionally knocked for being overpowered. If you’re worried about over-penetration, consider selecting a lower grain count. The reduced weight means a lower velocity, which is less likely to punch holes in your drywall and keep going — a very important consideration if your family is home. Since the AR offers better precision, you’ll be less likely to damage things in your home.
On a related note, you’ll also want to consider how many rounds a firearm can fire before you have to reload. A single- or double-shot rifle that needs frequent reloading can be a hindrance during an emergency situation. The higher capacity and semi-automatic nature of an AR mean you’ll be able to react more quickly without worrying as much about reloading.
There’s an argument that a pistol is easier to aim accurately than a rifle. This isn’t necessarily the case, especially given the potential obstacles and closer quarters that can arise from a home invasion. Add a red dot sight (and fixed iron sight for backup), put the red dot on the threat, and go. The fact that you can add aim assistance to a handguard rail quickly gives the AR 15 a leg up over the iron sights on a pistol. Mount a flashlight and laser sight and you’ll be prepared to line up shots in the dark if you need to.
While the AR 15 is a reliable choice for home defense on its own, it can be given a boost with a few well-chosen accessories. As we mentioned above, a hand stop and rail scales will help with grip. In addition, make sure you're prepared with aim assistance options that will work in the dark. Connect with the RailScales team for more details and explore our lightweight, durable control aids online today.