There is not much question that the AR is the most popular rifle in America today. By the way, AR does not stand for assault rifle. It stands for Armalite Rifle, the original designers of this concept. However, the gun is manufactured today by many companies and in price ranges that will fit just about any budget. It is used for target shooting, plinking, hunting, personal defense, and, yes, even home defense.
In fact, the AR is a rather good choice for home defense. It is lightweight and the caliber choices are effective against armed criminals. Its profile is one that is readily recognized by most people and the crooks who see it in your hands will get the idea that you mean business and can probably take care of business if forced to. What follows are a few things to consider when choosing the AR for home defense.
While the modern AR is offered in quite a number of calibers, its .223 chambering probably makes the most sense for the home owner. To begin with, .223 ammunition is readily available in just about any store that sells ammo. This caliber is also probably the least expensive of any of the offerings. It can also be found in a number of different bullet weights. However, for in-house use, a 55-grain soft-point load is probably the best choice in order to minimize bullet penetration. If it can be avoided, we don't want to our bullet to punch through walls, into other rooms where family members might be located. And we certainly don't want the bullet exiting the house, or apartment, and endangering neighbors.
Another factor favoring the AR as a home-defense gun is that it is relatively short and quite portable. When operating in the close quarters of a home, the armed citizen must be careful that he or she does not let the barrel of the long gun precede them through doorways and around corners, thus alerting the home invaders to their location. The collapsible stock found on many ARs keeps the gun's overall length to a minimum and helps avoid this defensive mistake.
The AR is designed so that many accessories can be easily attached to it. Slings and lights can be easily added, as can additional laser sights and many other shooting aids. However, one of the real assets of the AR is that it is lightweight and portable, so keep in mind that accessories will add weight. For this reason, accessories shouldn't be added because they look cool, but only if they are really needed. In a home defense situation, most shooters can get along just fine with a box-stock AR that has a sling attached for portability.
Another advantage of the AR is that recoil is very light, especially in one chambered for the .223 cartridge. This makes it comfortable for all members of the family to fire. Of course, this also means that everyone in the family who is authorized to use the AR should also be trained in its operation and safe use. This will rarely be a problem because the gun is fun to shoot and its lack of felt recoil is just one of the reasons that this is the case.
In addition to the other advantages of the AR as a home-defense gun, it is also quite accurate, although at the ranges one encounters in home defense, accuracy may not be a serious issue. However, shooting 1-inch, and smaller, groups at 100 yards during practice sessions is a good way to build confidence in one's own ability and equipment.
The smart defensive shooter buys the best quality firearm that he or she can afford and this is true when shopping for ARs. Good quality magazines are also important, and a person should buy several. When buying .223 practice ammo, one can shop around for deals on bulk prices for whatever is least expensive. However, when loaded for defensive use, best quality ammunition is the only way to go.
AR may stand for Armalite Rifle, but it could also easily be used for America's Rifle. Some version of it is carried by most of our military as well as local law enforcement personnel. When considering the purchase of some sort of long gun for home defense, the armed citizen is well advised to spend time with the AR. It is truly America's Rifle.