An AR-15 for home defense?


I’m visiting my in-laws in California right now. Earlier in the day my father in-law and I were in the car and he asked me what I thought of the AR-15 for a home defense gun.

Obviously, if it’s the only gun you have then that’s what you use. However, I told him that I don’t use an AR-15 for home defense.  I have two different types of guns in my bedroom and each serves a specific purpose.

First off, I have my handgun (Glock 19.) I believe it’s important to have a handgun if you have to go investigate the “bump in the night” and you need to be able to easily maneuver around your house.


My house in particular has some narrow areas where a rifle is not ideal.

Of course, with your handgun you need to have a flashlight stored close by, such as a SureFire. When you’re investigating throughout the house you need to be able to identify your threat that way you don’t accidentally shoot a loved one who’s getting a drink of water in the middle of the night.

The other gun I have is my shotgun. (Remington 870.) I believe everyone needs a shotgun for the time when you know there’s an intruder breaking in the house and you’re going to hunker down in a bedroom and wait for police.

In other words, you’re not running around your house with the shotgun, you’re barricaded in your bedroom with the firearm pointed at the door in case the intruder tries to get into the room.


When it comes to ammo for my home defense shotgun I use 00 buck.

I know there are some folks who only use birdshot in their home defense gun and in my opinion that’s not a good idea. After all, if a person has broken into my home and they’re trying to kill me I want to make sure I stop them. I believe 00 buckshot will stop them and there’s certainly no guarantee that birdshot will even slow them down.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember when it comes to home defense guns and guns in general is to get plenty of training. Despite everything I’ve just said, if you’re a pro with an AR-15 and you aren’t comfortable with shotguns or handguns, then obviously use the gun that you’re most likely to hit your target with.

But for me, and for many of the folks I know, we have a handgun and a shotgun for home defense and our AR-15’s are more for an “end of the world” type scenario, which we truly hope will never happen.



Jason R. Hanson is a former CIA officer. He’s also an NRA Certified Instructor and the author of The Covert Guide to Concealed Carry: Confessions of a Former CIA Officer. Jason believes there are few things in life as important as being able to protect yourself and your loved ones. That’s why he’s giving away a free report titled, “Insider Secrets of Buying Your First Concealed Carry Firearm” at

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5 Responses to An AR-15 for home defense?

  1. Just a shotgun will do in home protection.

  2. davidabriscoe says:

    My home protection is a s&w 40 with 180gr hollow point. Extremely accurate. When in my home I want to know that I am going to hit what I’m aiming at and nothing else.

  3. You don’t use an AR or any rifle larger than a 22 for home defense unless you live in the country. In an urban/suburban environment you run the risk of shooting your neighbor even if you hit the intruder square in the chest.

    I recently saw some home penetration tests that showed that #4 turkey shot is the best shotgun load. It will do a number on the bad guy but not penetrate your walls. Hollow points are good pistol rounds if you hit your target but misses will still penetrate clapboard/siding structures.

  4. I use a glock 33 w/nite sights loaded w/125gr. Golding saber 357sig and a coach shotgun 20 ga loaded w/ oo. buckshot.

  5. I would also use my AR/15 in a pinch, As I live in the country.

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