By Guy Page
Recently I stumbled into a social media discussion that began with a meme saying AR-15s aren’t hunting weapons, are only good for mass killings, and must be banned.
I demurred: “ummmm. tell that to the person defending their home from an invasion of 2-3 people. Semiautomatic – great equalizer.”
The meme-posting gentleman – and he is a gentleman – responded, “Why would 2 or 3 persons be invading a home?” I answered: “To rob and rape – that’s how some crooks do it. Even if it’s just one person, a semiautomatic gives a better chance to stop a crook then the one-shot revolver, which takes time for hammer and cylinder to deliver subsequent shots. Who hits target with first shot? Not everyone.”
Unlike many gun critics, the self-styled ‘peace activist’ has a lifetime of experience with guns, both good and the bad. He grew up hunting as a teenager but had to hide the family’s handguns because his dad had threatened to kill his mom.
He answered: “Since I live simply there is not anything worth stealing. Since I don’t feed my ego with expensive things I am more free to not worry about being robbed. If Folks ever work together for different equalities I suggest there will be less violence.”
To which I found myself wondering…..in your simple home are there no prescription drugs? No jewelry? No car keys?
But then another reader snarked at me: “oh yeah… because that [defense with AR-15] happens every day here in America. No ~ what happens every day in America is your “defense weapon” is used to kill groups of people.” (Actually 20 times since 2012. Which is 20 times too often, of course.)
Of the estimated 500,000 and three million times a year guns are used in self-defense, the popular AR-15 plays a part. Here are 10 examples that did make the news.
Harris County, Texas (2013) – A 15-year-old boy saved both his life and the life of his 12-year-old sister by fending off a pair of home invaders with his father’s AR-15.
Rochester, New York (2013) – Two armed burglars retreated from a college student’s apartment after coming face-to-face with an unloaded AR-15. The rifle itself instilled enough fear to cause them to flee.
Ferguson, Missouri (2014) – During the Ferguson, Missouri, riots, nearly all businesses within a particular 2-square-mile area of the city were looted or destroyed—except for one. African-American men guarded the gas station and convenience store of a white friend from looters and rioters. They did so armed with an AR-15, a MAC-10 “machine pistol,” and a variety of handguns.
Houston, Texas (2017) – A target of a drive-by shooting successfully fended off the attack by using his legally owned AR-15 against his three armed attackers. He was able to hit all three men in the moving vehicle.
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma (2017) – A homeowner’s 19-year-old son used an AR-15 to defend himself against three would-be burglars who broke into the home in broad daylight. The 19-year-old was later determined to have acted in justifiable self-defense.
6. Sutherland Springs, Texas (2017 – After a gunman opened fire on congregants inside First Baptist Church, a man living near the place of worship grabbed his AR-15 and engaged the shooter. The shooter subsequently dropped his own firearm and fled the scene as the courageous neighbor pursued him.
Oswego, Illinois (2018) – A man with an AR-15 intervened to stop a neighbor’s knife attack on a pregnant woman. The rifle’s “intimidation factor” was credited as a reason why the attacker dropped his knife.
Catawba County, Illinois (2018) – After his 17-year-old relative successfully used his own firearm to fend off three would-be robbers who attacked him in the driveway of his home, a man used his AR-15 to
Yuma County, Arizona (2019) – Sheriffs responded to a 911 call at 1:38 a.m. and discovered that four individuals breaking into a home were shot by an occupant wielding an automatic weapon. “The unidentified occupant with the gun fired several rounds, hitting all four suspects and ultimately killing one.” stop a threat from one of the would-be robber’s upset family members.
Davidson County, North Carolina (2017) – Richard Childress, retired NASCAR race car driver, had an AR-15 ready nearby and ready to fire when three men tried to enter his home at night. The fact that he ultimately chose another weapon to repel the home invasion doesn’t negate the fact that he considered the AR-15 an option.
Why the AR-15 makes sense for home defense – Gun owner/instructor Frank Proctor prefers the AR-15 as a home-invasion weapon of choice, particularly for relatively small, unskilled shooters – often an apt description for a woman in the home.
“I choose the AR-15 for several reasons,” Proctor told Ballisticmag.com. “It is a very capable platform for home defense. With the right ammo, overpenetration is not an issue (I use Hornady).” (Overpenetration means a round travels through multiple surfaces and risks hitting an unintended target.)
AR-15 easier to learn and shoot – “The AR-15 platform is much easier to shoot well than a pistol or shotgun. Pistols require time and training to master and maintain proficiency. I shoot a pistol almost every day and feel comfortable with my capabilities with the pistol, but that is not the case for my wife, as well as most readers’ family members. My take on shotguns is also based on the other family members who may need to use it. The weight and recoil of the shotgun can be a load for smaller-framed shooters. The AR-15 in my house is less than 6 pounds, and the recoil impulse is much more manageable.”
“For all of these reasons, I feel that if the need arises for myself or someone in my family to defend us at home, the AR-15 is the best all-around tool for the job.”
And finally, the website radioviceonline.com has its own list of valid reasons for the semi-automatic rifle for home defense, in no particular order.
- You can mount a light, red dot sight and/or a laser to the rifle to make it easier to used and aim during the day or night.
- They have a reasonable recoil, making the gun – for many users – easier to shoot as compared to a defense-caliber shotgun or pistol.
- They can be customized to “fit” a variety of body types and shooting styles. They can be configured and adjusted for different shooting distances (less than 5 yards to more than 200 yards).
- The .223/5.56 self-defense round is appropriate for use within a home, even in an urban environment. Ballistic experts have found rounds from these calibers “dump energy” quickly and break apart or begin to tumble after penetrating the first barrier. Will rifle rounds go through walls? You bet. Will pistol calibers like 9mm, .40 and .45 go through walls? You bet. Will shotgun rounds go through walls? You bet. That said, there is significant evidence the .223/5.56 self-defense rounds penetrate no more than, and often less than traditional handgun calibers and many shotgun rounds.
- A rifle is much more capable of stopping a threat as compared to a pistol.
- Semi-automatic rifles are more accurate than a pistol or shotgun.
- Ammunition is (normally) readily available and (normally) priced within reason. Present time excluded.
- You can buy high-capacity magazines for many semi-automatic rifles. In a self-defense situation, you want to avoid manipulating the firearm at all except for pulling the trigger straight back. Law enforcement and civilians do not favor high-capacity magazines so they can shoot more rounds, they favor them so they can manipulate their gun less. If reloading is needed, it is possible but let’s be completely honest, in many self defense situations, ten rounds may not be enough.
Thumbnail photo credit: pewpewtactical.com