Defensive AR Platform
By Richard Bogath
I’m probably going to get a lot of crap for writing this article.
Far be it from me to tell a person what they should use to defend themselves, their home and family. Some are just as comfortable with a Louisville Slugger as others might be with a handgun or a Joe Biden double-barreled special. There are those who have the bedside bowie knife, can of mace, katana and even leather whip—I don’t judge.
But then there are those who have a preference pertaining to preparation (and a lot of alliteration) that decided a high power rifle would get the job done. You’ve seen them, haven’t you? The “tactical” AR-15’s? Loaded with accessories, wires, lights, lasers, optics, back-up optics and dots, grenade launchers and multiple point of contact handles for steadying all 73.6 pounds of rifle while pointing it at the bedroom door after hearing a bump in the night. And haven’t you considered one? Maybe you have one?
Well here are a few myths about such a device that may or may not cause you to think twice about your black rifle mega-blaster for self defense.
Defensive AR Platform Myth #1 – The Intimidation Factor
So you think your tricked-out “modern sporting rifle” chambered in .223, 5.56 or maybe even .308 is one scary muthuh that will not only give pause to marauding bad-guys, but stop the tracks of the midnight cat burglar looking to steal your wife’s Sunday earrings. I mean, just look at that thing. At a glance you’d swear that there was a battery of rockets attached to that thing. So why is this factor of pure gut-twisting intimidation a myth? Because the average home invasion confrontation (if it even leads to a confrontation, which most do not) statistically lasts around twenty seconds, at a distance of fourteen feet, …in the dark.
What this means is that the great majority of home/business invasion standoffs end with the intruder hearing you, not seeing you. And if they do see you, it’s probably your silhouette behind your flashlight (which admittedly is on the firearm, but still, they don’t see the firearm).
So the intimidation factor is more for your friends than the bad guys. Sorry.
Myth #2 – The Ease-Of-Use Factor
It’s 2:17am. You swear you just heard your back door get kicked in. Someone’s in the house and you’d better go check it out. Reaching under the bed, you pull out a rifle case and open the latch—of course, it’s pitch dark so you have to fumble a little to find the latch. Getting it open and pulling out the rifle, you then feel around for the loaded magazine and insert it (you didn’t have the rifle loaded with one in the chamber because chances are that in the dark your finger could have accidentally found the trigger and you might have shot your wife while she slept). Fumbling the magazine a little, you get it inserted into the mag well, you press the bolt catch release and send a round into the chamber. You then stand up, shoulder the rifle, bang into the door because it’s still dark, realize that it’s not shouldered properly because it’s 2:17 friggin am, and THEN first start turning on the laser, light, optic, etc…
In other words…there is no ease of use factor. You haven’t even started moving around corners with it yet.
Myth #3 – The Stopping Power Factor
A round fired from a .223 AR style rifle at fourteen feet will pass right through the body of your intruder. It will leave a tiny little hole and may not stop them. Same goes for a 5.56 and a .308. Sure, you could use hunting rounds with the little plastic tips with the hopes that they will expand and slam the attacker like they would a deer or a wild pig. But most likely they wont. The human body is a soft, fragile, spongy thing. No hide, no thick webbing of muscle, no powerful bone structure as compared to the animals that these projectiles are meant to be fired at. No, comparatively we are just soft bags of goo that high powered bullets pass through without even slowing down unless they hit a bone—but even then—not to great result. Sure it would hurt, but you’re looking to stop an attacker, not hurt them.
Myth #4 – The “Justifyable Cause” Factor
Your AR is controversial. Like it or not, gun “friendly” state or not, your Armalite Rifle (style) does not have the appreciation of law enforcement on any level. Even when used properly. Even if shot “justifiably”, you will still be questioned, and held under the assumption that you shot too soon or had the mindset of shooting too soon, because of your selection of home defense weapons. You can wave your finger at me and shake your head all you like, you interview any cop or federal agent and ask which is more suspicions and hard to prove as a justifiable shooting when you compare a bat to a handgun to an AR-15 rifle. Chances are, you’re losing your rifle. Maybe you get fined. Maybe arrested.
Myth #5 – The Safety Factor
Remember how we looked at stopping power? So let’s say you completely ignored me (as you are more than welcome to do) and put three rounds through the guy who kicked in your back door at 2:17am. And let’s also say those three rounds did NOT hit bones.
So where did they go?
After exiting the intruders body (whether he dropped or not) they continued flatly flying through the air. They passed through the open doorway, across your yard, over the property fence and straight for the rear kitchen window of your neighbor whom you share the yard with. The first .223 round burst the window and was thrown off course, but forget about that round. The other two continue unobstructed through the now destroyed window, across the kitchen, down the hall and through the wall of the downstairs bedroom in your neighbors house.
Shall I continue?
The safety factor is a complete and total myth in that there is no factor of safety. One of the subsequent rules of basic firearm safety is to “know your target and beyond”, so how on earth could you possibly calculate all the possibilities of the “beyond” when you pull the trigger on a high powered rifle from inside your home?
So there you have it
Let me guess… the AR fanatics out there are now angry with me and you’re just itching to write a carefully worded rebuttal to each and every myth I have provided above, telling me that they are not myths and I don’t know what I’m talking about. (let me have it in the comments below)
Hey, I get it and I’m on your side. I love my AR too, but I’m also a shooting realist and prefer to take the blinders off for the sake of the real world and the longevity and survival of our sport and our right to own what we own. Some zealots would go as far as to try and have you believe that these things aren’t dangerous. Face facts, folks, any gun can be dangerous if used incorrectly and it is my staunch belief, based on empirical evidence, that using an AR for defensive purposes in a civilian home setting is about as impractical and dangerous as can be. Feel free to disagree, but at least think about it.
P.S. When it comes to long-term survival, my friend Jeff firmly believes that a machete will always beat out the more common “gun-focused” arsenal plan of today’s preppers!