Tag Archives: ar15 home defense

SKILLS: Too Much Gun For Home Defense?

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Should you consider an AR-platform firearm for home defense, or are there better choices, and why? READ MORE

ar15 home defense
If you find yourself facing a deadly threat in your home, make sure you have enough gun and that you know how to use it.

SOURCE: Springfield-Armory Armory Life, Tom McHale

According to the media, no one could possibly need something like a “weapon of war” as a home defense firearm. Then again, it was television and movie people who came up with that whole idea of shooting the gun out of the bad guy’s hand.

If you’re reading this, you already know that an AR does not differ from any other type of firearm. It has different pros and cons and is suitable for some jobs more than others. In my view, one area where it shines is in the role of home defense firearm. More specifically, it’s the AR pistol that presents an option worthy of serious consideration.

ar15 home defense

Before we get into specifics, we ought to invest a hot second talking about why an AR makes a good home defense option. Contrary to popular assumption, a standard .223/5.56mm projectile isn’t a penetration beast. In fact, a standard 55-grain FMJ bullet will penetrate fewer walls or pieces of furniture than most any pistol round. The combination of a small and light projectile and high velocity creates a ballistic sweet spot where bullets quickly begin to fragment and tumble. But be prepared; it will be loud.

With that said, let’s consider a few AR pistol attributes that support a home defense role for it.

Ease of Use
The most important factor is ease of use, and I’m not talking about the controls. Of course, any gun requires training to use effectively in a high-stress situation, and an AR-type arguably has more controls to understand and master than a smaller handgun. I’m talking about ease of hitting a target while under stress.

However, longer guns in general are far more forgiving to fire than small handguns thanks to their weight and sight radius. A slight offset from perfect sight alignment just doesn’t matter that much when shooting a longer gun at defensive distances. A slight sight misalignment with a smaller handgun can cause a complete miss and it happens all the time. Note the shockingly low percentage of hits versus shots fired in police shooting statistics. It’s not because they’re all bad shooters. It’s a result of trying to master handgun technique under extreme stress.

A heavier gun, like an AR pistol, is also easier to shoot accurately thanks to its weight to trigger force ratio. A handgun with a 5.5-pound trigger that weighs 2 pounds wants to move during an aggressive, adrenaline-induced trigger press. Thanks to inertia, a 6-pound AR pistol with a 5.5-pound trigger will move a lot less under identical circumstances.

Size and Balance
An AR rifle makes a great home defense weapon. The only real downside is its weight, length and challenge of operating with one hand. The AR pistol, on the other hand, brings the same benefits to a smaller and more maneuverable package. As an example, the Springfield Armory SAINT Edge rifle is 35.75? long fully extended and 32.5? with the stock collapsed. The SAINT Edge Pistol shown here can operate with an overall length of just 24.6? with wrist brace collapsed and 28.5? opened up. Those are just numbers, and they don’t sound like much, but the handling difference in the real world is significant.

Capacity
With standard capacity of 30 rounds, that’s a lot more than even a large handgun like the XD-M OSP. No one who ever survived a self-defense encounter ever complained about having rounds left over in the magazine, right?

ar15 home defense
No one has ever complained about having too much ammo, and a 30-round magazine like this can be very comforting when you need it.

Authority
I hate terms like “stopping” or “knockdown” power. They’re terribly misleading and lead to a false sense of security. However, according to both math and street science, most any rifle round puts the performance of most any pistol round to shame in violent encounters. If your life depends on stopping one or more aggressors quickly, a rifle caliber round improves your odds of success dramatically. Yes, projectiles fired from an AR pistol do leave the muzzle at a lower velocity than those fired from full-length rifles, but if we’re comparing an AR pistol to a handgun-caliber pistol, there’s still a significant energy difference.

ar15 home defense
Short and handy yet powerful, an AR pistol can be a very capable home defender.

Accessories
We have all sorts of reliable options for lights and lasers on traditional handguns, so an AR pistol doesn’t technically bring any additional capability to the table there. What it does offer is more flexibility in terms of how they’re mounted and used. Most, like the SAINT Edge pistol shown here, have rails or attachment mounting points all along the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions.

Additionally, an AR pistol is perfect for optics use. With an “always on” red dot, you’ve got a great sighting option for any light conditions. Dark, daylight, or anywhere in between.

ar15 home defense
Firearms like the SAINT Edge Pistol make mounting accessories like this Streamlight TLR-1 in a variety of locations quite easy.

The Bottom Line
Don’t write off the AR, especially an AR pistol, as nonviable for home defense simply because of the hearsay that gets passed along at gun store counters. They can be a great choice for this role, and offer you a lot of advantages.

Learn more about the Saint HERE

Tom McHale is a perpetual student of all things gun and shooting related. He’s particularly passionate about self and home defense and the rights of all to protect themselves and their loved ones. As part of his ongoing learning, Tom has completed dozens of training programs and is a certified National Rifle Association instructor for pistol and shotgun. Tom is a professional writer by trade these days and has published seven books on guns, shooting, reloading, concealed carry, and holsters. In between book projects, Tom has published somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,700 articles for about a dozen gun and shooting publications. If he’s not writing, you can probably find him on the range.

Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory.

 

.300 BLACKOUT — Take The Plunge!

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Here’s a compelling argument in favor of this relatively new cartridge for an AR15 enthusiast wanting to expand the capabilities of this firearms platform. Read why…

300 blackout

SOURCE: Team Springfield, posted by Steve Horsman

Historically, I have been hesitant to jump on the bandwagon of newly introduced cartridges. I am already heavily invested in several pistol and rifle calibers. When a new caliber comes out, I usually wait to see how it’s received and if it’s going to stick around. So when the .300 Blackout made its appearance several years ago, I took the “wait and see” approach.

As time went on, and it was apparent that the .300 Blackout was here to stay, I took the plunge and built an AR-style rifle with parts that I had on hand. I had to buy a barrel in .300 Blackout, so I invested in a 16-inch. When I put it all together, the rifle worked great. I’ll admit that I have only put a few hundred rounds through that gun, but like any good firearm enthusiast, I purchased the dies and components to eventually handload .300 Blackout.

As time went on, I continued researching the caliber, but my .300 Blackout rifle largely remained in the gun vault due to other firearm projects taking priority. #FirstWorldProblems

saint 300 blk

DUTY CALLS
In late 2017, Springfield Armory® introduced the SAINT™ Pistol in 5.56, and to say it has been successful would be a huge understatement! Prior to the release, I was tasked with testing the pistol and subsequently penned a blog about it shortly after it came out.

After literally shooting thousands of rounds through my 5.56 SAINT™ Pistol (and having a lot of fun), I started to think that a cool, new version would be if it were available in .300 Blackout. Well, the decisio- makers at Springfield Armory® were on the same track (great minds think alike), and designed the newest SAINT™ Pistol chambered in .300 Blackout.

I was excited to get my hands on one of the early production samples and I admit, though I really like the first 5.56 SAINT™ Pistol, I LOVE the newest chambering of .300 Blackout.

My .300 Blackout test firing consisted of shooting multiple steel and paper targets at 80 yards, and I also performed some reload drills. The only ammunition I had on hand when testing the .300 Blackout was 125-grain supersonic FMJs. Even though that ammo may not have been the optimal choice, the .300 blackout SAINT™ Pistol functioned perfectly and shot amazingly well. I was able to put one round on top of another at the 80-yard distance. I was very pleased to say the least.

BALLISTIC COMPARISON
There is a ton of ballistic data available for the .300 Blackout on the internet, so I will share just a little of the basic info with you here.

Compared to the 5.56 round, the .300 Blackout performs really well, and it actually excels in a short-barreled gun (primarily because it doesn’t lose velocity as rapidly as the 5.56 out of a shortened barrel).

The 5.56 REQUIRES velocity for peak performance whereas the .300 Blackout’s peak performance is based much more on the combination of bullet weight and velocity.

What I am basically saying is that the lightest bullet (commonly a 110-grain projectile) in the .300 Blackout is double the weight of the most common 5.56 bullet weight (a 55-grain).

A quick comparison shows that a 55-grain 5.56 round out of our 7-inch SAINT™ Pistol comes out at about 2300 FPS, creating about 650 foot pounds of energy. On the other hand, the 110-grain .300 Blackout round comes out of the 9-inch SAINT™ Pistol at about 2100 FPS, creating about 1090 foot pounds of energy.

If you’re more of a visual learner like I am, this may process better:

SAINT™ Pistol 5.56 — 55 gr. bullet — 7-inch barrel — 2300 FPS — 650 FT LBS

SAINT™ Pistol .300 — 110 gr. bullet — 9-inch barrel — 2100 FPS — 1090 FT LBS

Ballistically speaking, because of the huge difference in bullet weight, the comparison is pretty incredible!

SIDE BY SIDE SAINT PISTOLS
At first glance, the SAINT™ Pistols in 5.56 and .300 Blackout visually appear similar, but on closer inspection you will notice that the .300 Blackout version does not share the muzzle blast diverter that the 5.56 has. Also, the barrel on the 5.56 model is 7 inches long, whereas the .300 Blackout has a 9-inch barrel with a conventional A-2 flash hider.

NOTABLE SIDE NOTE
Most gun enthusiasts know that all 5.56 / .223 AR-style magazines and ammo work and function perfectly with .300 Blackout chambered guns. This may seem like a small detail to some, but the reason this is critically important to talk about is that the opposite is NOT true. Do NOT try to shoot a .300 Blackout cartridge through a 5.56 firearm!

While it may take some effort to get the .300 Blackout round into the chamber of the 5.56, it is extremely dangerous and will cause great damage. Just do a Google search to see photos and video of what actually happens. It’s not good and it’s not pretty. #ChamberDanger

Needless to say, I was very happy to see that the SAINT™ Pistol .300 magazines are smartly marked “.300 Blackout” on the side. This makes it easy to quickly differentiate from my 5.56 mags when I put my new SAINT™ .300 Blackout into the gun safe with the rest of my arsenal.

WRAP AND ROLL
The Springfield Armory® SAINT™ Pistol in .300 Blackout just might be the perfect size-to-power ratio in an AR-based pistol. The .300 and I will be spending a lot of time together this summer both at my backyard range and in my truck. Now, I’m not getting rid of my first 5.56 SAINT™ Pistol in the truck. I’ll just have two now — one for me and one for my lovely Mrs. The sleek, compact size of the SAINT™ pistol family makes that totally doable.

I’m also making space in my reloading bunker, because I’m now committed to another proven caliber.

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saint pistol

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