AR-15 Choices for Home Defense

By John Bibby published on in Firearms, Gun Gear, Safety and Training

I am a belt and suspenders kind of guy when it comes to certain things. Home defense is one of them. Because of that, I like several options sitting by the bedside for dealing with social work, like evicting home invaders. There is a gear tree that sits 3 feet away from my nightstand that holds my 3-gun belt, my plate carrier and two long guns. One of those guns is an AR-15, and that is what we will focus on today.

Wood box with back pipe tree

The gear tree’s construction needs to be sturdy, but not necessarily expensive or commercial.

The specific AR sitting in that gear tree has morphed several times as my relationship, my equipment options, and my housing situations have changed.

When my wife was alive, she had a Kel-Tec KSG loaded with one tube of Aguila mini (slugs). The chamber was loaded with the mini buckshot round. However, if needed, she could flip over to slugs at any time. This complemented the 5.5” barrel Smith and Wesson .357 N frame on her side of the bed. I had a classic carbine AR-15 along with my Glock 17, carry pistol. The only real difference about my AR set up, was the choosing cartridges with 77-grain bullets, instead of the 55-grain feedings most people use.

The 77-grain OTM bullets were an attempt to reduce over penetration issues. My theory was that a heavier, slower bullet designed to “fragment” had less chance of penetrating / ricocheting through walls with enough force to kill one of the teenagers; yet, it would do more damage to the goblin. It was certainly a better choice than 55-grain FMJ and my testing in a pork butt showed a much larger wound cavity and better bone penetration than 55-grain soft points.

After her passing, I no longer had to be the point guy, while she secured the rear and the kids. The kids were of age and had recently moved out, so the Kel-Tec moved into my gear tree and the AR switched to a 9.5-inch barrel 9mm that feeds from Glock mags. The gun is in a pistol configuration and having magazine compatibility with my carry gun made a lot of sense. I figured compatibility and the extra velocity of a longer 9mm barrel certainly couldn’t be bad.

Gear tree with rifle, shotgun, plate carrier and gear belt

Gear tree with .300 BLK, KSG, plate carrier, battle belt and M&P 9mm ready for duty

About a year after moving to Tennessee, I purchased a new AR Pistol in 300 BLK. This took over the AR slot for unwanted varmint eviction. The gun also has a 9.5-inch barrel and sports a Silencerco Omega suppressor. I run 190-grain solid copper bullets from Maker Bullets that are designed to peel back into 3 prongs. In pork butt testing they opened to between .650” to .850”. Every bullet opened properly, but those that hit bone tended to spread more as one or more prongs flattened more than those of bullets that only hit meat.

This gun and caliber is what I will be keeping by my bedside for quite some time. In suppressed form, the sound level is loud conversational without hearing protection in an enclosed space. Without the suppressor, it is still a lot less loud than my carry pistol. This is one thing that none of the other choices offered. I did toy with running the Omega on the 5.56 carbine, but it made for a very long rifle. The effective barrel length was over 24 inches. My .300 BLK with the 9.5-inch barrel and the suppressor has a barrel length of 17.5 inches. This makes it quite useful indoors, and in the configuration I use, it helps with the balance. In addition to the can, my setup includes a Gear Head Works Tailhook mod 1 brace and a BAD lever, so it is very simple to run with one hand. This leaves the other hand available for doors, working a flashlight or managing a phone call to 911.

I strongly suggest the Tailhook, in either Mod 1 or Mod 2 configurations to make any home defense AR pistol more useful, and I strongly suggest a .300 BLK with defense-minded subsonic ammunition. If possible, the package is completed with a .30 caliber suppressor. Even if you don’t have, or can’t justify buying the suppressor, the subsonic .300 BLK is much less punishing to the ears than most any other effective man stopper round.

Do you keep a single firearm bedside for self-defense or do you prefer options? How have your defense options changed over the years? Share your answers in the comment section.

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Comments (39)

  • 70'sOps

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    I keep my Canik TP9SA under my spare pillow loaded with 19 rounds of G2 civic duty. No over penetration at all, they look like flowers unless they hit bone. The SBR is next to the bed leaning on a nightstand. I really doubt I’d need the AR, but its there in case.

    As always
    Carry on

    Reply

  • Scott

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    My 300BLK with the Suppressor (the AAC762SD is designed for 300BLK) is a total of 14,5 inches in the barrel length. I have a Tax Stamp for the Can and for the SBR. The entire length of the gun is 30 inches, so even with the can its still shorter than a standard AR Carbine.

    Reply

    • Biggie

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      You stated before your barrel was 10 1/2″. Now you are saying the suppressor and barrel is total of 14. 1/2″. That leaves only a 4″ suppressor. Think you need to get out your tape measure since Advanced Armament Corp list the 762-SD as being 9″. For it to be 14 1/2″ long with that silencer would mean you have a 5 1/2″ barrel.
      https://www.advanced-armament.com/762-SD_p_649.html

      Reply

    • John

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      Scott above is not the author. I don’t think he stated the length of his barrel.

      Reply

    • Biggie

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      John, on 1st page of comments Scott tells Karl his barrel length is 10 1/2″ long and what suppressor he is using.

      Reply

  • RufusT1951

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    How or where do I get the plans for making one of these Gear Trees???

    Reply

    • John

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      I can give you the measurements, but I didn’t build it from plans. I just built it by building it.

      external dimensions using 3/4″ sanded A/B hard wood ply
      24″ wide
      24″ tall
      12″ deep — to do it again I would make it 2-3″ deeper
      top long gun cutout shelf – 4″ deep

      piping tree components are all threaded galvanized 1/2″ pipe from Lowes
      screw down flange with 4 #10 3/4″ wood screws
      18″ pipe – up from flange
      “T” junction
      3″ pipe
      “T” junction
      2x 4″ pipe with caps
      from original “T” junction another 18″pipe
      to elbow
      4″ pipe and cap

      A hole 1/8″ bigger than the OD of the pipe was drilled through the top “shelf”. I drilled this hole, then dropped the pipe down and screwed the flange in place to make sure it was all lined up properly. Just make sure the hole is far enough forward to accommodate the flange.

      The wood is butted together with good wood glue and 1.5″ brad nails from my pnuematic nail gun.

      There are also 3″x3″ wool slide pads on the 4 corners because it lives on hardwood.

      Nothing you can’t do with a table saw and a couple of hours of work. I didn’t even bother to seal or stain it.

      Reply

    • RufusT1951

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      Thank You very much for your time.

      Reply

  • Jack

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    Nice!

    Reply

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