Competitive Shooting

The AR Platform is More Than a Military Firearm

Ben's SBR

They are light, sleek, accurate, customizable, reliable and powerful. I will never understand why some think the AR-15 platform is only good for military applications. I will concede that it is an excellent home and personal defensive firearm, perhaps even among the best. However, the uses of the AR platform, especially in the standard .223 Remington or 5.56 NATO caliber, are beyond diverse.


Mossberg MMR Hunter
Mossberg MMR Hunter
I am a hunter. I’ve hunted my entire life and enjoy every aspect of my pastime. There were even some lean years in college where the meat I brought home was intended as part my grocery list and not a luxury item. The AR-15 I had at the time was not fancy, but it filled the role of hunting in southeast Texas nicely. The whitetail deer that roam the western outskirts of the Piney Woods are not huge when compared to other regions. Visitors from other parts of the state often poke fun at our “greyhound” deer. The smaller fields and dense pine brush made long distance shots a rare challenge, and I took most shots inside 100 yards. This meant that a .223 Remington with the proper load was more than adequate for dropping a month’s worth of venison. The feral hogs get large enough, along with foxes, coyote, bobcats, rabbits, and just about anything else you could encounter in that part of the world. Bears do not inhabit this part of Texas and there are no large species of mule deer, elk, or caribou that roam the eastern forests. Those who claim the .223 is not a hunting rifle are foolish, or perhaps just misinformed. Are there better cartridges for deer hunting? Of course, but few can match the versatility of this class of weapon.


Colt Competition CRP-18
Colt Competition CRP-18
The AR-15 is like a scalpel, it successfully combines precision with utility. For shooting sports and competitions, there really is no equal. These race guns feed thousands of rounds at paper and steel in a group of sports that is growing exponentially in popularity. 3-Gun, High Power, and Military Service Rifle are just a few of the many competitions and disciplines where ARs are necessary. Like Formula 1 or NASCAR, high precision machines pair up with talented competitors to compete in a multitude of events in an exciting display of human ability. Some of these shooters are so good that you may not believe what you see on the scorecards. If you have not had the chance to witness a live shooting sports competition, I would encourage you to do so. The family friendly environment and often-close matches make for a fun weekend activity.

Home Defense

10.5” AR-15 SBR
A friend asked me once, “Why on earth do you need a machine gun to defend your home.” Shrugging off their obvious lack of knowledge on the subject and ignoring their silly machine gun descriptor, I politely explained that I always prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. I continued to explain that you can’t disinvent guns—although plenty of people have tried. My father was a police officer and I spend seven years in military service. I’ve seen the darker side of humanity first hand and grew up hearing stories about the streets of 1970’s Houston. Unfortunately, criminals already have firearms, and should I encounter an armed criminal, I want to give my family the best possible chance of surviving the encounter. I don’t want to be equally matched in a deadly encounter. I want to win, and I will cheat if necessary. This means a standard 30-round magazine in a reliable platform that is ready to go at a moment’s notice. I have no desire to shoot anyone. In fact, I would feel awful if I had to do so. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t have the ability if no other option presents itself. Banning modern sporting rifles like the AR-15 or their standard capacity 30-round magazines would do nothing but gives crooks a better chance. I don’t want to be the law-abiding citizen who handed in their rifle and had to defend themselves against a much better armed intruder who didn’t feel the need to hand over their gear.

What is the purpose of your AR-15? Tell us in the comment section.

This post originally appeared on September 13, 2013.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog. "The Shooter's Log", is to provide information - not opinions - to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decicions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (29)

  1. Nothing wrong with the AR Platform. You can even substitute different caliber uppers to the same lower, including handgun calipers, however, for hunting; the Fish & Game folks will be out there with their ticket books out because of the magazine capacity issues in most states, like only 5 rounds for rifles, and 3 rounds for shotguns. That is item 1.
    Item 2) If you are hunting amongst strangers; you will probably frighten those who believe that everything that looks like a Military Rifle, is a machine gun, or an assault rifle. AR stand for Armalite, NOT ASSAULT RIFLE.

  2. hey lew, not all home defense happens inside the home with only one intruder, and sometimes you just might have to shoot through a wall.

  3. Have several ARs. The one I hunt with is a Bushmaster Predator with the 20″ barrel topped with Nikon P-223. While I use the gun frequently for varmint hunting, I find it extremely effective with Whitetail at reasonable distances. I took a buck and 2 does last season with shots from 60-125 yds. For deer I use a 79 grain Frangible round. In no instance did the deer travel more than 10 yds. If I am hunting properties where my shot might exceed 125 or so yds. I rely on my Rem. 30.06 or M&P .308. While not THE ideal deer rifle, the AR-15 is awesome for moderate distance and quick follow up shots! As with all serious hunters, plenty if trigger time and well placed shots are critical and humane .

  4. To Lew,
    For home defense fmj’s are not the right round. A frangible round as a v-max or ballistic tip are a much better choice.

  5. Yup, AR’s are a great home defense weapon. Nothing like a 3,240 fps FMJ round going off inside a sheetrock house to keep the family (and the neighbors) pinned to the floor while your exercising your second amendment rights.

    1. I live in a log home with 8-12 in. think walls. No worries, it would take a cannon shell to get through these walls.

      What kind of self-defense do you recommend? Hiding under the bed?

  6. I’m curious in regards to your comments about Texas deer hunting. Could you give some details about the loads, bullets, distances, etc., that you’re using for East Texas game hunting? I’m assuming you’re actually using the higher pressure 5.56 for dropping game?

  7. A lot of people like to collect things , it’s fun to do and makes us happy. All of the comments so far are correct and it sounds like everyone is enjoying their collection. One of my collecting buddies always reminds me when we are having fun with our stuff ” beware of the person who owns only one gun, he probably knows how to use it” I think that whatever you prefer , knowing what to do with it is MOST important.

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