A common saying among tactical trainers is: “The purpose of a handgun is to fight your way to your rifle.”
That makes perfect sense on a battlefield in Iraq or Afghanistan, but what happens when that “battlefield” is in your home – especially in a rural setting?
When compared by sheer ballistics, the results of most handgun rounds are very marginal when compared to that of a rifle. Yet, handguns have the advantage of being more compact and portable. And since they only require one hand, your other hand is free to hold a flashlight or call 911.
So now you might be asking, “Should I choose a handgun or a rifle for home defense?”
I say choose the rifle. I’m not talking about old-style, single-shot Remington Rolling Block Buffalo rifles or a 300 Weatherby Magnum with a 10X scope on it for elk season (but if one of those are all you have, they beat a can of pepper spray). I’m referring to modern sporting rifles designed for more tactical use.
Here’s my list of the five best:
1. The AR-15 in 5.56/223
Perhaps the most popular rifle in the U.S. is the AR-15. It was designed in 1960 by Armalite for the U.S. military and has remained in military use for six decades. For home defense purposes, I strongly recommend the shortest barrel length you can legally own. In some cases, this can be a SBR (short barreled rifle) registered with the National Firearms Branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) for a $200 tax. SBRs have barrels less than 16 inches in length and can be as short as 7.5 inches. This makes the rifle more compact and maneuverable within the confines of the home.