When someone asks me about a weapon for home defense, they’re usually surprised when I say, “The best answer is ‘an AR-15’.” Compared to a handgun, an AR-15 holds more ammunition, shoots a more powerful round, and is easier to shoot accurately than a handgun. You can also easily attach a good light, sling, and optic. This answer is surprising because of some common misconceptions and some valid concerns. Some of those misconceptions may go something like this:
First Misconception: “An AR-15 is too scary.”
It’s not scary if you know how common this rifle is. The most commonly bought rifle is no longer a 30-30 Lever action or your Grandpa’s hunting bolt action. America’s sporting rifle is now the AR-15. No one knows exactly how many are in this country, but probably more than 15 million make it, by far, the most common rifle sold in The United States.
Second Misconception: “A rifle is too big inside a house and the bad guy will just grab the muzzle when you point it at him.”
Surprisingly, a pointed rifle will not extend more than a few inches farther than a pointed handgun. In the below picture, I was standing in the same spot, even though my body position changed in accordance with the weapons. You can see that there is hardly any difference between the two.
Final Misconception: “A rifle is too powerful. The bullet will kill the neighbor down the street.”
Unfortunately, pretty much every kind of ammunition, including shotgun, will shoot through the walls of your house. If you’re choosing a gun that won’t shoot through an ordinary wall of a house, you should be looking in the BB gun aisle of Walmart.
In summary, the above misconceptions can and should be reasonably addressed. Also, a rifle does have drawbacks (such as how and where to store it in a house with children). But as with most subjects, teaching people things, even when they think they already know it, is a big step in the right direction.