It’s easy for members of TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia to forget that not everyone knows or cares as much about guns as do we. In fact the overwhelming majority of Americans wouldn’t know a Bushmaster from a bush baby. And at least one kansascity.com reader – a self-described assault weapons ban supporter – is curious about the relative utility of scary black rifles compared to pistols and smoothbores. Here’s her recent letter to the editor:

I would very much appreciate hearing from a National Rifle Association member on why the association feels so strongly about having assault rifles . . .

I would like to know what they feel they can accomplish with an assault rifle that they cannot accomplish with a shotgun or handgun. I am just asking for someone to explain it to me as I truly do not understand.

I understand their use in a military or police setting, but I do not understand their use by private citizens.

Why do I support a ban on assault weapons? I think it is always imperative to understand the other person’s point of view, and that’s why I’m asking.

Christine Bovos
Overland Park

Christine is obviously unaware of the bottomless fount of knowledge that is TTAG’s readership or she certainly would have come here first. How would you answer her question?

119 Responses to Question of the Day: Why An AR Over a Pistol or Shotgun?

  1. “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

      • Indeed, and to add to that; We have a worsening issue. The issue of common sense, common knowledge, and pop culture instead of real education, and life experience. People who fear guns usually are reactionary, sheltered, and or traumatized people. And it is always easier to hide from fear than to work through it.

  2. It is easier to aim than any handgun. The recoil from an AR is dwarfed by the recoil from a shotgun so it is much easier for my wife and daughters to use. It is much easier to maintain muzzle awareness with a rifle than a handgun, so in that regard an AR-15 is safer than any handgun.

    These are just the first things that jumped into my head regarding this question.

    • Spot on sir, AR is fun to shoot and a good first gun for new gun owners. Simple, easy to shoot, maintain and “accessorize” to your heart’s content.

    • That’s actually the right answer.

      Although I would have thrown in that the ease of reloading and 30 round capacity means you will not be as vulnerable to multiple assailants.

      • Except in neutered states, where 10 rounds is the maximum, and in CA the bullet button effectively kills the quick reload option.

    • Also the .223 round that most AR-15’s are chambered has shown to be less likely to penetrate through a wall than handgun calibers, making it safer choice for home defense for some.

    • We have a winner.

      Most people who prattle on (and on and on and on) about shotguns have no idea what the recoil of a 00-buck load is like.

      Then they start prattling on about how a “double barreled” shotgun is “enough” (Thanks to Plugs Biden). At that point, they’re on my home turf, and I start detailing the cost of a double barrel (whether SxS or O/U) shotgun… and how few gunsmiths work on them to keep them clean and in repair. That’s my bread and butter, and when I get into the costs ($1K and up for a good, solid SxS or O/U in good shape – Stoegers and Turk knock-offs need not apply, IMO), and how much I might charge to fix seemingly “small issues” on a double gun… people start seeing that a pump gun is so much cheaper. When I’m feeling really cruel, I pull out catalogs of nice O/U’s or American SxS’s from 100 years ago. When people see that some of these guns might cost more than their used cars, they suddenly see what an elitist boob Plugs Biden has been.

      Once they’re admitting a pump gun is OK because the common man/woman can actually afford them, then it’s a hop/skip/jump to AR’s with “military capacity” magazines. They (of course) get on about the magazine capacity – until I do a little multiplication for them: 8 rounds of 00 buck out of a pump gun means 8*9 pieces of buckshot, or 72 .33-cal balls flying downrange. 72 > 30… and you can send all 72 pieces of buckshot downrange faster than you can send 30 individual rounds of .223 downrange. The weight of a single ball of buck is on par with the weight of a .223 bullet, so I believe it is an apt comparison.

      Me: “OK, Which is more dangerous now? 30 bullets or 72 .33-caliber lead balls flying downrange?”

      Them: “Oh, I had not realized that.”

      Poof. 30-round magazine issue derailed.

      • Regarding quality O/U shotguns: Yes! Some years ago, I paid north of $1K for a then-60-plus-year-old Remington model 32 (whose design was sold off and further developed by Krieghoff). In retrospect, one of my better purchases. A wonderful skeet gun. A usable – but marginal – home defense gun…

      • Dyspeptic, you’re alright, man.

        The AR-15 is arguably the finest tool available to defend against multiple attackers in a home, and the minimal recoil of the weapon does not prevent women and children from effectively deploying it.

      • Thanks thats a very good analogy and I will be using same.

        Having gone thru a 3 year long pretty carefully researched journey of reading, buying, shooting and training, from handgun, to shotgun, to AR type weapon for HD, my advice to anyone who wants to KISS, for one gun to do it all, ALA Col Jeff Cooper,

        for plinking/beginning target, beginner-intermediate hunting for broadest range of game/predator control, and HD/varmint control-

        in other words, the one gun you would grab on the way out the door along with the kids pictures, your important docs, your wallet, etc (this assumes the kids, dogs and cats are already in the car), would be:

        Just invest in a decent quality AR, ideally in 223 wilde, so you can shoot accurate, plus use cheap ammo.

        You will save yourself a lot of money, and money by not having to invest in buying, learning, training and ammo on the 3 typical weapons, handgun, shotgun, rifle, not to mention the never-ending time and ammo to stay proficient if you are going to be a responsible user, and

        you will have more fun as a result.
        Plus it can be used by kids and smaller sized women, who would otherwise be deterred or learn bad habits like flinching, from the recoil and noise of a handgun or shotgun. Thats just my two cents- and YMMV.

        The technology has come a long way, and prices keep coming down, and when this Great Gun Scare and Ammo Shortage is over, there will be plenty of ammo and prices will come down then too. Heres a good example of what you can get for less than half of the learning cycle cost over a year of buying one decent handgun and one basic shotgun:

        http://www.rockriverarms.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_id=229

  3. Ease of use, capacity, lethality, but most importantly, with proper ammunition selection, 5.56 overpenetrates less than 00 buck or common pistol calibers.

    • Ding ding ding! We have a winner. Lethality in a low-recoiling package that won’t overpenetrate and put your neighbors at risk.

  4. Modern semiautomatic rifles are generally more accurate than all types of handguns. They offer a more stable firing platform for scenarios when you are scared to death, shaking, and suffering the other deleterious effects of psychological and physical stress on your fine motor functions.

    Many such rifles are also lighter than shotguns, shorter than (sporting) shotguns, and offer a substantially higher magazine capacity, giving a defender more options and more chances for successfully stopping an aggressor or aggressors when innocent lives are on the line.

    Finally, what is the difference between a “police setting” and a home defense setting, in terms of legitimate uses of deadly force? Getting to the bottom of that may be the only way to really answer the letter writer’s questions in a way that is responsive to the beliefs underlying her position.

    • the difference between a police setting is that the police officer has a kevlar vest, backup, and a radio to call in more backup, and if they’re going into someplace like your house, they’ll roll with a minimum of three other officers.

      You have you, no vest, and some 911 operator on the other end of the phone, and your backup ain’t coming as fast as the backup for an “officer down” situation.

    • finally! some people drinking my kool aid. i have said for 2 decades an m-4gery is all you need, collapse the stock. 16″ barrel light laser and 1-5×40 scope and after that all you need is ammo. i can shoulder mount this weapon system and clear every room in my house including through bedroom door ways and 180* turns in the hallway. half a foot or half a klick (500 meters) and bang yer dead. okay, and a hi-cap 9 with 147 gr subsonic hst for situations in public where a carbine is un…..social in appearance.

  5. I would tell her to go to a range and rent a handgun,shotgun, and AR and shoot 50rds through each then she can tell me why.

  6. You claim to understand why the police and military prefer or use “assault rifles.” So, before I answer your question, I’m going to ask YOU to explain to ME…. why the police and military use them…. since you said you “understand.” I’ll wait.

  7. Police face the exact same threats from the exact same criminals that non-LEO citizens face. It’s the exact same criminal element that we must protect ourselves against. Police departments all over the country are replacing shotguns with AR-15’s and sometimes even replacing handguns as the primary defensive weapon with AR-15’s. The reason is because an AR is safer and more adaptable. To expand on that a little, an AR-15 is significantly easier to shoot with a much higher degree of accuracy and precision than a shotgun or a handgun, which can greatly reduce incidents of innocents being hit by stray bullets (which DOES happen quite often in police shootings). Additionally, despite what you might intuitively assume, a .223 or 5.56 round from an AR-15 is LESS likely to penetrate multiple walls than buckshot or slugs from a shotgun or most rounds from a handgun. The high velocity and light weight means most rounds fragment and lose lethality quicker than shotgun or pistol alternatives. Many police departments struggle with finding a handgun that fits the hands of various officers (too small, too large, etc) and is comfortable to shoot for officers with varying degrees of recoil sensitivity and physical stature. The AR-15 is highly modular and adaptable, and immediately fits an extremely broad range of users. This has obvious benefits, including, again, accuracy and ease of efficient, effective, and safe use. The adjustable buttstock is also great for officers who wear varying thicknesses of clothing, whether that’s due to winter jackets or different types of body armor.

    Bottom line is that what the police carry — what departments all over the country have deemed to be the most effective, safest, reliable, and even economically-efficient choice — is a PERFECT model for what any other citizen should choose to defend themselves in and even out of the home. There is a reason that police departments have chosen semi-automatic pistols with 13- to 17-round standard capacity magazines, despite having the benefit of body armor, partners, backup, radios, etc. There is a reason that most departments in the country issue AR-15’s, with their standard capacity 30-round magazines, to normal, everyday patrol officers, and that these AR’s are replacing the shotgun at an ever-increasing pace. This is why they are the perfect choice for the armed citizen. It is a SAFER, more effective choice to defend one’s home, and it’s a choice that everybody in the family could be trained to proficiency on quickly and effectively, and that is instantly adaptable to the physical size of different people. Learning to proficiently use a handgun is orders of magnitude more complicated and requires significantly more ongoing skills training and maintenance, and a shotgun is very difficult for people of smaller stature to handle.

    • This is a good point. People tend to lump the police and military together when they shouldn’t be. The military often operates in circumstances where killing is accepted as a first option, the police should never be in that situation, so if MSRs are only good for “killing as many people as possible” the police shouldn’t carry them, or, more accurately they have value in situations different from the battlefield.

      • Right. Cops are civilians. Many people seem to forget that or not realize it. They are not supposed to have powers that other civilians don’t have — we have simply chosen to essentially outsource or assign law enforcement duties to people who want to do it as a profession, rather than having everybody in society responsible for doing it.

        Anyway, the military may carry guns specifically for offensive purposes, and that’s basically why it gets actual assault rifles — meaning fully automatic. The police carry firearms almost entirely for defensive purposes, and that’s why they are typically issued AR-15’s, which are semi-automatic and are NOT assault rifles. Now, there are some groups within the Law Enforcement realm that could be considered offensive in nature, like SWAT and such, and they have different weaponry. They are doing things that normal citizens would not do. Mainly, purposefully interjecting themselves into dangerous situations and pursuing armed criminals or going into environments to diffuse violent situations. HOWEVER… your normal patrol officer is JUST like you and me, and the sorts of things they encounter are the sorts of things any of us might encounter when out and about. The criminals they deal with are the exact same ones that might kick down your front door. Their very carefully considered and thoroughly tested choices for firearms and ammunition are, as mentioned, PERFECT models for what anybody concerned with self-defense should consider choosing.

        …and let me just preempt the argument to what I said above. Yes, maybe police are more likely to encounter violent crime than you or I due to their job. However, frequency of this sort of interaction does not affect the import of your right to defend your life. One person trying to kill you once in your life gives you just as much right to proper tools of self-defense as four or ten incidents like that over the course of your life. The stakes are so high that any possibility gives you the full right.

        • I would argue that SWAT is still defensive in the sense that they are reactionary. They (should) only arrive on the door step of someone that has already committed 1 or many (violent) crimes. And they are still (suppossedly) required to meet the same standards for lethal force as any civilian. The only real difference between civilian and SWAT is the level of tacticle training, excessive budget for gear, and a higher frequency of intentional contact with the criminal element.

  8. Some people prefer shotguns or pistols. That’s their choice. There is no reason millions of others should have their choice legislated away.

    Why do I need an AR for home defense? Because the police pick ARs. They choose ARs to improve their likelihood of walking away from the situation unharmed so why shouldn’t I do the same? I’m going to respond to a deadly threat with overwhelming force so I and my family can walk away unharmed. Why wouldn’t I want to emulate the pros? If possible I always try to emulate the pros if I can technically do it, especially when it comes to defending myself and my family.

    The better question is why should we be forced to use amateur defense tools and tactics? Is that going to make an intruder any less deadly? Would that make the crime any less illegal? What would anyone gain besides the criminals? All it would do is reduce our likelihood of protecting ourselves and our families.

  9. Easy in disaster situation or where law brakes down or in riots a pistol lacks range and power and a shotgun is too inaccurate and short ranged than a AR. AR can adapt to different calibers and configs for hunting and self defense and storage.. Its safer firearm than any shotgun. And the fact ARs are needed as part of the 2nd Amendment to fend off against tyranny.

  10. I’m not an AR fan. But I’ll take a stab at this. I’m a large, six foot one, male with a lifetime of gun handling, hunting and military service behind me. I can easily wield a shotgun in defense of myself or my loved ones. I prefer the shotgun myself. But.

    My wife is 5 foot tall. She does not have the level of familiarity or the physical size to be real comfortable with a shotgun. For her, and many other inexperienced or slight statured people. the AR would make a dandy of a self defense weapon. Especially in it’s short carbine versions. Lightweight, compact and chambered for a low powered round it may be the perfect center fire rifle for beginners. And the controls are laid out in such a way as to make learning and handling the AR a comparative breeze to other weapons.

    • Again, slam dunk.

      My wife is about the same size. She doesn’t like recoil.

      The AR, with a collapsible buttstock and a holo sight? So much easier to use than ANYTHING else you can put her on, other than a .22LR like a 10/22, which we all agree isn’t what one should use for home defense.

    • I’ll admit we’re roughly in the same boat. First firearm I bought for myself out of the Corps was an M1A… because a scoped M1A is an utterly reliable rifle that will do the job in the widest number of “I need a rifle” situations I could think of at the time, the .308 caliber round is fairly common, easy to find or to load for, and hits like a hammer downrange. That having been said, at ranges of 25 yards or so, it’s long and heavy, and in the close quarters of a house the length and penetration power of the round start posing significant risk. You can still use it, but it’s suboptimal…

      So I got myself a 12 gauge pump gun. Utter hell up close and personal, fun to shoot, but if you’re talking about outside 25 yards, a home defense type shotgun is scattering lead in discrete and lethal chunks far and wide, each of which is as powerful as some pistol bullets, and the recoil from buckshot, slug and magnum slug is pretty brutal… not to mention that when you run dry, reloading is a complex process I don’t wanna mess with at 0300 in the dark.

      So I got myself a 1911. Simple reload, still plenty of power, convenient size, and pretty darn good at 25 yards or less… though if you’re feeling frisky, you can lob rounds out to a hundred yard target to see how you do. And yes, lob them. Easier to manage in close quarters, too.

      And then I remembered the old M16s I used in the Marines. I remembered all the things that pissed me off about them, but also the fact that the things were wicked accurate at range for what they were, and handy in close, didn’t recoil for anything, and reloaded quick, and infrequently, if you’re using a 30 round mag and not just hosing it. So I ginned up a list of specifications for an AR, and said “THIS is the rifle I will be willing to purchase, nothing more, nothing less.” I figured with all the tacticool manufacturers putting all the god-knows-what on rifles that they’d NEVER try to sell something as plain as a 16″ barreled AR with the stock A4 iron sights, stock A2-style forearm, no bells, no whistles no battery operated anything… Turns out S&W sells an M&P 15 like that and I ended up buying one, which is absurdly light, doesn’t kick any worse than a .22, has simple sights that are fine up close and personal, an adjustable stock, and still can reach out to a 300 yard silhouette target every darn time I feel like it. Only thing I can complain about it is they left the stock trigger in it, but I can hand that wee little thing to my sweet old mother, and she can defend herself with it easily, it will function reliably for her, and if she’s willing to shoot enough, there is very little in North America that can threaten her.

      • Tomy, I’m a California resident so my choices are limited. The shotgun pistol combo works well for me in my circumstances. For me to prove self defense in court I’m going to pretty much have to limit myself to an inside my own house encounter. In Ca. we have 10 round mag limits and bullet buttons so that pretty well makes the AR type a lame duck here.

  11. This sounds like a great opportunity for some TTAG fan in or a round Oveland to contact this women & take her to a range. Maybe a female fan would be even better. Maybe we could win an Anti to our side.

  12. If I were face to face with Christine Bovos,I’d ask her why she feels the need to possess a right to free speech.Naturally the government we have is one she’s either passively or actively selected,so why should she need to criticize it?

  13. 1. Most home invasions are done with more than one intruder. I would prefer to have plenty of ammo if there were three or more people trying to kill me.
    2. Most anti-gun people fear the bad guy will grab a gun away from the good guy. ARs have a pistol grip that would help prevent that and give you better control over your weapon.
    3. You can put a light and laser on your AR to see and aim better/quicker.
    4. ARs have flash suppressors that help if you are defending yourself at night.
    5. ARs can have less recoil and make you more proficient.

  14. Near zero recoil and great ergonomics make them easy to hit with.

    Their popularity means many aftermarket parts are available to fit the gun to the shooter and make those ergonomics even better.

    The 30 round magazine and capability against soft armor are a plus. Let me know when the Trayvon community swears off body armor and agrees to stop committing crimes in large groups.

  15. “I understand their use in a military or police setting, but I do not understand their use by private citizens.”

    Clearly, this low information voter subscribes to the “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” meme. I do not. We are either all created equal, or we aren’t. The United States is truly the exception when it comes to the right to bear arms on the planet. I intend to do everything in my power to keep it that way.

  16. Visualize poking someone with a popsicle stick versus a pool stick. It’s much easier with the pool stick. (pistol versus rifle).
    A typical short barreled shotgun used for home defense, will spread the shot about one inch for every yard travelled. So at a fair distance of 20-30 yards, you have a 20-30 inch spread. Meaning many pellets will miss your intended target. It is also limited to anywhere from 1-8 rounds.
    A rifle has one projectile. If you aim correctly, you will hit your target. A standard capacity rifle will likely hold 28-30 rounds, affording you many more shots. A rifle also does not kick like a shotgun.
    If you load a good selection of ammo, your rounds won’t leave your house, should you miss. They will disintegrate due to impacting walls.
    Contrary to what you may see on television, a pistol is difficult to aim and again, is limited to holding less rounds than the rifle.

  17. The police adopted AR’s from the civilian world, we didn’t adopt it from them, this cannot be said enough. And no, they didn’t do it because criminals are running around with evil baby killing “assault weapons”, they did it for the same reason millions of Americans have chosen them, because its an easy to use, modular weapon with low recoil, with a smaller caliber bullet that’s less likely to penetrate a wall and create collateral damage and it’s just overall fantastic. Police ARE civilians! They face no threats that an other CIVILIAN does. That’s why all the new gun technology that they adopt for their departments come from the CIVILIAN market. (Mags, optics, rails, etc…) If you honestly believe “weapons of war” have no place on our streets, then cops can’t have them either. Of course that would means they could keep their AR-15’s, and so could i, since they’re not weapons of war.

  18. AR vs. Pistol:
    A rifle is much more powerful than a pistol (look up relative muzzle energies). If I have to defend my home with deadly force, I want as high a chance as I can to stop the threat in as little time as possible, which means hopefully one round each. You should know that home invasions often involve multiple assailants, sometimes coming through multiple entryways, so fractions of a second are critical.

    That said, with the adrenaline and stress of a break-in, I want the ability to carry as many rounds as I might need without having to worry about tucking a spare magazine in my jammies. That’s where the standard 30 round magazine comes in handy.

    Rifles are inherently more accurate than pistols. You have three points of contact (two hands and a shoulder) vs one, and your sights are farther apart.

    Because it is directed into your shoulder than your hand, rifle recoil is easier to handle than pistol recoil. Petite, sedentary women can handle and fire an AR-15 better than they can a 9mm pistol (and the 9mm is considered a lightweight caliber by many).

    Rifle vs. Shotgun
    For sheer impact, nothing beats a shotgun. However, shotguns also kick like an angry mule, which makes followup shots (remember the multiple assailants?) much more difficult, both physically (putting the barrel back on target) and psychologically (flinching). The AR-15 has very little recoil, and because the bore axis (line down the center of the barrel) lines up with your shoulder instead of above it, what recoil it does have is more readily absorbed.

    Shotguns also have very limited capacities, usually 8 rounds or so, and are a hassle to reload. Generally speaking, hunting shotguns are very long, while home defense shotguns are pretty useless for hunting. An AR-15 can defend your home, shoot game up to deer-sized in many states, and be a useful tool for teaching people to shoot.

    Some say that you don’t have to aim a shotgun. That’s BS. At the longest ranges you’ll encounter in nearly every home, a shotgun’s ‘spread’ is about the size of a tennis ball. You still need to aim it.

    Simple Advantages of an AR
    As a former Army Infantryman, I am extremely familiar with the M16, which is what the Army called the AR-15 when they adopted the fully-automatic version of it. For me, using one is as familiar as using a pencil. Millions of men and women just like me are living in this country, and would like to use tools they are already familiar with.

    The AR-15 fires a small and fast bullet, that loses a surprising amount of energy when it hits barriers such as sheetrock and timber. It’s not stopped by sheetrock, but slower and heavier pistol rounds will often carry a higher percentage of their energy through than the AR round. If you have others in your house, or are worried about your neighbors, this is important.

    The AR-15 is a lightweight gun with a light recoil, but that is extremely accurate. The adjustable stocks of most AR-15s can accommodate shooters from 5′ to 7′ tall with no problem. It can be collapsed down to a size that will allow you to make your way to your children’s rooms without catching in the doorways.

    The 5.56mm/.223 caliber round that most AR-15s shoot is actually less deadly than most hunting rifles, and is considered to be too weak for deer in many states. The AR-15’s inherent accuracy makes for a fine hunting rifle, where it can be used (often with very small magazines). The AR-15’s sheer versatility is unmatched, because the upper half of the rifle can be easily swapped out for different calibers, or different types and lengths of barrels.

    Finally, the AR is successfully used in long-range shooting, and dominates the ‘3 Gun’ competitions. (FYI, 3 Gun is the fastest growing shooting sport in the country. You should try it some time.)

    I hope I’ve given you some rational answers. I know that the anti-gun movement is largely driven by an emotional reaction to a tragedy, and a desire to prevent such tragedies from ever occurring again. I am in complete agreement, but it is important to remember that the tool is not what caused the tragedy. Far worse has been done with less ‘scary-looking’ tools.

    PS My nickname is taken entirely from a physical resemblance to a certain actor, especially since we both went bald at about the same time.

  19. Here’s my answer: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/07/31/4380901/gordon-parks-minimum-wage-assault.html#comment-986425178

    “Christine, I’m not an NRA member — not all gun members are, and not necessarily because we don’t agree or disagree with the group.

    Before I answer your question, please note that an AR-15 is not an “assault rifle”. An assault rifle must be capable of fully-automatic fire and fire an intermediate cartridge; AR-15s (the most common semi-auto rifle in America) and the AK-47s Americans buy are semi-automatic. The “assault weapon” term is a buzzword created by anti-gun politicians meant to demonize such guns — the term “rifle” or “semi-automatic rifle” doesn’t sound as scary, and it’s obviously much easier to ban something that has a scary sounding name.

    With that out of the way, semi-automatic rifles have many, many advantages over pistols and shotguns. In the interest of brevity I’ll keep my discussion geared towards the use of them for home defense, but semi-auto rifles have other uses of course.

    1) Rifle cartridges (bullets, basically) are far more effective than handgun rounds, and probably roughly on part with shotgun rounds. It isn’t uncommon for someone to get shot multiple times with a handgun yet still live. By that time the bad guy might have time to shoot back. This is why most police have a long gun of some sort (either a semi-auto rifle or a shotgun) as backup and why in the military, handguns are used as a backup weapon… not the primary weapon.

    2) Contrary to popular belief, .223 / 5.56, the type of bullet (round) that AR-15s use, penetrate through walls less than both pistol and shotgun rounds, making them a safer choice for in the home.

    3) AR-15’s have far less recoil than shotguns and pistols. Recoil is basically when the gun pushes back into you after firing. The more recoil, the harder it is to get back on target and fire another shot quickly (because rarely does a bad guy go down after just one shot). This makes AR-15 a fantastic choice for everyone, but especially for women and older folks.

    4) AR-15’s have more capacity than shotguns and also most pistols. This is important because again, rarely does the bad guy go down after just one shot, and that’s assuming you even hit him. Typically a shotgun only has 7-8 rounds of capacity. What happens if you miss after the first few times (very common)? What happens if there are multiple attackers (very common)? Etc.

    5) AR-15’s are very reliable. A pump-action shotgun can be “short stroked” in a stressful situation, a semi-auto rifle cannot. (Semi-auto shotguns can’t be short stroked, but they’re arguably less reliable than AR-15s, and a good one is nearly as expensive as an AR-15, and an AR-15 gives you so much more for your money). A pistol, especially polymer framed ones (very common) can be “limp wristed” (if you don’t hold the gun firmly, it might malfunction), a semi-auto rifle cannot be limp wristed.

    6) AR-15’s are lighter than shotguns, making them easier for everyone to use.

    I’m sure I’m missing some other reasons. To sum up, AR-15s are lighter, easier to use, safer when shooting in the house, more reliable, and more effective than both shotguns and pistols. This, among many other reasons, are why AR-15s and other semi-automatic rifles are so popular.”

    • Additional response, taking a different approach: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/07/31/4380901/gordon-parks-minimum-wage-assault.html#comment-986585152

      “Another thing Christine — I think you may have answered your own question when you said you understand their use in a police setting.

      The average response time to a call for police — assuming you’re even able to call them while a crime is being committed against you — is in the minutes, not seconds. We’re talking 5+, 10+, perhaps even over 30 minutes or an hour depending on where you live. Yes, this is even for high priority calls.

      Often times police are called the “first responders”. That they may be, but unfortunately all too often by the time they arrive on scene it’s far too late. The crime has been committed, the victim victimized, and the police’s job is now to do what most police officers will admit they do most of the time: fill out paperwork about the incident. What good does that do the victim?

      So why is it okay for the police — who usually show up after the fact — to have one of the best weapons out there to protect themselves; but private citizens, the ones who are obviously already there when the crime is being committed against them are the true first “responders”, should not? That’s something that I don’t understand.”

    • +1 when explaining things like this to non gun people. We need to drop the “jargon” and explain things in common terms.

      Another reason not listed above is that they are modular, allowing someone entry to ownership that otherwise would not. Especially a quality rifle.

      They are also versatile and adaptable. They can be used for defense, in a pinch hunting, great competitive rifles for marksmanship, etc…. Many firearms are specialized and built for a specific purpose. The AR style rifle in it’s basic form is a general purpose tool. It can also be customized for specific functions. It is not the most powerful rifle.

      It is easy to master the fundamentals of marksmanship with.

      Many of the reasons the military chose it. It was ideal for a new recruit that had never used a rifle and teach the fundamentals, gain confidence, proficiency etc…. Not that it was more lethal, dangerous, etc… than any other rifle. It, in many ways is safer than many other firearms and actually less powerful. It just has a unique appearance that after 40 years, we associate with the military while they function differently.

    • +1

      Another reason not listed above is that they are modular, allowing someone entry to ownership that otherwise would not. Especially a quality rifle.

      They are also versatile and adaptable. They can be used for defense, in a pinch hunting, great competitive rifles for marksmanship, etc….

      Many of the reasons the military chose it. It was ideal for a new recruit that had never used a rifle and teach the fundamentals, gain confidence, proficiency etc…. Not that it was more lethal, dangerous, etc… than any other rifle. It, in many ways is safer than many other firearms and actually less powerful. It just has a unique appearance that after 40 years, we associate with the military while they function differently that people perceive them differently.

  20. The most important reason, for me, is to demonstrate that a ban on a specific type of rifle only serves as a placeholder for a ban on anything else.
    The rifles usually considered, “assault rifles,” are rarely used, in the US, in violent crimes. So every proposal to ban these rifles is an attempt to establish government infringing on the Constitution as an acceptable, even desirable, occurrence. These bans are not proposed in the name of safety.

    Fact is… rifles such as the AR, are lightweight, accurate, highly functional quality arms that do belong in the hands of private citizens.

  21. I would say “high capacity,” but we all know that only police need more than ten rounds to defend themselves. We “civilians” just always make perfect head-shots.

  22. I’m curious what her basis is for “…understand(ing) their use in a military or police setting…” It seems to me that if she actually knew facts about the AR-15 she would already have answered her own question.

  23. A rifle is always going to be better -controllability, accuracy, power, and range (though range isn’t applicable to self-defense so much, it’s very applicable to hunting and recreational shooting.)

    A modern “assault rifle” adds to these advantages light weight for easy handling, quick reloading, high ammo capacity for dealing with multiple threats, and modular construction which allows for endless customization for individuals, budgets, and purposes.

    These advantages make modern magazine-fed semi-automatic rifles the most flexible and effective guns available today, and one wants the best and most effective tool for any task -whether, in this case, it be hunting, or self-defense when one’s life is on the line.)

    Other types of firearms have their uses, but they are niche applications in comparison with the versatility of a modern rifle.

  24. A little background. Overland park is a wealthy suburb of KC, and enjoys a much lower crime rate than KC.
    It’s away from the rural parts of Kansas and Mo where many more people have guns.
    Dan, you really should find a way to get the best answers to her.
    At least she is trying to understand. we should not miss the opportunity to convert people, even if it is one at a time.

    Btw, referring to her as a low information voter is a bit rash, she is actually seeking to learn, quite the opposite of what a LIV would do. We have our share of LIV on our side.

  25. It’s a loaded question, the written equivalent of a sucker punch.

    ARs are not “assault weapons.” They’re not automatic weapons or “weapons of war.” They’re just rifles, period.

    Wise up. If we let the wingnuts control the language then they absolutely will win the war of words.

    • Precisely. That’s why I refuse to use the idiotic term “modern sporting rifle”, too. It’s just a rifle. The more we act like ARs and AKs and their brethren are special and different, the more likely they are to be more heavily regulated.

  26. I smell setup question by anti-gun. Typical Pro Gun response….

    “I can shoot faster, it has more rounds, its more powerful”….etc.

    Anti-gun groups…..see these should be outlawed.

    We need to be smarter. Answers should be super simple and to the point.

    “Best weapon to defend my self and my family” and “Its my RIGHT under the Constitution”.

  27. Excellent reasons; I’d like to add one most of you will be familiar with.

    The AR-15 is not fundamentally very different from venerable hunting rifles like the Remington 742. If you allow the gun-grabbers to ban the AR, they’ll be taking away the Rem 742s next. This is not tinfoil hattery – California SB-47 comes pretty darned close.

    Once the semi-autos are gone, they’ll come for the manual repeaters – lever guns, pumps, or bolt actions fed from a magazine. The argument will be that these are just as capable of sustaining the volume of fire actually seen in mass shooting situations as semi-automatics, which happens to be true.

    But wait – wasn’t the argument against semi-automatics that their high theoretical rate of fire led to worse mass shootings? Yes it was, but turning their own arguments on their heads is a time-honored tactic of the gun-control crowd. A report by the VPC against “assault rifles” demonizes rifles like the AR-15 as being designed to “hose down” and area with “spray and pray” fire, which they argue has no legitimate role in civilian self-defense. Yet when in the very same document they confront the fact that AR-15s are only semi-automatic unlike their military fully-automatic cousins, they reverse their entire argument: “individual aimed shots can be even more deadly”. But wasn’t the whole point about “spray-and-pray”? Were they suggesting individually aimed shots have no place in legitimate self-defense? Most likely they were hoping you had forgotten their original argument by then.

    This isn’t the only example. Hollow-point bullets are slandered as “cop-killers” because they expand on impact, giving up more of their energy and causing more damage. But bullets that don’t expand penetrate better, and that makes them – you guessed it – “cop killers.” It is the modus operandi of the gun control movement to spin every tradeoff that exists in the design of firearms or ammunition as a reason for a ban. Handguns are too concealable. Long guns are too powerful. Semi-automatics are too fast. The bulk powder from muzzleloaders could be used in bomb making. When you find you can (and do) argue everything and its opposite to the same end, it’s a sure sign that what you’re producing are rationalizations, not rational arguments.

  28. The lady said she understands why the police would need an AR- so I would just tell her whatever her justifications are for them she can apply to us other civilians.

  29. I have a Bushmaster, but I don’t have an AR-15. Figure the rest out for yourselves! In a home invasion scenario, I’m less likely to reach for the 12-G than the Bushmaster or Tanfoglio .45. Don’t ask me why. I’m not sure.

  30. If the police have a reason to use it, I have a reason to use it.

    “But, but, it’s designed to kill alot of people really fast, which is why the military and police use it!”… last I checked, the police aren’t there to “kill a lot of people really fast” but only in a last resort do they shoot… and on top of that I can only think of a couple incidents in the last few decades where the police had to shoot at more than 2 people in any one firefight…

  31. As the source pace requires a sign-in through Twitter, or Facebook, or Google or whatnot (none of which I am keen to bother with) in order to post, I’ll simply pop my response to Zimmerman’s “What would you do?” question here and let youse mugs have at it. I know I’ve screwed up some reasoning and order of talking points, but I’m simply too tired to find them right now 😀

    ————————————————————————–

    “I would very much appreciate hearing from a National Rifle Association member on why the association feels so strongly about having assault rifles . . .

    I would like to know what they feel they can accomplish with an assault rifle that they cannot accomplish with a shotgun or handgun. I am just asking for someone to explain it to me as I truly do not understand.

    I understand their use in a military or police setting, but I do not understand their use by private citizens.

    Why do I support a ban on assault weapons? I think it is always imperative to understand the other person’s point of view, and that’s why I’m asking.

    Christine Bovos
    Overland Park”

    To begin…..

    In purely practical terms, in a self-defense situation the AR-15 and other semi-automatic rifles offer a great many advantages to the user whether they’re civilian or military. As an example, until the 1980s the primary service weapon of most U.S. police departments was a six-shot .38 Special revolver, and there have been several instances past and present in which officers have been ultimately wounded or killed in shootouts with suspects because they ran out of ammunition before the bad guys did. Throughout the 80s police agencies thus switched to semi-automatic pistols in droves in an attempt to “catch up” amidst the perception that they were being outgunned by the criminal element. These pistols boast over twice the capacity of the revolvers they replaced, and their detachable magazines can be reloaded far more easily and quickly under stress than the cylinder of a revolver. As pistol rounds are low velocity and generally very poor “one-shot” fight stoppers, the more ammunition one can bring to a fight (and the easier he can replace expended rounds), the greater his chances of surviving that fight.

    A semi-automatic AR-15 rifle offers a far greater capacity than is possible with a pistol or shotgun, to the tune of twenty to thirty-plus rounds per magazine compared to the 13-to-17 rounds per pistol magazine and the four to seven shotgun shells a typical hunting or defense-oriented shotgun holds. Rifle rounds are also much higher in velocity and generally seen as more powerful than the slower pistol rounds. Shotguns, while offering a great deal more firepower at close range, are notorious for their hard recoil, and in the typical self-defense situation at home must be aimed much like any other handgun or rifle. Ergonomically, AR-15 rifles are also much easier to manipulate and use than handguns, with their pistol grips and stocks offering the user greater control and ease of aiming over the weapon than a pistol. Handguns are the most difficult firearms to use accurately–their size and portability make them very unstable platforms to shoot from accurately. They require a great amount of time, effort, and money in order to make the most of the platform. The AR-15, with its stock, pistol grip, and ample forend, offers superior ergonomics and stability for accurate shooting, making it easier and more user-friendly to learn to use effectively. And because the AR-15 is most commonly chambered in the .223 Remington/5.56mm caliber, a light-recoiling round, a civilian or law officer can quickly place multiple rounds on target accurately and quickly end the conflict should he/she be forced to employ the weapon. This light-recoiling round can also be a safer and more preferable choice for self-defense for those who may suffer from physical disabilities or injuries that would make the use of harder recoiling calibers difficult or impractical for their reduced physical abilities, or even dangerous to themselves and others. As mentioned earlier, shotguns are very recoil heavy, and not the best choice for those with shoulder injuries or other physical ailments. My stepfather, for instance, with arthritis in his wrists, would be better served by a 9mm–or a .223 caliber rifle–than he would a harder-hitting .45 ACP or .357 Magnum.

    But law enforcement use of the AR-15 “assault rifle” was not always widespread–in fact, until the late 1990s the primary long arm of street patrol officers was a 12-gauge shotgun, stowed in a lock-bar in the front of the patrol car or in the trunk and deployed as needed. Although the “War on Drugs” led to an increase in semi-automatic and fully-automatic weapons within police armories, many were mainly used and employed by specially-trained and organized officers and SWAT teams. Then came the North Hollywood shootout in Los Angeles, CA, circa 1998. Two heavily-armored suspects wielding rifles illegally modified to fire in full-automatic shot it out with over two hundred police officers armed with nothing more than semi-automatic pistols and shotguns for over forty minutes before they were stopped by the LAPD’s SWAT team and their semi-automatic M16 rifles. In the fifteen years since that incident, police adoption and use of the AR-15 amongst street patrol officers has spread to the point that they are as common–if not more so–as the pump-action 12-gauge that once served as their primary long gun.

    It is exceptionally important, however, to remember that police officers are NOT soldiers. They are civilians, authorized by their respective city governments (who are in turn elected by the citizens) to uphold law and order and keep the peace. Use of deadly force is expected to be used as a LAST, FINAL resort when all peaceable solutions fail, and law officers are required to try to resolve highly stressful and potentially lethal situations with minimal use of force and loss of life if at all practicable. They are NOT given leave to open fire at the very hint of trouble (though it seems more often lately that they are given a great deal of leeway when they do), or lay waste to every bad guy they encounter even if they personally believe that the greater good would be served by such actions. It is logical to conclude, then, that if the police officer’s primary weapon of choice for personal protection and peacekeeping is a “high-capacity” pistol or “assault rifle” with collapsible stocks and pistol grips, than they are likewise suitable weapons for their fellow private citizens’ self-defense as well. In fact, they are probably MORE necessary for the private citizen–while police officers enjoy the benefits of greater numbers and the quick, ready availability of back-up from fellow officers and even aerial support with just a radio call, a private citizen facing an attack by hardened criminals will have only what he has with him at the moment of confrontation, and it is well-established that even the best of police response times to calls for help from a private citizen clocks in at over five minutes, more than enough time for the criminal to carry out his misdeeds and leave the scene. If the citizen is to survive, he should have every possible advantage he can get–this essentially boils down to having enough ammunition, firepower, and confidence in his ability to utilize his weapon effectively to come out on top.

    Setting aside all this practical stuff for the more ideological, “political” rhetoric most often associated with “pro-gun” stances, I will say this: It is my belief that police officers should not be allowed to possess weapons more powerful than those available to his fellow citizens. If his city or state decides that the average Joe should not be able to have handguns in his home, or access to an “assault rifle” or “high-capacity” magazines, then the same should apply to the civilian police force as well. It is also my belief that the Second Amendment is what gives “We the people” the power to keep the Constitution in force. It is the “bite” behind the Bill of Rights, the force by which the other nine amendments can be assured–so long as we can be reasonably well-armed to resist tyranny and oppression from both foreign governments and our own, we will continue to enjoy the freedoms we have so long as we remain vigilant. But if our right to own and bear arms is compromised, if we allow ourselves to be kowtowed by our elected representatives to surrender our second-most important freedom “for the children”, we will quickly find the rest of our natural-born freedoms under assault and repression “for our own safety and security”. And with much of the world posed as it is against us, we will have little, if any chance, of regaining what we foolishly give up. As one of our Founding Fathers best put it, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

    P.T. Clay
    NE Arkansas
    NRA Life Member

  32. For me, it’s simple. I live in New York State. We cannot buy AR’s anymore. Utah is sounding like a great place to live now.

    • And she is probably overjoyed with that development. Me? I was never in the market for an AR, but the spillover of the SAFE Act idiocy with other semi-auto firearms is impossible to ignore, to say nothing of the asinine capacity restrictions and Orwellian ammo control schemes.

  33. Well placed shots from all 3 weapon types will be devastating and lethal. Both shotguns and handguns penetrate drywall, multiple layers, with maintained lethality much more than a 5.56 round. If, god forbid, I have to use my weapon to defend my family from an intruder/attacker its likely safer if I were to miss the attacker and shoot a wall. My children could be behind those walls.

  34. Instead of the busshy, that sold out employees in maine by moving out, buy the windham weoponry rifle (google it).. it is the company resurrected from the ashes of the original..

  35. The Box O’ Truth has shown that rounds from an AR penetrate just as much as any handgun, blowing through 8 sheets of drywall spaced out like residential walls.

    • Thank you Chris. I wanted to see if someone else pointed it out before I was going to. Repeating the “ARs don’t over penetrate” mantra more often doesn’t actually make a small extreme velocity spritzer bullet stop going through things. It tends not to over penetrate in flesh because it heels over and tumbles. . . in everything else its like a needle being driven with a hammer. .223/5.556 rounds do NOT break up on drywall. They barely break up on concrete block and of any 5 or so rounds fired into a block wall 1 or more is likely to penetrate with lethal velocity.

  36. 1. The AR platform is the one weapon I am most familiar with. Even more so than my hunting rifle I have had since I was 12.
    2. I can quickly and easily aim it, unlike my pistols. I am not as good with handguns.
    3. 5.56 and .223 have a higher chance to quickly stop the fight than a handgun round.
    4. An AR holds 30 rounds or more more so I do not have to worry as much about grabbing a second magazine in an extremely stressful situation.
    5. The length of the weapon is actually shorter than holding a pistol fully extended from my body when ready to fire. I can keep the AR shouldered towards a target for long periods of time.
    6. I can use a single point sling meaning if someone tries to take the weapon from me they will have to break a strap off of my body.
    7. If I have a malfunction that SPORTS can’t solve I can buttstroke an attacker in the head.

  37. “I would very much appreciate hearing from a National Rifle Association member on why the association feels so strongly about having assault rifles . . .” <<< This isn't a question, it's bait in my opinion. Typical radical tactic, the question is invalid based on the assumptions they've already made so any honest attempt to answer it is simply a new target to question and ridicule… That’s the game they’re playing and it’s truly corrupt…Evil I’d say as it's a perversion of truth..

    • This is true, look at how she does not say why she thinks there should be an assault weapons ban. She probably just thinks there should be without supporting facts.

    • I think Skyman77 is right, this smells like a trap. Although a great many posters have given a plethora of great reasons to choose an AR I don’t think most of these is anything near the sort of answer that is going to sway someone who starts out with saying they are for an AWB.

      I think that to even answer the question might be foolish, and that there is some cognitive bias involved in taking this question at face value or assuming that the asker is being forthright in posing it.

      However if forced to answer I suppose it would follow a bit like this:

      ‘Semi-automatic rifles deserve no more attention that any other civilian held arm and are virtually never used in crimes. These rifles are used to hunt, sport shoot in various competitions and for informal plinking. They are also adept at the role for which police officers use them, as a last resort for preventing criminals from seriously injuring or killing the innocent. This remains true whether the victim behind the rifle has a badge or not.
      Furthermore, such rifles are not only versatile and popular, but also protected by the constitution as supported by rulings of the supreme court. Just as the first amendment has been held to exist not primarily to protect ordinary speech, but rather frightening, disquieting and even offensive speech, these being the types most in need of protection, the second amendment exists not primarily to protect such arms as those which engender little fear among those who mistrust or misunderstand them but rather to protect those which cause the most uproar.
      To wish that a class of machines, used almost wholly for peaceful ends, were banned is irrational. To wish that such be done in clear violation of the bill of rights is tantamount to wishing that religious freedoms be abridged, or that political speech be censored. In short, it is to wish that the liberties enshrined in the bill of rights and thus guaranteed to all Americans be abolished. Such is not a position that any person who calls themselves an American ought to subscribe to, nor one from which one ought every to hold forth as evidence of a moral high ground.’

      And yes, it is meant to shame the questioner, anyone who isn’t ashamed of hating liberty ought to be called out on it.

  38. Easy. Police carry “assault rifles.” Police share the streets with us. If they need “assault rifles” to defend themselves, so do we.

  39. “I would like to know what they feel they can accomplish with an assault rifle that they cannot accomplish with a shotgun or handgun.”

    How about a 200 yard shot. I personally prefer a handgun for in home defense, mostly because you can answer the door while hiding it behind your back like I did the other day when the Chinese delivery guy who got the wrong address rang my doorbell at 10:30pm. No need to make him soil his drawers. But if someone 200 yards away is shooting at you and all you’ve got is a pistol or shotgun, your only recourse is to run hard and pray harder.

  40. I am going to add a slightly discordant note here. Unless you live in the country a rifle is overkill. In an urban/suburban environment you will never encounter a threat at more than 75-100 yards. I know the local SWAT commander and he told that longest shot taken in the DC area is 68 yards. A pistol caliber carbine is a better option than a 223/5.56 rifle. Thus is what give the cops and not a rifle. It gives you all the advantages of an AR-15 with less recoil and equal accuracy. You can even get one that is AR patterned. I plan on getting one as my next purchase.

    As pointed out above it was demonstrated that a 223 or 5.56 penetrates many layers drywall and I might add clapboard construction. What it won’t do is penetrate brick or cinder block but neither will 9mm or 40 caliber. My semi-automatic is a Remington 750 in 30-06 aka the poor man’s M-14. It is useless in my neighborhood because it will blow through any construction material on the block.

    There are many options for self defense, what you choose is your business but the best choice is dictated by the threat, location and tactical situation. Ultimately, you should choose best self defense firearm for you, whether it is a pistol, shotgun, rifle or pistol caliber carbine.

    • tdiinva: You’re onto something. The myth of the low penetration of the AR that seems to run circles locally is apt to get an innocent killed. I still don’t understand why everyone maligns the shotgun, the right shotgun is the queen of the battle space within it’s range (which as you pointed out covers every likely scenario that falls under a DUG).

      The pistol caliber carbine is in essence a semi auto only submachine gun which is the only thing that can keep pace with the massive firepower of the shotgun at close range. However the semi version of the sub-gun lacks everything that is so effective about it, namely the excessive cyclic rate and ability to put rapid multiple hits on target before it moves or reacts (something the shotgun does just fine without full auto).

      However, the ease of aiming Vs a pistol, the typically petite size of the pistol caliber carbine, its great ease in rapid follow up shots Vs either the pistol or shotgun and it’s almost non-existent recoil make it an excellent choice for HD work. Especially among those who dislike or cannot efficiently operate a shotgun.

      For indoor work my recommendation (based on significant experience) is tactical shotgun, pistol caliber carbine, then carbine rifle. The AR (like it’s whole species) is a compromise between a rifle and a submachine gun. If you don’t actually need the range of a rifle (such as you only ever shoot things at the ranges found inside your home) then a weapon that is committed to that battle space (shotgun or PCC) is preferable.

  41. I’m going to paraphrase the author Larry Correia: Ever heard of a someone using a .30-06 to shoot a deer? And the deer didn’t drop? And they had to track the deer for a couple hours? Yeah, that rifle has well over 2 times the power of a good pistol. A modern sporting rifle is an effective self defense weapon for times that are the worst possible situation for a person and/or their family. They are adjustable for different sized users, from 85 lbs. little girls on up. They are managable, compact, lightweight. Home defense situations often have multiple attackers, so you want more capacity than you have threats. You’re not Annie Oakley, so you’re not going to hit every time, so you want a reserve capacity. Using frangible bullets will minimize risk to neighbors and fellow home occupants when you miss and hit a wall by disintegrating.

    • Let me paraphrase that. Ever hear of someone shooting a deer in the chest with a 30-06 and not have it drop. I haven’t. If you don’t hit the deer in a lethal area of course it won’t drop. You hit the deer where you are supposed to with modern hunting ammunition its going to drop like a rock. If I hit human in the chest with a 30-06 with something like CORE-LOKT ammo the human will be dead before it hits the ground. (note: that is a bit of hyperbole but a shot in the human chest with hunting ammo is going to fatal very quickly)

      I don’t want to be a party pooper but I don’t expect to be attacked by a SPETSNAZ team, do you? Your average home invasion gang is going to take off when you offer armed resistance and they don’t live by “no man left behind” rules. So unless you have pissed off a drug cartel any armed resistance, with a pistol, shotgun or rifle that you put up is going drive them away. You don’t have anything worth dying for.

      Note #2. They make 30-06 frangible ammunition as well.

      • What I’m getting at, tdiinva, is that even hunters will have a sub-par hit, an optimal hit does NOT guarantee an instant drop – even in the boiler room – you get better chances, yes. No guarantees. Animals and people are amazing…do you recall reading about a lady getting a point blank shot in the head and she is still alive?

        How many home invaders you have to defend against is beside the point. One is too many. From what I understand, home invasions often/usually have 2 or more attackers. You’re welcome to complain about the extra ammo in the magazine after you survive.

        If you’re desperate enough to do a home invasion, you don’t have to be an elite fighter like a SPETZNAZ fighter, you’re gonked out on drugs, have nothing to lose, psychologically or chemically impaired, and *not* a normal human…because normal humans don’t do that.

        Of course you’re probably the reincarnation of Jeff Cooper, firing your 10mm and your one single shot will go through all perpetrator’s heads, forcing them to fly out the door with such violent force that they are thrown out before they even have time to bleed on the entry way rug.

        • Mojo I think you were a little hard on tdiinva (though tone is impossible to calculate in text communications). Since he recommended a pistol caliber carbine just above I don’t think he’s advocating fewer than 30 rounds in the gun.

          I have to admit that I sometimes wonder about what passes for a ‘home defense plan’ as articulated locally. If what is expected are armored adversaries with serious hardware, commitment and numbers there are defensive measure to be taken (but they aren’t the sort of thing that the home owners association or even the zoning commission is likely to approve of). If what is expected is 1 to no more than 5 poorly motivated and untrained individuals, lightly armed (if at all) and sans armor I cannot imagine feeling poorly armed with either an 8 shot shotgun or a pistol caliber carbine.

          I happen to love my AR’s and AK’s but they aren’t on home defense duty simply because they aren’t the right tool for the job. tdiinva went the pistol caliber carbine path which I can give a nod to, I went with an 8 round pump gun and 00. Assuming that tdiinva trains with anything like 1/25 of the intensity I have and barring some bizarre accident I have little doubt that his 30 rnds of 9 or 40 from a carbine is more than enough to incapacitate and or drive off even our worst case scenario 5 man gang all armed with handguns. He’s the defender and has a plan. You typically need 3-1 superiority to overcome an emplaced defender all else being equal and all else isn’t equal here. Likewise I’m pretty comfortable with my shotgun. It’s capacity is below optimal for a 5 man crew, but where I live that’s about as likely as dinosaurs or zombies attacking. Even given our worst case scenario the maximum range in my house from any angle is less than 25 feet and I train to ‘feed the pig’, that is, stuffing rounds back into the tube whenever I’m not actively engaging. Now, maybe I over estimate my ability or under estimate the situation but I think 5 disorganized thugs with low motivation and pistols in a strange house in the dark are at a terrible disadvantage if it’s my house they chose. I’m so sure of it my ARs and AK aren’t even loaded, there not even in the room I sleep in.
          Once in a while I think we have to step back and decide what it is we’re preparing for, a home invasion, or a squad sized light infantry assault. Frankly if the latter is the problem I’m facing I’m less concerned about weapons selection and more concerned about my trip flares, mines and wire.
          However, if what we plan to fight are thieves, I think a combat capable handgun, pistol caliber carbine, tactical shotgun or semi auto rifle are all fine choices.
          I also think that upwards of 90% of ‘home invasions’ could be successfully resolved with a 5 shot .38 snubnose. I wouldn’t want to try it, but it’s not as if the ‘ol snubby got less dangerous since we all started tooling up with black rifles. I guess it’s about proportionality.

        • I base my bad guy bugout upon receiving fire from the homeowner on the empirical evidence provided by the DGU of the day series. I can’t recall one incident where they didn’t cut and run when confronted by an armed defender usually with one of their number KIA or WIA. Criminals are in business and the entire concept of armed self defense is to increase the cost of that business. Unless the gang of invaders faces a price of failure, i.e., they work for even badder guys, they aren’t interested in standing and fighting.

          Taking down a house is one of the most dangerous tactical situations you can be in because when you breach door all a prepared defender has to do is fill up a small space with enough lead to take you down. Unless you have enough warning you are probably only going to have a pistol available. I don’t see many people home carrying a rifle or shotgun.

  42. Read the Constitution ,Bill if rights,and while your at it the 2nd Amendment ,I know you don’t get this Christine,but it’s about a tyrannical Gov’t like the one we have now that does whatever it wants.Citizens are allowed to own firearms to keep the Government in check and they don’t like it and try desperately to CONTROL the populas .
    Why do we need AR’s cause they have m16’s.

  43. Is it fair for us to ask her why she has two pairs of brown shoes or sandals in her closet? Why does she need more than just the one pair?

    • Why pumps and flats and running shoes? Why three pair of brown shoes when one would clearly do?
      Concepts about individual liberty and freedom of choice might actually have legs in such an argument.
      Some people have surrendered their liberty regarding those that they don’t chose to exercise in ways which they are not fully aware. It could be helpful to point out that the limitations of liberty they suggest for others have more profound effects than the sorts of limitations that could be placed on them and their pursuit of happiness, the latter of which generally have less constitutional protection.

      For instance, one could ban all sports utilizing balls with less constitutional ramification than banning any sort of gun. One could also ban all hair color and make up, or any shoe with a heel, or a great many things with no constitutional issue.

      There is not only compelling need for the ownership of arms, but also constitutional guarantee. “Assault rifles” should not be banned with any more ease than any other consumer product, and by all means with less.

      Show me how much you need hair color or short skirts or whatever and I’ll show you a more compelling need for rifles. Then show where in the constitution all the things that are important to you are protected.

      If we’re to ban things willy nilly, lets start with everything not protected by the constitution. Then we’ll work our way down.

  44. I’m increasingly reminded of a song “My little Armalite”

    Particularly one line “They thought they had me cornered till I give ’em all a’fright with the armor piercing bullets of me little armalite.”

    It’s IRA propaganda, but on the other hand, It says a little about the value of the people having the means to resist tyranny.

    • When not shooting at the Protestants and the British Army, the IRA was doing dirty work for the KGB and its subsidiaries. They pioneered IED tactics and trained the PLO in them for the Soviets. The PLO spread these tactics around and are now killing Americans. One of the IRA’s most enthusiastic backers was Khadafi. The IRA had little or no support in the Republic. The IRA wasn’t a force to defeat tyranny. It was an agent of tyranny.

      • Ouch! I’m not going to allow that all of those things are true (pending what is going to be an exhaustive web search). However the post was really about the ‘feeling’ of what the song said. How his Armalite made him feel as if he had effective means to resist what seemed to him a repressive government. It wasn’t mean to be an endorsement of the IRA or their tactics, goals or ideology. More of a borrowing of their propaganda in a way that engendered for me a patriotic feeling.

  45. I am going to answer the question simply and as literally as I can, with only technical points.

    Assuming “assault rifle” is a long gun, semi-auto, medium power, with readily detachable mag (and I know these are technically not proper assumptions, but are fitting):
    – Long gun allows for accuracy and low recoil for followup shots.
    – Semi-auto allows for faster followup shots.
    – Medium power allows for relatively high stopping power with fast followup shots.
    – Detachable mag allows for sufficient shots to stop multiple assailants, including misses and non-stop shots, and for fast removal and reinsertion in case of malfunction.
    – A variety of grips, rails, accessories, etc. allow for more accurate shots in a variety of situations.

  46. Why does the question’s author chose the car she drives and not one just like the one I drive?

    Different tools for different needs, capabilities, and budgets.

  47. TO: All
    RE: Why an AR-15?

    Not for ‘over a pistol or shotgun’!

    As WITH a pistol AND a shotgun!

    Each has their purpose: pistol close combat, shotgun for housecleaning or small game, hunting rifle for big game, AR-15 for it’s large capacity mags when dealing with 2-legged ‘game’ and multiple targets to service in short order.

    Why do you think the US Military issues M-16s and such?

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Celebrate ‘diversity’…..and live…..]

  48. Hmmm. Tried to leave two other replies-
    one more try- thanks Dys- great analogy on shotgun in 00 vs AR.

    having been thru the learning curve over last three years, as someone with past experience, but wanting to refresh from ground up with a lot of reading, hands on course, and investment in 4-5 weapons, in search of good quality handgun, shotgun, and rifle- in order to have basic capability for
    plinking, hunting, and backup for HD,

    heres my bottomline- if you want to KISS, follow Col Jeff Coopers advice,
    and choose just one, to grab on the way out the door if you had to leave in a hurry, (like a wildfire 5 min away) along with the kids, dog, wallet, family photos and whatever was in the safe, it would be a decent AR.

    technology has come a long way and prices coming down- heres a good example of one thats a good all around, IMHO.

    http://www.rockriverarms.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_id=229

    having learned how much time

  49. Why an AR over a pistol or shotgun? Simple: you shoot what you’re comfortable with. If you’re most comfortable with an AR variant then that is what you should be defending your home with.

    I don’t happen to be as comfortable with the AR as I am with my Ithaca 37, which is why I’ve got 00 buck instead of 5.56. But the AR platform has some distinct advantages- not the least of which that it’s easy to fit one to someone’s size no matter how big or small they are.

  50. The AR is better at dealing with a potential future corrupt ‘Big Gov’ (the main reason for the 2nd A.). FAR more accurate (and powerful) than handguns and way more capable against multiple perps than a Shotgun (because of recoil). When you step outside the home, you OWN a shotgun at most distances.
    People forget that an AR carbine has the energy of a .44 magnum (twice the energy of a .357 magnum). This is why the po po are going to the AR instead of the shotgun and why the military still uses the M4.
    This really is a no brainer.

  51. Ms Bovos,
    Before I get into some of the minutia in answering your question, I have to make note of something. A civilian AR type rifle is NOT an assault rifle. Although an AR and the military M16 are literally twins on the outside, they are fundamentally different. To lump them together would be similar to taking every pickup, SUV, and crossover on the market and calling calling them all Humvees. I would be more than willing to explain what all of the differences are between an AR and an Assault rifle if you are curious, but first I will try to answer your question as to why they are so useful and prevalent. Below, I’ve written out a simple way that you and a friend can see for yourselves the main advantage of the AR platform over a handgun or a shotgun.

    For this exercise, you will need a laser pointer, a friend, and something along the lines of a baseball bat or umbrella to serve as a stand in rifle. Then, do a google image search for the terms ‘rifle shooting stance’ and ‘pistol shooting stance.’ Doing so will help you derive the most accurate conclusion from the following simulations.

    First, hold the laser pointer in two hands with your arms outstretched, as if it were a pistol. Shine the laser pointer on some definite point on the other side of the room. Note how difficult it is to keep the dot precisely on your selected point. Then, with your friend standing in front and slightly to the side of you, have them hit your hands towards you with as much force as they might use to give you a charley horse. Notice how far away your laser dot goes away from the point on the wall, notice also how long it takes you to get it back to that point. That is, approximately, how it might feel to shoot a rather mild mannered pistol. To simulate a shotgun, hold up your umbrella or baseball bat as if it were a rifle. Again, place the laser dot on a definite point on the opposite wall. Then have your friend hit the bat into your shoulder with the approximate force of an honest to god punch. Notice how far your laser dot moves. Also, imagine a 6″ diameter circle around where the dot was when your ‘shotgun’ went off. That is approximately the feel and the effect of shooting a shotgun. Finally, to simulate an AR type rifle, once again hold up the bat and laser pointer, once again put the laser dot on a specific point on the far wall. This time, have your friend hit the bat into your shoulder with the same force as they used with the ‘pistol.’ Notice how much the dot moves and how quickly you can get it back to your point on the wall.

    Think about which of the three simulations gave you the most control of that dot before, during, and after you ‘shot.’ Think of which one of those ‘shots’ was the most comfortable for you. Maybe try the experiment again but ‘shoot’ several times at the same point. I’d be willing to bet you a few boxes of ammo that you’ll find the rifle the easiest to control and the most comfortable to ‘shoot.’ That reason right there is why AR type rifles are so very popular, so very useful, and so very worth protecting.

    Hope this helps!
    DH2

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