AR-15 Church Shooting Gun Debate
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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By National Association for Gun Rights

Time and time again, gun-grabbers try to justify their calls for an AR-15 ban with one question: “Why on earth do you need an AR-15 for self-defense?”

In March, Senator Chris Murphy came right out and said it on Twitter, that no one needs a semi-automatic rifle to defend their home.

Setting aside the ridiculous notion that gun owners need to justify exercising their Second Amendment rights to anyone, AR-15’s have a proven track record of being effective for self-defense.

Is it excessive? No.

If faced with home invaders, a homeowner will likely be outnumbered. Being a gun owner increases the odds of survival and levels the playing field.

These citizens did just that.

In late March of 2017, an Oklahoma man used an AR-15 to defend himself from three armed intruders.

NBC News reported:

A 23-year-old Oklahoma man used a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle to shoot and kill three masked teenage intruders dressed in black who broke into his home Monday afternoon.

More recently, a Summerfield, Florida man and veteran used his AR-15 to defend himself from four home invaders. The homeowner shot and killed two of the intruders while the other two were later detained near the house. reported:

The homeowner told the detective he was awakened by a loud noise and grabbed his AR-15, which was near his bed. He saw a masked person inside the home, he said, and he and the intruders exchanged gunfire. He said he shot at the man in the mask and at a second person coming toward him.

Just last week, a pregnant Florida mother was able to fend off two violent intruders with, you guessed it, an AR-15. After one of the thugs pistol-whipped her husband and the other grabbed her 11-year-old daughter, the woman armed herself with her husband’s AR-15 and shot one of the intruders.

The husband told Bay News 9:

“Them guys came in with two normal pistols and my AR stopped it,” King said. “(My wife) evened the playing field and kept them from killing me.”

Overall, AR-15’s are a highly versatile option for self-defense. They’re lightweight, so maneuvering the rifle won’t be an issue for most people and the low recoil makes them easier to control.

So, the next time someone claims a semi-automatic rifle is not needed for self-defense, go buy a semi-automatic rifle for self-defense (or two, for that matter).


This article originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission. 

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  1. It’s simply amazing that Senator Murphy knows _everybody’s_ home defense needs. How in the world does he do it???

    Oh, BTW, I never get tired of seeing that photo with the lovely woman and her brunette ponytail. Mmmmmm….

  2. Funny when you see a Fudd dismiss the AR15 as a spree killers gun and then shows a customized Ruger Mini-14 as an example of a “good gun”.

    • I have a Remington 742 (semi-auto in 30-06) and and AR-15. When people get the vapors about me owning a ‘semi-auto assaulty gun that no one needs for hunting or self-defense’, I like to show them the 742 and ask if it is ok. Almost universally, they say something like, “That’s just a hunting rifle.” Their lack of understanding of what firearms are, what they do and what the differences in various cartridges are, never ceases to amaze me.

  3. “Nobody needs a semi-automatic rifle to defend their home. ”

    I can think of some Korean shopkeepers who could make a rather powerful argument to the contrary…

      • Yup. If you were “behind enemy lines” during the riots, you were on your own. The police pulled out from Florence and Normandie avenues, and didn’t come back. As I remember one Korean business owner saying: “they left us to burn.”

      • Lifelong LA County resident here. I’ll never forget that. As God is my witness, just yesterday I heard full auto gunfire coming from perhaps a mile away from my home. Bursts of 10 to 15 rds at a time. I’ve heard a single ‘pop’ many times, but never full auto.

        I was at the range with my ARs again this past week, just to keep frosty. It’s true that you never forget how to ride a bike, but it’s also true that gun marksmanship is a perishable skill. Be sure to run your drills to keep your edge. I have both my preferred handgun and my preferred AR at the ready.

  4. My apologies for failing to purchase a semi-auto rifle today.

    I did purchase a brand new Savage Axis XP bolt-action rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor today for $225 (after factory rebate). I figure that I cannot possibly go wrong at that price.

    And if the poo ever hits the fan, I look at that rifle as disposable if necessary.

      • *done*, not domes. Please come back edit button.
        And I hate having to fill in my name and email every time I want to comment.

        • Double-click on the name and email field, and a list of what you typed previously should pop up to select from…

        • And I STILL don’t get email notices of replies to my comments.
          As I’ve said so many times already, it can’t be that difficult, as other blogs manage it just fine.

        • The auto-fill of my name/email, as well as the notifications of replies to my comments, have never worked for me. I type in my username and email each time I post.

          However…we had a lengthy debate about this a few months ago. I myself would rather endure typing my name in repeatedly than having to undergo a Registration/Login service such as Disqus or what Ammoland implemented. If TTAG ever goes to that, I’m gone.

      • Tom in Oregon,

        I have the exact same rifle in .243 Winchester. Shooting widely available and relatively inexpensive Winchester SuperX 100 grain softpoints, my bullet holes are all touching each other on paper at 50 yards shooting on a bench. In other words I shoot something like 1/4 inch groups at 50 yards. (And that was with the inexpensive factory scope that came with the rifle!)

        Keep in mind that I am NOT some super-duper world-class target shooter. At least that has been my evaluation of my skills up to this point based on my shooting of other rifles (all inexpensive) in similar conditions.

        Having said all that, my recent experience with the Axis XP rifle has me wondering if I actually am a pretty darned good shooter.

        • Of all my rifles, my .243 Win is by far my most accurate and reliable. I believe it’s mostly the combination of a great cartridge along with high craftsmanship of my rifle, more than any ‘zeroing’ on my part. Kudos to the employee(s) who oversaw the manufacture of my gun at the factory. It will shoot the nuts off a gnat at 200 yds.

      • Rswartze,


        Mine included an inexpensive (although perfectly usable) scope and rings. By the time you add shipping, FFL transfer fee, and scope rings to that $165 price, you are really close to the $225 that I paid.

        Nevertheless, a great deal either way.

  5. For some recoil adverse, the AR-15 is great. Braced on a shoulder, it is so gentle. Plus you can buy it in any configuration you like and if desired, about any color you can imagine.

    For casual defense, so easy to train.

    • The caliber is also ideal. Penetrates only ONE INTERIOR WALL if it does not hit a stud, before breaking up if you use the good ol cheap and ubiquitous 55 gr M193. Best self/home defense cartridge for the money in the best platform for the money. Only thing is the noise at CQ.

      Sooo, suppressed pistols are the ideal.

      FORGET shotguns. I like shotties, but forget em for planning home defense.

      • You sir know what you are talking about in cqc. I enjoy the idiots who say they are not concerned about protecting their hearing. Vertigo from a ruptured ear drum does not make a person combat effective.

        The point of being an armed Citizen is to make it so thugs become the prey, especially in our homes. Only a moron would clear their house instead of waiting for the threat to come to them. The threat can shoot through our home walls with no concern for our neighbors, WE armed Citizens can not.

        I will only fight to my kids’ rooms and then take them to the master bedroom, where they would hunker down behind my solid oak bed frame and the rifle armor inserts that are there. Then, anything that comes into my hallway will die, I don’t care if they are yelling police department or not.

  6. Sorry Murphy, we don’t take home defense tips from politicians here in Texas.
    Keep your retarded rhetoric in your CT.

    • Besides the financially and morally bank morally bankrupt cities of Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven, what makes you think the rest of Connecticut Citizens want Murphy’s rhetoric.

  7. When I get a proper silencer, an AR will be my main home defense gun. Hard to beat for reliability and capacity. For now it’s a 45 ACP or similar. I’m afraid the concussion of a rifle discharging inside would be more of a liability than it’s worth. I have a 22 suppressor, but that just doesn’t seem wise for home defense purposes.

      • Depends upon the load. My .300 BLK is a tiger with 120g supersonic or 15g standard loads, but the cycling is mushy with heavier 220g subsonic. Of course, the subsonic is intended for suppressors, but I live in CA, so…

    • Squiggy81,

      Is .22 LR a “wise choice” in terms of a caliber for home defense?

      The answer depends on which threat scenarios you want to handle.

      Scenario #1 — lazy burglar/thief:
      Simply presenting/pointing any firearm at a lazy burglar/thief will be wildly effective because he/she will immediately vacate upon seeing that you have a firearm.

      Scenario #2 — hardened criminal home invader:
      Pointing a firearm at him/her will not be enough. You will have to shoot and you might even have to score hits on the home invader to finally drive him/her out. If you have a reliable semi-auto rifle chambered in .22 LR and you can fire it rapidly and accurately, then that should do the trick every time.

      Scenario #3 — crazed stalker or stoned drug abuser:
      You will need a firearm platform that is able to physically incapacitate your attacker almost immediately (which often means being able to incapacitate with one shot and hit on the attacker). In this case your super reliable semi-auto rifle in .22 LR is almost guaranteed to fail at that task. Instead, you need a shotgun shooting slugs or a semi-auto rifle chambered in .223 Remington or a larger caliber.

      So, it is up to you. Choose what you think is best. Choose wisely.

      • The advantage of a 22lr is quick follow up shots, the first shot might not incapacitate but followed by 5 or 6 quick follow up shots it might. The 22lr suffers when encountering multiple assailants.

        • Joe in San Antonio,

          The 22lr suffers when encountering multiple assailants.

          You bring up Scenario #4 which I did not cover: multiple hardened criminal home invaders. In that scenario your super reliable semi-auto rifle chambered in .22 LR will probably be inadequate.

          Sure, you will score hits on those hardened criminal home invaders who might die 15 minutes later on their way to the hospital — or survive only after going to a hospital which guarantees their capture. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, you probably ran that super reliable semi-auto rifle chambered in .22 LR empty and those hardened criminal home invaders probably messed you up in a big way (assuming that you actually survive which is definitely in play).

          So, a super-reliable semi-auto rifle chambered in .22 LR is certainly better than nothing. It is definitely not anywhere approaching optimal. If you can acquire a larger caliber firearm, you increase your chances of survival.

        • Multiple determined home invaders, while extremely rare for those not in the drug trade, is a very good example of where an AR-15 is perhaps the best weapon system available thanks to its capacity and low recoil. A pistol carbine might be a choice for some but penetration can actually be more dangerous with them thanks to the high velocity 5.56 rounds tending to fragment on impact rather than going through walls intact like a powerful pistol round.

        • Hannibal,

          Agree completely on all counts.

          In that scenario (multiple hardened criminal home invaders), even a shotgun isn’t as good as an AR-15.

      • My 22 of choice is a PPQ. My 45 of choice is the same. 12+1 for each. Both are extremely reliable. I just have more faith in a 45 to do what is necessary even at the expense of a little hearing. I have many other choices available, but a 45 just feels like the safest bet, so that is my typical nightstand gun.

  8. First rule of a successful gunfight: don’t be in a gunfight.
    Second rule of a gunfight: have a gun.

    First rule of armed self-defense: many people don’t want you to survive a gunfight.

  9. Thank God they elected a smart guy who knows what we dont need for a gun. I wonder what cars we dont need or ice cream we shouldnt eat?

  10. I had to go fondle my AR pistol in .300 blk. I sure hope I never have to use it to defend myself at home. Really! That would just break my heart, truly it would. With the Aimpoint T1 on top and the Surefire 300 Ultra hanging in front, it’s so pwetty.

      • Probably not a bad idea. I just went and looked again and see I’d have to grab an allen wrench….which I have right there but who wants to think about that stuff after a DFG use?

        • My AR’s Olight Valkyrie has a tensioned flick lever that allows me to pull it off within seconds without any tools.

      • Unless you’re a stone cold killer, if you shoot someone in your house the last thing you’re going to be worried about is messing with your gun’s accessories.

        • Trying having the cops take the thing you own a few times and get back to me on wanting to keep what you bought and paid for. I’m not going into details but trust me, it’s happened, more than once.
          It’s seems perfectly reasonable that knowing full well that ANY firearm you use in a DGU is going to be seized by the police. Here’s another little tidbit of information. Cops aren’t exactly honest. Learn a little about policing for profit and why courts have reigned in the asset forfeiture laws. Cops steal stuff and yes, I have had EXPENSIVE Snap-On tools STOLEN by the police. Lets just say I did blast to hell some scum bag with my AR .300 pistol and they take it. On seizure list it says AR pistol but OH DEAR, they forgot to put down the $700 Aimpoint T1 that was attached to it and magically when I go to get from the property room, its *GONE* and nobody knows ANYTHING. How about that!! Here’s another little tidbit: cops are stupid and disrespectful. They have a tendency to fu– things up because they don’t give a rats ass about you.
          Many people have never dealt with the police on this end and some of us have. I have.

  11. The arguments for and against are the same as they have been for centuries for any weapon, and boil down to a very simple question: Who gets to make the choice – the user, or somebody else who demands the power to make your choices for you. The former is Freedom, the later is Slavery.

  12. Well on Halloween night I was pretty happy I had my Ar locked & loaded when young black youts ran from across the street after I heard 5 or 6 GUNSHOTS. I’m thinking Paco shot at them when they attempted a breakin. I don’t espeak to him as they don’t espeak English. And he NOW has extremely bright Christmas lights around all of his windows which are left on 24/7… the pathetic 5-O take forever to show up. FU Sata er Murphy!

  13. Everyone focuses on the AR & AK, but there are lots of other makes and models that will be caught in the ban net. Yes the AR makes an acceptable home defense weapon for the reasons cited, but only because you probably won’t have to fire more than a few rounds.

    • That’s not a bug. It is a feature.

      The definitions will be so loose and broad so they can encompass as many firearms as possible.

  14. It depends on where your home is. Out in the country the rifles are just dandy, I wouldnt use a rifle where I live now because if I got a through and through or missed Id damn sure put a hole in somthing I didnt want to.

    • possum, load it with light 40-50 grain hollow point ammo. I think Federal used to load something they called the Blitz round. Maybe they still do. It won’t leave your home. Even 55 grain SP is not known for overpenatration.

      • I have to ask how you define “over-penetration”?

        Do you mean you hit the BG and the round keeps going or do you mean it goes way too far if you miss?

        I just ask because when I hear people talk about this they seem to think they’re the same and I sort of assume with your background you actually have a standard definition.

        • It really depends on your specific situation.
          In my situation, I have nobody living in the house with me, so I don’t need to worry much about any projectiles that go through wallboard. If I had a wife and/or children, that would be a big consideration.
          My exterior walls are block, so I don’t have to worry about a projectile leaving the house, unless I happen to hit a window, and using 00 buck greatly lessens the danger there due to the distances involved.
          That’s MY situation. Other people have other situations.
          So, saying any given firearm is the right one as though that opinion comes from God is absurd.
          Personally, I have a 12 gauge 20″ pump loaded with 00 buck. I think it’s the best solution for home defense, for me. I also think a lot more people should look at that solution than do. But that’s my opinion, and I try to also say that what’s best for anyone’s situation might not be best for my situation, and vice versa.

  15. “My body, my choice” seems to be a particularly powerful counter-argument that gets modern progressives flustered.

  16. It’s the best option for home defense. A shotgun with extra mag capacity would be great as well. My shotgun only holds six rounds. I’d rather have a thirty round AR.

    Three men just broke into your house. Would you rather have an AR or whatever Murphy wants you to have? By the way, what does he think you should use? If you’re telling people they don’t need something, shouldn’t you offer an alternative? I get the feeling he doesn’t want you armed at all.

  17. How did that fruit cake get elected in the first place? When I see and hear these nuts , I got to wonder what kind of place they come from and what kind of people voted for them. How bad was the opponent and in what way, if this DH is pick of the litter?

    • Sometimes there isn’t an option. Republicans didn’t even bother running candidates in many of the recent Virginia state elections. Once you get name recognition in the proper district, reelection is practically a given, which is why we need term limits. Two terms for senators and six terms for reps seems reasonable to me. Too bad they’ll never vote to decrease their own power.

      • Dude, I’ve said the same thing for decades. Only I gave the representatives four terms. The beginning of the end for this Republic was post Civil War with the emergence of the professional politician.

      • Conservatives, many who don’t want to be involved in politics, are always looking for the easy fix; in this case “just term limit them” and then wipe their hands and go home.

        Do you think term limits will fix the voters that put Murphy in office? Do you really think the next senator won’t be a Murphy 2.0? This Republic can withstand a bad politician, this Republic can not withstand voters that continually send bad politicians. Term limits will not fix ignorant voters.

  18. Semiautomatic rifles are exceptional for defense of home or self. There are pluses and minuses all over the place for this and that gun in one scenario or another, but on the whole semiauto fire from a long barrel, long sight radius, damned good stuff!

  19. “In March, Senator Chris Murphy came right out and said it on Twitter, that no one needs a semi-automatic rifle to defend their home.”

    “Nobody needs an AR-15 to hunt.”I fail to see mention of hunting at all in the second amendment

    “Nobody needs a semi-automatic rifle to defend their home.”

    First off Mr. Murphy it’s entitled the Bill Of Rights not the bill of needs,so everyone has their choice of what’s the best arm for them,the AR is the modern musket and is a fine hunting arm.

    With all do deference you might pull your cranium out of your keester and actually read the Bill of Rights,so you sound like you might have a clue of which you speak

  20. I have worked in nursing for many years. I have seen first-hand the amount of drugs it takes to keep down a patient who is withdrawing just from alcohol, until the alcohol leaves their system. Never mind the SPICE, Meth, and Heroin patients that are now regularly coming through. The amount of drugs given to them to calm them down, and sedate them is enough to lay out a normal person for weeks, if not kill them, but for these folks-nothing! Hardly touches most of them. It is unbelievable. I have not had the “pleasure” of having to encounter this same person who wants to “visit” me at home unannounced, and uninvited. But believe you me, a weapon with a high-capacity magazine, such as an AR-15, or AK-47 would be most necessary, because these kinds of intruders are like the Energizer Bunny, sad to say, and will stop at nothing to get what they want, even if it means killing the homeowner. For those idiot politicians to say we “little people” do not “need” such weapons are just as damned dumb as the intruders who break into the same said homes, and then get just such a “welcoming” described above.

    • A couple of years ago, I read an article written by a former member of the military who mentioned an event he was involved in during one of his tours in Afghanistan. He said a Tango – suspected of being on drugs to give him extra energy, as was apparently an MO of the locals there – was coming at his squad’s location wearing a suicide bomb vest. The author said he personally put five 5.56 rounds into the Tango’s chest but the guy still kept advancing, regardless of the wounds. The sixth round, placed to the head, was what finally stopped him.

  21. Anyting that reliabily goes bang is a good home defense weapon.

    30 rounds, low recoil, and quick target acquisition makes the AR a good choice. Load it with frangible ammo for in-home use.

  22. So, a good family man would turn in his AR-15 and tell his 125 pound wife and 98 pound daughter:

    “Here, honey, is the M-1 Garand battle rifle that the Army gave to a Congressionally-sponsored entity to refurbish and sell to the citizens for marksmanship development. Yes, it kicks like a mule but it’s been Government sanctioned for sale (mail order) to civilians. So, you will just have to make due with 8 rounds of 30-06.

    Try to line-up your targets so that the over-penetration of each round is likely to hit the second intruder. And, if you are lucky, the over-penetration will also wound the third intruder. Just don’t hit the neighbors. Remember to control for your backstop; and, drywall won’t stop anything.

    And, just remember, you can re-load 8-round in-banc CLIPS really quickly under time pressure. Just watch out for your manicure; Garand-Thumb will work havoc on your nail polish.”

  23. The AR-15 is not good for home defense. It’s great for home defense. The humble M193 5.56 can penetrate IIIA Kevlar, penetrates less than some 9mm JHPs, has light recoil, and shreds ballistic gel.

    My first choice is still a 930 SPX with a bandolier of 00, armor, and a couple of dogs to search for me. At work, the AR has served me very well.

    • I’ll take the two Belgian Malinois dogs seen in John Wick 3. That entire fight scene was my favorite of all three movies.

      “Sic ’em!”

      • Blasphemy! The catacombs shootout in 2 was CLEARLY the best scene of the trilogy. Though I will say the scene you refer to is definitely top 3. I especially liked the bit of off beat (and distinctively John Wick) humor when three guys ran out of ammo at the same time.

        …Damn it, now I feel the need to watch the third movie again so THANKS FOR THAT 😂

  24. Hard to beat a compact or youth pump 12 or 20 gauge shotgun for self defense. . I used to have a M1 carbine, a great, short, easy handling carbine. I wish someone made a M1 carbine in 357 mag. A marlin 357 lever gun is also a great and simple self defense rifle, no safety to have to fiddle with in the dark. Just rack, aim and shoot…

    • Yeah I was really impressed when I tried my buddy’s .357 lever gun. Quite, shockingly little recoil, accurate, and with some pretty impressive ballistics. My ideal brush/survival gun would probably be a lever action .357 SBR with a 10-12” barrel and a suppressor

  25. No long arm is great for home defense.

    A pistol can be held very closely.

    With a long arm, you have a barrel that may be grabbed in close quarters.

  26. I have often thought about what would make an ideal home defense gun.
    Short, reliable, common ammo. high first round stopping ability, Not going out to 1 mile. affordable.
    I was thing along the lines of a bullpup (short, good balance) 357 magnum, semi auto ( where allowed) or pump/lever.
    A bullpup Winchester 94, LOL

  27. No one has mentioned an AR or AK with bayonet affixed. The intruder has three options, shot, stabbed or both if he/she does not choose to retreat.

    Anything that adds to giving you the edge tactically or psychologically should be used. The end result is not the loss of life, but ending the threat. Or us could use that chainsaw attachment I saw here awhile back. That would really mindf@ck someone.

  28. While an AR-15 is an acceptable home defense weapon and should NOT be banned, it is not the best choice because pistols are more maneuverable in close quarters. Those that disagree with this haven’t thought it through. Imagine hearing a noise in the middle of night, grabbing your weapon and searching the inside of your house to determine source of noise. Now imagine moving through a doorway with a rifle or shotgun. Someone near but to the side of the doorway could easily grab the barrel of your weapon. Or imagine someone in a hiding spot or shadow jumping at you from your side and assaulting you or grabbing your weapon. You are much better off with a much more maneuverable centerfire pistol NOT held out in front of you like the jokers in the movies. With multiple attackers like in the example above, anything but perhaps a tiny carry gun will have more than enough ammo in one mag.


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