AR-15 rifle
Dan Z. for TTAG
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“A fellow will remember a lot of things you wouldn’t think he’d remember. You take me. One day, back in 1896, I was crossing over to Jersey on the ferry, and as we pulled out, there was another ferry pulling in, and on it there was a girl waiting to get off. A white dress she had on. She was carrying a white parasol. I only saw her for one second. She didn’t see me at all, but I’ll bet a month hasn’t gone by since that I haven’t thought of that girl.”

As Mr. Bernstein so astutely pointed out in Citizen Kane, memory tends to be selective. I can’t remember what I had for lunch, but I remember [now former] CNN chat show host Piers Morgan rabbiting on about how no one needs an AR-15 for self-defense after the Newtown massacre.

As TTAG pointed out several times, it happens. American defend themselves with “assault rifles” all the time. Not as often as they do with handguns, for obvious reasons, but it happens.

That’s obvious if you have half a brain and a bit of common sense. But often enough that it’s a perfectly defensible reason to own an AR-15 — if a reason is needed. Which it isn’t, given our natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.

Anyway . . .

Here’s another other example where an American wielding an AR-15 used his gun to protect his life from a credible, imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm [via]: Somebody was you know knocking on the door at 9:15, 9:30 in the morning,” said [Jonathan] Haith. “I wanted to roll over and stay in the air conditioning, and I just ignored it.” When the door knocks lasting 15 minutes were followed by a boom and a thud, Haith grabbed his AR-15 semi-automatic from under his bed and slowly crept into the hallway. “I peeked around the corner, saw a tall, slender black gentleman standing over me with a pistol,” said Haith. When [Gregory] Johnson allegedly fired at Haith with a 9mm and missed, he fired back. The bullet pierced the Johnson’s stomach and shoulder. “That was my round,” said Haith. “Evidently, it went through his body and struck the wall.” Pandemonium followed, and Johnson scurried out. An apparent getaway vehicle spun out of Haith’s yard to pick up Johnson, who had collapsed outside of a day care up the street.

Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your perspective), Mr. Johnson survived his through-and-through. He was treated at a nearby hospital and released into police custody.

I wonder how much of that “pandemonium” Mr. Haith will remember. Or whether Mr. Morgan words will return to haunt him. God knows they haunt me.


[h/t AE]

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  1. Mr. Johnson survived his through-and-through.

    See, this proves that Pierced Organ was right. Nobody needs an AR-15 for self defense. We need AR-10s.

      • Beowulf for T-rex? Are you Looney Tunes? That would be like going after a cape buffalo with a .22 WMR. No way am I going after one of those behemoths with anything less than a .950 JDJ. Maaaaaybe a 20mm anti-tank rifle.

        • Actually, I knew exactly how big T-rex was when I posted that. I still say the .50 Beowulf would be ridiculously underpowered. I mean, it’s parent case is the .50AE for frell’s sake. The AR’s that shoot the round are basically Deagle carbines.

          As for existing rounds used to take African elephants like the .500 Nitro Mag, .600 Overkill, and .700 Nitro Mag, while they may well be sufficient, I will counter with this: the elephant isn’t going to eat you alive if your first shot fails to kill it.

        • Sabrewolfe you’re over exaggerating by a lot, a mosin nagant firing it’s standard caliber cartridge could takeo out a t-rex, much like it would a moose (for real world comparison). 50 beo would punch a hole in it so fat that the thing would struggle to move in a matter of seconds, hit it’s leg for instance and it’s a goner.

          Speculation over.

    • That’s why people need to train not only to double tap, but also triple, two to the chest, one to the face. Always.

        • That’s how I was trained not only at infantry school at Ft. Benning GA, but also my unit at Ft Drum NY, and advised to do in Iraq, so, yes.

          Always double tap, and if their still standing after two to the chest, aim for the face. Logic being that if two to the chest doesn’t work, they’re probably wearing body armor or on meth, so aim for the head.

        • Yes I was told to do that as well when I joined the Army in 2005, but I wasn’t combat arms. I was informed that two to the chest, one to the head at close range was more of a stopgap measure to address (perceived) issues of the original SS109/MM855 round failure to fragment consistently. The newer version M855A1 was supposed to partly address that, but I haven’t had the opportunity or experience to test that.

      • Hooah battle! That’s what they trained me to do at ft. Benning and that’s what I’ll continue to do.

      • I was trained to fire a “controlled pair” to the chest. if the bad guy moves, another controlled pair, and again if needed, and again if needed. then a grenade maybe for good measure.

        Was actually told to never say “double tap” as it is defined by two rapidly fired rounds. A controlled pair is two rapidly fired shots that are both aimed. You don’t squeeze the trigger until your front sight post comes back down into center mass.

        Head shots are for if that is the only body part exposed.

    • Nah, 7.62 can go through and through too. I’ll bet the guy in the story was using crappy FMJ, perhaps M193 or 855. Had he been using premium defensive ammo the intruder most likely would still be in the hospital as it would have most certainly either fragmented or expanded (depending on the bullet design), causing extensive internal damage.

    • Shotgun Joe was right. “Get a shotgun! Get a shotgun!” His recommended tactics weren’t so clever, but, well, who’s surprised by that? God knows what he told the Ukrainians two weeks ago, other than “Yep, my Hunter’s a smart kid. Can’t go wrong picking him for your board of directors!”

  2. Next time a little higher and center of mass and we won’t be paying the hospital bills and legal costs.

  3. Jesus, they need an editor.

    So how did the bullet pierce his stomach and shoulder? I wonder if the guy was turned sideways or if the homeowner was using an AR-15 in 5.45.

    • Bullets do weird things once they get inside real human tissue and bone. One US trooper that fought in the Ia Drang in Vietnam was shot in the ankle from a 7.62x39mm and the round ricocheted up through his leg, out his thigh, back into his gut, and then out his shoulder again.

      • Bingo. That plus the fact that we can’t know the position the guy was in when he was shot (bent over? cringing away?.

        Little pieces of metal going at supersonic speeds do unpredictable things when they meet a non-uniform mass.

    • The innocent victim was standing over the vicious homeowner, who was crouching on the floor. The bullet assaulted the “he’s such a nice boy”™ on a near-vertical path.

  4. Should have shot him several more times to save the taxpayers the money and trouble of putting this idiot in jail…

  5. My wife’s weapon of choice is an AK. That is her self defense weapon on our farm. As many of you know it is sometimes tough finding a gun that your wife or girlfriend is comfortable with and a good shot with. It is very irritating hearing people who don’t know cr*p talking about what other people need or don’t need for self defense. My wife and I are both left of the political spectrum when it comes to social issues, but it would be hard to get farther right than us on the 2a. No one who knows anything about guns talks about banning “assault weapons” and “high capacity” magazines.

    • I can see that, most of the women I’ve taken shooting shoot my ak’s extremely well, even the ones who’ve never shot before, I mean on target and good groups.

    • You’re preaching to the choir, Grendel. Tell your friends. Maybe you’ll convert a few on that one issue.

    • I know that the meaning of words can change over time and it seems like plinking, the sound of a .22 going through a tin can (without shooting muffs), used to mean just that, shooting tin cans. I just can’t think of the huge boom of an AR and bullet at 3k fps going through paper, as plinking.
      So go ahead, take the word, mash it up to mean “informal target shooting with any caliber”, if you want.

      Like a sketch, was a drawing with little detail, so a story that was sketchy was one that was incomplete, all the facts were not known, so one couldn’t if tell if it was true or not.
      Now sketchy mean suspicious, as in sketchy person.
      Oh well.

    • What exactly do you designate as “home defense” ammo for an AR-15? Does such a thing even exist? Unless I am terribly mistaken, doesnt the US military use FMJ rounds as standard issue for their ARs in combat zones…

      • Federal XM193 (and clones) will do the job, FMJ or no.

        DocGKR doesn’t have a high opinion of it, and he does a good job articulating his reasons, but there are other sources that disagree.

        And sometimes bad guys wear body armor. In which case – XM193.

      • The US .mil uses FMJ due to the Hague (not geneva) convention. Home defense ammo is ammo that dumps as much energy as possible into whatever it hits. Over penetration is a concern, so even if ammo doesn’t meet FBI penetration requirements, you have multiple rounds to back it up. 5.56, 55gr softpoint out of a 20″ barrel is considered by many to be among the best for this application. 63 grain softpoint if you want a bit more penetration. Works great on deer, too.

        • The US .mil uses FMJ due to the Hague (not geneva) convention.

          Correct, except (1) the US did not sign the Declaration prohibiting expanding or hollowpoint ammo, and (2) the Declaration only bans such ammo in conflicts between signatories. So even of the US has signed it, the Convention would not ban using hollowpoints against the Taliban.

        • Per the Laws of Land Warfare, Taliban are nonuniformed combatants and may be placed against the nearest vertical surface and shot. The Russians actually did this, along with other things we won’t do like “fighting to win”, and they still lost, so…

  6. Homie thought he was hard breaking in with his 9-milly — until homeowner showed up with a real gun — too bad he wasnt on his game — or homie would be swiss cheese.

  7. This is one case where the weapon of choice should have been a Mossy, or Rem870. At that range, #8 bird would have done an awesome job of solving the interpersonal communication gap that existed there.

    • Here we go with shotty load wars.
      I forget is it
      #8, then buck, then Slug, the other way around
      or just buck buck slug

      • A full tube of buck with slugs on the side. It’s better to know exactly what’s coming out of your barrel.

      • Whatever gauge and number you’re using just don’t think birdshot is going to be effective unless you’re shooting a duck. It’ll make a nasty looking wound but won’t do much in terms of penetration.

        Wouldn’t trust it to take on big bird much less an aggressive human.

        • Im with you on that, I’ve never considered the concept of using bird shot for home defense as a viable option. I shoot a lot of bird shot and its not effective against humans. Its for birds. Humans require buck/slugs, or use a different gun.

  8. Sounds like wrong ammo selection. Or should I say bullet selection? An AR used for “home defense” should be stoked with a bullet suitable for varmints.50- 55 gr. V-max, Varmint Grenade or something similar is best for terminal performance and minimal over penetration. I doubt that the afore-mentioned miscreant would have been able to go far with a hit from one of those. Instead of “through and through” it would be through and Wow!. Multiple hits are available when necessary.

    • Bullets are not magic and depending on one to incapacitate someone with a torso shot is a plan for failure.

      • Exactly, too many movies where people drop as soon as they get shot. People need to look at it from their own experience, do deer or hogs drop soon as you hit them? even with 30-06? No, they take off running.

  9. Gots to get me one o’ them evil black rifles! I did notice falling prices on a bunch of basic AR’s at my LGS.

  10. My HD weapons are a PAP M92 with the “brace” and an 870. Although, I will probably be building an AR pistol with the brace for my wife as I use the 870 in the rare case of a home invasion. My AR carbine isn’t bad but a lighter, smaller weapon would be better for her. She has difficulty in operating the AK which is disappointing as she was born in the USSR.

  11. I don’t have an AR yet. I just thought I’d confess that right up front. You know. It’s like one of the steps.

    • With the prices back down, there’s no reason not to. Even if you just bought a lower to keep on hand to build one later.

      Or you can do as I did, not by plan but just the way it worked out…get an M1,M1A, AR in that order….sort of the historical route.

  12. Best thing about this story, or the most disturbing depending on your point of view, is it points out the need for a new caliber main battle rifle for our troops. Close distance through and through wound not only didn’t kill the perpertrator, but failed apparently to even incapacitate the assailant. The time to replace the mouse gun is at hand. It performed mediocre in the recent unpleasantness in the Mid-East, and isn’t doing so well here at home as reports like this are not uncommon.

    • 5.56mm works just dandy, as long as you aren’t shooting out past 500m or so. But that’s why god invented the designated marksman.

      And speaking of M14s, a skilled marksman with an M14 EBR is a dangerous thing indeed.

    • 5.56 is fine. Haith just forgot to pull the trigger three times. It’s in the owner’s manual.

      Now I see why Bump Fire was invented. Some people really do have a hopelessly slow finger. Genetic, I suppose.

      • Now, how do you know he was not trained on select fire? He was probably holding the trigger back and cursing a “jam” preventing the mag dump!

  13. You guys can lay off the Piers hatred. His show is done, not that he ever had good ratings to begin with.

    Typical clown fake “journalist”.

  14. Heh…I’m leaving on a trip today, with my daughter, leaving my son and wife at home. As the boy was getting ready to leave for school, I told him “Take care of Momma while I’m gone. You know where my pistols are, right?” (He’s 15, and well-trained in their proper use.) His answer was “Yeah, and the rifle [my AR-15] is still in ___?” (He’s well-trained in its use, too.)

    Good boy!


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