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Home Defense Ammo & Pistols

NewGun

Alpha
I live in a regular neighborhood, surrounded by other houses. No ranch, no big land, just a neighborhood. I was watching a video comparing the penetration of 9mm, 9mm hollow point, and 223 bullets. Surprisingly, the 223 ammo penetrated fewer drywall sheets than both types of 9mm ammo. That video put me to think that for home defense it’s better to have an AR-15 or AR pistol with 0.223 ammo than a regular pistol with 9mm bullets. And if the 0.223 bullets are hollow point, even better, right? Also, the AR pistol is easier to handle and more accurate than a regular pistol (I’m not sure for a distance of 5-7 meters inside the house; maybe it’s the same accuracy for both).

Thank you for your input and comments.
 

HansGruber

Professional
There are many advantages to an AR pistol, definitely.

When it comes to the ammo and overpenetration issues, it’s best to take those with a grain of salt; the .223’s “lesser” wall penetration is going to be based on bullet construction and velocity; that is, the high velocity out of a rifle length barrel will cause a thin-jacketed defensive bullet to yaw and/or fragment when it hits a wall...counterintuitively, though, reducing the velocity could actually INCREASE wall penetration.

It would all come down to the exact load, and what length barrel, and if it’s pushed fast enough to fragment.

Drawbacks also of a short barreled 556: they are LOUD; to the point of a 7.5” barrel going off in a fairly confined space (a hallway) was compared to a flash-bang...and blew plaster off the ceiling, as well.
 

Talyn

Professional
Founding Member
Unless hardened stick-built homes can be penetrated by both, both through exterior and interior walls. Brick-clad homes appear to be more resistant.

Depending on how many walls a projectile can penetrate quite far. One would need to seek additional cover for more protection.

IMO M855 would penetrate further than M-193, but if a .223/5.56 bullet is built for varmit hunting (they expand much easier than typical bullets) it would be safe to assume they would penetrate much less.

My .02
 

NewGun

Alpha
There are many advantages to an AR pistol, definitely.

When it comes to the ammo and overpenetration issues, it’s best to take those with a grain of salt; the .223’s “lesser” wall penetration is going to be based on bullet construction and velocity; that is, the high velocity out of a rifle length barrel will cause a thin-jacketed defensive bullet to yaw and/or fragment when it hits a wall...counterintuitively, though, reducing the velocity could actually INCREASE wall penetration.

It would all come down to the exact load, and what length barrel, and if it’s pushed fast enough to fragment.

Drawbacks also of a short barreled 556: they are LOUD; to the point of a 7.5” barrel going off in a fairly confined space (a hallway) was compared to a flash-bang...and blew plaster off the ceiling, as well.
HansGruber, thank you for your comment.
 

NewGun

Alpha
Unless hardened stick-built homes can be penetrated by both, both through exterior and interior walls. Brick-clad homes appear to be more resistant.

Depending on how many walls a projectile can penetrate quite far. One would need to seek additional cover for more protection.

IMO M855 would penetrate further than M-193, but if a .223/5.56 bullet is built for varmit hunting (they expand much easier than typical bullets) it would be safe to assume they would penetrate much less.

My .02
Talyn, thank you also for your comment.
 

Oaktree45

Operator
In a home defense situation I would be more concerned about how much energy the bullets would have after passing through a human body. Everyone has different opinions for home defense but I think a rifle or shotgun would be a bit unwieldy in a hallway or staircase. For home defense I’ve always used a .45 pistol loaded with two rounds of Glaser Safety Slugs and the rest of the magazine with hollow points. I don’t even know if safety slugs are still produced. Not long ago I acquired a Springfield XD-45 Tactical and that has become my choice for home defense.
 

HansGruber

Professional
In a home defense situation I would be more concerned about how much energy the bullets would have after passing through a human body. Everyone has different opinions for home defense but I think a rifle or shotgun would be a bit unwieldy in a hallway or staircase. For home defense I’ve always used a .45 pistol loaded with two rounds of Glaser Safety Slugs and the rest of the magazine with hollow points. I don’t even know if safety slugs are still produced. Not long ago I acquired a Springfield XD-45 Tactical and that has become my choice for home defense.
Glasers are still made, but don’t count on them not passing through walls, plural; once upon a time, I tested some of the .45 loads for accuracy, and when they deviated greatly from my POI, I decided to use the rest in a penetration test.

The blue tipped .45’s went through 4 layers of Sheetrock (1 “wall” spaced 3.5”, 3 feet, then another “wall” of 3.5”) and still detonated a 1gal water jug...repeatedly.

I don’t worry about hits, though. I worry more about misses. A well designed defensive bullet is going to either stop in the body or exit with minimal energy. A miss, on the other hand, is going to go through multiple walls; there ain’t no way around it...so minimizing potential exit routes for the bullet is a good place to start—find likely shooting lanes and make a hardened backstop, like a bookcase.

You are responsible for every round you fire. If not legally, then morally.
 

BangBang

Professional
In 9mm, 40S&W or 45acp Frangible Ammo could be considered. I’m not saying it’s perfect but for home defense it could be a thought. There is some pretty good frangible ammo out that is pretty accurate. If you placed your shots where they needed to go that would really help out with this ammo.
 

wmg1299

Master Class
There are many factors that come into play when picking a home defense weapon. Accessibility, capacity, noise level, maneuverability, penetration, and skill level are just some that come to mind. I choose to use a pistol because it is easy for me to store in an accessible location, easy to move through the house with, and I have had significantly more training and practice with pistols than long guns. I use JHP defensive rounds that should offer a low risk of over-penetration after striking tissue. However, I have no problem with anyone who prefers to use rifles or shotguns. I consider personal defense to be an individual right, and thus I leave it up to the individual to decide. I feel confident that people who appreciate the risks involved will exercise the right in a responsible manner.
 

Caro

Operator
It’s a tough question. I think it comes down to a persons situation / comfort level. Live alone? Kids in other rooms? Neighbors house close by? Me, personally, I use either an AR, a shotgun, or a .45 for home defense...and the .45 is the last resort. The AR is usually fed hollowpoints or 55gr FMJ that tumbles. The .45 eats frangible hollowpoints. I used to have a .38 special for home defense then ‘graduated’ to the .45 because I’m more accurate with it and it holds more rounds (I sacrifice the simplicity of the revolver for the capacity of the semi auto pistol). In general, my plan is to use the .45 to get to either the AR or the shotgun.

Regular handgun rounds will go through many walls but shotgun buck will go through walls too, you have to decide what size pellets (and how many) meet your needs. I use between #2 and #4 buck. I live in the city; if I lived out in the country, I’d probably rethink my plan.
 

NYshooter

Operator
An AR is better in a home defense scenario, hands down! But if your going AR, I wouldn't go pistol. Your HD gun needs to be as useful as possible. A 16" carbine with a bright light & a red dot is all you need. Assuming you also run backup irons. As far as ammo, go soft point or hollow point to create the best wound & limit over penetration. Stay away from FMJ!. Last but not least, it's all about shot placement. Practice, practice, practice!!! Just my 2 cents..🤪
 

HansGruber

Professional
An AR is better in a home defense scenario, hands down! But if your going AR, I wouldn't go pistol. Your HD gun needs to be as useful as possible. A 16" carbine with a bright light & a red dot is all you need. Assuming you also run backup irons. As far as ammo, go soft point or hollow point to create the best wound & limit over penetration. Stay away from FMJ!. Last but not least, it's all about shot placement. Practice, practice, practice!!! Just my 2 cents..🤪
It's not a one size fits all situation.

First off, a pistol has several major advantages in “I need it NOW” bump in the night events—it's awful hard to have that sixteen inch AR carbine on top of the nightstand where you can pick it up and, if need be, fire almost immediately one handed, or even with your off hand. A handgun has none of these disadvantages.

Furthermore, I'd sooner take a shotgun with #1 or #4 buckshot for a purely inside the home defender than an AR; the lighter pellets have a low chance of exiting a body (but still have enough weight to punch deep, unlike birdshot), and also go through less walls than most .223/5.56 rounds, even defensive rounds.

Truth be told, though, I take a 9mm “SMG Wannabe” (in my case, a MP5 clone w/brace) over them both for my primary HD “long gun”; it’s more maneuverable, it’s faster on follow-ups, the concussion and flash indoors is not nearly as debilitating unsurpressed (particularly with subsonic ammo—not an option with shotguns or a 5.56 AR); this was what I discovered after quite a bit of time trying different platforms (includung AR’s and AR ”pistols”)...so it's what works for me, in my home.

Choose what you like; but to say one particular platform is better for everyone, every time, is a bit short sighted.
 
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