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What is the best AR for home defense that you would trust your life on Login/Join 
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I should qualify I would like to be around a thousand bucks but you know how that goes

"They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
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Posts: 1176 | Location: New Hampshire "Live Free or Die"  | Registered: September 02, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Damn near anyone these days. Obviously I'd put rounds through it beforehand. If a Palmetto AR performed well at the range I'd trust it with my life.

It's not as if the weapon gets anxiety during a home invasion. If it works it works. I've actually never had an AR not work believe it or not, maybe 10k rounds in my life. I've never seen one not work.

Brands ranging from Rock River/Stag/PSA to Noveske/BCM/LMT

For 1000$ I'd probably try to find something in the BCM line you like the piece of mind.

Or grab a 450$ PSA AR and a quality red dot, light, and probably still a couple hundred rounds of ammo to function test it, for the 1000$ total.

13 years to retirement! Just waiting!
Posts: 4432 | Location: Seoul | Registered: August 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by OttoSig:
Damn near anyone these days.

Agree. How often do we ever hear of reliability problems with modern ARs as long as they’re lubed properly and decent magazines and ammunition are used? Rhetorical question: hardly ever. Initial testing is always important with any gun to ensure you haven’t gotten the rare lemon, but after that ….

“The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”
— Bertrand Russell
Posts: 44492 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
semi-reformed sailor
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I used to carry a Bushmaster when I was policing.

Now I have a DPMS & the Bushmaster..

But now I use a shotgun for home defense due to my proximity to neighbors.

Really whatever works for you. I’m not impressed by names brands etc, I was an armorer in the service and one for my police department…I can fix any of them.

I also have real expectations. I’m not looking for bughole groups in a 16” carbine. Anything that I’ll keep man of minute works for me.

"Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor.”
― Robert A. Heinlein

“ You may beat me, but you will never win.” sigmonkey-2020

Posts: 8963 | Location: Temple, Texas! | Registered: October 07, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Oh stewardess,
I speak jive.
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Almost anything decent.

But things like the Daniel Defense 10.3" pistol are well loved and considered top tier in the complete-gun category. If the price isn't objectionable, I supose it buys one a touch of extra mental and actual comfort.

But really, anything from a $600 PSA jobby to the DD are fine.
Posts: 25356 | Registered: March 12, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Peace through
superior firepower
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No optics. At very close range, optics- even non-magnifying red dot sights- are worse than useless; they actually get in your way. Iron sights will do. Others will disagree. Try shooting an AR at distances of less than 50 feet and you'll see what I mean.

Invest in a quality rifle- BCM, FN, an older Colt if you can find one. A mid-length gas system on a 16" barrel will make for a more smooth-shooting rifle. Make sure your rifle has either an H buffer or an H2 buffer. If your rifle comes with a standard carbine buffer, replace it with an H or H2.

Don't hang a bunch of gadgets off the rifle.

Invest in a quality adjustable sling. The Magpul MS-1 is OK. The Vickers VCAS is more expensive, but it is ideal.

Put a good quality light on your rifle. IMO, Surefire is king, but with a proper light mount, there are a lot of inexpensive flashlights which will work just fine for you.

Don't get fancy with the ammunition. M193 is all you need. This will put down a man, and it will penetrate the body armor your average bad guy might wear. Avoid .223 ammo and use 5.56 ammo, which is higher pressure ammunition.

Quality magazines are a must- Okay/Surefeed USGI aluminum magazines will work just fine. Pmag gen 3 mags, or Lancers.

Lubrication- It's a myth that an AR must be clean to function properly. What's important is adequate lubrication. A good-running AR is like good sex- clean or dirty, it's gotta be wet. Learn the critical lubrication points of the AR and use a quality, persistent lubricant, like Slip 2000 EWL30 combined with Slip 2000 EWG grease. If your lube is not viscous, it will run off over time. Use something which will stay on the rails of the bolt carrier for months. EWL30 mixed with EWG will do this.
Posts: 95703 | Registered: January 20, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Colt, LMT, Sionics, Daniel Defense, BCM, KAC, to name a few. Choose the features and accessories based upon what you want to do with your rifle.

Non-magnified red dot is the way to go from contact to 200 yds. Many friends who are professional gunfighters as their day job all use one. Aimpoint is my preferred. Battery life is incredible. And they are proven.

I like an mlok handguard, but I have many 1913 rail handguards on ARs (KAC and DD), SIG 552s and 553 (B&T), and MP5s (B&T). My current preferred handguard is the Geissele mk16.

On a defensive carbine my priorities are:
- Quality rifle
- Quality handguard capable of accepting white light and control accessories
- Quality white light in a quality mount
- Sling
- Back up irons

Extras to consider: Geissele SSA trigger, more ergonomic pistol grip, more ergonomic stock.

A no frills capable rifle for me would be:
Colt 6920, Magpul handguard, Arisaka m300 or m600 light in Arisaka mlok mount, Blueforce VCAS sling, Arisaka finger stop on handguard, Magpul MOE SL stock, Magpul mbus pro rear sight, Aimpoint T1 or T2 in a Arisaka 1.7 or 1.9 mount. Add a Geissele SSA trigger if you want or shoot stock trigger.

Mags: Magpul, Okay Surefeed, and D&H are all great.

Lube: ALG Go Juice.

Shoot the shit out of it and swap things as you start to truly understand your needs.

Posts: 2178 | Location: The South | Registered: September 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The best AR is the one you have, you're comfortable with, and you've proven reliable at the range.

All good advice so far. There are a lot of options with shorter barrels these days. For a 5.56 gun you don't want to go any shorter than 10.5/10.3" - below that you're losing too much velocity to be effective and reliable for a defensive gun.

If the $1000 needs to be more like $700 to make room for a light and sling you'll be a bit more hard-pressed to find a competent duty rifle.

Some quality brands that make contract duty rifles and civilian blasters;
Sionics, SOLGW, Modern Armory, BCM, DD, Colt, FN, LMT, others as well.

The trouble is going to be finding something in stock right now, and the overall industry quality took a hit from the whole Corona thing. Manufacturing capacities are reduced, lead times are long, stock on shelves comes in waves. If you find a quality gun at a local store it's not likely to be there too long, nor is it likely to have much to compare it to unless you're lucky. I'm not saying jump on the first thing, but don't sleep on a purchase if you're ready to buy.

Don't let the gun store talk you into another brand not mentioned by anyone here. They may be more interested in moving inventory, and/or might not be educated on the different brands and only be going off limited understanding. Cheap S&W, Sig, Springfield, Ruger, and dozens of other less known brands out there make ARs - they might be great rifles, but there's also a pretty decent chance someone who isn't a well-trained AR armorer/builder put those guns together out of whatever parts they can scrounge up. I wouldn't bet my life on these without thorough testing.
Posts: 5950 | Location: Romeo, MI | Registered: January 03, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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As many others have said, most reputable AR manufacturers today offer a rifle that is highly reliable and accurate. And as Para has said, keep it simple, and keep it well lubricated. Everything he has said here is exactly right, and worth reading 2 or 3 times.

After you decide which rifle to buy, I humbly suggest that the most important thing you can do is train with it so that you instinctively apply proper holdover (typically 2-2.5") at close range distances. Zero your rifle at 25 yards (for 100 yards) and learn just how much holdover is needed for precise shots at 5, 10, and 25 yards. Get really good at placing precise hits on demand from really short distances. This is a liability/proficiency issue that many of us overlook in our zeal to have the greatest equipment. We forget the variables that are different (height of sights over bore) at really close distances.

I'm sure you know that many firearms manufacturers make parts for each other. And that some companies' quality control processes are better than others. The one part on the AR pattern rifle that is more likely to fail is the extractor, and it usually fails due to insufficient spring tension. I highly recommend buying a "D-Fender" extractor ring, which will give your extractor greater power and reliability in extracting cartridges. Any AR that is well lubricated and has this simple enhancement to its extractor will be highly reliable.

I've found that it's also quite helpful to have a spare BCG that you can pop right in if you experience a failure that can't be solved with standard malfunction immediate action drills.

Good luck in your hunt for a home defense rifle. Incidentally, if you are comfortable assembling an AR (or have a gunsmith friend who is) one of the best deals on the market for under $1000 today is the Larue Ultimate Upper kit, plus one of their billet lower receivers. I built one of these last year, and it's an absolute tack driver and a great pleasure to shoot. Right now, LaRue is selling their ultimate upper kit for $1096, but they occasionally have sales that make it even more affordable.
Posts: 31 | Location: Chicago area | Registered: April 01, 2018Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I kneel for my God,
and I stand for my flag
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For your first AR, I'd suggest you look for a clean used Colt LE6920 (not the newer CR6920). It'll out live you and won't break the bank.
Posts: 1563 | Location: Oregon | Registered: September 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I kneel for my God,
and I stand for my flag
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Originally posted by jmkfive:
The one part on the AR pattern rifle that is more likely to fail is the extractor, and it usually fails due to insufficient spring tension. I highly recommend buying a "D-Fender" extractor ring, which will give your extractor greater power and reliability in extracting cartridges. Any AR that is well lubricated and has this simple enhancement to its extractor will be highly reliable.

Posts: 1563 | Location: Oregon | Registered: September 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
One Who Knows
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Lots of solid advice already, my experience shows (1) lube and/or (2) mags are the main causes of failures, as already stated above, but I think is worth emphasizing more than once.
Posts: 1483 | Location: Central MO | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Crusty old
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You can save some money by getting a S&W M&P 15 Sport II. Mine has been extremely reliable, accurate and will fill your needs for home defense. I paid around $700 for mine and it has never failed to feed or eject a round.

Para made some valid points about accessorizing your rifle. Myself, I put a Burris AR-332 red dot sight on mine for more versatility.

Good luck with your search.



"If you can't be a good example, then you'll have to be a horrible warning" -Catherine Aird
Posts: 9363 | Location: The right side of Washington State | Registered: September 14, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
His Royal Hiney
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Timely thread. I, too, am now in a position to get my first AR.

I've been going back and forth on what to get. And then I got hit by reality in terms of available inventory.

I see it as an opportunity to continue to learn more and make up my mind before pulling the trigger.

I want to use what I've learned: buy once cry once. At best, I'll get two AR types because, you know, one is none....

"It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life – daily and hourly. Our answer must consist not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual." Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, 1946.
Posts: 16794 | Location: The Free State of Arizona - Ditat Deus | Registered: March 24, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've been using PSA for many years though I do have an XCR-L that's been awesome. I use MBUS for sights and add a flashlight. I have a LPVO I can add for longer range.
Posts: 496 | Location: Beaumont TX | Registered: March 05, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I Deal In Lead
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I've got a Ruger, a PSA and an Olympic Arms.

All 3 have been perfect over many years.
Posts: 7371 | Location: Gilbert Arizona | Registered: March 21, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Yeah, that M14 video guy...
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I've settled on this...

I've since replaced the Sylvan folder with a LAW Tactical folder.

This is a Palmetto 10.5" pistol. Very affordable minus the optic. I do have Magpul plastic flip-up sights on it as well and they work even with the Aimpoint optic installed.


Owner, TonyBen, LLC, Type-01 FFL (Site under construction).
Posts: 4612 | Location: USA | Registered: February 13, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Dies Irae
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I've got one AR-a mongrel pistol I put together with a Spike's lower, a commodity-grade FCG, and a Radical 10.5" upper. No arfcom tier-list components, no fancy furniture and no additions like lights/lasers/magnifiers other than a Bushnell Lil' P prism sight. It just works.
Posts: 5673 | Location: Fort Heathen, Texas | Registered: February 25, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
hello darkness
my old friend
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I have several Rock Rivers, BCM, PSA, and they are all great. I would trust my life to anyone of them.
Posts: 7206 | Location: West Jordan, Utah | Registered: June 19, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
That rug really tied
the room together.
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Originally posted by jmkfive:
I highly recommend buying a "D-Fender" extractor ring, which will give your extractor greater power and reliability in extracting cartridges.

I’m not a big fan of those. I’ve tried every “enhanced” extractor fix on the market. The rubber d ring, the plus power springs. Some offer WAY to much pressure on the extractor and actually induce jams. I don’t even know how some of these are sold, they are so bad.

The Colt gold spring, on the other hand… is perfect. Perfect! It offers just a bit more pressure on the extractor than most cheaper AR15 springs and buffers. I highly recommend putting a Colt gold extractor spring in all your AR rifles. $4-$5 at Brownells.

Often times a very small man can cast a very large shadow
Posts: 6222 | Location: Floriduh | Registered: October 16, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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