By Josh Crosby
Guarding your Castle is a hot topic, often heatedly discussed with little to no real understanding of the issue at hand. In the past a high-visible and very powerful politician gave advice about blasting a couple rounds in the air with a shotgun to scare away a home invader. It’s important to turn to the experts for more appropriate advice.
Choosing Your Firearm
You will never hear me advocate for a shotgun other than dove season. Sorry. It’s a low-capacity, inaccurate, recoil monster. How often do you train with your Mossberg 500 under your bed? How proficient are you at clearing it when it jams? Is it the cheapest gun you own (there’s a reason for that)? Do you have a light mounted on it? Are you going to operate a shotgun one handed while navigating your home and holding a flashlight with the other? Everyone is stuffing an extra mag into their pants pockets to go to the mall because #merica, but 7 rounds in your primary firearm to defend your home from an armed invasion is totally fine? Look, the bottom line is that you need to pick a firearm that you train with to defend your home against the monsters outside.
A standard M4/AR rifle is hard to beat for day-to-day combat for most people. Ammunition is readily available, every option/customization imaginable is for sale, and training on that platform can be obtained with a simple instructor referral. One magazine fully loaded holds 28-30 rounds, and it is a foot shorter than your Uncle Joe’s double barrel, so you have the ability to precisely put individual rounds on target as opposed to sending a spider web of lead through your walls.
The “over penetration of rifle rounds” myth was debunked long ago by multiple studies including the FBI’s Firearms Training Unit (FTU). An AR-15 is an appropriate tool to protect your flock from the wolves. You want to grab the firearm you know, the firearm you train with. The reliable one.
Hand-Held or Rifle-Mounted Lights
You hear a noise. You pick up a gun. You enter your kitchen. You see a shadowy figure. Who is it? The only way to know is with information. Without a light, you are only receiving limited information through your eyes and ears, and it may not be enough to make a decision. To get information faster in the dark, you need a light, preferably a bright light — and even better if you know where that light is, like attached to your firearm where you train with it and can activate it in a pitch black room without a second thought. You don’t have to muzzle your target with the light to get quality information, but you do need to be able to illuminate the room and make quick, informed decisions. In other words, you can’t try to find your flashlight in a junk drawer in an emergency situation. Lots of factors come into play, and this isn’t a low-light article, but #1 Your light cannot be too bright; #2 If it’s mounted to the rifle, it gives you a free-ish hand.
So after you pick the suitable firearm with a decent light source, where do you keep them? Mine stay immediately next to my bed on a stand. I understand this isn’t an option for everyone due to living circumstances. Were my children small again, I would choose a different storage option, but I would know clearly how to access it even in the dark in case of the power being cut.
When you pick a rifle for home defense, extensively train on it and know why you chose that particular firearm, weighing its advantages and disadvantages. Do you need more rounds? Do you need a light (or brighter light)? There are many facets of home defense and this article cannot even close to scratching the surface of them; however, the point of the article is to encourage you to smartly choose and train with your rifle that keeps you from ending up being victimized.