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AR-15 Home Defense Ammo


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Hey All, 

We are finally leaving our condo in Davidson County here soon and heading out to a new home in Shelbyville, and was hoping to get some further clarification & advice as to what ammo others tend to lean towards or have a box stored away for home defense for the AR-15, either in 5.56 or .223. I've been researching about soft point bullets, but have come across instances in which those tended to easily jam for some, then again I'm uncertain if that is necessarily a widespread occurrence, to say the least. Plenty of space between neighbors, yet not so much as to simply disregard them & their safety by any means, of course. 

Granted, I know a handgun with hollow points is best for close quarters in a home in most instances, and do have my M&P 40 ready to go for that. I would like; however, to simply have one of my AR magazines close by, outfitted with home defense ammo as a quick go-to, as well. 

As a newer AR owner, I've greatly appreciated learning a lot from different forums on here, and the knowledge & advice from so many of you, indeed. 

Thanks! 

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You've got some great minds to plug into here.

If I'm not mistaken, Luckygunner or some such place did a test with various thickness drywall and manufacturers rounds? Bet some google-fu can find it. 

That being said, I'd look at a different platform, like a shotgun, for close home defense. Rifle rounds move at 2000+ fps and are only 1 projectile. Target loads in a 20 ga. have scores of projectiles, and won't go into the next room.

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I have a AR set up for home defense but it is a 9mm. And I am loving it. 
223/556 in the house is not my favorite mainly because it will blow thru walls and you loose sight and control or “down range” 

 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, BJB said:

I have a AR set up for home defense but it is a 9mm. And I am loving it. 
223/556 in the house is not my favorite mainly because it will blow thru walls and you loose sight and control or “down range” 

 

Most all popular calibers have similar penetration.  May want to look up 'The Firearm Blog", .22 vs. 223 Home Defense Drywall Penetration

Edited by chances R
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I agree with ReeferMac.  I have a H&K M1 Super 90 with 9 rounds of 00 buck. Get by that and the place is yours.

Short story:  Years ago a guy took a .45 to a pawn shop.  The owner was looking at it without clearing it.  Pulled the trigger and bang.  Round went through shop’s window, across a 4 lane highway, through the window of a Black & Decker sales office and killed a guy sitting at his desk.  How I know, the poor guy bled all over the paperwork on his desk.  They tossed the bloody stuff in the trash.  My parts order was on his desk.

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https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/sheetrock-penetration-testing-take-1/

 

The table below shows the results of each load and what weapon it was fired from. All shots were taken at a distance of 15 feet.

Cartridge Firearm Result
TulAmmo 230 gr .45 ACP FMJ Kahr Pm45 Fully Penetrated
Hornady TAP +P 230 gr .45 ACP JHP Kahr Pm45 Fully Penetrated
Remington UMC 115 gr 9mm FMJ Springfield XDm Fully Penetrated
Speer Gold Dot 115 gr 9mm JHP Springfield XDm Fully Penetrated
American Eagle 130 gr .38 Spl FMJ Ruger LCR Fully Penetrated
Hornady Critical Defense 110 gr .38 SPL Ruger LCR Fully Penetrated
PMC Bronze 125 gr .357 Mag JHP Ruger LCR Fully Penetrated
Hornady Critical Defense 124 gr .357 Mag Ruger LCR Fully Penetrated
Hornady TAP 55 gr .223 M&P-15A Fragmented after fully penetrating
PMC XTAC 55 gr 5.56 FMJ M&P-15A Fully Penetrated
Remington 55gr .223 JHP M&P-15A Fully Penetrated
Remington 2 3/4″ 12 gauge 00 Buck Remington 870 Fully Penetrated
Winchester 2 3/4″ 12 gauge #4 Bird Shot Remington 870 Penetrated 2 layers, stopped by 3rd layer

..... everything except the #4 Birdshot had no problem blowing through 4 layers of sheetrock and hitting the berm

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42 minutes ago, ReeferMac said:

https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/sheetrock-penetration-testing-take-1/

 

The table below shows the results of each load and what weapon it was fired from. All shots were taken at a distance of 15 feet.

Cartridge Firearm Result
TulAmmo 230 gr .45 ACP FMJ Kahr Pm45 Fully Penetrated
Hornady TAP +P 230 gr .45 ACP JHP Kahr Pm45 Fully Penetrated
Remington UMC 115 gr 9mm FMJ Springfield XDm Fully Penetrated
Speer Gold Dot 115 gr 9mm JHP Springfield XDm Fully Penetrated
American Eagle 130 gr .38 Spl FMJ Ruger LCR Fully Penetrated
Hornady Critical Defense 110 gr .38 SPL Ruger LCR Fully Penetrated
PMC Bronze 125 gr .357 Mag JHP Ruger LCR Fully Penetrated
Hornady Critical Defense 124 gr .357 Mag Ruger LCR Fully Penetrated
Hornady TAP 55 gr .223 M&P-15A Fragmented after fully penetrating
PMC XTAC 55 gr 5.56 FMJ M&P-15A Fully Penetrated
Remington 55gr .223 JHP M&P-15A Fully Penetrated
Remington 2 3/4″ 12 gauge 00 Buck Remington 870 Fully Penetrated
Winchester 2 3/4″ 12 gauge #4 Bird Shot Remington 870 Penetrated 2 layers, stopped by 3rd layer

..... everything except the #4 Birdshot had no problem blowing through 4 layers of sheetrock and hitting the berm

Good information there. I know my 9 will penetrate well especially in our small ranch single level home. I may consider moving my camper as that would be the anticipated direction of fire 😳

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I accidentally discharged a 9mm 115gr FMJ at a wall several years ago-it went thru the 1 inch backsplash of the counter-which I might add was solid particle board-continued thru the dry wall-thru the 2x4 next to the counter and lodged in the outer siding.😬

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I have 5.56 AR mags loaded with Winchester 64 grain Power Point.  This round is marketed toward deer hunters and has a decent track record against medium size game.  It is reliable and accurate and has virtually the same trajectory out to 200 or so as a 55fmj.  My intent with this round is not for defending the living room, but rather for being prepared for outdoor festivities if Antifa is coming down the street, etc.  I figure a deer round will be just as good or better than pretty much anything else for repelling bad guys.  

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/2900402682

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If one has other persons sleeping in different rooms, then I would think very hard on what I would use in the case of the need to use firearms.  Me…I would rather do some sheet rock and paint rather than burying one of my kids.

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28 minutes ago, Beltfed said:

If one has other persons sleeping in different rooms, then I would think very hard on what I would use in the case of the need to use firearms.  Me…I would rather do some sheet rock and paint rather than burying one of my kids.

I have though a lot about that. Of course our kids are grown and gone but there is still Festus. I have No Shoot zones unless absolutely necessary 

CDC74216-5DDD-4ACF-BFFB-F6F7B1E1B0D6.png

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On 7/8/2021 at 5:22 AM, BJB said:

I have a AR set up for home defense but it is a 9mm. And I am loving it. 
 

You should! That's the best one I had. Just got a new lower from FoxTrot Mike and going to try for another build.

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9 hours ago, hipower said:

You should! That's the best one I had. Just got a new lower from FoxTrot Mike and going to try for another build.

I finally finished a Foxtrot Mike build and I am setting it up to keep it in a Vertx bag in the bedroom. 

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The problem is that the less it will penetrate drywall the less it will penetrate the bad guys.... 

There are no legit "bumper sticker sized" answers to this. Things are complex. If you want a round that will not penetrate things you need either a light weight thing (ping pong balls are notoriously bad at penetrating things) or something designed to break apart that is moving extremely fast.

Some people recommend birdshot for shotguns. In my opinion that's a suboptimal idea. The tiny little pellets make penetration through multiple layers of drywall less likely but at the same time they also make penetration deep enough to hit vital organs less likely on the guy or guys you are trying to stop. Birdshot wounds tend to be nasty looking surface wounds with little penetration unless you shoot them from 3 feet away (or closer) . 

 I'm frankly more concerned with making that guy who is trying to kill me stop what he is doing immediately when I hit him than I am about what happens in an uninhabited room IF I miss him. And in fact my HD shotgun is loaded with full power 000 buck because semi autos run more reliably with full power shells and 000 patterns tighter than full power 00 loads due to the way the pellets are stacked (8 vs 9 ) in the shell. Tighter pattern is less likely to have a "flier" that misses. If you run a pump I'd roll with the Federal Low Recoil Flight Control 00 or Flight control #1 buck. Flight control delivers extremely tight patterns ...especially at across the room distance. Bird shot is for birds...not people , some of whom are the size of black bears. 

On .223 things are complicated by barrel twist. If you want the least penetration and a round that will still probably perform well enough to stop someone reliably then the 40 grain Blitzking or Hornady V-Max round at about 3600 - 3700fps will break up when it hits something but still ruin the bad guy's day when he gets hit with it. IIRC Phoenix PD had good results with it out of their Steyr Augs in the 1990s. The down side is that a 1/7 twist barrel can spin the jackets off of 40 grain bullets in flight because of the extreme speed. But then again how far will they be flying in your house? Maybe 7 or 8 yards? If you are running a 1/7 twist I might go with a 50 or 55 gr V-max .  The 55gr V-max is what I have loaded in my AUG (1/9 twist) for indoors and 55 gr gold dots for outdoor use. 

It seems odd that we never seem to really devote much time to worrying about our Gold Dots or HST or DPX rounds in our CCW pistols penetrating too much on a miss in the streets where there is a whole world of people out there to potentially be hit but we are terrified of what a miss will do inside a house.... This seems kind of ironic when we are shooting a shoulder fired weapon which is far easier to hit with than a pistol and the longest shot you are taking in most houses is overwhelmingly likely to be less than 10 yards and generally at someone who is closing distance with you.... I think if we just spent more time actually becoming better shooters the other stuff takes care of itself.

 

Edited by Cruel Hand Luke
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