View Full Version : Home Defense rounds Colt AR 15

July 4, 2012, 05:11 PM
suggestions for proper home defense round in 5.56 or 223
its a colt it will eat anything I put in it.

I have been reading a while about glaser safety rounds so not too much penetration of walls etc


July 4, 2012, 05:17 PM
Anything but solid copper or bonded should do you just fine. Even solid copper would be a good killer, but you run into over penetration issues. One of the advantages of 5.56 in CQB is that it fragments easily. Any soft point, HPBT, or FMJ load your rifle likes is going to be equally lethal at CQB ranges and fragment better than premium hunting bullets.


July 4, 2012, 05:29 PM
well I'm looking for particulars
you know
hollow point, FMJ, boat tail, 55 grain, 60,75 grain
there are just soooo many variables to just try one and see if it works

July 4, 2012, 06:04 PM
Hornady TAP FPD.

The TAP is LE use only, some years back Hornady introduced the civilian version (FPD- For Personal Defense).


Interesting info comparing the TAP to TAP FPD:


July 4, 2012, 06:23 PM
odd they sell TAP on cheaper than dirt but then again I didnt try to buy it either
size, grain etc

July 4, 2012, 07:03 PM

Crow Hunter
July 4, 2012, 08:57 PM

Specific recommendations with explanations and alternatives.

July 4, 2012, 09:18 PM
odd, that one claims the TAP ammo has fail to fire issues with bad primer strikes. This will be an education by the time its done.
do please keep the info coming, I can not be the ONLY one wondering about this. I practice at the range with bulk ammo and I'm more or less on target but in a general range with groups of 6-8" at 100 yards, but again, this is bulk ammo reloads I purchase for range use.

I notice I didnt provide any info on the weapon.
I shoot a Colt LE/Military stamped AR 15
it has a standard 1/7 barrel with a fluted end and standard flash suppressor
no serious mods to the actual working parts, just quad rail and forward pistol grip/flashlight iron flip up sights currently no optics other than what god gave me at birth.

July 4, 2012, 10:08 PM
Then go with bulk pack American Eagle 55gr FMJ. Sometimes billed as XM193.

At any range that you have any business "defending yourself" it will do just as good as anything else out there from an AR.

But seriously, just about anything will do. There is really no "wrong" answer to your question. If it goes bang reliably in your rifle then you should feel confident in the lethality of the bullet going out the barrel.


July 4, 2012, 11:24 PM
Hornady TAP or Zmax (critical defense).

Willie Lowman
July 5, 2012, 10:24 AM
Get some TAP. Feel good about it.


July 5, 2012, 10:43 AM
TAP 75gr.

July 5, 2012, 01:43 PM
so a heavy round like 75gr is really what I should be looking for.
The gun is very reliable, and honestly unlikely to be my choice for home defense but I would like to have the proper round just in case. My first choice is actually a pump action Remington 870, but just in case you know, it pays to be ready.

July 5, 2012, 02:29 PM

This video covers .308, and 12 GA. They do the same thing with their .223 though.

Art Eatman
July 5, 2012, 08:47 PM
My opinion is that home defense is likely to be within 25 yards or thereabouts. While I might make a casual point of heavier expanding bullets that might double as a deer load, I figure that up close and personal, anything will probably work as well as any other. I sorta doubt that it makes much difference what is used.

July 5, 2012, 11:46 PM
Art has it right. Cheap 55gr FMJs are every bit as lethal as 75gr TAP at "self defense" distances. But people seem to feel better about more expensive ammo. By the time the TAP ammo out performs 55gr FMJ you had better have a very convincing story to back up your claim of "self defense."

Of course if you are worried about litigation, you should probably find out what your local police department uses, then use that.


July 6, 2012, 12:12 AM
When people talk about "good" self defense ammo I think the first concern is for the innocent people in the area. ie, something deadly that stops quickly when it hits anything. There's no doubt any bullet is lethal.

I'm not getting downrange of even pellet gun. In the right hands those things can put down a hog, and they do.

July 6, 2012, 07:52 AM
As the saying goes, if you knew the gunfight you were gonna have, you'd train only for that...

Since you don't know, it makes sense to have the ammunition that's most capable of dealing with any situation.

The fact that "most" SD situations are "X", is irrelevant to me. I'll keep my SD handguns and rifles loaded with the ammo that is most versatile.

Do I regularly shoot expensive SD munitions and +P loads? Hell no- but I sure want them in my EDC should I ever need them.

July 6, 2012, 03:14 PM

Rifles are not pistols. FMJ from a rifle is lethal long past the ranges where pistols cease to be effective. "Defensive 5.56" should not be shot at those ranges, or it is going to be identified as "offensive" action which is not a legal action.

Remember, rifles are not pistols. Over twice the velocity and five to ten times the energy involved cause even FMJs to fragment in human tissue well beyond even Bullseye pistol ranges.

Any spitzer bullet fired from a 223 is going to try to flip around and go base first at around 2" of penetration on tissue. During this "flip" is when you see bullets break and fragment. How spectacularly they fragment is a function of remaining velocity. The heavy 75gr pills do not have a significant advantage in lethality until beyond a 100 meters. Unless you live in a serious mansion that is hard to justify as "defensive" by any definition.

Then again, maybe mall ninja lives and he has to defend the mall from international crime syndicates who want to kidnap and rape the mayor's son.... In that case I'd go with the TAP.


July 6, 2012, 03:59 PM
nah, not a mall ninja here
I was actually concerned about the bullet being SO fast it went through, the intruder, the wall behind the intruder, and the next wall etc etc

The AR is not primarily a Home defense weapon in my collection but in a pinch it might be what I grab out of the safe. I have pistols for close range, assuming I can get to one. This is why I asked about home defense rounds. Not looking for how to kill ninja's enemies at 100+ yards, looking to stop the bad guy under 20 feet and not kill my family 20 feet past them in the next 2 rooms. OVER penetration was a fear, not the desired result.

July 6, 2012, 04:16 PM
Well Dave, you just might have more to fear in regards to penetration with your handgun than your AR.


July 6, 2012, 04:16 PM
If that is the case look into DRT ammunition. Prefragmented core will break up faster than FMJ with solid lead core. http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/product/AMM-268 Available for pistols as well.

Pretty much any other bullet technology out there is going to significantly penetrate barriers at "defensive" ranges if you miss, although the 40 grain "Varmint" loads much less than others. An M193 round will penetrate 12 sheetrock walls, or 12 3/4 inch pine boards. http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot1.htm to reference the penetration claims.

But at over a buck a trigger pull I wouldn't shoot much DRT on a regular basis.


July 6, 2012, 04:23 PM
DRT pre-fragged ammo is interesting. Never seen it before so thanks for posting.

As has been said if you're worried about penetration in a home a rifle is a terrible tool to use. Grab your pistol and 2 mags full of ammo and you'd be equally equipped, arguably better equipped for HD situations.

July 6, 2012, 07:14 PM
A pistol is, of course the go to first response weapon, but my AR is also available, and actually preferred for SD.
I go back and forth on ammo choice between 50gn JHP and M193. I would consider a 55gn SP.
What I would like to get is the 50gn TSX, which is highly recommended in some studies I have read...price has held me back.

July 6, 2012, 08:03 PM
I have Prvi 75gr OTM loaded in my 14.5" BCM middy. Here (http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_3_16/430256_.html) is a nice article about ballistic gel testing on Prvi's OTM.

Coach Z
July 6, 2012, 08:42 PM
I keep an AR loaded with tap and have run several boxes (about twenty) through my rock river AR and have never had any failures whatsoever and it certainly is more accurate then ball at 100yds. Not that that's important for the application just a testament to the quality of the ammo.

That'll Do
July 7, 2012, 01:36 AM
Waaaaay too much gun shop theories and non-sense in this thread.

An excellent resource of FACTS can be found here: http://www.m4carbine.net/forumdisplay.php?f=91 (the Terminal Ballistics subforum of M4Carbine.net

Here is a thread about wound ballistics everyone should read if the actually want to gain some knowledge on the subject: http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=34714

And finally, here is a list of defensive loads that have been tested and proven to be effective: http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=19881

Back to your regularly scheduled programming...

Art Eatman
July 7, 2012, 09:28 AM
I've not used the TAP, but folks have posted that it's one of the better loads where over-penetration of walls could be a problem.

I've used '70s-era GI ammo and a lot of 50- and 55-grain handloads on coyotes, jackrabbits and prairie dogs. Given the amount of yuck and goo created, I'd not worry a lot about what to use as a defense load where the over-penetration is not an issue.

"It ain't the load; it's the scenario."

July 7, 2012, 10:02 AM
trust me I think about these things, usually when I am at the range every other Saturday.
this is also why I prefer my 20 gauge for "home" defense, it is a pump action and as we all know that is a Universal sound for " you are about to meet your maker" and will pretty much make a bad guy think twice about going through that doorway. Its loaded with game shot and would probably not kill past 15 feet by the spread on the load/barrel as I have taken the choke off it to make it spread a bit wider. It cuts a nice pattern of about a 5 foot circle up to 25 feet after that it spreads pretty fast. And since its game shot walls pretty much are the last place it goes, not through it.

again, though, I may end up with the AR, so I asked the question here for ideas for Home Defense just in case.

July 7, 2012, 10:36 AM

Nothing wrong with using a 20ga. for HD.


Stop thinking that the sound of racking a shotgun is going to scare-off every bad guy within hearing distance.

Use ammo that is more effective such as Remington Express Buckshot #3 buck.

Stay safe. :)


July 7, 2012, 08:28 PM
Even though my AR isn't my SHTF home defender, I still keep Hornady TAP 75 grain FPD in it...just in case ( 1 in 7 twist). As already mentioned, If you have neighbors close by, you have to keep over-penetration in mind.

July 7, 2012, 10:13 PM
That'll Do,

I find nothing in your references that contradicts anything I've written in response to the OP's original or follow on clarification posts. Bottom line both here and at m4carbine.net is that all bullets are lethal on human flesh. The other characteristics such as barrier penetration or long range accuracy are debated hotly, but not lethality.

In face, here is from your link.

Keep in mind, that with non-fragmenting bullet designs, heavier bullet weights are not necessarily better, especially at closer ranges and from shorter barrels. As long as penetration and upset remain adequate, it is possible to use lighter weight non-fragmenting bullets and still have outstanding terminal performance. With fragmenting designs, a heavier bullet is ideal, as it provides more potential fragments and still allows the central core to have enough mass for adequate penetration. In addition, heavier bullets may have an advantage at longer ranges due to better BC and less wind drift.

Lethality always comes in threes: Accuracy, penetration, disruption. If you hit the target where you aimed, the bullet penetrates properly into tissue, and then disrupts enough tissue through fragmentation or deformation, you'll get CNS death or "blood out air in." At the velocities generated by the 223, you are going to get penetration and disruption with every common load out there, and accuracy is up to you.


August 22, 2012, 05:39 AM
Dave my suggestion would be to check out this site:


This ammo is amazing, I have been researching it, and although I was not picked to go, two guys in our department got to go to a show put on by these guys and came back raving about it. I know it's sounds too good to be true, but from what I've seen and heard from the people who have seen first hand, it's all true.

August 23, 2012, 05:36 AM
TAP barrier load, i think its 62 grain.

August 23, 2012, 11:02 AM
I make it a point to use cheap bullets for the AR (for general use). Me likey those cheap surplus bullets. There's no reason a 55gr FMJ @ 3000 fps wont keep someone off of you. I have no doubt that the premium bullet options available are very good, but there's also no doubt that surplus bullets will too.

Use what you're comfortable with

August 24, 2012, 11:20 AM
I use 55 grain M193. That coming out of a 20" barrel is a proven lethal combination, and has a very low tendency to penetrate hard barriers. :)

August 24, 2012, 06:49 PM
No self-defense expert here...

But, I would have reservations about frangible ammunition in a self-defense weapon.

I know they're used, but do not understand the rationale behind them.

While I understand the concern about penetration of walls or other hard barriers in the event of a poorly placed shot, I also understand that if the BG decides to take cover behind my kitchen counter, or a couch, or door... that I would want the ability to take him out.

Why give the BG the opportunity to turn "concealment", into "cover"- and the possibility of taking me out, due to me being helpless to shoot through his concealment?