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Old October 7, 2018, 09:31 AM   #1
JohnFireingLine
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A Few Specific Questions: Regarding Ar-15 & Home Defense

I have used the search function here but the information is scattered so I will collate my questions here:

Disclaimer: I do subscribe to the thinking that a shotgun is the preferred choice for home defense. But this thread is about AR-15 and defensive ammo specifically. My Ar-15 eats .55gr ammo.

1. FMJ vs Softpoint .223 ammunition
Reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J08rYrWzwug&t=89s

I seem to be reading quite a bit that softpoint is a bad HD choice. But in this video there is rapid expansion and fragmentation in the ranges of 10 to 12 inches. To me this looks like a desirable outcome. Am I missing anything?

Potential HD Ammo Candidate For my AR-15: Hornady frontier spire spire point .223


2. Someone I knew well told me that TAP Ammo was the way to go.
Reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UggBMLHip5o

But in this video it seems to me that at .55 grains the outcome of the critical defense ammo is less desirable than that of the softpoint. At 73 grains however it looks a little better. But this ammo doesn't look much better then the softpoint .223. Again am I missing something?


3. What is your preferred .223 HD load for an Ar-15 and why? I would like to hear suggestions.
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Old October 7, 2018, 09:47 AM   #2
Art Eatman
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For me, "home defense" means shots well within fifty yards. Beyond that I see it as more of a "not likely defensive under the law" situation. For us civilians in the present world, "reasonable and prudent person" always applies.

Based upon a couple of autopsies of coyotes, I figure that most any soft-point hunting bullet of some 50 or 55 grains will ruin a bad-guy's day. The caveat is that I'm not going to just shoot once and stop and stare in derp mode.

Deer loads around 60+ grains should also be considered.
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Old October 7, 2018, 10:26 AM   #3
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Because I live in an urban setting, the AR stays in the safe and I have a shotgun by the bedside. Overpenetration is an issue...

I like the TAP ammos, I have it loaded up in mags for my M1a as defensive ammo (not for standard HD, obviously) and if I used an AR in that role, I would probably go with TAP there, too.
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Old October 7, 2018, 10:57 AM   #4
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We used TAP in both our patrol rifles and our SWAT guns.

If you are really concerned about over penetration, a 45gn ballistic tip varmint round is pretty explosive on impact. You give up depth in the target, but against unarmored home invaders coming down a hall towards you (and frontal chest shots), you dont need a ton of depth.

Those tend to be pretty bright in dim light, so plan for that.
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Old October 7, 2018, 11:44 AM   #5
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Don't get your training from YouTube. Anybody with internet access can post anything they want there.
"...well within fifty yards..." 50 yards is pushing the "immediate danger" distance. However, any rifle has far too much penetration and range capability. You are 100% responsible for where any shot you fire ends up. Hit something or somebody way down the street or your next door neighbour, you are responsible. And you'll likely have to justify shooting at all in court.
"...soft point is a bad HD choice..." Actually better but only because the will expand rapidly and fail to penetrate stuff like dry wall. They'll still go a very long way if you miss though.
"...Frontier spire spire point..." Spire point SP? Just another SP.
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Old October 7, 2018, 11:52 AM   #6
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For in the home? Anything softpoint. Unless your home is a Tony Montana home. Lol
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Old October 7, 2018, 04:38 PM   #7
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The concern with any HD round no matter what is carry through your walls and into someone elses.

And keep in mind, this includes a miss, chances are you are going to miss more than you hit.

If you live in the country and no one around and you don't care if you hit your tractor of car, likely not an issue.

If a perp comes at you with an armored vest, things change.

Its all a crap shoot and compromise.

As noted, u tube stuff can be pure nonsense, in general a soft tipped hunting bullet would be best.
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Old October 7, 2018, 07:14 PM   #8
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Slugs, buckshot, and all handgun rounds will penetrate more in building material than 223/5.56 ammo, even FMJ. Your AR is safer for your neighbors than a shotgun or pistol.

Since it can be used with one hand a handguns would be the 1st gun I'd reach for if something goes bump in the night. Indoors any long gun is harder to use and at close range there is very little if any difference in effectiveness with the better handgun loads.

But I do keep a shot barreled AR with a mounted light on it nearby. I prefer more compact 20 round magazines loaded with expanding ammo. The exact brand and bullet weight is less important. It will all work. Even FMJ isn't a bad choice, but I'd stay with lighter, faster 55 gr if shooting FMJ

At typical indoor ranges buckshot will have a very tight pattern of only about 2". You still have carefully aim. An AR is every bit as effective at those ranges with 6X more ammo available and 1/6th the recoil. I'm not a big shotgun fan, their usefulness is much more limited and you get 300 WM recoil levels from a longer, heavier weapon

Where a shotgun has an advantage is outdoors at ranges between 10-30 yards. Here you have a shot pattern that is useful to make it easier to hit moving targets or multiple targets with one trigger pull. But inside 10 yards, or beyond 30 yards any short barreled rifle is a better option. At contact distances I'll take a handgun.
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Old October 7, 2018, 08:39 PM   #9
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My head hurts. Is this Groundhog Day? Might as well make this post completely useless and say something stupid like,”Getting some popcorn , here we go again”.
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Old October 7, 2018, 10:35 PM   #10
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But the variable are windows for a backdrop, vs inside and multiple layers of Sheetrock and the outside sheeting (and then penetrating adjacent the same)

No one good answer or any for sure answer.

While FMJ may be the best to not over penetrate, its not the best for killing someone. The lethal tumbling affect is based on a high velocity achieved by a 20 inch barrel and a 55 grain bullet.

Short ARs take that down. At issue in military is the penetration they want vs lack of lethality (poking narrow holes in and through things)
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Old October 8, 2018, 07:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RC20
While FMJ may be the best to not over penetrate, its not the best for killing someone. The lethal tumbling affect is based on a high velocity achieved by a 20 inch barrel and a 55 grain bullet.
Incorrect, according to the Ammo Oracle at AR15.com.

First, it isn't just the tumbling that makes the round effective, it's the fragmentation that occurs as a result of the tumbling. That requires a bullet with a cannelure (such as M193 or M855), and a velocity of around 2700 feet-per-second. M193 fired from a 16-inch barrel will carry the necessary velocity out to around 140-150 meters. M855 out of a 16-inch barrel is good out to about 90-95 meters (100 yards).

Source: http://www.razoreye.net/mirror/ammo-...r.htm#m855zero

Scroll down to "Q. At what range will M193 fragment? How about M855?"

Also:

Quote:
Generally M193 yaws a bit quicker and fragments a bit more completely inside of 100 meters or so.

Of course, M193 also has higher initial velocities generally as well as a smaller, weaker bullet so its fragmentation is often more dramatic than in M855 at close ranges. Still, both do a lot of tissue damage over 2700 fps.
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Old October 8, 2018, 09:27 AM   #12
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Quote:
Don't get your training from YouTube. Anybody with internet access can post anything they want there.
But only specially trained people have access to internet gun forums? I think not. Anybody can post on them.

Quote:
"...well within fifty yards..." 50 yards is pushing the "immediate danger" distance.
Says who? If a person is trying to shoot you from 65 yards, for example you are living in the Peach House RV park in Texas, you are in "immediate danger" distance. If somebody is trying to shoot you from 300 yards, like maybe while you are attending an outdoor concert in Las Vegas, you are in the "immediate danger" distance.

Quote:
However, any rifle has far too much penetration and range capability. You are 100% responsible for where any shot you fire ends up. Hit something or somebody way down the street or your next door neighbour, you are responsible. And you'll likely have to justify shooting at all in court.
Whether or not you will have to justify a shooting in court has nothing to do with using a rifle. Bystanders get shot with pistols in HD situations as well. In general, anytime you use a gun, any gun, in self defense, there is a possibility of going to court.
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Old October 8, 2018, 09:41 AM   #13
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Slugs, buckshot, and all handgun rounds will penetrate more in building material than 223/5.56 ammo, even FMJ. Your AR is safer for your neighbors than a shotgun or pistol.
Safer for your neighbors, maybe, but the hearing damage will be greater
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Old October 8, 2018, 09:48 AM   #14
Art Eatman
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DNS, your comments about 65 and 300 yards are valid, but way out beyond probabilities--IMO. We can always dream up outliers, but there is no way to protect against all of them.
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Old October 8, 2018, 10:52 AM   #15
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My "home defense" gun is a 9mm pistol. My plan B should I have the opportunity to access it is a 10.5" AR pistol with KAK stock, light, laser, and AimPoint. It is loaded with Federal American Eagle 50 JHP because I know it works.
IF you use a gun inside a closed space, you can expect to hurt your ears. IF you use a rifle caliber gun inside your house, it may cause hearing loss. I've already lost 1/2 my hearing but I expect the bad guy on the receiving end of that 10.5" .223 to lose ALL of his.
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Old October 8, 2018, 04:06 PM   #16
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I also use a Model 59 9mm for home defense, and consider my AR15 as a last resort. I'm sure it would stop an intruder, but not comfortable with where the projectile might go afterwards, or if I missed.
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Old October 8, 2018, 04:37 PM   #17
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I also use a Model 59 9mm for home defense, and consider my AR15 as a last resort. I'm sure it would stop an intruder, but not comfortable with where the projectile might go afterwards, or if I missed.
You do understand that a properly chosen 223 round will penetrate LESS then your 9mm bullet will, dont you?
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Old October 8, 2018, 04:43 PM   #18
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Got my popcorn, ready for the next episode...

We've been having a variation of this discussion since the .223 was adopted over half a century ago...

I'll take a slightly different tack this time. Argue all you want about what penetrates what, but also ask this question...

IF a regular pistol is powerful enough to stop the bad guy, why would you want to use something inside a house, that burns twice or 3 (or 4??) times the powder??

That varmint bullet that doesn't go through the wall (or the second wall) might not make it into the torso, if it hits an arm first (or maybe even a jacket!)

I think its important to not just say ".223 does this, .223 doesn't do this" etc., without putting at leas as much, if not more emphasis on SPECIFICALLY WHICH .223 does what. The fellow who reads ".223 doesn't go through walls" (when the bullet in question is a varmint bullet,), then goes out and buys 55gr FMJ (because its cheapest) isn't going to get the result he's expecting.

Are those 70-80-90gr low drag long range match bullets going to stop at the second layer of sheetrock they run into?? I don't think so...

There are a lot of possible variables and combinations. The "right one" under the "right circumstances" can work pretty well. The wrong one? Not so much.
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Old October 8, 2018, 04:47 PM   #19
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IF a regular pistol is powerful enough to stop the bad guy, why would you want to use something inside a house, that burns twice or 3 (or 4??) times the powder??
Thats one of the problems, right there. Pistol rounds are HORRIBLE at stoping threats quickly. Thats one of the reasons so many shots are fired in LE shootings
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Old October 8, 2018, 05:37 PM   #20
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So many shots are fired, but often that's because there are more misses than hits. Looking at statistics for police shootings, about 75% of the shots fired fail to hit. And of the remaining 25% only a small percentage hit vital areas.
I watched two police officers outside the place I worked fire 22 rounds at someone trying to commit "suicide by cop". Of the 22 shots fired at 10'-15' she was hit 3 times. A rifle wouldn't make them any more proficient. It would simply mean there'd be 19 rifle rounds bouncing off and into the building she was standing in front of.
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Old October 8, 2018, 05:46 PM   #21
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A rifle wouldn't make them any more proficient. It would simply mean there'd be 19 rifle rounds bouncing off and into the building she was standing in front of.
All else being equal...yes a rifle would have been better. SO much easier to hit with. SO much more incapacitating. Just a better tool all around.

A pistol is ultra hard to use under stress.

Last edited by Sharkbite; October 8, 2018 at 06:46 PM.
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Old October 8, 2018, 05:57 PM   #22
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At 10'-15' I doubt the rifle would be any better. If we were talking 50' or more I'd agree.
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Old October 8, 2018, 06:43 PM   #23
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Quote:
Scroll down to "Q. At what range will M193 fragment? How about M855?"
As those rounds have a specification for penetration on a helmet/body armor, as well as other info, I am not buying that.

Repeated comments about failure to do anything as the 62 gr is too stable, instability or yaw requires it to be on the edge (and we get into the twist rates for the 5.56)

I gather the longer bullets return to that (or somewhat).

Its going to take a lot more than that to convince me.
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Old October 8, 2018, 07:01 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RC20
Quote:
Scroll down to "Q. At what range will M193 fragment? How about M855?"
As those rounds have a specification for penetration on a helmet/body armor, as well as other info, I am not buying that.

Repeated comments about failure to do anything as the 62 gr is too stable, instability or yaw requires it to be on the edge (and we get into the twist rates for the 5.56)

I gather the longer bullets return to that (or somewhat).

Its going to take a lot more than that to convince me.
You can remain as unconvinced as you choose. I carried an M16 with M193 in Vietnam, I know what it's capable of. The reason the military is having issues today is that they're using a heavier bullet (M855) out of a shorter barrel (14-1/2" rather than 20"), so they're not getting the velocity necessary for the bullet to tumble and self-destruct except at comparatively close range. The bullet doesn't have to be "on the edge" (of what? instability?) to tumble -- it's inherent to the spire point bullet shape.

Do you understand what we're talking about when we say the M193 or M855 fragments? It's not that it shatters on impact.The fragmenting is a result of the centripetal force generated by high-speed tumbling. The rotational force is great enough (above 2700 fps velocity) that the outer shell pulls apart along the cannelure, breaking the projectile into two or more pieces going in divergent directions.

I have an AR-15 carbine with a 16" barrel. I feel content with a bunch of M193 ammo, and a couple of boxes of M855 for the off chance a zombie arrives in a vehicle and I have to shoot through the car door. But the AR-15 isn't intended for my in-home self defense -- I keep a 1911 and a 12-gauge for that. The AR-15 is for if an urban unrest spreads beyond the city limits to my neck of the woods and I'm defending against a mass assault.
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Old October 8, 2018, 08:59 PM   #25
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Thats one of the problems, right there. Pistol rounds are HORRIBLE at stoping threats quickly. Thats one of the reasons so many shots are fired in LE shootings
Pistol rounds are not as good as rifle or shogtun rounds, but that doesn't tell the story about why cops shoot so much...

For lack of a better description, police often use saturation fire. Many will shoot a threat while upright, as it falls, and after it it on the ground and until it stops moving. Some will keep shooting after that. Many shots will completely miss. If multiple officers are present, then you are apt to have multiple officers shooting the same pattern, complete with the misses.

Here is an officer who fired 12 shots at a bad guy, but only hit 3 times.
http://www.timescall.com/ci_23413393...-35-rounds-one

Here officers fired 31 times. How many do you think hit the suspects?
https://www.wtnh.com/news/national/m...nds/1307084357

Hard to even explain this one...
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/...7-times-police

Shot at 57 times, hit 9...
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.d63ed166c46a

Famous case, Amadou Diallo shot at 41 times and remarkably was hit with a very high 19 times by 4 officers. Pretty amazing shooting for an unarmed target on his stoop outside his apartment. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Amadou_Diallo

Here officers fired 103 times at two women delivering newspapers, striking one woman twice. Not only was it really poor shooting, but the officers were not being fired on or attacked. Another officer fired on another pickup truck 3 times and missed with all three. In both cases, it was the wrong kind of truck they were looking for... https://www.theatlantic.com/national...-fired/357771/

Here officers fired 116 rounds, striking the suspect behind the wheel of his car 16 times and shooting 4 bystanders in the process... https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/u...w-answers.html

Here police fired 16 rounds and hit 10 people, only one of whom was the suspect. Three bystanders were shot directly by police and 6 more hit by ricochets and such... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_E...lding_shooting

Officers fired 99 times and hit the suspect 25 times...
http://www.ktvu.com/news/video-relea...iding-in-trunk

So missing the intended target is going to strongly come into play when it comes to high round counts by police officers.
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