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Old January 21, 2010, 04:52 PM   #1
45ACPShooter
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AR or 1911 For HD

I'm new to this forum but was interested purchasing either an AR-15 or a 1911 for home defense. I wanted to get the opinions of other members of this forum. Here's a list I complied of pros and cons of both weapon systems:

AR-15

Pros:
-High magazine capacity
-Able to engage targets at a distance
-More accurate
-Lightweight

Cons:
-Low stopping power
-Requires two hands to use
-Relatively easy to break because of the plastic butt stock
-Over penetration risk

1911

Pros:
-More stopping power than AR (45 ACP vs .223)
-Can be used with one hand
-Easier to use within enclosed areas

Cons:
-Low magazine capacity
-Isn't as accurate
-Can't engage targets as far as the AR
-Can't penetrate body armor
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Old January 21, 2010, 05:03 PM   #2
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there is no 'one size fits all' with HD. I'd buy both platforms, as well as a decent shotgun.
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Old January 21, 2010, 05:14 PM   #3
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I don't understand why you can't use both? However I do take issue with some of your pros and cons:

AR-15

Pros:
Quote:
-Lightweight
It is quite a bit heavier than a 1911

Quote:
Cons:
-Low stopping power
Not a chance. It certainly is better than the .45 ACP. You just have use the right kind of ammo.

Quote:
-Requires two hands to use
So does a pistol, mostly. You can operate an AR with one hand, but it ain't easy.

Quote:
-Relatively easy to break because of the plastic butt stock
The stock is plastic but the tube inside is metal. While they do break occasionally they take a surprising amount of punishment.

Quote:
-Over penetration risk
This can also be remediated by the proper ammo

1911

Pros:
Quote:
-Can be used with one hand
It can be but probably should not be... for most shooters.

Quote:
-Easier to use within enclosed areas
I am not so sure about this either. You might want to do more research on that. While it seems intuitive that a smaller weapon works better indoors, this is not necessarily the case.

Cons:
Quote:
-Isn't as accurate
At indoor ranges the difference in accuracy between the two is minimal.

Quote:
-Can't engage targets as far as the AR
If you are talking about indoor ranges, this does not make much difference
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Old January 21, 2010, 05:40 PM   #4
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People generally have one of two broad strategies in mind when it comes to home defense. The first is "barricading", where the home owner sets up in a defensive position and waits for the police to arrive. The second is "investigating" where the home owner attempts to "clear" their own house.

If your home defense plan runs more towards the barricading side of things, my vote goes for the AR. Otherwise I might lean more towards the 1911.
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Old January 21, 2010, 06:12 PM   #5
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Mannlicher said it right. You probably need one of each. If you are going to confront an intruder or two, you might want to have one hand on a gun and the other on a flashlight. It will be easier to maneuver and you will be more stealthy with a 1911. You are not going to have a four hour firefight inside your house so 7 or 8 rounds will do you.

The AR is probably more of a protect the fort type of weapon. That is to say, keep them from gaining entrance into the house. You have what you need to put out a fair amount of firepower in a short time. A couple of 30 round magazines will keep them at bay until the boys in blue arrive.
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Old January 21, 2010, 08:28 PM   #6
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12 gauge....


If you must choose between an AR-15 and a 1911 (in .223 and .45ACP respectively):
The AR-15 has more stopping power (by far--it's a rifle round 2700FPS...) You can add a light pretty easily (seeing your target is always good...) Rifles are easier to instinctively aim than pistols.

The 1911 can be used one handed (good for opening doors, calling 911, etc). If you get one with a rail, it has the same light-mounting capability as the AR-15. If not, you can use your off hand.
...although, one handed shooting requires a higher level of training...
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Old January 21, 2010, 08:32 PM   #7
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Auto shotgun
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Old January 21, 2010, 08:44 PM   #8
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Have any of you even shot someone with a .223 or 5.56 round? Seriously? Think about it, its a .22 round moving at like 3200 to 3800 FPS. It is quite possibly the worst HD weapon you could think of getting. Aside from the liberator...maybe... That hot little round is going to go THROUGH things. LOTS of things. WITHOUT doing much damage. If you're not worried about shooting up your house, a short barreled shotgun (IE mossburg 500) is a great HD weapon. Or some kind of revolver, so you don't have to worry about jams due to spring compression, whether or not one's in the chamber etc. IF you insist on a semi-auto, and you're just using it for home defense, think big, think slow, think MAXIMUM expansion. I don't want to get shot just because you're getting robbed.
A gun is just a TOOL. Its not going to make anyone deader because it looks cool. Like any TOOL you need to match it with the application. An ASSAULT rifle isn't a defensive weapon...an uzi is though. But that Bushmaster 5 million with every tricked out sight and handy-dandy laser doodad isn't going to do you a lick of good close quarters or around turns. And they're very, very loud. Think about getting a can (silencer) permit. They're expensive but it saves on hearing aids. (surefire makes them, they screw on where the flash suppressor goes) Now if you want the AR to be cool or whatever, get it. There's a good tag on here, a man's gun is like his nose, no one should pick it for him. Now if you want the AR to be cool or whatever, get it. Just think before you decide on that being your HD weapon.
.357 (they can also shoot .38 rounds, but not vice versa) .45's, heck even a .40 or 9mm would be good. Look up Talon rounds. They're not made anymore, but they can still be found, I've got a box for my 9mm. They're NOT illegal and they're NOT cop killers. They're made to expand. They do NOT have a steel jacket over the top, its some kinda coating to protect your barrel. Like I said they stopped making them but started making another round by a different name but is the same save the coating. They mighta stopped that one too IDK.
But IMHO at ranges inside a house it doesn't matter if you can shoot a 1" group at 100yards. It does matter that you can quickly track aim and fire your weapon. It does matter if you can get to your weapon. AND it really matters if you know the BG is in your house BEFORE he's in your bedroom. Cause if he's made it that far without you knowing, then even a M2 locked, cocked and ready to rock isn't going to give you a snowball's chance.
Making your home a harder target to hit is a much better investment than an AR or Kimber Custom. Couple cheap magnet alarms, motion sensors, prickly bushes etc. will do you a world of good. A pistol or shotgun within arm's reach will too. Some tricked out AR in the closet or between the mattresses won't.

I've seen what the 5.56 does at close range, I've seen how many rounds it takes to stop someone AT close ranges. I've seen a guy keep running after 8 rounds went through his torso. You know why the military uses them? Cause its friggen CHEAP. Its ammo is CHEAPER than 7.62, its also easier on all those light-weight POG's and REMF's to learn how to shoot and not be afraid of the recoil and muzzle blast.

Oh yeah, its illegal for civilians to own 30rnd mags. thats why it says for military or police use only on them. And lights are like tracers, they go BOTH ways.

Anyway, sorry for the rant and all. Remember that just because it looks cool in the movies doesn't mean it'll be cool in reality. And thats where we live, reality.
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Last edited by semi_problomatic; January 21, 2010 at 08:50 PM.
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Old January 21, 2010, 09:40 PM   #9
1911 Jim
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I'd like to know where you're getting 3800fps .223 ammo?

Pretty much all defense handgun calibers are capable of roughly the same penetration in ballistics gel - 12" or a little more. Ever measure your chest thickness? I'm about 12" front to back on the outside (I wear a 44" athletic cut suit). A 12" deep wound is going to have an exit hole unless shot at an angle and I'm 210#.

Maneuvering a rifle or shot gun in a home from the inside out might be a little harder than you may think. Sub-machine guns like the MP5 and SBR AR's are great for entry teams, but if you start in your bedroom and work your way to where you would most likely encounter an intruder, you may find it's a royal pain in the butt to quickly sweep the spaces inside your house with anything bigger than a hand gun. It also presents an easier target for an intruder to get a hold of and divert the muzzle away from them in the event they're able to get that close to you.

In either case, the weapon should be what you're most comfortable using.
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Old January 21, 2010, 09:46 PM   #10
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It's also NOT illegal for civilians to own 30rd mags. I don't know where you're getting your information from, but it's far from factual.

3270fps is as fast as NATO 5.56 runs. .223 remington is a little slower.
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Old January 21, 2010, 10:45 PM   #11
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To the poster who mentioned "have you ever shot someone with a .223?" Yes I have. It's quite effective even with M193. For the SD I would recommend the 1911 in 45acp. Get a good 1911 like an Ed Brown, or Wilson even a Kimber or Springfield. Put a good light on it and shoot a lot. 200 rounds/week. Practice off hand, one hand in the light, in the dark. The AR will cost less than some 1911s and requires sufficient training in CQB, but, it'll get the job done!!

One thing I might point out is that once the trigger is pulled and the BG loses the real fight begins. I would recommend Massad Ayoob's book The Truth About Self Protection. Caution on shooting a BG at any significant distance, remember you're probably going to have to defend your choices.
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Old January 21, 2010, 10:59 PM   #12
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Along those same lines, it's going to look bad to a jury when you have to explain why you thought you needed 30 rounds for HD and wanted to be able to engage them at 400yds.

Unless you have a ranch, and routinely have drug cartels charging your homestead... Well, you can see where this is headed.

Staying alive is obviously the first priority, but you also have to consider what happens after when the DA thinks you were excessive and intends to prove it.


Don't get me wrong, I keep loaded mags for both my AR and my Cetme, but those guns are locked up till something like katrina happens and I determine I have an area to suppress and need a presentation of overwhelming force to deter (or react to) an assault.
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Old January 21, 2010, 11:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
AR-15

Pros:
-High magazine capacity
-Able to engage targets at a distance
-More accurate
-Lightweight

Cons:
-Low stopping powerWhoa Nellie! Hold it right there!
-Requires two hands to use
-Relatively easy to break because of the plastic butt stock
-Over penetration risk


Both .223 and 5.56mm ammo will ruin your day. Even with ball ammo. With ammo other than ball, over penetration isn't as big a concern as you might think. With low penetration ammo, like Hornady Tap using Ballistic Tip ammo, over penetration is of NO concern.

To address your question, the pistol is more versatile and handier, the rifle is FAR more effective. The question is hypothetical (for me, anyway) and my HD strategy includes long guns and pistols.
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Old January 21, 2010, 11:17 PM   #14
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save $249.00 plus the local tax where you live, go to Wal###t and buy a Remington 870 12 Ga. Express then spend $18.00 on 3 boxes of #8 target loads. Go shoot two boxes for practice and from ranges of 5 feet to 25 feet (shooting cardboard) and LEARN what it will and won't do, you will be surprised

For Home defense, it's all you need besides a good flashlight and a cell phone.......

Later you can accesorize that 870 with a light mount, some spiffy black poly stocks, side saddle and a good sling.

As far as the .45ACP having more stopping power than a .223/5.56 as you mentioned.........you better rethink that......then "stopping power" of .223 is about 3.5 times that of the .45

But it dosen't matter what size the bullet is or how fast it's going, it matters where you place it.....


Better yet.... buy a dog, that barks.........LOUD

If it bites someone, trust me.....it will be a lot less pain than going through a shooting investigation and the aftermath

Last edited by 94Girl; January 21, 2010 at 11:23 PM.
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Old January 21, 2010, 11:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
-Relatively easy to break because of the plastic butt stock
Go smack yourself in the face with one and let me know which one looks better afterward .

My answer? Either will do very well provided you buy the right ammo and put at least 500 rds through it with zero stoppages (some, perhaps many, would argue at least 1000). My personal preference would be a 12ga shotgun.
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Old January 21, 2010, 11:35 PM   #16
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both!



i know its a glock not a 1911, but roll with it

personally i sleep just fine with a 1911, with a attached light.

--course there is a shotgun loaded in the safe, and two mags loaded for my m4

just saying
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Old January 21, 2010, 11:36 PM   #17
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What is your need?

The first thing to do is to evaluate the threat and put it in context.

Do you live in a rural setting with wide open spaces where the threat might be visible from a long ways off (and likewise be dangerous from a distance)?

Then evaluate your resources. Are you alone? Two of you. What is your experience level? What do you expect the response time of backup to be (police or neighbors).

In order to make an intelligent recommendation, there are many, many things we need to know.

Generally, a shotgun is best for the typical home defense scenario. Call for assistance/backup and remain stationary in a defensible position. But that assumes a great deal about your situation, about which I know nothing.

Help us out here.

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Old January 21, 2010, 11:48 PM   #18
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I got my .223 info from my hornady reloader book. A remington 223 40grain V-MAX with 27.8gr. of AA 2460 pushes 3800 fps. And .223 at close range goes straight through, its going too fast for any significant damage, why do you think SF changed to 6.8 and 7.62 rounds?

Also, the mossberg 500 isn't a long weapon, don't know if you've ever handled one or not but its not exactly a remchester. Put a pistol grip on it and its even shorter.

I never said it wouldn't ruin the BG's day, but it will give him a lot longer time to ruin yours as well.

READ along those 30 round mags. its printed VERY clearly on the side "RESTRICTED LAW ENFORCEMENT/GOVERNMENT USE ONLY" I know, I'm holding one in my lap now.
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Old January 21, 2010, 11:50 PM   #19
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I'm not going to try to comment on self-defense ballistics - I think a good solid center-torso hit at about 10' is going to have the same effect regardless of which round you use.

But a good point was made in the thread about revolvers not needing to have magazines with their springs fully compressed for extended periods.

I have a number of HD firearms concealed around the house, and they are all revolvers.

Obviously its situationally dependent - what is right for you might not be right for someone else.

But a 12 ga shotgun with 5 rounds in a holder and a loaded revolver would also provide you with significant HD capability, and may cost less as well. (Unless you envision fighting off a platoon of heavily armed goblins...)

Just MHO, FWIW.
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Old January 22, 2010, 12:24 AM   #20
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Quote:
And .223 at close range goes straight through, its going too fast for any significant damage, why do you think SF changed to 6.8 and 7.62 rounds?
Military experiences with the caliber aren't directly applicable to the civilian world. Unlike the military we are not constrained to FMJ ammunition and can use loads especially developed expressly for law enforcement and personal defense that can be quite devastating at close range. The Hornady TAP line of ammunition comes to mind.

Quote:
READ along those 30 round mags. its printed VERY clearly on the side "RESTRICTED LAW ENFORCEMENT/GOVERNMENT USE ONLY" I know, I'm holding one in my lap now.
30 round magazines are legal to own in most of the country, regardless of what has been written on the mags. Many magazines were marked like that during the now defunct Federal Assault Weapon Ban, and some are still marked like that for sale to the few places that have bans, and still others are marked like that just out of company policy.
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Old January 22, 2010, 12:34 AM   #21
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Why'd they switch to the 6.8? Because a 62gr bullet (heavier, and slower than your micro weight 40gr .223 example which is NOT a standard factory or mil spec load) will never have the kinetic energy capacity that a 110gr bullet has at comparable chamber pressures.

The move away from the .308 round was due to allowing soldiers to carry more ammo at a lower weight than the heavier .30 cal rounds. Unless you need to penetrate a vehicle, cover, or structure, there's a lot of merit to the smaller, lighter bullets. Once you encounter fortification, you need the heavier bullet to punch through that cover. The wars in Europe and Korea showed that the extra "oomph" of the heavier rounds was rarely needed by the foot soldier (fortified targets were dealt with by the squads machine gunner), and the trade off to being able to carry more bullets was deemed a benefit over a non-existent loss of "killing power." As has been said, a good shot with .223 will severely ruin your day. It doesn't take much to kill a man.

I've been looking all over my colt, magpul, and god knows what other brand 30rd mags and none of them is marked as you claim. Maybe in your hick state they're not legal, but when I'm not buying them from Brownells, I buy them from a police supply shop and they're well aware I'm not active/guard/or any kind of law enforcement. Do you really think they'd risk selling them to me when the guy in front and behind me in line are uniformed local officers?
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Old January 22, 2010, 12:50 AM   #22
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Inside a house I think a handgun of at least 9mm is preferable over any long gun due to the tight quarters. The long gun's barrel is ahead of you and I think it would be easier to take away as you go around corners.
If you wanted to use long gun then I think a shotgun would be better than a long range type firearm such as an AR.
Our primary home defense guns are a 9mm Stoeger Cougar for me and a 38spl Taurus stubby for my wife. I do also have quick access to a SxS short barrelled Coachgun, which is just about the shortest legal shotgun there is.
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Old January 22, 2010, 01:08 AM   #23
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Quote:
Oh yeah, its illegal for civilians to own 30rnd mags. thats why it says for military or police use only on them. And lights are like tracers, they go BOTH ways.
Wow. Just wow. I won't even go into the rest of your post.

Build your home defense like you would a tool box. The firearms are your tools. Mine is a Beretta M9 and a Remington 870 pump, loaded with 00buck followed by a slug (alternating that way down the tube). I also have an AR, with the evil 30 round pmag. But which one I use depends on the situation. The AR wound probably be last in the list. Break in/home invasion at night, 12 guage. Knock at door at an odd hour, door answered with pistol in hand.

Best you can do is plan ahead, play out "what if's" with your family. You should have a home invasion plan just like you should have a fire, severe weather plan.
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Old January 22, 2010, 08:35 AM   #24
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Quote:
Along those same lines, it's going to look bad to a jury when you have to explain why you thought you needed 30 rounds for HD and wanted to be able to engage them at 400yds.
First, you don't have to explain anything to a jury. I don't know where you are, but there have been a few uses of AR15s for HD that I can think of and none have resulted in having to explain capacity or distance to a jury. Besides, who said anything about wanting to engage targets at 400 yards?

If you want to follow Ayoob's logic of using what the cops use, then it works even better. Many of our local departments use AR15s.

Quote:
its going too fast for any significant damage
LOL, that is the funniest thing I have read in a long time.
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Old January 22, 2010, 08:40 AM   #25
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Dear Semi Problomatic,

Hon,

The magazine ban has been over for a while now, I don't know how famillar you are with firearms but there are billions of "non-marked" AR mags out there as there are "marked" mags, both in rifle and pistol.

It is perfectly LEGAL to own both with or with out the markings, and you DO NOT have to be a LEO, or Military.

Read again: BAN IS OVER...... (for now)
I hope this helps
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