Author Topic: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house  (Read 30038 times)

Offline aslink

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223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« on: July 14, 2009, 10:05:55 PM »
It's been buggin' me for sometime. I first heard about it from Michael Bane on his show "The Best Defense." They were at a shooting facility in Oklahoma when they mocked up drywall material in the form of walls and did some shooting tests with various self defense weapons. Included were 9mm, 45ACP, 5.56 and shotgun with 00 Buck and 8 shot. It turns out the best thing you could use in your own house for self defense is 8 shot and the 223 round. Best meaning it penetrates fewer walls and will most likely not leave your house and visit your neighbors.

I didn't what to post any of this without being able to post proof. Since I watched that episode in the earlier part of the year. Jack's made mention of a carbine is not a good choice. Now when I think carbine I think 223 or 5.56. He also said I believe a pistol is a better choice then a shotgun, I forget the ammo choice so I'll leave that out. I wanted to write at that time but I couldn't find the episode on the web so I let it alone.

I also listen to Tom Gresham's Gun Talk via podcast. He made mention in last Sunday's Radio show that Gunsite when he was visiting made some mock up walls and did some tests. This I was able to locate and posted the podcasts for everyone to listen to. I posted the whole show but the important part is in part b. He talked about the 223 or 5.56 penetrating fewer walls even FMJ (Full Metal Jacket) not just JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point). This fact surprised me but again makes sense it's still a lighter round. He stated that all the pistol rounds tested exited the exterior wall.

Food for thought.

After you click on the link and the page draws up click on the link for "Direct Download".

Part A
http://guntalk.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=502704

Part B
http://guntalk.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=502705

Part C
http://guntalk.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=502707

Offline DeltaEchoVictor

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2009, 02:10:35 AM »
I'm familiar with all of those episodes, & I happen to think Jack's wrong about the handgun being the best for home defense.  We all have our opinions obviously & that's what he prefers.

IMO the shotgun in an easily maneuverable configuration (18" barrel) is what I'd choose first.  Within a house the ranges are going to be fairly short & I've seen guys shot at close range with shotguns.  They don't move much after they take the hit, usually straight to the ground.  The psychological impact of staring down a shotgun barrel is pretty impressive too.

Since I don't own a shotgun at the moment my choice now is my AR, with my pistol as a back up.  I have a light mounted to the rail in case I need it.  None of them are worth a damn though if you can't use them effectively.

Offline khristopher23

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2009, 06:55:06 AM »
I have heard the same thing on both of the shows you were talking about. It has about sold me on the idea that I need a .223.

Offline aslink

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2009, 09:52:04 AM »
I like the idea of the shotgun with 8 shot because it doesn't over penetrate the walls but just enough of a bad guy. It's inexpensive so if the cops take it I'm not out $1,200 for either my 1911 or my Sig 556. Plus and here is the big one Racking the 870 in the middle of the night to me is a big deterrent. Just like looking down the wrong end of the shotgun the sound of racking one would be enough for me. But then again I'm not out doing B&E's.

My hope is Jack will read this thread and do the research and change his mind. I just think he has old info and ideas about the different rounds. The new info is based on tried and true set it up and see what happens.

Offline Citizen Zero

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2009, 11:22:18 PM »
I'd have to go with the shotgun as well.

1. Intimidation factor (can help you avoid a shooting incident).

2. If there is a shooting incident, you don't loose a $900+ carbine (even in a "justified" shooting. If its unjustified, you have a whole lot more to worry about than loosing the weapon).

Just my $.02

Winchester32

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2009, 12:27:45 AM »
I wouldn't worry as much about it visiting the neighbors as I would having it go through a wall into my kids room.  I would stick with a shotgun as well. 
« Last Edit: July 19, 2009, 12:31:58 AM by Winchester32 »

homeshow

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2009, 05:09:13 AM »
look i am going to politely disagree on the "intimidation factor"  the last thing I'm going to do at 2 am is make a loud warning noise for the possably and likely armed intruder.  in my home with MY Susan in the house.  i pray this never happens.  there will be no warning noises coming from me except for possably nervous farts.

i own a bushmaster AR and as it is one of the tools i could use when available.  last time i cleared the house was with a pistol and flashlight.  both readily available in the bedroom.  so in the preparedness theme of going with what you know and my second rule of RULE #2 whatever is closest and loaded.  first rule is RULE #1 in an unfriendly situation to make the situation friendly precede entry with insertion of 2 live hand grenades.

Offline khristopher23

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2009, 07:48:39 AM »
I believe I gotta agree with you homeshow, I believe the "intimidation factor" is somewhat overrated, to the point where it seems like some people are depending on that. Sometimes though it does work I guess. We had a neighbor call years ago when I was just a kid. She was home alone and saw a someone looking in her windows. Well, out goes my dad with the model 1100 (not a pump I know, but the effect was kinda the same). He didn't have one in the chamber, but when he seen the guy laying in the middle of the road, he chambered a round. He said the guy almost (or did, it's been a long time ago, I don't 100% remember) started crying. He later told my dad that was the scariest sound he had ever heard in his life.

Like you though, I'm not too sure I would count on it. Like you mentioned also, there is a lot to be said for the stealth factor. By racking the shotgun you are letting someone know exactly where you are at. I believe, chances are 99% of the time most would leave when hearing that, but what about those that are armed, doped up, or whatever, that might be willing to fight. You have just announced your location. I don't know, I haven't actually been in that situation, but I believe both tactics deserve consideration.

Where are you at Yeager? What's your opinion? Nice having our own resident firearms instructor here isn't it :)

Offline SteveInTx

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2009, 09:34:14 AM »
Chambering a round in an AR has a distinctive sound as well.

Offline DeltaEchoVictor

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2009, 10:29:18 PM »
Quote
You have just announced your location.
You've only announced your location if you're standing still. 

A very important rule when involved in an armed conflict is to MOVE!  If you're not moving you're a target....hell, even if you are moving you're a target, but at least you're a moving target & that means you're actively engaged in either removing yourself from harm or removing the harm from yourself (i.e. killing it).

You might get lucky & catch the bad guy slipping, in that case staring down the barrel of 12 gauge might just be enough to keep them from twitching towards their own weapon.

homeshow

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2009, 06:10:23 AM »
You've only announced your location if you're standing still. 

A very important rule when involved in an armed conflict is to MOVE!  If you're not moving you're a target....hell, even if you are moving you're a target, but at least you're a moving target & that means you're actively engaged in either removing yourself from harm or removing the harm from yourself (i.e. killing it).

You might get lucky & catch the bad guy slipping, in that case staring down the barrel of 12 gauge might just be enough to keep them from twitching towards their own weapon.

darn i won't be breaking into your house any time soon. ;D +1

Offline DeltaEchoVictor

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2009, 11:55:06 AM »
darn i won't be breaking into your house any time soon. ;D +1
LOL...well, I've had two guns pointed at me in anger & was a bouncer in a bar once when a gunfight between pissed off patrons erupted, so I have a little experience in actively avoiding getting shot.

Offline MisterTaco

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2009, 12:12:58 PM »
Whether the choice is a shotgun or handgun, training/proficiency is tantamount. Including weapon retention. Both can be taken away.

Offline Kwitzats

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2009, 04:24:30 PM »
I didn't follow the link but a 223 is not a low penetration round it is quite fast and can defeat armour that many pistol rounds can't, as far as home defense i'd perfer my carbine because im faster and much more accurate than with a handgun, i don't own a shotgun and have had limited training with it so i can't chime in on it effectivness or personal preference but it seems a logical tool in home defense. On the practical side since a ar or shotgun will not fit in a fast open safe on my bedside table my goto is the hangun. If i knew people were comming this wouldnt be the case but if i knew they were comming i probally wouldn't be there myself.

Offline khristopher23

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2009, 05:02:19 PM »
I didn't follow the link but a 223 is not a low penetration round it is quite fast and can defeat armour that many pistol rounds can't, as far as home defense i'd perfer my carbine because im faster and much more accurate than with a handgun, i don't own a shotgun and have had limited training with it so i can't chime in on it effectivness or personal preference but it seems a logical tool in home defense. On the practical side since a ar or shotgun will not fit in a fast open safe on my bedside table my goto is the hangun. If i knew people were comming this wouldnt be the case but if i knew they were comming i probally wouldn't be there myself.

According to the tests they done, which they shot through actual framed walls, the 223 penetrated less than 12ga with buckshot or slugs, and the 9mm and .45. The proof was there, they showed the test taking place.

Offline Kwitzats

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2009, 07:55:46 PM »
I'll look at it but I'm calling balderdash preemptively.

Offline Kwitzats

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2009, 08:20:41 PM »
still have not listened but some preliminary reseach indicates Blitz fragmenting ammo if thats the case i need to get some.

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2009, 07:59:59 AM »
I believe it may have been on a different site, but a poll was conducted asking the respondents "As an intruder, which gun would you least like to be confronted with by a homeowner."

Answer that question and you have your answer for a home defense gun.  (My answer was 12 gauge shotgun)

Offline Kwitzats

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2009, 08:53:53 PM »
another test i found(Possibly the one mentioned) used two pieces of waffer board a space and then dry wall to simulate EXTERIOR walls, I have little fear that an ar will exit my brick home it is interior walls that i am primarily concerned with. Still have not found test data for non specific fragmenting ammo showing that a 223 penetrates less drywall than a 12gauge. Anyone have a link other that a podcast?

Offline Pathfinder

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2009, 09:09:58 PM »
another test i found(Possibly the one mentioned) used two pieces of waffer board a space and then dry wall to simulate EXTERIOR walls, I have little fear that an ar will exit my brick home it is interior walls that i am primarily concerned with. Still have not found test data for non specific fragmenting ammo showing that a 223 penetrates less drywall than a 12gauge. Anyone have a link other that a podcast?

The test was conducted on camera on The Best Defense show on The Outdoor Channel earlier this year. They shot multiple rounds through multiple weapons, and the 5.56 ball stopped shorter than any other round other than #8 birdshot IIRC.

Offline Kwitzats

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2009, 09:42:10 PM »
All i saw was 5.56 penetrate 3 walls some lip service about it now having limited velocity by Pincus an then he did not show the remaining walls The buck shot was severely attenuated at the second wall despite Pincus's description. I am wondering if there might be some hidden agenda here? Maybe not it just goes against my common perception of the 556. I think the important message is that almost any round will  at least penetrate one room with deadly force.

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2009, 11:39:11 AM »
Rob Pincus is enough of an expert for me to trust his finding. As for a hidden agenda, what does he have to gain by falsifying data?
The guy makes a living on his reputation after all.  What is most important about this is the type of bullet. 55gr fmj, excluding the varmint rnds, it is  least lethal .223/5.56 round available for the Ar platform IMO.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2009, 11:43:56 AM by Kilo113 »

Offline Serellan

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2009, 12:18:17 PM »
Real penetration tests:

http://www.theboxotruth.com/

For me, the rifles stay in safes.  My "available" weapons in the house are a Mossberg 500A loaded with RR 00 buck (in the mag, full 00 buck and slugs on the sidesaddle), and my 92FS loaded with hydroshock 124g jhp.

Missing an intruder and having a .223 round go through my wall, into a neighbors house and killing someone is too much of a risk in my semi-surburban neighborhood.  While 00 will penetrate multiple walls, the spread is enough that it is unlikely to kill a neighbor.

http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot14_4.htm

Offline Lawyerman

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2009, 07:22:56 AM »
I keep a rifle by the bed. The advantages of the rifle over the shotgun are too many to be ignored. Besides, penetration is not a bad thing- it's how guns kill- air in, blood out. There have been so few incidents of people being wounded due to over penetration in my opinion that it is practically a non factor. If you live on a postage stamp lot or in an apartment it may be more of an issue but to me, it's not something worth worrying about a whole lot.

The rifle recoils less, carries more ammo, is easier to reload and offers greater precision than the shotgun. You are responsible for all 8 or 9 of the buckshot pellets you let fly with. I've got ONE rifle bullet to worry about and I have a much better idea of where it's going than you do with 8-9 pellets...... I have little use for the shotgun as a defensive weapon in all honesty.  I will say this also, anyone that advocates the use of bird shot for self defense is not someone I would listen to. It will not penetrate sufficiently to kill at less than essentially contact ranges. Bird shot is for birds......

Offline khristopher23

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2009, 08:27:22 AM »
I'm believing this before I'm believing any box of truth test. These walls are set distances apart that are typical in an actual home.

Gun Caliber Velocity Test

So, my first choice for home defense would be a .223 rifle (which I still don't own, but when I do it will be my 1st choice). I do believe it would penetrate less than the 9mm, but have more knockdown power.

My second choice would have to be the shotgun with birdshot. That being said, only the first one or two in the tube would be birdshot, backed up by buckshot, just in case the "birdshot is not powerful enough" camp is right.

Third choice would be my .45, with a 9mm being pretty much at the bottom of the list. That being said, I believe Massad Ayoob said his bedroom gun is a 9mm Baretta, so....

Offline donaldj

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #25 on: August 04, 2009, 09:06:57 AM »
The NRA and most other places suggest a pistol over a rifle/shotgun in home defense ONLY because so few gun owners take the time to learn real tactical movement with a long arm.  Too many people have seen movies with the long arm aimed up, jumping into a room with bravado, racking that 12 gauge pump, and talkin' tough to the bad guys. Tactically speaking, this is utterly farcical. Pistols are suggested because they are able to be moved into position faster (from the bad tactical posture people tend to use).

In correct movement, you move through the house with the barrel pointed straight in front of you, and stay behind the weapon. At this point the chamber is loaded and you are ready (finger off the trigger though). Your barrel is leading the way for you. Waiting to confront a bad guy before chambering a round is pure idiocy, and foolish bravado. Because of this movement, shorter weapons are preferred. A bullpup rifle/carbine, short barrel shotgun, or pistol are preferred to a trap barrel, obviously.

For me, I use a Beretta 9mm. If I had a short barrel shotgun I would use it instead with #4 shot to begin with, working up to 000. I have an M1 Carbine that would be somewhat suitable, but the 9mm is sufficient, and has higher capacity and maneuverability.

I don't think a rifle is a good choice for internal home defense unless shot placement in a simulated home situation, and tactical movement, is practiced.

D

Offline khristopher23

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #26 on: August 04, 2009, 09:51:29 AM »
Tactical movement inside a house is probably a bad idea anyway unless you need to go get your kids, or something like that. If you are sure someone is in your house, you probably just need to get your family members safe in your predetermined safe room, call the police and wait for them, while waiting in that safe room with your weapon(s) of choice. In that scenario, I believe a shotgun would probably be the best bet. But as for the handgun, I agree, it is a lot more maneuverable, and would be my choice in the "gathering the kids" phase, especially since I have young children who would probably have to be carried. It would be hard to carry a kid and keep a rife, carbine, or shotgun in a usable position.

So, my plan would probably be: leave my wife in the bedroom with the shotgun, take a handgun and go get the kids, then return to the safe room. In that case, I am fine with not even having a short barreled "tactical" shotgun. The shotgun stays in the safe room, and is not used to clear the house. At that point, if I were sure there was someone else in the house, as I said above, I would stay put and call the professionals. But, IMO, the most likely thing to happen around here would be some unusual noise outside or something, which would probably be an animal of some sort getting into something, in which case, I don't really want to have called the police for a possum or stray dog knocking something over on the porch . THAT is when I would take a .223 or a .308 SOCOM if I had one. Even if it is an animal, it may still need to be shot if it is rabid, or otherwise tries to attack, or it may not be an animal at all, in which case I am very glad I brought the rifle or carbine.

The point is, as we've said on here many times, that guns are only tools. It is best to have the right one for the right application.

 In typing all of this out, I have been rethinking my plan. In the case mentioned above, if the shotgun were guarding the bedroom door only, if a shot was fired and it did go outside of the house, there is nothing but woods in that direction for a pretty good ways, so over penetration would not be that big of an issue. So, maybe buckshot is my best bet. However, turn 90 degrees to the left (which would cover the stairwell leading upstairs) there is a house probably only 100yds away. But, in thinking about it, that house is solid log, so I doubt I would have to worry about my buckshot load going out my wall, going 100 yards, then going through at least 4 solid inches of log (probably closer to 6 or 8 inches, but some around here are only 4). Either way, in my situation I believe I would be alright with the buckshot. Sorry for rambling , I was just literally re-thinking my personal situation as I typed. Maybe it'll help someone else rethink their own situation. I believe I have just convinced myself to go back to buckshot for my home defense shotgun in a thread that was supposed to be about using a .223 or 5.56 for home defense. ;D

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #27 on: August 04, 2009, 09:57:47 AM »
Lots of good arguments made here.

I go back and forth (internally) with this subject.

Some key points;

1. The 9mm is no longer the SWAT weapon of choice because of overpenetration fears. For years it was assumed that a rifle round would be more devastating in multiple drywall penetrations. Turns out, it is less likely. The 9mm went through more. Furthermore, a suspect hit with a single 5.56 generally stopped their aggressive actions quicker than a suspect hit by a single 9mm. Kinetic shock (energy) is basic physics. The shotgun of course, as we all know, lays a BG out quickly. It did so for me in 1985 when I used a 20 ga on an intruder. Many entry teams switched to a 5.56 platform earlier this century. I am not against 9mm and my wife has an XD9 as her bedside weapon of choice.

2. Overpenetration may not be important in your individual case. Know your house. Sweep it one day, when no one else is at home, and look at the likely engagement angles and see if there is a probability or just a possibility. You may live pretty far from your neighbors and have no kids in the house. I am trying very hard to remember when overpenetration became an issue on any op I've been on.

3. The argument for a handgun would be that you can hold a child, a cell phone, a separate flashlight, operate a doorknob, flip light switches, etc while still holding the gun steadily. Handguns are generally chambered already (mine are anyway), so no warning noise issues with that as opposed to a pump shotgun carried "cruiser ready" (tube loaded, chamber empty, hammer down, safety off) or a rifle (magazine loaded, chamber empty, safety on).

4. The argument for a handgun because it doesn't stick out so far and therefore makes it harder for an intruder to grab from you is slight at best. A handgun, in a proper two-hand Isocelles Stance, sticks out as far as a shorter barrelled carbine held to the shoulder. Sure, a handgun can, at very short engagement distances, be fired from the hip. So can a carbine or a shotgun.

5. In the end, be very good with whatever you do plan to use. Have a plan, rehearse it, be able to get first shot hits, reload, clear malfunctions, and fight through any injuries you take in the process. I keep bedside light/laser equipped handguns for my spouse and I. I have a Mossberg 500 (with light) nearby. I have an AR (with light) that can be deployed in a few seconds. My home is setup for me to always be near a gun, but I don't walk around the house carrying a weapon. The spouse and children who are old enough are trained as well and know the home defense plan. We rehearsed it. I wouldn't advise invading my home. If someone does, it would be better for them to encounter me than it would be my wife. The mother instinct in her will leave the guy choking on his own scrotum before she delivers the coup de grace. I will show more restraint.


Any gun is better than no gun when BG's enter your castle.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2009, 10:06:36 AM by Goatdog62 »

Offline CR Williams

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #28 on: October 08, 2009, 02:21:43 PM »
At the ranges you would engage at in an average home, the differences between .223 and 5.56 are effectively zero.

As to the other options discussed here:

One thing I never see discussed is the difference in legal barrel length allowed between shotguns and rifles. It's a two inch difference, and when you're clearing rooms and pieing corners and doors two inches makes a bigger difference than you might think.

If you have a collapsible stock on rifle or shotgun, look at fully collapsing the stock prior to movement in the house with it. This is uncomfortable to some, but the discomfort is temporary, you get a shorter weapon that's easier and faster to move with indoors, and most importantly, you keep the second big advantage of having a shoulder weapon, which is the multiple points of contact that gives you more stability and thus accuracy, especially in rapid fire, than with a handgun. (The first big advantage is the more powerful round.)

If the rifle or shotgun has a folding stock, I would recommend not using it that way in a home-defense/clearance environment. You lose all the advantages of the multi-point support, it's more fatiguing to maneuver with (and you're already going to be stressed enough as it is), it's easier to take away if someone gets a hand on it, and it's harder to keep on target and manipulate in rapid-fire. Fold for storage, extend for fighting.

Assume everything you shoot is going to go through more walls than anybody tells you it will. Set your 'fire plan' up with that in mind. Overestimate penetration, underestimate the effect on the target. This puts emphasis on accuracy, where it should be even at short ranges.

Pattern your shotgun at the longest range you'll shoot it in the house. One thing that might surprise you is how small the spread will be at those ranges. You can't just point it down the hall and put a ball or two on everything at the opposite end.

Even with a rifle/carbine or a shotgun, do not count on one shot stopping the threat. Most things, even pistols, work most of the time, but nothing works all the time, and you don't want to bet your life and your family on one-shot stop charts, not even for a shotgun.

So: If I'm able to and planning to hold in place, the shotgun or carbine is my choice. If I have to start maneuvering through the house, the pistol or carbine is my choice. This is also what I recommend to anyone that might ask me for recommendations for home defense.

But, after you have the basic hardware, software rules. So whatever you do get, seek training next.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: 223 or 5.56 better choice for self defense in house
« Reply #29 on: October 08, 2009, 06:01:11 PM »
Good discussion.
Heres my 2 cents. I am an LEO with 20 years on and have always carried a 40 cal on duty. I have cleared numerous buildings and residences with my side arm in the daylight and at night. I train with my 40 also at the academy on training days. Even train using my weak hand and one handed shooting. Hard to do that with a shotgun. So since we dont train with the shotgun and only shoot it once a year to qualify with it I prefer using my 40 cal as my home defense weapon. I do have a 20 gauge 18" barreled shotgun at the house but it stays in the safe. It would get real old real quick having to put the shotgun in the safe everyday for safe keeping when I leave for work and the have to remove it every night from the safe before I go to bed. I wouldnt want to leave it out when im not home. My 40 cal is always with me and ready to go.