I was over at madogre the other day and read his post about AR’s (specifically in 5.56) being unsuitable for in home defense due to the loud report. I’m not going to get into what firearm causes the most hearing damage or which is best for home defense (rifle vs. shotgun, long gun vs. handgun). I decided instead to look and see what else I could find in the way of a suitable carbine in a different style and chambering.
What I found instead was (as already covered quite some time ago) that everyone except Apple and Betty Crocker is putting their eggs in the AR market (as if the same Army that just doubled down on 9mm oversafetied Berettas is going to forsake Colt).
iCarbine anyone? You can get it in white.
There are a few non AR options for semi auto carbines in pistol calibers. The Kel-Tec Sub 2000 in 9mm or .40, FN P90 in 5.7, and of course the Kriss in .45. The Kriss and FN are kind of cost prohibitive for home defense for most folks (or at least for me) and the FN is the only one that offers increased ammo capacity. I think ammo capacity should be a consideration, otherwise you might as well use a handgun.
If you want a little more oomph you can go with a Thereon Arms carbine in .357 Sig or 10mm, but it comes in an AR platform.
The question really seems to come down to something with a little more power and mag capacity than a handgun, but with minimum recoil for quick follow ups.
Marlin used to make the Camp Carbine in 9mm and .45, but it used standard mags and there was no increase in ammo capacity.
I found myself looking again at the M1 Carbine. I have been talking myself out of buying an M1 for years. There are two arguments I used for this. The first is that I can get more power and range from an AR in 5.56 or similar for about the same money. The second is that .30 Carbine ammo is not as readily available (or cheap) as other calibers and doesn’t really provide more power than a .357 Mag or .40S&W.
I thought about a shotgun, but those aren’t really ideal for smaller statured folks (such as wives, children, or the elderly) or for quick follow ups, which probably aren’t necessary if you get the first round on target (unless you have more than one target). Yes, you can be quick, especially with some of the auto’s and a little practice but that’s not the point. They are still loud and have low ammo capacity.
I keep coming back to a few determining factors.
First, most houses are not that large ( if you can afford a house where you have plenty of room to swing a full size rifle or shotgun you can probably afford someone to wield it for you) so even the minimum legal length rifles and shotguns can quickly cause problems while clearing a house.
If you hear a bump in the night and just plan to hold one room or area with a choke point no problem, but if you have kids or family spread through the house or just live more than a few minutes from law enforcement assistance you may need to clear the residence yourself which means tight corners and doorways, closets, and one hand free for a light depending on time of day and your weapon set up. It also means one hand free to manipulate door knobs.
One of the K9 guys at our department often laments the move away from HK MP5s in 9mm because they could be shot with one hand, leaving the other free to control the K9 or manipulate doorknobs.
Which I guess brings me around to Short barreled rifles or shotguns. A short-barreled rifle or shotgun, such as the magazine fed Saigas allow flexibility and are ideal for tight spaces, but recoil may prevent one hand manipulation. However, once again this brings up finances. Most folks aren’t prepared to pay the price tag that comes along with a good short-barreled weapon, then pay the ridiculous ATF tax, and then pay to replace it if God forbid they have to use it in self defense.
The same can be said for suppressors. You still have to pay for the suppressor and then the extra $200 tax stamp along with the average 6 month wait for approval. I have read where some people recommend using a suppressed weapon for self defense and then removing the suppressor to keep from having it taken as evidence along with the weapon. I don’t recommend this as it is considered felony tampering with evidence in Texas. You definitely don’t want to turn what I hope is another wise legal use of force into a felony over a suppressor, because I promise it is not worth it.
So I guess the conclusion I have reached (and what I recommend) is that unless you are Tony Mantegna, a good quality full size handgun, preferably with weapon light, is the best affordable choice for defense of the average home.
As with everything practice is necessary.
I know I said this post wasn’t going to discuss what the best weapon for home defense was, but sometimes my writing just gets away from me.
The original point I meant to make was that most firearms manufacturers are making no attempt to innovate with different calibers or weapon designs, but I guess that is going to have to be another post.