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How to Build an AR-15 for Home Defense
created: 12/2/2023 1:13 PM in GEAR

How to Build an AR-15 for Home Defense

Choosing the right AR-15 for home defense requires careful consideration. 

This article gets into the essential factors to consider when selecting an AR-15, highlighting its suitability for home defense. 

Additionally, we'll recommend a few accessories, identifying which are crucial for home defense scenarios. 

Whether you're a first-time buyer or have been into firearms your entire life, our guide is tailored to help you make an informed decision, balancing practicality, reliability, and effectiveness in a home defense context.

Best AR-15 for Home Defense

Before we begin to build an AR-15 for home defense, we need to select a base rifle to build off of. 

There are plenty of rifles to choose from, but for this build, we want to be cognizant of the cost to provide a build that most can afford.

There are three base models that we recommend starting with. These are all standard 16” barrels to simplify things by not having to worry about barrel length restrictions.

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Faxon Firearms Ascent AR-15

The Faxon Firearms Ascent 16" 5.56 AR-15 Rifle stands out for its blend of top-notch quality and affordability, making it an ideal choice for first-time AR buyers. Engineered with a 16" chromoly vanadium steel barrel and a nitride finish, this rifle is chambered for 5.56, ensuring reliability and durability. It features a 13" M-LOK aluminum handguard, a mid-length gas system, and a 1:8 barrel twist rate. 

Additionally, the rifle is equipped with an M16 Bolt Carrier Group (BCG) with a superfinish, a mil-spec charging handle, M4 stock, A2 pistol grip, and A2 birdcage flash hider. Weighing 6.12lbs unloaded, it balances weight and performance efficiently.

A key feature of the Ascent Rifle is its mid-length gas system, which provides a smoother shooting experience and the ability to shoot a wider range of bullets reliably, whether suppressed or not. This system reduces felt recoil and enhances the rifle's performance by delivering the optimal amount of gas to the firearm’s components, leading to less wear and longer life for internal parts. 

The rifle's M16 BCG adds benefits such as enhanced firing pin safety, improved extraction, and reduced recoil. Despite its affordable price, the Ascent rifle includes high-quality enhancements typically found in more expensive models, making it a valuable and versatile choice for home defense.

Andro Industries Bravo 16

The Bravo 16 AR-15 rifle, boasting a 16" 4150 CMV Melonite barrel, is a standout option for home defense. 

Its 1:7 twist rate, a feature also found in military firearms like the M16A2, M4, and HK416, is ideal for stabilizing bullets up to 90 grains, including the popular 77-grain rounds. This twist rate ensures accuracy and versatility across various ammunition types. 

The rifle's mid-length gas system enhances its reliability with different ammunition, whether suppressed or not, and reduces felt recoil compared to the common carbine-length systems. This system not only improves shooting comfort but also extends the durability of the rifle's components.

Further enhancing the Bravo 16's performance is the M16 Bolt Carrier Group (BCG), which offers dual advantages over standard semi-auto BCGs. 

Its fully shrouded firing pin allows for smoother operation, and its heavier weight prolongs the "unlocking delay," aiding in efficient cartridge extraction and reducing felt recoil. 

The inclusion of a 30-round magazine from Mission First Tactical rounds out this rifle's suitability for home defense, providing reliability, accuracy, and ease of handling.

ALG Defense El Jefe

The ALG Defense El Jefe rifle emerges as an ideal choice for home defense, offering Mil-Spec class reliability at a competitive price and ready to use out of the box!

This complete rifle system, including a durable sling and a precise Warner & Swasey red dot sight, is designed for immediate and effective use in critical situations. 

At its core, El Jefe boasts a robust receiver set, meticulously crafted from 7075 aluminum billets.

The receivers are finished with a Mil-Spec Type 3 hardcoat anodizing, providing durability and resistance to wear. The rifle's handguard, the ALG V3X, features a slim, low-profile design with M-LOK slots, allowing for easy attachment of accessories.

El Jefe’s suitability for home defense is further enhanced by its ergonomic SOPMOD stock and a reliable Geissele Super 42 buffer spring and H1 buffer, ensuring consistent performance with various ammunition types. 

The bolt carrier group, made from high-quality steel and chrome-plated components, guarantees longevity and reliability. The rifle is equipped with the ALG Defense Advanced Combat Trigger, offering a smooth and responsive shooting experience. The chrome-plated, button-rifled barrel is designed to maintain accuracy over thousands of rounds.

With these features, El Jefe stands out as a great choice for homeowners seeking a dependable, easy-to-use, and effective AR-15 for protection and defense.

Once you’ve chosen the AR-15 platform you want to use for home defense, it’s time to optimize it for that purpose.

The accessories listed below are designed to optimize your AR-15 for effective home defense.

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AR-15 Weapon Light

While it's optional to select every item from this list if I were to recommend just one or two essential items, a weapon light would be my top choice.

The primary function of a weapon light is to identify potential threats in low light or total darkness. An effective light, like the one I prefer, can often serve as a deterrent to a threat, sometimes without the need to engage further.

My weapon light of choice is the Surefire Micro Scout Light, and there are three key reasons for this preference.

The Surefire Micro Scout Light Pro stands as an ideal choice for home defense AR-15 users, offering a blend of compact design and powerful performance. 

This lightweight and highly compact light delivers 300 lumens of tactical-level lighting, ensuring clear visibility in low-light conditions. 

Its new Low-Profile Mount is designed for optimal positioning, complementing other rail-mounted accessories without adding bulk. It comes equipped with mounting hardware suitable for both MIL-STD-1913 and M-LOK rails, ensuring versatility and ease of installation. 

Operating on a single rechargeable AAA battery, it offers 1.25 hours of runtime, making it reliable for critical situations. Its user-friendly design includes a shrouded, push-button tailcap for easy activation. 

Overall, its minimal footprint, resilience, and efficient illumination make it an excellent choice for home defense.

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AR-15 Red Dot Sight

When selecting an optic for a home defense AR-15, there is no need for variable optics or range estimation reticles. Keep it simple with a red dot. Find the longest shot you’d need to take inside your home and ensure the red dot is aligned with the bore.

A great cost-effective red dot for home defense is the SIG Sauer Romeo 5

For those building a home defense AR-15, the Sig Romeo 5 is an excellent optic choice, tailored for modern semi-automatic rifles. It features a clear, distortion-free view with a 2 MOA red dot, offering both daylight (8 settings) and night vision compatibility (2 settings). This ensures quick and accurate target acquisition, crucial in home defense scenarios.

The optic is designed for ease of use, with unlimited eye relief and a parallax-free point of aim, allowing for rapid engagement of threats. Its side-loading CR2032 battery offers an impressive over 40,000 hours of continuous operation. 

Additionally, the Romeo 5 is equipped with the MOTAC (Motion Activated Illumination) system, which automatically turns the optic on when motion is detected and off when idle, conserving battery life.

Constructed from lightweight yet durable aircraft-grade CNC aluminum, the Romeo 5 is built to withstand rigorous use. It is also waterproof up to 1 meter, ensuring reliability in various environmental conditions. Furthermore, this optic comes with the Sig Infinite Guarantee, offering added peace of mind for your home defense setup.

AR-15 Rifle Sling

There are several great slings to choose from such as the Magpul MS1 adjustable 2-point sling and the Vickers Tactical slings. 

One sling you don’t hear talked about much is the Frank Proctor Sling

The Frank Proctor Sling is an ideal choice for those looking to enhance their AR-15 with a reliable, minimalist sling. This 2-point adjustable sling is both incredibly strong and lightweight, weighing only 2.3 ounces. It's designed to offer simplicity and efficiency, eliminating the need for any additional hardware purchases.

Included with the sling are all the necessary mounting components, making it compatible with a wide range of AR-15 rifles. Its fully adjustable nature allows for a custom fit to the shooter, ensuring comfort and ease of use. Additionally, the sling's design incorporates a neat storage solution for excess webbing, maintaining its minimalist profile and preventing any unnecessary bulk or interference during use.

This sling is an excellent choice for shooters seeking a straightforward, efficient, and durable sling for their AR-15 rifle.

AR-15 Magazines

You need a reliable source to feed ammo to your rifle and not all magazines are created equal. You don’t want your life to depend on a cheaper lesser-known magazine brand. For that reason, we recommend Magpul PMAGs.

The PMAG Gen 3 magazine is a top choice for those who require the utmost reliability and ruggedness in their rifle setup, especially in extreme conditions. It has established itself as the benchmark in the industry for durability and performance, thanks to its design that excels even under the most challenging environments.

What distinguishes the Gen 3 PMAG is its proven reliability, demonstrated by its selection as the preferred magazine by the United States Marine Corps. This endorsement highlights its exceptional dependability and effectiveness in combat situations. 

The fact that it is trusted by one of the world's most elite military forces is a testament to its ability to endure the demands of battle, ensuring consistent feeding and performance. This makes the PMAG Gen 3 an excellent magazine choice for any rifle, particularly those used in demanding scenarios.

Linear Compensators

Linear compensators are the unsung heroes of CQB and home defense. 

In short they lessen the sound and concussion at the shooters ear, but don’t slience or suppress anything in any way. Linear compensators are designed to channel all the noise, concussion, flash, and gases forward of the shooter. 

The Kaw Valley Precision Linear Compensator is a top-tier accessory for any AR-15, offering enhanced control and a sleek aesthetic. Its design is optimized for .223/5.56 barrels, effectively directing muzzle blast forward, making it ideal for tactical situations. 

The compensator's fluted body not only reduces weight but also adds an aggressive visual appeal. Installation is straightforward, requiring no crush washer, and its design minimizes dust signature when firing prone and avoids flash sight obstruction through optics. 

Constructed from steel with a Melonite QPQ finish, it weighs 2.89 oz and measures 2.06 inches in length. This device is compatible with any .223/5.56 barrel that has a 1/2"-28 thread pitch.

Best 5.56 Ammo For Home Defense

Ask ten professionals what the best 5.56 ammo for home defense is and you’ll get ten different answers. 

At home defense distances, you’re going to want a round that expands quickly and possesses lethal terminal ballistics. For that, we recommend the 77-grain variety. Either OTM (Open Tip Match) or Matchking. 

The 77-grain OTM is a well-proven round known for its devastating terminal effects on the human body. 

What if you cannot find this ammo or simply want to use what you have? That's fine too. Often, the best ammunition is the ammunition you have. As long as you make accurate effective hits, you’ll be good to go.

Just know that ball ammo and 62-grain green tip do not fragment reliably at short distances and will over-penetrate the threat. That said, know what’s beyond your target before pulling the trigger.

Here is a great short discussion on this topic by two former Navy DEVGRU operators.

PATREON SHORTS - Reality Of A Round


Choosing the right AR-15 for home defense involves a balance of quality, affordability, and practicality. 

We've explored options like the Faxon Firearms Ascent, Andro Industries Bravo 16, and ALG Defense El Jefe, each offering unique advantages for home defense. 

Essential accessories like the Surefire weapon light, SIG Sauer Romeo 5 red dot sight, and Kaw Valley Precision Linear Compensator enhance your AR-15's effectiveness inside the home.

For a wide selection of AR-15s and these crucial accessories, join ARMSLIST and start building your ideal home defense setup today.

created: 12/2/2023 1:13 PM in GEAR

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