Defense Carbines

Tam has a pretty good post on the subject. I have both a 20″ and carbine length AR. I shoot the 20″ more often because that’s what I compete with when I shoot CMP/high-power. I’ve shot a few practical matches with my carbine, but I would consider it my go-to gun in a home defense situation if I kept it at the ready. It’s the keeping it at the ready part I’ve never been able to bother with.

Maybe I’m just not all that committed to home defense, but it’s always been easier or me to rely on a pistol for those purposes. I have to remember to lug a carbine back down to the safe if I’m leaving home for any period of time, then to get it back out again when I return. While, I have home-defense-appropriate fragmenting ammunition for the rifle, unless it’s a seriously messed up situation where I have time to go downstairs and unlock the safe, I’m probably going to be using my Glock.

I’ve always considered a rifle or shotgun to be a pain in the butt to deal with for home defense. What solutions do you guys use that would that would allow it to be used for home-defense, but avoid the scenario where someone breaks into the house and steals it, or worse, uses it against the returning homeowners?

11 thoughts on “Defense Carbines”

  1. I have both pistol and rifle prepared. My rifle is in a Santa Cruz lock mounted in the closet, which is the same lock/mount you see in a lot of cop cars. It’s a Noveske N4 Low Profile with CompM4S and G2led light. Easy to access. All I do is unlock the beg heavy handcuff at night and slap it closed in the morning. Two mags loaded using BFG Redi-Mod.

  2. I also use a pistol for home defense. Personally if I want a gun with a shoulder-stock for HD I’d prefer a shotgun…but it’s very tricky to keep a shotgun with a tube mag ready for action, but also Mass legal, and socially responsible.

    That being said, to date all of the instances where I’ve reached for a gun at home were odd knocks at the door after-hours when the lights in the house were out. Every time it turned out to be nothing note-worthy, or threatening. In those instances I was glad I had a concealable HD gun rather than trying to explain why I had a 590 Riot gun with me.

  3. I keep the ‘duty’ long guns (M4gery and 590) in a locking, inside the studs cabinet like this one:

    Which, while not exactly up to snuff as a gun safe at least is hidden well enough that a thief won’t stumble across it casually. It’s also located nearby in case I need it at night. Of course, when we leave home for any length of time we lock the duty guns up in the safe (or take them with us).

  4. For those of you who reside in suburban subdivisions, particularly in modestly sized houses on lots less than even one acre, a carbine would not really be your best bet for home defense in my humble opinion. If you have an M1 Carbine, that might work well for you however, since the .30 Carbine cartridge is powered more like a handgun round than a rifle round.

    Anyway, I believe that modern day carbines like AR type rifles or Mini-14’s would be better at home defense for those of us who live on larger properties, especially for those of us who reside in rural areas.

  5. I have several shotguns with a box of shells next to them in cabinet unlocked in the hallway near the bed rooms. If a robber comes in when I am not there he can get my guns. I do have a very aggresive shepard that will have to be dealt with by any intruders.

    I expect in a home defense that the dog will slow them enough to get a shell in and ready to shoot. Plus I have a handgun nearby.

  6. Sir, if I may be forgiven the crass, free advertising, I recommend the “Judge” revolver. It is a beautiful handgun that can shoot either 45 ACP or a 410 shotgun shell, preferably in 00 buckshot, or both. Personally, I prefer to have the 410 in the chamber followed by 45, 410, 45, 45. That way, my first and third shots can be off target yet still effective in stunning the intruder(s), followed by a better aimed shot that should produce a lethal blow. It’s relatively inexpensive as well ($400+s).

    My dealer’s wife uses a short-barrelled (but legal) 12-guage shotpistol with a front pistol grip on the pump action – very small and light weight but very lethal with rapid reload and a wide dispersal pattern. I would never want to cross her! A little pricey, though (I think $600+).


  7. Arnie: forgive if I am being pedantic, but I have never heard that the judge could be had in a form that fires the .45 ACP. I thought they were either .45 (long) Colt or .454 Casull, along with the 410 shot shell.

    Personally, I don’t see it. To me, the judge just seems like a goofy gimic. A 5 shot handgun with a short barrel that is roughly as big as my .44 Mag Ruger Bisley (which isn’t for self defence either). Add to that that I can’t see what? 3 or 4 balls of 00 out of a 410 generating much in the way of energy out of such a short barrel. I also can’t see the .45 (long) Colt having very good accuracy from a chamber also cut to chamber a 410 shot shell. Maybe I’m wrong, and I will admit that I haven’t fired one since I didn’t see the point, but I don’t really think the judge is such a great defense firearm.

    Recently, in one of those “what gun for zombie?” fests that happen from time to time in the blogosphere I saw a guy make the argument in a comment that a Judge could blow the head clean off of a zombie. I think the marketing hype on this one is out of control.


  8. That Santa Cruz stuff looks pretty serious. On a similar note, does anybody know who makes those bags they hang in the trunk of a cruiser? Black bag, attaches to the deck lid, big red handle that pulls to release a shotgun?

  9. Rifles are fine for folks out in the country, but I live in an urban apartment. Given overpenetration concerns, pretty much any sort of rifle for HD is out of the question, apart perhaps from a pistol-caliber carbine such as a Beretta CX4 Storm or similar. Even a levergun chambered for .357 or .44 might be a little too powerful, given my situation.

    I’m even worried about buckshot from my HD shotgun penetrating interior walls…which is why the first round in mine is Hevi-Shot’s “Personal Defense” loading in 12-gauge. (With four rounds of 00 behind that, just in case).

    The one time I actually “needed” a gun for home defense, the shotgun was quite sufficient. The fellow trying to break into my apartment fled when I chambered a round.

    Absent something like “Mad Max” or “World War Z,” I expect that my SKS – which would likely penetrate both the felon and a couple of adjoining apartments! – will just stay in the gunsafe. Besides, between the shotgun and several loaded handguns, I figure I’m capable of handling any…realistic…sort of encounter I might face.

  10. When living in Boise, I didn’t ever keep a rifle or carbine loaded in the house. In the unlikely chance that I would ever need a gun for home defense in Boise, I would have pulled out the Browning Hi-Power. In the even more unlikely event of a riot (yes, imagine thousands of Mormons driven wild by double capuccinos), I would pull out the Remington 870 with the 18″ barrel and the 7 shot mag extension.

    Where I live now, if I needed a long gun, the AR-15 is just fine–there’s no one to hit for hundreds of meters, and the chances of accidentally hitting someone are extraordinarily low.

    If you live in an urban setting, look at pistol caliber carbines ONLY–and even then, remember that a lot of urban construction is surprisingly light. Some years ago, when I lived in California, a friend was having a house built. We built some sections from scrap materials–and discovered that even .380 ACP JHP would penetrate the equivalent of six walls with enough energy to bury itself in the dirt. That was sobering.

    I have once in my life kept a loaded rifle for home defense in an urban setting. It was the weekend after the Night Stalker had tortured, raped, and murdered a couple a few miles away from us in Irvine–after a series of crimes that even today seem almost supernatural in how he managed to commit them without disturbing people that should have heard the crimes. That was a scary weekend: we slept with a 1911A1 on one side of the bed, and an AR-15 on the other, both loaded.

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