AR Or Shotgun for home defense

I, and many others, don’t care for lasers on firearms. The otherwise extremely consistent nature of training to sight via, well, the sights, or optics, goes away with a laser, so talk about losing consistency.

They are also ‘two way’ especially in certain circumstances, like after any round have been fired, with smoke in the air.

Home defense long guns should, IMO, have a light mounted on them. My shotguns and rifles all have a mounted flashlight/WML. Reason: It’s much easier to legally justify having a gun in your hands in your own home than it is while carrying out in public, so, unlike a concealed carry gun…there is a pretty solid chance that upon retrieving your home defense rifle/shotgun, you will desire the ability to illuminate an area or threat while both of your hands are controlling the firearm (note that, as anybody trained or YouTube watched will know, shining a modern day bright light at the floor or the ceiling in the general ish direction, indoors, will generally illuminate an area or possible threat without having to point the gun at them.

1 Like

I keep our shot gun in the closet next to the bed, again it’s just my wife and me and seldom do I have to concern myself with house guests. It’s out of the way and inconspicuous but yet very handy.

@Nathan57 I’m not advocating for not having a light on a long gun or any gun for that matter, but I’m curious as you offer the ‘two way’ of the laser as a negative. How do you get around the ‘two way’ of a light on the end of your gun? The thought that came to mind was using an IR light with Red Dot if that would work? It just seems to me it would equally display you in a defensive situation.


You get around the two way of the WML buy not turning the momentary-operation-only WML on unless it is needed. In the event you cannot identify the thing/person in your home, it’s worth the two way effect of a light to positively ID. Also, if you then point the firearm and activated light at the threat, in lighting where that light was needed to ID them, there will likely be a blinding/disorienting/distracting effect of that bright light in their eyes if they try to look at you, which a laser used as a sight won’t have.

The two way effect is absolutely something to keep in mind before hitting that light, to be sure.

Also, in regards to the laser as a sighting system, there are as good/better sighting systems that are more consistent to use, that do not have the two way effect…that are reasonably priced or perhaps even less expensive than a laser.

There isn’t really such an alternative to a WML. If you’ve got the big bucks, and the time, you could go with a full night vision goggle setup and use at most an IR illuminator or similar to avoid two way effect of someone without their own NVG but we’re getting way, way above the price range of just about everybody here…not to mention the logistics of it, even NVG equipped dudes seem to keep a white light on HD guns in case they didn’t have time to fully kit up after an intrusion lol

1 Like

Since we have “Castle Doctrine” in my state - Increasing the Survivability of the Perp will Not be High on my list of things I must and Can do.
While I Do NOT “WANT” to Kill anyone - I Will - “If forced too”.
1st DO NOT Open your door to Anyone - “YOU Dont KNOW”.
Mount and Maintain outer Perimeter Lights, Motion Sensors, etc

If someone “Gets In”:
A Primary, “For Me” - 1st Task : Find “Cover” then POSITIVELY ID "Who/What " “It Is”.
“I” have “Mounted Lights” on “All” My House Guns. You MUST ID WHO it is.
If it IS a “THREAT” then “HE” put Himself in “Mortal Danger” and should know that. IMHO - AR Platform - Short Barrel, with mounted light is Best Home Defense gun. Especially for the Untrained with a Pistol.
ps “Flat Range Bulls Eys Shooting” “Only” is “NOT” “TRAINING”.

Me - State and DHS Certified Pistol and Defense of the Home Instr., Weekly Combat Competition Shooter. 10+yr
“Real Life” Experience.

1 Like

So why not stop him before he gets in?
Simpli safe with a 120 db alarm and a German Shepard
But like anything else if you don’t practice drills so everyone knows what to do
Your defeating the purpose of being prepared
If they get by that everything is fair game

Every situation has its own difficulties. In your home you best think of others first a regular ar 5.56/ 223 will penetrate a houses wall and a miss could cost a family member or neighbor their life. So if the ar is in your thoughts on this please do research and buy proper ammo. And as for the shotgun i love the sound of a pump getting racked and i bet your intruder will also recognize it as well. Could very well put mr bad guy on the run before he ends up in a puddle of his own blood. I personally keep my sevice model 45 on my night table bed side, loaded. I have 15 feet to my ar which is not loaded but a full mag in different places and my shotgun is located by the ar with bird shot in the tube so i can have fermentationed sound effects keep in mind in home defense don’t shoot your family hiding in next room through your wall your neighbors didn’t wear their body Armour to go pee so buy ammo for home defense that takes these thing for consideration

Everybody is fixated on the 12 gauge when shotguns are mentioned. Inside a house you don’t need a 12 gauge. I keep a 410 pump loaded with 9 pellet #4 buck. Backup is 4 pellet 000 buck. In a pinch my small wife could handle it. It is lighter, faster, less recoil and not as loud as a 12 or 20. I have 12 and 20 gauge and can choose what I want. I chose the 410. I also keep a 9mm PCC handy.
5" 9mm pistol 160db Shorter barrel will be louder.
18" 12 gauge 162 db
18" 20 gauge 160 db
18" 410 bore 156db
16" AR 5.56 164db
16" 9mm PCC estimate 154 db.

1 Like

I’d love to get some of those! Can you please post a link where to get them, or who makes them?

I have not dealt with this supplier before.

Palmetto State Armory has some but price is high.
Check wikiarms…com

As it happens I attended a tactical shotgun match last week (finished 3rd/18 shooting all magnum buck and slugs, no birdshot)(lost a position to inability to count, fired an extra shell last stage)

Which is to say, I don’t lack knowledge of the platform either academic research or hands on

The biggest takeaway for most? Their AR will continue to be their go to for home defense :wink:

This is true of any and every firearm that will reliably stop an attacker, including a handgun or a shotgun with buckshot.

1 Like

My go-to is a pistol after that the AR. All my shotguns are for hunting, and the shortest barrel is 24". My AR with a 14.5" barrel is a lot lighter, faster, more maneuverable, and has a higher capacity. Not that I’d think to use them in the moment, but I have practiced with my walker razor slim earmuffs… you can hear a fly fart in the house with those on.


I like the 12 ga. semi. tac-shotty simply because I like the close cadence of a 5 round shot string, plus the surprises that can be brought to bear. 1st round “Frechette’s,” 2nd round “00.” 3d round “Slug,” 4th round “Dragon’s breath,” and then sting’em again the 5th round of “00.” while working toward the 11.5 .300 AAC Blk Out for a more sustained CQB. Oh, I already know … the clean-up will cost a mint.

Of course, I’m jesting. I would stay put, call 911 and ready my EDC that’s close by.


I’ve struggled with this debate myself forever. Ultimately I decided that the AR platform is a better option for me. There were several major factors that put me in this camp and may or may not apply to you but hopefully it helps.

  1. A smaller and more compact gun for use in a confined space. I don’t live in a large house (1100 sq ft 3 bedroom SF home). I don’t plan on trying to be an operator and clear my home of a potential threat but I do have a 5-year-old daughter whose room is at the opposite end from my own. If I have to leave my room to get to her, I want something smaller, lighter and easier to manage in that environment.

  2. Easy of Use - I am not the only parent in the home and my wife is not as proficient with firearms. She also has some physical factors that make managing a shotgun more of a detractor. The lighter weight, lighter recoil, and configuration of my AR is very conducive to a novice user and don’t require the physical strength to muscle through using heavy recoiling self-defense loads.

  3. Capacity - Our home defense plan is based on sheltering in place. Get our daughter to the master bedroom, lock the door and call the police. The AR is staged accordingly and having 30 rounds on tap without having to reload reduces the number of “moving parts” to our defense. However, I do keep a spare 30 round magazine in the drawer with hearing protection and a flashlight. Putting all of the tools next to the bed and easily accessible.

Yes, it’s suppressed…


Select whatever you have the most confidence in your ability to use to stop whomever or whatever needs stopping. Confidence is critical.
Or select what you already have available. A bird in the hand…


Here’s a shotgun of sorts


You did your homework but have you ever considered a 410 pump? 9 #4 buck or 4 000 in each shell. Light and not a lot of recoil.


It’s always interesting to come back and read this thread. I had bought a Beretta 1301 semi-auto with extended mag tube a while back and can get 7 in there. It’s very manageable and the recoil is similar to a rifle. However I find myself being more comfortable with the AR platform and I think as soon as my can is out of jail I’m going to get a 300 blk AR. Haven’t decided quite yet but that’s what I’m leaning towards.


I’m going with a shotgun because I don’t currently own an AR. However, when I do buy one, I believe it’s the superior home defense gun.


Wife and I just had this discussion,
And Picked up a Mossberg