THE TACTICAL RIFLE FOR HOME DEFENSE
When we think of owning a firearm for protection in the home, we usually think “handgun.” No doubt about it, the handgun lying on the bedside table is handy and convenient. We have a tactical light mounted on it and as we make our way down the hall past our children’s bedroom to investigate that “bump in the night.” The handgun is easy to maneuver as we do our room search. There is little worry about exposing the barrel of a rifle or bumping into the wall.
All this is true but do not discount the rifle as an excellent home protection weapon. The most popular caliber we see in our tactical rifles is the .223 round. The fact of the matter is that this round may be the BEST round for personal protection in our home. Why? It has minimum penetration in a close quarters environment like our home. The likelihood of this round penetrating beyond our intended target is minimal. Yet, it has the ability to penetrate body armor, which is not the true of handgun rounds. For those readers who have attended MOFTA classes, you know that bad guys will wear body armor. When you take a shot at the lethal threat in your home and he stands there looking at you; you have a real problem! For those of you reading this and have not taken a MOFTA class, we practice headshots with a handgun just for this type of encounter.
If we choose to arm ourselves in our home with a rifle, we need to make sure we can effectively “run” the gun and maneuver around our home. The barrel length is a real issue. The legal length of a rifle barrel is sixteen inches. Add the rest of the weapon and you have a fairly long firearm. Yes, you can legally own a rifle with a shorter barrel, known as an “SBR” (short barreled rifle), however you must go through a Class 3 firearms dealer and make application to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to obtain a transfer stamp allowing you to legally own this weapon.
Before you discount the rifle for personal defense in your home, consider the comments I have made. If you believe this is an option, MOFTA offers a Tactical Rifle for Personal Defense that will teach you the necessary skills. Those of you who already own a tactical rifle might want to consider taking this course and then decide whether that will be your main home defense weapon. Those that are considering the purchase of a tactical rifle will benefit from attending our Tactical Rifle Equipment session held prior to the Tactical Rifle class. This will give you valuable information on the rifle in general as well as the appropriate outfitting of the gun for personal defense. We have found that many rifle purchasers spend hundreds of dollars needlessly on unnecessary equipment.
Next time we will take a look at the tactical shotgun as a viable home protection weapon.
Dick Caster, Senior Instructor
Mid Ohio Firearms Training Academy