The Best Home Defense Ammo For Your AR-15?


Ever wonder what the best home defense ammo is for your AR-15?

What does “best” mean?

The right ammunition will not only be accurate but will penetrate the recommended 12-18″ in the “bad guy” but not overpenetrate if you miss the bad guy.


Today, Reid Henrichs is going to give you his take on it:

The Best Home Defense Ammo For Your AR-15

If you haven’t already, you’ll want to check out my post called “The Approved List of 5.56 NATO/.223 Rem Self-Defense/Duty Ammo” because it’s extremely in depth, but if you want a quick guide, watch the video below and you’ll see that the best loads Reid talks about below are on the list:

What Do You Use In Your Home Defense Rifle?

Reid points out that if all you can get is M193 then go with that and I can’t disagree but there are much better bullets out there today …

What do you use in your home defense AR-15 and why?



  1. I have some RWS Frangible rounds that I hopefully can use as my home defense ammo. I have not had a chance to try it yet but if it functions reliably in my rifle I plan keep it in for use at home.

  2. I personally use a 12 gage that I have a round that has a few double ought pellets and a slug, it leaves a massive wound channel and will not exit my home, if jacking the round into the chamber doesn’t deter them the fact that they have very low odds of surviving meaning they can’t sue me later, the sound of racking a round is the only audible warning they will get

  3. For my AR-15, for home defense, I go with a 77-grain frangible +P round that is devastating. The ammunition acts like a shotgun round yet won’t over-penetrate walls: the round, because it’s frangible, dumps all of its energy into the target.

    • I’m seeing a lot of people talking up frangibles, if you’re going that route be prepared to shoot 3-6 times because they tend to overwhelmingly under-penetrate in ballistic gel tests

      • That’s why I chose a 77-grain frangible round: the manufacturer I purchase them from uses a combat load propellant charge. With a center-of-mass impact, the attack is over.

    • They do work well enough, BUT as usual make sure the area behind what/who you are shooting is a safe area, one that will totally contain the projectile in case you miss. Missing the target can and does happen in spite of the amount of practice you put in. It is very difficult to factor in the stress, sleepiness, anxiety and fear associated with any late-night break-in no matter how much you practice. Even cops miss–contrary to what their over inflated egos say. In fact some of the worst shooters I have trained are cops. They make stupid, dangerous errors while handling firearms that scare the Hell out of me! That is why I forbid them from having any ammo on their person except when it is their turn on the firing range and then only one round will be loaded in the firearm, EVER.

    • I’m seeing a lot of people talking up frangibles, if you’re going that route be prepared to shoot 3-6 times because they tend to overwhelmingly under-penetrate in ballistic gel tests

  4. I talked to a retired SWAT guy who swears by the M193 round. He said they constructed walls with 2×4’s and two layers of dry wall on the range for testing purposes and they didn’t over-penetrate. If it works for them, it’s good enough for me. The 77 grain OTM round is awesome too. We had those in Iraq but, I would save those for long range shots, over 300 yards. Personally, my “home defense” weapon is a 9mm AR with a 900 lumen white light and a 33 round Glock magazine loaded with 147 grain jacketed hollow points. I think that will do nicely.

    • I can’t find my source right now, but I’m pretty sure I’ve read that 5.56 penetrates less than all handgun rounds inside homes.

      • I’ve read the same about 223/556 penetrating the least. That article said that because of how much lighter the bullets are they are slowed down significantly faster than rounds that weigh double and triple the amount in pistols. I guess the kinetic energy?? This is what i can best remember from the article, don’t quote me on it.

      • (Self-defense inside the home: Avoiding over-penetration)this is an article that argues what caleb was talking about

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