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Curmudgeon’s Corner: You don’t need an AR-15

Cedar here: for the Indie Authors in my readers, I’m over at Mad Genius Club today with a post on covers, making art, and so forth. And having read the First Reader’s post today, I’m warning you! Bring a rag for any excess sarcasm drips. 

Written by Sanford Begley

You don’t need an AR-15. I’ve been seeing that a lot lately. Gotta admit I agree with them, you really should get a better weapon. No I’m not going to restart the argument about 7.62 vs. 5.56 there is no reasoning with the morons on the other side, one might as well argue 1911 vs. 9mm.

Thing is, an AR-15 was designed for base security for the Air Force, not as a battle weapon. If it wasn’t designed as a battle weapon, how did it become the primary military small arm for the U.S.? Same as anything idiotic the military does, politics. I’m not sure whose buns got buttered, but I am sure who got screwed, the U.S. serviceman.

So, taking the wonders of being a battle rifle out of the equation the AR-15 needs to be judged on its merits for a citizen exercising his rights. For this you need to decide what your requirements for a weapon are. I’ll guarantee they aren’t the same for everyone.

Do you want a hunting weapon? A home defense weapon? A self defense weapon for when you aren’t home? Do you just want a gun for plinking at targets?  Perhaps a weapon for protecting yourself from Kodiak bears in Alaska? Perhaps what you want is the correct weapon to slide into the battle line when the Lithuanians invade? Survival in the Zombie Apocalypse?  Figure out what your primary purpose or purposes for a weapon are, that will help define what weapon you actually need.

I’ll go down those examples of why you are purchasing a weapon in order and we’ll look at what you need. We’ll start with hunting weapons. The AR-15 is a tolerable version of a varmint gun.  If you are wanting to kill groundhogs and raccoons, small game of various sorts it is acceptable. So is a .22 long rifle which is effectively the same bullet with a smaller powder charge. For large game, the AR-15 is woefully underpowered and illegal to hunt with in most states.  Those laws are not to infringe on the second amendment by the way, they are to insure animals lightly wounded don’t become a common thing in the woods. If you want a hunting rifle then your ideal choice is either a .22 for varmints or something at least .30 caliber for larger game. Check the game laws in the areas you plan to hunt before deciding.

The questions relating to a home defense weapon are many and varied. A rifle of any sort is probably not the best bet for most people. You see, the rounds that miss when you are shooting inside your home can do much damage to many people that you don’t want to hurt. If you claim you never miss you either never shoot or do not have a close acquaintance with the truth, even Gunny Hathcock missed occasionally, google him if you don’t know who he was. So a gun that shoots through multiple walls and which has a bullet that travels for long distances is probably not a good idea. This means rifles and all the cool handguns like the .44 Magnum. The police use 9MM and similar calibers for that very reason. For most home defense weapons a less powerful handgun or a shotgun is probably your best option. Note, less powerful doesn’t mean you should get a .25 automatic, just avoid the glory guns. On the shotgun side I recommend for most people a pump shotgun with one or two rounds of birdshot backed up with buck shot behind them. The bird shot will discourage most home invaders and usually won’t penetrate drywall and endanger your family. If you have a real hardcase, well the birdshot should give him pause while you cycle to the buck. As with all weapons choices this just hits the high spots and you really need to think about your individual situation.

Now for a self defense weapon when you aren’t home, what is often called a carry piece an AR-15 is definitely not the right choice. It is bulky, clumsy, and will get in the way of your everyday life. Add to that the fact that carrying it will get the cops called on you multiple times, no matter how legal it is, and it starts to be ridiculous. For everyday carry get a reasonable firearm for your circumstances and learn to use it. If your situation is so dire that you need a rifle? I’d suggest an infantry squad with Tanks in support.

Ahh the plinker. Well an AR-15 is fine there. Well maybe. The .22 Long rifle is a cheaper ammunition to burn through and a cheaper weapon to buy. If you want to get into the more esoteric types of target shooting you might need a match grade .22 or maybe a Barrett. Which weapon you need will really depend on which type of shooting appeals to you, I even have a friend that shoots nothing but cap and ball revolvers. To each their own.

Now that weapon for protecting yourself from Kodiak bears or maybe the latest version of Hogzilla is another matter entirely. There you want something heavy enough to stop the charge of the local wildlife. What that will take depends on where you are. My Father-in-Law carried a .44 Magnum in Alaska with hot loads just to have an accessible bear gun. If you are expecting Cape Buffalo I have no idea what to recommend. Talk to an expert on the type of game you expect to encounter. I will guarantee none of them will recommend the AR-15. It might kill the boar, it won’t stop it before it savages you.

Now sliding into the battle line against the invading Canadians might be the place where the AR-15 comes into its own. Except for two things. First, if you expect to be more than a hindrance to the fighting men you need a tour in the military, preferably Army or Marines, before the invasion, in which case your choice of weapons will be made by your experiences. Secondly if you are trained enough to slide into that line you will be dumping the AR-15 in favor of am M-4 as quickly as possible and which weapon you carry is up to you.

If you are planning on using your AR-15 in case of the Zombie Alpaca Lips well it has the virtue of lots of ammunition available. Of course if you are planning on fighting the ZA I don’t want you telling anyone I gave you weapons advice. The nice men in the white coats will be along to give you a sweet I love me jacket soon

Now that I have repeatedly pointed out reasons you don’t need an AR-15 I will do due diligence and point out a few of its advantages. Ammunition is readily available, it is a popular weapon so lots of ammo gets made for it. The adjustable stock means that it can be shared with friends and family member of different sizes while having at least a semi custom fit. The extremely light recoil means that even a very slight person can fire one without getting slammed around. There is a certain cool factor due to Hollywood using it for half a century.For someone with absolutely no previous rifle experience they are fairly easy to learn how to shoot.  And they can be fun. No you don’t need one, but if you want one have at it!


14 responses to “Curmudgeon’s Corner: You don’t need an AR-15”

  1. Dunno nuthin’ about the AR-15, but I can tell you a tale… neighbor had an 800 pound boar that was getting out of hand, it had learned how to tear up fence (this is what you teach ’em when you build crappy fence) and there was no keeping it in anymore. So he decided to shoot it. With a .22 ……….

    38 rounds later the hog finally keeled over.

    The real wonder is that it never tried to take the guy while he was at it.

    1. Holy crud! Wow… that must have been like getting stung to death by angry wasps. I’m surprised it didn’t try to take the guy, too.

      1. Reality Observer Avatar
        Reality Observer

        Didn’t connect the annoyance with the idiot making the loud noises? Dunno. Very lucky guy, anyway.

        Now, for Sanford – someone told me that the best defensive weapon for Cape Buffalo is a Land Rover in very good condition. As in get and stay as far ahead of it as you can…

        1. sanford Avatar

          I would prefer an APC, in case he hits it before I get speed up

    2. Something about “sharpest tool” and “shed”

      1. sanford Avatar

        Definitely not the sharpest spoon in the drawer

    3. sanford Avatar

      Like I said, something heavy, at least a .308 minimum

  2. I haven’t found a reason to buy one yet. If it comes to Alpaca Lips :o) I figure there’ll be plenty laying around.

    1. sanford Avatar

      You and I don’t get the cool factor, well not the modern one

    2. You liked that too? I laughed out loud when I read that bit.

  3. thoughtoactions Avatar

    I know lots of folks that enjoy ARs for competition – mostly 3-gun. And cool colors and mods are frequently part of the fun.

    1. sanford Avatar

      I covered that under plinkers. Sport shooting often calls for absurd weapons such as the cap and ball shooters I mentioned. Cool colors etc. are a fashion choice and have nothing to do with weapons.

  4. Edward Stalker Avatar
    Edward Stalker

    I picked up an SU-15. Basically an AR-15 with a Monte Carlo Stock….I still prefer my Saiga-12 for home defense – mags are faster to load than a tube. For fun, I like my old Remington Model 60, that i bought 45 years ago with money I made tossing haybales and picking fruit. Still shoots nice and straight. I have an SKS I picked up many years ago that I like better than any AK or AK clone I’ve ever fired. If I need to go long range, my Mosin Nagant does the “reach-out-and-touch someone” job sufficiently well for me. If I move to Montana, I’ll probably pick up something in .308 and a .45. My son and my grandkids like the AR, but I might pick up an AR-10 someday.

    1. sanford Avatar

      I could see myself being happy to own a few of those