ARP 144 - Things to Consider When Building an AR for Home Defense


Welcome to Episode #144 of the AR15 Podcast. On this episode we’re responding to a listener request to build an AR-15 catered specifically to home defense. We want to let you know that we are continuing registration for our giveaway for the Vortex Spitfire 3X Prism Scope.  We are asking you, our listeners and fans to nominate a Veteran to receive the Vortex Spitfire.  You can go to the link Click Here to Enter.  We will also have a link on our Facebook Page for you to use. We’ll be doing the drawing on Veteran’s Day (Nov 11).

We want to let you know that we are beginning registration for our giveaway for the Vortex Spitfire 1X Prism Scope.  We are asking you, our listeners and fans to nominate a First Responder to receive the Vortex Spitfire 1x Scope.  You can go to the link Click Here to Enter.  We will also have a link on our Facebook Page for you to use. We’ll be doing the drawing on Thanksgiving Day (Nov 26).

We want to let you know about a great source for T-shirts and Patches! If you go to you can line up to pre-order the new “In God We Trust” patch and buy more FRN stickers, Patches and TSHIRTS!

Main Topic: Home Defense Builds

  • Benefits of carbine vs pistol
    • Accuracy
    • Capacity
    • Size
    • Build pieces
      • Familiarity, under stress you fall back on what you know/are familiar with
      • Manipulation, need to be comfortable transitioning through your home
      • Visual Enhancement, must be satisfied with your target identification
      • Silencer, avoid adding disorienting factors to your environment
      • Lights, Lasers, encourage adding disorienting factors to their environment
      • Complexity, minimize the # of decisions/choices you must make to engage
      • Reliability, build the rifle with components that are tried, true and tested
      • Ballistics
        • Over-penetration?
          • Buckshot penetrates more
          • Calibers (300blk, 7.62x39?)
          • Ammunition
            • Heavy OTM
            • Fragmentation vs bonded expansion
              • FMJs rely on high velocity to frag (avoid in SBRs)
              • Hornady 75gr TAP is popular (nickel cases, BTHP)
              • 53gr VMAX, etc explode into a million pieces
              • Frangible? Hell no.
              • Generally prefer heavy expanding rounds (barrier blind) rather than fragmenting ammo
              • M193/M855 takes too long to frag at CQB ranges
              • Best way not to over penetrate a wall is to hit a bad guy first

  • Accessories
    • Sling (2 hands free)
    • Flashlight (as bright as possible - Scout, Fury, WMLx) (strobe is nice)
    • Laser (Dazzling Laser Light Shows are nice too)
    • Vertical Grips
    • Angled Fore Grips
    • Shortened/PDW Stocks
    • Comfortable Grips
    • Sighting
      • Always-on red-dot
      • Sight offset - height over bore
      • Turn on the lights!
      • Other considerations
        • Size - SBR?
        • Noise - Earpro/silencer
        • “safe” directions of fire
        • Locks/safes
          • No lock is more effective than gun safety training for your kids

Otis Technology:

September 20: Thomas H. Jackson

September 27: Seth Mullins

October 4:  Robert Hollandsworth

October 11: Casey Fowler

The fine folks at Otis Technology have sent over a mountain of rifle maintenance tools and cleaning kits for the AR-15 and AR-10.  We’ve been tasked with giving them away.  Watch for the special posts on Facebook and Instagram to get a chance to win some of the awesome products made by Otis Technology.  We’ll give away a complete MSR Cleaning kit in either 5.56 or 7.62 in the middle of each month up until Christmas, when we’ll give away a complete Otis Technology Elite Cleaning System to one lucky listener.  During the alternating weeks, we’ll be giving away a host of Otis tools and cleaning supplies.


Already receiving lots of great entries to the nominate-a-vet Vortex Giveaway. Thanks for sharing your stories with us and the rest of the listeners on our Facebook page.

Jack:  A discussion of AKs on an AR-15 podcast is totally appropriate if only to offer some contrast to the AR platform. As an owner of both, I can appreciate both systems and the pros & cons.

That being said, I wanted to point out an issue AK aficionados observe all the time. AR loving Americans often like to drop $400-600 on a cheap IO AK or beat up WASR with canted sights then compare it to their Noveske or DD AR race guns. No wonder there is such a disparity!

Reed, I'm no attorney, but maybe this won't be a terrible analogy:

I am trying to pick between purchasing a sedan and a pick up truck. So, I test drive a Kia Forte (I had to look that up) and then a  Super Duty King Ranch F-250 w/ every option.

This is what Americans do when running a sub par AK like an IO vs. the race gun Noveske AR. Why then are we surprised when the Super Duty outperforms the Kia? After this "test drive" we erroneously conclude that Pickups are inherently superior to sedans when in reality we've thrown in a bunch of extra variables.

Anyway, thanks for the entertaining show. Your show follows me on my soul crushing commute as well as when I'm chopping vegetables for dinner.

Mike Kyle:  Hey guys, I have a $800-1k budget and want to build a 9mm sbr. I never built a pistol cal AR so needing some help with a parts list. Have you guys done a pistol cal podcast? -we left a link to episode #120

Charlie Foxtrot (had some issues finding the Podcast listed on iTunes)

While I got you on the line: Thanks for this 'cast!. I'm currently planning my second build: a DMR-ish precision rifle. This will be my first complete upper build -- I think I can tackle it based on what I've learned a lot from your 'cast. How 'bout a show comparing/ contrasting all the build tools/ holders for the uppers?

Tom G. - suggested we go into different POUs, and we started by doing the SPR build episode. He also mentioned some alternative calibers, and we’re very interested in doing a show on Long Range Calibers and builds - what are some of the competitors using to fight the wind with high BC bullets and super hot wildcats?

Shawn Redmond - Have any you guys the chance of handling the new magpul pmag d60 " 60 round drum". What should people be looking into before the 2016 presidential election. Prices seem to jump on ammo, magazines, lowers etc during election years.


And use the Amazon affiliate links on the and websites or goto

ARP 017 - Ballistics

Welcome to episode #17 of the AR15 Podcast. I’m your host Jake Challand with Co-host Reed Snyder. This is THEE podcast about your favorite black rifle! This show is for you; whether you're building your first AR or you’ve been building ARs for years. There’s something we can all do to take our black rifle to the next level.

AR-15 Product of the Week:

LaRue Tactical Low Profile Gas Block LT-202 for .750" barrels $69.00

Gun Guy Radio T-Shirts:Order yours here

Main Topic:


  • Internal ballistics (sometimes called interior ballistics): the study of the processes originally accelerating the projectile, for example the passage of a bullet through the barrel of a rifle
  • Transition ballistics (sometimes called intermediate ballistics): the study of the projectile's behavior when it leaves the barrel and the pressure behind the projectile is equalized.
  • External ballistics (sometimes called exterior ballistics): the study of the passage of the projectile through a medium, most commonly the air between firing tool and target.
  • Terminal ballistics: the study of the interaction of a projectile with its target, whether that be flesh (for a hunting bullet), steel (for an anti-tank round), or even furnace slag (for an industrial slag disruptor).

Listener Feedback:

Dug Harris: AR-15 Podcast question I recently purchased a BCM AR-15 .556, rifle length (20”). For some reason it has a problem cycling steel cased .223 ammo. It does great with brass. When I say problem, I mean problem as in it won\'t eject the case and strip the next round...ever.  What do you think the problem is?  Thanks much and love the Podcast.

Joe:  Next, magazine springs. In 30 years of competitive shooting, collecting and selling guns, and running a small gun company, I have never seen a magazine spring that was too \"weak\" to function.  I don't believe springs wear out from sitting in a loaded magazine and will only believe it when I actually see one! I've found magazines that were left loaded for over 50 years that function fine. I might believe a spring could take a set that might impair the feeding of the last one or two rounds in a hi-cap mag, but have not seen it. Gunshops make a good profit on springs so consider the motives...

Finally, you mentioned shooting your personal defense ammo every 6 months or so to get \"fresh ammo.\" Ammo ain't fruits and vegetables! I've shot ammo from the turn of the century that is fine and performs as it did the day manufactured. I've got lots of CMP surplus from the 50\'s that is great ammo. I even have a test running. I've got a case of Mauser ammo from WWII. No telling what it\'s storage condition was for the 60 years before I got it. Since I purchased it, it has been in the workshop at my hunting camp. The high temperatures are over 100, lows in the 20\'s and usually about 80% humidity. Three years ago the camp flooded and the ammo was under about 5 feet of water for 4 months. I was going to throw the ammo out, but decided to keep it; I guess it\'s my hoarding problem! I cleaned the sand and mud out of the case, but didn't take the cartridges out of the boxes. I\'m going to shoot a box every summer to see how long it functions - so far, it\'s fine.

Myles: With your recent conversation on Canadian gun laws I thought I would chime in on what firearms laws look like in another commonwealth country.  New Zealand has some of the most liberal gun laws in the world, but they still suck. Suppressors are commonly available for as little as 50 NZ$. It\'s almost as easy to get Chinese M-14s, SKSs HK SL8s and AKs. The gun registry was done away with, if you want to legally own a firearm you need a permit of some sort, but they are fairly easy to get. However if you want an AR-15 there is only one option I know of, Bushmaster imports some ARs but they are TERRIBLE. They are so neutered that they make California compliant rifles look like a weapon of mass destruction.

Pistols are very tightly restricted, there is no legal CCW. To get a pistol permit you have to re qualify with your weapon once a month on a police range. Also I would imagine that shooting an intruder in your home, even one with murderous intent is a no no. Because you know all life is precious, even the lives of murders and rapists.

Illegal use of a firearm is a very bad idea because the country is so small that there is about an 87% chance that if you are firing off of a designated range you will be ratted out and the police will set up a cordon and swoop down on you. There have been several cases of this sort of thing happening over the past few years.

One more nutty note, in New Zealand you can legally own fully operational machine guns, mortars and automatic cannon under a collectors license. About a year ago a shop in Christchurch was advertising that they were selling 30MM antiaircraft cannon and MG34 machine guns for about 7,500 NZ$. Boasting about how a similar gun in the US would cost significantly more than that. Just one caveat though, if you own a machine weapon or an artillery piece you have to promise to never ever use it!

Bryan Bramley: Hi Jake, I've been listening to your podcast  since January and I really enjoy it. I appreciate you and Reed taking the time to put it together. I have a Rock River Arms LAR-8 (.308), Smith and Wesson M&P15, ISSC MSR (Resembles a SCAR) .22lr, and a Taurus 9mm... But who wants to talk about pistols, haha. Just wanted to say hey and thank you for a great podcast. Also, can I please be added to the running for all the great products you give away? Please let me know if there is somewhere I can sign up, thanks again!

John:  I have been enjoying the podcast so much since I am in the process of building my own. If only the parts were available. But oh well, in time. Eventually I want to build a 300 Blackout upper. That cartridge seems so interesting and fun. Well anyway keep up the great work.

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