People LOVE to accessorize their AR-15's and other carbine-style rifles.
And I get it…
I'm a huge fan of using a carbines for home-defense and I love gizmos (great combination, eh?)
I think I've done a pretty good job of not “over-accessorizing” and sticking only with those modifications that will help me protect my family in the middle of the night during a home invasion.
One of those gadgets is a red dot scope because I know I'm not going to necessarily see my iron sights in a low-light scenario (or even in high-light environments in my home's close-quarters).
But not everyone feels the same as me… and I asked my friend and tactical instructor extraordinaire, Rich Nance, about what he thought about scopes on a home defense carbine.
Here's a synopsis of why he doesn't believe in them.
(I'll be curious to hear your feedback as well — so don't forget to leave a comment at the bottom.)
The Home Defense Carbine Rifle: Do You REALLY Need A Scope On Your AR-15?
When it comes to home defense use of the carbine rifle, one thing many people add (but don't need) is a scope.
It’s going to make things much more difficult for you, because when you’re close up it can skew your point of aim so dramatically that you could miss what you’re aiming at.
Or it could just be a blurry mess to try to see a close range threat through.
At the very least, it’s going to do something we never really want to do, which is to focus your vision on a very narrow spot.
We refer to that as tunnel vision.
That’s usually not conducive to survival and personal defense.
There are three reasons the home defense carbine doesn't need a scope.
1. Home Defense Rifles Don't Need Scopes Because They're Snag Points
When using a rifle for home defense, you're using it indoors.
You're at close quarters, surrounded by things that can get in your way.
You're already likely to be bumping into things while trying to maneuver around your home with a rifle.
A scope is one more thing that can get snagged on the curtains or the tablecloth, or whatever along the way.
Keep your home-defense rifle streamlined to prevent this from occurring.
For that reason, you might not even want a sling on the rifle, much less a scope.
2. Home Defense Rifles Don't Need Scopes Because Of The Ranges Involved
Really, have you even considered what a scope is for?
You've probably been thinking you need one because all the other cool guys have them on their rifles… but for the distances a home defense rifle will be used, is a scope even necessary?
Most homes aren't big enough for a scope to be a factor.
When defending your home, you're shooting at relatively short ranges.
That means a scope is unnecessary… and may even be a liability.
(Read on to find out why.)
3. Home Defense Rifles Don't Need Scopes Because They'll Throw Off Your Aim
At close range your point of aim and point of impact are not going to be the same with an AR-15.
Because the sights are about on average two-and-a-half inches above the bore, your round is going to go two-and-a-half inches lower than you think it’s going to go at extreme close quarters.
You need to know that when you go to the range and you shoot at the 50-yard-line, and your point of aim and point of impact are similar, if you’re instead shooting from the five-yard-line your point of aim and point of impact will not be similar.
Again, your round will impact lower than you might anticipate because the muzzle is below the sight.
That’s the same, whether you’re using iron sights or any kind of optic.
Consider all these points before “hanging glass” on a rifle intended for home-defense.
It's temping to add all kinds of cool accessories.
You should always consider whether you really need them and can use them, however, before you add them.
Keep that in mind.