James Reeves over at TFB TV goes over some of the lessons learned last year at the Aero Precision Media Event hosted at Thunder Ranch. In short, what is the ultimate urban defense carbine look like? More importantly, what do you need to be able to do with that carbine?
It’s a great video and when you have a moment with 25 consecutive minutes I’d suggest watching the whole thing. But the opening gives you the complete picture of your start point. Clint Smith, in his no nonsense straight to the point manner, gives you the start of the answer.
“Every single one of you, right now, need to know how to shoot an AR. Load it, unload it, paper plate at 25 yards… Every single one of you need to know how to shoot an AK47. Load it, unload it, paper plate at 25 yards.”
That sums it up rather nicely. The two most prolific carbine platforms and knowledge of both will pretty much allow you to figure out everything else. If you can pick it up, load it, unload it, and rapidly keep 100% of your rounds in a ~8″ space at 25 yards you’re on the right track.
Should you pick an AR or AK? (The video is about the awesomeness of the Aero rifles and, having helped with the layout of these, I’m fond of the equipment on them) But does it matter which you pick?
Not if you do the right things and stock for it. Ammo for both are prolific, but if scavenging ammo is high on your list of desirable qualities you’re thinking wrong. Stockable cost effective ammo so you can supply yourself is magnitudes more important.
Well what about 7.62x39mm vs 5.56x45mm vs 5.45x39mm vs 7.62x51mm (.308) vs 300BLK (7.62x35mm) vs 6.8SPC vs 6.5 Grendel vs 6.5 Creedmoor vs .277 Fury (6.8x51mm)?!? Again, you’re thinking all wrong. Pick one and stock for it. You can then pick more than one if you want.
We aren’t talking just end of the world due to Corona and lack of toilet paper here, we’re a talking about you supplying a rotating stock of useable practice and protection ammo for one rifle. If you train at a prolific level (by national standards) this will be in the neighborhood of 2,000 rounds a year. That’s enough for a good rifle class and at least an equivalent number in practice on your own time.
Note: You should be doing this with your EDC handgun too, more so based on likelihood you’ll need it. Chances you need the handgun and have it are substantially better than need the rifle and have it, but know and have both. You don’t get rid of a the lethal gas detectors in your home just because the fire alarm is more likely to be the one that saves your life.
You’ll need a couple magazines of your defensive ammo at most for the home defense role. Rifle FMJ rounds can work in that space (defensive) magnitudes better than pistol rounds can (it’s physics). So it’s no substantial skin off your back if you only bought a single magazine worth of defensive rifle ammo.
What else do you need on the rifle
In order of priority
- Reliable Light (assuming iron sights are present)
- Quality 2-Point Sling
- Reliable Upgraded Sight (RDS, LPVO, ACOG)
All three are important. All three are high value additions to the rifle. They should, if at all feasible, be added to the rifle from the start. However, for material flexibilities sake, if you had to go without one or more this would be a logical acquisition order.
For example, we didn’t all use lights at Thunder Ranch. This didn’t invalidate the quality of the rest of the rifle or the usability of its components. It was just a missing item that needed to be corrected at earliest convenience.
Maintain your proficency
Put in the range time and dedicated training time to be certain you can efficiently work the gun. You don’t have to be working the fastest competition grade reloads and absolute minimum time smallest percentage maximum efficiency control layout with every gadget and gizmo. But knowing you can do a 3 second or under reload from vest, belt, or your back pocket and do so with on point repeatability, that does matter. Knowing you can shoulder the rifle, acquire the sight, and make an on demand hit does matter.