Best Home Defense Rifles of 2020 – Buying Guide

Best Home Defense Rifles
Rifles Name Editor’s Comment Rating Get The Best Deal
Daniel Defense – DDM4 V7 16IN 5.56X45MM NATO 30+1RD

Most Recommended Option

1. Easy to customize with the top rail
2. Free-floating handguard to improve accuracy
3. Both left-handed and right-handed shooters can use

10/10 Check Current Price
Ruger AR-556 MPR 5.56 NATO 18″ 1. Designed exclusively for the use of home defense
2. Smooth and crisp trigger
3. Comfortable grip and buttstock
9.5/10 Check Current Price
PSAK-47 GF3 Forged “MOEkov” Rifle 1. Rugged and aggressive finishing
2. Has a scope mount for most 1-inch scopes
3. Powerful shots
9.0/10 Currently unavailable
Ruger Mini Thirty 7.62×39 Rifle with Flash Hider 1. Aesthetic black finishing
2. Good sight included
3. Stable scope mount available to mount the scope you prefer
8.5/10 Currently unavailable
Springfield Armory M1A SOCOM .308 Win Kryptek Highlander 1. Reliable even after 250 rounds
2. Good for hunting and home defense
3. Picatinny rail to mount scopes and optics
8.0/10 Currently unavailable
Smith & Wesson M&P 15 Sport II AR-15 M-Lok Rifle w/ Crimson Trace Optic 1. Can be used on many different occasions
2. Comes with a Crimson Trace optic
3. Durable construction
7.5/10 Currently unavailable

No matter how peaceful you think your neighborhood is, there are always dangerous people or animals that may invade your home. As a precaution to this danger, it is important for you to be able to defend yourself with the right tools. But you may wonder, are rifles good for home defense? If you are searching for the full list of rifle reviews, click here.

The Concern: Are Rifles Good for Home Defense?

Rifles are often used for hunting purposes, its characteristics are slow to load, slow to fire, has high power and also produce massive muzzle flash. However, there are some rifles that can be good for home defense. In recent years, there are more rifles made based around the AR-15 design and guns like the AK-47 M1 Carbine and the Ruger Mini 14 are made. 

These rifles are made to be easy to shoot, lighter in weight and also significantly reduced recoil and minimal flash. It is the reason why rifles are becoming more popular to be used for home defense. 

Home defense rifles are great choices to have when using it to defend your home. Besides that, having the best survival rifles is crucial during life and death situations and finding the right one can be challenging. Which is why we have put together a list of the best home defense rifles in the market.

But before we move on to the list, we’ll be sharing some information on what to look for in home defense rifles or survival rifles, what to consider before buying along with the good and bad of using a rifle for home defense. 

The Criteria of a Great Home Defense Rifle

Defense rifles are normally used during critical moments like during a home defense or self defense situations. The best defense rifles that are available today are often not built just for a single purpose only. Other than being home defense rifles only, these rifles are made for many other occasions too. 

Even so, there would still be certain criteria for picking the best survival rifles as well as home defense rifles. Now let’s see what we need to look for in home defense rifles. 

Rail System

The rail system of rifles is simply referring to the kind of mounts that the rifle uses. Some commonly used rails are like Picatinny and M-LOK rails. These rails are not just for show only, they are used to attach an accessory to the gun to help improve performance. It may seem like having accessories for home defense rifles are pointless, but being accurate when under attack can make a significant difference. 

Barrel Length

The barrel length of home defense rifles is also an important thing to look at when choosing the right firearm. In some states, it may be illegal to own a weapon with a barrel length exceeding or less than a certain requirement. Which is why it is important to check out the barrel length of that gun before buying it. 

Magazine Capacities 

While this may not be the biggest thing to look for in home defense rifles, a 30-round magazine and a 5-round magazine can have a big variation in the margin of error. With a 5-round magazine gun, you have to be sure that you don’t miss your shots, but with a magazine of 30 rounds, missing a few shots will still be fine. 

Power

The power of your gun is crucial in determining what kind of damage you will be dealing. Ideally, home defense rifles should give an effect of over penetration. You want to be able to deal serious impairment to the attacker to make sure that he/she/it doesn’t get back up and harm you and your family. 

What to Consider Before Buying

It is important to do sufficient research and be fully ready to buy a gun. The price of a gun is not cheap which is why careful planning can prevent your money from going to waste. We are certain you do not want to regret buying something that you don’t feel satisfied with. 

User Experience

This is one of the important factors to consider as it determines the kind of home defense rifles that suits you. If you have experience of shooting like using a hunting rifle, there would be more options for you and you are most likely to be able to handle different kinds of firearms. For new users, it would be best if you go for home defense rifles that are easy to use. 

Budget

Rifles are generally priced higher due to the features that it offers so it would only make sense if you allocate a certain budget. You would want to have a brief idea of the price range you are looking for in order to aid in choosing the right defense rifles.

Pros and Cons of Using a Rifle for Home Defense

The pros and cons of using a rifle can vary depending on different preferences, but here are some general advantages and disadvantages of using a rifle for home defense. 

Pros

Capacity

Rifles, in general, are made with a high magazine capacity of about 30 rounds. Though, some defense rifles that are can be used for long range shooting too may have a lesser capacity of about 5 to 10 rounds. However, when it comes to using a rifle for home defense, magazine capacity may not be the biggest concern, but it never hurts to have more rounds just in case. 

Customizable

Most rifles are equipped with a handguard and a rail to mount accessories. The ability to mount accessories allows the user of the firearm to put on the desired attachments that can help to improve the accuracy of the rifle. You would want to be as accurate as possible, especially in critical moments so that you wouldn’t hit any of your family members by accident or shoot anything that you don’t intend to. 

Versatile

Not all home defense rifles are made just to be a survival rifle or for home defense purposes only. Most of the time, it can also be used for different occasions like hunting, competition or for taking long range shots. That way, you won’t just have a gun at your house doing nothing, you can bring it out to the range to shoot some targets and have a good time with your mates. At the same time, if you ever need the rifle for self defense, it will be there. 

Intimidating

There is nothing good about a home invasion and having to use your rifle to shoot someone. However, in an ideal situation of home defense, the attacker is afraid that you have a gun and gets out of your house without hurting you or your loved ones. The best way to scare off and intimidate an attacker is with a rifle. Most people will run when they see someone holding a big gun. 

Cons

Not legal in some states

Although defending yourself with a gun is legal in all states, there are some that have stricter regulations. The regulations usually involve the rifles being made to a specific standard or requirement. Manufacturers don’t always make rifles that satisfy the law of every state which is why it can be a challenge getting defense rifles for your home. 

Too big to store

Unlike pistols and revolvers that you can just keep in your drawer, a rifle will require more space to store. If your house does not have any space to store a rifle, you will find your rifle lying around and it can be bad if your house has children. 

Require both hands to hold

According to US law, the average length of a rifle has to be above 26” which means it will be too heavy and too long for an average person to hold it with one hand. It is also one of the reasons why it would be much better to just have a small gun as a home defense weapon. 

Now that you have a clear insight into the criteria of picking the best home defense rifle, let’s move on to the list that we have compiled for you. 

Top Best Home Defense Rifles – Comprehensive Buying Guide

1. Daniel Defense – DDM4 V7 16IN 5.56X45MM NATO 30+1RD

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Daniel Defense is a company that values its customers very much. It ensures that the products made are up to standards and of high quality. The products are also made to be durable, has great design, modular and rich in features too. With high standards come good quality products like the DDM4 V7. 

Features

The V7 is the first rifle in the DDM4 lineup that has an M-LOK attachment with the MFR 15.0 rail. This allows you to mount attachments such as foregrips and scope to help you improve the performance of this rifle. In a home defense situation, a good performing firearm can make sure you hit your target and ensure the safety of you and your family. 

The barrel of the DDM4 V7 is 16” long and made of Chrome Moly Vanadium Steel and is cold hammer forged. It is also coated with Mil-Spec heavy phosphate to ensure the durability of the rifle. A long-lasting rifle means that it will do its job when you need it even if it’s not used for a long time. However, it is a good habit to check your gun once in a while to make certain that it still works. 

A feature that is worth mentioning for this gun is that it comes with a flash suppressor. Having a flash suppressor on your home defense rifle can make a huge difference especially during nighttime. Firstly, you will be able to stay concealed from the attacker and secondly, there won’t be any blinding muzzle flashes when you shoot, allowing you to keep your eyes on the attacker. 

This rifle uses a mid-length gas system to help reduce recoil and to prolong the service life on moving parts. Besides the durability of the moving parts, the handguard that the V7 uses is also lightweight and has good cooling without compromising the strength and capability of lasting long. 

An ambidextrous GRIP-N-RIP Charging Handle is used for this rifle to accommodate for left-handed and right-handed shooters. It also has an anti-gas feature that directs the gas flow away from the shooter’s face. This means that this rifle is suitable for anyone during a home defense situation.

Bottom line

The DDM4 V7 is one of the best home defense rifles because it is easy to use and can definitely do well in a defensive scenario. It is also lightweight which gives you the mobility so you can move around easily. Besides that, there is also plenty of space available for you to mount accessories to improve the performance of this rifle. To top it off, the flash suppressor that came with it is also a great feature to have when using the rifle at night. 

Pros

  • Easy to customize with the top rail
  • Free floating handguard to improve accuracy
  • Both left-handed and right-handed shooters can use
  • Came with a flash suppressor

Cons

  • Rail may not be compatible with all accessories

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2. PSAK-47 GF3 Forged “MOEkov” Rifle

Palmetto State Armory has been known for their AR-15s and now they are involved with the AKs too. The AK-47 is a well-known firearm to many people and Palmetto State Armory has taken this standard rifle to another level. The PSAK-47 GF3 Forged “MOEkov” Rifle is made to set a new standard for the AK-47 with new and carefully manufactured parts. 

Features

The PSAK-47 GF3 Forged “MOEkov” Rifle is an improved version of the typical AK-47, it has a hammer-forged bolt, carrier and front trunnion. It is like this rifle got all of its upgrades from a normal AK-47 and proving its capability of lasting for a long period. 

When it comes to using a rifle in a defensive situation, being able to deliver a powerful shot is crucial for taking down targets. The PSAK-47 GF3 Forged “MOEkov” Rifle is the type of home defense rifle that can give you the firepower you need. Other than the power this gun, it also has an aggressive look which can scare off home invaders too. 

With the kind of power that this rifle has, accuracy and precision have to be on point as well. Which is why there is a sight included for this rifle to help you aim at the attacker and get a precise shot at him/her. The last thing you want in a defensive situation is accidentally shot something or someone else. 

This rifle has a Gas Nitride 4150 steel treated barrel that is designed to keep the rifle in service for a long duration. It also features a Mil-Spec style single hook trigger, it may not be the best option for this rifle but it can definitely get the job done. 

The PSAK-47 GF3 Forged “MOEkov” Rifle is also equipped with a Magpul polymer handguard, Magpul Zhukov stock and also a Magpul AK-47 polymer grip. Besides these Magpul parts, the rifle can also be shipped with a 30 round Magpul magazine to areas where the law allows. 

Bottom line

This upgraded AK-47 is a good choice for shooters who are into AK-47s and also good for various purposes too. So for people who are looking for a home defense gun or a gun to be used for casual and target shooting, the PSAK-47 GF3 Forged “MOEkov” Rifle will not disappoint. 

Pros

  • Made to last for a very long time, won’t fail during critical situations
  • Rugged and aggressive finishing
  • Has a scope mount for most 1-inch scopes
  • Powerful shots
  • Compatible with a lot of muzzle brakes

Cons

  • The trigger may not perform as well as some aftermarket triggers
  • May not be legal in some states.

3. Ruger Mini Thirty 7.62×39 Rifle with Flash Hider

While a nice AR-15 can be a flexible and modern-looking firearm, it is sometimes good to have something that is lower profile but still perform well. This is where the classic looking Ruger Mini 14 and Ruger Mini Thirty comes in. For this review, we will be looking at the Ruger Mini Thirty 7.62×39 Rifle with Flash Hider as it chambers the popular 7.62×39. 

Features

This rifle has shown that it fires smoothly and even after going through many rounds, there won’t be any problems. As a firearm used for home protection, it would be bad if your rifle starts to jam in critical moments. Besides not jamming, you will want to be able to hit the attacker accurately as well and that is where the built-in sights shine. 

It has an adjustable rear sight so you can set it to the best position for different occasions. The front sight is a protected blade that is non-glare too, which can allow you to get a quick aim. Apart from a good sighting system, this rifle also has a flash hider to help eliminate blinding flashes when using the rifle at night. 

If the sights that are included are not good enough, there are scope mounts on the steel receiver for you to mount the scope that you prefer. The mounting surface also has scope rings which create a stable mounting surface. This will remove any looseness when in operation. 

With the aid of the sights that are included, it is important that the rifle is accurate too and the barrel of the Ruger Mini Thirty can ensure its accuracy. The barrel is cold hammer forged and has precise rifling that provides the rifle with great accuracy. It also makes sure that the rifle can last for a long time. 

The Ruger Mini Thirty may seem like a bolt-action rifle, but it is actually a semi-automatic rifle. For semi-automatic rifle fans out there, this rifle will not disappoint. It is made of alloy steel, has a black finishing and a black synthetic stock giving the rifle an intimidating look. There might be a chance you scare off the attacker before even taking a shot. 

This rifle only weighs 6.7 pounds, which is fairly lightweight. Having a light rifle means you will be able to move around easier and it won’t feel troublesome to carry around. 

Bottom line

A good rifle to be used for many occasions like hunting, target shooting and home defense too. Also a semi-automatic rifle so if you are into it, the Ruger Mini Thirty can be a great choice for you to have one around. It is also a clean-looking rifle with the black finishes and alloy steel construction. Good accuracy and overall longevity. 

Pros

  • Great use for many purposes like hunting, home defense and even target shooting
  • Aesthetic black finishing
  • Good sight included
  • Stable scope mounts available to mount the scope you prefer
  • Lightweight making it easy to move around

Cons

  • No recoil pad to further reduce felt recoil 

4. Springfield Armory M1A SOCOM .308 Win Kryptek Highlander

The Springfield Armory M1A SOCOM is an elevated version of the traditional M1A. It is a representation of less is more with its compact design. Despite a compact rifle, the M1A SOCOM is still compatible with large calibers. With all the special design done to this rifle, it has enhanced the overall performance. 

Features

The Springfield Armory M1A SOCOM .308 Win Kryptek Highlander has phenomenal stopping power and is commonly used for hunting purposes. The stopping power is enough to take down big targets which makes this a good home defense rifle as well. Attackers will definitely be taken down from the power that this rifle delivers.

The barrel length of this home defense rifle is 16.25” and has a groove and twist that is carefully designed to be as accurate as possible and at the same time minimize the overall weight of the rifle. This feature is important for a home defense weapon as it is crucial that you hit the target accurately instead of hitting something or worse, someone else. 

Another feature that makes this gun accurate are the sights that came with it. The front uses an XS Tritium Front Sight, it can allow you to stay on your target even under dim light conditions. The rear uses an adjustable sight that can be adjusted for windage and elevation, which can be done easily without any tools. 

If the stock sights do not satisfy you, there is also a forward scout-style Picatinny rail that enables you to easily install a scope or optic that you prefer. However, the stock sights are usually good enough for a home defense situation since your attacker wouldn’t be that far away from you. 

This rifle uses a match grade tuned trigger, it is also a two-stage trigger that breaks cleanly. The pull weight ranges between 5 and 6 pounds, which is slightly heavy, but also good to be kept at home. Heavier pull weight means it won’t go off so easily, so you can think it through before firing. 

The recoil and muzzle rise of this rifle have also been significantly reduced with the use of Springfield Armory’s proprietary muzzle brake. The muzzle brake also has a low profile design to minimize the footprint. In addition to these features, this rifle is reliable even after 250 rounds so you can expect it to be with you for a long time.

Bottom line

If you are looking for a compact yet powerful rifle, this would be one of the best rifles to go for. Besides power, it is also designed to ensure the best possible accuracy you can get which makes this good for various occasions. You can use it to hunt and keep it around your house for self defense. 

Pros 

  • Reliable even after 250 rounds
  • Good for hunting and home defense
  • Proprietary muzzle brake that effectively improves accuracy
  • Picatinny rail mount scopes and optics

Cons

  • Stock sights’ reliability may vary
  • Shots can be very loud and deafening without proper hearing protection

5. Ruger AR-556 MPR 5.56 NATO 18″ 

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The Ruger AR-556 MPR is a rifle that is specially designed for home defense and to be affordable, which makes it one of the best home defense rifle on the market. It has the best features a home defense rifle should have and also eliminated anything that is unnecessary for a home defense weapon. 

Features

This home defense rifle’s barrel is made with a cold hammer forged 4140 chrome-moly steel and has precise rifling that makes this firearm accurate. The barrel length is also 18” which can prevent you from breaking any short-barreled rifle laws. Besides the durable construction, the barrel is also finished with black nitride for corrosion resistance. 

In addition to the durable barrel, the upper receiver is just as good too. The receiver is made from aerospace-grade 7075-T6 aluminium and also has a Type III hard-coat anodized to ensure that it has a long service life. Furthermore, you won’t have to worry about your rifle breaking if you accidentally dropped it. 

The AR-556 MPR uses a two-stage trigger with 4.5 pounds of pull weight. The trigger is smooth and crisp so you will be able to engage the trigger without too much effort. It also has a full-strength hammer spring so that ignition of the primer can be consistent and the lightweight hammer can also result in a faster lock time and better accuracy. 

The Ruger AR-556 MPR comes with a full-length Picatinny rail as compensation for not having any sights included. With a Picatinny rail, you can mount sights or scopes that you wish to. The common optic sights that are used for home defense would usually be the holographic or the red dot sight. Without a stock sight included, you can have more choices of customization for your rifle. 

Apart from the full-length Picatinny rail, the handguard is also free-floating, which adds to the accuracy of the rifle and it also has M-LOK attachments. The attachments can allow you to mount small attachments like a laser or a light which are great for defending against attackers.

Since the primary usage of this rifle is for home or self defense, it has been designed to provide comfort to the user. The pistol grip that this rifle is equipped with is a Magpul MOE grip and also a Magpul MOE SL collapsible buttstock. These traits can add to the overall comfort of the shooter and also making it easy to use especially in a defensive situation. 

Bottom line

Out of all the rifles in the market, this would be one of the best home defense rifles that is available. It is designed specifically just for home defense uses and has features that have catered for it too. If you are looking to get a rifle for the safety of you and your family, this would be the best choice for a home defense rifle. 

Pros

  • Designed exclusively for the use of home defense
  • Full-length Picatinny rail for the mounting of sights or scopes
  • Smooth and crisp trigger
  • Comfortable grip and buttstock
  • Free-floating handguard with M-LOK attachments
  • Durable construction

Cons

  • May require more space to store the rifle

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6. Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport II AR-15 M-Lok Rifle w/ Crimson Trace Optic

Smith & Wesson is a well-known company that has been in the industry for many years. They are known for the premium quality products that they manufacture and it can be considered as one the best ones in the market. 

While the Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport II AR-15 is best used as a sporting rifle, it has also been carefully designed to be used for other purposes as well. Out of all the uses that this rifle is made for, using it for home defense has shown to be just as good. 

Features

A feature that is worth mentioning is the fact that the M&P15 Sport II AR-15 M-Lok Rifle comes with a Crimson Trace red-green dot optic sight. Which makes this rifle an optic-ready rifle. It is equipped with what Smith & Wesson thinks is the best optic for the rifle. With the use of this optic, you will be able to aim quickly and precisely during a home defense situation. 

The M&P15 Sport II AR-15 comes with a Magpul MOE M-LOK Carbine-Length Handguard. With the use of this handguard, the rifle’s overall weight is effectively reduced making it easier to handle. It is also a feature that can be beneficial in a competitive and self defense scenario. A lighter rifle can make you feel more agile and comfortable if you are holding it for a long time. 

When you are running or moving around with this rifle, you won’t have to worry about the parts falling apart or becoming loose, all the components are precisely fitted to make sure that it doesn’t move around. 

With this rifle, you don’t need to be extra careful thinking that it will break easily, the overall build of this rifle is of high-quality and meant to be durable too. This is ideal for both home defense and casual shooting since you can literally abuse the gun and it would still maintain its condition.

In addition to the Crimson Trace optic, the M&P15 Sport II AR-15 M-Lok Rifle also has an A2 flash hider, commonly used for AR-15 rifles. The flash hider used for this rifle may not be the best, but it certainly can get the job done. It is good enough to eliminate blinding flashes when firing at night. 

Bottom line

One of the best rifle to be used for many occasions such as home defense, competitive shooting and casual shooting too. It enables you to move quickly during a home defense situation and also allows you to be agile when firing it in competitions. The Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport II AR-15 M-Lok Rifle is definitely one of the best home defense rifles that you can own. 

Pros

  • Can be used on many different occasions
  • Comes with a Crimson Trace optic
  • Lightweight to maintain agility and to move around easily
  • Durable construction to last for a long time

Cons

  • Might be too bulky to store
  • People with poor eyesight might not find the sight effective

Conclusion – Best Overall

The best home defense rifle overall would be the PSAK-47 GF3 Forged “MOEkov” Rifle. The reason that this rifle is the best home defense rifle is because of its performance and features in general. This rifle has an aggressive look which can easily scare off attackers and decent stopping power enough for you to take down the target if the target does not leave your home. 

It is also built to last long and to deliver the best performance at all times. The PSAK-47 GF3 Forged “MOEkov” Rifle also can mount scopes which you can bring to the range for target practice. The only major downside is that this rifle may not be legal in some states but where it is legal, it is definitely the best home defense rifle you can have. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is an AR-15 good for home defense?

Yes. The AR-15 is one of the best home defense rifles that you can have. It is lightweight, has low recoil and easy to use too. Besides that, it is also customizable and there are many aftermarket parts for upgrading your AR-15. It is also very versatile and can be used for many different occasions. 

What is the most reliable rifle ever made? 

The AK-47 rifle. Most people from all around the world would know what an AK-47 is, it is well-known for its effectiveness and has been in production since 1949. The AK-47 has gained many people’s attention and manufacturers from all around the world have made many upgrades to the classic AK-47 to further improve its performance. 

Which is better? AR-15 or AK-47?

While both firearms are reliable, the AR-15 has shown to be more accurate than the AK-47 with an effective range of 600 yards and the AK-47 with an effective range of 400 yards only. The recoil of an AR-15 is also more controllable compared to an AK-47. It makes the AR-15 a slightly better choice for a home defense weapon since it is more accurate.

Is a shotgun or rifle better for Home Defense?

Within guns with a long barrel, the shotgun would be a better choice than the rifle for home defense. It offers more firepower than a rifle and is very hard to miss at close ranges. However, shotguns do have some over-penetration concerns, it can penetrate through a solid wall so you have to be careful when taking a shot, you wouldn’t want to hit anyone on the other side of the wall as shotguns can deal some serious damage. 

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