The topic of home defense guns is hotly debated, with plenty of opinions about the various choices. Should you choose a handgun, shotgun or rifle? Each person you talk to will have a different opinion about which is best, based on his or her situation and needs. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to tell you why I have a .22 tactical rifle for home defense, and what accessory options I have on it.
Inside your home, the average distance across a room will be between 10 and 20 feet. That’s very close range! With that in mind, it’s to my advantage to have a firearm that I can maneuver down narrow hallways without bumping into the walls. A shotgun is generally longer than any AR-platform gun, and for me is very cumbersome when I’m moving through small spaces. Shotguns also have more recoil than an AR, with much lower ammo capacity. The magazine in my .22 rifle holds 30+ rounds of ammunition. My AR also has a collapsible stock so that it can easily fit through tight spaces, and is light enough that women and men alike can handle it.
Another plus of the .22 rifle is that it’s easy to operate, and has very little recoil. This allows even new shooters to repeatedly squeeze the trigger without being knocked off balance. And with more than 30 rounds of ammo in the magazine, I’m less likely to have to reload before the threat is stopped.
One last benefit is that most .22 rifles are reasonably priced. Not only are the rifles less expensive than other firearms, but so is their ammunition. This means you can afford to go to the shooting range often and practice! If you’re able to buy only one gun for home defense, this is a good option.
I should mention that I have nothing against handguns for home defense. They are a great option, and I own plenty of them. But handguns typically hold fewer rounds in the magazine, and some higher-caliber ammo can penetrate interior walls, causing unintended damage to others. Make sure you pay attention to what type of ammunition is available, and choose one that is designed to expand or fragment upon impact.
The first item I’ve added to my rifle is a red-dot sight, which allows me to quickly acquire my target without having to line up my front and rear sights. This is especially helpful in low-light conditions. My sight has both red and green reticles, making it easy to see whether I’m in the dark or training outside in the bright sun.
I’ve also added a detachable sling, which makes carrying a rifle much easier, as it distributes the weight across my shoulders. Now, I doubt that I’ll have the time to put the sling over my shoulder if I ever have to use my rifle for home protection, but for training on the range, it’s very convenient!
One of the best items that I’ve found to attach to my home defense rifle is the Manta-Ray weaponlight from LaserMax. I’ve tried a regular flashlight mount, which achieves its purpose, but the Manta-Ray is unlike anything I’ve used before. The exterior is rubber and attaches easily to the handguard in whatever location you prefer. It literally snaps on and off without the use of tools, which is a big plus for me. If I needed to, I could even take the Manta-Ray off the rail and use it as a stand-alone flashlight. The internal battery is rechargeable, and will stay charged for an hour of constant runtime. Since the exterior is rubber and has a slim design, it makes it easy for me to grip the handguard while pressing the on/off switch with my thumb (I position it on the left side, since I’m right-handed; I could easily switch the light to the other side if I chose to use my index finger instead).
Even though all those features are excellent, what I loved the most was the light itself. Instead of the bright white light in traditional flashlights, the Manta-Ray has a greenish light that’s much easier on my eyes. I found that when I was in a dark room and turned the light on, I was able to quickly see my target without my eyes having to adjust to the sudden glare. The green color is soft enough that it’s not reflective, yet allows me to see not only the target, but the area around it as well. Identifying my target, and what lies beyond, is vital for safe shooting. In addition, the light also has an adjustable brightness feature, which ranges from 20 lumens up to 140. One push of the button gives you momentary activation, and a double-tap switches the light on for a constant beam.
The .22 tactical rifle is my go-to gun if I should ever need it. Your choice should be based on which gun you can safely and effectively handle and use. Stay safe and keep training!
Freelance writer Stacy Bright holds instructor certifications from the NRA in Pistol & Rifle, as well as being an Range Safety Officer and Refuse to be a Victim instructor. In addition to her NRA credentials, she also is a Missouri CCW instructor and teaches various other home and personal defense courses. “In a field dominated by men, I feel I bring a unique perspective to firearms and training, especially to women. I'm passionate about educating, empowering and developing confidence in those I train. In November of 2014, I started the Southwest Missouri chapter of The Well Armed Woman,” said Stacy. Stacy lives in southwest Missouri, and has been married for 20 years. Visit TWAW Facebook page: The Well Armed Woman-Springfield, MO Chapter. View all posts by Stacy Bright