We’ve touched on this topic before for those in the market of a home defense firearm — this time we’ll be specifically looking at how to build yourself an 80% AR style rifle optimized for defending your home. Spoiler alert: it’s an AR-9 build.

Why the AR-9?

ar-9 build w/ suppressor

There’s a lot of talk and debate over how best to set up your AR-15 for home defense purposes but since we’re in the business of making 80 percents… why not build an AR-9? It’s lighter, more maneuverable indoors, is easier to mitigate recoil and far quieter than an AR-15. Those are huge pros already. With regard to milling out an AR-9 lower receiver, because it’s smaller than an AR-15 or AR-10 receiver, the time to mill it out is also significantly decreased. 

So if any of this is starting to sound appealing, don’t forget to grab a Router Jig Pro and the appropriate tool kit size for your router to be able to mill out one of our AR-9 lowers from the 6061 Collection. 

Must Have Attachments

These are your bare minimum, must-have attachments for a home defense AR-9 build:

Flashlight Instead of fumbling around at night looking and feeling for light switches on the wall, blind any home invaders with a tactical light. We recommend basically any product from Surefire, Streamlight, or Modlite. 

Magpul MBUS flip up iron sights – The reason why we’re saying iron sights are more important in this case than any glass optic is because they’re by far the easiest to use and cheapest. We also want the least amount of actions necessary for you to have the gun up and ready to engage after grabbing your rifle or PCC (pistol caliber carbine). We know, “semantics.” 

Optional Attachments

daniel defense ar-15

Red dot or reflex sight – Glass optics are optional because unless you regularly train with them, they will be more difficult to use compared to iron sights. If you must, we recommend the Holosun T2 style red dot for its “shake awake” feature which turns on automatically when you grab your firearm that it’s set up on.  

Sling Slings are great because they allow you to do other things while keeping your firearm handy and close to the body. Maybe you need to grab the kids and get them out of the house or use your phone to call 911, all important things. However, if you don’t practice using a sling regularly it could potentially just get in your way. We want to avoid anything that makes using a firearm more difficult.

Folding stock or pistol brace – The pistol brace is going to be a good option to stay legal (until the ATF says otherwise) for those building guns shorter than 16”. Shooting 9mm in an AR style configuration already takes a lot of the recoil out of the picture because of the heavier weight and longer barrel compared to any handgun. So, folding stocks could be very helpful in covering and clearing tight corners in homes — if necessary, shooting your AR-9 by only holding onto the pistol grip and handguard would not be hard to manage.  

Silencer – If you’re able to obtain one and afford it, having a silencer will save your ears a lot of pain if there isn’t time to grab ear protection in the event you need to defend your home. This is also one of the largest reasons why we are making the case for an AR-9 over an AR-15; it’s nowhere near as loud and there’s far less gas ejected from the gun.

Keep It Simple Stupid 

ar-15 home defense aimpoint optic

If you’re still mulling it over, it’s always good to consider your needs based on what kind of home you live in so consider the following:

  • How big or small is your home?
  • Are your hallways wide or narrow?
  • How much natural light is there at night?
  • Do you have any night lights set up? 

Pay attention to state and federal laws if you’re looking to remain compliant with your AR-9 build but we’re going to recommend you get the lightest possible parts with the shortest possible rail and barrel that you can comfortably control. Just because you can build a 7” or 8” barrel rifle doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best choice for this task. Look for barrels that range from 9 to 14.5 inches so that with a muzzle device, the total barrel length would add up to be anywhere between 10.5  to 16 inches. Anything longer than 16” is simply too long for home defense unless you live in an incredibly large home or a mansion. Please note that any AR style rifle with a barrel shorter than 16” is considered an SBR which is regulated by the National Firearms Act (if you use an adjustable buttstock and not a pistol brace).

AR-9’s are also great if you ever plan on getting into any competition shooting. Sometimes the targets they put out on courses can be 50 yards out or so and without an AR-9 or some sort of pistol caliber carbine it can be difficult to get shots on target.