Setting Up Your AR-15 Rifle for Home Defense - Choosing the Right Accessories!

AR-15 Accessories
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Setting Up Your AR-15 Rifle for Home Defense - Choosing the Right Accessories!

The AR-15 is one of the most versatile rifles available today, widely used for both home defense and recreational shooting. Its modularity allows for a vast array of accessories, which can enhance its functionality or potentially clutter and weigh down the rifle. In this blog post, we'll explore the essential accessories that can improve your AR-15 for home and self-defense purposes, discuss those that might be best avoided, highlight the importance of a good sling, and emphasize the critical role of regular training with your firearm.

Essential Accessories for the AR-15

1. Optics: Aiming with Precision

A reliable optic can significantly enhance your ability to aim quickly and accurately for home defense. Red dot sights are particularly popular due to their ease of use and fast target acquisition. For those looking for a bit more range and versatility, holographic sights and low-magnification scopes can also be beneficial, providing clear targeting without significant bulk.

  • Recommended Products: Consider the Aimpoint Pro for its durability and reliable battery life or the EOTech 512 for its quick acquisition holographic display. On the lower end of the budget, I enjoy Holosun products for their toughness, reliability, and lower price point!

2. Back Up Iron Sights (BUIS): Your Failsafe Aiming Solution

Even with the reliability of modern optics, having a set of backup iron sights is crucial. In the rare event of an optic failure, BUIS allow you to maintain aiming capability. BUIS are lightweight, unobtrusive, and lifesaving in critical situations. Consider running your BUIS "up" or "deployed," as one might not have the time to fiddle with turning an optic on when time counts!

  • Recommended Product: Magpul MBUS sights are a durable, cost-effective solution that are easy to install and deploy when needed.

3. Weapon-Mounted Lights: Identify Your Target

Identifying your target is paramount in a defensive scenario. A weapon-mounted light can illuminate your surroundings without the need to juggle a separate flashlight. This accessory is especially important in low-light conditions, common in home defense situations.

  • Recommended Product: The Streamlight ProTac series offers high-lumen output and is designed to attach securely to your AR-15's rail system.

4. Vertical/Angled Foregrips: Enhanced Control and Comfort

Foregrips can help stabilize your rifle, providing more control and potentially increasing accuracy during rapid fire. Vertical grips are great for control, while angled foregrips can offer more ergonomic hand placement and can be particularly useful for those who find the vertical grip uncomfortable.

  • Recommended Product: I am partial to quality and affordable foregrips from Magpul.  The Magpul AFG (Angled Fore Grip) is ergonomic and helps distribute pressure more evenly across the hand and promotes a strong and steady grip on the rifle.

5. Slings: Mobility and Readiness

A simple, functional sling is crucial for keeping your rifle accessible while allowing hands-free mobility. A good sling not only helps you carry the rifle comfortably but also aids in stabilizing your shots. It’s particularly useful in home defense scenarios where you might need to quickly transition between using your rifle and other tasks.

  • Recommended Product: The Blue Force Gear Vickers Combat Application Sling offers easy adjustment, strong, durable materials, and a quick-release function that makes it ideal for dynamic situations. I also have been happily running Magpul Slings on my duty rifles for years and have a few on my personal AR-15s.

6. Additional Magazines: Ensuring Reliability and Readiness

Extra magazines are a crucial component for any defense-ready AR-15 setup. They ensure you have sufficient ammunition on hand and can continue to defend yourself without the need to reload a single magazine multiple times, which is critical in high-pressure situations. Having multiple pre-loaded magazines also makes range trips for a practice run smoother and more enjoyable!

  • Recommended Product: Magpul and Amend2 magazines are highly recommended for their reliability, durability, and compatibility with various AR-15 models. Magpul PMAGs are renowned for their rugged construction and feature a self-lubricating follower and a stainless steel spring for reliable feeding. Amend2 magazines offer a sturdy build and a unique design that enhances grip and handling, making magazine changes quicker and more efficient.

Accessories to Avoid for Home Defense

While customization is one of the AR-15’s strengths, not all accessories serve a practical purpose in a home defense scenario. Here are some accessories that you might consider avoiding:

1. Large Magnification Scopes: High magnification scopes are generally unnecessary for home defense, where engagements occur at close range. These scopes can add excessive weight and bulk to your rifle.

2. Complex Sling Setups: While a simple sling is beneficial, overly complex sling setups can hinder mobility and quick response times needed in home defense situations.

3. Excessive Tactical Gadgets: Gadgets like laser sights, bipods, and large drum magazines might look appealing but often add unnecessary weight and complexity. In a high-stress situation, simplicity and reliability are key.

4. Heavy Barrel Add-ons: Unless you're engaging in long-range precision shooting, heavy barrels or large muzzle devices that add significant weight and length can hinder your maneuverability inside a home.

The Best Investment: Ammunition for Training

While accessories can enhance your rifle's capabilities, the most beneficial investment for any AR-15 owner is ammunition for regular training. Repeated marksmanship practice is crucial for gaining proficiency with your firearm’s manual of arms, which could prove lifesaving in a self-defense or home-defense scenario. Training helps build muscle memory, ensuring you can operate your rifle effectively under stress.

  • Training Tip: Schedule regular training sessions and practice various drills to improve shooting accuracy, speed, and handling under different conditions.


When equipping your AR-15 for home defense, the goal should be to enhance its functionality without compromising its ease of use. Opt for accessories that improve your ability to accurately identify and hit your target, and steer clear of those that may impede your mobility or add unnecessary complexity.

Remember, reliability and simplicity can make all the difference in a home defense situation. For more information on these products and others to help prepare your AR-15 for home defense, visit

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