Why You Should Choose an AR-15 Pistol for a Home Defense Firearm

Let’s cut to the chase: The AR-15 pistol is one of the best firearms for home defense. 


Why? They’re affordable, reliable, accurate, and found everywhere. It’s no wonder the AR-15 is informally known as America’s 21st Century musket. And for good reason. 


When an intruder sees the easily recognized AR in your hands, they know you mean business. 


Learn about the evolution of the AR and AR pistol


But first, let’s dive into the benefits of using an AR-15 pistol for home defense. Each benefit is like a ripple effect — they all go hand in hand to make this firearm perfect for defense purposes. 

Benefits of an AR-15 Pistol for Home Defense


shockwave blade stealth ar-15 pistol



You can find an AR-15 pistol to fit every budget: from just a few hundred dollars to the “sky is the limit.” The typical .223 ammunition is easily found in stores (when there’s not a global pandemic unfolding daily or nightly riots) and one of the least expensive ammos, with prices averaging about 32 cents per round. 



Low Recoiling


A low recoil makes the AR-15 pistol easy to shoot and a good option for beginners — even younger members of the family.





Because of such low recoil, accuracy is improved for most shooters.





At a mere 6 pounds — with ammo! — the AR-15 pistol is light enough for shooters of all ages and experiences. Because it has such a lightweight body, you can easily customize and add accessories to your firearm without making it too heavy to handle safely and accurately — especially in a home defense scenario. 



Ergonomically Designed


Many features of the AR-15 pistol are designed with ergonomics in mind, making this firearm comfortable and safe to shoot: pistol grip, trigger reach, safety location, forward handguard, sights, etc.



Ammo Capacity


A typical AR-15 pistol magazine holds 30 rounds of ammo. 


Many experts recommend using the .223 cartridge because it’s typically easy to find in stores,  inexpensive, and provides lower recoil. Some recommend using a 55-grain soft-point load that minimizes bullet penetration, which can be beneficial to protect your family in other parts of the home (or surrounding neighbors) in case the bullet misses the intended target. However, as you may know, the AR-15 is available in a multitude of calibers.





During a home invasion, you don’t want to be turning corners and allow the intruder to discover your location before you know theirs. The AR-15 pistol is a great option for home defense due to its relatively short length, allowing you to turn corners discreetly and avoid disclosing your location that can put your defense game at risk. 





From function to ergonomics to aesthetics, there are simply too many types of firearm accessories for customizing your AR-15 pistol than we can possibly cover here: grips, forearms, slings, sights, lights, lasers, scopes, red dot sights, triggers, muzzle devices, and so on. 


For home defense purposes, however, we recommend keeping it simple. Focus on the following accessories:

  • Brace, grip and/or sling: for better and safer control of your firearm
  • Flashlight: for better visibility in low-light conditions and stunning any intruders with the bright illumination
  • Red dot sight: for accuracy

A note about pistol braces:


Whether you’re building a custom AR-15 pistol or bought an AR-15 pistol without a brace, adding a brace can improve control and accuracy.


An AR-15 pistol cannot have a stock but it can have a brace, such as the Shockwave Blade and Shockwave Blade 2M. 

Shockwave AR-15 Pistol Accessories


Shockwave Technologies offers products to enhance your home defense use (and enjoyment) of your AR-15 firearms. Check out these Shockwave products compatible with AR-15 pistols.





Made from high-strength glass-reinforced polymer, the Blade® is manufactured to exacting tolerances and fits all pistols equipped with a standard AR-15 pistol buffer tube (up to 1.25? in diameter). Just slip it on and tighten the large set screw for a rock-solid installation.


Blade® fits all pistols equipped with a standard AR-15 pistol buffer tube (up to 1.25? in diameter) AR pattern, Glock, CZ Scorpion Evo 3, HK9X pattern, etc.


Features include:


  • Available in black, flat dark earth, OD green, and stealth gray
  • Quick and easy to install.
  • Provides additional support during firing.
  • Weighs a scant 5.0 ounces.
  • ATF approved for pistol use 



Blade® 2M


Made from high-strength glass-reinforced polymer, the adjustable Blade® 2M pistol stabilizer is manufactured to exacting tolerances and fits all pistols equipped with a Mil-spec buffer tube. Just slip it on and lock in place.  Adjusts with a simple finger lever.


Compatible with all pistols equipped with a Mil-spec buffer tube: 


  • AR-15 pattern
  • MPX
  • Glock
  • CZ Scorpion Evo 3
  • HK9X pattern
  • etc.


Features include:


  • Available in black, flat dark earth, OD green, and stealth gray
  • Quick and easy to install.
  • Provides additional support during firing.
  • Weighs a scant 4.0 ounces.
  • ATF approved for pistol use 

What is a non-NFA firearm?

What does it take to innovate a stubby little firearm that shoots 12- and 20-gauge shotgun shells—that isn’t classified as a short-barreled shotgun? A little creativity and a rebellious attitude to disrupt the firearms market. And that’s exactly what Len Savage of Historic Arms did in the late 00s / early 10s. He came up with the whole idea of what many would later term the “not a shotgun.”


Len Savage is first and foremost an American. He’s also an incredibly smart firearms designer and businessman. He’s been called as a subject matter expert on several high-profile trials that have involved the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives). Because of his encyclopedic knowledge of firearms and the overwhelming, often-contradictory myriad of laws, orders, rulings, findings, letters, etc. that have come out of the ATF over the years, those cases never really worked out for the ATF. In other words, let’s just say he’s not exactly on their Christmas card list. 


Mr. Savage didn’t make the rules. And he certainly doesn’t break them. But sometimes he finds new solutions to meet the rules in unique ways that give firearms owners what they want while making things a bit more hassle-free for them. And that’s what he did with the “not a shotgun” concept.


Such a firearm would allow buyers to make a quick purchase at their local dealer without all the extra paperwork and waiting on NFA tax stamps. Pricing could also be kept fairly low on such a simple firearm, making it a no-brainer for buyers looking for a compact yet powerful firearm for home defense.


Hearing about the “not a shotgun” idea in the early 10s, the founder of Shockwave Technologies contacted Mr. Savage and discussed plans for introducing a new birdshead grip for the Mossberg 500 and Remington 870 firearm families. As it turned out, the Raptor™ Grip’s length was perfect for making the “not a shotgun” a reality with a 14” barrel, an overall length of over 26”, and built on a receiver that had never had a stock attached to it. However, because of Mr. Savage’s “history” with the ATF, he wasn’t about to bring such a product to market. He didn’t trust them. He loves his dog too much. And his freedom.


NFA Firearm vs Non-NFA Firearm


But maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves, so let’s back up for a minute. Before we can get into what a “not a shotgun” (a.k.a. a non-NFA firearm) is, we should consider what makes an NFA firearm an NFA firearm—and requires an NFA tax stamp—in the first place. Because the definition is more about what it’s not than what it is.


Regardless of the 18” barrel length rule, to be an NFA short-barreled shotgun (SBS), a firearm must first be a shotgun. Meaning, it has to be designed to be fired from the shoulder. Since the “not a shotgun” isn’t designed to be fired from the shoulder, it can’t be an SBS.


One of the key features of an NFA Any Other Weapon (AOW) is that it must be capable of being concealed on a person. And the ATF defines that capability as being less than 26” in overall length. Since the “not a shotgun” is over 26” long, it can’t be an AOW either.


The NFA makes an exemption for firearms firing fixed shotgun shells. So it also can’t be classified a Destructive Device (DD).


So what the hell is it? Simply put, it’s just a firearm — one not subject to the NFA tax stamp requirements.


Shockwave Came into the Story


Shockwave Technologies began selling the Raptor Grip in 2011. The unique angle of the Raptor Grip minimizes felt recoil, allowing maximum control shot after shot. Small businesses and individual customers alike began buying the Raptor Grips and building their own “not a shotgun” creations. Len Savage enjoyed many long walks with his dog.


With the election of Donald Trump in 2016, you may remember that the firearms market took a bit of a nosedive. Manufacturers were looking for new, innovative products to boost sales. That’s when Mossberg and Remington came knocking on Shockwave’s door. And the rest is history, as they say.


With a short 14-inch barrel and the Raptor Grip, the Mossberg 590 Shockwave was the first to hit the market. Because it didn’t feature a buttstock, wasn’t intended to be fired from the shoulder, and was over 26 inches in overall length, the Mossberg 590 Shockwave was classified as a non-NFA firearm by the ATF.


The next up was the Remington 870 TAC-14. Similar to the Mossberg 590 Shockwave, the TAC-14 sported a 14-inch barrel, Shockwave Raptor Grip, and overall length of just over 26 inches. It too was found to be a non-NFA firearm by the ATF.


Since then, Mossberg has introduced versions of their 590 Shockwave in 20- and .410 gauges. Likewise, Remington has brought a 20-gauge version of the TAC-14 to market in recent years.


One of the newest innovations is the Remington V3 TAC-13. This unique non-NFA firearm is semi-auto, making it softer recoiling thanks to the Versaport gas system. It features a 13” contoured barrel, the Shockwave Raptor Grip with our new Shockwave QD1 cup. It’s a bit more expensive than the other “not a shotguns.” But it transfers just like any Title 1 firearm.


Build Your Own Shockwave


Did you know you can build your own “Shockwave”? 

If you own a Mossberg 500/590, Maverick 88, or Remington 870 (see which firearms are compatible) and, critically, it’s never had a stock on it, all you have to do is install a Raptor Grip and 14” barrel on it. 


Of course, gun owners should be sure to check their state and local laws first to make sure a “not a shotgun” is legal in their area.  


Specifications of the Mossberg 590 Shockwave:



Specifications of the Remington 870 TAC-14:



Specifications of the Remington V3 TAC-13:


  • Type: Semi-automatic gas operated, non-NFA firearm
  • Gauge: 12
  • Chamber: 3 in.
  • Barrel: 13 in.
  • Overall Length: 26.5 in.
  • Weight: 6 lbs.
  • Grip: Shockwave Technologies Raptor™ grip
  • Forend: Remington
  • Sight: Bead sight
  • Barrel Type: Cylinder bore
  • Capacity: 5 rounds
  • Price: $933
  • Manufacturer: Remington