Proof that an AR-15 can be the go-to for Home Defense

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When two home armed home invaders crashed through the backdoor of Jonathan Haith's North Carolina home on a Monday morning, they apparently bit off more than they could chew when they found Haith waiting for them in a central hallway with his AR.

The town

You ever heard that song, Stand by Me? Well, the famous Ben E. King, a soul and pop singer and early member of The Drifters, composed it. The point? You see, Mr. King is from a small town in Vance County, North Carolina, not too far from the Virginia line. That town is Henderson, (Pop. 15,000), near Interstate 85 and U.S. 1. It's a quiet place. One where people like to sleep in from time to time.

However, like all quiet places, it is not immune to crime.

The incident

(Photo credit: WRAL)

It all started with a light rapping knock on the back door of a quiet little blue house on Thomas Lane in Henderson. At 9:15 on a Monday morning, Jonathan Haith was just ready to stay in bed and ignored the knock.

But it kept on for 15 minutes.

Then, he heard a loud bang and felt as if someone was trying to break in to his laundry room area.

"I crouched down, grabbed the firearm, and was walking up the hallway," he recalled in an interview with WRAL-TV. "As soon as I poked my head around the corner I saw a tall male standing there with a gun."

The thug was apparently surprised to see the homeowner holding an AR-15 and peering around the corner of the hallway at him. The panicked criminal reportedly shot at Haith first with a 9mm pistol. Not wanting to become perforated so early on a Monday morning, Haith returned fire at close range from behind cover.

"He missed and I reckon I connected," Haith said.

In the resulting firefight inside the homeowner's residence, the pistol-armed suspect was shot, taking a .223 Remington round in the stomach, which exited the individual's shoulder and continued through the sheetrock walls of the home.

(Hole in sheetrock wall, photo credit: WRAL)

The now-critically injured suspect stumbled away from the fight, breaking off the engagement. He then collapsed outside of a nearby daycare and was picked up by a waiting accomplice.

The would-be home invaders only made away from Haith's place with a little bit of extra lead to show for it, unable to steal a thing.

The aftermath

(Johnson, photo credit: WRAL)

Soon one 23-year-old Gregory Johnson appeared at the local hospital, dropped off by a concerned friend. Johnson, suffering from gunshot wounds was treated and released to Vance County investigators with no bond while his wheelman is facing accessory charges in connection with the incident.


It seemed that even when surprised and outnumbered, this one homeowner had his AR to help stand by him when he was in trouble and it proved decisive.


As you can see from the incident, modern sporting rifles are very effective in home defense scenarios-- but you do have to consider over-penetration in any tactical situation.

Also, consider now how you would have to move tactically through your home if ever presented with a threat. The time to practice this is now, not then.

What are your thoughts on AR's for home defense? Too much, too little, or just enough? Let us know below.

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May 20, 2014  •  11:44 PM
Nothing is too much if you've trained with it and know your limitations in your house.
May 21, 2014  •  12:20 PM
Love those ARs and AKs but hate those dry wall repairs later. Guess would still be less mess to clean up than a 12 gauge. A light weight low velocity big bore hollow point on target might be a better choice for clean up but hard to argue with success and survivable in a shoot out story.
May 21, 2014  •  01:11 PM
First, it depends on where you live. If other homes are close by, a high-powered rifle fired within your home could pass through those sheetrock walls very easily and harm one of your neighbors. I would recommend a handgun, but keep a rifle handy just in case.
May 22, 2014  •  09:42 AM
i keep hollow points, not full metal jackets in my AR.The HPS open up and don't penetrate as much. I also have a 1911 loaded with HPS.
May 29, 2014  •  03:50 AM
1911 would be my first choice. Then Shotgun. I would absolutely use an AR for HD, just not my first choice, I feel it's too long to move around in my home. Always +P JHPs.
June 2, 2014  •  08:18 PM
There are .223 rounds that are designed to not over penetrate in a home defense situation. I have seen some test's where the 9mm actually penetrates gelatin more than a .223 or 5.56. Just need the right bullet for the situation. As mentioned practice moving around the house with the rifle to see if it will work. Using a pistol to get a round corners does seem to be a better choice. In my instance my wife has never shot a gun before. So I believe a 30 round M4 would be better for here in a SD situation. Put a laser on the barrel and where that dot is the bullet hits at he distance of my house.
June 6, 2014  •  06:20 PM
Not sure how to define "Too Much", although "Too Little" is clearly defined by ending up dead.
June 6, 2014  •  10:40 PM
My AR-15 is 6.8 SPC (type II chamber). At 120 gr spire point expanding, a stomach shot would mean DRT *Dead Right There. It has massive wounding and because of it's bullet design, expands to blow gallon milk jugs to bits. I do not think Mr. Intruder would make it past where he was hit.
June 6, 2014  •  11:44 PM
Glaser safety slugs in a big bore pistol sounds right.
Hollow point .380 is a minimum as far as I am concerned, but it is real easy to keep on target for follow up shots.
June 7, 2014  •  09:40 AM
Okay, so where was the dog?
June 7, 2014  •  10:58 AM
Great story!
I personally like my 12 gauge with a laser. Its loaded with #3 buckshot and clamped to my nightstand for quick access. Keeping with my aversion to rust, I bought a Marine Magnum because I don't want to worry about rust over the long term. It is surprising how much money you save buying a shotgun like this over any good pistol. Sure, a laser might be an overkill on a shotgun but I figure to go for a headshot - thereby avoiding lawsuit complications from a blood sucking lawyer representing the poor crook.
June 7, 2014  •  05:45 PM
Shot in the stomach and exited his shoulder, only a FMJ could have made that trip.

I would sure get something less likely to exit the bad guy and still have the momentum to go through the house for next time.

Happy that it worked out so well for this guy.
Too bad the hoodlum lived. I bet that hurts like hell.
June 8, 2014  •  07:20 AM
Sucks to be Johnson; no sympathy here. Great looking AR.
June 12, 2014  •  08:55 AM
Shame that it did not exit through the top of his head, would have saved the taxpayers a bundle of money.
September 27, 2014  •  10:17 PM
I'm surprised the media wasn't screaming racism