By Massad Ayoob
Springfield Armory SAINT Edge
Amidst all the political clamor about MSR-style rifles, one point often gets lost: They have some excellent features for home defense. Certainly, the platform dominates in several forms of target shooting competition — from traditional to modern. And, yes, every generation of American soldiers who ever went to war came home wanting to own a gun similar to the one they were trained to use to fight for their country. Another huge advantage of the .223-caliber semi-automatic rifle frequently gets left out of the argument: As already noted above, its capabilities as a home-defense tool are obvious. Let’s look at those, with a view toward educating your customers.
The “Pool Weapon” Concept
As a firearms instructor, I’ve found this to be a lesson best taught by analogy. Let’s compare the small arms in use by law enforcement to protect the public with the defensive firearms law-abiding private citizens use to protect themselves.
A concealed-carry handgun is a personal, individual defensive tool. At an L.E. agency, the service pistol will be issued to one officer or agent — and it will remain theirs (and theirs alone) until replacement. Similarly, the private citizen’s CCW sidearm is generally the gun they carry, and if the spouse carries too it will be his or her own personal gun that is worn.
In police work, the patrol rifle or shotgun generally stays with the assigned vehicle; in a given day three different officers on day shift, evening shift and midnight shift might use the same rifle and/or shotgun. The same long gun has to work as well for the 5-foot-tall female officer on day shift as the 6-foot-6 bear of a man who patrols nights. It’s a “pool weapon.”
This same concept applies to a home-defense firearm. Any of several different people at the age of responsibility may be authorized to reach for it in a life-threatening emergency. The man of the house or the lady of the house. Elderly arthritic grandpa or same-age grandma with osteoporosis. Older son or daughter who, while responsible, has not yet attained full growth. There have been documented cases of family members fitting all those profiles who have successfully used firearms to save themselves and their loved ones from home invaders.
Thus, the home-defense gun is just as much a “pool weapon” as the police officer’s patrol rifle or cruiser shotgun. Let’s look at why the MSR has largely taken over from the shotgun in police work, and why the same seems to be happening in the home-defense sector.
Size And Fit Issues
In “free states,” the telescoping stock version of the MSR is far and away the most popular. Compactness in storage is the least of the reasons why. The cardinal advantage of this feature is in an instant, the stock can be adjusted to fit the individual user — whatever their height or arm length.
Everyone reading this knows “pull length” (the distance from butt to trigger) is vital to the proper fit of a long gun to its user. Too long a buttstock forces the smaller, shorter-armed shooter to lean back, off balance. This is what causes small people to be knocked on their butt by the recoil of a powerful weapon “stocked” too long for them. How many of us remember being dumped on our rear the first time we fired Daddy’s 12-gauge? Even if they can stay upright, those with the too-long-stocked rifle or shotgun will experience exaggerated muzzle jump, slowing their rate of accurate fire.
The telescoping stock of an MSR truly adapts the “pool weapon” to any member of the household in a life-threatening emergency. Yes, there’s the rare higher-priced shotgun with telescoping stock, and aftermarket stocks by such companies as Magpul, but the adjustable stock is much more commonly found on the MSR platform, and you’re more likely to have it readily in inventory.
The Recoil Factor
The “kick” of the 12-gauge shotgun is legendary. No one will be competent with a gun they fear. In several decades teaching the shotgun to police, I’ve seen some of the brawniest cops cringe and jerk their triggers because of the recoil. People who find it hurts to fire the gun will hesitate to use it when they desperately need to do so to save the lives of others.
By contrast, the recoil of a .223 or a pistol-caliber MSR is almost amazingly mild. It’s literally fun to shoot, resulting in a great increase in two intertwined elements: confidence and competence.
Overcoming Traditional Objections
The rifle originally lost favor for in-the-home defense because of the danger of its bullets piercing walls and striking innocent bystanders. This is all but eliminated with expanding bullet .223-caliber ammo, which L.E. tests from the FBI on down have shown is no more penetrative in building materials than the popular police service pistol loads. Something to keep in mind: When selling a customer a .223 for home defense, make sure to also sell them hollowpoint or soft-nose ammo.
Another more serious concern is the very loud muzzle blast of this high-powered cartridge can cause some hearing loss when fired in close quarters, where sound reverberates and ear damage can be magnified. An easy solution? Sell your MSR buyer active hearing protectors to store next to the rifle. Obviously, safe storage devices are another important corollary sale. You can also show the customer a pistol-caliber carbine or, where legal, a suppressor.
Some fear “assault rifle stigma” in court if they shoot an intruder with an MSR instead of an Elmer Fudd Signature Model shotgun. This can be explained satisfactorily in court with the points cited earlier in this column. And if it’s intimidating enough snowflakes march in the street to ban them, shouldn’t it be just as intimidating to a dangerous home invader your customer takes at gunpoint? My own argument would be: “These rifles are virtually standard for police to use to protect people like me and my family, so they’re obviously the best thing for me to use to protect myself and my family!”
Final tip: I’ve found in court nothing is more powerful than demonstrative evidence — and the same is true in sales. The internet is full of YouTube videos of petite women firing 12-gauge shotguns for the first time and dropping them or being knocked over. It’s also full of delicate females — from little girls to grannies — firing MSRs and finishing a competent string of fire, grinning. Download some of the latter, and play them on your shop TV or on the laptop behind your showcase and let the customers see the advantages for themselves.
TacSol Partners With Brandlive
Tactical Solutions (TacSol) has partnered with live video company Brandlive. TacSol plans to use Brandlive’s interactive live video platform to broaden its training program and market new products to consumers, which will ultimately help in driving sales.
“In today’s landscape, it’s very important to engage, educate and differentiate yourself as a product and a company,” shared Mike Corkish, TacSol director of sales. “By partnering with Brandlive, we can utilize their innovative platform and ability to engage users to further grow our marketing and sales efforts, and drive business through our retail and distribution channels.”
For inquiries, please contact Director of Sales Mike Corkish at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (866) 333-9901.