This is a guest post by Andrew Betts
That’s insane, right? .308 Win is a ridiculous choice for home defense because it penetrates way too deeply and cheap Russian ammo is just garbage. Right? Except, what if that wasn’t actually the case? What if cheap Russian .308 ammunition actually performed very well and what if it didn’t actually penetrate too deeply? Would you consider it for home defense?
You really can’t ask for much better performance. 92% weight retention with massive expansion and penetration that falls well short of the FBI recommended max of 18” is a set of rather impressive numbers. Rather than producing excessive penetration as you might expect, this load hit 16.5”, which is virtually perfect.
While the FBI recommends ammunition that penetrates at least 12” and no more than 18”, the 14” – 16” range is considered to be ideal. Aside from the surprisingly excellent expansion, this load produced a truly immense temporary stretch cavity, which would produce extensive tearing.
Now, it is true that 7.62x51mm makes a poor choice for a modern fighting rifle because 5.56x45mm allows you to carry literally twice as much ammunition for little difference in terminal performance when comparing FMJ military ammo. But civilians don’t have to load their rifles with FMJ. In soft point versions, 7.62x51mm and .308 Win can substantially outperform 5.56x45mm and .223 Rem, as seen in this test.
Of course weight, and more importantly length, matters in a home defense weapon, but if you own a 16” – 18” 7.62x51mm military pattern rifle like a SOCOM 16, or a CETME, you’ll find that they are perfectly manageable and the difference in power may well be worth the small weight premium when compared to an AR.
As always, the hardware that you choose is far less important than the software that you load into your brain. Whatever weapon you choose to defend your family, it is vital that you gain a high degree of proficiency with it. That means you take a defensive carbine course with that rifle, practice the principles learned in that class with dry fire at home as well as live fire on the range, and even participate in action matches like 3 gun and IDPA.
Andrew Betts served with the Arizona National Guard for over 12 years, including a tour to Afghanistan. Visit his YouTube Channel for more great shooting information.