“Bump Fire” for Home Defense?

This is a guest post by Andrew BettsBFS-stock-3

A few years ago, a company called Slide Fire introduced a stock that allows the user to easily simulate full auto fire with a legal, semi-automatic rifle. Shortly after the introduction of that product, another company produced a copy at a lower cost and then was promptly sued. It is also no great feat to make a similar version for yourself at home and there are a number of guides available on the Internet that show you how.

Do these have any place in home defense?

Let us begin by taking a look at how the bump fire stocks work:

The user grasps the pistol grip with his or her trigger finger resting on a protrusion next to the trigger. The shooter then applies forward pressure on the hand guard with the off hand, which pulls the trigger forward against the trigger finger. The rifle fires and is able to move freely backward inside the stock, resetting the trigger. The shooter’s constant forward pressure eventually overcomes the inertia of the rifle and brings it back forward to repeat the cycle.

Because the trigger is actuated separately for each pull, and because there is no spring or other device within the stock that makes the rifle return to position, the BATFE does not consider this to be a machine gun or machine gun part.

The video above shows a fairly petite female firing an AR-15 rifle equipped with a bump fire stock for her very first time. You can see that she immediately grasps the concept and is able to control the rifle well enough to keep 3-6 round bursts on a target at home defense distances, without much effort. Bear in mind that the shooter is not really trying to do more than keep rounds on the berm.

With just a little practice, it is trivial to crank off short bursts. If single shots are desired, the shooter simply pulls the rifle back towards the shoulder and moves the trigger finger to a more traditional hold. The stock can also be easily locked in position so that it cannot bump fire.

It is possible to induce a malfunction with the wrong technique, though. If too much forward pressure is applied, the rifle moves forward too quickly and the trigger is pulled again before the bolt is fully locked. ARs and AKs have a safety feature which prevents the hammer from contacting the firing pin until the bolt carrier is fully forward so when this occurs, a live round is left in the chamber, with the hammer down. Clearing the stoppage is as simple as cycling the charging handle. Avoiding this type of stoppage is no more complicated than training people not to short stroke their pump shotgun.

From a practical standpoint, these stocks are nearly as good as real full auto in terms of being able to put rounds into a target, but SHOULD you use a device like this for home defense? Inevitably, someone will argue that using something scary or unusual will automatically put you in jail, but that really is not how use of force laws are written.

It is true that this sort of thing COULD influence a jury, but to get to that point, you would have to have been charged and indicted and for that to happen, you need to actually violate the law (offer not valid in CA, MA, HI, NJ, & NY). If you act in a safe and legal manner and only use deadly physical force when you, a reasonable person, determine it is truly necessary, then in most cases, you are not likely to go to a criminal trial. Nevertheless, the use of a device such as this presents some very real problems. As controllable as it is, it is far more likely for you to miss with a round or two from a burst. You are accountable for every single round that you fire. If one of your rounds causes harm to another person, or property damage, it will not matter how justified you were in firing it.

There is no arguing that these stocks are a LOT of fun. Not everything has to have a practical purpose. Remember, guns are fun to shoot and these things are RIDICULOUSLY fun to shoot. They might even, by a long stretch of the imagination, have a practical use for suppressive fire in a Mad Max, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it nightmare.

They are not a particularly good choice for home defense. Any practical benefit they offer in being able to put more speed holes in the bad guy is outweighed by the risk of malfunction and increased liability.

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.

Photo Credit – Bump Fire Systems

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