Go on any message board or jump into a discussion about what makes the best home defense gun with your buddies the next time you’re at the range and you’re sure to hear a number of opinions. Shotguns—most often pump actions or semi-autos—are a top choice of many practitioners due to the spread of pellets making precise aiming a little less of a concern under duress, as well as a perceived lack of pass through on walls. For others, particularly concealed carry permit holders, the portability and familiarity of the handgun they carry is the way to go even in the home.

But as AR-style rifles have become more popular with recreational shooters and collectors, it’s important to note that this most versatile of tactical weapons also makes for an efficient and dependable firearm to use in home defense situations as well. Here are five great reasons ARs make a great choice.

1. More Velocity – Rifle rounds by their nature, because of more velocity, can deliver more energy and knockdown necessary to stop an attacker. A typical 60-grain .223 round leaves the muzzle at 2,750 to nearly 3,000 fps. That compares to a standard 9mm +P round with a muzzle velocity of right at 1,000 to 1,100 fps or the big bore .45 Auto, which has a velocity that is as much as 1/3 that of the AR at 880 to 900 fps.

2. Quick Stopping – While shotgun loads are often preferred for the perceived lack of pass through-on walls where other people may be in a home or even outside in other nearby homes, the design of the lightweight .223 round are made to expand and dissipate energy rapidly for both maximum energy transfer into a target and for reduced pass through concerns.

3. Light Recoiling – Shogtuns, with heavier recoil, may not be the best option for small framed shooters such as women, who are less likely to practice getting familiar with their firearm because it isn’t as enjoyable to shoot. Conversely, the .223 round delivers little recoil, tamed even more by the semi-auto action of the AR rifle.

4. Maneuverable and Versatile – With an adjustable stock, the AR can be instantly fitted to any shooter for the perfect length of pull. It can also be kept shortened for maximum maneuverability in tight spaces or when moving along hallways and around corners.

5. Easy Sighting – The longer sighting plain offered by a rifle allows for easier, and likely more accurate aiming, by less experienced shooters in a stressful situation. Handguns are notoriously more difficult for new shooters to fire accurately.

6. Room for Accessories – A bright, white light for improved night vision and/or red dot or laser sighting systems can be easily attached to the rails of an AR, keeping hands free and the mind focused on one thing, using the rifle to ensure the safety of the person holding it.

7. More Visually Intimidating – It’s purely psychological, but the sight of a physically larger tactical rifle compared to a compact handgun can be enough to induce more fear in an attacker and send him fleeing before a shot ever has to be fired.

So if defending your home is a priority, and a gun is your defense of choice, take a look at an AR15. Better yet, cover the bases with all three.