Semi-Automatic Rifle Used in Defense Against Home Invaders

Arsenal SGL-21 Russian AKM
Arsenal SGL-21 Russian AKM carbine in 7.62x39mm. IMG Jim Grant

U.S.A.-( At about 1:30 in the morning of 2 January 2019, four people attempted a home invasion/burglary in Yuma County, Arizona.

I remember the incident as it was reported. Very few details were given. Four people were shot. The location was not revealed. It was not in the City of Yuma, because the Sheriff department was the responding department. The identity of the defender was not revealed. The firearm or firearms were not identified. Deputies involved were not identified. From, at the time:

The Yuma County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call at approximately 1:38 a.m. Thursday and discovered that four individuals were shot after breaking into a home.

According to a news release, Edith Guerrero, 36, Jaden James, 18, Leonardo Gonzalez, 27, and Jessica Aynes, 28, woke the sleeping occupants as they entered.

The unidentified occupant with the gun fired several rounds, hitting all four suspects and ultimately killing one.

I suspected a semi-automatic rifle might have been used. They are especially well suited to repelling multiple home invaders. The investigation was ongoing. More information did not surface until a few days ago.

A local radio show had a guest, a conservative woman who was explaining how anti-Second Amendment Presidential Candidate Joe Biden and Senatorial Candidate Mark Kelly were. She casually mentioned they wished to outlaw the sale of semi-automatic rifles. She said the gun used in the incident in January of 2019 would have been outlawed if Biden and Kelly had their preferences.

The host of the show is a friend of mine. He helped to refresh my recollection of the incident.

By October 2020 most of the cases stemming from the incident had made their way through the criminal justice system.

I contacted the Sheriff’s department. A few inquiries lead to the revelation the firearm used to defend the Yuma County home was a clone of the AKM, chambered in 7.62×39.

The AKM is a later version of the AK47, made for simplified manufacture. It is one of the iconic military rifles of the 20th century. Semi-automatic versions have become popular in the United States. It is well suited for home defense in a sparsely populated area.

The incident shows many uses of semi-automatic rifles, perhaps most incidents, are never revealed in the media.

I heard of the incident when it happened. I actively look for these situations, to document them. I routinely live in Yuma County, Arizona. I suspected a semi-automatic rifle was used.

It was only by chance the type of firearm involved in the incident was revealed. If I had not heard the chance comment on the radio show, no one outside of the people directly involved, and a few in the Yuma County government would ever have known a semi-automatic rifle had been successfully used in home defense.

The reporting of firearm types in the media is abysmal. Reporters are seldom knowledgeable about different types of firearms. They are not curious about firearms or calibers. Consequently, we seldom know what firearms are used in self-defense incidents.

Many have claimed that semi-automatic rifles are not useful for self-defense. Incidents such as this one serve as useful counterexamples to show they are mistaken.

About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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Only one killed? Too bad! Well, maybe the experience will convince to change their life’s direction.


More practice needed. No insult intended.


Good to know- thanks!




Too bad 3 of them will now make themselves a burden to the AZ taxpayers of whom I count myself with. Dammit. Next time someone plays burglar/home invader, aim a little more deliberately. Shoot until the threat is completely neutralized, PERMANENTLY. 4 against an armed homeowner is already heavy odds stacked against the homeowner. Doubt there would be any judge in his right mind convicting the homeowner of using “excessive” deadly force when confronted by 4 intruders. These parasites to society will cost plenty to house, feed and dare I say, rehabilitate? Let that money go to schools and pay… Read more »


Thanks for the follow up info Mr. Weingarten. Almost certainly the 3 still living have life changing wounds, 7.62×39 is devastating within 200 meters; and they just keep firing. The ONLY malfunction I’ve ever had with an AK was operator error (I accidentally slightly engaged the safety). I personally love them.