What is the best gun for home defense? Handguns are popular and have advantages, but rifles and shotguns are more powerful, easier to learn to shoot well and provide greater stability.
The best gun for home defense ultimately depends on your individual circumstances.
Many first-time gun buyers seeking firearms for self-defense consider handguns because they’re relatively lightweight, compact, and easy to store.
Since you can operate a pistol or revolver with one hand effectively, you can perform other tasks with your support hand, such as calling 9-1-1, opening doors, or turning on lights. You can also operate a flashlight with your support hand if you don’t have one mounted on your weapon.
You can easily maneuver with a handgun inside confined spaces. The compact size allows you to conveniently store the weapon in smaller and more easily accessible spaces than a long gun. A revolver or a semi-automatic pistol works equally as well.
Another advantage of a handgun for home defense is it is more challenging to take a handgun away from someone than a long-barreled firearm.
If you choose to carry your home-defense handgun, you’ll need to invest in a high-quality holster and gun belt to ensure your weapon remains secure and accessible.
Handguns to Consider
The Glock series is the default home defense handgun option for many gun owners for various reasons. A Glock is relatively inexpensive, extremely reliable, simple to operate, and easy to maintain.
As there’s no concern regarding concealment for home defense, consider full-size handguns chambered in service calibers, such as the 9mm Luger, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. These weapons are easy to control, generally hold more ammunition, and are more powerful than compact or subcompact alternatives.
A carbine is a short, lightweight rifle, which may either be a short-barreled variant of a full-length weapon or have a stand-alone, unique carbine design. Manufacturers further divide carbines by caliber.
Pistol caliber and the Keltec SUB2000
A pistol-caliber carbine is typically a semi-automatic or lever-action rifle designed to fire common handgun ammunition (e.g., 9mm Luger, .357 Magnum).
One of the most versatile pistol-caliber carbines on the market is the KelTec SUB2000 — an ultralight weapon that folds in half for easy storage and transport. Chambered in either 9mm or .40 S&W, the SUB2000 is M-LOK compatible for use with accessories, such as flashlights and reflector sights.
Depending on the insert, it can also accept Beretta, CZ, Smith & Wesson, SIG Sauer, and Canik magazines.
Intermediate Powered Carbines
Intermediate-powered carbines are typically semi-automatic, magazine-fed tactical rifles chambered in .223 Remington/5.56mm NATO, .300 Blackout, 6.8mm SPC, and 7.62×39mm Soviet. An increasingly common choice for home defense, reflecting widespread use by law enforcement, these weapons offer increased firepower and control relative to the handgun or traditional shotgun.
In the United States, the AR-15 is the most popular centerfire rifle pattern and considered by most experts one of the best guns for home defense. Available in various chamberings and configurations, the AR-15 is reliable, ergonomic, and accurate in various chamberings and configurations. Spare parts, accessories, and assemblies are also readily available for this platform and mass-produced by hundreds of companies.
A shotgun is generally a smoothbore shoulder weapon, although shotguns with rifled barrels also exist, designed to fire pellet or slug cartridges.
A 12- or 20-gauge repeating shotgun — whether semi-automatic or pump-action — is the traditional long gun for home defense. Most pump-action and semi-automatic shotguns are fed from an integral tubular magazine parallel to and below the barrel.
In the field of repeating shotguns, two weapons tend to predominate: The Remington Model 870 and Mossberg 500 (and 590). Both are pump-action shotguns, introduced within ten years of each other, and mainstays for law enforcement and private self-defense.
The Remington uses a steel receiver and cross-bolt safety, whereas the Mossberg uses an aluminum-alloy receiver to reduce weight and an ambidextrous tang safety.
Shotgun vs. AR-15
If you decide a long gun is more suitable for your home protection needs, you need to determine if a shotgun or rifle would work best.
Some of the factors to consider include:
A shotgun may be legal in jurisdictions where so-called assault weapons or assault-style rifles are prohibited or heavily regulated.
The shotgun’s magazine capacity is generally limited. Most shotguns hold no more than five to eight shells. Although it’s unlikely you’ll need to fire more than five shells to repel a home invader, some gun owners feel more secure knowing that they have more ammunition available.
The AR-15 platform accepts detachable box magazines holding 20 or 30 rounds as standard. If you need additional firepower, 40-, 50-, and 60-round magazines are also available, as are 100-round drums.
The default AR-15 chambering is the .223 Remington or 5.56mm NATO cartridge. Using bullets weighing between 55 and 77 grains, these rounds can be highly disruptive in soft tissue but may not stop an assailant from continuing an assault.
A shotgun, however, is different. A shotgun at close range has a big advantage in terms of power compared to a rifle. At close range — i.e., under 25 meters — neither a handgun nor a carbine can compare to the devastating effect of a #1, #4, or #00 buckshot discharged from a shotgun.
On a ranch or farm, 12-gauge sabot slugs and iron sights increase the range and penetrating power of the shotgun for deterring or incapacitating a variety of predators.
This is the major disadvantage a shotgun has over a rifle. If you or another household member is sensitive to recoil, a 12-gauge shotgun may not be your first choice. Consider, instead, the AR-15 for home defense in .223/5.56mm because it has moderate recoil that both adults and adolescents can comfortably handle.
Choose the Best Holster for Home Defense and Concealed Carry
Handguns can be highly effective weapons for home defense, and they’re also suitable for concealed carry. At We the People Holsters, we offer a huge selection of OWB and IWB holsters, in your choice of either Kydex or leather. Carry your handgun securely, safely, and while maintaining access at all times, whether inside or outside your home.
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