Do you ever feel like you and your family aren’t safe without a home defense gun? This list will help you find the right gun for you.
In this article:
- Best Home Defense Rifle
- Best Home Defense Shotgun
- Best Home Defense Handgun
- Semi-automatic Pistols
- Best Home Defense Revolver
5 Must-Have Home Defense Guns to Protect Your Family
1. Best Home Defense Rifle
A .22 caliber hunting or target rifle is better than nothing, but like any rifle, it is unwieldy. A .22 rimfire rifle is generally underpowered for the purpose of home defense.
Homo Sapiens is much larger than the game normally shot with .22. Nevertheless, a .22 rifle is deadly in skilled hands and should not be treated with disdain. If you have to shoot a bad guy with a .22, an instantly incapacitating brain shot works best.
Centerfire rifles are also unwieldy and difficult to retain in a struggle, but generally have plenty of power, particularly the ordinary deer rifle. In fact, they have too much power for many situations, offering an extreme risk of over penetration in urban and suburban areas.
They represent an unacceptable hazard to neighbors and other innocent bystanders in heavily populated areas.
A lever action .30-30 or autoloading .308 rifle is a sensible choice for defending farm or ranch property from human predators while they are outdoors. For defensive use inside the home, particularly in populated areas, there are better choices.
If a rifle is the only available firearm, a relatively low-powered, handy, carbine length weapon is probably the best choice.
A lever action carbine chambered for the .357 Magnum revolver cartridge, a semi-automatic carbine chambered for a varmint cartridge, such as the .223 Ruger Mini-14 or SR-556, or a military surplus M1 Carbine will fit the bill. These are also satisfactory choices outdoors to defend an urban neighborhood during a riot or other civil insurrection.
If you choose or are otherwise forced, to use a rifle for home defense, use bullets designed for quick expansion. The ammo designed for varmint hunting feature almost explosive expansion, are designed not to ricochet from hard surfaces and are ideal. [source: chuckhawks.com]
2. Best Home Defense Shotgun
The shotgun has always been a favorite gun for home defense.
A shotgun shoots multiple pellets which are housed in casings (shells) and shot at a very high velocity. Because it shoots a “spray” of pellets, it can be more difficult to miss your attacker and has excellent stopping power.
The shotgun is best when those in your home can take refuge in a protected area and defend themselves from a single point. The multiple pellets that make the shotshell so effective are equally dangerous to innocents if they miss the intruder.
A shotgun has a very powerful recoil that can be difficult to handle and recover from to shoot the second round.
Another challenge for many women will be its weight. Shotguns are larger, heavier guns.
If you must hold a home intruder at gunpoint with the shotgun for more than 10 or 15 minutes, its weight will become tiresome. So your size, strength, and tolerance for recoil are very significant things to consider.
Trips to a shooting range and practice are necessary. It will make you more comfortable and confident with these powerful and large firearms.
If you buy a firearm you cannot handle, you will not enjoy shooting it. And if you don’t enjoy shooting it, you won’t practice with it.
If you don’t practice with it, you will not be in a very good position when you need to use that firearm to protect your family’s life.
3. Best Home Defense Handgun
A handgun is handy indoors you can conveniently conceal almost anywhere in the home, ready for use. It is the easiest of all guns to retain in a hand to hand struggle, and it can be fired from either hand in an emergency.
Centerfire pistols and revolvers from approximately 9mm/.35 caliber on up, assuming appropriate ammunition is chosen, offer good stopping power for indoor home defense without the extreme risk of over penetration of a deer rifle or shotgun stuffed with slugs. They are much less likely to severely damage the home you are trying to protect than a shotgun.
For all of these reasons, handguns are the first choice of the majority of experts for home defense. Note, however, that these folks are usually expert pistol shooters!
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A handgun is a far less satisfactory choice for the novice shooter.
Of the various types of handguns, only revolvers and autoloading pistols should be considered for home defense. Service type handguns are the typical, and best, choices.
These usually come with better sights and are easier to shoot accurately than the smaller, lighter handguns designed primarily for concealed carry. [source chuckhawks.com]
4. Semi-automatic Pistols
A semi-automatic pistol is a handgun where the magazine holding the ammunition, slides into the grip of the gun and some of the energy from firing the gun is used to eject the spent cartridge and load a fresh one.
When considering which handgun is best for home defense, there are some benefits to the semi-automatic pistol, such as they have magazines that can hold a larger number of rounds than a revolver which typically holds 5 or 6 rounds.
Handguns typically have an easier trigger pull, the ability to shoot multiple rounds quickly and are slimmer and more compact in shape. Pistols, however, are not as mechanically simple as revolvers and their semi-automatic action is dependent on the first round firing successfully so the next round cycles into the chamber.
This means revolvers are more suitable for home and self-defense, at least for people who don’t take meticulous care of their guns. That said, the reliability of modern pistols is exceptionally high.
5. Best Home Defense Revolver
The revolver is far more reliable than autoloaders. The pistol tends to jam up more often than a revolver will.
All you need to do is maintain the revolver and use the proper technique.
Revolvers are also versatile. Just change the grip to one that fits you well and soon enough, the gun will feel like an extension of your hand.
A revolver does not use magazines which can break or wear easily, and they can be very expensive. All these benefits make the revolver an ideal home defense firearm.
It may be antiquated compared to the modern polymer pistol, but there are plenty of good reasons the good old revolver is still available in the market.
Aside from having a sizeable share of loyal followers, revolvers offer many advantages over the modern handgun. It’s efficient, needing nothing more than pulling the trigger to fire. No levers or buttons which you may forget to push when caught in a pinch.
Check out this video from 704 Tactical for the top 5 home defense handguns under $400:
In the end, you alone can tell the best home defense gun for you. We can only point you in the direction with these tips and reviews based on study and experience!
Do you already have a home defense gun or do you want to buy one? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on March 18, 2015, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.