The Best Guns for Home Defense

by Brett on July 23, 2009 · 692 comments

in Gun Skills & Safety, Manly Skills, Tactical Skills


Source Life

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Jon at is an online firearms marketplace that helps users find buyers and sellers in their local market and effect transactions in the simplest way possible.

Disclaimer: This article is aimed at helping those who are not sure where to start their research process.  It is not a definitive guide to firearms purchases.  Some of the information is generalized and all readers should conduct further research before making any decision.

Nearly every American man has heard the story of the shootout at the OK Corral.  Wyatt Earp and his cohorts confronted a group of outlaw cowboys and emerged victorious.  While much myth and mystery surrounds the circumstances of this encounter, a few things are very clear.  Wyatt Earp was proficient with his Colt Peacemaker and Doc Holiday with the shotgun. While much has changed since the days of the Wild West, both the handgun and the shotgun remain top choices for clearing out ruffians who are encroaching on your territory. 

A man has always been the king of his castle and protector of his domain. When things go bump in the night, it’s your job to check on things. What should you grab when you head downstairs? Today we’ll the discuss the best guns for home defense as well as some of the pros and cons of each.


gunsafetyGun safety training is essential for every man.

Before you even think about purchasing a gun, it is imperative that you are trained on how to properly use it. Remember: guns are a weapon. With the right to bear arms comes the heavy responsibility of handling them with the precaution and respect they deserve.

Moreover, a gun in the hands of man who doesn’t know what he’s doing with it is a liability to him and to his family. Regardless of what you purchase, you should frequent the firing range, take a firearms course, and attend or even partake in shooting events. All of these tasks will help you to learn to properly handle firearms.

Here are some resources to check out to get started:

Appleseed Project, a grassroots marksmanship program:

IDPA, Defensive Pistol shooting:

The Best Guns for Home Defense

Pump Action Shotgun


Mossberg 500 – 12 Gauge Pump Shotgun

The general consensus in the firearms community is that the pump action shotgun is the top choice for home defense. They’re relatively easy to use and nearly impossible to break. More importantly, the sound of chambering a hot round into a pump action 12 gauge is sure to soil the britches of even the most hardened criminal.

The Mossberg 500 and the Remington 870 are extremely popular choices in this category.  Both are proven to be extremely reliable for a reasonable price, beginning at around $200.

Ease of Use and Reliability

The pump action shotgun is a relatively simple weapon to use.  Shotgun shells are loaded into the gun, and the pump action chambers a round. Pulling the trigger fires the chambered round.  The next pump ejects the spent shell and loads another round into the chamber.  These attributes contribute to the pump action shotgun’s reliability.


Shotguns are most commonly used to fire a number of projectiles, anywhere from roughly nine pellets used in 00 buckshot up to hundreds of bb sized pellets in bird shot.  At close range and with proper ammunition, shotguns can be extremely effective in defending you and your loved ones.

For more information on different types of shot and their ballistic qualities, refer to this article.

Verdict (out of 5)

Cost: 5

Ease of Use: 4

Reliability: 5

Effectiveness: 5

Bonus: (Sound of chambering a round)

Overall: 4.75



Smith & Wesson 686 .357 Mag 4″, 6 round

The next best weapon for home defense is the revolver.  Revolvers are the simplest and most reliable of hand guns.  One of the major advantages of the revolver is its small size which allows for easy storage and access.  Also, another benefit of the revolver is its price. You can find quality revolvers for as little as a few hundred dollars.

Ease of Use & Reliability

Revolvers are produced in double action and single action varieties.  Single action revolvers require the user to pull back the hammer manually before firing the gun.  Most modern revolvers offer double action operation which alleviates the need to pull back the hammer before firing the weapon. While there are advantages to using a single-action revolver, the double-action revolver is the superior choice for home defense because of its ease of use. When an intruder has entered your home, you don’t want to have to think about cocking a gun.

Because of it’s simple design, the revolver is an extremely reliable weapon. Unlike semi-automatic weapons, it is nearly impossible for a revolver to jam. If there is a round in the cylinder of a double-action revolver, pulling the trigger will fire the gun.  Simple as that. This simplicity is an important factor for use in already stressful situations.

One drawback on revolvers, or any handgun for that matter, is the skill required to properly and effectively operate them. Don’t be fooled by your hours of playing Duck Hunt. Hitting a target, even if it’s just a few feet away, is deceptively difficult.


Handguns are produced in a number of different calibers and the stopping power is dependent upon which round is used. Common choices are .38 Special (also available in a slightly stronger “+P” variety), .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, and .45 Long Colt.  One advantage to buying a .357 revolver is that the owner can use .38 special, .38 special +P, or .357 magnum rounds as the gun accepts and safely fires all of them.  (Conversely, a .38 revolver cannot fire .357 magnum.)

It’s important to consider that larger caliber revolvers may be more difficult to fire accurately in quick succession.  Unfortunately, smaller caliber revolvers may lack the stopping power necessary to quickly incapacitate an attacker.

Visual comparison of common handgun cartridges. Left to right:

1) 3 inch 12 ga magnum shotgun shell
2) AA battery (for size comparison)
3) .454 Casull
4) .45 Winchester Magnum
5) .44 Remington Magnum
6) .357 Magnum
7) .38 Special
8) .45 ACP
9) .38 Super
10) 9 mm Luger
11) .32 ACP
12) .22 LR



Ease of Use: 3

Reliability: 5

Effectiveness: 3

Overall: 3.75

Semi-Automatic pistols


Les Baer Premier II 1911

Every AoM reader has seen these in movies and TV shows. They’re also the guns that most police officers carry. While semi-automatic pistols might be good for cops, they’re not a good choice for one’s first firearm purchase, at least not when home defense is the primary use. We’ll go into why that is further below.

Two iconic semi-automatic pistols are the 1911 variants and polymer pistols such as Glocks. The 1911 has seen action through two world wars and is still in use by US Special Operations and FBI HRT. Glocks have been heralded for their ease of use and reliability and have seen much use in law enforcement. Quality semi-automatic pistols can cost as little as a few hundred or as much as a few thousand.

Ease of Use and Reliability

The operation of a semi-automatic handgun is more complicated than a revolver.  An operator must become familiar with operating slide-stops and safeties, loading magazines, chambering rounds and clearing jams.  The additional actions involved make it less than ideal for those unfamiliar with hand guns.  This, combined with the skill required to accurately shoot a handgun, means that semi-automatic handguns are the least user friendly of the choices mentioned.

Because rounds are automatically loaded and the design is more complex, semi-automatic weapons are also more prone to jamming failures than revolvers.

Because of the semi-automatic handgun’s lower reliability and more complicated operation, first time purchasers should probably consider a shotgun or a revolver.


As with revolvers, effectiveness varies drastically with caliber.  There are many different calibers for semi-automatic handguns. The most common are .380 ACP, 9mm, .357 Sig, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP.  The 9mm is perhaps the most popular caliber, in use by military and law enforcement around the world. The .40 S&W was created by the FBI to allow for additional stopping power over the 9mm.  The 45 ACP came about during the development of the 1911.


Cost: 3

Ease of Use: 2

Reliability: 3

Effectiveness: 3

Overall: 2.75


This article is aimed at providing a starting place for those that lack prior knowledge of and experience with firearms.  Again, proper education, training, and practice are essential when deciding to purchase a gun.

For another take on what weapons are the best for home defense, see Primer Magazine’s article: Hero Training: Best Weapons for Home Defense.

What are your thoughts on the best guns for home defense? Do you prefer a baseball bat over a gun? Let us know in the comments.

{ 690 comments… read them below or add one }

601 Nolan Bryan Lynch July 25, 2010 at 11:57 pm

Anybody mentioned Kennesaw, GA yet?

602 norman July 26, 2010 at 5:29 pm

nice artical nolan.

603 norman July 26, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Keep up the awsome Work A.O.M! don’t let those close minded anti gunner idiots get in your way! Don’t worry, when the ragheads invade america the anti’s will be the first to go anyway. so when we see an anti bieng chased down the street by a raghead with an ak-47, as gun owners, we will respect their opinions, and not defend them with our guns.

604 Hillbilly July 26, 2010 at 10:50 pm

How about just keeping a live hand grenade in the fruit bowl? Am an avid bird hunter but see no use for assault weapons and other guns that are manufactured strictly to kill people, but long ago gave up hope for any form of rational gun control laws in the US. After the college shooting in West Virgina a couple of years ago the majority of people wanted to have MORE concealed handguns “for safety”. Guess we can all go back to the wild west and shoot it out with our concealed hanguns when we disagree. Wouldn’t THAT be manly,

605 norman July 27, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Hey hillbilly, if the student’s had been carrying the could have shot the assailant. Wer’re not all “gangtsas” who hold our glock sideways “cause it’s too coo man”. we are responsible gun owners who keep our guns loaded and don’t believe that crap about being more likley to be shot if you own a gun. it’s a good thing you gave up on gun control because it will never happen anyway. so now you can send that 200 dollars a month to a sick kid in africa instead of the brady campaign. and the guy with a “wild west obessian” that’s carrying a gun could be the one that saves your ass when your brandishing your phone instead of a gun at the attacker in the parking garage. and by the way, an ar15 isnot an assault weapon. it has to be full auto to be considered an “assault waepon”. you can think about not having a defense gun that is “manufactured srtictly to kill people” when your staring down the attacker’s gun barrel waiting for the cops to show up. mabeye killing defensles animals to mount them on the wall has screwed you in the brain. if you want to hunt do it wit a knife so the animal has a fair chance like you do. or you could just buy a duck and save all the hassle. and as gun owners, we will always carry our concealed handguns for saftey, but out of respect for your weird opinions, we promise not do defend you with our handguns.

606 Cameron July 28, 2010 at 12:08 pm

To all of you imposers of your own opinion. SUCK IT UP! And TRY…..TRY to be a man. The man doesn’t need your approval or your opinion. If you don’t like what he blogs, keep your “shocked” wussie eyes off his site.

607 norman July 28, 2010 at 2:39 pm

i don’t understand your comment. can you explain in other words?

608 Ron July 28, 2010 at 7:26 pm

To those of you against gun ownership, answer me this and then I will qualify you as to whether or not you have any idea as to what you are talking about:

1) How much firearm training have you had?

2) Have you fired a weapon (handgun, rifle, shotgun) at a target more than just on several occasions or less?

3) Have you read the Bill of Rights? Do you fully understand what it means?

4) Do you realize that gun ownership protects you – even if you do not own a firearm the mere fact that your neighbors may own a firearm protects you from violent crime by proxy. IE, criminals do not know if there is a firearm on your person or in your home, therefore they are less likely to assault you or invade your home. If criminals know that nobody is armed, WATCH OUT!

5) Quick – choose one of the the following: Your family home has been broken into in the middle of the night. Your wife and children may be molested, even killed. You a) dial 911 and wait 10 to 60 minutes for the cops to arrive or b) cock your shotgun and deal with the intruders. Then dial 911.

From your answers, the world knows you are either 1) a wimp who does not deserve the term “Man” or 2) a red blooded American Man who also values freedom

609 Joel July 29, 2010 at 2:14 am

to all those who are fully against this article and firearms in general, i ask you one question: have you ever had a gun pulled on yourself? i am a fairly responsible 17 year old and yes i have had one pulled on me and that makes it a reality for me to be gunned down by a foolish thug who is trying to make a name for himself. so if you would like to live in a fantasy world where guns only kill people when the general citizens hold them and not the actual criminals then fine. DONT READ THE POST!

610 norman July 29, 2010 at 11:51 am

amen to that!

611 norman July 29, 2010 at 2:12 pm

punditus maximus, your full of crap if you think that having a gun is more likley to get you shot. the parents are more stupid than the kids for not teaching them about guns. the day i turned 10 my grandfather gave me a 20 gauge pump mossberg and said : “son, you’re ready.” I still have that gun after 20 years, and have given it to my son, who is now 9. he keeps it loaded by his bed and i keep my remington loaded by my bed. Don’t dump on trust and tradition by your unrealistic “statistics”.

612 Jacob July 30, 2010 at 2:17 am

In regards to the negative comments below.
Guns are a fact of life everywhere. Just like sex.

Pretending they don’t exist hurts your children more then educating them on how incredibly destructive either of them can be.

613 Dalton Reaves July 30, 2010 at 7:23 am

I think you did a good job with this blog. Most people obviously can’t read very well. It had nothing to do with telling men that owning a firearm will make you a better man. Also a firearm has the potential to be the one thing that saves you and your family’s life in a situation that if you called the cops they would be to late. owning a gun is our constitutional right for a reason. I you are trained correctly and keep your firearm locked up and unloaded (like it says in the blog) then there should never be an accident. your blog was well researched and very helpful. Don’t let people get you down because they have never been through hard times and think the a security system will save them in there darkest hour.

614 norman July 30, 2010 at 12:00 pm

good luck unlocking and loading your gun while the bad guy is already looking at you, Dalton. the only thing that those locks are good for is taking up space in a trashcan. guns are supposed to be readily available to everyone that has been trained with them when every second counts. that’s why magazines were invented, so that ammunition would be readily available. if you don’t want a three year old getting your handgun, then be creative and find places to hide it, like on top of the fridge, or on a window sill between a blind and a curtain. there are many places to keep guns where toddlers can’t find them, yet they are loaded and readily available should the time arise. remember, the defense of you child IS the best reason to keep a loaded gun handy.

615 norman July 30, 2010 at 12:12 pm

when i was little i was playing in the front yard of my house in tulsa ok, when some hippie-looking person got out of his volkswagon van and ran in my direction, trying to take me. i ran in to tell my father, who had just come home from his night shift as security for St. francois hospital, and was sleeping. he was almost like a zombie whenever he came home from his rounds as a security team member, so he wasn’t fully aware of what had just happened. he grabbed his 870 wingmaster and went to the door. the hippie saw him and ran to his van and peeled out of there. that ended the situation then and there. just showing a gun can discourage someone who would otherwise fight.

616 JB July 31, 2010 at 12:17 am

I just wanted to say THANKS to the writer of this article. As a proud AMERICAN father of two fantastic kids and husband of one beautiful wife, it is my God-given desire and privilege to protect my family with the best means available. (Sorry, but I found the use of the phone a humorous option, especially regarding the track record of all phone companies!)

I just received my license to carry a concealed handgun and I’ve been reading everything I can to further educate myself on home defense. This article was very informative, intelligent, and helpful. I’ve decided to ignore the knee-jerk reaction to respond to the woosy critics of this article. May “The Art of Manliness” continue to write like a man!

617 braininahat July 31, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Thanks for the post. I can’t get over the apoplectic responses to your blog about guns. The lies (or misinformation) used to rebuke you was not surprising though. People against guns — typically Liberals — have visceral reactions to things they don’t like or understand, which is their normal way of “thinking” and “forming opinions.” It’s a blatant lie to say that calling the cops is the answer in every situation; sometimes having a gun is the difference between life and the death of you and your loved ones. Thank goodness guns are an American tradition and ownership a right protected under our Constitution (despite what our “Moron in Chief” might desire).

618 Hillbilly July 31, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Would gun advocates posting on this site like like to address “friendly fire”? You think if our trained military and law enforcement personnel occasionally fire on one another that ordinary civilians, no matter how well trained, wouldn’t do the same? Most stats show friendly fire at about 10%. I hate to think what would have happened at the West Virginia campus if a bunch of civilians had been armed as well. You think the police would have even wanted to respond into that type of an environment? Basic weapons for hunting or sport are all that we need and are plenty for home defense as well. Semi-automatic weapons with fixed bayonets as mentioned in an earlier post? Move them next to Norman.
PS: Norman – I use a shotgun to hunt birds because I haven’t been taught how to fly yet.

619 norman August 1, 2010 at 12:41 pm

How to recognize a friendly from a badguy? Hmmmmmm………

He’s probably not the one with a crazed look on his faced popping off rounds at the teachers and the cieling. Go kill your animals hillbilly and leave gun enthusiuasts alone.

620 John August 3, 2010 at 9:56 am

I live in a rural area and the Sheriff’s department is 20 miles away. If I need them in the middle of the night, the chances of a deputy being in my area are slim to none. Once in a while I will get a “my car broke down, can I use your phone” visitor at the door and you just never know.
@ norman. I’ve had an 870 Wingmaster for 30 years. Chambering a round in the 870 is almost as loud as the blast! The sound of the chambering has allowed me to thwart several trespassers from my property without ever pull the trigger.

621 norman August 3, 2010 at 9:56 pm

You got it John! finally! an intelligent person on this site! Wev’e got God and hi-cap 870′s! what more do we need!:) When the terrorists invade america and the world goes to shit those with weak constitutions and no firearms will be the first to go anyway. And while people like hillbilly attempt to defend theirselves with their 2- plus -one capacity 35 inch barrel duck guns people like you and me will be fighting with our so called “assault weapons” and 870′s, and will be keeping our homes and loved ones safe.

622 SelfReliant August 4, 2010 at 10:57 am

There are three types of people in the world: wolves who feed on sheep, sheep who rely on others for defense, and those willing and prepared to defend themselves. In the U.S. we can still choose not to be sheep…. for now.

623 norman August 4, 2010 at 2:21 pm

To all you anti’s out there, Get Real! You have never known fear or danger like others have. You have lived such sheltered little mambie pambie lives that have blinded you to reality of the rest of this stinko world. You won’t know fear and danger until YOUR house is broken into and YOUR loved ones are hurt! Violence and burglars are very real so you might as well learn how to deal with it rather than putting up no gun zone signs and security cameras. As for hopes of gun control for the other 49 states, go sit with Schwartzenegger on the never-gonna-happen bench. padlocks keep honest people honest, but you can still break them. gun laws are no different. criminals don’t care about laws. that’s why the break them to get what they want. I’ll still keep my sks sporter with dual mags and ACOG sight by the door, thank you very much.

624 norman August 5, 2010 at 9:47 am

P.S. -Hillbilly- when you do learn how to fly go to california where the rest of the gun control freaks are and stay there.

625 Lance August 6, 2010 at 10:46 pm

As far as home defense firearms listed goes,Id choose the 12 gauge with buckshot.I live in a very rural area.Ive had my home robbed.Police are far away.If I was home during an intrusion,I would grab my phone and shotgun.Call 911,tell the situation,then prepare to defend my life and home.We live in a world were most people are good.There will always be evil men,with evil plans.Hopefully I will never have to face that situation,but at least I will be ready.Will you?

626 Norman August 7, 2010 at 1:34 pm

I sure will! defending one’s home is as manly as it gets. people without guns are as easy to squish as a bug in the dirt. Did you know Obama is apologizing to japan for dropping the atomic bomb?! Japan was our sworn enemy! in my eyes they still are. we sent good men over there to their deaths to protect our country from the little gooks! we didn’t blow up the filthy little rats just because we were bored! they were trying to rule the world with hitler! Obama’s apologized to every one exept his own people! oh well. i guess when china runs out of money We’ll have to borrow money from somebody.

627 fearsclave August 8, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Knowing how to safely handle and shoot firearms isn’t a manly skill.

Everybody should know this; men, women, and responsible children. And pretty much anybody can; there are only four simple rules to be followed (always treat the firearm as if it’s loaded, always control the muzzle direction, always keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on your target and you’re ready to fire, and always de sure of your target and what lies beyond it). My wife and 11-year-old nephew are better men than some of the hysterical anti-firearms human chihuahuas metaphorically widdling on the carpet over this post.

628 Joel August 8, 2010 at 11:58 pm

What the heck is wrong with all of you? The bottom line is that we live in a country where the criminals have guns. Sometimes this leads to those same criminals using those same guns against honest, hard working Americans and their families. Wait for 10 minutes while the police show up to a crime scene of your corpse, I prefer to protect my family.

629 norman August 9, 2010 at 11:51 am

Amen, brothers!

630 norman August 10, 2010 at 1:34 pm

To benjamin: don’t bring a knife to a gunfight dumbass! let’s see you get in a fight against a man with a gun when you have a knife and we’ll see if your statement is true. Oh, wait, you have had 20 years of training on Call of Duty knife melee attacks in your room in Your mom’s basement. most confrontations take place between 8-10 feet. by the time you drew grandpa’s pocket kinfe the guy would have already pulled the trigger. Google KNIFEFIGHT VICTIMS on the web and take a good look at the pictures of people with 10 feet of intestines hanging out. Ive’ sewn up many people in the ER because they thought knives would do the trick when the other guy also had a knife. To others that have posted about batons or spray, good luck. when a subject is jacked up on dope their bodys do not react to pain. you must do actual tissue damage. when i was a cop i responded to a domestic upset. the guy was on meth and had a shotgun and i tased him and zipp happned. i had too shoot. So you can learn karate and all of that useless crap or you can buy a cheap smith and wesson 9mm and be ready for when the burglar shows up with HIS gun.

631 Jon August 10, 2010 at 5:05 pm

911 system-Government version of DIal a prayer.Average time from 911 call to police arrival.10 minutes(remember,AVERAGE.Some can be a few seconds some 30 plus minutes.)Average time from when a bad guy breaks in your house to your dead?How long would it take you to walk from the front door to the back door of your house?That is how long you would have to live.30 seconds to a minute?Then subtract the time it takes you to realize someone is in your house and the time it takes to find a phone and dial 911.That leaves you with about 15-30 seconds for the cops to get to your house before your dead.Now with a gun.5 seconds…your safe.As for the comments,”Don’t live in those type places”.Chrime has no boundrys.To be exact,criminals don’t go doing break ins in the bad part of town.They go to the high dollar areas where people feel safe and don’t lock up and have really nice expensive things.

632 norman August 11, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Well, everyone, my wife and i are moving to vermont in an area where there’s no internet capabilities. Ive tried my best to reason with the anti’s on this site but i guess you can’t educate fools. trying to get the anti’s to take off their blindfolds and see reality is stressing me out and giving me headaches just like at work when i have to try and reason with someone who doesn’t give a damn. So guys, don’t give up hope on your gun rights! no one will ever take our guns and if they try we’ll giv’em hell! Goodbye, and the best of luck in your future endeavors.

633 FrankUckles August 18, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Here’s some food for thought for the staunchly anti-gun crowd. I agree with you that there is no need to get a gun if you live in a civil society. If there is a prowler or burglar, it is better to just call the police rather than risk using a firearm on your family or having a child shoot himslef. But I think you are underestimating the fragility of civil society. I live in the San Francisco Bay area, and I own a gun just in the slim case that there is a mega earthquake, knocking out power, EMS response and law enforcement for days or even weeks. What happens if there are looters and no police to call? What if you have to shepard your family out of harm’s way through hostile areas filled with desperate, hungry people? I have a gun and keep it locked up just in case of natural disasters or sociopolitical collapse.

634 tom hudzina August 18, 2010 at 9:35 pm

I think this post is totally appropriate. We’ve had a number of things stolen form our yard and I’m not going to wait until someone has the balls enough to come into my home while we’re sleeping; I have three boys and a wife I am responsible for protecting. I needed the help to think through an important decision like this. Besides my Constitutional right to bear arms, I want to make sure I am well equipped to protect my loved ones should that need occur. Thanks for the article!

635 9mm Luger August 19, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Nice article, good information for the beginners.
Glock 26 protects me and mine all day and night.

636 Ryan August 20, 2010 at 1:49 am

I also have owned and shot weapons of all types my whole life. Not only do I enjoy hunting with my father and friends, I also shoot for sport. I own a shotgun and a centerfire rifle and can handle both well. I am also a state champion archer, and an avid bowhunter. I was brought up to handle weapons safely and effectively.
But make no mistake, if you enter my home uninvited, you will recieve 1 verbal warning, if unheeded, you will be put down with extreme prejudice. As far as using a phone as a weapon, just remember……”when seconds count, the police are just minutes away.”
“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” I am a survivor and will protect my family with twice the aggression of an intruder.
Great article.

637 tom jeffers August 20, 2010 at 6:13 pm

Hey Jimmy,

Listening to a whiny sis like you reminds me why we parted ways oh so long ago.

638 Sharpie September 21, 2012 at 10:50 pm

To all those who are whining about this article being in the AoM, I believe it is manly for a man, to be able to protect his family, therefore, I believe this article is appropriate.

And don’t get me wrong, women can and should be able to protect themselves and their family, but “historically” it’s been the man who is the protector.

639 Sharpie September 21, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Chris (German guy)

Gandhi also said “Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.”

“Arms” being firearms/guns/weapons.

Keeping yourself and family alive isn’t a “cause” but if you would rather you, your wife and children be raped/killed etc instead of protecting yourself, then I pity you, no one is more important than my family, so I will do whatever I need to do so they live.

640 Sharpie September 21, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Jimmy, if you think this article on this site is “stupid” then leave and don’t read it. No one is forcing you to look at this, no one is forcing you to comment, if you don’t like what you see, get out.

Pretty simple.

James: I am pro gun and pro life, why? Because we should be able to choose when we live or die, the baby you’re killing doesn’t have a say, I’m sure they would want to live……

Charles; YOU see no use for full auto? How about “for fun”? I’m glad dumbasses like you aren’t in parliament…oh wait….

Adam: No, keeping “loaded” firearms is not legal, but throw a trigger lock on a shotgun, put ammo in an easy to access safe, you have a home defense gun, all legal.

641 Gabriel Garcia September 22, 2012 at 3:14 am

Hey I’m new to gun ownership and I have a little suggestion for those of you who keep a gun in the home for self-protection, and want to keep their reaction time low in a self defense situation, god forbid you should ever find yourself in one. Every so often, atleast a few times a day, at a completely random time rush to your gun and arm yourself. No..don’t point it at a wall…and please keep your finger off the trigger, preferably keep your gun in a holster. Try to scare yourself as you go to get your gun. What I’m trying to say is try to feel that feeling of panic as you randomly go after your gun. I think this should help reinforce your awareness of where your gun is at all times, and to arm yourself in a situation when your home is being invaded.

One last thing…why are police allowed to conduct no-knock raids and how come if you shoot one of them, you have to take responsibility for it? Isn’t that screwed up?? PS I’m not suggesting you kill a police officer. I’m just saying…what in the hell were they thinking when they okay’d this behavior?

642 varun September 22, 2012 at 6:34 am

good information

643 Dan September 26, 2012 at 8:01 pm

There are 3 type of people in this world.
1. The sheep, they are the ones who get preyed on,
2. The wolves, the ones who prey on the sheep, and:
3. The sheep dogs, the ones who protect the sheep from the wolves.

I have refuse to be a sheep, have no intention to be a wolf, so I guess I’m a sheep dog.

For those out there that, rightfully, don’t like the idea of an loaded firearm laying around, or hid behind the curtains, there are gun safes that allow a loaded firearm to be safely stored for quick access. I have one that I can open in less than 3 seconds and retrieve my firearm.

No one forces anyone to have a firearm, don’t look down on those who elect to do so. I’m proud to exercise my 2nd amendment rights.

644 Rick October 8, 2012 at 10:46 am

This has been very interesting reading. As a licensed owner, I believe the type of firearm that you keep as a primary home defense gun, is a matter of what you have had the most training on and the area that you live. If you live in an area where there is a high concentration of crime and possibly gangs, then a higher capacity weapon or weapon with the capability of high capacity might suit you. Always remember, you are responsible for every round that is discharged. You probably wouldn’t use a .44 Magnum with FMJ, when your elderly neighbor’s house is 20ft to the side of yours, due to extreme overpenetration….not to mention the fact that you would be momentarily blinded by muzzle flash and deafened by the concussion. There is no “perfect defense gun” for every single person. It is more of an individual choice and it takes some thought and consideration. As far as a shotgun being racked scaring off an intruder, yes it might, but it also gives up your position. Every scenario is different, as well as the criminals that hopefully never enter our dwellings. The best thing to do (IMHO), is find what firearm feels most comfortable and you shoot the best with. Get training. Sig Sauer has several academies that offer different simulated scenarios. A firearm is a tool and it is up to us to be proficient and to obtain the mentality and knowledge on how to use it safely and properly. Someone that has all of the carpentry tools in the world, but no knowledge cannot build a structure. As for the anti-gun people. Yes, guns can kill. Most crimes committed are by illegal guns that are possessed by criminals. What would taking away the right to LEGALLY possess firearms accomplish, other than giving these criminals more of an edge over us. It DOES happen in the nicer neighborhoods. I know someone that it happened to. She was defenseless, while her 9 y/o daughter had a pistol held to her head, while the other perps ransacked her house. They were never caught. By the time she had a chance to get to a phone, they were out the door and on the road. Luckily, neither of them were physically harmed, but that phone idea, just didnt work. Also, in parking garages, cell phone reception is less than ideal or non-existent. I am not a cowboy in the wild west. I am in the real world, in 2012, where the economy is garbage and people get more desperate for money..Money buys drugs, also. There isn’t much reasoning with an addict that needs their drugs and is going through psychosis. I hope I never have to draw and fire my weapon upon another human because I would have to live with that..but there it is…at least I would live and so will my family. Thanks for reading and thanks for the article.

645 Mike October 15, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Your article is well written and informative. But any article about guns these days bring out the worse is some folks. I’m 55 plus years old, and Ive owned a ton of guns throughout my life. I ended up selling most, save my 870 Wingmaster. It’s not that I’ve gone anti-gun necessarily, (more a minimalist jag) its just that Ive come to realize that despite what the bullies at the NRA push, everyone does not need to be armed. In fact most people should not be armed in my opinion. Reading some of your response makes me believe that there are a bunch of wanna be heroes out there waiting for a chance to cap someone. lets face it, it’s just not that dangerous here. The average persons home is not being invaded, and most criminals are not out to kill us. Not to say that we don’t have depraved individuals running around, its just not quite the situation that gun lovers want you to believe. These folks like to profess that guns are just tools. Look at the number of gun sites out there. Read a post or two. Soon you may conclude that there are bunch of squirrelly dudes stroking there guns waiting for something to go bump in the night. (mom, or baby bro?) And if I read that sheep, sheep dog analogy, I think I’m gonna…. well anyway this is not a rant about guns, just gun talk. If you have guns great, just remember that if you let one go and hit someone your life Will be changed forever, right or wrong it’s not gonna be good. Make that choice to use your weapon your last, and i mean last resort.

646 Austin glen October 25, 2012 at 9:13 pm

I definatly have norman’s back on this subject except the part about California. Where i live. Many of my friends And family choose to ignore the gun laws here and frankly they are loosly enforced. As for hillbilly there is a reason that there is no () in the second amendment that states right to bear arms (except for military arms). Because guns were not made to hint or go to the range. They were made as an efficiant way to KILL a human. All guns are military weapons. We have to right to have weapons not to hunt but to overthrow our own government if you read the contitution you would know this. So if you would like to see our guns taken away and the constitution shreaded just vote for Obama. As for me I will continue to be an AMERICAN who stands by what this nation was founded upon and Carry a firearm. Because when this nation is invaded and it will be because our president has no balls I will be one of the few who has the means to protect myself and those I love.

647 tim October 28, 2012 at 12:01 am

i think this article presupposes your home is invaded by a burglar, robber, or rapist. hardening the entrance to your home would be more effective also give you time to get your gun and position yourself and family, make code words so you don’t shoot your own family.
your home maybe invaded before you are home and you maybe ambushed by your own gun. so your gun needs to be well hidden, if you dont take it everywhere you go. you may want to consider taking your magazine a least if you dont have a concealed weapon.
you may just have to fight if you are surprised so objects around the yard and home should also be planned for use as weapons

648 Paul Noble October 31, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Well now let’s get real. I was a deputy sheriff for 20 years. Carried a .38 Special Revolver. Had two occasions to pull the gun from its holster. Both cases the problem was solved without a shot. Two other cases when I was in trouble a citizen showed up with a Winchester 94. Just the sound of racking a round into the chamber solved the problem. Message is, no one wants to get shot! I patrolled 160 square miles alone except for the citizens. Thanks to them for covering my tail!


649 Mark November 1, 2012 at 9:44 am

Personally, I prefer using a baseball bat over a firearm as guns tend to have heavy repercussions from the law should you shoot someone.

650 john November 5, 2012 at 6:04 am

4 years ago my home was broken into. my dog was maimed and laying in the corner. at 3am my 1911 .45 stopped the crook before entering my 7yr old daughters room. police came after the fact and shot my when things go bump my gun goes pop pop from here on in . the law isnt always on our side either. dogs get you a law suit,a bat gets you 5 you choose

651 Ben November 8, 2012 at 5:56 pm


If you’re worried about “heavy repercussions from the law” should you defend yourself and your family put the bat down and join those who plan to hide in the closet and call the cops if their house gets broken into. The bat is not going to do you any good unless you plan to hit the intruder with it hard enough to kill him or least do serious injury, rather than give him a little bruise which will piss him off and make the situation worse. If you live somewhere the bleeding hearts have gained enough power that the law frowns on defending yourself, it won’t matter much what you did it with, you’re still gonna have those heavy repercussions to worry about.

652 Paminski November 25, 2012 at 9:05 am

I’m on the verge of buying my first firearm and this was helpful to me. I have handled guns before and want something inexpensive and threatening to intruders. Your post was succinct and easy to understand. Thanks!

653 Jason November 29, 2012 at 11:24 pm

As a proud responsible gun owner of a Mossberg 500 and an H&K45 Compact, I have to respectfully ask that “norman” stop commenting.

Sir, you’re giving gun owners a bad name. We are neither racist, nor ignorant, but your posts prove otherwise. Please do gun culture, and your own rights, a favor and stop with the demeaning, ignorant, racist, impotent, pathetic rants proclaiming your own pseudo-masculinity.

BTW, to the admin of this page, great article. Thank you. Wish I had read this during my foray into firearms. It would have saved me a few hundred dollars.

654 raghead December 9, 2012 at 2:20 am

Norman you oaf, I am a raghead and I am already here. Your loud brash stupid writing makes me laugh, you should be ashamed of yourself, bet you emabress your children with your racist talk at every family gathering,

btw nutcase, Jesus was a raghead too.

655 Thomas December 15, 2012 at 1:58 am

@ Norman, I love you man. Thank you. You are keeping Amercia strong.

656 Maile von Hund December 15, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Honestly, unless you live in some castle where you have ample warning due to the sheer physical size of your home that an intrusion has happened “oh Mufffy, dear, the perimeter has been breached! Fetch me my shotgun”, having a gun or shotgun in your house isn’t going to be of any use in “protecting” the average home. Look at how the average home invasion happens: door bell rings, you go to door, once opened two armed thugs push in (or just kick the door down.) Unless you wear your gun 24/7 what good is having one hidden someplace far away going to be for you? Get a dog…

657 KEN December 22, 2012 at 8:46 pm

I have been legaly armed most of my life. I have a 12 ga. shotgun with a small led flashlight for home defense. A .40 cal. Taurus that I cary concealed. I practice at a Community College range 4 or 5 times a year. I bought a $10 clamp to mount the light on the shotgun. The led light cst about $5 at Orrice Depot. Befre my wife pssed away 11 years ago we both had handgun lcences. I am 81 years old. and don’t take crap frm any punk hoodlems

658 matt December 22, 2012 at 10:12 pm

this article is missing a few KEY things. First, the ar15 is VERY effective for home defense, more so then a 12 gauge shotgun. But aside from that which ever weapon you choose NEEDS A LIGHT. You need to be able to identify your target before you shoot. God forbid you shoot the WRONG person, it happens. Keep that in mind when purchasing a home defense weapon the power of the round you choose, and the possibility of it going through walls. I highly recommend a decent ar15, a good surefire weapon light, a 1pt sling, and some sort of optic. get your weapon, and SHOOT IT become familiar with your weapon system.

659 victoria in san diego January 7, 2013 at 4:53 pm

took my first class on gun handling etc.
with my daughter. the instructor was fantastic and we shot both semi and revolvers. my christmas gift to her will be a gun. the reality is that a gun will protect her in her home. she is confident and plans on practicing every other weekend. i thank God that this is an option for her.

660 Dwgarrett January 12, 2013 at 6:48 am

Wow, I should be able to own any type of firearm I want. If I want an assault rifle then I should be allowed. I don’t know why everyone wants to change our rights. I want to be able to defend myself from a tyrant. Our second amendment gives us the right to take up arms to defend ourselves against the government.

661 ralph January 26, 2013 at 3:36 pm

years ago when my two children were babies, i was working the night shift. we lived in an apartment at the time, ground level. I was working the nightshift, when some drug asshole tried to break through the sliding glass door. My wife ran back to our bedroom got my 38 and can back back to the living room, where the asshole just got in. I taught my wife to shoot. She emptied the gun on him. No charges were filed.

662 David February 9, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Thanks for this article. Living in a nice, middle class neighborhood with a not-so-nice neighborhood on our eastern border, it’s good to know that a relatively inexpensive and relatively “easy to learn how to use” revolver or shotgun is all I need to defend my home and family.

663 Rod February 15, 2013 at 10:18 am

From an urban Canadian point of view I think the shotgun blasting inside of the house is not my first choice it would be deafening. Handguns are all restricted (revolvers and semi auto), AR’s all restriced and rifles are limited to 5 rounds/mag. So for home defence I’m leaning towards a quiet 9mm or .45 carbine like the thureon defence. cheap to run, more quiet, wife can use it, and its non-restricted, and because it uses pistol rounds it can legally hold 10 rounds/mag

664 ca February 24, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Which is better for home defense
9mm or 642 Smith Wesson. What stopping power.

665 carol February 24, 2013 at 9:48 pm

I have a Smith wesson 22. How do you think of it for home defense
and which gun would you recomend for a woman new to guns but
learning. What do you think of 642 smith Wesson- Is this a 38??

666 Lester February 25, 2013 at 5:46 pm

I am a new convert. I have long feared guns because I know how much damage they can cause. I especially fear them because I have kids in the home and am fearful of some sort of tragic accident. However, my wife and I have reluctantly decided to get one. The neighborhood we are forced to live in because of finances has really gone to the dogs. People are shooting rounds off just about everyday. They shoot into the air or ground and often for show. I’ve called the police several times and by the time they arrive. The gangs have dispersed. They simply drive away. I have received notice from apartment management that several break-ins have occurred both while tenants were gone and home. I fear that violence will soon be forced on myself, my wife or one of our 4 children. I have decided to purchase a conceal weapons license and I’m sure I will pass the background check but what type of gun should I get that’s pretty safe (meaning no accidental discharges) and do you have any other tips. I do fear a home invasion but I also want to be able to adequately protect those dear to me. How do you store weapons but make it so you can access them easily. Also, what do you say to children. I’m getting one here but only plan on having it temporarily until I can move out of this hell hole. Any advice will truly be appreciated.

667 Mark March 3, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Norman did you know there was a thing called spell-check? If you want people to really respect your opinion, better learn how to spell.

A Concerned Citizen

668 Tickfood March 9, 2013 at 7:52 am


Keep on researching, but you’ll find that many knowledgeable folks will recommend you get a 4 inch .357 magnum revolver, load it with .38 Special cartridges, and store it loaded in a small metal lockbox with a finger-pad combination lock within arm’s reach of where you sleep. Re: kids, remember that you cannot child-proof a gun, but you can gun-proof a child. Show them the gun unloaded, tell them what it’s for and how dangerous it is when loaded, and LET THEM HANDLE IT. Tell them that anytime they want to handle it, they can — they just need to ask you (and you must let them when they ask).

Take them to a safe place and have them watch you shoot a watermelon with a hollowpoint, so they will KNOW the gun’s devastating power. Teach them the rules of safe gun handling (know and follow them yourself!). If age appropriate, take them to the range and let them fire it. Guns are here in our world and will be for a long, long time; EVERYONE, especially children, must know how to deal with them safely. Only those with a realistic understanding of the potential threats we face from predation (both the odds and the stakes), the potential dangers inherent in owning guns, and the stones to accept responsibility for their family’s defense should own guns. Get wise, know yourself and your family, do the right thing and stay safe.

669 JB March 12, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Very interesting reading all these posts i came across this site while reasearching home defense tactics. Im a career Firefighter in an urban city and spent a few years in the Army(Infantry) right out of high school. Growing up my parents didnt believe in guns for home protection. I now own a Springfield 45 ACP, Smith and Wesson MP15, Mossberg 500, Remington 870, GSG 22, Remington 770 and a Henry Arms survival 22.My uncle and 3 of my cousins and myself go to the range once a week to practice. If you want to be able to protect youself and your family under duress you have to train so its ingrained into your mind, muscle memory.a few times a year at the range is not enough practice. Im a big guy and can defend myself very well but have ben in enough siuations to knowyou need a weapon to protect your family.Iit is your responsibility!!!!! The cops will never get to your house before something awful happens to you or your family. How can any man live with himself if he did not do everything to protect what is his.If you dont believe in the Second Amendment then leave this great country of ours. Our forefathers spilled blood to give us these rights. I guess some of you who have never served your country or ran into a burning building to save a total stranger have no sense of responsibility for helping those weaker then yourself. Our forefathers must be rolling over in their graves seeing what is happening to this country. The left continues to drag us down. Fellow gun owners stand strong and be proud and do not give in to what has been given to us as a birthright for being born in the USA. Remember it is better to be tried by 12 then carried by 6!!!!

670 Mike March 14, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Good article, great advice all around, but there are some points that I take a little bit of issue with. First of all, the notion that a double action revolver is idiot proof in operation is something of a myth. Certainly, it’s extremely simple to shoot, just aim and pull the trigger. The issue is reloading the gun quickly. Each round must be put into each chamber individually (barring the use of a speed loader or speed strip, which in my opinion, takes a bit more training and concentration than inserting a magazine into a semi-automatic). The other issue with a revolver, at least for me personally, is the long double action trigger. I tend to shoot more acturately with a short single action trigger. Again, that’s more of a personal thing, everyone is a little different in their preferences. Next is the everlasting argument of caliber. First off, one-stop-shots in any caliber are more rare than common, even in the almighty .357mag and .45acp. That’s because the most important factor in effectively stopping an attacker is not the size, weight, or even speed of the bullet. It’s all about shot placement, what you actually hit with that bullet. Absolutely, penetration is extremely important as well (which is what size, weight, and speed all contribute to), but the absolute most important factor in stopping an attacker is where you shoot them. So it could be said that it’s not what you have, but how well can you use what you have. (As the saying goes, “Beware the man with only one gun, for he probably knows how to use it.”) And finally, a 12ga is just fine for someone in a brick house, but if you live in a building with thin or flimsy walls (i.e. an apartment building), most 12ga ammo will penetrate those walls with enough energy left over to severely injure or kill someone on the other side. However, .223/5.56 is extremely good at dumping most of it’s energy into the first thing it hits. Hence why an AR15 or similar semiauto rifle in the same caliber makes a fine home defense weapon. I suppose that the big take-away here is to do a lot of your own research, get something that you think will work based on that research, not what the nice man behind the counter is trying to sell you (he probably means well, but at the end of the day, he is still just trying to make a sale), and train with what you plan to use. And above all else have a realistic plan in the first place.

671 Rick March 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Somehow I am doubting the veracity of Hillbilly’s self-description as someone who has ANYTHING to do with firearms or hunting. Not sure why, it’s just a feeling.

BTW, Dept. of Homeland Security gives top home defense honors the the AR15. This because it’s tiny little round tumbles after the first layer of sheet rock and doesn’t go though as many walls as the much heavier (and more stable) 9mm and .45 ACP. I like their thinking. I’d sure take off that compensator and go back to the birdcage, for all you 3-gun competitors, though, for indoor use.

672 Tom April 9, 2013 at 10:45 am

Lets look at the general understanding here ladies and gentleman:

-Firearms are weapons, and as such are dangerous.

-Everyone has their own understanding of the bill of rights ammendmants, whether they are right or wrong.

-Everyone should have the safety and well assuredness that their home and family will be protected.

-People who take the time to learn understand, and make time for sufficient practice and safety exercises, have every reason to own a firearm to protect their home.

-Not everyone is fit to carry a firearm, or use it. Ex. Children, pets, thieves, murderers, clowns (exclusion to any and all participating in rodeo events), and general idiots.

I believe if we just follow these guidelines, we can cut down our arguments substantially. Take myself for example: 2 years in active service army, 1 1/2 years of which I was an explosive ordinance disposal technician, over 135 plus hours on a shooting range dismantling cleaning and adjusting firearms to protect our country. I own 1 revolver and 1 double barrel 12 gauge shotgun for home defense. I can dismatle both weapons completely and service them until I deem them ready for any purpose. I practice with them both twice a week, and operate them both safely and with a certainty that I understand them, is there any problem with me using my firearms for home defense.

673 Kertys May 8, 2013 at 8:41 am

While shotguns can work for home defense, it is a stretch to say that they are “ideal” or that there is a “consensus”.

Shotguns are considerably more difficult to manipulate under stress, and require a degree of fine motor control to operate that is less of an issue with magazine-fed weapons. They’re also fairly large. A handgun or even a carbine is more maneuverable and also leaves a hand free if you need it, which is important in a defensive scenario.

Main advantage of shotguns is that there is less chance of over-penetration if you’re using the correct shot. I believe #8 is ideal.

674 Drew June 30, 2013 at 4:23 pm

I would like to make a comment to the shotgun and its “Bonus” for sound of a round being chambered. if you are buying a gun for home defense you are expecting the intruder to be armed as well right? Racking your shotgun won’t scare them out of the house It will just give them a direction to shoot. In Afghanistan insurgents would unload their guns to any sound that alerted them to your position. shotguns also peep around corners giving the intruder a chance to either shoot first or take your weapon. Lastly 00 buck and home furnishings don’t go well together.

675 John B. July 2, 2013 at 7:28 am

There are more cautionary steps to be taken in order to protect your loved ones and home from intruders before NEEDING a gun for home defense:

1.) Where do you live? This is a choice. I am neither rich nor poor, but live in one of the safest and family friendly cities in the U.S. according to Forbes and Money Magazine. Didn’t need a gun for that…

2.) Do you know your neighbors? #1 helps determine whether or not you have decent, trustworthy neighbors that can react appropriately if your home is burglarized or invaded.

3.) Do you have a home security system? Hell even an ADT sign and window stickers will deter MANY wannabe thugs.

4.) Do you have a dog? Once again, even more criminals are deterred by this…

5.) For the VAST MAJORITY of the country, 1-4 should be enough. If you live in urban/high crime areas or rural areas where it’s much harder to secure your property and police responding is much longer, then get a gun while you’re at it. If you’re not one of those persons, it’s your choice, but know that you’re more likely to have an accident in your home with your loved ones than actually shoot an intruder. Look it up.

676 Micah Penner July 29, 2013 at 10:55 pm

I have been reading quite a few articles on this website, and I have found most of them to be interesting, though some I disagree with. I am a Canadian, and we have much stricter gun laws than America. This prevents lots of gun and gang related violence, as well as reducing the general crime rate. Now, despite the argument that a gun in the hands of a citizen can diffuse a dangerous situation, it is solving violence with more violence. Adding more violence to an already violent situation is not recommended. Owning a handgun in self-defense is one thing, having it concealed is another. Shotguns, assault rifles and other “Long guns” cause much more damage that a revolver used to defend your family. I think that if you live in a bad city where the chance of being assaulted with deadly force, then you should learn martial arts, or carry a visible side arm to discourage being attacked. The problem is that many Americans want to pull a gun on a criminal, and relish capturing or wounding them. Therefore since such an experience makes you feel strong and in charge, many people wish it would happen to them. Also, if just anyone can own a gun, what’s to keep some crazy guy from walking into a school and shooting kids? Don’t tell me that kids should have guns… And lastly, I found Norman’s comments quite offensive. Muslims have just as much right to believe what they believe in as we do, and only a small percentage of them pose a threat. Calling them “Ragheads” is quite offensive to them, and anyone who isn’t extremely racist. You have also called people who think the same way I do stupid, moronic and all other manners of insults. You sir, give pro-gun activism a bad name.

677 Will Malven August 22, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Great article by the way. The handling of firearms is a knowledge and skill-set that all men (and women) should have–provided they are comfortable with that.

Receiving your first firearm has been a rite of passage for young men across America (primarily but not exclusively rural America) since the first colonist arrived.

Knowledge of firearms isn’t absolutely essential for a man, but it is certainly one of the basic skill-sets in which men have been traditionally trained.

Keep up the great work!!!

678 Will Malven August 22, 2013 at 5:14 pm

One additional comment and correction. I have seen the term “knock-down power” used in these firearms articles in several places.

Guns don’t have a “knock-down power,” if they did, then when the shooter fired his gun, he would have to pick himself up after each round.

The idea of the “single-shot” kill or stop, while not unheard of, is a rarity. The impact of a .44 magnum round, Eastwood’s “most powerful handgun in the world” (though no longer), won’t send a perp flying through the air or bounce him off a wall, it will probably stop him in his tracks, but the sort of supernatural special effects you see in movies is fantasy.

What is important, is depth of penetration and size of permanent wound channel. It is loss of blood, not monster impact that stops a criminal in his tracks. The bigger and deeper the wound channel, the more quickly blood loss leads to unconsciousness.

Any firearm projectile can kill as anyone familiar with the death of Brandon Lee will know. The lowly .22 has killed more people than any other round, but I wouldn’t recommend it for home/self-defense.

Anyway, the point of this post is to encourage Brett and other authors to stop using the antiquated and inaccurate term, “stopping power.”

679 Henry August 23, 2013 at 9:26 am

Winchester Defender best home self defense. You need nothing else.

680 Mark D. August 23, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Great article for the beginner. Just a couple notes.
1. The BEST place for your handgun is on your hip.
2. GET TRAINED !!! (by a professional) check out “Front Sight” if you don’t know where to get training.
3. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE and somewhere besides the range preferably. Not many intruders present a perfect target at a known range.
As for my family, we live in a rural area with little to no police protection. Our sheriffs department has like 1 officer and like 850 square miles to cover. They probably won’t even show up unless it is a homicide. Even then it would be HOURS. I have a carry permit and always carry, as does my wife and son (daughter is not old enough yet). Every member of my family (even my daughter) has a handgun and a rifle/shotgun and knows how to use them. It is the RESPONSIBILITY of the father to teach the children. If you choose not to own a gun, great; but as for me and MY house………..I’m just saying.
Molon Labe.

681 Ben G September 9, 2013 at 12:34 pm

There’s a lot of people here decrying guns in general when this article was written as a basic guide for those who want to buy guns. If you’re not the target audience and you comment negatively here, I believe you would qualify for the title of troll.

My brother was a range master at Front Sight, and all three of us boys and my dad competed in IDPA for a few years. I’m more competent than most with handguns, but in the home invasion scenerio, shotgun is the way to go. I’m wanting to get a Mossy 500 here in the near future. Here are a few reason why a shotgun is a better choice that weren’t mentioned in the article:

1. Minimal risk of over-penetration. If you used a rifle or even a pistol with full metal jacket rounds (though if you’re using a pistol for home defense I hope you’d get hollow points) you run the risk of the bullet going through the invader and hitting a family member on the other side. Or, if you miss, that bullet has a much greater chance of punching through the walls and hitting a family member. Whereas with a shotgun, even 00 buckshot probably won’t go through the perp or your interior walls. Well, it might go through the walls, but it would be slowed down condsiderably. A jacketed .45 can go through 4+ inches of pine wood and still hit someone on the other side. Something to think about.

2. Greater chance of a hit. Unless you take your time and make the first shot count, you’re probably going to miss a shot or two when using a rifle or pistol. However, if the perp is coming down the hall and you rip off a shotgun at them…..chances are you scored a hit given the spread pattern of the shot you use.

3. To reitterate, effectiveness. To quote one of the instructors at Rogers’ shooting school in Elijay, GA, “A pistol is a pathetic pop gun you use to fight your way back to the rifle or shotgun you never should have had out of reach in the first place.” Not to say pistols can’t do the job, but when you compare the effectiveness of most pistols to rifles or shotguns…..there’s really no comparison.

682 RickinMI September 17, 2013 at 11:25 am

We live in a very nice suburb of Detroit. In 25 years here our home has been broken in to 3 times. In order of importance, my home security measures now include these 7 essentials:
1) Good neignborhood where I know most of my neighbors.
2) Trimmed and maintained shrubbery all around home.
3) Good outdoor lighting from dawn to dusk PLUS motion detectors (hard-wired and solar) in every nook and cranny around house.
4) A 70+ pound dog that barks!
5) Alarm system on doors and windows, panic buttons, AND 24/7 monitoring plus updated garage door opener
6) Good locks and deadbolts on the doors, and casement crank-out windows that we lock at night… along with having the door from the garage to the house locked at night also. (Sadly, learned this the hard way — alarm blared but not until after they grab and ran off with brief case inside door)
7) Training and practice with:
12 gauge Mossberg pump, 20 gauge Remington pump, Colt Commander 1911 45acp, Marlin 336 in 30/30, Sig Sauer SP2022 in 9mm

683 Grey Wolf October 27, 2013 at 11:37 am

Point 1
RickinMI, Great Post about harding your home. Spot on.

Point 2
Micah Penner, I hear what your saying but according to other people living in Canada you have more crime now, not less. As far as Islam goes, There Koran will tell you its not a religion of peace. Yes I read it before the first Gulf War. Marital arts against someone with a gun is a last resort and expect to be shot. Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight either!

Point 3
Buckshot from a shotgun will also over penetrate just like ball ammo (FMJ) and so will jacket hollow point ammo if the cavity is plugged by clothes or sheet rock. You must try your selected round out yourself to see how it will perform.

Knock down power. One of my police officer friends just one against a thug family that had sued him for murder. He carried a H&K USP in .45 cal. The thug rushed him at close quarters and he stumbled backward as he pulled his gun and fired. The first round spun the thug around when he was hit in the lower stomach area, this spun the thug around and the next two rounds were in the upper middle back and upper right shoulder blade. The prosecution tried to say after the first shot the thug tried to run away and he shot him in the back. IT was proved in court that the first round spun the assailant around. This was proved by expert testimony and a hanging pig carcass.

Every situation is different, every shooting is different. Some men will take a shot from a .22 LR and sit down and die. Others will have their heart shot out and still kill the defender before they die.

Read and research my friends. Read all you can on police shootings and what combat veterans have seen. Make an informed decision and go from there. If you ever have to defend your family or someone else with deadly force you must be able to articulate that in a court of law. After you defend your life you must be able to defend your freedom.

684 Grey Wolf October 27, 2013 at 12:40 pm

And one more. Using your pistol to fight to your rifle? Come on here. If your fighting with your pistol you better end it quick or withdraw. Fighting to your rifle is nonsense.

685 Matt January 14, 2014 at 12:11 pm

A few things to note …

1) The article should include semi-automatic rifles in the debate.

2) Revolvers are not nearly as module as the other platform. A light system is critical to HD and getting one on a revolver is not only more difficult, its often more expensive.

3) The article seems to limit the HD situation to 1 perp. If 4-5 enter your home and you have a 3+1 Rem 870, what are you to do?

4) Here is the definitive answer to which is the best platform for HD: Whatever you train on most in the setting of HD … NOT just the bench at your local range.

Good luck and stay safe y’all.

686 Richie January 31, 2014 at 1:49 am

Have any of you considered the financial cost of defending your home or loved ones?
Whether or not your action to kill another person is justified is a legal question. If your local justice officers hold any doubt about your story you may have to defend yourself in court. I believe murder/manslaughter trials tend to be quite expensive for the accused. Therefore, one would be wise to consider a non lethal solution.

687 Tab February 1, 2014 at 10:53 am

Great article, though I disagree with the whole “bonus points for the sound of pumping the shotgun” argument. They should never even hear that sound; keep a home defense weapon loaded, but with the safety engaged and in a secure place at all times.

@Richie: That’s a piss-poor excuse to not use a gun to defend your home. I’d rather survive to defend myself in court, than die because I’m afraid of the legal repercussions of not letting myself get killed.

688 Justin March 24, 2014 at 7:58 pm

Good points. Honestly, they are all fine choices but all have their pros and cons. Shotguns are the gold standard but for rookies the main dilemma is over penetration and the ability to practice with it, few if any ranges around here allow shotguns and if you don’t have a massive plot of land to practice shooting, becoming proficient is a problem.

My vote goes for the semi auto. Reputable brands will rarely give you issues, the capacity is better and it’s quicker to reload. Most home invasions are not solo missions and it’s likely you will be dealing with a few threats. So, having something with say, 15 rounds on tap and a few spare mags is what I want in this type of scenario as opposed to 5 or 6 shots and then having to fumble with a speedloader or loose rounds. Not that a revolver is a horrible choice, just not something I would want to solely rely on when there could be possibly 3 armed people in my house.

689 Mick April 14, 2014 at 3:08 pm

I’d like to point out that i used a shotgun for home defense. BUT it has recently dawned on me that its THE WORST for home defense. for one no one should hear you chambering a round because a round should be in the chamber already.
and the important part: ever shot one? they are LOUD! bad enough outside, now go shoot it in your hallway and tell me you can make a solid follow-up shot.
.22 rifle is all you need.

690 Gert April 17, 2014 at 6:41 am

I don*t necessarily disagree about going for the revolver instead of a pistol for home defense, especially for non-gun savvy people. However, there is one thing I don’t agree with: ” If there is a round in the cylinder of a double-action revolver, pulling the trigger will fire the gun.”

Well, so will the pistol. The chance of a pistol not firing when a round is already chambered is not greater than the chance of a revolver not firing in the same situation. Now, with the follow shot on the other hand, the revolvers reliability is on paper better. The chance of a good pistol jamming unless it’s been seriously abused or damaged is very, very low, however.

Another thing well worth considering, is the pull force (sorry, don’t know the correct english term) necessary for firing the weapon. Most revolvers require more pull force than pistols, when both are dual action. Especially if one is shopping for a “spouse gun”, one should bear that in mind, and choose a revolver with a fitting trigger resistance.

And the most important thing, which I’m happy you are mentioning when advising someone about getting a gun: Exercise and training. In my opinion you shouldn’t be allowed to own or operate a gun on your own without at least basic gun training and some practice.

However, safe storage of the weapon should really be made an issue of too. Lack of gun handling skill and unsafe storing of gun in the US causes an unbelievable amount of gunshot deaths and injuries compared to other countries with a similar (or higher) amount of guns per person.

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