Keeping a firearm in your home is one of the most effective things that you can do to keep you and your family safe from intruders. However, the first step toward keeping a firearm in your home for home defense is choosing the right gun.
Below, we’ll take a look at the three main categories of home defense firearms and the important considerations that you need to keep in mind for each category in order to help you choose the right home defense gun for you and your family.
Home Defense Handguns
Handguns are by far the most popular type of home defense firearm due mostly to their compact size. It’s easier to store a handgun than it is a rifle or shotgun, and its easier to maneuver throughout your home while holding a handgun than it is a rifle or shotgun as well.
The best types of handguns for home defense are revolvers and semiautomatic handguns since both can be fired without having to work an action. You’ll also want to choose a handgun that is chambered in a powerful enough caliber. 9mm or larger is ideal, though slightly smaller rounds such as the .38 auto are effective for home defense as well.
With all of that said, though, there are a few drawbacks when using a handgun as a home defense weapon. Handguns are not as accurate as rifles and shotguns, they don’t have the ammo capacity of a semi-automatic rifle, and they don’t have the stopping power of a shotgun. Still, they offer plenty enough advantages to make them a fine choice for home defense.
Home Defense Shotguns
The second most popular type of gun for home defense is the shotgun. Shotguns offer a number of noteworthy advantages when it comes to home defense, including plenty of stopping power, a small bit of forgiveness when it comes to accuracy due to the spread of the pellets (more on that later), and the ability to load your firearm with a wide range of shells for different scenarios.
In regards to the gauge that your shotgun is chambered in, you can’t go wrong with a 12 gauge. A 20 gauge is going to be too small, while a 10 gauge is going to be recoil-heavy overkill. You’ll also want to choose either a pump or semi-auto shotgun that is designed for home defense as opposed to a longer barreled hunting shotgun.
As for the drawbacks of using a shotgun for home defense, there are a few that need to be considered. For one, shotguns, on average, are going to hold less ammo than semi-auto handguns and far less ammo than semi-auto rifles. It’s also important to note that one of the advantages of a shotgun – the spread of its pellets that supposedly makes accuracy less of a concern – is often exaggerated.
For home defense purposes, you’ll want to use either slugs or buckshot in order to have enough stopping power to put down an intruder. A slug is a single round, like a rifle bullet, and will offer no spread at all. Buckshot, meanwhile, is comprised of just a handful of large pellets, meaning that the spread at close distances when firing buckshot is going to be very small.
In other words, accuracy is still going to be highly important when using a shotgun, and you won’t be able to cover an entire hallway with pellets as Hollywood would have you to believe.
Home Defense Rifles
Rifles are the least common type of firearm for home defense, but they do offer some advantages that are worth considering. Semi-automatic rifles such as the AR-15 are the most combat capable firearms that are legally available to ordinary citizens thanks to their reliability, their accuracy, and, most importantly, their ammo capacity, which may be upwards of thirty rounds depending on the magazine that you use.
However, the needs on a battlefield and the needs in a home defense scenario do differ, and semi-auto rifles have a few drawbacks when it comes to the latter scenario. The biggest drawback of a rifle for home defense is over-penetration. Slugs, buckshot, and pistol rounds are all slow, fat rounds that will stop in walls. Rifle rounds, however, are small and fast, meaning that they’ll travel through walls like they were made of butter. This means that with every round you fire, you risk striking your neighbors as well as your family in other rooms.
Rifles are also notoriously loud, and you’ll likely suffer from hearing damage if you fire a rifle multiple times with no hearing protection in an enclosed space.
Choosing the right home defense weapon for you will ultimately come down to your own specific preferences. However, knowing the pros and cons of each type of home defense firearms is an excellent place for you to start your search.
~ American Gun News