When it comes to selecting the right weapon for defending your home against intruders, the discussion usually ends with a debate over which is the best gun for the job. For some home owners, they don't want to kill the person - only wound them or simply scare them by making it obvious that you are armed. Others understand the value in being able to fully stop the home intrusion before it gets any further. These are important things to consider, so let's take a look at how to pick the right firearm for defending your home.
A sad commentary on our culture is that some form of home protection has migrated from beyond "a good idea" to a "must-have."
That said, most households should have at least one form of self-defense for use against intruders. In most cases, that instrument of self-defense will be a firearm.
The following are the best firearms for home defense, as well as some tips on what to look for before you make any purchases.
What Type of Self-Defense Firearm?
The type of firearm you use for self-defense really depends on at least these factors:
While it would be nice to have an unlimited firearm budget, the reality is most people do not. The majority want a reliable firearm that is easy to learn and maintain, dependable, and will not break the bank.
Ease of Maintenance and Dependability
Another key factor is the difficulty of keeping the firearm in operable condition. Some firearms are high maintenance. Others you can beat up on, and reliable firepower is right at your fingertips. A well-maintained weapon is almost always dependable. A neglected weapon can crap out on you right when you need it.
Stopping power and ammo availability also fall into this category. If you cannot arm your firearm, it is basically a very expensive paperweight you can throw at intruders. If the firearm you like is not sufficiently powerful enough, you can put yourself in more danger by using it.
When evaluating what to buy, look at online reviews and pay attention to whether end users say keeping the firearm in good working order was easy or a major task. Talk to firearm instructors and see what they recommend. Read reviews on firearms in outdoor and gun publications.
Training and Experience
The amount of time you have spent with firearms is also vital when choosing a firearm for self-defense in your home. The skills needed to de-escalate a situation, evaluate a decision in the heat of the moment and shoot accurately are only possible with experience and training.
At the very least, you need to take a home defense and shooting training course. Most police departments can recommend organizations to go to as well as most shooting ranges.
You also must weigh your need for home defense with the presiding gun laws in your area. In most jurisdictions, at least basic firearms for home defense are allowed. Some, however, are still very restrictive, and some have handling and storage requirements. Make sure you know what you can purchase and use where you live.
What To Buy
Here are some basic recommendations regarding specific firearms to purchase for home defense.
Here are three recommended handguns for home defense.
A beretta 92X is the "old faithful" of self-defense handguns. About the only other handgun that is more reliable, common, and affordable is a .38 revolver. The 92X is a 9mm and was the standard firearm for the US military and law enforcement for over three decades. Differing versions exist, but a standard for the model is the ease of aim, shot, and maintenance while maintaining superior stopping power.
The Glock 19 is lightweight, easy to use and maintain, and smaller in size, making it easier for women to utilize in a home setting. The pistol is just 7.36 inches long, about 5 inches high, and a little over an inch wide, which means even smaller hands can control it without discomfort. Best of all, even in a smaller size, you still get 9 mm stopping power.
There are several iterations of this firearm. Each brings to the table the following:
- Smaller size
- Easy maintenance
- Stopping power
Another benefit of a revolver is that it makes you consciously squeeze off each shot. While you want to be able to respond to an intruder, you also want to make sure that you are making the right call, as making the wrong decision could kill a loved one or mean you end up facing criminal or civil charges.
A revolver lets you have that extra decision-making time while being incredibly responsive and effective. The .38 caliber is a good choice because it will stop most intruders but is still easy to manage when shooting.
Here are a few manufacturers of revolvers to consider.
- Smith & Wesson
- Charter Arms
Each option has advantages and some drawbacks. Testing a few is a good idea if you have the option. At least work with a knowledgeable firearms owner or instructor when choosing the right revolver.
Several manufacturers of shotguns will more than meet your home defense needs.
Remington 870 Police
The 870 is easy to use, accurate, and very affordable. It comes in 20 and 12 gauge with 4 +1 capacity, giving you enough firepower to hold off just about any intruder. Depending on the model you buy, the 870 comes in several grips. Each shotgun weighs under 7 pounds.
Winchester SXP Defender
The Defender series is another classic shotgun that is easy to use and maintain and deadly accurate. It also comes in 12 and 20-gauge with the added benefit of a 5 +1 ammo system, giving you that extra shot if you need it.
The .410 shotgun for home defense is not standard in most gun owners' arsenal. These gauge shotguns do, however, offer superior handling and aim with enough firepower to stop most intruders. While the 12 and 20 gauge will always be recommended more, that is mostly because the .410 is not used as commonly when hunting.
Manufacturers of reliable .410 shotguns include:
- Henry Repeating Arms
- TR Imports
The most challenging aspect of any .410 is the availability of ammo. While larger gun stores will have it, many smaller organizations will not. One option to overcome that is to order your ammo online.
Choosing a firearm for self-defense is a serious matter. You must balance need with capability and your skill set. If you work off this list, you will ensure you get the firepower you need at an affordable price.