Buy These 5 Guns for Home Defense Before Anything Else

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One of the major reasons people wish to keep guns in their homes is to protect themselves from intruders. In many places, the law dictates that homeowners can shoot and kill intruders with no risk of legal ramifications. If somebody enters your home unauthorized and intends to cause you harm, you can shoot them right then and there – simple as that.

Having said that, some guns are better for home defense than others. Furthermore, each gun has its advantages and disadvantages.

Here are the five guns you should own for home defense before you buy any others, courtesy of Off the Grid News:

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Defending your home, and more importantly your own life and the lives of your loved ones, is a serious undertaking. If there is one thing that is true out there in the world of home defense it is that there are options.

Of course, specific needs can vary based on the individual and the layout of the home. An urban apartment dweller will have very different requirements than a rural rancher with thousands of acres.

But if you can own a gun where you live, these are the first five firearms we recommend for someone interested in self-protection in their home.

1. Pump shotgun
Based on reading Internet forums, one might conclude that the shotgun is an obsolete and antiquated tool for home defense. However, the shotgun has certain advantages that cannot be matched by any other weapon.

First, there is the power factor. The shotgun may not be able to reach out and touch someone at 200 yards, but in the confines of your home, very few threats will engage you at a great distance. At close range, the shotgun is king when used in 12 gauge or 20 gauge and stoked with the appropriate loads like No. 4 Buck shot.

A short barrel will make the shotgun more maneuverable within the confines of the home. The federal legal limit is 18 inches. Anything less will require a federal tax stamp and National Firearms Act (NFA) registration. I recommend using a comfortable butt stock and attaching a white light to identify threats in the dark.

2. Handgun
The actual brand is not important, but I recommend something reliable with a minimum caliber of 38 special or 380 ACP.
For residents in areas of the country where gun ownership is restricted, I highly recommend choosing the same type of pistol and ammunition in use by local law enforcement, if permitted.

The only other requirement I look for is a rail to mount a flashlight and perhaps the addition of fiber optic sights (tritium night sights are largely useless outside of dawn and dusk).

3. Backup handgun
Sometimes a more discreet handgun is needed. Maybe one that can be quickly dropped in the pocket of a robe when answering the door or checking on a strange noise in the basement. For this I prefer a five-shot revolver chambered in 38 Special with an interior or concealed hammer.

4. Rifle
It may seem like overkill for home defense, but sometimes your home or business may be attacked by multiple opponents – particularly in a riot-type situation. And threats may appear beyond 25 feet, with rifles of their own.

This is rare, but it can happen and when it does an AR-15 variant may be more comforting than a 380 ACP pistol.

I like to keep my rifles simple with a mounted flashlight, sling and usually a sight of some type.

5. Pistol caliber carbine
A rifle chambered in a handgun caliber may seem like an unusual choice as the extra barrel length seldom offers a ballistic advantage. But optics or simply the longer sight radius and stable shooting platform makes these carbines more accurate. Also, they can be legally bought by adults 18 and over. In certain areas, handguns cannot be purchased until a person is 21.

I recommend various AR-15 carbines chambered in 9mm: the KRISS Vector in 9mm or 45 ACP, or various lever-action rifles chambered in 357 Magnum or 45 Colt.

The disadvantages of the long gun come into play when the homeowner needs to call 911 yet still remain armed. For this reason, I recommend the use of slings – or even a pistol grip – to hold and control the weapon with one hand while calling the police.

Do you agree with this list? If not, how would you change it?

Tell us in the comments.

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39 COMMENTS

  1. Bul true what you said but what you should notify the public of is….. Anything larger than a 45 for instance magnum rounds will blow your eardrums out inside of a house…. Decide the eardrum damage too large of a weapon will also not allow you to Not hear things that could be detrimental to your safety … Plus most people have never fired a weapon without hearing protection…. Which in itself could start all them wasting valuable defense time…. They may also flinch They become startled and may not be accurate with additional usage during a panic situation … Also the homeowner has to take into account the power of the Bullet and where it will end up. … Especially with children and others residing in a 12L Dwelling

    • Very good additional advice John. I recently purchased a 20 gauge shotgun for my 95 pound wife as security when I am away from home. She has never used a gun before. We will go out back in the woods and shoot of 5/6 rounds several days a week ( without ear protection, she won’t have that at 2am when sleeping). I use very cheap target shells, ( 22 cents each) at 20-30 feet they are very accurate. I didn’t want to chance over penetration with slugs /Buckshot in case she missed. You are right on the money about new shooters. Practice is a MUST for these people. Also, good advise NOT to buy a gun too BIG for the person. That is why I chose a 20 gauge ( Mossberg 510 Bantam, only 5 pounds) over a 12 and will use the lighter target loads. Wife is coming along very well. Fear to pull the trigger can not ever enter the mind when you are in danger.

      • practice without ear protection is stupid ,dumb ,retarded mentally deficient,there i said it why would you have her practice with out ear protection you never get that lost hearing back ,never .so now she practices with a loud bang probably flinching at every round fired ,thus creating a situation where she is missing the first shot the most critical shot ,because she is projecting the bang ,and pre-flinches.your premise is flawed .in a shooting scenario she more than likely wouldn’t even hear the gun fire ,very seldom do trained professionals even remember how many shots were fired or remember hearing themselves fire.

  2. Verry usefull the war is here wake up everything we worked for is being taken away ourfreedom is next we are at war

  3. You are nuts I would not own a hand gun for self defence without night sights they work great all day and supper great at night when you will need them most often

    • +1
      How on earth can you call tritium night sights “useless?” I have them on my EDC as well as my backup. Even dusk & dawn they are no worse than plain sights.

      • You’ll notice I posted info from an article on Off the Grid news and asked if you agree?

        I did NOT write the article

    • The problem with a shotgun, due to it’s ‘the recoil. it is very likely be dropped, especially with people that are non hunters/routine users. Another problem that is likely to occur in the excitement, is people will forget to work the action. I highly suggest using a 357 magnum revolver, Taurus model 65/66 (7rounds) would be a good choice, with light recoil 38 special hollow points. The revolver’s advantage over a pistol is, it does not jam, plus, it does not require slide to be racked as does a pistol. In regards to over penetration, all I can say is, we are being duped by the anti-gunners. We have slowly given in to the rhetoric and sound just like they. If you are so worried about over penetration, then, throw rocks, Anyone that knows anything about shotguns knows in the house environment the shot wad is still intact and thus the size of a slug and can have over penetration just as well as a handgun or rifle.

    • Night sights, you need to learn to point and shot, just ask someone that is a bird hunter and those of us that learned to point and shot in the military. At 50 meters, you can learn to put 20 rounds in a 9 inch pie plate in total darkness, I know, because I did it. Just takes some practice.

  4. I totally disagree with your choice of a pump shotgun, revolvers, and lever action revolvers for home defense. I have actually used firearms in self defense on the street, at home, and at work. A Browning Hi-Power in 9mm holds 13 rounds, can be reloaded quickly, and never fails to fire. An A5 Browning semi-auto 12 ga. or 20 ga. shotgun only holds 5 rounds of ammo, but it can be reloaded while firing! Try that with a pump shotgun! Also, I use No. 3 Buck for maximum effect. Finally, if a rifle is needed, i have used a Ruger Mini-14 with 76 round drum. With a Hell-Fire trigger attached, a fountain of lead can be unleashed if necessary. I kept 16 killer illegal aliens at bay with this combination, after they attacked us at work. Another good rifle choice is the ever-reliable AKM in 7.62×39. Drums are recommended. A backup Browning Hi-Power in a holster is recommended for the shotgun and rifle, in the unlikely event of a failure to feed. I do not recommend AR-15s; they have too many flaws in combat.
    re

    • You got to be kidding , A hellfire trigger ? that is nothing but a toy i can see you trying to bump fire in your house in the dark .

    • I have trained in ‘combat reloading with the Remington 870. It is every bit as fast as reloading a Browning or any other auto. I have owned both and I don’t believe there is a more dependable shotgun on the market then the 870. Granted, the newer 870’s have some plastic parts, but the older ones are great.

  5. All-in-all I agree with your list, but with a few changes:
    1. Shotgun? Spot on. Just make sure to have the short barrel. Try moving around your house with a longer barrel and see how often you have to move the muzzle from a shooting position to move around. Mossberg 500/590 or Remington 870 are excellent choices as their operation is simple and chance of failure is slim and are relatively inexpensive.
    2. The main handgun should be of decent caliber, such as anything starting with a 4 or 9, and be full size. And use premium defense ammunition! Controlled expansion bullets will minimize over-penetration and transfer the most energy to the target. The longer barrel will reduce muzzle flash, noise (slightly) and provide more accuracy. Pistol mounted lights are bad news as the muzzle will be pointed at anything the light is pointed at. The dog, kids, spouse, bad guy, etc. This isn’t to say that sweeping the muzzle is intentional but it can certainly happen accidentally and, if one has to have gun in hand, the adrenaline dump has occurred and accidents can happen!
    3. Backup handgun is good, a compact revolver (such as a j-frame S&W) is a great choice. I like the revolver because, again, the chance of failure is small. 38 special are fine, and no magnum rounds! The muzzle flash and noise will disorient the shooter!
    4. A pistol caliber carbine is unnecessary if you already have a rifle such as an AR15 or AK variant. It adds complexity where none is needed (deciding which rifle to grab, which magazines to load, etc when the adrenaline is flowing) and makes absolutely no sense if shooting a different round than your pistol (if so, it makes slightly more sense). 45 Colt? I’m sorry but that really is kind of ludicrous!

    • Forgot to mention that unless you are an experienced operator (police, military, etc) then you should not be trying to clear your house. Have a plan that the entire family can follow, which includes assembling in one defensible place. If not possible, then you need to decide if you need to help get your family members to that defensible place or if it is better for them to stay where they are! Call 911 and make sure they know that you are armed and where you and your family members are located. If you use your cell phone realize that the precision of the GPS can vary from 3 feet to 1500 feet or more. A precision of 3/4 mile is a long ways when you need police and can cause your call to even go to the wrong agency! Do not hang up until the dispatcher tells you to or they hang up on you (don’t worry they are trained to stay on the line until everything is under control). Make sure they know to tell the officers where you are before they find out the hard way! They will ask you to put your guns down and it is okay to do this.

    • Handling a shotgun for home defense is not insurmountable. Rather than telegraph their movement, the barrel should be kept at a low ready while moving through a house.

      However…

      Unless there are children in another room which the parent must move to, there is no need for an individual to move through a house. In that case, lock the door, call police, and wait for an attacker to break down a bedroom door. Let the police clear a house.

  6. Also give 911 a description of yourself (old,balding white guy) wearing a white t-shirt. This way,police will know who you are when you meet them at the door., especially if you reported that a firearm was used.

  7. Great article! Thanks for the insight. I would offer my humble opinion on pistol caliber carbines. I happen to own a Kel-Tec sub 2000 in 9mm wearing a CT green laser. That’s my go-to gun in any invasion situation. Extremely accurate with the laser at close range in low light and much longer range in daylight or subdued daylight. I agree that a shotgun is best in the home, especially a shotgun caliber pistol. A 3 inch .410 round with #6 or #4 bird shot will ruin someone’s day very quickly!

  8. For pistols such as .380 caliber I strongly suggest frangible, hollow point to prevent over penetration and maximum projectile expansion/fragmentation.

  9. Sounds like a fair list, my first self defense weapon was the mossburg 500, with a pistol grip. My second choice was Springfield xd 9, 9 mm, with a3″ barrel but holds 13 rounds. My back up pistol is a walther p22, 10 rounds of hollow point. And of course an at 15 and a hi point 9mm cabine is also in the safe.

  10. I agree with previous comments regarding sound inside your home. If legal in your state, perhaps a suppressor! Many manufactures now have models with threaded barrels. I have a 12g with a pistol grip for home defense as well

  11. Sounds like a fair list, my first self defense weapon was the mossburg 500, with a pistol grip. My second choice was Springfield xd 9, 9 mm, with a3″ barrel but holds 13 rounds. My back up pistol is a walther p22, 10 rounds of hollow point. And of course an ar 15 and a hi point 9mm cabine is also in the safe.

  12. Recommending a pistol of any sort to a beginner for home defense isn’t a bad idea for someone who first takes a handgun defense course and maintains their proficiency: however, if the individual doesn’t take any training at all, or trains only initially and doesn’t maintain their proficiency, is more likely to miss an intruder in a lethal confrontation — likely to cause an injury or death of a neighbor or other innocent people. Many people used to purchase Smith & Wesson model 66 or 686, which is built for .357 magnum round, which is notorious for going through an attacker, through their walls, through neighbors, through the walls — and killing a bystander. A recent incident proves this point rather elegantly.

    A rifle that fires .22LR is also likely to not only kill others, but the shooter is going to discover that the .22 bullet may cause a wound that is eventually lethal, but that their attacker or the attack is not going to be stopped by that round.

    On the other hand, a pump shotgun loaded with #6 birdshot is not going to normally over-penetrate their walls, and will stop an attacker cold. The sound a shotgun makes when a shell is racked into the action is one that makes most criminals stop what they’re doing, not feel the love, and look for other easy pickins elsewhere.

    An AR-15 with metal frangible ammunition is also unlikely to penetrate walls, and is an excellent rifle for self defense, particularly when the individual trains for close-quarters fighting.

  13. I agree with your presentation. I have a 12 gauge pump shotgun, with the 20″ barrel. My preference on Buck Shot is No-3. I was told by a
    law enforcement agent, that number-3 is best. It will not pass through a wall and hit family on the other side; but will definitely stop someone in the
    room with you.

    I agree with the back up pistols. I will not describe what I have, but suffice to say, I am covered in that area. I am also covered in the longer range weapons.

    I think your article is written by someone with knowledge of the situation.

  14. Years ago I shoot a Peter’s duiker with #4 buckshot, five pellets were in shoulder/chest cavity. It ran almost 200 yards. I came home and sold every defensive shotgun I had. Two good 9mm handguns on you and an AR close should stop any ‘home’ fight. The AR must have a very good light and several lights should be on you. Practice light and dark conditions.

    Ray

  15. drop the part about calling the police ! load the dead and dump them somewhere , in east Texas were i am the wild hogs well feast on them .

  16. Some ammo manufacturers make defense rounds for pistols that are bullet shaped plastic containers filled with lead shot….the plastic contains the shot maintaining ballistics until it impacts something or someone then it comes apart. Very lethal and I’ve tested 357 mag and it will not penetrate through a 2×4 wall when fired from 6 feet, so is much safer to use in a dwelling, and the round will not pass through a body….just turns a football size portion of the interior into blood mush. A head shot in 22 cal is a dropping shot. Most self defense scenarios involve shots of less than 9 feet, so short shotgun with #6 or #7 shot to the face then a couple to chest will drop even people on pain killing drugs and projectiles missing will not over penetrate walls and kill others. Mentally and physically practice shooting to kill in self defense…visualize the target as a person, so when it is a person, you will not be so inclined to hesitate and possibly be reached and killed. Dead criminal intruders threatening your life cannot testify in court or counter sue. Always think about what and who is behind/down range of who you are shooting at in defense of your own life. Get calm..or at least controlled emotionally, and don’t accidentally kill an innocent family member or a neighbor with a powerful penetrating round…use appropriate protection wisely and thoughtfully.
    Old NA saying: “Fear nothing, but respect that which can hurt you.”

  17. IMO, if you have a handgun for protection and have a concealed and/or open permit, the ONLY place the gun belongs in ON YOUR PERSON. When you do not have a permit, while at home, again ON YOUR PERSON. A gun in a safe or locked away when needed is useless. I believe in a cross draw in a proper holster on a separate belt. That way, as an example, when you need to go to the bathroom, you slide the belt up and have a shoulder holster abut ALWAYS UNDER CONTROL. I am with the crime watch patrol and have had problems t the house. I sleep with a 380 in that manner and have proven that I can get it ready for action in under 1 second. Try that when you need it and it is locked away wherever.

  18. For the rifle I picked up a Ruger .357 magnum bolt action with 5 shot rotary magazine, it has a maneuverable length, can also shoot less powerful .38 special ammo if desired, easy to clean & simpler than a lever action rifle. The fact that it shoots easily accessible pistol (also reasonably priced) ammo is a plus for me, & if I want the extra power / velocity I can use the .357 magnum ammo, am fully aware of the extra velocity the .357 magnum ammo would have out of a longer rifle barrel vs. a pistol so “around the house” for personal defense the .38 special ammo / hollow point would be safer than the .357 mag., would reserve use of .357 mag. ammo for medium size game hunting at moderate range with approx. 158 grain ammo. If the rifle came in 9mm that would be a decent choice but 9mm is a pretty powerful round & would not have a lower power ammo option.

  19. As an NRA-certified instructor and long time firearm owner, I’d agree with most of the article – with one glaring exception: You do NOT want to use a light mounted on the firearm unless you live alone and don’t expect ‘company’. Whether it’s a family member getting up for a snack in the middle of the night or coming home late and trying to navigate in the dark, the last thing you want to do is point your handgun or shotgun at them, which is exactly what you’re doing with a firearm mount.

    Get a good, high-output hand-held flashlight, and if you’re responsible enough to practice with your home defense arms, take a class or two on night shooting and include the light in some of your training routines.

  20. For home defense, I favor either a good 9mm 3-inch barrel semi-autpo pistol with hollow points, or a .38 cal. revolver with 2-inch barrel and plus-P hollow point capability, or a .357 mag. also with plus-P hollow points. .357 mag hollow ammo is too much recoil for all but a very strong woman, and the noise inside a home will blow out your eardrums.
    1

  21. A pretty good list, I’d say these few additional points; When it comes to a rifle, a pistol-caliber carbine may be a better choice in some locales; in fact a carbine lever-action, or semi-auto, chambered in 45 colt, .44 magnum or another large pistol caliber is a great choice for someone in an urban area, where a high-powered rifle might send a bullet too far, or through too many walls… but effective and accurate out a couple of hundred yards. Close-quarter combat using a single-shot derringer-type pistol chambered in .22lr using shotshells in-their-face, will blind and stop an attacker…

  22. I keep my 870, 18″bbl w/ Knoxx SpecOps stock stoked w/ #4 buck. It has a light for ID’ing and 00 & slugs on the side saddle for heavier work. Several pistols around the house allow me time and firepower to get to the shotgun or safe with long guns if needed.

  23. What about a Taurus Judge, that can shoot 410 rounds? With a pistol length barrel it should have a wide pattern.

  24. Good article, but a couple of corrections. Unfortunately, the 1968 federal firearms act requires all handgun purchasers to be 21 years old. There is not a state in the country that can legally sell a handgun to anyone under 21 years of age. Secondly, “Tritium night sights are largely useless outside of dawn and dusk”. That’s exactly why we use them, along with night time. Statistics show the majority of shootings occur during these hours. But I agree, flashlights are an absolute necessity. However, a quality flashlight is mandatory. There is nothing worse then hitting that button and nothing happens, which is quite common with Chinese flashlights. I recommend Mag-lite’s and Surefire. All Mag-lite’s are made in the USA. I use the Mag-Lite XL 200 on both my AR and M1-A. About $33.00 on Amazon. I have never had a flashlight mounted to my handguns, just seems to cumbersome to me, but always have a quality flashlight available for my off hand when I need a pistol (that’s the way we were trained way back when in law enforcement). I believe some of the Surefire’s are now made in China, so check before you buy. Stream lights use to be USA made, but most are now made in China. A quality flashlight is just as important as a quality firearm.

  25. Good article. I am 76 years old and fired my first gun (a .22), under the close supervision of my Dad, when I was 4 years old. Over the years, I have owned and used a little over 100 guns and have taken a number of training courses, most taught by off-duty police officers or my son who is a NRA certified instructor. So I feel qualified to make a comment or two. I especially disagree with your choice of the .380 as a pocket gun. Despite some good defensive loads for this caliber, I consider it to be in the pea-shooter category. If I am ever forced to shoot a bad guy, I want something that will definitely neutralize the threat and not just piss him off, making him madder than hell. There are several good 9mm weapons that are not much larger than the compact .380’s but pack a much greater punch. (For example the Beretta Nano, the SCCY a few others). Of course, bullet placement is key, so practice long and often.
    Many women, and men as well, especially us “old farts”, have great difficulty racking the slide of a semi-auto. Have the shooter do this BEFORE buying the gun. If it is hard to do, a revolver would be a much better choice, despite its reduced cartridge capacity. OR keep your semi-auto RACKED and loaded with a high capacity magazine IF the shooter has been properly trained and there are no children in the household.
    As for the sound of a pump shotgun being racked terrifying the bad dude and causing him to flee, that is a bunch of crap. It gives away your location and if the perp is on drugs or intent on doing you harm it probably will do little to deter him. I would much prefer the only sound he hears is the discharge of the shotgun an instant before the load of #4 buckshot strikes him in the chest. I keep my Mossberg 500 at my bedside, fully loaded and you can rest assured it does not need to be racked before firing.

  26. I believe that a 30-06 or .308 (7.62mmNATO) should be a first choice for a rifle as rifles are for distant threats and you can get 110 grain frangible if over penetration is aproblem. A semi-auto is good but a bolt gun will suffice.

  27. I believe that first choice for a rifle should be 30-06 or .308 (7.62mm NATO) as rifles are for distant threats. If over penetration is a problem you can use 110 grain frangible rounds. A semi-auto is best but a bolt gun is sufficient. I recommend Boston’s gun Bible for advice on weapons/ammo priority of procurement.
    Yours for dry powder.

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