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Worried About Home Defense? Here are 4 of the Best Firearms 3.73/5 (33)

It’s nearing the witching hour.  Zero Dark Thirty.  Do you envision yourself clearing each room of your house in a strategic fashion, advancing the best pie-cutting angles to your defensive advantage?  Do you focus on calming your senses, preparing for the onslaught of tunnel vision?  Some may abhorrently call you OCD or paranoid, others will just laugh at you, but when sh*t hits the fan – the more you train, the less you bleed.

I thought it best to go over my top four firearms for home defense.  Of course, as any responsible gun owner knows, securing your weapons is essential.  Yet, if you’re not able to access the firearm in a timely manner when the adrenaline is pumping, then they are more of a hindrance than a safeguard.  Feel free to check out this top ten list by GunDigest.com for fast access gun safes.

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Choosing the ‘Right’ Firearm

 

You don’t want to debate when you hear this sound…

Proper home defense firearm choice should focus on close quarter combat. A gun with an accuracy respectable range of anywhere from 5 to 30 feet should suffice.   As we were trained in law enforcement, even a person armed with a knife can gut you like a fish within a 21-foot radius before you can even draw your firearm.

Numerous factors fall into play and each deadly force situation is unique.  You must be considerate of where your rounds end up. If you do use deadly force, you will be responsible for every round missed as well. This is why a rifle is NOT a good idea for home defense. I get it, you want as many powerful rounds as possible and there have been success stories using rifles, but you are responsible for each of those rounds. God forbid you miss and hit an innocent neighbor, not only will you always carry that dark stain on your soul, but initially you may be held civilly or criminally liable for wrongful death or injury – especially in states with weak or non-existent Castle Doctrines.

Depending upon the state, the Castle Doctrine (also known as Castle Law) applies to one’s property; in that a person has no duty to retreat before using deadly force to defend themselves against intruders while on their property.  It’s basically the big older brother to the “stand your ground” laws.

The List

For this article, I have selected the following 4 firearms I feel are best suited for home defense. They are meant to immobilize a threat, while the adrenaline is pumping and visibility is low. Just be sure to check your local laws (especially for pistol gripped shotguns with collapsable stocks), to ensure you’re within legal restrictions.

1. Remington 870 Shotgun – 12 Gauge

Ammunition: Buckshot

remington 870, home defense shotgun
Photo Credit: Remington

The Remington 870, a go-to staple in any home defense arsenal. Solid. Reliable. Pump Action Shotgun. Any scumbag knows the distinct racking noise of a shotgun, instilling trouser-wetting fear and hopefully prematurely setting them to flee. If they choose otherwise, with buckshot it’s as simple as point and shoot. Utilizing buckshot will let you focus on the attacker and less on the sights.

I would suggest adding a pressure sensor tactical flashlight to the rail. Concealment is your friend in home defense, it is your home after all, and more often than not you will be in low light settings. Using your knowledge of the surroundings, a sudden flash of light can blind an intruder and confuse them into freezing or fleeing.

My only two real issues with the Remington are the location of the slide release and the weight. People with small fingers have been known to change grips when chambering a round for the first time. Also, after clearing each room, maintaining the heavy shotgun at high ready, can cause the strongest of shoulders to quiver without a sling.

2. Mossberg 500 Special Purpose – 20 Gauge

Ammunition: Buckshot

mossberg 500, tactical home defense, 20 gauge shotgun
Photo Credit: Mossberg

This beautiful 20-gauge option from Mossberg combines the ease of all shotguns with a lighter weight and recoil. Again, a point-and-shoot firearm, you can focus on the target rather than triangulating your sites.

The Mossberg 500 features dual extractors and an anti-jam elevator, both of which are essential in preventing stove-piping of shells with a slovenly racking. I really can’t find any issue with the Mossberg 500, except for rounding corners. Due to its length, just be sure to keep it at low ready when conducting an entry into a room. You don’t want the bad guy to get ahold of the barrel, as they can lever it to their advantage.

3. Glock 22

Ammunition: Hollow-point .40 caliber

glock 22, semi auto handgun, self defense
MMMMM…good ol’ deliciously reliable Glock

In stark contrast to the shotguns, a handgun is essential in safely clearing a room without any fear of the intruder leveraging the barrel. Keeping the sights at low ready, you can easily draw back if an intruder catches you by surprise. Plus, your round capacity nearly quadruples with a handgun in comparison to a stock shotgun. Albeit, with that said, a handgun requires more precision when firing.

The Glock 22 comes standard with a 15+1 magazine, and weighs in less than 35 ounces, fully loaded. As much as I hate to say it (being a Sig Sauer man myself), this Tupperware gun is reliable. I’m a big proponent of .40 caliber, backed up by the analytical implications of the 1986 FBI shootout down in Miami.  The caliber provides an efficient hybrid of both the .45 stopping power and .9 mm penetration/magazine capacity. The Glock 22 is excellent for close quarter combat, and is known for its reliability in tight spots.

4. Ruger SP101

Ammunition: Hollow-point .357 magnum

ruger handgun, best revolver for home defense, personal security gun
Photo Credit: Ruger

I already know the backlash I’m going to get for listing a revolver, but sometimes you just can’t evolve perfection. While the Ruger SP101 only holds 5 rounds, it may be the most reliable of firearms. This double-action hammer ensures the shooter is accurately targeting and squeezing the trigger, leaving little room for trigger jerk or pull. The .357 stopping power will put down the burliest of criminals, without hesitation.

Just remember: each shot counts. Don’t forget you only have 5. Trying to reload an exposed cylinder with trembling fingers is nearly impossible in the heat of the moment.

Final Thoughts

castle doctrine, home invasion, best guns for self defense
The blessed Castle Doctrine…

Regardless of what option you choose, be sure to go to the range often. Only place your finger on the trigger if you’re ready to shoot and take full responsibility for the aftermath. Nothing is more important than becoming intimately familiar with your home and the firearm.

Prepare and train clearing your residence on boring nights, keeping the gun safely in its safe and using a flashlight (off) instead. Knowing every nook and cranny, or where a floorboard creaks, will give you the upper hand on any scumbag intruder. Make a plan with your family, so that you’re all on the same page if an occupied burglary or robbery ever takes place. Some one should call 911 and secure the others, while the firearm owner conducts a sweep. Have a safe word, limiting the potential of friendly fire.

Knowledge, muscle memory, and planning can help save you and your loved ones, God forbid the situation ever arises.  Blessed be the prepared…and long live the Castle Doctrine!

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The Author

Travis Mandell

Travis Mandell

Former South Florida Police Officer and Detective. Certified in criminal investigations, narcotics, tactical response and firearms. Now that he is in the private sector, he enjoys his constitutional freedom of speech once more. He's always down for some fishing, motorcycle adventures, or camping in the great outdoors.