The 10 best home defense handguns.
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Reader Jeremy Hopper writes:

Home defense should be a serious consideration for all homeowners and renters. It’s impossible to predict if a criminal will single out your home for a robbery or an invasion. So make sure that you’re prepared to defend your home and your family in close quarters by investing in one of these or — better yet — a collection of the best home-defense guns.



1. .357 Magnum Revolver

The .357 revolver is a favored firearm among enthusiasts. Revolvers are powerful, versatile, and heavy. What makes revolvers stand out as the best home defense handguns amongst other home and self defense guns is that their ease of use. Unlike semi-automatic pistols, revolvers can be used by someone with very little firearm experience while the gun’s weight will minimize felt recoil.

This allows other members of your family (or first-time users) to use the gun should they be required to defend against an intruder in close quarters while you’re not home. A .357 is also versatile, allowing the use of many different types of ammo from light .38 loads to heavy-hitting .357 rounds.



2. AR-15

An AR-15 may be a surprising addition to a home defense weapon list, but works for a variety of reasons. If your home or your property is unfortunate enough to be targeted in a home invasion or by multiple intruders, the AR’s capacity and pointability will serve you well.

In a multiple bad guy situation, an AR-15 will help even the odds by giving you the advantage of distance, velocity, and ammunition capacity that smaller weapons can’t match.



3. Smith & Wesson Governor

An impressive piece of machinery, a Smith & Wesson Governor is a very versatile handgun that can fire shotgun shells as well as centerfire rounds. The Governor is also relatively lightweight which makes it a perfect home-defense firearm to be used by family members who are physically incapable of wielding a heavier or more cumbersome firearm for home protection.

You can load the Governor with .410 shells, .45 Colt or even .45 ACP rounds (with moon clips) which gives you options to handle different situations.



4. GLOCK 17 or 19

The ubiquitous, reliable GLOCK 17 is one of the most popular handguns in the world, and for good reason. Its polymer construction makes it lightweight and with a 17-round capacity, you’ll be able to handle almost any situation.

If you’re looking for something a little smaller, you can opt for a GLOCK 19. The barrel is slightly shorter and it weighs a little less than the larger  G17. And while the standard magazine for the G19 is 15 round, it will take the G17’s 17-round magazines and will even even run GLOCK’s larger 33-round mags.



5. 12-Gauge Pump-Action Shotgun

The intimidation factor of a pump shotgun can’t be overstated when it comes to home defense. Once an intruder sees you point the barrel of a shotgun in their direction, they may decide it’s just not worth the effort.

Besides the intimidation factor, a pump gun also provides significant stopping power when loaded with buckshot or slugs.  And at longer distances, when shooting buck or bird shot, a 12-gauge shotgun gives you a little more room for error if your aim isn’t perfect.



6. SIG P226

The SIG Sauer P226 is widely used by the military, law enforcement and other professionals all over the world. They’re well built and are available in 9mm, .40 S&W and .357 SIG. Its full frame size and double-stack capacity means you’ll have plenty of firepower to handle a personal-defense situation. The SIG’s DA/SA and decocking capability make the P226 a reliable, safe alternative for home-defense use.



7. CZ 75

The underrated CZ 75 sports a full-size frame but is still extremely comfortable to shoot. Its barrel and sight radius mean quicker aiming and more accuracy in personal-defense situations. Noted for its low felt recoil and solid construction a CZ 75 will provide homeowners and gun owners with years of peace of mind.



8. Beretta 92

A staple firearm of police departments across the globe, the Beretta 92 is also the weapon of choice for the United States Military. This is due to the fact that this pistol consistently surpasses the U.S. military requirement of a 10-shot group of 3 inches or less at 50 meters.

This large semi-automatic pistol has an open slide and a short-recoil delayed locking-block system for a faster cycle time which delivers reliability, accuracy and quick follow-up shots. The semi-auto pistols are available in double action/single action as well as single-action-only models to enhance safety.



9. Ruger P Series

This impressive pistol sports a 25-year record of being reliable and durable. While no longer produced, Ruger’s P series handguns are reliable, economical options that you can depend on when you need it. This firearm has a textured grip and ambidextrous safety/decocker for added peace of mind. Relatively compact and lightweight, this pistol will serve you and your family well without costing you a fortune.



10. Bersa Thunder

The Bersa Thunder is a smaller, metal-frame pistol that offers not only the best in combat features with multiple safety controls. While a smaller pistol, the magazine extension affords the shooter a full grip. The Thunder, chambered in .380 ACP will better fit shooters with smaller hands and women, and is easier to rack than many of its full-size competitors.

When choosing the best handgun for home-defense, the best advice is try before you buy. If possible, borrow or rent one of these guns before laying down your hard-earned money. The most important factor, though, is to know your gun and how it works. Practice may not make perfect, but in a life-or-death, home-defense situation, you’ll be glad you know what your gun can do and how to use it.

More from The Truth About the Guns:

Gun Review: Springfield XD-E 9mm Pistol

Taurus Judge: Not the Best Choice for Concealed Carry?

Gun Review: Remington 870 DM Magpul Shotgun

Gun Review: Mossberg 500 12 Gauge

Gun Review: Smith & Wesson M&P SHIELD M2.0 9mm

Gun Review: GLOCK 19C Gen 4 9mm Pistol

Gun Review: Ruger PC Carbine w/Aluminum Handguard (pistol caliber)

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  1. I wouldn’t want to fire a 16″ AR indoors without ear protection or a can. Even a 12ga is going to be far less punishing on your ear drums. No gun is going to be quiet, but I’ve had an AR ring my bell just by standing next to it when some cretin launched a round down range during a cease fire. That’s on a covered outdoor range. I can only guess how much more painful it would be in an enclosed space.

    For those of you answering with a “harden the fuck up”… if you’re disoriented because you just flashbanged yourself, you’re not shooting. No amount of “hardness” will let you walk away from an auditory shock like that.

    • That 16″ will sound like music compared to the 10″ and 12″ AR pistols being pushed as PDWs and home defense guns.

      Hmm, maybe there’s a point to this. Hear a bump in the night. Put on your ears and eyes and pop off a couple rounds with your AR pistol. Anyone not on their knees and throwing up will get another nearby bang.

      • It’s not so bad if you have ear pro racked next to your gun. I like electronic earmuffs which actually also help your situational awareness by amplifying ambient noise. I can hear my dog running around two floors beneath me when I have those things on and turned up. Without ear-pro, however… Yeah… I’ll be sticking to my Glock 34. It may not be quiet, but it’s going to ring my bell a lot less than the SBR.

        Interestingly, I’ve found that my Glock 40 has a surprisingly soft sound signature compared to most other higher power handguns I shot. (That and the massive weight makes recoil largely a non-issue.) The only down side is that I STILL haven’t found a holster I like for it. I have a custom Kydex rig that works ok, but with a light and an RMR, nobody really makes off the shelf holsters for the thing.

        • Armodillo LUX holster.
          I was watching Sage Dynamics videos on youtube.
          Aaron Cowan runs a Streamlight or Surefire and a RMR on his pistols. The LUX holster indexes on the light,not on the pistol.

    • I’ve shot an M4 inside a room before. And a SAW & 240 too. It’s nowhere near like getting hit by a flash bang. It’s fucking loud and you’ll probably have tinnitus but the sound of gunfire inside a building is greatly overstated. It’s not an “auditory shock”. Especially with an adrenaline dump you may not even notice it.

      • With or without ear pro? Because I can tell you that I don’t even shoot my ARs at indoor ranges with plugs and muffs anymore. After about an hour, I have a migraine level headache for the rest of the day.

        • Without. This was in Iraq. Make no mistake, it is not something I recommend people do for the hell of it because you will probably have hearing damage, I certainly do. But it’s not like a flash bang. With your adrenaline going you really don’t notice the sound as much. Afterwards though, yes you’re head might hurt. Depending on how much shooting you had to do. But if you’re in a real shitty area where multiple attackers is a real threat, Id choose an AR, and I’d take tinnitus over death any day. Now I personally am going to be getting a short barreled suppressed AR in 300blk, for home defense, kindve like the one advertised here on TTAG.

        • Sadly, I live in the Demokkkratic People’s Republik of Illinoisistan, so no can for me, which makes .300AAC rather pointless even if I didn’t have plenty of AKs in effectively the same chambering. I’ve never deliberately fired an AR indoors without ear-pro and never want to. The one time I caught the report of one outdoors without protection was enough for me. I had a splitting headache for the rest of the day. Fun times.

        • i would think that is from the reverb of the concussive force. but who knows, everyones body is different.

      • Yep. I just had an outdoor shooting with 5 guns going off simultaneously as well as mine. Mine was an 870, one AR-15, and four .40 cals. Auditory exclusion is a real thing. I had a hard time hearing on my cell phone when I called in the shooting team.

        I quickly realized that I was being loud, and apologized for yelling into the phone. The guy on the other end said, “No problem. We get that all the time.”

        It’s entirely possible to be functional within a crazy loud environment. With that said, my go-to indoor home defense gun is a good shotgun loaded with 00 buck. It’s much quieter than an AR. .357 revolvers are cool, but really loud.

        The sheer noise of your firearm night not cause catastrophic disorientation, but it’ll probably add to the time your ears ring.

        • Is a 300 blackout with subsonic rounds any quieter than 5.56 or 300 supersonic? I am talking without a suppressor.
          Would an AR pistol in 5.56, 300 blk or 9mm have any difference in sound?
          What would make the best home defence weapon

    • Agreed. Have significant hearing loss and permanent tinnitus from a same-room indoor AR discharge. And that was one round. Felt like the little bones in my inner ear turned to powder. Not to mention the overpenetration issue.

      • Obviously, I exaggerating a bit to make a point. Clearly it’s no more a flashbang than pepper spray is the same as being in a room flooded with CS gas. The effect, however, is still very very bad.

    • “Even a 12ga is going to be far less punishing on your ear drums [than an AR-15 with a 16-inch barrel].”

      Are you guys absolutely certain about that? I would never have guessed that in a million years. (I hear outdoor 12 gauge shotgun blasts from miles away at my home.)

      Looks like I will be sticking with a .40 S&W (pistol caliber) carbine for indoor home protection. That 16-inch barrel radically reduces the report. I was recently exposed to one shot in an enclosed space without hearing protection. One ear rang a little bit and was slightly muted for about one hour. The other ear did not ring at all and was not muted at all. And I don’t give up much in terms of terminal ballistics since I am still launching a .40 caliber, 165 grain hollowpoint bullet at 1,350 fps (which equates to 667 ft-lbs).

      • Depends on the cartridge, but generally, yes. The 12ga is a much lower pressure system with a much lower muzzle velocity. It may sling way more lead, but the pressure spike is far lower than the champaign cork that is the 5.56mm pill leaving your barrel a 2-3 times the speed of sound. Can’t fault a PCC, but I’d want to put a can on my MP5K clone at that point.

      • A “high pressure” shotgun round might have a pressure level of 11K PSI.

        A 9×19 will be in the 35K PSI range, as is a .40 S&W. The 10mm is a tad more, in the range of 37,500 PSI.

        Modern, centerfire rifle rounds are in the 55K PSI and up range, and modern 5.56 NATO spec ammo is in the “and up” pressure range – like 63K PSI.

        Older handgun cartridges have significantly lower pressure levels. The .38 Special is under 20K PSI (unless we’re talking +P loads), the .45 ACP in the 21K PSI area, the .45 Colt in the 14K to 18K area.

        When you look at sound pressure levels for guns, you will see only a few dB of difference, but remember, decibels are log-based. A few more dB can hurt – a lot.

        • Sound level is a weird equation based on total shock tube volume, pressure, and initial projectile exit velocity. A .410 gage shotgun is surprisingly quiet, actually.

        • Dyseptic,

          I have to believe that two key factors determine how much audio energy a gunshot releases:
          (1) Pressure of gases exiting at muzzle
          (2) Volume of gases exiting at muzzle

          So, while it is true that a rifle chambered in .223 Remington would exhibit something like 5 times more gas pressure at the muzzle than a 12 gauge shotgun, that 12 gauge shotgun releases 10 times the volume of gas at the muzzle. Therefore, I can easily imagine that a 12 gauge shotgun blast is just as loud or louder than a .223 Remington rifle blast, assuming that you were to shoot them side-by-side and the rifle is not using a muzzle brake.

          And if you are having trouble imagining how volume comes into play, imagine a 0.9mm rifle (that is 0.03 caliber). Even with a chamber pressure of 60,000 p.s.i., that pressure exiting the tiny orifice (the muzzle) is not going to produce anywhere near the sound energy as a howitzer with the same chamber pressure.

      • I’m probably explaining this wrong, but…
        It’s been my observation that a shotgun’s blast and that from an AR differ in not just pressure levels, but also in the overall frequencies.
        Lower frequencies travel longer distances than higher frequencies. (Elephants, for example, use lower frequencies to communicate over very long distances, while song bird songs don’t travel nearly as far.)
        So it’s not unusual to hear shotgun fire at a longer distance than a rifle shot.

    • A 9mm AR15 might be a better choice for a shouldered gun. People act as if the main benefit of PCCs for home defense is “lower penetration,” and when they find out 9mm and 55gr .223 penetrate about the same they completely discount the 9mm, but PCCs are definitely quieter than rifle-caliber rifles. Noveske KX3s also throw the blast away from you, so it won’t be as bad, but it will be better than using an AR with a normal A2 flash hider or the like.

    • Nothing not even a flashbang can compare to an M-40 RCLR in 106 mm in the open sitting in the gunners position, even with ear protection. Have tinnitus and severe hearing loss to prove it.

      • Oh, yeah. I was sent out for a night at a Marine firebase in Vietnam to meet the guys I worked with on the radio. I couldn’t get to sleep due to the millions of mosquitos attempting to carry me off for dinner, so around dawn I wandered out and sat on one of the many barricades for a smoke. Somebody yelled something I couldn’t understand from behind me, and as I started to turn, a 175 mm gun fired directly over my head, from about 50-100 feet away, physically blowing me off my seat onto the ground. As I picked myself up, looking toward the area of the blast (hadn’t seen the gun yet-still mostly dark) I heard the call this time, it was “hold your ears!”, which I did in addition to diving for the dirt again. Holy CRAP that was loud. I went back inside and got ear pro and camera, shot a roll of film while the gun continued to shoot trying to get a shot of the projectile leaving the muzzle, turned out I got it on the first try and not again.

        • Sounds like it was Camp Carroll. I think that was the only Marine base up near the DMZ with Army 175mm guns. My brother was in 3/9 and was knocked cold in his trenchline when a 175mm fired well behind him, so don’t feel like the Lone Ranger!

  2. Down size from the 12 gauge to a 20 gauge. Same effect less recoil. And Yes Harden the F@#K UP. If you or your families life is on the line. You better be ready to be flash banged or be DEAD.

    • Yes, this.

      A 12 and 20 gauge are pretty much identical except the 20 has less shot. At house distances the only difference between a 20 and a 12 is whether the hole in the perp’s chest is two inches in diameter or three.

    • Me three.

      I see no advantage to 12 gauge over 20 gauge for home defense. My 20 gauge pump-action shotgun for home defense launches a 61 caliber, 273 grain slug at almost 1,600 fps (that is over 1,500 foot-pounds energy). No human being, I repeat, no human being is going to be operational after taking one of those in the chest.

      And yet it doesn’t recoil anywhere near like a 12 gauge. I can only imagine the report isn’t as deafening as a 12 gauge, either.

      • Either slug will blast right though a human carrying 3/4 of it’s energy on out to look for other victims. In my limited experience slug hun ting deer, I c an vouch that a 3″ 12ga slug will travel right through a deer the long way with enough energy to blast through it’s shoulder on the way out at 60 yards. Inside the home you’re best served with shot, and there are plenty of lighter 12ga loads.

        Now my .30-30 loaded with 125gr. hollow points at 2500+fps (1750+lb/ft) will inflict more damage than a 20ga slug with similar rec oil and much reduced risk of over-penetration. Likewise a .44mag lever-gun with 180gr. hollow points or even a .357 is devastating out of a 16″ ba rrel.

        • Governor,

          That 3″, 12 gauge slug probably weighs in excess of 1 ounce (437.5 grains) and probably exited the barrel at about 1,600 fps as well. At nearly twice the weight, that slug will obviously penetrate a LOT farther than a slug that is half its weight.

          I have seen 1 ounce, 12 gauge slugs blow right through 120 pound does at close range. I would be surprised if 5/8 ounce (273 grain) slugs would blow through a 200 pound male attacker and have much velocity (ability to penetrate) beyond that.

          Having said all that, I would happily shoot a 5/8 ounce slug from a 20 gauge shotgun at a paltry 1,300 fps if someone offered such a load. To date, I have not been able to find anything like that in 20 gauge. I suppose I could take a 20 gauge slug shell, remove the slug and a small amount of powder, and reassemble it.

        • You’d be better off shaving weight off than lowering the powder charge to reduce over-penetration. A 55gr .224fmj @ 3000+fps doesn’t penetrate anything like a slug. But you’re probably right, at half the weight a 20ga slug is probably a better choice that a 12ga slug. I’d still use bucksh ot though unless you’re likely to need to take a shot farther than 25 yards. I’m kind of partial to 41 pellets of #4 b uck @ 1300fps – now that’s going to leave a mark. You could also load a couple ro unds of buc kshot up front and slugs in the back.

        • For home defense, anything (like a slug) that carries beyond (through) the perp is wasted energy.
          Far better to pick a load that spends all of its energy within the perp, like 00 or #4 buckshot, either of which will, at the usual maximum of 10 yards range you’ll find inside a home, penetrate far enough to do the job very well, then stop.
          The same goes for using something like an AR; make sure the round used will stop within the perp.
          I don’t say this so much in an effort to minimize collateral damage, but to maximize the damage to the perp.
          Which is, after all, the intent of self defense. Put the perp down, as quickly as possible, and make sure he doesn’t get a chance to do you harm.

  3. I also think .357 magnum is a bit loud for indoor close-quarter use, and it’s doubtful in a HD situation you’d have to worry about hard barrier penetration. 9mm or 12ga should suffice.

  4. Number 3 is an absolute no go. Watch Paul Harrells 3 part series testing the Taurus judge and you’ll see that there is zero benefit to loading a revolver with shot shells. 45 colt is fine, 45acp is good, 410 shows no meaningful improvement in damage or hit probability in self defense distances.

    • +1. This list lost all credibility when I saw that….. #1 gun in any and all circumstances is the gun you have when the fight starts. Baring that, there are guns I would not trust in a gun fight, but there is no “best gun”.

    • I agree. The Governor and its doppelgänger the Judge are, in my opinion, silly handguns. A .45 Colt revolver, or .45 ACP revolver or pistol, the same overall size and weight, would have a slightly longer barrel, better ballistics and better handling. The .45 colt and .45 ACP are superior defensive cartridges to the .410 so, if you had a Governor, you would be well advised to load it with .45 Colt or .45 ACP anyway.

      • Bought a Judge (3″) a while back. The 410 didn’t show near as much devastation as I had expected. I thought it would “Blow up” water filled plastic 2 liter bottles. Not so.
        The 45 Colt offered even less rewards. The accuracy was terrible. I wouldn’t have trusted it to hit a perp in the chest at more than a few yards. The problem is in the freebore. When the bullet starts it’s forward journey, it has a long way to travel before it engages the rifling, due to the long cylinder, especially the in the 3″ version.
        I fixed the problem, sold the Judge.
        My vote for the best home defense weapon would be a 20 ga. autoloader with a very short barrel.

        • Hey! Registering an SBS is only $5, instead of $200, though delay may be the same. But jamming up ATF for 6 months or so for $5 may be worth it!

  5. 1, 4, 5 or 6 not necessarily in that order. The B-92 is not a good choice. Charging the gun can inadvertently engage the safety. Scratch this one.

    • You ca n probably chalk this up to me just doing it wrong, but I always found the scallops at the front of the sli de to be much more useful than the serrations at the back for racking the 92. Point the weapon toward the ground in front of you, pinch the front of the sl ide and r ack. Won’t work if your fingers are really sweaty though. If you’re racking from the back just go ahead and flip the sa fety down, it works much better than the serrations. Just be aware that you’ll have to flip it back up to fire, but it’s not an issue for anyone who practices with it. I’d take it over the judge any day.

  6. I think your choices for home defense should take location into consideration. Before he passed my father lived on a farm in rural KY. There I would not hesitate to put a rifle in the rotation.

    But I live in a very built up urban area in CA. The shotgun makes a lot of sense for me.

    • The type of setting is as important as you say it is, but the type of rifle we’re talking about matters too: AK/AKM/SKS clone? Nope, the 7.62×39 will overpenetrate (many)drywall layers in every loading.
      Any AR clone or equivalent in 5.56 NATO? Good choice…depending on what you loaded in it. 55 grain or lighter hollow point or ballistic tip bullets have far less drywall penetration than many would believe without seeing it themselves but the proof is all over YouTube and my favorite demonstrations are on

  7. Honestly if I could choose any gun in the world for a bump in the night room broom it would be a Thompson. But, I can wish in one hand and shit in the other.

  8. Yeah, the Bersa Thunder hasn’t got a fan in this household. Bought for the woman of the house (Me) I found it not a fun range toy. The stainless steel has too much felt recoil. Any gun that might make me hesitate a second pondering “Oh, this is gonna hurt!”, meaning me, not the bad guy, is not my go-to self defense weapon.

    I prefer the Sig Sauer P238, if we’re discussing .380. My self defense gun has to be able to handle 100 rounds without any problem at the range, on a regular basis.

    But, if the Bersa were the only one handy, I hope I don’t hesitate. Gave it to my husband, who didn’t particularly care for it, then it was given to my son. I don’t think anyone has taken it to the range in a long time.

    • EJQ,

      Rest assured, if you are the victim of a real attack, you absolutely will NOT feel the recoil in your handgun, whether it is a Bersa Thunder or a giant “hand cannon” revolver.

      In case you are wondering why you won’t feel the recoil, it is a combination of two factors:
      (1) Your brain will be so focused on your attack that it will literally fail to process the pressure signals from your hand.
      (2) Your body will release a large amount of adrenaline which greatly reduces your brain’s perceived intensity of pressure/pain.

      • Under the adrenaline dump you’ll receive you could be shot and not even know it. I had a motorcycle accident when I was 25. Head on, combined 85mph, just cleared my front wheel. I had no idea I was injured for 30 seconds, and even then I had the bright idea to check myself out before I jumped to my feet. I saw the damage before I felt it. No, you won’t even notice the rec oil in a DGU.

        • That may be true, but if you don’t want to shoot it at the range, it’s hard to get enough practice to feel confident in a stressful HD situation.

  9. Right now I have a shotgun and pistols(Brazilian). Pretty sure I’m OK for now. An AR is coming sometime in 2018…

  10. My bedside gun is a 92A1 with a light attached.

    I have a G19 and p226, but those pistols have other purposes in my house. (Namely, being housed in the two RFID Tactical shelves I bought from SIG.)

    This way, I’m never more than a room or two away from grabbing a reliable pistol with 15 or more rounds of +P 9mm to defend myself with.

    P.S. Your home defense setup should have a light; in it’s most simple form, it’s mounted on the rail. I want to know what I’m shooting, and the best way to do that: mounting a light.

    P.P.S. I am fully aware that to shine a light on something, it needs to be swept my by muzzle. My reply to that, “Don’t be in my house in the dark making unexpected noises, and I won’t have to sweep you with my Beretta.”

    • I’ve found that the backscatter from most tactical lights is enough to ID your target when your eyes are adjusted to the darkness. I’ve navigated my house before just by turning on my little pocket light and clipping it to my belt shining at the floor.

      • I really dislike weapon-mounted lights. Search “X-10” and find out how to set up your house so a button in each room will turn on lights in *every* room, for maybe 200 bucks. Or with a handheld remote, or both. And no, I own none of the company, have used it for near 40 years. Never figured why everybody doesn’t have it. Might move? Take it with you, portions of my current system have been to Austin, SD, Okinawa and back to Austin, then to another home in Austin, between 1980 and now.

    • ya, funny. any ar or pump, but specifically this glock plastic striker.

      the big cz’s weight is nice when you’re not lugging one all day.

  11. A governor and a Bersa along with a non-descript AR-15 and shotgun? Those two pistols are worthless. So is that $299 AR 15 or ????

    Someone needs to up the editorial quality around here. Did you contract that out to CNN????

    • Here here, I do like an actual readable list.

      However it was an odd list, you could say medium sized striker pistol instead of Glock, or duty sized “bed-side/night-stand” DA/SA rather than specifically P226 or Beretta.

      Maybe instead focus on what it should have or have near by- night sights, tactical flash light or weapon light, or laser/red dot, on a duty or full size home defense pistol, they largest legal magazine that isn’t unwieldy, in the largest caliber you can comfortably shoot.

      A PCC/subgun would be nice on the list, scorpion, sub 2K, mp5 type, ghm9/APC, UMP, etc.

      For me I have my standard daily carry HK p2000 .40 LEM, coupled with an HK USP Tactical .40, and a s&w 640 is handy for around the yard lawn mowing and getting sweaty, backed up by a couple ARs and sub guns if it needed to go there. A back pack loaded with an armor lining that could quickly be grabbed and worn in front or behind or shoved in front of a child isn’t a bad idea either.

  12. Hmm, home defense? How about a 32 pounder naval carronade, loaded with double canister, pointed down the hall at the front door? Overpeneration is a bit of a problem, as is muzzle blast and smoke. Recoil is a bear, too and reload time is questionable at best.

    But one shot generally does the trick.

    Seriously, current house guns are the wife’s 930 Tactical with a Streamlight and a RIA 1911 on my side. That thing is stone reliable.

  13. An old wooden Louisville Slugger. No need for ear pro and if it’s not wrapped in barbed wire, a la Negan, no major after-action inquiries.

    • Bats are up-close-and-personal. Too much so.
      They are good ambush weapons, but in a stand-off, they absolutely suck. Far too much opportunity for any perp that close to simply disarm you (and, of course, use it on you).
      Much better to handle the perp from a distance.

  14. I’ve convinced myself that the best HD gun would be an integrally suppressed, SBR, pistol caliber carbine.

    I’ve also convinced myself that the process to attain one is long, arduous and expensive.

    On the accessible side I will just go with a full size 9mm with a light.

    • You could just go with a non-suppressed pistol caliber carbine. It will be a little bit quieter than the pistol, and the Kel-Tec Sub-2000 is well-balanced enough to shoot one-handed, if you need open a door or something. Probably most of the other semi-auto PCCs have similar balance.

      ETA: I have a light and a laser on mine. Fantastic.

        • I’ve never shot either without ear protection so the difference is a little watered down for me, and I’ve shot the Sub 2K more outdoors than indoors (which makes it seem even quieter, but I was afraid to bias my opinion) 🙂

    • MmmTacos,

      I concur with the other commenters: go get yourself a Kel-Tec SUB-2000 in .40 S&W — and get the model that uses Glock factory magazines so that you can purchase those nice (and incredibly reliable) 22 round extended capacity magazines. I load mine with 20 rounds to relieve the spring a little bit. I cannot picture anyone making their way past 20, 165 grain .40 caliber bullets impacting them at over 1,300 fps.

      Beyond the advantages that others already stated:
      — they seem to eat every kind of ammunition
      — they seem to be incredibly reliable
      — they are in stock if you look around
      — they are not “short barreled rifles” (no tax stamp required)

        • I don’t know how Commiefornia views semi-automatic rifles. Here are the Kel-Tec SUB-2000 carbine features that I think would be legal in states that try to ban typical “scary rifle” features:
          — barrel is “long enough” (16.1 inches)
          — barrel is not threaded
          — stock is not adjustable
          — no forward pistol grip
          — accepts Glock 10-round magazines

          The only possible disqualifying feature that I can imagine is that it has a “pistol grip” for magazines. I recommend you research it a little more.

          * * * Disclaimer * * *
          I am NOT an attorney and the above is NOT legal advice.

        • Hmm, with the magazine in the grip that might be the work-around for both the pistol grip and detachable magazine release.

      • A lot of people are suggesting the Kel-Tec Sub 2000, which I think is a nice choice, I mean it has the advantage of Glock magazines and is quite compact and balanced (I’ve only handled one at a store).

        But I’m honestly leaning to the CZ Evo. It is about twice the price, but if I am not shooting a pistol I want a forward magazine well, not a grip magazine well. Magazine interchangeability is nice but if I have a PCC I want 20 or 30 rounds and if I am shooting my Glock 19 I am not going to be using anything over the 15 rounders anyway, so it’s a moot point. Not to mention the CZ mags are pretty damn cheap anyway: I’d have to buy extended Glock magazines and the Magpul 27 rounders are a dollar more than CZ 30 rounders (according to Midway).

        Not to mention the nice aftermarket that the Evo has gained in such a short time. I honestly don’t know the Sub 2K’s aftermarket, but from visiting sites I would hazard to guess the Evo’s is much larger (although I think part of this support is because things like the Evo safety kind of suck in factory config).

        The Sub 2K seems well received, and looks like a good backpack gun, especially if you want something compact that doesn’t need to be a pistol or SBR. But the red dot mount is expensive and rides super high (if you still want to be able to fold it) and to be petty and vain I don’t like how Kel-Tec products look with their waffle pattern and five hundred screws on every gun. Plus if I do go the suppressor route the Sub 2K has a 16″ barrel, whereas the CZ can ride with a can and keep it under 16″ still.

        Decisions, decisions, but the CZ looks like a winner to me. It is more expensive, but doesn’t break the bank, and gives me more of the features I want than the Sub 2K does. If I had my druthers I would get a B&T or an H&K, but I can’t justify in my mind dropping that much on a PCC when it seems the CZ does a fine job at less than half the cost of a cheap MP5 clone.

        • Could we have a pistol version of the Kel Tec sub 2000. with a sig brace and 7 in barrel?
          Is the Kel Tec reliable? I would need convincing?

        • See, I prefer the grip magazine well. It makes the rifle shorter overall and balances it better for one-hand use. Only reason for a forward magazine well, in my opinion, is for a sub-machine gun (more weight in the nose) or a cartridge that won’t fit in the grip.

  15. Governor? Really? The Judge and Governor are silly gimmicks. Virtually any quality revolver or pistol the size of the Governor will be more effective.

    I also don’t know what makes the Bersa, the Ruger P series or the CZ 75 — or heck, even the Glock, Beretta or Sig — stand out from the many other fine guns in their classes.

    I note that in other cases, you kept it generic “.357 revolver” “12 gauge pump shotgun” and “AR-15.” That’s probably a better way to go.

  16. Well I currently have 4 out of the 10 and have had a fifth that is on my wish list to buy back.

    I can’t argue with #1, although New York reloads are your best option. My 6″ GP 100 is tasked with the job of getting me to my gu n room. Then all hell breaks loose.

    I can’t for the life of me understand why S,R&Co nixed the P95. You could pick them up for 3 bills and they were selling 50,000/yr. Great weapon for the price, but a new and improved version would be awesome. The sli de is pretty heavy. I once tossed the P95 sli de and a Beret ta 92 sli de on my kitchen scale and the P sl ide was 1.4 ounces heavier despite having a barr el an inch shorter. This makes the 92 point much quicker and lighter than the P95. The 92 on the other hand has a very fat gr ip.

    Drop the Judge and add a lever action rifle. Take your pick of calibers – most will opt for a revol ver ro und but .30-30 is an excellent choice as well. Hits 65% harder than an AR.

      • Actually, a coach gun is not horribly impractical. I’ve seen some arguments that the cumulative reload times for ten shots comparing to a 5 shot pump are actually comparable. Not to mention that I’m not sure what would survive a pair of 00 buck shells center mass delivered in quick succession. Then again, I detest scatterguns like you would not believe, so my opinion isn’t worth much.

        If you want extra style points, get yourself a tactical flitlock pistol.

        • One big advantage the SxS has over a pump or auto is it’s shorter. Just for comparison I looked up the specs for the Stoeger coach gun supreme I’ve been thinking about buying to a standard Mossy 500 ‘tactical’. The SxS has a 20″ barrel and a 14.5″ LOP yet measures 36.5″ vs. the Mossy with 5/8″ shorter LOP and 1-1/2″ shorter barrel measures 3″ longer – basically 5″+ shorter. No small advantage indoors.

          You’re probably right on load times. I have a S,R&co no.1 and I could probably run 10 rounds through it as fast as I could a standard internal magazine bolt gun. Plus, you get more style points for giving ’em both barrels at the same time.

        • Using a ten-round shot string is cheating.
          How about an eight-round string? My Mossy 500 holds 8, compared to 2 for the SxS. There is no way you can get off 8 rounds from that SXS in the time I can get that same 8 rounds from my pump. Just not possible.
          Ten was picked specifically to even the times, not for any tactical reason at all.

        • 10 was picked because most standard off the shelf and imported shotguns only hold five in the tube. Ten is one complete reload.

        • Frankly, you’re highly unlikely to find any more targets after the first 2 shotgun blasts you fire inside your home either way.

        • Pwrserge says: “10 was picked because most standard off the shelf and imported shotguns only hold five in the tube. Ten is one complete reload.”

          Again, a number picked not for any tactical reason, but in an attempt to even the times.
          Yes, a SxS would need to be reloaded for any number of shots over two. That’s a characteristic of a SxS (indeed, any double barrel shotgun).
          Does that mean we somehow must “even things up” by requiring any pump user to reload?
          Not unless you use the logic that we must somehow “even things up,” ignoring the primary goal of defending oneself. Yes indeed, most off the shelf shotguns hold five rounds (six, actually, if you include one in the pipe); that’s an inherent advantage, and doesn’t need to be somehow made to seem like a disadvantage.
          How many defensive shotgun uses require more than six rounds? Five? Four? Two, even?
          But if your particular situation needs more than two rounds, are you sure you want to be using a gun that only holds two rounds?

        • Get over it Bill. If volume of fire were a primary concern, no shotgun would be optimal for home defense. Either a Glock(ish) pistol with a 33 rounder or maybe an AR with a 120 round drum. Personally, if I were to take on a home invader with a SxS I’d feel a lot more comfortable having a holstered sidearm on me. But the pump ain’t much better. The advantages of a double barrel are the shorter overall length and the ability to keep different loads and chokes in the barrels. Suppose you’re into eating those tasty pheasants and you can’t really afford another home defense weapon – a SxS or over/under would serve both purposes just fine. Or maybe you’re like me and just want some style points and just need to neutralize the threat long enough to make it to your gun room, then shout, ‘Say hello to my little friend!’

          That said, I prefer a handgun as my first line of defense because home invasions sometime start with a knock on your door. Maybe a frantic knock from a woman. Open the door an then her accomplices come barging in. Best to have a weapon in your hand, but then again no need to scare the living bejesus out of the Chinese delivery guy just because he got the wrong address.

  17. A Freind A D’d his TV with a 300 Win mag, while in his house. But I don’t think it was as loud as when my employer touched off 357 in his pickup. .The forgotten 30-30, slayer of bear to bad men.

  18. I can vouch for the CZ-75. When I was looking for my first 9mm, for home defense and the range, I narrowed it down to the CZ-75 and Beretta 92. I shot both and liked both, but the CZ-75 won out by an edge. I have a friend who has been a Glock owner (exlusively) since the mid-1990s. He tried out my CZ-75. He is now a CZ-75 owner.

    So, for first time buyers or the inexperienced, the CZ-75 or Beretta 92 are great options for home defense. The extra weight of the steel frame reduces the recoil of 9mm (which many say is mild anyway). Use Winchester Defend 147gr JHP ammo and the recoil–as well as the muzzle flash–is even lower.

  19. Where’s the shockwave???

    Re: S&W Governor – the best home defense weapon you can get. Relibality of a revolver with the power of a shotgun, also comes with night sights factory. Mine shoots .41 cal hollowpoint w/ two .30 buckshot per pull. So every pull is a “burst”, use the Federal handgun 00 and you can put 4 out per pull. Move to #2 buck and so on………. Anybody that comes in is DRT.

    • Those rifled barrels are hell on shot dispersal. Up close, might not matter. Over 20′ or so, it matters.
      As for the Shockwave (and its ilk), I can see their appeal for HD: short and maneuverable, and can use Herter’s Mini-Buckshot loads for less recoil and more rounds in the tube. The Mossy, with the adapter, can use the Aguila Mini shells (if you can find them) for even more rounds and less recoil. I would imagine they would take some (a lot?) practice to point effectively.

  20. 10 random guns that can be used for home defense 🙂

    But seriously, the only takeaway I can get from the list is that a home defense gun should be fairly reliable – it is the only thing the guns on the list have in common.

  21. I’m unimpressed. Sure the first listed gun is a revolver, but a .357 is a handful for lots of people, and it costs more than a revolver needs to.

    A police surplus S&W .38 Special works, works well, and they can be had inexpensively – between $300 and $400. Late models of the S&W 10 handle +P ammo. There are modern .38 Special defense loads that achieve 12″+ of penetration through denim.

    The CZ line of guns, especially the CZ-75, is under-appreciated in the US. The CZ-75 is the 1911 of the eastern European bloc. They can be found surplused for $300 on up. They’re hard to make go wrong.

    A Bersa? Jeez, man. Talk about making the exercise of hitting one’s target harder than it needs to be. The Bersa is a CCW piece, meant for close engagements. The sights are pretty poor, and the sight radius is quite short.

    The thing about home defense guns is that they’d better be ready to be used by anyone in the house – that might include the Missus, and she might not be a gun gal. Revolvers make the perfect “point and click” interface for people who aren’t going to put in the training to do “tap-rack-bang” drills for a short-stroke malfunction, etc.

    • As others have pointed out, a SxS shotgun and a lever action carbine in pistol calibers have a lot of advantages. Short, powerful and they offer ease of use. I’d add an M1 Carbine if you can find a Universal made one that functions reliably which is a big “if” or one of the new manufacturer’s models rather than a surplus model.

    • D.S.
      You mentioned the S&W 38’s shooting +P’s.
      I have a Ruger SLRX (3′ barrel) that shoots +P’s. The recoil for such a light gun (15 oz.) isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, however it might be a bit much for some gals, in the +P loadings.
      Have been using it for my personal carry gun, but am now replacing it with a Springfield XDE. I’m a bit apprehensive about the 5 round capacity of the SLR. I’m a huge fan of DA/SA, Pistol or revolver.

    • The Bersa Thunder .380 I have is accurate at 25 yds, measured. Had it since 2005. Sighted in out of box from the factory, have not had to make any changes to sights. Easy to clean, has some weight to it, not a mouse gun, 90gr Federal Hydra-Shoks for ammo. Double action/single action. A fast, simple, defensive pistol, well made. It may not impress experts, but I like it. I also have a pump action 12 ga. shotgun, 18″ barrel, loaded with 00 buck, that may not impress experts, but I like it too. Both are fine home/self defense firearms.

    • A manually deployed, auto-homing, stealth-furred quad cluster of mini switch-blades and scissor-face with night sights guided by an organic AI programmed for murder, mayhem, and adorableness, powered only by lil’ friskies. Tossing arms the fuse, which then goes off on contact. I’m thinking that particular weapon is contraband according to the Geneva Convention…

      • Geneva convention be damned!! You kick down my door and you will be met with 3 horrifying things.

        1. My fat (~20 lb ) cat thrown in your direction.
        2. My fat naked pasty pale self.
        3. At least 2 rounds of 7.62x39mm.

        I pity the guy that breaks into my house… the last thing he will see is me naked and shooting at him.

        • That’s probably true… Thankfully I haven’t had to test the tactical advantage of my naked furry ass holding a rifle on a human being. That and I really feel bad for the guy I have to test it on…. I’m not just white I’m freakin NEON white, furry, and will probably have a battle boner if the bullets don’t kill him surely that sight will.

  22. What no AK? No double barrel 12? Sir I am disappointed in your list… Home Defense guns should be reliable to a fault and quite honestly the AR can have its moments where it is less than reliable (look deep into your hearts fanbois you know this to be true). Revolvers are an awesome choice but I think you should’ve left caliber open to the end user as many have said the .357 can be a hand full for some shooters and 38spl has gotten better as new bullet designs and loadings have been introduced. I’d remove the Bersa but that’s just because I don’t really like the reputation they have for the frames cracking. The governor?? Seriously??? Why use a revolver that shoots shot shells when you can pick up a cheap 410 or 20 gauge pump?

  23. Proposed list that I think I’m hearing from the crowd ranked in order of perceived popularity and based on reasons that have been so overstated that the list is really just an exercise in expired-equine pugilism:
    1. full size DA revolver in the largest caliber one can comfortably manage.
    2. mid to full size striker fired pistol in the largest caliber one can comfortably manage.
    3. mid to full size DA semi-auto pistol in the largest caliber one can comfortably manage.
    4. Shotgun in 12 or 20 gauge loaded with 00 buckshot.
    5. Pistol caliber carbine in the largest caliber one can comfortably manage.
    6. Semi auto Rifle in the largest caliber one can comfortably manage.
    7. Lever action rifle in the largest caliber one can comfortably manage.
    8. Any firearm at all, so long as it’s ready to hand.
    9. Blunt instrument such as a bat or cudgel
    10. Organic, guided tooth&nail missile, either Self propelled, AKA: dog, or manually propelled, AKA: cat.
    Caveats and addendums:
    a. attaching a light to the weapon moves it up one slot on the list.
    b. attaching a suppressor to the weapon moves it up two slots on the list.
    c. deploying weapon whilst conspicuously naked moves it up three slots on the list.

        • I would not suggest handling a feline while nude especially an ill tempered one you just roused from sleep. No cats are best employed by just grabbing and flinging no need to attach anything unless of course you attach a laser in order to keep Fluffy on target and attacking.

        • Excellent sir! I commend your both your creativity and your writing acumen! And, I can attest to the fundamental truth of your statement….for I have lived the reality.

          Having jumped from midnight’s connubial bed in the full, naked glory of God’s best creation, seizing the Beretta PX4 (.45ACP) with Streamlight at my bedside, rushing out into the night at the heels of a trusty hound to confront a pack of coyotes ravaging the homestead’s chicken coop, I can tell you….there ain’t nothing better! After nine rounds of .45 into the two slowest ‘yotes, I finished off #2 with an axe. I made my Viking Berserker ancestors proud that night!

          And for all you men still young out there…..crawling back into the wife’s warm bed to answer the question, “Did you just shoot something?” Well….gentlemen don’t tell. But, I will tell you true, bloodlust is a real thing.

    • Do you really want to fire off a large caliber rifle inside your house? The slug may go through the perp. and on into your neighbors house, and if you miss, the slug might end up in the second house after passing through your wall and the first neighbors house.

  24. TTAG is usually a great source for accurate, balanced info on firearms but this article seems like something I’d get by clicking on a click-bait ad in Facebook. It starts out by positing that EVERYONE should have a gun(s) for home defence which is laughable. I live in downtown Vancouver and my risk of a home invasion is just about zero. I get that many US jurisdictions are a lot more dangerous but based on my travels, there are many places where arming yourself is a choice, not a necessity.

    The choice of guns as being “best for home defence” is laughable. No logic at all – the author pretty much picks one of everything, including some questionable choices like the Governor and an AR (in case of “multiple bad guys”). Where does this person think we all live – Iraq??

    Lastly the article wrongly calls out the 92FS as being standard for the US Military. We all know that hasn’t been the case for some time.

  25. This! With a stock (SBR) and a Can. I’ve fired one in that configuration + red dot sight + Streamlight. Incredible accuracy at 10 yards, whisper quiet, no felt recoil.

  26. I would have to say an AR-15 is the best for home defense. For handguns, I would pick the Springfield XD Mod.2 tactical in 9mm for home defense with 17 +p rounds loaded up (16+1). Nice long sight radius and very reliable. I have the Mod.2 service 9mm model and love that gun. I can’t disagree with the .357 mag, a 7 shot with at least 4″ barrel would be devastating. I keep electronic ear protection on my night stand as well.

  27. Another round of the caliber wars. There is no ideal gun or setup because it all depends… on lots of things.

    KISS… keep it simple. First rule is to have a gun. Second is to know, at least roughly, how to use it. Third is to have the guts and determination to actually use it.

    Ear pro on the dresser is a very good idea. I have one there, and have given a great deal of thought into how I might manage to actually get it on in time…. and what the cops would think of it later. 🙂 I’m ready for both, but I’m going to keep hoping I’ll never need it.

  28. 10 glock 10mm’s with Super Extendos seems pretty good.

    ATF seeking comments on making bump stocks & other devices a NFA items meaning machine-guns. Thanks for supporting our Original natural born human right.

    Time for giving up OUR gun rights is past! For nearly 84 yrs we have given up thousands of times without any give back! 22,000–0 does not seem fair to me! A right lost or a anti-gun law passed is lost forever.

    Look at the 1934 NFA! Have we got that illegal POS back??? #SHALLNOTBEINFRINGED IS PRETTY CLEAR!

  29. The gun in ur hand!

    A gun right lost is lost forever in this climate. Until we get a true pro-gun court system and congress we are screwed! 50 yrs from now no guns at all maybe in 20yrs!

    We better soon educate these young-ins cuz 90% of millennial’s are anti-gun pro socialism….

  30. This was a stupid article when I read it a month ago and it hasn’t gotten any better with age. I think I’ve just given up on believing this is a serious firearms blog.

  31. A former military guy I knew a while back had a Beretta 92 and a .410 shotgun, specifically because his very diminutive wife and daughter could handle them effectively due to the low recoil. I have a Ruger SR9C and a HiPoint 995TS, plus a variety of others. For home defense, sighting the intruder is of paramount importance. I have a laser on the 995 and really should get a laser for the Ruger. I also have a Sig 238 with tritium sights that at least allows you to approximate an aim in the dark. The laser almost eliminates the need to aim the carbine at under 25 yards. Just place the dot and it does not matter how the weapon is held, especially with the minimal recoil. It would be hard enough to be awakened in the middle of the night, get it together to grab the weapon and ear protection, and still have to find the glasses.

  32. Great advice on how you should invest in a firearm that’s easy to maintain and won’t cause a dent in your savings. I never knew that some firearms also give you ease of use while providing cheap ammunition options. I think my uncle can use this information to boost the security of his home!


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