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At 1:32 in the video above, Captain Berz holds his hands out to demopnstrate the spread of pellets fired from a home defense shotgun. Uh, no. The spread differs according to the distance to the target, the ammo chosen and the gun. But unless you live in a Newport mansion (where a corridor can extend 50 yards), the spread’s gonna be a LOT smaller. Think . . .

the size of a softball. So can you miss a bad guy with a shotgun? Yes you can! Would that suck? Yes it would! Should you forget a shotgun for home defense? No! But . . .

Long guns require two hands. In a home defense scenario chances are you’re gonna need a “spare” hand to call the police, open doors, push kids out-of-the-way, pull kids to safety, turn on/off a light, etc. Also, Captain B’s right: it’s easier for a bad guy to grab a shotgun barrel than a handgun’s. Negotiating corners with bad guys in situ can be . . . problematic.

Captain Berz deals with retention issues at 5:20. Ish. His monologue assumes that the home owner gets a heads-up before the S hits the F. While I would never want to “clear” my house of bad guys, who knows what can happen? You might suddenly become aware that you’re in the middle of something nasty when you’re in the middle of something nasty, with friendlies in places that aren’t so friendly anymore. Go get ’em Tiger!

As for the AR option, Captain Berz rightly flags over-penetration issues. Absent something really hard or significantly squishy to impede its progress, a .22 travels a mile before it sleeps. Then again, a handgun round’s final destination can be equally worrying (mass being an important consideration in the penetration department). Depending on the calibers involved, a fragmenting rifle round (e.g., Winchester’s PDX1) may not be as dangerous as an FMJ handgun round. That’s without discussing hollow points or the supremacy of not missing in the first place.

All that said, Captain B. and I are are like-minded in his recommendation of a handgun for home defense. They’re relatively small and easy to manipulate, so you can get on with the other self-defense chores listed above. While we still haven’t resolved the shower carry conundrum, you can—and should—carry a handgun with you around the house. Not to put too fine a point on it, the best home defense gun is the one you have.

After admitting his Johnbrowningophilia, Captain Berz nails it: it doesn’t really matter which gun you use in a home defense situation—as long as you train to capitalize on its advantages and understand its limitations. At least I think that’s what he’s saying. I’m not 100 percent sure what “it doesn’t have to be tactical it just has to be practical” means. Anyway, it’s what I’m saying: the home defender’s mindset’s more important than his or her ballistic machinery.

Then again, what if you don’t train? Most gun owners view firearms as point and click. I mean, BOOM! What good is generic advice to train your brain for firearms facility given that most gun owners are more likely to scarf snacks than regularly drink from the cup marked tacticoolaid? As TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia are both armed and intelligent, I reckon that’s a different question. Let’s leave it for another day and address the question at hand: what’s the best gun for home defense?

The optimal home defense gun is . . . all three. To protect yourself and your loved ones at home you need two handguns (a relatively small one on your person and a relatively larger one by the bed), a shotgun (an 18″ barreled semi-auto in a predetermined defensive position) and your choice of a modern home black sporting rifle (what I like to call my “outside toy”).

That way you can deal with a smash and grab (home carry handgun), a bump in the night (full-size handgun), a “the cops will be here any minute” standoff (shotgun) and a “How many of these bastards are there?” invasion (AR-15). You wouldn’t ask a carpenter to build shelves with just a hammer would you? Well there you go.

OK, if I had to recommend one gun for home defense, it’s the largest handgun (without a frame-mounted safety, with night sights) in the largest caliber that you can shoot rapidly and accurately that you can carry comfortably around the house in a concealed holster. Oh, with the greatest capacity for that caliber.  

For me, at the moment, that’s a . . . wait for it . . . Kahr PM9 in a Kydex RKBA holster. When my GLOCK 19 holster arrives and the night sights are affixed, that. Not to say I don’t have other options available. You?

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    • Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun, the caliber of which does not start with a “.4” — Marine Corps Rules for Gunfighting

      • That rule sounds all clever and macho and very Marine, however…

        Just like in the Army, a significant number of Marines go into combat (gunfights) with only their long gun. As far as I know not every Marine in the field is issued a sidearm. This may have changed since I was in the service. Even if it has, do the Marines still issue 1911s?

        • When I trained with the 1911A1 in the Marines, we were given the practical advice about this handgun (and any others for all practical purposes) “it’s accuracy is equivalent with how far you can throw it!” This suggests having one with effective stopping power (for me 9mm is sufficient), knowledge and plenty of practice firing it, and plenty of magazine capacity. I have big hands so my choice is the Glock 17. Very reliable and never a malfunction in the thousands of rounds fired at the range.

      • To be “that guy” I would probably suggest a .45 over a 9 in the service. If your stuck with FMJ because of the Hauge Conventions than your gonna probably want a round that won’t fly through everything wall in a house and will have a bit better a chance of stopping. My .02. Also, not flaming 9 or 40 just my view, not trying to infinite a caliber war.

      • That sounds like my RIA .45 ACP with PDX1 Defender 230 Grain ammo, such a nasty round just one will really hurt if not kill you..

  1. “… it doesn’t really matter which gun you use in a home defense situation—as long as you train to capitalize on its advantages and understand its limitations.”

    That is a very profound and true statement!

  2. I like my Tavor for the bedside gun. Its compact and balanced well enough I can fire it one handed if I have to.

    That being said, my XD9 is still within easy reach. Like to keep my options open! 😀

  3. Short barreled pistol caliber carbine, that is if you still live in a free state with a common sense minded CLEO.

    • You said it before me. I agreed with every point in the video. I just think the pistol caliber carbine, particularly something like a Cx4 is the way to go for a long gun if there is a reason that you can’t use a shotgun.. It gives you superior accuracy for close in defense without the danger of shooting through the next two houses.

      One point of dispute. The 1911 is tactical by definition.

      • I have thought the same thing. My CX-4 is ready to go at all times. A 92fs-a1 is in the night stand. Both with Mec-Gar 20 rnd mags. With bag of mags on the shelf near the door. Although sometimes my XD45 Tactical is there instead. I shoot it a bit better.

        • i don’t know where you live but between the M-9 and Cx4 you won’t need the other mags. My wife is more of Beretta handgunner. Personally I like the M-9 but after 40 years of using a 1911 I am afraid that I would engage the safety out of habit in defensive situation. It goes the wrong way.

  4. A rifle round will travel much further but a 9MM round is going to penetrate about as much drywall before it starts to tumble, in some cases MORE than a 55 grain 5.56 loads.

    With the right ammo you can easily set up an AR-15 type rifle for self/home defense without risking “excessive” penetration.

    • At home I keep my 686 handy and loaded with three rounds of frangible bullets to avoid over penetration. Then, just in case those three very loud shots haven’t changed the perp’s mind about what direction he wants to move, or dropped him in his tracks, the last three rounds are Hydro Shock hollow-points just in case he’s wearing something heavy enough to defeat the frangibles.

      I understand the discussion of 3 gun and lots of ammo on hand, but it’s a question of probabilities, isn’t it? Where I live the likelihood of a home invasion by anybody, much less a crew, is at best a remote possibility, if for no other reason than I really have nothing anyone would want to take and no reason for anyone to want to hurt me. Tooling up to the max defensive posture would seem to be an extreme over-reaction to any potential threat.

    • That is a dangerous myth. A 556 round has been shown to penetrate multiple layers of insulation and drywall. It won’t penetrate cinder block or brick like a 308 or 7.62×39 will.

  5. Night sights for a HD handgun? Seems a bit Too Tactical To Me, If you need a sight picture @ 12 Feet your doing it wrong.
    I would recommend more Situational Awareness and less concentration on sight picture perhaps installing some indoor motion sensor lights in leu the spendy sights.
    Layered passive deterrents, such as the afore mentioned illumination, audible alarms, upgraded locks and re-enforced door frames pay for themselves on a daily basis and should be your 1st investment

    • “…indoor motion sensor lights…”

      Unless you have a dog or cat, then your lights will be going on and off all night.

      But otherwise, I’m with you on the passive defenses. Reinforced doors and quality locks may not be impregnable, but at least the bad guy is going to have to make some noise getting in.

      As far as lights go, you can replace your switches with home-automation ones like X10 makes, and have a wireless remote in your bedroom that will let you turn on all the lights at once.

  6. Mossberg 500C 20 Gauge loaded with 3 #3 Buckshot followed by 2 3/4 Ounce slugs.

    Same thing on an elastic shell holder on the stock.

    • I’m not a dog person, but I have half a dozen house rabbits and 3 cats….. No alarm barks in the night, but no one is getting 15 feet into my house without tripping over something furry looking for treats.

      • LOL… my daughter (in an upstairs room) has two rabbits. Her self defense plan is to, upon hearing that odd noise downstairs (like possibly door/window crashing or me shooting someone) is to rapidly move to her doorway, grab her carbine and then close the door behind her because she is adamant to minimize the terror to her bunnies in case she has to open fire. Gotta love furry little critters.

      • Six rabbits and three cats? You’re definitely protected against any ne’er-do-wells who have allergies, at least!

  7. Glock21. Definitely not my favorite gun but it is easy to handle one handed, carries 13 45acp rounds per mag, and can accommodate all sorts of lights and extras if desired.

    • +1 I have a tungsten guide rod in mine. Very easy doubletaps. Not the best “tactical” handgun I own, but definitely will make somebody’s life very very unpleasant.

  8. I think the best handgun for “bump in the middle of the night” home defense is the Glock 34 (9mm Parabellum) or Glock 35 (.40 S&W) depending on which caliber you can shoot accurately. Those have the longest barrel at 5.3 inches for better accuracy and higher muzzle velocity/energy. They are slightly heavier so they will absorb more recoil and enable faster follow up shots. And the best part? You can purchase extended capacity magazines. I believe there is a 33 round magazine available for the 9mm. And last I checked there were 22 and 29 round magazines available for .40 S&W. Since these are not for concealed carry, their slightly longer barrels and protruding extended capacity magazines are not a problem.

    If you are responding to a “bump in the middle of the night” or worse a full on home invasion, you are probably not going to be sleeping in your clothes with spare magazines on your belt. Rather, you are going to grab your handgun and make due with whatever capacity it has. Those extended capacity magazines could be extremely helpful in such a situation.

  9. An inherited S&W 15-2 .38. My mother was mugged in Sacramento, back in ’79. This sweet, pacifistic church lady went out and got herself protection. From the paper targets we found while cleaning out her house, she was pretty good too.

    Although I have other firearms, the .38 is my bedside weapon. I practice with FMJ ammo but load hollow points when it’s “parked”…

    • Ha, my grandmother had one of those on , or near her for decades. I cleaned it, and put fresh ammo in it when I visited. She was pissed when we had to take it from her when we put her in assisted living. It was for the best, however. She was pretty far gone at that point.

  10. Hi point .45 whoot whoot ok yes its ugly cheap crappy and God I cannot wait to replace it but it is almost as dependable as an ak47

    • Jay – take a look at Tristars (usually found on Buds, Lanbos Armory, or gallery of guns).

      They are Canic’s (turkish company) that have been rebranded by the importer (tristar). The result is a great gun at very low prices. I picked up a T-120 for ~380 and its a fantastic pistol.

  11. I would like to know what gun/ammo combination would be best to minimize hearing loss when used without protection.

    • None. It’s just one of the tradeoffs you live with. Me, I’m mostly deaf anyway. My hearing aid actually cuts off anything over 132dB anyway so that’s how loud it is regardless. I simply turn it off at the range – due to the sharp report and the frequency loud gunfire IS uncomfortable, and i also wear an ear plug or muffs in the other ear even though there’s no hearing in it, again for comfort reasons. Glock 20/Hornady 155 gr XTP backed up by an M1A with Federal 168 gr match.

    • A machete backed up by a ka bar. Only noise will be his screams. And if he’s screaming you’re doing it wrong.

    • Crossbow. very quiet.
      makes really nasty wounds and is pretty compact. My wife likes my Mathews reezen bow. The only drawback is you pretty much only get one shot.

    • Without a suppressor mounted on each weapon (including the shotty?) your ears are going to take a beating no matter what you shoot without ear protection.

      I suggest that the best round to protect your ears is the largest caliber, most effective round you can handle and hit your target with. The only hearing protection available is to drop the SOB on the first shot and then stop pulling the trigger.

    • Randall,

      By far and away the most quiet firearm (without an external suppressor) is a pistol caliber carbine with a 16+ inch barrel.

      Suppressors reduce the pressure (and velocity) of the gasses as they exit the barrel. Well the extra long barrel of pistol caliber carbines reduces the pressure and hence the report of the shot. The ones that I have heard are noticeably more quiet than any handgun I have ever heard — and that even includes handguns shooting .22 LR.

    • Keep electronic muffs next to the HD weapon. You have added an advantage at that point, especially if you fire off a shotgun indoors. Concussion alone adds to the advantage as anyone in front of it, bleeding or not, will no longer be able to hear. Think flash bang grenade.

  12. “There are many reasons that a citizen may prefer a handgun for home defense: It is easier to store in a location that is readily accessible in an emergency; it cannot easily be redirected or wrestled away by an attacker; it is easier to use for those without the upperbody strength to lift and aim a long gun; it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand dials the police.”

    District of Columbia v. Heller

    SCOTUS’ tactical advice is a lot better than Crazy Joe Biden’s.

    • I don’t know. I think if you had a good sling and if you’re running an AR or AK, a bayonet, it’ll be pretty hard to take it away from you. Handguns have absolutely no retention device to protect against someone trying to take your gun.

  13. Glock 17 and a Mossberg 500 for me. nothing fancy, besides weapon-mounted lights. Both are proven to be reliable — so I can trust that they’ll function when I need them to.

    • A blunderbuss! Now you’re talking. Cheapest ammo there is — just load it with a half-pound of BB’s, rocks, old nails, whatever. Only having one shot would be a drawback, but at hallway or bedroom ranges it would be devastating, and almost impossible to miss.

      But since I don’t have a blunderbuss yet, I’ll just keep rocking the Springfield XD and XDm compacts in 9mm; they’re fine all-purpose handguns. Good for carry during the day with the short 12-round magazines, good to go with the full 17 and 19 round magazines at night, dead-nuts reliable, accurate, and easy to shoot in either configuration.

      • Blunderbuss with FINISHING NAILS!

        Like a personal version of the M1A1 Abrams with APERS rounds.

        Tanks are for crowd control. APERS rounds are for crowd dispersal.

  14. Remington 870 with a DeadCoyote choke tube will do dramatic things with virtually any loose pellet load at household ranges. Having grown up with a shotgun in hand, it would be the best choice for me. Backed up by a Sig P229 in .357Sig and I sleep very, very comfortably at night.

  15. I don’t get the overpenetration debate.Any round capable of FBI 12″ penetration will fly right through modern prefab construction.

    A former aquaintence made an illuminating mistake when he ND-ed his wall.The +P 9 mil went through two interior walls and stopped with enough energy to embed itself in the third.

  16. Have to disagree on the shotgun, one should opt for a pump instead for increased reliability and the easier ability to change types of rounds and quicker to cycle out a bad round. And then there are those that think racking the pump will scare the hood rats away…though it makes one lose a round I think it is a huge deterrent against a criminal that isn’t very serious about you and your belongings.some people like that

  17. I have my full-size CZ75B and a magazine I keep loaded full-time with 16 rounds of JHP. I can only afford one gun, so I have to make the best of it. I’m proficient enough to hit at the distances I’ll likely have to in my house and I practice as often as I’m able. (With the ammo shortage, that’s not been nearly as often as I’d like)

  18. ” it’s easier for a bad guy to grab a shotgun barrel than a handgun’s.”
    One thing I learned very recently is to carry in a close contact low ready. If the barrel is grabbed, lean back, take a knee (which, with an opponent holding the muzzle, brings you to a close contact high ready and the muzzle into said opponent’s center of mass) and pull the trigger (repeatedly, if you are carrying an autoloader).

    • Got same advice in a shotgun defense class- an 870 is a bit more awkward going around corners than a handgun, but you can also step back and shoot the bad guy in the foot pretty fast from that low ready if he steps out to grab the barrel.

      And if you have to grapple in close, its a good tool for butt to groin, barrel to head strikes. And if it gets taken away, and used against you, same way- then I suspect fewer bad guys know how to release safety, rack and shoot,

      as well as they do their handgun in that stupid shoot-sideways-like-in-the-movies gangsta style, for whatever that’s worth. Might give you that couple seconds to shake it off and get out of there, or get back in the fight.

      2-3 rounds of #8 shot, 3-4 rounds of buck, and a couple slugs gives you an escalating punch, not that it should take that against one or two typical numb-nuts burglars with guns, or the neighborhood teens who cops say are 70% of the time responsible for suburban burglaries.

      I recall talking with an 870 gunsmith who insists he loads two with rubber bullets first, to give a chance to avoid taking that life, by mistake.

      Toss on inexpensive bandolier belt over the pj’s and you have an even more flexible range of 20-30 rounds in the variety you like, so if it gets to the point that its a drawn-out thing, hunkered down against multiple attackers, like a Watts riot type scenario, you have a lot of options.

      Bottomline- I don’t think there’s any one best weapon- its what you TRAIN for with good coaching, and get good at, and KEEP PRACTICING, so when you are half asleep and stressed your muscle memory training kicks in, as it usually does when you are scared spitless and/or amped up, in a situation like a home invasion.

      Buy the basic gun, and save the money on accessories like lights, lasers, tactical can-openers and super spy ring attachments, and get trained, and go to the range, first, monthly, for about a year.

      • Really? Reliability, unlimited customization, and availability. I don’t even own a Glock, and when my wife’s friend asked what she should get as a first handgun, the G19 was the obvious recommendation.

        • It is not smart to recommend
          Something you havent
          Owned/used. Me, I prefer CZ pistols most of Europes police cant be (too) wrong and the fact that I am good with it make it good for me.

  19. PS90 50 round magazine ridiculously compact with a 16 in barrel, insanely more with the 10.5 in. Can be operated with one hand and it is fully ambidextrous. Perfect for home defense.

    • Agreed. I got a few boxes of pre-ban 5.7 in case they are wearing armour. 10.5″ SBR + suppressor with a close quarters red dot. Thinking about a laser/flashlight combo on the side. Got 50+1 rounds next to my bed, spare mag in a drawer. My main concern would be dealing with the paperwork if I ever have to use it…SBR+suppressor is going to take some explaining if I get one of those anti 2A cops responding.


    (4 walls spaced 10′ apart, typical 5/8″ drywall on both sides of 2×4 stud framing)

    XM193 ball (5.56) went through all 4 walls.
    55 grain soft point (5.56) also went through all 4 walls. Broke up.
    Frangible 5.56 – looks like it went through all 4 walls as well.
    .30 carbine – went through all 4 walls – tumbling at the end.
    Reduced Recoil 00 Buck – went through all 4 walls.
    Hardened 00 Buckshot – blew the hell out of the first wall, marched through the remaining 3.
    Remington #8 Dove Load – Very interesting here: massive damage to the first wall, no penetration of the 2nd wall.

    A different test with some different results (same 10′ wall setup):

    Fiocchi 40-grain VMax – penetrated 2 walls, nicked 3rd wall.
    .45 – went right through 3 walls, little path change.
    9MM 115-grain Speer Gold Dots – went through 2 walls, likely would have gone through the 3rd but their paths veered off the test bed.
    .380 acp – went through 2 walls, embedded in the interior of 3rd wall (didn’t penetrate back)
    7.69×39 – went through all 3 walls, tumbled by 3rd wall.
    Winchester Ranger 55-grain softpoints (5.56) – heavy fragmentation after 2nd wall, did not penetrate 3rd wall.
    Hornady TAP 55-grain (5.56) – clean through all 3 walls. Very little deflection in paths.
    Hornady TAP 60-grain (5.56) – oddball round, fragmented after 2nd wall, became shrapnel by 3rd wall.

    • Actual data…interesting.

      What this says to me is that overpenetration isn’t really an issue — as in if you miss the bad guy, the bullet will penetrate a fair amount of other stuff, and that’s all there is to it. After all, penetrating things is what bullets are made to do. So just accept the risk and try like hell to actually hit your target.

    • This is right on the money. I got to go to a wound ballistics seminar. Got to shoot through leather jackets, sheet rock, mock siding, car doors, windshields.
      Great day at the range.

  21. Having a law enforcement back round I question the use of a semi auto shotgun for home defense and the ammo suggested. 1. the browning he shows has the bolt open i.e. tension on the spring for how long? 2. if the semi auto is gas operated i.e. 1100’s the gas seals are good for about a year. 3. OO buck for home defense ? those 9 .32 pellets will go how far? During a shooting in Riverside, CA. some years we found a pellet in the fender of a VW 4 houses down from the home where the shooting took place. Last but not least our department teaches is using a side saddle or other device to hold extra shells they should placed brass side up so they will not wiggle out during firing. And yes I have seen them fall out during a shooting.

  22. TO: All
    RE: It All Depends….

    ….on your personal situation.

    I live in an old—1901—three-wyth brick house. That means THREE LAYERS OF THE MOST DENSE BRICK I’VE EVER SEEN. A .50 cal would take time the chew its way through it.

    So I’m not particularly worried about shooting the neighbors next door when I pull out the AR-15. The windows don’t line up. Besides, most of the neighbors on all sides have brick too. Some even three-wyth, as they were built about the same period. The ones behind are more recent. But I don’t expect to be engaging targets in that direction.

    If the home invaders are wearing body armor, the AR is the weapon of choice. Otherwise, it’s the .45 cal ACP with laser targeting.


    [Celebrate Diversity….it helps to be prepared for various contingencies.]

  23. If you can’t keep your long gun on target with one hand….This is the internet, you don’t have to look too far for forearm exercises…..

  24. Bedside table: CZ 75 SPO1 tactical with night sights and attached laser/light, 9mm Hornady Critical Defense, plus spare mag
    Corner by bed: M1 Carbine, 30 round mag loaded with Hornady Critical Defense – wife can shoot it ok
    Work space at home: Yugo M57, 7.62×25, Wolf HPs – some times you have to go for style points
    Garage (various locations): S&W M19 and Marlin 1894C, both loaded with .38 Special +P, 125gr jacketed hollow points
    I’m not ever more than 25 feet from firearm, at least inside my house.

    Would integrate a shotgun and/or AR 15 into this mix, but don’t own either yet.

  25. First of all look out for the claymores in the trees. Next, If the BG’s get thru the shark infested moat and past the pack of rabid wolves that surround my trailer house they’ll have to deal with my domesticated zombie squad (I feed them cow brains. It works.) Get past them and I’ll be waiting with my black laser guided-triple-barreled-heat-seaking-uzi shotgun (with a shoulder thingy that goes up & high capacity magazine clips).

    • I’d keep my claymore in the house in it’s scabbard. More chance of corrosion in outdoor storage…Oh, *Those* claymores, never mind. 😉

    • NIIiicce! I gots to get me some o’ dem “domesticated zombie squads”. Um, where do you get the cow brains?

  26. Glock 34 w/ Glock’s light and laser combo for bedside, Mossberg 500 w/ 7 +1 #4 buckshot, and S&W MP15 which is locked up, but loaded.

  27. This all reminds me of the Ali-G bit where he interviews a British banking official and asks, “What is the bestest PIN number?”

    Hopefully nobody else said this cuz I didn’t feel like wading through all of the other comments about why their PIN number is the bestest.

  28. Rifle/Shotguns can have 4 points of contact with your body, hands, shoulder, cheek weld. Better aim, better control, better retention. A pistol can have a max of 2.

    Long gun > handgun. Hand guns only real advantage is concealment and in very rare cases, better manipulation is very tight quarters.

    I have also read more than once that the typical 5.56 55gr FMJ would fall apart after hitting the first wall/door, or much more so that the typical 115gr FMJ 9mm. I have even read that that is ONE of the reasons that police departments are moving away from shotguns in favor of AR’s. ONE of the reasons, not the only.

    I dont buy into ” largest caliber” hand gun bs. A .22 is probably too small and rimfire makes its mind up with each round if its going to work or not. 380…not my cup of tea, more from a gun hardware perspective. 9mm just right and a bad guy is not going to know the difference between a 9mm, .40 or .45.

    With any gun, I would automatically go with 2 rounds min, if I have to pull the trigger. A light, a very bright light can not be underestimated. My AR has 500 lumens at the 11 o’clock position, day or night in my house that is going to blind the bad guy and allow me to make the 2 second determination that you are not my wife or kids, and then pull the trigger (at least twice).

    The biggest negative I see with an AR is that is going to crush your hearing indoors if you have to pull the trigger. Crush everyone’s hearing. If you are running any kind of after market break that is only going to make matters worse. Knowing that ahead of time is something you should understand. Making sure everyone is gtg after the intruder/s are dispatched may require non-verbal communication as no one in the house might be able to hear anything for a while.

  29. Any round that will penetrate to FBI specs will go through most barriers. Oh, and every gun has its pros and cons. A pistol can be used one handed, but it is very difficult to make hits with the much less powerful pistol. An AR is easy to use and lacks recoil, but they tend to be expensive compared to the other options. I can set up a Rem 870 and still have money enough left over for a Glock with the same money as a mil-spec AR with toys. As far as shotgun spread, try Flite Control by Federal. What you feed the gun is as important as what the gun is.

  30. A Sig P250C .380 with Crimson Trace laser & a Sig SP 2022 9MM with night sights. Oh and lest I forget, a Windham Weaponry SRC with flashlight.

  31. For the basic what the hell was that, unexplained bump in the night response (ice melting in the sink? A/C turning cycling particularly loudly? maybe someone trying to pick a lock?), it’s my EDC: Glock 26 9mm ready on the night stand. Perfectly positioned the right distance and angle for instant grab and presentation.

    For an undeniable, it’s go time response (smash of a window, lamp just got knocked off an end table in the living room, vigorous attempt to kick open a door), it’s my bedside KRISS Vector SDP. 13+1 rounds of hollow point .45 ACP in a Glock factory mag with a redirected bolt minimizing recoil and maximizing return to target. Facing that weapon system, any ill-fated intruder who unfortunately selected my home to hit a lick would be joining that home defense debate already in progress: having long since blown past “capable” and “effective”, having just barreled through “proven man-stopper”, and now fast approaching “borderline immoral.” Not much left to say at that point, but any input is welcome.

    For the “Hmmm…….guess I’ll have all day…tomorrow… figure out why this five man, murderous rip crew has mistaken our lovely home for a cash-laden drug den; but for now, it’s the firefight from hell here in suburbia”, it’s my gold ol’ Colt 6920 AR-15 backed up by six pmags fully loaded with hollow point .223 55gr.

    There’s a similar set-up and progression of force from her side of the bed, too.

  32. best slave state HD set up- pump 12ga backed by a Springfield xd9

    best free state HD set up- ar-15 or pump 12ga backed by xdm with 19 rd mag or Glock 19 with 33 rd mag.

  33. KSG!

    OK, not really. At least not yet. It’s the right size, harder for an attacker to grab and packs a 12-gauge kick. If I can convince myself it’s reliable enough to depend on, everything else it has going for it could be a superb choice for home defense. Until then, 92FS / 590A1.

  34. S&W627pro 4″brl. 8shot revolver on nightstand gets you to closet where a belt carrying 627 holster on one side and Glock 22 and holster on the other (no spare mags) sits alongside a semi shotgun, AR, and M1A (all three long guns have slings which defeat the one/two hands argument). The AR (slinged long gun) is FAR superior to a handgun when any real distance is involved (difference between shooting between the eyes and missing entirely).

  35. AR-15 chambered for .300 Blackout with electronic ear muffs handy for wife and myself. The .300 Blackout is much quieter than a 5.56 round should you not be able to get hearing protection on. Electronic ear muffs enable communication at near whisper levels that hopefully the bad guy wont hear.

    Before getting to that is a full perimeter and very obvious security camera system, security warning signs, motion detection lights, remote audible alarm, two chihuahuas that sound like dobermans, and high intensity lights that make it damned near impossible to see the upstairs layout.

    Any bad guy would also have to be a total and complete idiot to try to get into our house when the neighbors have no security systems, no alarms, no dogs, and they will find that they have no guns.

  36. The military first priority when defending a static position is perimeter defense.Why? Because the military’s worst nightmare is “hostiles inside the fence”.

    Based on that premise, and for about the price of a high end AR, you can set up a perimeter composed of motion detector lights, wireless camera(s) that go to you smart phone on the nightstand, and the ultimate layer in the onion: ADT! A prominently displayed ADT sign is a greater deterrent than most anything else.

    If you don’t have a perimeter defense you are not thinking clearly. Once the hostiles get inside the fence before you know about it, you and your family are in for a world of problems.

    • I doubt many would argue against the value of perimeter defense and I would expect many here have taken at least some rudimentary steps toward that end. TTAG readers likely have reinforced their doors with ANSI grade 1 locks and perhaps hinge, strike plate and door frame reinforcements, as well. Motion detecting exterior lights, removal of shrubbery providing easy concealment, and general kept up appearance of the property are all standard fare, among others.

      However, the article’s topic is limited to the best firearm for home defense; not an open ended exploration of all home defense-related matters. If we were to throw open the doors that widely, then we ought to start examining lifestyle choices long before firearms selections. After all, once you remove foolish, illegal, violent people/habits/hobbies/vocations from the mix, the odds of ever experiencing a home invasion plunge rather rapidly.

  37. Nice video and article.

    My suggestion is to get a weapon you can afford to purchase and afford to train with. Think about the different situations you might encounter and then turn them into training events. Make sure you practice getting the gun out of whatever storage container it is in, practice taking it off safe, acquiring the target and engaging the target.

    Remember, you can’t miss fast enough.

  38. SW 357 mag with hollow points, glock 21 with compensator and extended clip, taurus judge with 410 HD loads, and a if all that fails then ill use my last 410 round for myself lol

  39. The best home defense weapon is the one that changes an intruders mind before you even wake up. I recomend a german shepard, and any handgun/shotgun/rifle that you like. Training for any weapon is a must.

  40. The 45 works best in a full size single action 1911. Made for each other. I want more chances. glock 19 by my bed.

  41. Bushmaster m4,flash suppreser, led, remmi brass, stagger every fourth with FMj acog, (for target days, not home d!!).the click clack of that first round of the chamber will run off most. if they make it by those 30, I have a ka-bar on my hip at all times, very efficient with it in cqc. Prob more so than my Ruthie (my m4).

  42. I like a S&W .357 Mag and Glock 9mm for home defense. Mossberg 500 is always a great go to also.

  43. Closest to where I sleep is a SW 4″, 357 with saw-tooth bullets. If time allows, under the bed is a Saiga12 with a 12″ barrel, 10 shot mag with another mag attached. As mentioned above, professional training and regular practice using your weapons (as part of a family HD plan) is critical.

  44. Two Dobermans, one Dogo Argentina 12g with 00 buck for the wife next to her side of the bed, Kimber 1911 with laser grip and a SCAR .308 just incase they brought a few friends with them on the back 40.

  45. An extremely common form of home invasion starts with 2 or 3 “solicitors” at the door getting you crack the door so that they can use their numbers to overwhelm that door and infiltrate your home. These make up a HUGE percentage of the home invasions in my city. The whole bump in the middle of the night type of invasion is not nearly as common.

    This has led me to the conclusion that the FIRST firearm you should invest in for home defense is a handgun that you can keep on you in the home whenever you’re dressed. Unless you want to answer every doorbell with a shotgun or a rifle in hand, the handgun is the most versatile choice. Another huge advantage is that with a handgun, your CCW training and home defense training directly compliment each other and you’re getting as much training as possible with the weapon you’re most likely to have with you at any given time. Less complication is always a good thing.

    Lastly, a shotgun would be an excellent choice as a backup option. If you ARE responding to a bump in the night in your underwear, if you have both a pistol AND a shotgun nearby to investigate with then I’d take the shotgun. But overall, if I were to recommend ONE gun to start with for home defense it would be a handgun.

  46. I live in Canuckistan [Canada] and the RCMP “professionals” tell us that under no circumstances, can a citizen use force to defend themselves.
    They are of the opinion that if home owners would just accept their fate and cooperate with the intruders, who have more rights that we do, all will be well.
    They will arrive just in time [ after the donut shop closes ] to wander around the crime scene, getting crumbs on the evidence and after they check your home for a grow op, they will stand around telling knock knock jokes while the coroner’s staff bag your carcasses. All in a good days work.
    The sad part is that I’m not kidding.
    I however, do not subscribe to the “cower and die” defense put forth by our LGBT in red serge.
    A Glock 21 for me and a Glock 22 for the misses, a Labrador retriever for an early warning system and a nearby reservoir to dispose of the late and unlamented dirt bags. No bodies ? No crime.
    By the time the RCMP FUBAR the investigation [as usual], it will have been determined that Chuck Norris or Big Bird are the prime suspects.
    The Mounties always get their Bird.
    I’m not bitter, though.

    • And that is the only reason that I have not yet requested that my Better Half exercise her Canadian Citizenship. It is still better to live here in Arizona where I am legally permitted to exercise my God given rights to defense of myself and my family. At least for now.
      I do fear the day is coming though that this will change.
      As far as the best weapon for home defense that would be the weapon that you are most competent with and the mindset of a warrior.
      No one who comes into your house sans invitation is up to any good … EVER.
      I will not submit, I will not give quarter, I may die in the altercation but I will have company for the journey if I have to bite out his throat in order to finish it.

      • I’m with you 100% Ben. I don’t give a fig what some red coated bureaucrat tells me.
        I’m a retired Sheriff and if persons unknown attempt to breach my perimeter they are gonna get hurt or worse. On the bright side, we have free health care.
        I carried a Glock 22 in .40 S&W before I retired and that’s exactly what occupies my night stand. Take care.

  47. A Walther PPQ 9mm loaded up with speer gold dot 115gr, always holstered while I’m home and on my night stand when I’m sleeping. Double taps can’t get much easier than with this beauty.

    I’ll be adding an XDS 45 pretty soon for the ease of concealment.

    • Good choices. I’m trying to get some rubber shot shells for my 12 gauge as a form of “aversion” conditioning.

  48. Mossberg 500 Tactical with tact light and with one bird shot loaded over buckshot.

    Collapsed stock shot gun works wonders for most situations in home defense.

  49. 357 Rossi and a moss. maverick 12 on the side of the bed. 357 loaded both with 38 special and 357 so I can be powerful then become more accurate if the need be. And I must also say this is a very cheap rout to home defense both guns under $500 brand-new.

  50. Unless you are very highly trained marksman, and with the cool head that comes from personal experience in combat (or other life-threatening situations), the best firearm for home defense is a short-barreled 12 gauge shotgun. Period.

    Many (if not most) rookie cops who have their first encounter with a dangerous, armed criminal are unable to shoot accurately enough to stop the aggressor. News stories abound about inexperienced cops who, at their first encounters with armed bad guys, are so scared that their hands shake like crazy. They empty part or all of their handgun clip without even hitting them.

    Do you think you’re some special exception? Unless you’re an experienced cop or combat veteran, your first encounter with an armed bad guy is going to be the most frightening moment of your life. Are you going to be calm and steady-handed enough to hit him with the first shot? Very possibly not. And, very possibly, you won’t be getting a second chance.

    Yes, it’s true that shotgun patterns from an 18″ barrel only spread out about 1″ per yard (plus or minus, depending on the specific brand and type of shell, and we’re talking about buckshot here). But, if your bad guy is within 10 yards, you’re going to hit him with your long gun (stabilized by both hands) anyway. Even if your aim, with your stable long gun, is a little off (say 4-5″ to either side of center torso) you’ll still hit him.

    If your bad guy is a little further away, the advantage with a shotgun is even more pronounced. At 20 yards, your pattern is 20″ wide (plus or minus), so your aim can be nearly 10″ off and you’ll still hit. Remember: the point is to stop them before they get too close to stop you. Do the math–much higher probability of a hit, with a shotgun, no matter what the home defense range is.

    Why do you think the police, who actually face life threatening situations, reach for their 12 gauges when it gets really serious?

    I know. You think you’re pretty good with your handgun. And, at the range, you probably are. But let me tell you: if that day ever comes that your life is in imminent danger you are going to wish more than anything in the world that you had a good police shotgun in your hands instead. Much more powerful. Much more likely, in real world situations, to hit and stop the bad guy with the first shot. Do yourself a favor and buy the 12 gauge of your choice now, if you don’t have one. Practice with it, be familiar with it, and sleep easy.

    • You’ll get no argument from me that a 12 gauge is a devastating weapon at appropriate ranges with appropriate ammunition.
      The two most obvious disadvantages are that it takes two hands to operate a shotgun and even a short,tactical shotgun can be hard to manipulate in a confined space.
      As well, smaller persons tend to be sensitive to recoil and a light 12 gauge can be quite punishing so, they probably won’t spend much time at the range.
      When I was on the job, most of our female members simply hated the folding 870s we were issued with.
      I have a few shotguns and view them as very viable for home defense but, if the poop hits the fan at 0200 hours, a large bore pistol will be in my right hand and I’ll be chatting amiably with the 911 operator with the phone in my left hand.

  51. For me in the middle of the night I do not want a thought process and is why I like the simplicity of a revolver.. I have nothing against auto ,loaders and own some myself, but my bedside handgun is a Ruger SP101 loaded with 5 shots of 38 specials…. I also do have a Ruger SR9C close by….

    • I am a strong proponent of revolvers as well due to their inherent simplicity and reliability.
      They are also able to function with a much wider variety of specialized ammunition.
      A 4 inch Smith N frame stoked with six good .44 special lead hollow points can be a potent
      defensive package.

  52. I agree with Steve wholeheartedly about combat and or cops who have had the need to shoot a live person (even though I imagine the majority if either have actually hot another human before) he is definitely correct on your abilities at that point in a situation of the types we are referring to. But at night or day for that matter if someone is actually in your house or trying to enter where you live your adrenaline will help you focus more than one would think. I grew up hunting and shooting but am not what one would call an expert with guns even though I was an expert marksman in the military. The best gun for any average novice is a revolver and a 38 special (hollow point) or 357 are a good as you need. I personally own a Taurus Judge, 1st round is a Colt 45, the 2nd round is 01 buckshot in 410 variety. If you have not killed them or they keep coming then the 410 with mix of 20 disc and pellets is next. If that does not do it then you are toast. Either superman broke in or a walker from the Walking Dead is chomping on your leg by now. I do have a 28 inch razor sharp sword in my front coat closet if he is a polite intruder and comes into the front door. My two dogs in the back will probably cause that to happen. At any rate I think severe bleeding will be going on by this point in time. Oh and the 12 inch cold steel survival knife also in the dresser on the way out of the bedroom just to have something in the other hand LOL. I do have a LR9 ( 9mm (2) 17 round clip for the other acronym deficient people in this string). Anyway that is my 2 cents worth and I hope I never have to use any of them.

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