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By Roy

Like one of TTAG’s prolific writers, I too have been on a quest to find the perfect firearm for self-defense. There are three practical kinds; rifles, shotguns, and of course, pistols. Of those three, there is only one that can apply to defense both out in the world and inside the home; the handgun. They can be carried concealed, openly, and kept close to one’s bedside at night. I believe anyone who intends to exercise their right to own and bear a firearm should have a handgun, as it is the most versatile in all roles. Now it would seem that handguns are perfect for everything, right? . . .


They are lightweight, concealable and versatile, but every ballistics expert out there will tell you that pistols are underpowered. They are vastly outclassed by rifles and shotguns when it comes to lethality, period. Even with high-caliber revolvers. While shot placement is king, you stand a much better chance of inflicting a debilitating or incapacitating wound on an attacker with a rifle or shotgun, than with a pistol.

Now life is all about choices, and there are a million and one different tools out there to be used for the defense of home and hearth. But before we get into those, first we’re going to go on a magical Nutnfancy-esque journey…

A journey I like to call philosophy of use. Yes, I am terribly sorry to say, this will be a long-winded section, so I’ll try to keep it short and sweet.

Defensive VS Offensive

First, there are two philosophies for the use of any weapon. Defensive and offensive.

-And not in the non-politically correct frame of discussion-

A defensive mindset seeks only to survive. The goal is not to kill, but to stop the threat. This is what we have, as armed citizens, the People of the Gun.

Now an Offensive mindset wants to deprive others of their life/property/power. This is what soldiers, and some members of Law Enforcement, have.

Because our uses are limited only to a defensive mindset, handguns and short carbines/shotguns are our preferred tools. We have little need for weapons that work best at distances further than a hundred yards, at least in our daily lives.

Moving on.


This will be short. The firearms I am discussing are the things that will be most useful in our day-to-day lives, but believe it or not, they would be fairly effective under extreme circumstances.

Concealability is a must, while long-distance effectiveness is not. Needing to engage a target beyond fifty feet is extremely unlikely, and is NOT recommended. While being able to eliminate threats from huge distances is an advantage, a better solution would be to avoid that threat altogether.

Why waste the ammo and take the unneeded risk, after all?

Trunk Guns

Ah, yes. The trusty trunk gun.

In my opinion, a trunk gun should be a long gun that is rugged, effective as a weapon, relatively compact, and utterly reliable. A short AK or AR15 carbine/pistol is a good choice, while an 18 inch pump shotgun or Mare’s Leg is also a valid option.

But, one must be mindful of their state’s laws regarding long guns being transported in a vehicle. If they must be in the open, unloaded, seperate from ammunition, locked, etc. This is why I prefer an AK pistol with the Sig/Century arm brace; I can throw it in the trunk and take it anywhere with a concealed carry permit, locked and loaded, ready to go.

If there is only one reason to get an AR/AK pistol, it’s to have a good trunk gun that is more effective at stopping a threat than a handgun.

Alternate Methods of Self-Defense

Aye, I’m giving this a mention.

There are two types of categories for self-defense. Lethal and less-lethal. There is no such thing as non-lethal, as even pepper/OC spray can kill someone.

For less-lethal, tasers, spray, batons and martial arts are the most common choices. They all have their merits. Tasers are cheaper than a firearm and are very effective. There is a chance they can kill someone, and they rely on batteries, though. One might also tase themselves by accident with certain models. Some jurisdictions prohibit people from carrying them.

OC/Pepper spray is a very good deterrant, but if someone is allergic to it or if they have asthma, it can kill them. I’m not sure on how common an allergy to pepper spray is, but asthma isn’t uncommon.

Batons can be considered a deadly weapon, and are banned in some areas. One must take care with their use, lest your attempt to defend yourself gets you into serious trouble. They require more physical strength than that of your attacker, and can be used against you. The “Unbreakable Umbrella,” and city sticks are popular options, and are easier to carry around unnoticed than collapsibles.

Martial arts are always brought up. “You don’t need a gun, just learn to fight!” When outnumbered, or if you lack the physical fitness needed, it isn’t a valid option. While fighting multiple opponents can be done, it takes many years of practice to be effective. Learning martial arts takes time, and is fairly expensive. One of its best benefits is that it is perfectly concealed, and always with you. Can’t have your arms and legs stolen form under you, ya?

Now onto the common lethal weapons. Brass knuckles, baseball bats and knives. Brass knuckles are prohibited in a lot of places. Most states have banned them.

Baseball bats are commonly used, and commonly owned. They can’t exactly be carried around in the open, but having one in the truck of your car can be useful. Golf clubs, axes, bats and other such things have the same caveats as bats and batons.

Knives are also restricted in many places. I disagree with this, as are knives are useful tools. Fixed-blades are always better than folders for several reasons, but they are more difficult to carry. Learning how to use a blade properly is more time-consuming than other martial arts, and as any instructor will tell you, knife-fighting is a dirty sport. Anyone who gets into one will bleed. It is dangerous, and should only be done as a last resort, as even an amateur can turn your knife against you if you get careless.

Something to remember!   If you ever use a knife for self-defense, it doesn’t matter what situation it is. You WILL be taken to court over it. Americans are used to seeing guns used for defense, but knives are a taboo, and you have to get real intimate with your attacker to use one. Leave throwing knives for jokers, the only way you use one for defense is by grabbing, grappling, and stabbing.

Now that I’ve gotten all of this out of the way, we’ll move onto pistols!

Concealed or Open Carry

This gets brought up a lot. And I mean a LOT.

So I’ll glaze over this by saying it depends on your intended use, environmant, and destination.

Automatic or Revolver

Again, another common question, and I’ll not get into the middle of it, lest I ruffle too many feathers.

I prefer automatics, as they are less finicky and more practical than revolvers. Some prefer the higher-calibers that revolvers use, and enjoy the classic feel.

If you train often and thoroughly, you’ll be fine with either type. But be sure to look into the strengths and weaknesses of each before committing.

Cartridge, and Bullet Type

Dear Lord, there’s an argument over this every ten minutes! Look it up yourselves for Chrissake, but I’ll offer what little I know.

I like the 9mm. I know it has shortcomings. I’ve personally seen security footage of a man shot 15 times at point-blank range, including two that went through the back of his skull, and he was still moving, crawling and clawing away from his attacker. I was shown this as a High School Junior during my Criminal Investigation class. The difference between using this and something else is that I can accurately put rounds on-target twice as quickly with +P 9mm as I can with standard 40 or 45.

I do not like the 40S&W. It has too much muzzle flip for my liking and increases wear on the firearm. It has great ballistics, but the downsides are too much for me.

While I like the 45ACP, I still prefer my 9. It has a lot of kick, and you know full well that bullet has a lot of OOMPH to it. Its ammunition is more expensive and has a more limited capacity. The grip of a double-stack handgun using it will be larger than the equivalent 9mm or 40.

The 10mm has all the problems of the 45ACP and the 40S&W combined. It is the most powerful automatic handgun cartridge you can acquire. It is longer than the 45, leading to a larger grip suitable only to those with large hands. Those with balls big enough to carry this on their person, or a penis small enough to feel the need to carry it, are definitely not someone you would want to mess with.

IN MY OPINION, use 9mm or 45. The tradeoffs with 40 or 10mm aren’t worth it.

For defense, use jacketed hollow points. They are the most effective on soft targets. FMJ works, but if you’re going to use them exclusively, than carry the biggest you can effectively use. Use the cheapest non-remanufactured ammo you can get for target practice, unless it proves problematic with your firearm. Having to clear malfunctions all the time would become too irritating, and might cause other problems with your handgun.

I’m not getting into revolver cartridges, as I don’t have anywhere near enough experience with them to have an informed opinion. So sue me.

Single or Double Stack

Okay, this is relevant more to your needs, build and preferences than anything else.

A single stack will be thinner and easier to conceal. But it has only have the ammunition of a similarly-sized double stack. It will be more comfortable to carry, and will most likely be lighter than an equivalent double stack by more than a few ounces when you include ammo.

Now I prefer double stack. Why? More ammo, not much size difference. “Carrying a gun should be comforting, not comfortable,” as my old man told me. Find a position, get a good holster and belt, wear a shirt that’s a size bigger than you’d normally wear. Good to go.

For females? Damned if I know, I have a penis. Wear a regular, non-formfitted shirt and don’t wear skintight pants? Maybe ask another female who carries daily.

AR/AK Pistols

Okay, since this is the pistol section, I’ll add this.

These aren’t very useful without a stock. Having the Sig/Century arm brace alleviates that downfall.

They can be legally concealed in a vehicle if you have a CCP. As of this minute, they CAN be shouldered with the brace since the ATF gave their blessing on the matter. See above as to why you would want one of these instead of a full-on rifle or shotgun.

Pistol-Caliber Carbines

Think of the MP5 with a 16 inch barrel, or H&K’s UMC. Or the High-Point carbine, Keltec Sub-2k, etc.

That’s what a PCC is. I prefer an actual rifle, as they are the same size with a rifle being undoubtedly more effective as a weapon.

The only places where the PCC shines is in areas where overpenetration is a major factor, such as a densely-populared city or suburb. And of course, commonality of ammunition between carbine and pistol is a good thing, except for both being underpowered.

Pistols are done with. Now for RIFLES!

Conventional and Bullpup

Big, big argument is which format is better.

This is like arguing over whether Mac is better than Windows. They both have benefits and detractors.

Bullpups are as small as a Short-Barreled Rifle while retaining a full-length barrel, and the better ballistics of said barrel. They have terrible triggers that are very heavy, double-action-esque heavy. They usually have much worse accuracy over conventional rifles because of that, and many of them present problems for left-handed users with a few notable exceptions. Some hate having their face so close to the chamber, and fret over the possible injuries that could be caused by a catastrophic malfunction.

Standard rifles are longer and have a better reputation for reliability. They also have better triggers. C’mon, you all know what regular rifles are like.

Once more, your preferences and mission requirements will dictate which better fits your needs.

Semi-Automatic, Lever- and Bolt-Action

For self-defense, an automatic is always preferable. The manually-operated rifles are more relible in most circumstances, but automatics have a serious advantage in firepower.

Lever guns are limited to round- and flat-nose ammo, and typically have a small capacity that is limited by barrel length.

Bolt-Actions are usually precision rifles, and should be treated as such. If you’re needing to use a bolt gun to defend your home from an attacker, there’s a problem. At that point, a pump shotgun is a better option.

The choice here should be obvious, but different strokes for different folks.

Intermediate and Full-Power Cartridges

Okay, this is more of a “mission dictates the gear” area. Beware of your firing lanes, and where those bullets might go.

While a 308 is definitely more powerful, the smaller rounds will be easier to use under stress due to lower recoil and less disorientation from the blast that occurs indoors. A battle rifle will also be heavier, more expensive, and likely longer than one chambered in 5.56/7.62×39/5.45/300/6.8/etc. It’s also very difficult to find anyhting bigger than 308 in semi-automatic.

The smaller round will have a higher capacity, and will be much cheaper to purchase the rifle/ammo than the higher-caliber equivalent. Lighter, lower recoil, less noise, easier to use, etc.

Pick based on where you’re at. If you’re out in the boonies where your closest neighbors are over five miles out, go hog wild with whatever you like.

For ammunition choice, go read the forums. There are thousands of options form FMJ, JSP, OTM, BTHP, etc.

SBR, Carbine or Full-Length

Now this is where I get angry. The best option for defense of self, loved ones and property is an SBR with a sub-12 inch barrel. It’s small, light, easy to use indoors and minimized over-penetration. Everything you need and nothing you don’t.

But due to the NFA, an SBR is a bad option. Why? More expensive, takes nearly a year to acquire, and God forbid someone should use an eeevil NFA item to defend themselves. Their property will be detained and abused by their local crime techs and law enforcement evidence guys, even after they are cleard of any wrongdoing. And good luck not going on trial due to simply using an “evil” weapon.

In some Communist states, firearms used in self-defense are “Roach Motel’d” by the local department due to the political beliefs of the police chief/Sheriff. It’s often not worth the legal costs of attempting to recover such property, and is considered forever lost. Even when the individual goes to the trouble, there are times where personal property is “lost” by the evidence guys and the procurement chain mysteriously vanishes. Happens more often than you’d think whenever an expensive firearm comes into their possession. Items returning to their owner banged-up and beat all to hell happens, too. Beware.

Carbines are the middle of the road, with a barrel between 12 and 16 inches. They’re essentially the best you could use without getting crucified by the media and the DA. A 14.5 pinned to 16 inches is about as short as you can go without being in NFA territory, while also being useful for outdoors or indoors. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than you’d think. By pulling the stock out of one’s shoulder and back, laying it flat on said shoulder and pointed to the floor, you can keep it close to your body. Having it in your shoulder should have the muzzle only a few inches further from the body than when you’ve got a pistol held out. Having a short stock helps, of course.

Anything with a 16+ inch barrel, plus muzzle device, is what I consider to be a rifle. They’re too long, too front-heavy for proper inside work. Not ideal, but doable with practice, same technique as I mentioned earlier. A bullpup is probably the best way to get a full-length rifle that can be effectively used indoors, though that’s got its own set of problems.

Scope, Irons or Red Dot

Ah yes, optics. Lots and lots of options.

Mission dictates the gear, and remember to research what you’re getting. Personal preference will determine what you use.

You should always have irons, but a 1x optic is better when under stress.

Always use a reputable manufacturer for optics. Bad optics go bad quickly and easily, and could very well do so during a bad situation. Remember Murphy’s Law, and try to change any batteries regularly.

A scope is nearly unusuable inside, but point shooting is still a valid option. An ACOG-like optic can be used with the Bindon Aiming Concept, but it require practice. Then again, you’re going to practice with your rifle anyway, right?

Zero your weapon at the maximum range you’ll be shooting at. For an AK47 clone, I find a 25 yard zero is effective. For an AR15, I like the 50 yard zero. Do your homework before choosing, and remember to zero with your chosen SD ammo!


Same as earlier with NFA goodies. If not for the NFA, I’d love to have a suppressor. But they’re expensive and unwieldy, and not just due to the added length/weight.

Personally, if I had to shoot someone and the rifle I grabbed had a suppressor, I’d take it off and clean it thoroughly, then place it back in its box. I’d probably tell the officer, but I most certainly wouldn’t want them “detaining” an $600+ dollar piece of kit. Especially not in the areas I’ve lived.

I’d probably take any optics and accessories off my rifle, too, but I’m a very distrusting person.


Don’t hang a ton of crap off your weapon. Find what you need, figure out the best way to attach it. A grip, optic, light, sling, spare batteries, spare bolt/firing pin, and possibly rail covers. That’s it.

Yes, a sling. You have a holster, right?

Yes, a light. You can’t see in the dark, right? You can’t use a rifle with only one hand, right?

Fully loaded with everything on it, unless it’s a Vepr, a 308 or something else insanely heavy, it should be under 10 pounds. Preferably under 8 pounds, but make do with what you’ve got.

Finally! Almost done. Now for shotguns.

Pump or Automatic

I have a pump. I like my pump.

Would I turn down an automatic?

HELL no.

Barrel Length

For home defense, the shorter the better. Mine has a 20 inch barrel and I’m happy with it. I’d never want anything longer than that, but I’d definitely take something a bit shorter.

Not a Serbu Shorty, but something like a 14 inch MCS would be perfect.

Handle one and decide. The 18 inch requirement makes them less optimal than a pinned carbine, 12 gauge or not.

Rifled or Smoothbore

Smoothbore. Why?

You can run any kind of shell through it. Rifles bores can only be used with slugs and other solid munitions. Smooth is just more versatile.

You can also use chokes with a smoothbore, should you wish to tighten up the shot spread a little bit.

Buckshot, Slug or Birdshot

Flip a coin. They all do the same thing within thirty feet or so; tear a massive gaping hole through the target.

I’m biased towards 00 buck, but I was a spoiled kid.

Pistol Grip or Stock

Stock. Always, always use a stock.

Standalone pistol grips are for gamers, doorkickers and jokers.

There’s also some funky duck’s head grip out there that looks like a chopped synthetic stock. I’ve never used it, but it looks like it would work better than the standard pistol grip.

Still, use a stock. Your wrist will thank you, and you’ll thank me later.

Sights. Ghost Ring, Bead or Optic

Flip a damn coin already, ya cheapskates.

Optics are difficult to install and zero unless you’ve got a built-in picatinny rail. Shotguns are very, very hard on optics, so beware going this route.

Bead sights aren’t too complicated. Point and shoot, ‘cuz these are all about how familiar you are with the gun. You can also cheat a bit with a Mossberg. On the top of the receiver, there should be some flathead screws. Loosen the rearmost one a tiny bit, just intil the little groove/slot lines up with the bead. Works wonders, and you can Loctite it that way if you prefer.

Ghost rings are the best factory sights, being more precise and user-friendly than the bead, but they seem to catch and snag on damned-near everything!

I still love them. Brings me back to when I used to shoot my grandad’s M16 as a kid.

And that’s all, folks! Take it or leave it, this is what I’ve got to offer. Thanks for reading, and have a good one.

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  1. The ONLY advantage of a pistol is concealment. Pistols poke holes, rifles tear shit up.

    Pistol = Glock 17
    Rifle = AR15, 14.5 inch pined to 16.1 or 16 inch. I personally want to avoid trouble at all costs so I opt for the 16inch length.

    Shotgun….great for clay pigeons and bird hunting.

    • “Shotgun….great for clay pigeons and bird hunting.”

      There’s a good reason some buck shot packaging has a picture of an actual Buck (deer) on it… It will kill things that size.

      And the .74 caliber, 1oz slug moving at 1300 fps with put down anything on this continent.

      I’m know the shotgun isn’t in vogue anymore, but it’s because it’s not “tacticool”, not because it is incapable.

    • Pistol = Glock 19. Does nothing perfectly. Does everything well. Bonded hollow points.
      Rifle = LMT MRP, Aimpoint Comp M4s, surefire x300, tango down stubby grip, magpul CTR.
      Truck Rifle = LMT MRP, taper-pinned BCM A2 style front sight base forward of the gas block, XS white stripe front sight post, daniel defense fixed rear sight, CSAT aperture, BCM pistol grip. Additional slip 2000 EWL carried on-board.
      Shotgun= great for lots of stuff, to include filling bad guys with buckshot.

    • “Shotgun….great for clay pigeons and bird hunting.”

      See what a 00 buckshot or buck and ball load does to pig carcass and then try saying that with a straight face.

  2. Buckshot, Slug or Birdshot. Flip a coin. They all do the same thing within thirty feet or so; tear a massive gaping hole through the target. I’m biased towards 00 buck, but I was a spoiled kid.

    No they don’t. Not even close. Birdshot is great for birds, it will not meet the minimum penetration requirements, particularly if your target is wearing heavy clothing. Shallow cavity even with a direct hit. Google the FBI testing. Will it discourage and end most confrontations? Probably. Will it effectively stop a determined and motivated assailant? Probably not. Especially when you’re shooting at him- he’s just as much in fear for his life as you are at this point. If he’s capable of firing back, he will be until one of you is down.

    Although, as Groucho Marx said, “I could go on talking to you kids forever, but it’s time to play You Bet Your Life.” Your life, your gamble, you want to bet it on birdshot- go right ahead.

    • Damn, I love that Groucho quote! I would not have thought of that. So, if I smack somebody on my staircase with birdshot at 15 feet, are you saying he might go away and leave me alone, without the interference of the police? And are you saying that would somehow be BAD? I am not James Bond, mostly unafraid of assassins, afraid of thieves and mass murderers. There are always questions on this site on whether CC or OC is better to make people leave you alone, I suspect 1 1/4 oz of lead into your chest would make you decide to NEVER go near that address again, assuming you recover. That sounds good to me. As we are all trained to SAY, I really mean I want to stop the threat, don’t actually care whether I kill it or not. Causing that threat to go away forever, and giving real possibility of never bothering someone else, without having my life interrupted or my firearms removed to entertain the connected for a few years, sounds like a win-win-win.

      • I’m saying that if I use a firearm to defend myself it will be because my or my loved ones lives are on the line. Birdshot does not meet the penetration requirements defined by the FBI to stop someone. There is a lot going on in a self-defense situation- the other guy ain’t a static target. He’s a moving object that you may or may not get a clean/solid hit on– or the opportunity to get more than one shot off before he gets off his next round. Or he’s partially concealed- buck is going to punch through some things that birdshot won’t. His arm/forearm may be along the path of your shot, absorbing or deflecting it. Murphy has never been my friend- guns jam, folks shortstroke under stress, weapons misfire, etc. etc. If I may only get one shot off it better have something that has proven to be effective. I like Groucho’s quote ‘cuz it reflects my attitude towards high risk activities- be it SCUBA, flying, motorcycles, skydiving, or self-defense. You better get as much talk/consideration/contemplation/planning/training in now while you can, because when you’re in it the time for talk is over- you only have what you brought, you are limited to the preparations you made and thought you put into them.

        My point is that birdshot and buckshot performance is in fact markedly different even at close range. I can link you to any number of tests in standardized gelatin (or more fun ones like at Box of Truth) that proves it.

    • Yep. While birdshot can kill someone- it’s certainly done so before- it’s more likely to blow a nasty looking hole on the outside of the chest than really penetrate and do damage sufficient to cause cardiovascular shock.

      If you’re shooting someone… with a shotgun!… use something that will work.

    • “Training” is the word you are looking for.

      Cardio, weapons handling, situational awareness, and anything of the above.

      This reads like the who’s who of desktop warriors. In public, carry a handgun. If you are at a range where you feel the handgun is inadequate, bug out. Everything written after that is either for A) Offensive operations, or B) Static Defense (Your home)

      Open carrying a long arm where you are supposedly prepared for “self-defense” just screams “Kill me before I get the chance to employ my weapon.”

      And if you are carrying your handgun, and you get in a situation where you need to employ a trunk gun, there are more useful things you can be doing as a person that does not have A) Level IV body armor B) Backup C) Clean underwear.

  3. Desert Tech MDR in .300blk with the 10.5″ barrel. Way shorter than a M4 and with a cartridge that performs great from such barrel, perfect balance with most of the weight near the body.

  4. The timeless and cyclical argument: which gun is the “best”?

    Unfortunately I decided to not peruse the majority of the article after reading “every ballistics expert out there will tell you that pistols are underpowered {in regards to handguns}”. Empirical much?

    I read a couple more paragraphs and the only thing this article was missing was a discussion of which tactical reload is faster, and which .45 hollowpoint is the most utterly deadly. You DO use .45 hollowpoints, don’t you?

  5. Sorry I couldn’t wade through the whole article. No major disagreements except the idea of a shotgun being worthless. If you shoot a bad guy from more than 50-60 feet away you’re gonna have some ‘slainin’ to do.

  6. Simple. for in home its going to be a full-size pistol, either glock 17/22 or XDM Duty length in 9/40 with a bright ass light and laser combo either surefire or streamlight. Why the plastic fantastic? because no way in hell am I letting the local pd take my AR downtown in the unfortunate event that I have to defend hearth and home. The price point of the glock and XDM means I can buy two and have one in the nightstand and one for a backup “off site” in case the primary gets used in the above mentioned scenario.

    If I decided on a shotty instead of a pistol its going to be something like a Rem870 or Benneli Nova meeting the same criteria I chose for the pistol, in 20guage so my wife can use it (and to be truthfull from the top of my staircase down to the front door, a bad guy isnt going to know the difference between 10 pellets and 15 when things go boom in the night). Again, my emphasis is reliable quality but not too nice that I would miss it if I had to use it, and cheap enough for redundancy.

  7. .460 Rowland is more powerful than 10mm Auto, and less expensive to shoot, too. The .50 AE packs even more power. Just ask Bullet-Tooth Tony…

    • The .460 and .50 are both ridiculous self-defense calibers as the guns that shoot them are HUGE. I love my de .50ae but it’s novelty. The 10mm is thee most powerful and fastest semi-auto handgun round that one can conceal.
      10mm is more expensive too shoot? I don’t think so. 50 10mm rounds of Underwood 135-220 grain for under $40. Reloading with all brass brands, blue dot or 231, and win primers cost me about .20 per while my .50 ae costs me about .90 per. .460 is about .75 per. Quit posting wrong info.

  8. Birdshot for shotguns aren’t effective.

    I’ve fired different shotgun loads at a piece of 3/4 inch plywood.

    A slug, and 00 buckshot cut through it like a hot knife going through butter.

    #4 buckshot went through, but not as cleanly as the 00 buckshot.

    Birdshot made a lot of tiny indentations on target, and not one even came close to going through.

    Birdshot is for Birds, or just for shooting for fun if I wanted to practice speed loading or combat loading my shotgun, short of a horde of mindless zombies turning my house into The Alamo, I wouldn’t bet my life on birdshot.

    • I don’t know where people keeping getting the idea that birdshot is an effective load for humans. Sure, it can kill, but it’s nowhere near the effectiveness of other types.

    • I found myself wondering if he was with the open carry crowd at Chipotle, but decided his shirt was too clean.

  9. I have to say… the point of this is confusing me. We have questions, and lists of options, but no solutions, or really any hints at solutions. And a lot of the information is pretty ambiguous or geographically varied in accuracy.

    Where is the conclusion? What did YOU pick so far, Roy?

    (Also, removing things like suppressors, optics and whatnot, is a BIG nono. You do NOT mess with the evidence.)

    • I thought of that, too. Everybody is gonna know you had a sight, and a can is registered to you, no secret. If you lived through it, count your lucky stars and pony up the truth. Anything less is asking for 20 years in prison once nobody believes you anymore.

  10. It really depends on your situation. For my situation, even a shotgun with the minimum 18″ barrel is too long and unwieldy in my house (small rooms and short, narrow hallways). It’s a poor choice because I’m going to have the muzzle up every time I go around a corner. Either a bullpup rifle or pistol is a better choice for my environment. But that’s just me. For you? Could be a totally different situation.

    The bottom line really is ANY gun is better than NO gun.

  11. Seriously? I expect small penis jokes from idiot antigunners, but this? Yeah 10mm might be excessive in your opinion but its no different than carrying a .357 snubbie. I dont even own a 10mm but ive shot them and found them to be stout but manageable even with hunting loads. TTAG is about open discussion of all things firearm related, not name calling over caliber choice.

      • The only reason I can figure that you, the author, and the gun control crowd are so obsessed with dongs is that you must be homosexual. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Maybe you can cover the Pink Pistols for TTAG.

  12. My primary HD weapons are a rifle or shotgun depending on the part of the house I am in. The pistol is for backup. I am not going to worry about my gun being confiscated or how much it cost to get it back. That is actually the least of my worries. I will just be glad that my wife and I are safe. So, my defensive stance is based off of survivability not loss of property.

  13. Good advice.Personally I think to be professional you need two defensive semi automatic handguns , caliber doesn’t matter, ammo type does, and a defensive revolver .Pick whatever you are confortable and practiced with.A defensive shotgun, I prefer an 8-10 round semi automatic cause they are faster but that’s your choice.An m1 carbine with a paratrooper stock would be a good ‘trunk’gun or a semi AR m4.Any long range rifle, scooped.308 or 30-06.I like armor piercing ammo myself but it s legal here not so elsewhere.Pepperspray? Absolutly!I am a martial artist and was competitve and it was worth learning and did take years but you get older and thugs prey on older victims.Still good idea.Well there you have it.Other than collectible firearms those mentioned are stratigic, use as you will but cover your bases!

    • To be professional you need three guns? What does that even mean. And armor piecing bullets. Can you explain that please. Cause armor piecing sucks for putting down people.

  14. Pistols are more versatile. Most of us live in suburbia, If you have to go outside of the house will you still take your rifle or shotgun? How will that look when the police or other people come on scene. While a pistol can be holstered when the Police arrive.

    • Pistols are definitely more concealable and portable, much to your strolling around outside point. But, I’m going to disagree on their increased versatility, they only do the two aforementioned things well.

      Also, unless you sleep wearing a holster or sleep in clothes that can easily attach a holster, I’m assuming most people do not, then you will still be stuck with a gun in your hand during any investigation of a bump in the night.

  15. Pistol: Kimber Custom II or if I don’t want to have to actually fire the weapon I’ve got a Raging Judge Magnum in .454/.45/.410

    Rifle: I don’t own an AR or an AK… yet, but I do have a Rossi 92R in .454.. short, light, handy, and plenty of power.

    Shotgun: I’ve got a Winchester 1300 pump gun for serious work, or if you wanna make someone crap their pants, I’ve got one of those Marlin Goose Guns (bolt action 12 Gauge with a 36 inch tube) its impractical is hell but it scares the hell out of people

  16. Personally I would recommend an AK with a 12 inch barrel (10 inch if using handloads with fast-burning powder) and a folding stock or arm-brace. Add some Tech-sights and a PSO-1 or red dot sight and you’re done, that way you have all the SHTF criteria:

    -concealable (wear a longer jacket and you can conceal it with a shoulder rig).
    -easy to hide, for instance in a car or backpack.
    -Handy for close up situations.
    -can reach out farther if you need to (about 300 meters).
    -Powerful enough to take most game.

    If you can get a suppressor, even better, if you handload you can use 300 BLK recipes.

    EDIT: Huntertown Arms makes a short suppressor, only 6.5 inches long, with a 10 inch barrel it isn’t much longer than a regular AK.

  17. I love these long opinions of what’s what. Here is my version.

    Offensive/Defensive: Defensive of course, just like driving. A lot of stupid and crazy people out there. Offensive is for murderers and soldiers, 99% of us are neither.

    SHTF/WROL: Of course WROL. These SHTF people are nutty, fun but nutty. One doesn’t need every battle rifle, optic and firearm ever made, nor do most of us need 10,000+ rounds of every caliber known to man. Ever see those google images of some guy showing off his dozen ar/aks on some forum when a poster starts a “show me your gun” thread? Just like hoarding, anorexia, drug abuse and any other mental defect SHTF preppers IMHO have the same gene or bug.
    In the real world here in the US we are not facing a zombie apocalypse, a violet dictatorship takeover, civil war or alien invasion, no matter how many of the preppers wish these fantasies true. The SHTF mentality will break your bank account, get you on a list possibly many, cost you friends and family in most cases and label you a nutcase which in reality and IMHO you are. I’m all for collecting firearms, keeping an ample supply of ammo and preparing for disaster situations that are realistic. A normal gun person will have about 4-20 firearms and 1-8k in ammo in their collection, any more for someone who isn’t a collector or dealer in the biz and we are nearing Bellevue institutionalized territory. While shooting is my main hobby I do have other hobbies that cost money, and family, and other activities outside of firearms. Stay mentally healthy people!

    Trunk Gun: AR or AK with folding stock, done.

    Alt self-defense methods:None. Pepper spray and tasers much like a blades and fists, useless against firearms. Martial arts? Some MMA action? lol Although we sometimes hear of some tough karate guy taking down a robber or something, in most cases where it’s hands and legs vs firearm, firearm wins. There is nothing better than a firearm, therefore an alternative should never be forced. If I had to chose a defense non-firearm I would chose a sword, but why would I being I have the freedom of choice in this country? If we are talking these sissy anti-gun stores putting up no gun signs ignore them, if we are talking airports or courthouse where it’s an actual crime to carry a firearm than avoid these areas. Basic self-defense is great to learn and is something I have done with throughout my life but mainly for discipline and exercise not true self defense as there is no defense against a firearm except a firearm.

    Open or Conceal:Conceal. I use to be for open carry until I experienced it’s ills from local police and citizens who can’t handle the idea of freedom. But after many reads I’ve also accepted the fact that open carry makes you as much of a target as it helps with preventing crimes. If it was only the criminals who were your enemy then maybe, but when much of law enforcement and our fellow citizens are against it one has to conceal.

    Revolvers or semi: Revolvers are for displays, ranges and old men.

    Cartridge and type: All personal choice. Unlike the author of this long and drawn out opinion, the 10mm is my choice as it is the most superior semi-auto handgun caliber.
    “too much muzzle flip” “increases wear of firearm” Ya, whatever. While I can understand why the 9mm and .45 are popular neither the .40, which is a caliber I would never use, nor the 10mm are tougher to learn how to shoot well. 5.7 is another great choice for handgun.
    As for my beloved 10mm everything negative this author says about it is myth or opinion, not fact. And as soon as I read this ANTI-GUN language “Those with balls big enough to carry this on their person, or a penis small enough to feel the need to carry it, are definitely not someone you would want to mess with.” I don’t know how anyone can take this author seriously. The small penis argument is usually used by ANTI-GUN folks, to hear a supposed gun person talking this way is disheartening to say the least. Shame on you.

    Double vs single stack: Double.

    AK/AR pistols: I have to agree with author, a rifle needs a stock, a ak/ar pistol is just a dumb firearm period.

    Pistol caliber carbines:As dumb as above.

    Bullpups/standard: I hate bullpups, IMO they are the worst designed rifle ever but I admit they have one advantage and that is CQB. Although I’d never chose a bullpup for anything than a door stop this close quarters argument could be made.

    Bolt-action for sniping under cover/precision target shooting, semi-auto for battle and fun. Levers are strictly range and collectable rifles, I’ve always loved them but good for nothing but fun and looks.

    Inter/Full power: Pretty simple. .223, 7.62×39 and similar for out to 400, .308 or similar beyond. “smaller rounds will be easier to use under stress” Complete nonsense. Under battle or defensive stress the slight recoil diff between calibers may affect a shooters ability for precise shots but in no way affects a shooter overall.

    SBR, carbine, full: If you can get away with full do it. More accurate most times. Carbines are great for short-mid range in many calibers, SBR’s are fun but very expensive and NFA. I don’t want to be on that list.

    Scopes, Irons or reddot:While this should be a stupid question it actually isn’t. Obviously long range shooting requires scopes. And quality matters. And being most have no clue about quality scopes for long range they go large objective, variable and known brands like Nightforce, Leupold and Vortex. My advice is invest $$$$$$ in a good scope, go fixed usually straight x10 works for most worthy distances and don’t go cheap on mount and rings. One must learn to use their irons and I have nothing against red dots on carbines or intermediate caliber rifles, I do have issues with people using red dots on long range rifles and pistols in general. Long range is obvious, a non-magnified optic is useless. Even the Acog which I love and own and it sits on the only AR I own, it has it’s limitations in distance and is not a good choice for long range, but great for mid but way over-priced for mid. But again, when it comes to optics you need to spend between 1500-4000 for a decent one. Red dots I love aimpoint micros and it’s all I use on all my AK’s. Avoid cheap crap because that’s exactly what you will get.

    Suppression:Love suppressed firearms but again, NFA rules which means you are known and while it does cost some cash silencers and accessories are very affordable now. I now live in a state where suppressors are illegal so that pretty much decides for me. If I lived in a free state I would have at least one for a handgun and rifle cartridge.

    Shotguns:Pump, pump and pumps. All semi-auto shotguns are susceptible to failure due to size and weight of shells. While I may sound hypocritical as I think revolvers are dinosaurs and would never use one in a self-defense situation if I had a semi handgun, semi-auto handguns in general do not have high failure to feed rates unlike semi-auto shotguns which have a high rate. All brands. Pumps eliminate this issue.
    Barrel length 18 or 20″ Smooth bore only.
    #1 Buck is the most penetrable non-slug shotgun round there is, anything from 000-1 is great.
    Anyone with a pistol grip shotgun needs to learn something called “aiming”.
    Bead sight or xs bigdot epoxied on bead works best. Ghost sights, red dots and scopes are ridiculous on shotguns.

    There, here is my long and drawn out opinion of things.

  18. They all work very well, each home, each place, each family will dictate what is the one you personally require. I need all three, one near the front door, near the back door, near me in LR, near my kitchen, in my bedroom and one near my comphie chair. Hmmmm, I might have to buy a couple more for my safe? Oh well if I’m a target, to bad for the BG. Be safe out there and there is never enough fire power!

  19. I stopped reading this weird article here: “I prefer automatics, as they are less finicky and more practical than revolvers.” Now, since I read in the comments section that the author has expressed an opinion that small penis gun owners feel the need for large calibers and large guns… I just figured out he’s actually a TROLL pretending to be an expert. -And why feed trolls?

    • That’s not a firearm he’s carrying, it’s his keychain. Plus, how many people have a keychain with a HOOD ORNAMENT on it? There’s also that spoon, which could be one that helped Rosie O’donell get fat.


  20. “Personally, if I had to shoot someone and the rifle I grabbed had a suppressor, I’d take it off and clean it thoroughly, then place it back in its box. I’d probably tell the officer, but I most certainly wouldn’t want them “detaining” an $600+ dollar piece of kit. Especially not in the areas I’ve lived.

    I’d probably take any optics and accessories off my rifle, too, but I’m a very distrusting person.”

    That is really bad advice.

    First, have a plan. If your plan involves using a suppressed firearm, thats totally on you, dont mess with evidence — it puts you in a very different light than you want to be — doesnt matter how bad the baddie is/was.

    • I’ll leave impractical to the user, as that’s a matter of opinion. Finicky? About as finicky as an anvil. Is there any revolver out there that is “finicky” as a fault of the gun itself, or is it the ammo that is “finicky”?


  21. “Something to remember! If you ever use a knife for self-defense, it doesn’t matter what situation it is. You WILL be taken to court over it. Americans are used to seeing guns used for defense, but knives are a taboo, and you have to get real intimate with your attacker to use one.”

    Anecdote time.

    Last summer in my home town (in CT of all places) we had a self defense incident where an individual used a folding buck knife and killed a teenager in self defense. This incident was notable for a variety of reasons to me.
    1 – A knife was used
    2 – A teenager was killed
    3 – The teenager was black
    4 – The the individual who defended himself fled the scene
    5 – The the individual who defended himself did not immediately go to police but later turned himself in
    6 – He claimed he had no idea anyone was hurt
    7 – He claimed he produced the knife to try and scare away the attackers (weakens claim of imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm)
    8 – It was determined the teenager was stabbed accidentally while the knife was brandished and the individual was trying to push the teen away. It was still determined to be self defense
    9 -The incident resulted in no jail time

    Again this was CT post Zimmerman & Sandy Hook. Yet no jail time and the police ruled that it was justified self defense after interviewing the suspect/person of interest. The guy who defended himself basically did everything you aren’t supposed to do and still made it out as unscathed as one possible can in this situation.

    I can’t help but think that if I was in a similar situation and used a firearm, I would have been crucified. But I am also a white middle class male so I already have that against me, the individual that defended himself here is Indian and that probably and sadly prevented numerous cries of racism from being spouted couple that with no firearm used and that kept the incident down.

    So now to directly address your quote, I disagree. The public is not more used to seeing someone killed with a firearm or a knife or whatever. If the powers that be want to exploit the situation and the community wants to get whipped up into an uproar that will happen no matter the weapon or circumstances.

    Now I will say that a factor that probably really helped the gentleman in my anecdote is the fact that he used a folding knife not a fixed blade knife. I think this speaks more to the point you were trying to make. A folder is still largely viewed as a tool and a fixed blade a weapon but when it comes down to it I still don’t think it matters what you use. If the powers that be want to send you through the grinder they will nit pick anything they can be it that it was a knife, the type of bullet you used, that you watched too many action movies, or said a racial slur once one time they will smear you character and try to screw you over any way possible regardless of your culpability. If you are painted as the bad guy killing and innocent person of X qualities then it doesn’t matter if you strangled them you shot them from 1000 yards.

    Did I mention this all happened in gun free and statist CT?


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