Image by Oleg Volk. Used with permission.
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As a firearms and personal defense instructor for just shy of 25 years, I’ve had countless people ask me what’s the best gun for home defense. If only it were so simple. That question is analogous to “Which car should I buy?” The answer is always, “It depends….”

For those wanting to buy their first defensive handgun, especially for those who aren’t going to practice much, I generally recommend selecting a revolver and here’s why: The operation of revolvers is very simple and intuitive, making it a great selection for new handgun owners or those who aren’t going to practice (and let’s face it…most won’t). What’s more, revolvers are dead-nuts reliable compared to semi-auto pistols.

From a safety perspective, they are very safe because once the cylinder is open, even Alec Baldwin can figure out if the gun is loaded or not. That is if he opens the cylinder.

Colt Python
Dan Z for TTAG

To use a revolver, simply stuff the cylinder with live rounds, close it, point it at the target and pull the trigger. It’s the ultimate point-and-click interface. It even works great from the pocket or purse.

Semi-automatic pistols, like the ones most cops carry today are a little more complicated to use. And they generally don’t work as well from the pocket or purse.

That said, if modern pistols like GLOCKs appeal to you, that’s fine. You’re not alone. Seek out training to learn how to safely load and unload the gun and how to handle it safely.

Shotguns – simple, affordable pump-action shotguns – make outstanding home defense guns. Loaded with buckshot, a 12-gauge or 20-gauge will decisively drop an intruder with a single blast.

Plus everyone knows the sound a shotgun makes when chambering a round thanks to Hollywood. Some call it the “universal sound of peace.” If an aggressor ignores that sound and continues their attack, that’s a clue that they aren’t there selling Girl Scout cookies.

Jon Wayne Taylor shotgun coronavirus

Are you intimidated by a shotgun? Rest assured, the intimidation flows in both directions. Even bad guys who have had guns pointed at them previously generally want little to no part of a shotgun.

What do I use for home defense? The same thing as my fellow GSL Defense Training instructors.

First, a bit of background: Each of my fellow instructors are quite fluent in handguns and pretty good to exceptional with long guns as well. In other words, we can have whatever we want and make it work effectively.

Other than the one fellow who has an autistic son at home, we all have pump-action shotguns as our general purpose, go-to home defense gun. Ponder that for a moment.

home defense shotgun remington 870 DM
Courtesy Dan Abraham

In any event, once you settle on a gun that fits you (or fits your hand for handguns), consider visiting an indoor range and asking to rent that particular gun to try it out before you buy. You might discover that the gun that looked and felt good to you isn’t one you can manipulate if you have any physical limitations (including things like arthritis, for example).

As you will soon learn first-hand, there’s some paperwork associated with purchasing a gun and in some states there’s even a waiting period before you can take your new purchase home.

You’ll also learn from your visit to the gun shop that gun aficionados are generally pretty nice people and more than willing to help.

Lastly, get some formal training. Classes are readily available and affordable. They’ll make you safer and more comfortable around the gun. They’ll also improve your effectiveness in using it defensively. A good training class will never make you an expert marksman or gunfighter overnight, but they can make you an expert on safety in a day.

After class, you can then share proper, safe gun handling skills with your friends and family to keep them safe, too.

Training or not, you’ll need to practice at least once in a while if you hope to successfully operate your gun under stress. So go visit your favorite local range a few times each year to shake off the cobwebs and re-familiarize yourself with shooting your new gun, otherwise knowns as your emergency rescue tool.

Enjoy your new purchase. It may even turn into a hobby. It’s fun, empowering, and could even save your life someday. You can’t say all that about most recreational activities.

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  1. I once had a cop rack his shotgunm in my face, barrel looked big enough to crawl in.
    Newbies are better off with a double action revolver in my opinion, simple manual of arms, pretty safe design . It’s what I recommend when ask.

    • I agree. When I was a beginner, I bought a .22 Sig Mosquito. When it jammed, I froze. I thought it was going to explode in my hand, (even tho the instructor said it won’t). My next gun was a revolver. It was a no-brainer to use….so I used it. It was a few years before I went back to that .22. Same goes for the safety. I want one. I have a parking break in my car. I don’t have to use it, but it’s there if I want to. (Yeah I know the revolver doesn’t have a safety, another story for another day.)

  2. If a person is not a POTG and they ask me about a gun for their house I ask questions.. If all they want is something to keep in the sock drawer just in case and they are not going to spend time training or just feel no need to enter the gun world any further then I advise a medium frame duty revolver.

    I believe in shotguns. But a pump gun is something I’ve used since a very young age. And if the person wanting a gun is new and does not want to get deep onto guns then the roar and kick of a defensive shotgun is likely to be too much.

    • Agreed on the roar and kick, why my next home defense shottie is looking to be in the 16 or 20 gauge variety.

      Preferably one of those new-ish mag-fed pump jobs, maybe even a folding stock like the old Mossie 500 folder I had years back (and never should have sold)… 🙁

      • 20ga is deeply underrated. I hear people disparage them as ‘youth guns.’ Silly machismo.

        I have a pump-12ga but I load it with reduced recoil rounds most of the time. I have zero doubt in its ballistic abilities against someone at ‘defense’ distances I would be using it. Only reason I would reach for it over my 20ga is that it’s pump instead of a side-by-side.

    • If they are rejecting any training and the gun world AND they want a gun then you are dealing with a conflicted person. As such, they would be more likely to get shot rather than shoot.

  3. It (revolvers) even works great from pocket or purse. If the author meant a revolver can be fired from a pocket or purse, it better be hammerless or you may have a malfunction you won’t easily clear. Also, be aware the muzzle blast may set your clothing on fire. Especially it it’s made of synthetic material.

    • avatar Geoff "A day without a mentally-ill, likely brain-damaged and demented troll is like a day of Warm Sunshine" PR

      “If the author meant a revolver can be fired from a pocket or purse, it better be hammerless or you may have a malfunction you won’t easily clear.”

      Word. A gun you can’t draw because the hammer snagged on something is one that can literally cost you your life.

      (I *really* hope my mentally-ill, likely brain-damaged and demented troll carries a revolver with a spur hammer in his pocket… 😉 )

      • If you’re pocket carrying a revolver it should be spurless. Regardless of how you’re carrying a revolver with a spur hammer you should adopt a thumb high grip on your draw to avoid snagging. I personally prefer a thumb break holster which makes it a virtual necessity to draw that way. It also keeps the hammer spur from jabbing you in the side.

  4. General rule that doesn’t fail:

    Fit the gun to the person within the confines of the desired use.

    The first five words are the most important. The latter almost always has significant wiggle room if you’ve actually picked a gun that fits the person.

    Nearly everything else is some form of doctrine and nothing is more prone to failure [or annoying] than a person who’s unfailingly doctrinaire when it comes to things like this.

      • Uh… the person?

        Treat it, loath as I am to use the word with it’s modern baggage, “holistically”.

        For a long gun you’ll want to consider what the characteristics are of the person you’re looking at differently than a handgun. Shorter arms mean the person may favor a shorter length of pull with a long gun. Small hands may favor a narrower grip. Some of this might be addressable with modifications or accessories, some of it may not be depending on the gun, desired price point etc etc etc.

        You don’t just hand some 85 year old lady a 10 gauge, bolt action Marlin 55 goose gun with a 34″ barrel and say “Go gett’em gramma!” as she falls over trying to shoulder the damn thing.

        With a pistol or a revolver some guns may fit a number of parameters but not have a comfortable grip for a person or the grip’s fine but the gun’s too big or has an awkward angle or it has finger grooves that don’t line up with their fingers or something else entirely.

        If you’re really trying to help someone here you ask a few questions and do a lot of listening while offering them a wide range of things to try.

        Guns are like whisky or crack. If the buyer is serious the gun will sell itself when they find the right one. If you’re presenting numerous options and there’s no sale then either they were not serious or you talked yourself out of that sale.

  5. Just do what Joe Biden babbles. Get a shotgun. When the bad guys try to break in, go out to your balcony and shoot yourself. If you don’t have a balcony, you won’t have to shoot yourself. The fall will probably kill you (with apologies to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid).

  6. Medium-framed .357 magnum revolver and pump shotgun with five rounds will handle most threats people face. Throw in a ten round .357 magnum lever action for a little more range if it’s Katrina-disaster time.

    Save the ARs for BLM-insurrection time. Mr. Rittenhouse proved even a young, relatively unskilled user could defend himself/herself effectively against parading deviant thugs.


      • re: possum

        Two words apply for the buck in the pdx, wide spread. Two more, not impressed.

        Accountable for each and every, and a lawyer attached to every one that goes down range. Trust me on the last, personal experience cited.

  8. Based on his previous post (and this) I wonder if Boch is still living in 1910 or just to many John Wayne movies. The height of firearms being cowboy guns. REALLY a revolver and a shotgun?

    The subject is “HOME DEFENSE”. For a new shooter an AR in .223/5.56mm is a better choice for ease of use, flexible utility, and firing an effective round that avoids over penetration (thru drywall/etc).

    • I’m still confused on how 5.56 will shoot thru a1/4 inch of steel but doesn’t over penetrate in sheet rock?

      • I don’t have them available to me at the moment but on that issue of 5.56 penetrating dry wall I had posted two or three videos seeing it being superior to 9mm. In each case the 5.56 had almost double the penetration power through building materials of both wood and dry wall. So I think that debate is still open to question.

        • I never understood how anyone could think that anything used for self defense shouldn’t be capable of going through dry wall. If it isn’t strong enough for that then what’s the point?

      • Short answer depends on bullet choice and barrel length and still reviewing sbr/pistol length stuff. Steel is an easy one surprisingly, high speed 55g fmj on impact with steel that is not ballistic armor steel (only commercial examples I know of are highcom guardian AR 500 and 1000) the point deforms into the core and with enough speed keeps a cylinder shape and punches a plug out of the steel plate via a sheer. With the 855 the steel tip is pushed back into the core and increases the surface area and is less likely to penetrate. With 855a1 it is zipping through anything except maybe the highcom guardian 1000 plate for any steel armor anyone with a functional set of knees is likely to carry. For the drywall assume bad guy gets hit first at interior room distance and there may be some round fragmentation involved for the best case. For the misses they are still likely to go through most houses they will just stop sooner than many 9mm that may deform less (slower speed and plugged core possible) and weigh more. That end of it has a lot more going on with variables.

    • I don’t understand the remarks about Mr. Boch. It’s an opinion piece. Some of us can’t buy an AR, legally or financially. I happen to think my O/U shotgun (or simple revolver) is better for me if I’m half asleep at 2:00AM. There’s not much I can do skillfully at 2:00AM…or 5:00AM. That’s why there’s automatic timer coffee makers.

      • I understand your point but if a person can’t afford $850 for an AR but then spends $850 on a revolver claiming they would rather have the AR, there is more going on.

        But then, there are other variables to consider.

      • A shotgunm at close range is pretty devastating.
        Over and under. So you can literally fire two blast, now the big question is ” Do you have a balcony?”

    • If you have a concern about penetrating walls and going somewhere you don’t want it to go, be very concerned about using the .223/5.56 bullets in your home against an intruder. Be very sure of your backdrop! They will easily go through several walls and to the house next door. Keep in mind that some of the standard rounds travel over 3200 feet per second…a lot faster than any pistol round and capable of going through lots of stuff.

      Such a weapon would not be my first choice with an intruder…unless there are multiple intruders…anyway…keep in mind the backdrop of where you fire. A shotgun is much better for not going so far, or a pistol. Something is better than nothing, though.

  9. Yes – The .38 medium frame revolver is a great home defense gun for beginners. However, one point that is often overlooked is that ANY gun picked for defense needs to be “broken in”. This “breaking in” is more important for the beginning shooter than “breaking in” any modern firearm. If the first time a shooter uses a gun is in a stressful situation, then that could be a major problem.

    P.S. – Any gun used for home defense must be secured from children. Please consider children access when picking a gun. OR, do like my father did with his service revolver. Teach me proper gun safety, how to clean it, and respect it. Most importantly, never touch it without him first check to insure it was unloaded. To a child, the “untouchable” is often too tempting to not try to touch.

    • Making the child clean the gun every time he wants to touch it is usually enough to take the mystery out of it.

      • At two years old my son was loading my gunms for me. He’s 42 now and hasn’t shot anyone accidentally yet.

  10. A couple of thoughts. First revolvers generally require more energy to pull the trigger back than semi-auto pistols and to assume that people cannot learn how to load and rack a semi-auto is a bit short sighted. Also, assuming first time gun owners won’t practice is basically unfounded and one would assume they are being encouraged to take some lessons in gun safety and shooting either by the people who sell the firearms or friends, relatives and spouses who may be instrumental in getting them used to the idea of self-protection. Finding a weapon that a person feels comfortable using is far more important than whether it is a revolver or a pistol. Additionally, it would be negligent not to cover the single most important issue about owning any kind of firearm for self-defense and that is does the person reasonably believe that they could use their firearm if they felt serious bodily harm or death would be imminent if they did not. If a person is not mentally prepared for that act perhaps, they have no business having a firearm in the first place as it may become more of a danger to them than a help in defending themselves. I think this article was a bit shallow regarding the topic of firearms and self-defense.

  11. If you as a human walking within this world we call reality can look someone in the eye and ask “what is the best (whatever)” then you have already failed.

    There is no best. Be it cars, computers, occupation, spouse, guns, or anything else. This is a clear indication that the person asking the question has not done enough research on their own and just wants someone else to decide for them what they should be deciding for themselves.

    No one can tell you what you like and no one is more qualified to tell your story more than you. Unless your mentally unstable in which case perhaps it’s better to NOT have these things in the first place.

    You ask me Is a shotgun better for home defense? I’m asking you, is it?

    This just makes me wonder if you understand what a shotgun is.


    The softer touch version:
    Let’s take a look at it. Tell me a little about yourself, where you live, and what exactly we are trying to accomplish.

    • I would note that some shotguns may be unwieldy to a small woman. That would surely have been true for my wife. I would also note that one should not underrate the .22lr. More of that round has been used to kill people than any other from what I’ve heard regarding non-military use. I’ve read a few stories of teens using a .22 rifle for self defense with an intruder…some of the intruders ended up dead. Any bullet flying at a bad guy is going to ruin his day.

    • I recommend an AR. With a light and a red dot/magnifier/LPVO. And a medium sized 9mm handgun that has room for a light on the rail. I got ’em. My problem with a pump shotgun is I never shot or practiced with it. I’m good with my choices. And I started from scratch some 11years ago…

      • In the current age a PSA AR (braced pistol or carbine length) or PCC makes sense for a lot more people that it did in the past because they have gotten so much cheaper. It used to be you had to spend near a grand to get any semi auto rifle except an SKS. And back when SKSs were available for under $200 they were a good value choice.

        The point I am going for here is that part of the historical advocacy for the pump shotgun has been its low cost and the assumption that as versatile tool the male listener probably already has one or should. The cost advantage is gone. (See Hi-Point, PSA, Radical, and Taurus.)

        And secondly we should reconsider it for those smaller in stature (women/youth/disabled) who may not have the recoil tolerance or the inclination the develop it to get proficient with a shotgun.

  12. For a newbie a revolver is a good choice as noted by the author. Something small they can carry around the house like a TV remote or a sandwich:) My grocery getter is a 5 round H&R 32 Magnum…nasty little round. The noise alone will disorient those who have not trained for the bang. And, it’s a steel nose breaker and a sharpened front sight eye gouger.

  13. “Random Thoughts On That First Home Defense Gun”

    Outer perimeter fence topped with razor wire and detection system, land mines, inner perimeter fence topped with razor wire and detection system, claymore’s, attack dogs. And if they get through all that pour them a beer, congratulate them, then finish them off with the M134 Minigun and finish watching ‘Wheel of Fortune’.

    Isn’t that the picture the random thoughts of the gun-control freaks have for a person with a home defense gun?

  14. Good article. I would mention that my first revolver (firearm) I’ve owned jammed on me. The same model that the former owner of TTAG sold for a similar problem. Thankfully, it was when I was practicing at a range. Talk about frustrated and confused! Anyway,my 686-6 got sent off to Smith & Wesson and is working much better.

    Shotguns are a nonstarter for me, for a number of reasons. I can see why people gravitate to them though. My current HD weapon is a suppressed bullpup, with 55 gr subsonic ammunition. The Smith & Wesson guys got me worried about losing my hearing with that 686 in my home…

  15. Got to admit a new Python ( or it might be an Anaconda) as pictured would make a dandy “first” home defense gun. For me it’d depend on which room I’m in. Have a Win 97 at the back door as well. Like the reliability.

  16. ‘Home Defense gun’ singular..why?

    Depending on time of day and what I’m doing, someone breaking in could be met with a 1903A3 with a very long and very sharp bayonet, or a shotgun, or a 9mm. Why limit to only one weapon?

  17. Maverick 88 7+1 is my personal choice by the bed.
    cheap, reliable, unlikely to be used in crime if stolen, has a stock for longer distance shooting, powerful.

    This isn’t for everyone. People of smaller stature and people timid with firearms will short stroke and cause malfunctions unless you train them out of it.

    • I have quite a few options but yeah, I stick with an 870 for home security. No gadgets or gizmos attached.
      It’s a little 20 ga. carrying #3 buck. Custom fit for me. 10.5 LOP stock, 18.5 barrel, all polymer. My kid’s pellet gun weighs more that this does (minus ammo), and small enough to swing around in a hallway.

  18. Recommending a shotgun for everyone is SILLY.
    Unless you shoot it weekly, with cheap buckshot to get the recoil impulse, you will miss due to heavy recoil. Short-stroking is also a very real possibility unless, again, you practice weekly.
    Finally, I’m not handing a heavy-recoiling 12g to my 110 lb wife. First shot knocks her over.

    I have an mck kit for my Glock. Works perfect.

    • Brad Walters,

      A person most certainly does NOT need to practice weekly to master recoil and eliminate short-stroking. Depending on the person’s innate ability, they may only have to practice one time and then revisit/refresh once every few years. Even the most unskilled person should not have to practice more than once every six months.

      You are totally correct with your comment that a shotgun is a non-starter for a person who only weighs 110 pounds. For people in that weight class, pistol-caliber carbines are king.

  19. I wholeheartedly agree to fitting the gun to the situation. A country ranch and a city house have a lot of different considerations. Motion detectors, motion-activated digital cameras, strong doors, a good dog or two, and awareness are even more important than gun choice. So is practice with the tools at your disposal.

  20. I instruct with Mr. Boch and it should be no surprise that I agree with his suggestions. I would like to expand on a few points brought out in the comments. First, we’ve observed a large number of students who have competently operated their semi autos in most drills and then have difficulty when they are subjected to a little stress. Things like failing to chamber a round or failing to disengage a manual safety. As Victoria Illnois noted above, this problem would be magnified after being awakened in the middle of the night. This negative response to stress is another reason I like a medium framed revolver on the bedside. The double action trigger squeeze is greater but quickly mastered by students.

  21. Doesn’t matter as long as they’re trained.
    If they’re not trained, it doesn’t matter because they won’t be effective.

    • There are many, many stories of 80 year-old (untrained) grandmas blowing away perps.
      If somebody wamts to play Rambo on the weekends have at it, but to say somebody needs a lot of traoning to defend themselves with a firearm is laighable.

  22. Training is overrated. I am not opposed to training but the learning curve on a revolver vs a semiautomatic isn’t even remotely approaching what skills can be attained through training. So that is why I say training is overrated. It isn’t required to get a new shooter capable of handling any, yes, any firearm. All that is required is a day at the range. So to the question, what is the best home defense gun, the answer shouldn’t be tailored. The answer is anything you can deploy immediately, aim at the target and neutralize effectively. That includes so many options. I like the shotgun based on the neutralizing aspect. But many firearms serve well and we need to stop coddling those that want to take that responsibility. Get them to acquire a devastating weapon.
    When new shooters complain to me about the harsh recoil of a certain firearm, I ask them how the target feels about it.

  23. A Revolver is an excellent choice for newbies and women. Especially if they’re not going to practice and learn how to clear jams.
    It is the original point and click interface.
    There are so many recorded cases of grandma using the revolver that’s been in the bedside table for 15 years to shoot a home intruder.
    If you put a grip laser on a revolver it simplifies the aiming. With the Crimson trace you don’t even have to bring it to eye level, you can effectively make hits shooting from the hip.

  24. 12 gauge Mossy behind the door, Glock 19x on the nightstand, two chihuahuas inside, three German Shepherds outside, ain’t skeered.

  25. For all the newbies, getting an AR is the best option. The small caliber pellet is perfect for a first time use and also is very comfortable to use. Got mine in one of the tactical store near me at good price. Saint Louis Tactical is the store name, it has quite a range to choose from.

  26. The “recoil” of a full-sized shotgun is not that much with 2 3/4 00 buck.
    Heavier loads, heavier recoil.
    My shotgun feels fine shooting 2 3/4 segmented slugs as well.
    Not saying it’s the end all be all. But I would not put anybody off buying one
    for home/self-defense. New to firearms, need to get acclimated to any firearm.
    I have been using shotguns since I was 14, so I had head start.

  27. “Other than the one fellow who has an autistic son at home, we all have pump-action shotguns as our general purpose, go-to home defense gun. Ponder that for a moment.”

    Pondered it.
    Confused how someone’s supposed to read that, be thinking about a first home defense gun, and feel confident settling for “a gun that fits them” that’s not a pump-action shotgun.
    But then I think telling an absolute newbie a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun is their best bet for an HD gun is dumb as hell.

  28. For all the people wingeing about the concept of “Best FIRST gun for home defense.” Lets be clear, when someone who shoots is asked that question. Yes, you do ask some questions back, but for the most part, the answer will likely be, a revolver, for the reasons listed. Yes, there are BETTER options in many cases, but we’re talking about a new shooter, who statistically, will likely put it in a drawer and forget about it, comfortable in the knowledge that it is there when he needs it.

    Revolver does that job quite nicely. May it shoot the sheet rock? Yes. Is it as easy to shoot as an AR-15? no. Does it have intimidation factor of the shotgun? No.

    Will it lay in a sock drawer, unobtrusively for decades, loaded with self defense rounds from 1980 and fire reliably 40 years later? Yes, It will.

    It won’t care if you limp wrist, fire while someone is fighting you for it and holding it. You’ll have more handle on the gun than the bad guy if he grabs it, so you can pull it free if needed.

    Its simply the best for a NEW gun owner for self defense who his in all likelihood never going to even buy a 2nd box of bullets. Which I believe was the point of the opinion piece. and Obviously an opinion I share.

  29. As a former self defense and Firearms Law Enforcement Instructor for almost 2 decades, I recommend for people who want a gun for home self defense to get a revolver also, if its their first gun for this purpose. A rifle or a shotgun is too easy to be taken away from you if you let the person get too close to you. People can move extremely fast and cover ground while a inexperienced person with a long gun is trying to get the gun up, safety off, chamber a round, to shoot. The length of the gun is not to your advantage in this case all too often. My home defense gun to this day is my S&W 357 with a 2.75 barrel length. I keep it loaded with 357 HP and it has a CT Laser site on it. It has been in the same location for about 45 years now and never stolen or lost. I keep it in like new condition. In most cases, if your home is broken into while your there and you fire even one round at the dirtbag, he will turn paper white and run like a deer being chased by Bigfoot, even if you miss him with your first shot. Usually no need for 15 round magazine. I also have a tactical flash light and two speed loaders at the ready to take with me to my predetermined position in my house to engage the guy. He will have to get past me to get to my family and that ain’t happening. Also other issues with semi auto rifles, like over penetration and making it ready to fire can turn things south in a hurry. Revolver, —-point and pull the trigger. It will go bang as intended.

  30. Like many POTG I have multiple forms of defense in my bedroom. However my recent thinking has led me to conclude that a suppressed firearm is the best option for in home firing, whether one shot or multiple. I struggle to see how an unsuppressed shot fired indoors could result in anything but chaos with communication and my family. For that reason my plan at the moment would be my suppressed 10.5” 300BLK pistol. In about 9 months that may turn into my suppressed 9mm M&P.

    If I could ever just get my hands on a box of Lehigh Defense Max Expansion bullets to load for that 300BLK!

  31. Mine was a HiPoint 995TS. With a laser, red dot or light if you prefer it’s 10 rounds of good accuracy with minimal recoil and requires very little aiming. I also am an advocate for the AK, SKS or AR depending on the price point, especially if you live in the country. SKS with a bayonet.

  32. I shot a gun for the first time.It was Revolver R8. No joke, it was life altering. The uninitiated will feel adrenaline, glee, awe, fright, or some combination of the four. The pistol’s power, sending a jolt from my hands ..
    Incredible feelings.

  33. In picking a home defense firearm, perhaps the first question should be: “Given a proper circumstance, could you kill another human being without hesitation ?”
    If the answer is “I don’t know,” then any firearm might not be a good idea.

  34. The options in shotguns are many and can be sized to the user. The .410 is entirely adequate with correct ammo selection. From there up to 12ga is all good.

    If a handgun, there’s plenty of good sense in a revolver as a starter firearm.

  35. I’m afraid I’m going to have to go a bit contrarian on the revolver as the new or occasional shooter’s best choice.
    Background first: I own more revos than autos. So I don’t have a prejudice against them.
    But we do have a busy training business, and we specialize in the intro to handguns class. (Although we do lots of others.)
    Seeing well over 5000 people fire their first handgun shots is probably more educational to the instructors than anyone else. We are fortunate beyond belief to have an excellent group of associates with us. Amongst ourselves, we always discuss what we’ve seen in the classes, even after all these years.
    Revolvers have the advantage of being easier to comprehend at first encounter and are also easier to observe the workings of. However, we’ve found that it’s significantly harder to get good hits from the new shooter with the revolver, at least, at any distance past contact.
    We do get a significant proportion of more mature women, especially as my partner is a well-known female competitor- a strong attraction for our women’s classes, naturally.
    Lack of hand coordination and strength is a major issue in so many cases. Of course, the first thing often heard is that racking the slide is too hard. And, for some, it is, even with proper technique that is suited to the less-strong, smaller-handed person.
    So at the end of the line we keep two Smiths, an old Kit Gun (J-frame 4-inch) and an equally old K-frame Model 66. The Kit Gun is very smooth in the trigger. The 66 is excellent- it’s had proper trigger work and is a dream to run.
    Here I note that we do not teach or endorse single-action shooting with DA revos. If the gun is even going to be considered for personal protection, developing a thumb-cocking habit is detrimental.
    My opinion on that comes from also doing many CCL classes and observing supposedly minimally-competent shooters go through our state’s 30-round qual. Exactly once in all these years have I seen a revolver shooter shoot the course of fire double-action and score all 30 hits. Indeed, few revo shooters even bother to fire the gun in double-action.
    Frankly, it’s depressing to watch people firing their supposed protection gun by thumb-cocking. Yet it’s a near-unbreakable habit for what seems to be a large majority of round-gun users.
    Back to the Intro people- the 66 is our court of next-to-last resort, and there are still many times when the woman winds up declaring she can’t pull the trigger. Even if she does battle the trigger all the way back eventually, the hits simply won’t be there.
    What we know: the Shield EZ, despite its problems, still will produce better results than the 66 in virtually every case. The Walther CCP is decent in this regard, and if the standard M&P 9 can be operated, produces the best results of any centerfire.
    That said, we converted to the Taurus TX-22 last year for primary training and have become very happy with them. Apart from magazine-filling quirks that produce issues, these things are simply sensational for the new shooter, especially the weaker-handed ones. There’s no way the Kit Gun can produce anything near the quality and efficiency of hits that the TX can.
    We have more a few ladies who’ve gone on to settle on the TX as their all-purpose gun, including home protection. While I’m not entirely a fan of the .22 as stopper, hits, and confident operation, matter.
    Now, on top of all that, we also do a basic practical shotgun class that emphasizes home protection, and boy, has that taught us a lot about shotgun shooting and shooters.
    We get a good number of ladies attending who’ve never fired a shotgun in their life. Shotguns aren’t easy, they’re big and heavy and require some degree of forceful movements to give the best results. And the recoil is an issue; a fair number of our female students simply choose not to fire the full course of 50 rounds of drills due to discomfort.
    Even though I consider myself a major proponent of the Mossberg 500 series as the most effective home defense weapon (both as lethal- and non-lethal force, and non-lethal force potential is a huge benefit of the shotgun over the handgun and AR), I am coming around to thinking that there is a certain number of people who perhaps ought to be using a double-barrel. Watching shooters mess up the transition from cruiser-ready to firing the first shot despite having done plenty of dummy-round drills makes me wonder that for some, the double with two rounds in the chambers and the safety applied, inertia firing problem and all, may be the best for that 2am wake up as it requires the least thinking and operation.

  36. While not my favorite type of handgun I would have to agree with revolver fo those who aren’t going to spend a minimal amount of time practicing and doing handgun maintenance.

    A revolver left in a drawer loaded is much safer than a striker fired pistol, especially one without a safety. Also the long and heavy DA trigger pull of a revolver is less likely to go off “accidentally” from someone having their finger on the trigger when they are not supposed too.

    Revolver operation is about as simple as it gets once loaded, just aim and pull the trigger.

    I have witnessed multiple fine semiatuto pistols including a 1911 and Beretta 92FS malfuntion horribly due to them being bone dry from lack of maintenance.

  37. A simple solution is for all the AR nuts is to get a surplus M203. It is a M16 with a M79 grenade launcher under the foregrip: rifle and a super shotgun in a single package. Should solve any defensive needs or assault problems encountered.

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