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I’ve done a couple posts in the last few months talking about self defense rifles. Like this one. And this one. I wrote both articles because someone was looking for a self defense rifle and wanted my $0.02 on the matter. The thing is, for me, self defense rifles are the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of.  Let’s look at a typical self defense scenario – specifically one I saw online recently – put a rifle, pistol and shotgun into the picture, and see which is best . . .

It’s 2:00 a.m., you’re sound asleep in your nice warm bed in your two story house when a loud noise wakes you up. Your wife, predictably, is still sound asleep (as are your 2.5 kids) as you head for the gun safe and then crouch at the top of the stairs.

There’s a man at the front door who sounds like he’s trying to break in. You call 911, and just as you finish telling the dispatcher what’s going on, the man applies boot to door and bursts through in a shower of splinters. He has an evil looking AK-47 in hand and baklava on his face. Or is it balaclava? I can never seem to remember…

Anyway, there you are with an immediate threat to your life staring you in the face. He has the means, opportunity and ability to kill you and has just made an overt act of aggression. In other words, you’re cleared hot on the bastard. So which gun is best for the job of protecting yourself, your wife, and your two point five small children?

Naturally any of the three (in a sufficiently man-stopping caliber) will do the job if you can hit him. But what if you miss?

With a handgun, you can quickly turn around to retreat before the bad guy starts hosing down your previous firing position with commie milsurp lead. Moving through the hallway to get back to your family and protect them won’t be a problem because the handgun is small and light and fits nicely in the waistband of your Fruit of the Looms if need be (it’s a bad idea, but in a pinch it could work).

Even when doing other tasks such as herding your family into your bedroom and out of harm’s way or barricading the door, the pistol is small enough that you don’t need to put it down to lift things or move stuff. You also don’t lose any accuracy or firepower when you use one of your hands to pick up the phone and dial 911 — something that probably should have been step #2 on your home defense checklist.

Ever tried to accurately fire an AR-15 one handed? I bet you haven’t, but I’ve done it a couple times. And in the heat of the moment, I very much prefer to be one-handing a light and nimble handgun than a chunky and long rifle.

With the shotgun, you’ve lost a lot of maneuverability so you’re likely to need an extra second to get up and turn around. It’s also harder to move through the house carrying a large metal pipe with you. You’re going to need to put it down to do just about any task that we mentioned previously.

Of course, that’ shotgun’s much more likely to (A) scare the ever-loving crap out of the attacker just by racking the action and (B) actually hit him. Unlike the other firearms, the shotgun has a distinct deterrent effect on attackers (the story I pulled this situation from was diffused when the homeowner racked the shotgun and the BG ran off), is somewhat more forgiving in terms of accuracy and packs a helluva punch when it does connect with flesh.

Rifles are, without a doubt, the worst idea. They’re cumbersome to maneuver, you need to put them down to do anything productive, and they don’t give you any additional benefits. The shotgun got you a little wiggle room in terms of accuracy, but the rifle is just as unforgiving  – shooting wise – with the added benefit of having to worry about where the rounds eventually end up. Like the neighbor’s bedroom. Oh, and they’re much louder than handguns and therefor more likely to permanently harm your family members’ hearing.

The only situation where this ranking (pistols best, then shotguns, then rifles) is reversed is if you have large swaths of land and expect the bad guys to be firing at you from dozens of yards away. In that situation, a rifle would come in handy. But considering where most people in the world live (namely cities and suburbs) it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

There’s a huge difference between defending your home in the middle of the night and kicking down doors in Afghanistan that seems to be lost on most people who read this article. Home defense is about moving, communicating, and fighting in tight spaces when you’re not prepared. Soldiers benefit from radios and headset microphones and specialized equipment, but when all you’re wearing is your underwear and you need at least one hand to talk to the 911 operator in your cell phone, a rifle is not the ideal tool for the job.

For me, the handgun is the perfect self defense tool, hands down. Shotguns are a close second, mainly because of their forgiving nature but a rifle is something I would never consider for defending my apartment. Until my silencer comes in, that is. And probably not even then.

[This article was updated on 8/20/2014 to clarify the original point the writer was trying to make, and includes updated information.]

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    • And Winchester is making their funky PDX stuff for rifles now, I know.

      But (A) that stuff is too expensive for the normal homeowner to purchase and decide to use and (B) I’ve never seen a proper test of that ammunition.

      • Nick, I agree, I have never seen a proper test of any of the self defense ammo other than the Remington Golden Sabre. And that was stopping power, not penetration. I also agree that the specialty ammo is expensive, but not too much so you can’t have a box or two for defense. I certainly wouldn’t take it to the range for a day of shooting.

      • Are you joking? “Winchester is making their funky PDX stuff for rifles now, I know. But (A) that stuff is too expensive for the normal homeowner to purchase and decide to use”.

        I would pay a $1000 per round if that’s what it cost to defend and keep my family safe!

        • “I would pay a $1000 per round if that’s what it cost to defend and keep my family safe!”

          The problem with this is that you aren’t just paying for the rounds you put in the home invader. You are also paying for all the rounds you fire at the range to make sure your home defense firearm of choice reliably eats whatever ammo you choose, teach yourself any differences in feel, recoil, etc of your prefered defense ammo versus your usual practice ammo that might affect your aim and replacing ammo that has been sitting in your safe for too long. In my mind the most important factors in choosing a defensive ammo are goes bang every time I pull the trigger and bullet ends up where I expect it to with everything else a distant third so I’d much rather have a good quality defensive round that I can afford to put in a decent amount of practice with than some exotic super-round that sits the safe until I have to use it in an emergency, hoping and praying that it won’t jam my gun, fail to fire or end up lodged in a wall (or worse, an innocent bystander) because I’m not used to shooting it.

      • i’ve seen multiple penitration tests and 5.56 and 223 almost always penetrate less sheetrock then 380 9mm and 45 caliber handguns. not only that there is this thing called a sling it costs around 45 dollars for a nice one and it gives you a nice place to rest your rifle after you do two in the chest one in the head on the asshole in your house. ask your wife to call 911 and if your alone don’t call its a waste of time call after you kill them problem solved. also it takes significantly less time to master a rifle and effectively engage targets at any distance with a rifle in comparison to a handgun. oh and most handguns are louder then rifles especialy indoors. there’s no such thing as stopping power a shot to the head in 45 does the same thing as one in 5.56 oh and i’ve been in the military and 99 percent of the times there no super high speed radios that were using we use speed suprise and violence of action.

        • Handguns louder than rifles (magnums maybe)? Rifles easier to master? Man, where are you getting this? Sounds like you need to verify your online sources before you pass bad info.. Btw – I was in the military too (army) and we did use the MBITR system to communicate –

        • to: James Chadwick

          To the shooter without ear pro handguns are louder than rifles due to perception and distance of muzzle to the shooter. Go shoot a 5.56 with no ear pro than a 9mm handgun and get back to me on this. And rifles are way easier to make aimed shots with than a hand gun even at close ranges. I am not sure on what salient points you were trying to make.

      • I know it’s three years late, but Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick.

        Who has hundreds of dollars for an AK, but a twenty dollar box of ammo is “too expensive?”

        Also, no handgun exists that is in a “sufficiently manstopping caliber.”

        Rifles are for fighting. Shotguns are what people too poor to afford a Romanian AK fight with, and are very close-range weapons. Pistols are what you use to fight your way back to the rifle that never should have left your hands in the first place.

      • Nick,
        First and foremost I am positive you probably smoked a bunch of crack before making such an idiotic blog about rifles being too cumbersome to defend ones life in the home, any and every professional, and competent instructor would tell you that as a general rule most people don’t shoot handguns well (myself included and I send a lot of 9mm down range) especially under duress and fear, and they would also tell you that 85% of people who are shot with handguns run away in self defense shoots, and almost any time you shoot someone in the chest with a rifle round they are down doing snow angels on the floor. I have trained a lot of places with a lot of real life warriors and the verdict remains the same regardless of the approach you take, people are not only more accurate with rifles, but it is a far more devastating than pistol caliber rounds. So you go ahead and take your glock and engage some asshole with an AK with the intent, ability, and opportunity but as for me and my family (from my wife down to my three boys) if we know we are going to fight for our lives (and I don’t care what the perps weapon is from a broken bottle all the way up to an RPG) We will be grabbing the biggest gun we can accurately shoot and put rounds on target. PERIOD..!! Please stop misinforming the inter web, you obviously had a moot point, with little to no proof back it up, please remember that most people haven’t even got their pistols hot before, much less than shooting someone in a fight. To people who read this go get trained, and not your local gun club or NRA Class (not saying they are bad) go to a real world class with guys that have been in a real gunfight as the instructors, just two or three are Costa ludus, Tactical Response, and Thunder Ranch. Pease, love and be safe.

    • hehe… XDM .45acp 13+1 2 extra mags loaded with the good stuff on standby(40rds should be enough), and a nice massive 12″blade, 6oz inferno pepper spray from cold steel (easy to aim foam gel) 1000 lumens flasklight, Bear Whistle just in case… on belt ready to go.

  1. “Of course, that’ shotgun’s much more likely to (A) scare the ever-loving crap out of the attacker just by racking the action”
    lol. racking the action on my RFB is pretty loud.

    “and (B) actually hit him”
    Isnt the shot spread across the short distance of a room rather minimal?

    “Rifles are, without a doubt, the worst idea. They’re cumbersome to maneuver, you need to put them down to do anything productive”
    And shotguns aren’t? Bullpups FTW.

    • What? I just see a guy about to have the barrel of his rifle grabbed and with a twist he is disarmed and shot with his own gun. Common sense is FTW.

      • Do you have any idea how hard it is to actually achieve that kung fu maneuver on someone who has a gun pressed against his shoulder?

        The owner of that gun is going to have at least twice the leverage of anyone grabbing that barrel.

        • I do actually. Eight years of self defense. It is easy when you have the element of surprise and the fool only has one hand on the gun.

          Grab the barrel. Direct it to the left. Push up (his shoulder acts as a fantastic lever). Grab his grip hand and twist (in this picture) counter clock-wise. Twist your behind in and toward his right hip (in this picture). Use his hip as a bending lever for your behind. At this point his wrist should be pointed way up. His shoulder cranked up into the sky looking like he is doing the mariachi snapping his fingers while standing a little unsure on tip-toes. The gun grip and mag will be crushing into his face and the pain in his about to be dislocated shoulder will force him to release. Continue twisting and fire.

          It isn’t Kung Fu. We would teach this to women for just about any long weapon that a man could present against them. The maneuver focuses on the man’s weakness’ and the woman’s strength’s.

          Don’t try this at home.


        • “His shoulder cranked up into the sky looking like he is doing the mariachi snapping his fingers while standing a little unsure on tip-toes. The gun grip and mag will be crushing into his face and the pain in his about to be dislocated shoulder will force him to release… We would teach this to women for just about any long weapon that a man could present against them. The maneuver focuses on the man’s weakness’ and the woman’s strength’s.”

          LOL! What sort of scenario is this, Stephen Hawking vs Chyna? What are these strengths which are specific to women? Kegel exercises? What is the weakness inherent in men? Dont even try to say the groin, it works just as well against women:

        • LOL! What sort of scenario is this, Stephen Hawking vs Chyna? What are these strengths which are specific to women? Kegel exercises? What is the weakness inherent in men? Dont even try to say the groin, it works just as well against women:

          You obviously have no experience with self defense (your statement of disarming someone being Kung Fu is evidence of this) so I wouldn’t expect you to know the subtle differences in a man vs woman and how they are different when it comes to fighting. Center of balance and upper and lower body strength play major factors. Again though, I don’t expect you to have a clue.

          “Dont even try to say the groin, it works just as well against women”

          You must not have the standard equipment I suppose. A groin shot to a woman causes momentary pain. A punch to the arm would do the same thing (unless struck in the exact spot to cause nerve damage). Let me assure you that a woman being punched there does not have long lasting consequences in a fight. I assure you that a man (with ballz) is down and retching for the evening and even hospitalization. To quote Wiki:

          Male victims
          Groin attacks enacted upon male victims are the most widely known, and women are often taught to use the groin attack to discourage potential rapists and other attackers. Also they are used as a form of bullying for both males and females. Groin strikes are debilitating and pose potential harm to males due to the high sensitivity of the gonads and vulnerability of human external testicles. The pain associated with testicular trauma travels from the testicles into the abdominal cavity through the spermatic plexus, the primary nerve of the testicles. A prolonged squeeze to the testicles can cause the victim to black out. A hard strike or squeeze can cause the testicle to rupture, potentially sterilizing the victim. In such cases, hospitalization is necessary and if the testicles cannot be repaired, they must be removed.

          Female victims
          Unlike the male groin area, the female reproductive organs are contained within the body; because of this, a female’s ovaries are protected from certain types of attacks and injuries are much less common. Contrary to depictions in popular culture (in which females are no more vulnerable in their groin than anywhere else), strikes or grabbing and squeezing the vulva or clitoris quite severely incapacitate females due to an extremely high amount of nerve endings in these structures. The clitoris is so sensitive that many females find that just directly touching it, even lightly, is painful.[2] Potential long term health problems can arise for female victims of groin attacks including nerve damage to the clitoris, fracture of the pubic bone, Hematoma, and Vulvodynia. Low blows on females may not be common when compared with males; however, victims often compare the pain to that of men’s pain.

          Both obviously are successful attacks to either gender. But only if hit exactly where needed. Us men know how hard it is to pinpoint the clitoris (am I right!? Right!?) and the vulva is right there obviously. Males victims have the grape scenario though. A lot of men can’t get through a week without sitting on their ballz uncomfortably. Comparing the ease of striking a man and woman in the right spot is like arguing the effectiveness of a shotgun versus a pistol at 25 yards.

          The scenario has nothing to do with Stephen Hawking nor this Chyna (whoever that is) you refer to. If you recall it is about a fool opening a door one handed with his barrel sticking out to grab. Anyone with a clue knows you don’t approach a corner with your barrel up. You don’t know what is on the other side. It could be friendly for all you know. Why do you think the police and military walk crouched and couched when they can see directly in front of them but lower business end of the rifle or shotgun when approaching a corner or doorway? Reason is that it eliminates friendly fire and disarmament. Check Ebaums world for it. It seems to have helped you thus far.

        • “A groin shot to a woman causes momentary pain…To quote Wiki:

          Contrary to depictions in popular culture (in which females are no more vulnerable in their groin than anywhere else), strikes or grabbing and squeezing the vulva or clitoris quite severely incapacitate females due to an extremely high amount of nerve endings in these structures. The clitoris is so sensitive that many females find that just directly touching it, even lightly, is painful… victims often compare the pain to that of men’s pain.”
          You should have read your own references since they contradict you.

          “Us men know how hard it is to pinpoint the clitoris (am I right!? Right!?)”
          Its called pull back the hood. And no it isnt hard to find if your looking to punch or kick it, they’re all in the same place, just like a guy’s balls.

          “The scenario has nothing to do with Stephen Hawking nor this Chyna ”
          Yes it does. For your secnario to work the woman would need the element of surprise which she clearly wouldnt have if the man has a rifle shouldered. She would also need height and/or upper body strength, which she wouldnt have, unless it was Chyna vs Stephen Hawking.

          “Anyone with a clue knows you don’t approach a corner with your barrel up. You don’t know what is on the other side.”
          You shoulder the weapon because you don’t know whats on the other side. You pull the trigger when you’ve identified someone as a threat.

          “but lower business end of the rifle or shotgun when approaching a corner or doorway? ”
          Because they cant manuever with a shouldered long gun, and LEOs/US mil generally don’t use bullpups for numerous reasons.

          “Reason is that it eliminates friendly fire and disarmament.”
          You should read the IGOTD here with all this hero worship of LEOs.

          Now please go back to teaching tae-kwon-do in a strip mall to a bunch of kids and women who don’t know better.

        • “A groin shot to a woman causes momentary pain…To quote Wiki:

          …victims often compare the pain to that of men’s pain.”
          You should have read your own references since they contradict you.

          “Us men know how hard it is to pinpoint the clitoris (am I right!? Right!?)”
          Its called pull back the hood. And no it isnt hard to find if your looking to punch or kick it, they’re all in the same place, just like a guy’s balls.

        • “A groin shot to a woman causes momentary pain…To quote Wiki:

          …victims often compare the pain to that of men’s pain.”
          You should have read your own references since they contradict you.

          “Us men know how hard it is to pinpoint the clit (am I right!? Right!?)”
          Its called pull back the hood. And no it isnt hard to find if your looking to punch or kick it, they’re all in the same place, just like a guy’s balls.

          “The scenario has nothing to do with Stephen Hawking nor this Chyna ”
          Yes it does. For your secnario to work the woman would need the element of surprise which she clearly wouldnt have if the man has a rifle shouldered. She would also need height and/or upper body strength, which she wouldnt have, unless it was Chyna vs Stephen Hawking.

          “Anyone with a clue knows you don’t approach a corner with your barrel up. You don’t know what is on the other side.”
          You shoulder the weapon because you don’t know whats on the other side. You pull the trigger when you’ve identified someone as a threat.

          “but lower business end of the rifle or shotgun when approaching a corner or doorway? ”
          Because they cant manuever with a shouldered long gun, and LEOs/US mil generally don’t use bullpups for numerous reasons.

          “Reason is that it eliminates friendly fire and disarmament.”
          You should read the IGOTD here with all this hero worship of LEOs.

          Now please go back to teaching tae-kwon-do in a strip mall to a bunch of kids and women who don’t know better.

        • matt says:
          March 13, 2012 at 09:55
          “A groin shot to a woman causes momentary pain…To quote Wiki:

          “You should have read your own references since they contradict you.”

          Yeah, I did. Unfortunately it doesn’t mention anything about removal of a woman’s body parts nor her blacking out because she lacks the same nerve that men have that sends pain to our abdomen which causes us to vomit uncontrollably after a shot to the junk. A slight difference in the severity of the injuries one would think. Especially because it mentions a man can have his testicles severed or removed. You don’t see the difference though. Not you. Ask me if I am surprised.

          “Its called pull back the hood. And no it isnt hard to find if your looking to punch or kick it, they’re all in the same place, just like a guy’s balls.”

          Why? A woman’s clit is on the outside? You gonna pull back her hood through her pants so you can punch her? Wow! This is embarrassing for you, Dude. And her ovaries hang? Dude! I don’t know what he-she women you have been with but none I know have there junk on the outside. No comparison. Sorry. You are really reaching here. Ask me if I am surprised.

          “Yes it does. For your secnario to work the woman would need the element of surprise which she clearly wouldnt have if the man has a rifle shouldered. She would also need height and/or upper body strength, which she wouldnt have, unless it was Chyna vs Stephen Hawking.”

          The woman wouldn’t have the element of surprise? This dude on the picture has the door open three inches. The chain is still slack. What is planning to do? Shoot the neighbors? Blind fire into the door and hall? You clearly show you have no idea how to handle a gun in close quarters. None whatsoever.

          You grab the barrel. You pull it down. You can even shoulder the door to get some leverage on it here with the way this guy is setting himself up. Let’s not even talk about there is a barrel peeking out and if you were the perp the could simply shoot through the door. You didn’t think if that though.

          Your complete ignorance to the fact that a lot of women are not defenseless is astounding. They don’t need the height or the upper body strength with the twist disarm I was giving an example to. But again you wouldn’t know that because you have no idea to defend yourself evidently.

          “You shoulder the weapon because you don’t know whats on the other side. You pull the trigger when you’ve identified someone as a threat.”

          Oh? Is that how SWAT, military and the police train? Really? Never seen this of which you speak. Hell! Watch cops, Dude. They approach with the gun down until they have identified a threat. Your pal in the picture has X-Ray vision I assume?

          “Because they cant manuever with a shouldered long gun, and LEOs/US mil generally don’t use bullpups for numerous reasons.”

          Gonna have to call it, Dude. Not true. Sorry. Many detachments use bullpups. Heck half the Canadian militaries rifles are bullpups.

          “You should read the IGOTD here with all this hero worship of LEOs.”

          I read a lot here. Unfortunately little of what you offer is worth bothering with. I have no idea who here worships LEOs. Maybe Ebaum could tell us? Don’t expect a reply, Troll. I don’t put much faith in Ebaums world (lol! Ebaums world. What a schlub!)

          “Now please go back to teaching tae-kwon-do in a strip mall to a bunch of kids and women who don’t know better.”

          Didn’t teach to kids. Taught self defense to rape victims and people who wanted to get serious about protecting themselves. Something – clearly – you have no idea about.

        • In Halloween 4, Michael Myers proves why a shotgun is pointless. And he has no gun, is walking slowly, and can’t be stopped. Every time a guy is wearing a mask and carries a knife, your guns probably aren’t going to work. Especially if he doesn’t even flinch when you pull on him without even making the guy stop to think.

        • “Oh? Is that how SWAT, military and the police train? Really? Never seen this of which you speak. Hell! Watch cops, Dude. They approach with the gun down until they have identified a threat. Your pal in the picture has X-Ray vision I assume?”

          WTF… is this Buuurr guy for real? Ummm, YES they train that way. You keep your weapon to your side and I’ll keep mine at my line of sight as we both pan around opposite corners and we’ll see who’s prepared to take the first shot after we ID the threat. Just google “SWAT training” and look at all the rifles locked to their eyes.

          For the record, I disagree with the author. A home defense rifle would generally be high capacity, high stopping power, high accuracy… not seeing any downsides here. If it’s too long for you, buy a carbine or bullpup. Rifles beat handguns in almost every scenario. And anyone with actual training with that type of weapon system spends many hours holding their rifle one handed.

      • You can talk about taking a rifle away from a guy with what you learned in your self defense class when you’ve do e it to someone who is trying to kill you and not some accountant in your McDojo. My AUG is attached to a sling, nobody is going to take it from me and any attempt to do so will be met with a push kick and a magdump.

        As to the point of this article- poppycock. A .223 or .556 round does not penetrate drywall nearly a badly as buckshot or handgun rounds. It is designed to yaw and flip and fragment and basically do anything but punch straight through barriers.

        I live in an apartment and use an AUG for home defense. I have a bookcase full of books set up as a backstop to my most likely angle of fire against an intruder- tightly packed books make an excellent backstop.

        On top of that, while a carbine, SBR, or bullpup might give up a little bit of maneuverability to a handgun, any shoulder fired weapon will be FAR easier to shoot accurately than a handgun. And since you very well may be half asleep or hung over when the fight come to you, easy to shoot matters a lot more than usual. And misses from anything penetrate drywall a lot more than hits.

        No weapon being fired in a suburban area is perfectly safe. But if you’re shooting, your situation better be so dire that the alternative is worth than the risk. And even in a gunfight it is your responsibility to know what is in the path of and behind your target.

        • Actually it is fairly easy to disable an opponent wielding a long gun. If you move to the side while pushing the muzzle aside and holding it there, you can disable him very quickly with a shot to the back of the neck, side of neck, or temple. Or for you gladiators out there, ripping out the trachea.

        • I bet that AUG’s telescopic sight will come in really useful for aiming at someone all the way at the other end of your apartment.

      • To be sure, if you’re using a firearm to defend yourself against a lethal threat, and you’ve allowed the bad guy to get within arm’s length, you are DOING. IT. WRONG.

        That having been said, I am not sure whether the author of this article is just joshing us. Handguns SUCK at killing things, even with 21st Century “premium defensive” bullets that sell for well north of a dollar a round and have every gimmick added to them but solid rocket fuel. We’ve all heard the verified and confirmed horror stories about the rabid twenty-pound raccoons that absorb a full magazine of 9mm hollowpoints before they stop trying to chew on the homeowner.

        Handguns are emergency, last-ditch implements for fighting your way back to the long gun you should never have put down. If you are fighting for your life against bad men who are trying to kill you, 12 gauge buckshot and/or multiple centerfire rifle rounds to the bad guy’s face are the preferred tools for this application. If you are defending yourself and a mere handgun or pistol-caliber carbine is your primary weapon, once again you are DOING. IT. WRONG.

    • Not everybody has a pump gun. Many people use side-by-sides, over/unders or a semi-auto.. I have a Remington 11/87. There is no ka chunk to scare the BG away.

    • My house is wired with 25,000 lbs of highly concentrated c4 plastic explosives, i got enuff kaboom to turn our gated community into a lake. But most of the time i just use an old trick i learned in nam, and thats my shatter gun, street sweeper, or i just fire a rpg wherd the noise come from. I got bout 6 fully functional hand grenades held back for a rainy day as well

      • Finally! Some who gets it.

        My plan is to fry them like an ant with my magnifying glass. I keep a 120 watt bulb with extension cord for night work.

    • The author seemed to forget he said the guy who kicked in the door had an AK-47. I’m pretty sure hearing the “rack” of a shotgun isn’t going to do anything but make the bad-guy laugh!

      • Lol. No kidding I agree If I see a guy in my house with an AK I’ll have to check my shorts and go for my AR, sorry.

  2. One thing you didn’t mention, when it’s o’dark thirty in the AM, having a long gun that requires you to put it down and pick it up often, can result in fumbling for it in the dark, possibly grabbing it wrong and causing an unwanted discharge. Secondly, having a long gun that requires you to put it down, increases the chance that you will get separated from your firearm, your child screams, your spouse screams, the shots fired by the bad guy killing your dog can all be distracting enough to take your mind off maintaining possession of your firearm. So I totally agree that if you need to be mobile, and shuffle your family to a safe room, etc, a handgun is probably the best choice. Once fortressed up in the safe room, it sure would be nice to have a 12 ga. to cover the door.

    • “Secondly, having a long gun that requires you to put it down…………….”
      That’s why any defensive long gun should have a proper sling. The sling is to the rifle or shotgun what the holster is to the handgun.

        • Clearly you must not know a whole hell of a lot about Close Quarters Battle. Because in CQB your muzzle stays up and down range for chance and pop up threats in room clearing. It it only brought down when there is an area you can not strafe or pie slice your way around without smacking your weapon into an obstical.

          Secondly, I would love for you to grab the muzzle of my weapon and try to take it from me. You’ll catch the buttstock across your head a few times and when you finally let go. I’m going to blow your chest up and turn your head into a canoe.

          This I assure you as I have real training, and real world experiance.

          Lastly, if I kick a bitch in the cunt, you best believe she’s going down, and she’ll stay down. Once she starts moving again, I’m blowing up her head and chest.

        • As misguided and uninformed as this article is, there’s no need for all the nut-grabbing machismo. There are quite a few people who post here regularly that have been there done that.

  3. Anything that can be counted on the hit the attacker reliably will go through a wall, especially the modern paper thin building construction used these days in apartments. Even in nice & expensive shared housing complexes such as condos and high end apartments the walls are so thin the storied Glasers pose a risk to the neighbors.

    A rifle offers two advantages over a handgun;accuracy and stopping ability, two factors very crucial when uninvited felons pay one a visit.A handgun is a vast upgrade over counting on the scumbag’s mercy ,but if there is time im getting the AR15 and dialing 911, in that order. Keep in mind even in an armed society there is still crime, and prepared crooks have no problem bringing long arms of their own on a home invasion. That security camera video last year in Arizona of multiple armed crooks packing AR15s and long arms being repulsed by the armed homeowner should give one notice. The jury and the cops will have the advantage of hindsight, but at 2am the homeowner doesn’t know if the intruder has a .22LR or an FN FAL.

    Another factor is the legalities after the shoot. Confiscation of any arm isn’t good, but procedure will dictate that in the event lead flies any weapon employed by the homeowner will be seized until the case is resolved, and with that exists the possibility that practical return of the weapon will not be possible. Police and liberal minded DAs have all sorts of tricks to ensure a citizen is prevented from having their property returned to them in a timely fashion.

    When a long arm is seized, the citizen still retains the option of taking the household handgun out and about for personal defense. The opposite situation leaves the citizen with a long arm that cannot be carried outside of the home , during a period of time which the same citizen is under threat of retaliation by the departed crooks’ family and ‘associates’. Losing a single handgun when one has twenty in the safe isn’t a major tragedy, but what of the American citizen with one handgun and one or more long arms?

    Let me state before the angry responses roll in, that everyone has different “tactical” needs. A defense plan that works for a family of four living in suburbia won’t work for a single person living in a studio apartment in a city. Another factor that must be considered is local legality and attitudes on RKBA ;will using a long arm such as an AR15 result in the citizen being dragged though the mud for daring to use an “assault weapon” on “downtrodden” members of society? Here in South Dakota I can use an AR pattern rifle and as long as the legal tenets of lethal force hold im in the clear, but in northeastern Illinois using an AR15 for home defense is a great way to wind up on the Channel 7 news as a “paranoid killer”. In such cases a handgun or 12 gauge may be a more politically correct choice of arms.

    To wrap this up, I believe there is no such thing as a uniform standard for all citizens to apply for home defense, any more than all people who concealed carry should use only one type of handgun.

    • Thank goodness, a common sense reply! Personally, I spent 7 years in service to my country during the Viet Nam thing in the US Army and then followed that up with 5 years of service to my community as a police officer. I have studied and been there. I have used all forms, including hand to hand techniques (14 years in martial arts). As for me and my house, I prefer the short rifle on a sling. Either .223 or .300 blackout with a 16 inch barrel and collapsible stock containing frangible projectiles to prevent over-penetration works for me. Not saying everyone should do the same, but it works for me. Yes, I have been point man in building clearings. A lot can happen in a short time so you must train and be prepared. Know what you have and how to use it. Don’t load it up with lots of toys. Keep it simple. I have done lots of extensive testing of bullet penetration against normal drywall and have come to the conclusion that high speed frangible rifle bullets dissipate their energy on the walls better than any other projectile except bird shot. Most 9mm rounds will penetrate 6″ of wood and drywall and still have enough energy left to kill a person 10 feet on the other side. Every bullet that leaves the barrel has to be accounted for. You, as the shooter, are responsible for that round. If it misses the intended target, where will it go? Frangible rifle rounds in small calibers are very effective against human targets and have the advantage of penetrating soft body armor (becoming more common with intruders) so center mass targeting is still a viable option, yet the energy dissipates rapidly a few inches beyond the armor but still in the chest cavity as multiple projectiles. A short rifle is no harder to control than a handgun once you have been trained; in fact, many shooters control the rifle better than a handgun when the adrenaline is high! My rifle does not extend any further than a handgun would when properly carried since it is carried “in”, down, and against my shoulder while the handgun is carried with arms extended in the ready position. I have carried all 3 professionally and love them all, but a wise man once said, “never knowingly go into combat armed with nothing more than a handgun”. A handgun is a last ditch defensive weapon; it is great for what it was designed to do, but it was not designed to be the first weapon of choice. Yes, I carry a handgun, but for home defense, I still prefer the short rifle.

    • Well said! One size does not fit all, and what works in rural country when LEO is a long way off, is not the solution for inner city urban defense. Thank you for a realistic approach!

  4. Rifles are pro-active weapons. They are used to assert your will on an area out to their effective range. Pistols work best in the re-active self defense role, mainly because they are (should be) always within reach. Shotguns work well for multiple close range adversaries in open spaces, or holed up in a room.

  5. I would title rifle not the best choice but if that’s your only choice.

    I would say of choices I put pistol, shotgun, then rifle for home defense. And that would be my order of progression but my shotguns have 30 and 32 inch barrels and only hold two rounds. So I go pistol, rifle then shotgun last resort. I have some compact rifles that shoot pistol ammunition that would be very effective for home defense. But if you need to use another hand to say switch lights, hold a flashlight, or whatever you might need to free a hand up to do then it makes that rifle not very effective. But a rifle is still better than no gun.

  6. First, if a firearm makes it harder to turn your back on the bad guy (!!!) that’s probably a good thing. It’ll prevent you from making a serious tactical error. It’s not one I would have considered until just this minute, but if you’ll write it, there’s a good chance someone will try to do it, so that now become an advantage for rifles I hadn’t previously considered.

    Second, any of the three will get the job done if he’s not wearing body armor. What if he is? Home invasions are already rare, but of the ones that remain, many are one drug gang trying to rip off another. They make mistakes too. And yes, they do wear body armor.

    Noise is an issue, but there are ways to mitigate that. Silencers are one, but you can also do quite a bit with ammunition and flash hider selection. For example, a .357 magnum pistol (which many people select for home defense) produces maximum pressures of 35,000 PSI. And this is vented to the environment through the flash gap while it’s at maximum pressure. This produces quite an obnoxious bang. 5.56x45mm produces a max of 62,366 PSI. Now, by the time the bullet exits and the pressure is “uncorked”, the gas has expanded into the volume of the barrel, so it’s somewhat lower. But still produces an extremely sharp, ear-shattering report. 7.62×39 produces a max of 51,488 PSI. The larger bullet diameter means a larger bore, and a larger volume for the gasses to occupy before they’re vented.

    Recoil-reducing muzzle brakes are very popular these days, but they mostly work by directing that pressure back and to the sides. As anyone who’s ever shot one (or next to one) on an indoor range, the pressure wave is brutal. There are muzzle devices that aren’t classified as silencers, but do cut down on that shock. The classic Krinkov 4-piece flash hider is one. (Be careful not to confuse with a Krinkov brake, which is a blast enhancer.) For the AR or similar platforms, there’s the Noveske KX3 flash hider.

    An AR firing .300 Blackout with a KX3 would be a very fine home defense rifle, with no federal regulations to worry about. The only downside is cost. But an AK clone with a Krink brake and a 16″ barrel can do the same for much less. For those living in jurisdictions where EBRs are a problem, an old .30-30 trapper levergun would not be a bad choice.

  7. One aspect of night time HD that you (maybe intentionally) left out is weapon lights. We can leave the debate about handheld or fixed. How many people actually practice flashlight technique with a rifle or shotgun? I’m not even sure you can use a pump gun with a hand held flashlight. Both my handgun and my Mossy have Surefire weapon lights attached. Both the weapon lights and my flashlights are so bright that I never shine them in anyone’s eyes for fear of vision damage (especially the attached weapon lights 😉 ). Far from worrying about my light being a target, I think that the blinding effect on an intruder would be beneficial. Hearing a 12 ga rack and being simultaneously blinded would have the effect of talking to God. My only worry would be multiple assailants, since I could not spotlight them all at the same instant. I have a rifle at the ready, but as you stated I don’t see myself being able to justify shooting someone at rifle distances outside the walls of my house. I do live on two acres, but not in TX.

    Do you have any thoughts about this Nick?

  8. A 3-inch magnum and an 870 slug-gun with #4 buckshot.

    Many years ago I was at the range and some Air Force MP’s were using the range for practice (this was near New Orleans in the early 1980’s). They were using M-16’s shooting 200 yards– prone.

    When they were loading up to go back to the base, and reviewing their effectiveness on the shilouette targets, the M/Sgt. of the detail demonstrated his handy work with an 870 using #4 buckshot — and he was using 2 3/4-inch loads.

    Using 5 rounds against a shilouette from about 15 yards, he put twice as many pellets in the target’s kill zone than most of the MP’s did firing 200 rounds of 5.56. I was convinced, totally, about the effectiveness of this load and have made it my chioce for home protection.

    There are, on average, 41 pellets of .24 inch diameter. That’s a whole bunch o’ holes and should bring down anyone intent on causing you harm.

    True, this is subjective, but if you give it a try you may be convinced, too. The difference in range of M-16/870 is a big factor but experienced marksmen should have put many more hits in their target’s kill zone than they did. But, you should have seen the damage on the sergeant’s target!

    • I learned about #4 buck shot many years ago. Each pellet is smaller than the popular #00 buck, but you get many more pellets and they are still of a large enough size to penetrate well and have the desired effect. It’s good that you mentioned it here.

  9. I like the idea of a shotgun, yes they are bigger and you may have to put them down. They are also scarier and less likely to penetrate the walls of my house. The first three rounds in my Shotgun are Number 7 Shot. The forth round is a ball. If the first three don’t back the BG off the Forth will. With the adrenalin going in tense situations I vote for the point and pull properties of the shotgun. Ask yourself this when you go from asleep to awake and shooting in under 30 seconds and add in the additional adrenalin, the best choice for me is the Shotgun.

    I am also not saying that I don’t have a pistol available but I think for me the shotgun will be my first choice. In my situation, for the BG to get to me and my wife (no Kids) they would have to get through my two healers. That will give me time to make some decisions.

    That is my thoughts…

  10. A magazine had a test of a 5.56mm AR round and a 9mm handgun round for penetration and the 5.56mm penetrated less.
    Pistolero magazine had a test of various projectiles in a house in the desert and usually the lighter shotgun rounds had the least penetration.
    7.62 NATO mm rifle rounds were the worst.

  11. I usually can manuver and travel through the house holding a long gun with one hand if need be. I am missing the putting the gun down and picking it up all the time propaganda.

    • Needing the extra hands comes into play if you have to sheppard little kids down the hallway towards where ever you are using as a safe place, usually with mom in the bedroom. Nick’s scenerio included 2.5 kids and a wife. If the family has not trained for this as a family unit, there will be MASSIVE amounts of kaos, as the kids will scream and cry, the wife will be yelling also. Add in a barking dog or two, and you will be lucky to hear the bad guy to locate him. Nice to have 2 hands free to move furniture into a barracade if possible. And the sling mentioned earlier would sure be useful on a long gun. I’m ashamed I didn’t think of it. I have slings on most of my long guns. Also a good flashlight was recommeneded, and I totally agree with that. I have one of the old Mag-Lite 6 cell flashlights that swings well as a club if needed.

  12. The standard 12 ga 2 3/4″ load has stopped many an aggressor. I will take whatever will keep me holed up the best in the bedroom. If there is a gang doing a door kick I would definitely like the available firepower of a carbine over the shotgun. Just FYI I can maneuver the AR just has fast as any shotgun without as much over penetration in dry wall. I also don’t plan on “clearing” anything as that is something a team does and not an individual. The pistol just happens to be the closest and quickest thing to grab in case I’m in a dead sleep.

  13. If you are really clever, a dog can add to early warning, and having soft lighting outside of the house and in areas not used for sleeping can illuminate the invader and hopefully the owner less so. Having an alarm system might help. Moving to a better neighborhood might help.

  14. “Your wife, predictably, is still sound asleep”
    — These are modern times. Fair is fair. Equal is equal. We all need to walk our talk. Therefore, smack her butt to wake her up, and tell her to go grab her gun and see what the loud noise is about.

    Rather than pistol, I choose revolver. It’s 2AM, I’m half-asleep and possibly rather fearful in facing a deadly confrontation, and wishing that I had a ‘safe-defense room’ to hold up in like few people have. With my revolver I won’t forget how to or freeze-up remembering to load, rack into action, take off a safety, and clear a FtF, etc. I’m just an average civilian gun owner. A freed-up hand/arm (a handgun can be held in the other hand) allows you to speak on a cell phone, grab a kid, open a door or escape window, etc.

    “and baklava on his face. Or is it balaclava?”
    — That line always puts a smile on my face.

    BTW, who the hell, besides the BATFE or south of the border drug dealers, loudly bursts through a door at 2AM armed with a scary black semi-auto rifle wearing a balaclava and continues to engage and advance after encountering an armed home resident?

  15. What you used for DGU probably depends on what you feel comfortable with. For some people in Fascist areas, a handgun or assault rifle is legally a remote option.
    I actually would employ about anything that shoots in an emergency.
    My first preference is a repeating shotgun with a shorter barrel and a hand gun.
    Faster firing carbine rifles would work.

    I still recommend practice with whatever is purchased.

  16. I think I would be a little distracted by the phyllo/pistachio/honey confection on the intruder’s face. I will have to add that scenario to my training so it doesn’t throw me off.

  17. You can keep your handgun, next to my nightstand is a Mossberg 590 and my Glock 29 sights on the nightstand itself. I’ll be aiming down a long hallway with the shotgun and I’m much more confident with it at any range. If I was really concerned then I would be grabbing my AR, over penetration be damned. Long guns have slings for a reason, using both hands shouldn’t be a big concern with a good quality sling. And they are much easier to shoot with the stock and increased sight radius, handguns are difficult to master an in a life or death situation you need every advantage you can get.

    Handguns are the answer for small, concealable firepower but choosing to use one when you aren’t so restricted is a bad idea.

  18. A perennial question, for sure: Doesn’t it depend, in large part, on who you actually are? For example, if you’re a long time skeet shooter, your skill with a shotgun is likely 100 x what you’ll achieve with a pistol. So, too, the ex-grunt who’s moved through dense jungle month after month or cleared many houses in Iraq can probably move a carbine through their hallways without trouble. The typical active or formerLEO, on the other hand, has likely trained with a handgun for years and will do better with it than with a shotgun. LEO’s prefer that non’s use a handgun because the mortality rate is lower than in shotgun defense. More perps will survive, which is good for local statistics. There is no simple answer. Few people I’ve met are willing to “check out” a noise with a shotgun. They feel they’re overdoing it. I myself respond to vague hints of trouble with a handgun, reserving a shotgun for events where intrusion or aggression is very clear. Hit or miss procedure? Maybe. Three out of three times the shotgun has been the clear choice and sufficed. Nothing happens in my neighborhood, no burglaries, except for something bizarre every ten years such as a group of teenagers gone haywire, or a thief who got lost and ended up here by mistake. It’s my thinking that people ought to assess where their mastery lies, and choose that firearm, though all should have a pocket or holstered handgun along in any case as backup if that’s an option. I don’t actually agree with those who say a shotgun with an 18″ barrel is difficult to maneuver indoors, but there is definitely technique involved (as with a carbine indoors). For example, hip shooting with two hands on a shotgun is actually quite accurate at very close ranges. Therefore the shotgun can be held with the stock well back to maneuver. (Yes, you don’t round a corner leading with two feet of barrel!) Choices depend on the skills you have, not on some general analysis. Self-assessment has to be honest. All three are good in skilled hands. I think of the small pistol as much like a pen or wallet, simply the easy discrete first choice. Going for something larger requires a heads-up, a reason. My neighbors do not like to see long guns out, and this does affect my protocols. I value my neighbors’ trust. Good locks and alarm systems are considered, here, signs of civility: “Make an effort to deter burglars before going tactical” is the concept. Discuss:

    • I’ll agree with that except that most LEOs I know would prefer to show up with a dead perp and uninjured homeowner with a good shoot. The rank and file don’t really care about the stats all that much. A good shoot is a good shoot.

      • Caffeinated: I didn’t mean to imply that LEO’s would like to see a merely wounded homeowner. Sorry if it came across that way. I think ours assume an uninjured homeowner and, they hope, a merely wounded bad guy.

        • No offense taken. I’ll just say we like to see the good guy win whether the bad guy continues to consume future tax dollars or not.

  19. If I’m perched at the top of the stairs looking at the BG break through, why would I turn to run? I would already have had my Rifle shouldered ready to go, the BG would have to scan the room to see me, by then I’d have sent lead on a first class ticket to “Centermassville”. I prefer and keep a rifle close by. When I get my stamp back it will be an AR15 with an AAC 9″ upper in 300BLK. Thats a pretty short rifle, easy to move with. Then the wait for a Can for said 300BLK.

  20. Someone once told me about this mysterious device known as a “sling”. I’m told it holds your rifle or shotgun so you can do other things without laying the weapon down.

    • Funny. I’m often surprised by how much fashion, the comments of some trainer, affect people’s judgement. Slings: For indoor use it seems to me the ‘jungle’ arrangement is best, in which the sling is attached, front and rear, by paracord to the top of the rifle or shotgun, so that with sling over shoulder the long gun can be held at the ready by the pistol grip with the strong hand while the other hand is free to do other things if needed. This has long become standard with sub guns. When you raise to the shoulder, the sling simply falls to the side, not blocking the iron sights or red dot.

  21. Wow a lot of assumptions in this article, most of which only apply to a specific gun and ammo combo, not to all weapons of the type. I would strongly advise against anyone basing their home defense weapon on this article. Nothing personal Nick, but this seems entirely based off of personal opinion, not fact or research, on three specific firearms and ammo combos but blanketly applied to three types of firearms.

  22. yikes…have you not seen about a thousand actual demo’s of .223 FMJ in house penetration tests? I will sum it up. You have a very light, inherently unstable round moving at 3000 FPS. It hits something and instantly destabilizes. It breaks up quite easily. So in fact it penetrates walls about like a wet noodle does. A pistol round like a FMJ 45acp will very nicely do a couple of walls and keep moving.

    I just suggest the following common sense approach. Look at the cartridge, the bullet type and load, then instrument for projecting this after considering lots of other issues….Picking a defensive implement is not as simple as a three silver bullet list. If you don’t have lots of pistol skills or local laws make pistols a problematic situation, then investigate something lite and small. A 6.5 lb AR with 16″ pencil barrel, a pistol carbine like a Marlin 45 Camp carbine etc are wonderful solutions. As for “clearing” your house….well, I ain’t going there. I don’t get paid to clear houses. I am holing up in a room, calling 911 and defending a 36″ wide doorway that I’ve probably moved a dressing table behind the closed door.

  23. I’m I don’t think this article is up to your usual (very high) standard, Foghorn. You’re leaving a lot out- mainly that it’s much easier to quickly hit a close-range target quickly -even without aiming- with a rifle than with a pistol.

    Also a rifle can be loaded much faster than a shotgun. I’ve never seen a rapid access long-gun safe, so keeping it loaded is problematic if there are kids in the house.

    A shotgun gives you a little bit of an edge when it comes to accuracy– but not much. It’s easier to hit the short fat BG with a rifle than the tall skinny one with shotgun.

    I’m not saying that a rifle is the obvious choice- I’m just saying it’s got enough to recommend it that it shouldn’t be discounted.

  24. The ‘not going deaf/blind’ bit with rifles was one of my considerations when picking a go-to home defense gun. I’ve never shot an AR without plugs and muffs and it’s still uncomfortable. I can’t even imagine ripping of half a dozen rounds in the dark, in a cramped hallway, with a 14.5″ AR with a nice big muzzle brake and no hearing protection.

    However, I’m still not willing to bet my life, and those of my family, that a handgun
    is going to stop a home invader who’s most likely in an altered state of mind. At least, I’m not going to be able to stop one with a handgun in a timely enough manner. My 930 is a lead throwin machine and it’s louder than hell (not as loud as an AR or AK) but I think I’d still be able to function after firing it and not have much permanent hearing damage.

    As I’ve said before, in my opinion the end-all be-all best home defense gun is a lightweight, full auto, pistol caliber, SBR with a good suppressor. So, until I win the lottery and can drop $15K+ on a pre-ban MP5N, I’ll stick with my Mossberg 930 or Kel Tec Sub2K in .40 with a 31 round Victory Glock mag.

    That’s my $.02 anyway.

  25. “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.”

    Justice Scalia wrote the above in District of Columbia v. Heller. I think he was right — even though he’s apparently a shotgun guy.

    • Yes. “Duck Guns Be We.” Think Scalia should keep a duck gun by the nightstand. Use that with which you have the greatest skill. But what an ambassador for shooting sports! Kagan said “it was actually fun.”

  26. I guess I disagree with this article as well. I’m trying to find the demonstration I watched, but:

    a 9mm bullet went through 8 layers of sheetrock spaced 4 inches apart and still went 7 inches into ballistic gelatin. You just need to assume that you will overpenetrate no matter what gun you are using.

    I think the biggest risk of using an EBR in a suburban environment is how it looks in CIVIL court. It gives the impression that you’ve been ‘waiting for this day your whole life’. Which may be completely off base, but they can give that appearance to a jury in the CIVIL case. This has nothing to do with whether it was a legitimate shooting or not, as you all well know. (completely different topic, but I’ve come to believe the less military your HD firearm looks, the better off you’ll be in the aftermath).

    • Scott: Here’s one example of the type of “real world” testing you are talking about:

      There are several different posts on that same sight that cover handguns, rifles, shotguns, different spacing and targets behind the sheetrock, etc.

      They ultimate conclusion is exactly what you said: no matter what type of weapon you’re shooting, you have to assume that any misses will penetrate a lot of interior walls and probably exterior ones as well. Big responsibility to accept.

  27. If he is going to spray you and yours with milsurp AK ammo, it will probably penetrate enough to find you no matter where you run in houses of current construction. When I read about GG/ BG interaction, when handguns are used it says BG was sent to hospital. When a shotgun is used, BG is pronouced dead at the scene.Think of that brave 18 year old girl recently. Oh Yeah, she had a shotgun and a handgun, but the shotgun killed him and scared his BG bud off as well.I say in your make believe event, as soon as the door bursts open, you put everything you got in his upper chest. Then wait to see if he has friends while you reload. Give him time to raise his weapon, and…….. see above

  28. I went back through all the comments and have come down to 2 conclusions:

    Have a gun.
    Get really good with it.

    Everything else is just something to jaw about when they aren’t keeping you busy enough at work.

  29. Where do I begin?

    Slings, Nick, SLINGS! It enables you to secure your M4gery or whatever and use both or one hand to do other tasks. Furthermore, if any armed human filth kicks down the door and you’re ready to take him, DO IT! You have the drop on him. Don’t let the element of surprise go to waste by doing something stupid like racking a shotgun that you should’ve already had loaded. Racking the pump is not a guarantee he’ll run away! I also find it hard to believe that some piece of **** in a ski mask toting an AK was scared off by it. He obviously came ready for a fight.

    Let’s look at the pros and cons of each type of gun here:

    Handgun Pros: 1. Small and can be operated with one hand if necessary.

    Handgun Cons: 1. Low ammo capacity, unless you’re a crafty fellow with a 33 round mag like the ones Glocks can accept you’re limited to probably 13 – 17 rounds with a modern handgun. 2. Penetration of drywall can be greater than 00 buck and 5.56.

    Shotgun Pros: 1. Lot of firepower. 00 or 000 buck is going to devastate someone. So will a hollowpoint slug or whatever.

    Shotgun Cons: 1. They’re typically big and unwieldy. 2. Low capacity compared to standard handguns and AR-15 or AK pattern rifles. 3. Follow up shots are probably not going to be as fast as they would be with a handgun or a semi-auto patrol rifle. 4. Drywall overpenetration.

    Rifle Pros: 1. Very decent firepower. 2. Higher capacity than shotgun and handgun. 3. 55 gr. 5.56 and various defense rounds pose LESS of a risk of drywall overpenetration than either shotgun or pistol rounds. 4. If the bad guy is wearing body armor (and I would suspect one that is daring enough burst in fearlessly with a ski mask and an AK might at least consider wearing some) your rounds can penetrate through it.

    Rifle Cons: 1. Not being able to use your hands for other things. This also applies to the shotty. But both should be quick to get into action if you have a good sling setup.

    By the way, unless you live in a sprawling mansion the shotgun isn’t going to give you diddly wiggle room when it comes to accuracy.

    Since I don’t have to worry about gathering anyone up, the rifle works for me. If I had to go grab someone from another room I’d probably go with the handgun for the trip and haul ass back to the bedroom where the rifle would be waiting.

    But in the scenario presented, I sure as hell know that I’d prefer the rifle to both the shotgun and the handgun. The AK-47 is more gun than a handgun and the typical shotgun.


    • Michael B, you forget one of the rifle pros that I think is quite important. Many rifles (especially AR15 pattern guns) have rail systems either standard or available as replacement parts where one can mount varies accessories that can provide valuable advantages in a firefight. Some examples are red dot or holographic sights, tactical lights and lasers, scopes or magnifiers, night vision optics, and vertical foregrips or bipods. Nearly all rifles suitable for defensive use can use some type of sling and many can accept a suppressor (if one has the $200 to pay the ATF for the privilege of purchasing one).

  30. “Rifles are, without a doubt, the worst idea. They’re cumbersome to maneuver, you need to put them down to do anything productive..”

    You need to put your rifle down to shoot a bogey? How does that work?

  31. Look, I love you guys and all. And really enjoy reading the blog. But please leave the self defense tips to people who actually do it for a living. I don’t really think all of you are really qualified in te area.

  32. As many have brought up here, this is all a matter of training. With a pistol, you may shoot a BG several times COM and while the BG will technically expire, he still may have enough time to kill or injure you or your loved ones. Handguns with few exceptions feature poor terminal ballistics.

    Rifles (using 223/556 as an example) start upping the ante due to the velocity. Not only does this velocity cause the projectile to fragment upon impacting dry wall and sheet rock, it also imparts significant energy transfer to the target whereas most handgun rounds lack the velocity to do so. Additionally you have increased firepower should you need to engage more than one BG. If you want to see carbines employed correctly, I urge you to watch Act of Valor.

    Shotguns give you a distinct edge over handguns and sometimes rifles depending on who you talk to. It’s one of the few things to stop a dillo dead in its tracks. The downside is capacity and rate of fire.

    Again, use what you feel comfortable with. Handguns may work, but when seconds count; you want the threat to cease instantly. If you don’t have the experience with rifles and shotguns in close quarters; go get training. There is no excuse in this day and age of available training to not seek it.

  33. Interesting discussion. A few comments of my own.
    1.Out here in California it is less of an issue. For most of us, capacity is limited to ten rounds, no matter what you have, rifle or handgun.
    2.Handguns are easy to conceal in various places around your house, unlike long guns.
    3.On the other hand, three ex-felons have been arrested around here in the last two days and all three had sawed off shotguns; I am wondering if that is a good indication of what we may face with a midnight caller.
    4. A semiauto shotty has a pretty high rate of fire, assuming you can handle the recoil.
    5. A HID flashlight can give you an extra edge.

    • You want large die surface LED-based flashlights and not HID lights. HID lights take some time to warm up before getting to full brightness. Additionally, turning it on and off will likely kill the ballast well beyond its rated service life. Some of the newer LED technology will give you more lumens per watt than HID.

  34. I think Travis Haley said it best, “I don’t use a pump to scare somebody, I use a pump to shoot somebody.”

    I think shotguns or rifles or carbines would be fine for a home defense situation, but if I’m going to be collecting family members and ushering them to a safe room, I’m using a handgun for its maneuverability and one handed operation. IF I had to clear my house, which I wouldn’t, but if I absolutely had to I would use an AR. I’m just more comfortable with it for moving indoors.

    • LOL…ya know that reminds me of a story…

      When John Slaughter, Sheriff of Cochise County, Ariz. was asked by a newspaper reporter why he carried a rifle, a shotgun and a pistol on his manhunts, he replied…”To kill men with, you damned fool!”

      Read about Mr. Slaughter and enjoy a bit of the old west which I have to say seems quite more dangerous then these days….

  35. Sigh.

    “the [pistol] ammunition, while powerful enough to put someone down for good, doesn’t do walls so well.”

    Yea, okay. Except that it does. Pistol ammunition penetrates walls just fine.

    “that’ shotgun’s much more likely to (A) scare the ever-loving crap out of the attacker just by racking the action and (B) actually hit him.”

    Yes, cause racking either empties a live round or you had no round in the chamber previously. Genius.

    Also, a shotgun in close quarters gives you no real greater chance to hit the BG (over the rifle). Spread is negligible at HD ranges, especially since you’re not using birdshot (cause you’re not, right?!).

    “Rifles are, without a doubt, the worst idea. They’re cumbersome to maneuver, you need to put them down to do anything productive, ”

    Cumbersome, really? As a soldier, I could do just about damn anything with a 16 in one hand, and I really can’t think of any delicate operations I’m going to be performing in an HD situation. Also, for $*^#’s sake, a sling isn’t exactly expensive or complicated, if you really need to bust out the trigonometry calculations mid-home defense.

    “and they don’t give you any additional benefits.”

    Yea, except double or triple capacity and a *&%#ing heck of a lot better chance to hit what you’re aiming at.

    “The shotgun got you a little wiggle room in terms of accuracy, but the rifle is just as unforgiving – shooting wise –”

    really? a rifle doesn’t give you better accuracy than a pistol? More points of contact = better shot placement. Period.

    “with the added benefit of having to worry about where the rounds eventually end up. Like the neighbor’s bedroom.”

    You know, unless you actually choose the correct rounds for HD. Smaller, faster projectiles like .223 perform just as well or better than much HD pistol ammunition in wall simulations.

    “Oh, and they’re much louder than handguns and therefor more likely to permanently harm your family members’ hearing.”

    For #*^’s sake, really?

    • FLAME (AGAINST TTAG) DELETED. TTAG’s posting policy: no flaming the website, its authors or fellow commentators. Discussion can be passionate but, on some level, it has to be respectful (i.e. no calling a CEO a douchebag). If you wish to comment about TTAG’s editorial stance or style, please ping [email protected].

    • arnasyn: All your points are well-taken, but assume your experience. I think our views about long guns differ from anyone who hasn’t lived with one 24/7 for at least a year, coming to feel that maneuverability isn’t a problem. Most people, even ‘trainers,’ haven’t. I whined about the sling above. I think the shotgun comment is mildly off in this sense: Contrary to Hornady/NRA views, short-range in-the-home SD isn’t best done with “FliteWad” style loadings which in my M1014 stay very tight out past 10 yards. The standard Winchester/Army load, 9 pellet 00, spreads about 1 inch per yard after the first yard. At 5 yards, a not-uncommon home-defense range, that provides 5 inches spread from the original ca. 1 inch ‘spread’ (approx.), so fast aim that’s off by 3 inches either way runs a good chance of hitting a vital spot. Two shots from a shotgun has a much higher probability of being effective than two or three from a rifle. I see no reason to argue against 5.56. I do think a shotgun stops a perp faster at very close range, 1-10 meters, which is really the only range at issue here. Many military functional activities have come to the same conclusion. Either one will do. Both are much better than a pistol….but that assumes experience. I’m actually almost indifferent choosing between an AR or appropriate shotgun. They simply have different virtues. I prefer the shotgun’s at close range. (Just to cause more controversy, the best handling techniques with a shotgun at close range, available also with an AR-style rifle, are at best extremely difficult to perform with a pump shotgun.)

      • What you could do is get an AR15 with a railed fore-end and buy Red Jacket Firearms Masterkey shorty saiga shotgun that attaches to the bottom rail under the barrel. The saiga trigger is a quick firing hand transition forward to the AR magazine. If the BG gets too close when you’re using the AR against him, just give him a couple rounds of semi-auto 12ga. Plus if you need to clear your house (and you happen to have some breaching rounds) you can use the saiga to breach doors and the AR to take out any BGs.

  36. I rely on a pistol most of the time as it’s easy to keep near, but this article is all wrong. First poster hit all the key points.

  37. I teach a home defense tactics course hosted in a student home, so we can assess lighting, locks, doors, windows, weapons, tactics, communication – not in the sterile world of the live fire range but in a real furnished home, often where parents and kids are rarely all in the same room.

    One standard part of that class is to pace off distances – from the bedroom door to the longest shot, from other likely shooter locations to front and back door, and so on. Distances range from 7-25 yards, longer than the typical 3-5 yard distance from safe room “cover” to safe room door. Many modern homes have “open” floor plans, with the only path from master bedroom to child’s room going through a large open area, often with front and back doors opening into the large area.

    The shotgun fans always assume the scenario is one 24″ wide, fully exposed, no-shoot-free target at 5 yards, and the shotgun is great in that scenario. How great does the shotgun look when you have a 50% exposed IPSC target, covered by a no-shoot? How well do you know what your buckshot pattern looks like at 5 yards, and how precisely can you center that pattern to ensure that no lead hits your family member? What if you have to take a shot down a hallway, or across a open area full of furniture, to keep an intruder from entering a family member’s room? When the target is partially exposed, probably moving, in low light, in the 7-25 yard zone, a rifle with a red dot is going to give you the highest hit probability with the least chance of lead hitting others you didn’t intend to shoot.

    • Yours are the standard arguments for a carbine. First, I note that all the situations you describe make taking the shot with a handgun out of the question. Almost no one can reasonably take a handgun shot at 10 or more yards on a 50% target (7 inches of vital zone exposed) partially covered by your child held hostage, under stress. With a shotgun or carbine the choice to take that shot unsupported is still extremely questionable for the non-expert inexperienced-at-shooting-people person. A 25 yard shot at a moving target in low light? How do you know a child isn’t directly behind the target? But there will be light, I assume, the one on your gun or in the room. Burglars statistically don’t take hostages, as I’m sure you know, because of the penalty involved, and if they do then shooting by an amateur is generally not an option. Burglars either flee, seek a covered hiding place, or go to direct shooting unencumbered if they’re unprofessional. If they are fleeing, the shot is generally illegal. If they hide, you’ll have either no shot or a close-up shot. If they start shooting? Either type of long gun will do. Shooting an intruder isn’t a slow process. It either happens very fast at close range, or it doesn’t happen at all. 75 foot shots within the house are the stuff of fiction. The maximum sight-lines within a house aren’t the issue. The issue is how burglars or home-invaders behave, what shots they’ll actually allow your clients. I would agree with this, though: Many people can’t handle a shotgun’s recoil well shot-to-shot. For them a 5.56 carbine is a better option IF they know how to operate it skillfully. It is the easier option, if you will, and not a bad one. I have a choice. I can grab either one before I exit the bedroom door. I’ll grab the shotgun.

  38. Jesus!!! This just goes to show any freaking idiot can have a blog these days. Please use discretion when giving out advice that could potentially affect peoples lives in a self defense situation.

    I guarantee if a guy came busting through your door wearing a greek dessert on his face armed with an AK, your gonna want a shotgun or a rifle. Handgun vs AK in a stairwell results in you dying everytime.

    And whats with this putting the rifle down to move shit? If a guy is downstairs with an AK, your one and only task is to throw lead down that stairwell as accurately and quickly as possible. Are you going to move a dresser in the way in hopes of blocking a 7.62 round?

    Dude you watch way too much TV and this blog is dangerous. Your an idiot on almost every level and I hope no one listens to you, ever, about anything…

  39. Sounds like TTAG is unaware of the Box ‘O Truth.

    Short version: handgun ammo will go through sheetrock. Rifle ammo will go through lots of sheetrock. Pretty much everything your house is made from is concealment, not cover.

  40. The thing is, for me, self defense rifles are the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of.

    Really? Do you spend much time on the internet? I found I’ve had to retire that phrase and only count the top ten dumbest ideas for any given week.

  41. Nick, it’s been pretty well covered in the comments. Long guns are generally the superior firearm for defensive use. Handguns offer one distinct advantage: size. We carry a pistol because of it’s size and concealability, not its effectiveness. If I could carry an AR everywhere I would.
    Now please consider the reader of these articles before presenting your opinions as fact. This “Self Defense Tip” is potentially dangerous. You are being offered as an expert due to your status as a writer for TTAG, the most popular blog in shooting sports. New shooters and those who are ignorant to defensive tactics will read this and take your opinion as solid advice.
    Mr Farago: as a daily reader of this site this upsets me. Please consider your readers before publishing articles like this. Please leave the self defense “tips” to those with experience in defensive tactics.

      • I am no expert. Just a guy that has done his fair share of shooting for old Uncle Sam. It just irks me that this article even saw the light of day. This blog is widely read by firearms enthusiast and novices. Joe Snuffy wanting to establish a successful home defense initiative could read this and think: “Wow, I shouldn’t use the superior firepower, capacity, and accuracy of a modern rifle. Instead I should opt for a pistol.” or even worse “If I use a shotgun for home defense I can miss big and still get a hit without fear of penetrating a wall.”
        The Truth About This Article (see what I did there) is that there are several readers on this site that are qualified to draft an intelligible rebuttable written from experience.
        I do want to say that I love Nick’s articles. Especially those on competition shooting and his love affair with the .300 BLK. Let’s just leave the defensive tips to the Pro’s.

  42. I see a lot of complaints and second guessing coming from folks that are relating to what will work in THEIR house using THEIR firearms. Everyones’ dwelling is gonna be different, different lengths of hallway, different locations of rooms, different floor levels, different door construction, etc. Also in the original scenerio, the rifle was not described. It might be a handy to use AR type with collapseable stock and 16″ barrel, which would be much more useful than say a 26″ barreled bolt action varmit rifle with 16X scope and wooden stock (long, heavy, and sights useless for low light close shooting) Same for the shotgun, no description of what is available, so could be a 30″ barreled 12 ga side by side goose gun, or a Remington 1100 with pistol grip stock, 18″ barrel and mag extension. Not all folks buy all their firearms with home defense at the priority, some buy more traditional hunting weapons and then have to make do when a bad guy comes to their house. For example, I earlier stated that a handgun would be my choice, the only semi-auto centerfire rifle I own is a M1 Garand. Not the handiest thing to manuver around in a house. Thinking about it, the lever action I have in .44 mag might be a decent choice. I own several shotguns and one is set up with a mag extension allowing me a 9+1 loading. Not good for hunting, but reasonably handy for defense. The original scenerio also called for 2.5 children (ages unknown). I have no small children in the house, but my defense might be different if I had 2 toddlers under 5 years of age vs. teen agers that could join me in shooting back at the bad guy.

    I guess my point is that there are way too many variables to say that “X” and “Y” are the only correct solution, and “A” and “B” are always a bad choice. What I took from this post is to reevaluate and update my plan of defence, and maybe go thru a couple of drills with the family on different possibilities of defense and see what works for me and mine. I’m thinking more about that lever action now than I did before reading this, so maybe that is a good thing.

  43. I’m wondering what these “other tasks” are that you are going to be doing instead of shooting the threat until it is no longer a threat. Writing a letter to the editor? Macrame? Building a ship in a bottle?

    If someone is forcing their way into my home, I’m going to be reluctant to even break my cheek weld, much less put the rifle down.

  44. for fun try this – next time at the pistol range, do some speed/time shooting on targets.

    Now do the same drill with a carbine.

    Everyone that we’ve done this with hits faster and more accurately with the carbine. Period.

    Ok, perhaps you have an aversion to rifle caliber rounds? Then use a pistol caliber carbine (which is where we started with these ‘tests’ for women shooters). Same results, less energy downrange.

    In the shooting world, this article was someone’s opinion and probably not good advice in general.

  45. I’m probably a more typical homeowner/dad/protector-of-the-night than a lot of you more experienced gunnies, and the people I know tend to be less gun-oriented than the people here. So let me jump in with just a quick note that very few typical non-fanatic* types own a short carbine-type rifle. If there’s a rifle in the home at all, chances are it’s a deer rifle – and that’s usually going to be a scoped bolt-action gun that’s longer than our hallways are wide. There is no friggin’ way such a gun is going to be suitable for late-night laser tag in the hallways and stairwells.

    (* Don’t take offense at “fanatic.” I just mean someone into guns as guns, not just an owner of a gun or two because they need guns to hunt. I’m a fanatic in several areas.)

    For much of the population, the same is going to be true of shotguns, should we actually have any. Ducks and geese tend to be more popular game than the walk-through-the-fields birds, so again we’re talking about most shotgun owners having one or two or three long guns – long enough so that whipping around to point at that noise you just heard would probably fill your barrel with gypsum.

    So, for a big chunk of the gun-owning public, pistols are going to be THE choice for HD. Most people, when they contemplate a gun purchase, are looking to fill a gap in their hunting inventory. Money counts; most people can’t afford to buy guns beyond the hunter’s necessities. The people who can and do drop $2k on a nice customized AR are relatively rare.

    • Decent point. A hunting rifle and hunting ammo will likely never be HD weapons. But an AR can be picked up around 5-600, if done half-smart. It won’t be super slick and have all the damn bells and whistles, but it will more than fit the bill as a HD carbine. That more than puts it into pistol price territory.

    • This is a solid argument against long-guns for HD. A vent rib 28″ bbl’ed shotgun or bolt action Savage in .308 with glass is not going to be fun to manuver through a hallway. They can be used, and used very successfully if trained with. But a modern pistol would have clear advantages in maneuverability. For around $600 an AR pattern carbine can be purchased from many different manufacturers. For slightly less a nicely outfitted Mini-14 can be bought from Ruger. They are both great HD carbines. For around $200ish a Maverick 88 HD shotgun with 20″ bbl and extended mag can be bought. Ithaca also makes an excellent HD shotgun that isn’t a bank breaker.
      There are several cost effective options in a defensive long gun that can be had. If I were in your situation (which I am) I would (and have) looked into these options.

    • I’d side with you except that the photograph under the title of the article clearly shows a Military Style Rifle. Plus he never mentions scopes, or bolt actions in his argument.

  46. A rifle works fine. A Ar15 with polymer tipped or open tip ammunition will succeed just as well in a home defense situation. Overpenetration a issue with thin walls? a 9mm or 45 handgun is definitely not going to help you any more.

  47. Maybe the compact bull pup FN PS90 is the one, 5.7x28mm, 30+1 magazine but $1695 MSRP. I’m still adrift understanding whether the 5.7 has too much or too little penetration with the ammo available to us.

    For a less over-penetrating handgun the poor man’s Five Seven USG i.e. the Kel-Tec PMR-30, 20+1, 22 WMR, $415 MSRP might work.

    • I have the PS90 and think it’s perfect. It’s light and easy to fire with one hand, and with the PS90 at your shoulder you actually have a smaller profile than with a handgun extended in the Weaver stance. 50 rounds in the full-capacity magazine means you’re not likely to run out before the other guy.

  48. The best gun for home defense is the one you have close by. Doesn’t matter what it is, how long, how short, caliber, etc. Of course, its nice to plan ahead and have something that’s optimized and will give you the advantage. When it comes to my family and myself, I’m gonna take every unfair advantage I can get.

  49. Any weapon is better than none but some are better than others, if you have the chance to choose. I like the shotgun, have used both the sidearm and rifle for these situations. I do not run away from the individual for obvious reasons, and do not give the individual in this situation, the opportunity to take ANY further offensive actions by warning him in any way. I always assume that there are multiple individuals present and proceed accordingly.

    These operational tactics seem reasonable to me based on experience and training, which the author seems to lack and may want to correct, prior to any serious nocturnal or other social intercourse.

  50. I have at least 1 of each immediately available to repel boarders. We live in a semi-rural area, so wall penetration is not the issue it would be if we lived in an apartment. (Note, I am not saying that means it’s OK to spray in every direction with gay abandon.) Someone smashing in the door in the middle of the night would be made unwelcome, probably with a carbine holding more rounds than any of my pistols. For multiple assailants (the usual home invasion scenario) I would rather have 30 rds of rifle caliber than 10-15 of any pistol cal. 12 ga pump is just the frosting on the cake. I read Nick’s articles and find them interesting, but this one ranks with Ralph Fascitelli’s (of WA Hangfire fame) recommendation to get rid of your guns and use a bat or knife for HD. Was the purpose of this just to get the troops all riled up?

  51. Is this serious or sarcasm? I would certainly hope someone who competes regularly is the disciplines listed is smarter/more tactically savvy than the author appears to be…

  52. The scenario you presented is the perfect place for a carbine. Saying that a long gun is the poor choice is dubious at best and downright stupid at worst. You didn’t think this article out very well.
    Actually, you didn’t think it out AT ALL!

    then crouch at the top of the stairs.
    If you are shooting down, your chances of ventilating the neighbors just went down DRAMATICALLY. The planet does a wonderful job of stopping things – even heavy artillery and nukes.

    Naturally any of the three (in a sufficiently man-stopping caliber) will do the job if you can hit him. But what if you miss?
    YOU PULL THE TRIGGER AGAIN. Repeat as needed. Do this with the most powerful gun you own. (in this scenario)
    And what’s with the “quickly turn around to retreat“? You have a masked BG in your house with an AK and you want to go do something? It’s time to defend those who you love, not go running around. SHOOT!

  53. As someone who surprised a burglar who thought the house was empty, I can tell you that you don’t even have a second to react.
    In the 5 or so seconds that elapsed between me realizing what was going on and me grabbing the handgun stashed under my mattress he was gone.
    If he was armed and had attacked, I’d be toast. Had he stayed and fought he and I would be bloody messes.
    Fortunately he fled and, when I chased down the steps after him, had I been carrying a rifle or shotgun, even an 18″ riot gun, it would have hung up on something and in any event slowed me down.
    One last thing–don’t assume you are going to hear the intrusion.
    ps He ran back downstairs and out the window he came in through before I ever got another glimpse of him.

  54. Actually, that is one of the BEST scenarios you could pick for a rifle – they all get worse from there. And while I agree with the conclusion, I also agree with the first poster that the protagonist in this wasn’t thinking at all.

    My house has one floor. As you come out of the master BR into the hallway, you have the front door to the left, and the door to the other BR accross the hall, and the living room to the right. Overpenetration from a firearm risks winding up in the other bedroom.

    As was mentioned earlier, a short-barreled rifle has the high potential to immediately and permanently damage hearing for anyone in the structure. You are far, FAR better off with a repeating shotgun. I have a pistol on the nightstand, but that is to allow me to fight my way to the A-5 Browning loaded w/ buckshot.

    You also do not shoot one round and look for effects. You shoot him down to the ground. In the scenario given, you start shooting and don’t stop til the guy’s clothes catch fire.

    Ideally you should also chokepoint the top of the stairs and use them for a killing zone.

  55. If one had NO training and was suddenly teleported into this unlikley situation at the top of the stairs (half asleep) while facing the door kicking dude with the semiauto rifle at the bottom, that person would probably be better armed with a 4″ heavy revolver with 38 special rounds that dont recoil much.
    With good preparation and training a whole world could open up. You hear a noise and reach for your s&w 627pro 4″ 357 revolver (pull trigger, gun goes bang) with 8 rounds and slide out of bed. If you know there is an intruder, you hit your car key alarm on the dresser which creates all manner of noise in the garage or out front (which BG hates) while dialing 911 on the cell phone. If your wife/GF is with you, she would do the alarm/cell phone deal while you crept to the carbine/shotgun (both having slings) with revolver in hand. Before grabbing the longarm of choice you would put on a poncho with a tightener on one side for an easy, quick, and secure fit. On this poncho would be a holster for the revolver in your hand on one side and a Glock 22 semiauto with 17 rounds in a holster on the other side (a New York reload). The poncho would have body armor, flashlight, 1 spare mag for the 8 shot revolver, 17 round semi handgun, 30 round AR mag, and a few rounds of #1 shotgun shells for the Mossy 930 semi it you made that pick. I dont know why you would leave the room unless there was a child to check up on/rescue. The wife/GF would have a firearm herself with a system so the two of you did not shoot each other. Dogs, strong doors with locks, and a way to turn lights on in the house from the bedroom while your area remained dark would be nice (assuming BG did not cut the power).
    The carbine is king because of accuracy, low recoil and high round count for fast follow up shots against potential multiple BG’s. Potential of hostilities going outside opens up the carbines range hundreds of yards.

  56. It really depends on the shooter. If it’s a novice shooter, when we know most HG CQC actions occur within the 7 foot range, an AR is not the way to go. A shotgun can be intimidating and if it’s a pump, yes, that ratchet sound will deter, but you’re also letting bad guy X know you’re loaded for bear. And if said assailant has that knowledge, you’ve also given away your tactical advantage and initiative. (My personal most important rule in combat, shoot first when target is in visual range.)

    The novice shooter will hesitate, the seasoned shooter won’t no matter what firearm he’s chosen for PHD (Personal Home Defense). Like me, I have weapons strategically placed in my house if that ever occurs. I have my PDL, SDL, and FPL also identitfied in my house along with the POD. (PDL-Primary Defensive Line, Secondary and Final Protective Line and Positions of Domination because I have rooms with two entry points.)

    More or less, I know what ammuntion to use as well. I can’t get blended metal right now, (primarily for Law Enforcement and Military), although I’d love to get my hands on some, so I use a staggered hollow point solution in my handguns. Ball, Glaser, Hydra-Shock. My Benelli shotguns have .00 and slugs. My ARs, straight up ball ammuntion.

    I also have a dog that Schutzenschule as well, so my home is pretty much a fortress.

    All I have to say is this, a bad guy comes into my home, he’s going to meet a very quick and painless end.

  57. Any of the three would work well in “this” scenario. You’re at the top of the stairs and he’s in full view so you have an advantage. Plus if the attacker come through your door he should be shot upon entry. No use in dragging out the situation and making it worse just shoot the bastard as soon as he’s inside!

  58. Defense against HOME INVASION perhaps… But what about defense against an over-oppressive GOVERNMENT? Assault rifles win in this category, comparatively.

  59. This has got to be one of the dumbest articles i’ve read in a long time. The writer obviously doesn’t have a clue what they are talking about.

    • No doubt, but that actually happened to jigga, but jigga knew what to do, jigga put down the blunt, climbed off the hooker, put pants on, then went to garage, fired up the 77 plmouth, n run over his ass, then back to blunt n hoe. The end

  60. This is another one of those discussions that will be argued for eternity. Weigh your training, your comfort with the weopon, your experience, spend more than enough time at the range, and make a logical and informed decission. None of us know 100% what is best for someone else. We also don’t know exactly how we will react and perform until we are in the situation for ourself. Practice with your family and be prepared. Seriously, if you can’t use your mind for more than talking trash, just be quiet.

  61. This is dumb,the story should have ended a long time ago. For that scenario you caught the threat with red hands no need to run up stairs and retreat the second he takes a foot threw the door blast him. I mean,he is carrying a ak-47 the “7 step rule” doesn’t apply here(Massachusetts law that regulates when you can shoot a trespasser.)

    So this is just ridiculous,a rifle would do the trick and so would a shotgun with slugs who cares as long as he is dead and you don’t damage your house.

  62. Do not listen to Nick Leghorn, unless you want to die in a home invasion. Dumbest advice ever. AK-47 trumps handgun every time. Even a 9 year old CoD video game player knows this. Not to mention every veteran of any modern war. You meet force with as much force as you can bring into action. A short 12G is good. A regular 16″ barreled semi-auto center fire is a close second. An SBR 12″ or so rifle is the best choice in close quarters. A pistol is one step above baseball bat.

  63. If there is actually a round that may not go through a wall it would be a light, fast traveling 5.56×45. The light round would tumble after hitting a wall and lose much energy, also if it struck its target it would most likely not exit where a pistol and especially a shotgun would. The rifle bullet is designed to not exit per mil spec. Also at even hallway distance 10yds you mid as well be shooting a rifle instead of the shot gun. you are gaining a diameter of 3 inches max… In a high stress situation where I’m going be adrenaline stricken and shaking I want maximum capacity at 30 rounds quickly. Thus a rifle is my choice.

  64. Also if you think a SBR would be deafening vs that browning a-5 which yes I own one… You’re crazy… Shooting a 22 inside with no protection would nearly permanently damage your hearing, a 1911 going off would stun not only you but probably the intruder as well because concussion has no where to go in a bedroom/hallway except off walls and right back at you.

  65. You know I enjoy all different types of articles this web site has to offer, but one thing that keeps me from it are the ridiculous comments and the asshead folks who feel that they are so much more intelligent than anyone else that they have to prove it to them……… by posting comments on the internet.

    If you think someone is mislead, point it out. Help them to understand your point of view, but the moment you start saying things like “I don’t expect you to have any clue about this or that”.. you’re just making these websites trashy and you’re giving a bad rep to those of us who use these types of websites on a regular basis and who aren’t so full of ourselves that we feel the need to try and prove it (again) THROUGH INTERNET COMMENTS. Almost every single time I read an article on any website that is similar to this one, around 50% of the time there are always people arguing about who knows what, “I’m right and you’re a brainless moron who knows nothing about this subject” and those of us who actually look through comments to see if anyone has any experience relating to the article don’t come here to read through your trashy comments. If you want to argue with someone, get the other person’s email address, phone number, and have at it. These websites are here for information, relating our experiences, and learning from one another. I just can’t believe how child like so many people are these days, especially when it comes to the subject of weapons and self defense!

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  67. In a rural setting an ar 15 makes me sleep good.Falling into the pc thinking is what big brother wants.Before we know it we will only be able to have shoytys and 380s. A 22 will kill,so its a slippery slope. .Dead is dead.If a 44 mag under my pillow is what I feel I need,so be it.Too many law abiding people need to grow a pair and live free or die hard.

  68. I sleep with my M1A Socom by my bunk, muzzle down, stock in the air. I live in downtown New Orleans and had two different occasions turn violent. First guy, Guy broke in 2006, gave him a warning to not move until police he made a movement to reach behind his back. I hit in the diaphragm and he dropped. Was wanted on 3 counts murder and had extensive rap sheet. Number two was in 2011, I engaged intruder, he fired first and when he missed I returned the courtesy in his left leg as he was jumping through the window.

    Dumbass forgot I lived on a second floor. Plummeted down and broke his back, have fun fighting off the rapist in Angola.

  69. By this article’s logic, would that mean that the proposed assailant is less mobile and capable by carrying a long gun as well? He would also have the need to open doors, etc. In my opinion, I would rather have an assailant with a handgun, than an AKM variant anyday. A home intruder with an AK would probably be a worst case scenario in my book.

    I believe that you should be proficient with whatever firearm you pick, however a high capacity .223 carbine will give you plenty of accurate firepower with minimal overpenetration. As the saying goes, “the purpose of a handgun, is to fight your way back to your rifle”. The average person without alot of practice is not very accurate with a handgun, however they are much more proficient when you put a rifle or shotgun in their hands.

  70. I find this article to be sorely lacking in both critical thinking and research. It sounds like every theory based opinion that is shown to be hinged on no training or experience found on gun forums. There’s so many ridiculous assumptions and written in hindrances to color things that it’s not just bad based on the poor information, it’s just flat bad journalism. Every. Single. point. is refutable and in real life where people train to use rifles instead of be whatever Nick assumes they are, rifles make an excellent choice for many reasons. Even to the point of citing shooting aluminum cups as some sort of supporting fact.

    It’s actually quite sad that he uses anti-gun style arguments against rifles and for pistols.

  71. Maybe “TheTruthAboutGuns” should try getting writers who didn’t just discover guns last week.

    This entire article is moronic. If this is indicative of the rest of your site, you’re making gun owners dummer by existing.

    Some of us have actually shot our guns, actually already own suppressors, etc.

    Riddle me this genius , what is the spread per yard for your shotgun? What is the average engagement distance you think you’ll get in? Now explain how a shotgun is more forgiving. The military people uses rifles to shoot people from off the muzzle to as far as they can see, the round has massively effective terminal ballistics, and wall board studies that have been published and repeated for over twenty years completely disprove your idiotic wall penetration beliefs ( oh yeah, since you’re new to guns you , and didn’t research you’ve never hea of these. Add to that you’d never actually go out and test you statements)

    Just crap. It’s hard to believe people still write the same BS after all these years, so much for the power of the Information Age.

    Greg Hamilton

  72. Hey, you might want to impart your “wisdom” to the guys with CAG, DEVGRU, 75th, SAS, SBS, MARSOC and SF. They’ve been doing CQB all wrong for years.

    Ignorant wanker.

  73. This OpEd piece, it’s not an article, it’s an opinion, is one of the worst bits I’ve seen on “Truth About Guns” in awhile, which is saying something because there is regularly horrible articles and BS opinion on this site.

    This info is quite frankly crap. Would have been better to leave out the BS opinion, do some testing or at least research, and get some facts on the pros and cons of each weapon system.

    “Hydrashock and Glasers…”. Both types of ammo suck, both perform poorly in the real world and ballistic gelatin. Both penetrate in sheet rock far more than .223/5.56 ammunition.

  74. How many hits on target will you get with a handgun vs a rifle? That is why the rifle will always be superior even if your distance is only 20 feet you can put more rounds on target faster than with a handgun.

  75. The author sounds like they’ve never grappled with someone with a long arm vs. a handgun. I’ll take a rifle in that case any day of the week.

    There are plenty of light, effective rifles in calibers far more suited to indoor shooting concerns than any handgun caliber. They’re also very ease to mount lights on.

    Look at those whose job includes shooting at people indoors with a concern for overpenetration. Look at what they overwhelmingly choose when they can use whatever they want.

    People will typically keep a handgun around as a bump-in-the-night firearm, but they’re simply not nearly as effective as a properly chosen rifle. Not even close.

  76. This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever read. Rifles are great home defense. Easy to hit with, great stoppers, with the right ammoess penetration than most handguns. Handguns aren’t good stoppers and are much harder to hit with. Thanks for wasting 2 minutes of my life on this garbage.

  77. This article is criminally ignorant. It’s the worst thing I’ve read in absolute years. Just unbelievable. You have NO business trying to teach anybody anything about self-defense.

  78. If this is your 0.02 cents worth, everyone reading this got ripped off. I’ll give you a whole American dollar to take this swill off the web. Think about it.

  79. This is so ill informed its actually shocking… esp. on a site called “the truth about guns.” Irony anyone?

  80. Author would confront an armed intruder with an AK47 with a handgun……great tactics.
    50$ says if the author actually was ever involved in a home invasion, vice writing about it on the internet, he’d want the most firepower available, that would be a long gun, probably a higher capacity long gun, like an AR-15 or AK-47. Why not poll the public or folks who have been shot at by an AK.

  81. The author can get someone killed with his argument of ignorance…
    A pistol vs an Ak? There’s a reason why a pistol is called a 2dary weapon kid.

  82. This article is so full of bullcrap I don’t know where to start. I don’t think I have enough free time all week to address all of the bogus information this “gun nerd”, “competition shooter”, and “aspiring pilot” had the gall to publish.

    But unlike this charlatan my qualifications is not based on me participating in shooting matches on and off for more than 2 decades. I have around 30-years of military experience (Army, Army National Guard & Army Reserves); 9-years of Law Enforcement experience; more than 10-years as a Certified Glock Armorer; just under 2-years as a Certified AR Armorer; and more than 13-years as a Certified NRA Instructor for Basic Pistol, Basic Rifle, Personal Protection in the Home and Home Firearms Safety (plus a few more).

    This article is a perfect example of be careful of what you read on the ERRORNET because you get what you pay for. Without including my NRA Firearms Instruction training, I have almost a thousand hours of firearms specific training to include USING A RIFLE in Live Fire Shoothouses all the way back to the mid-19080s. And I can say without any reservation that YOU CAN EFFECTIVELY USE A RIFLE IN A STRUCTURE WITHOUT ISSUES. There is a reason SWAT Teams and our Military conducts ACTUAL REAL LIFE OPERATIONS IN STRUCTURES using long guns vs handguns.

    What I will take the time to state are the following:
    – Handguns are not as effective as rifles. Handgun TERMINAL BALLISTICS is not as good as the .223/5.56x45mm rounds.
    – The only reason we carry handguns is because they are generally lighter and easier to conceal.
    – Rifles are easier to shoot than handguns.

    I hope that those who read this so-called “article” take it with a truckload of salt and that they conduct their own research to find the ACTUAL TRUTH and disprove the bogus information contained within.

  83. This might be the single worst piece about guns I have ever read. This author should be sacked. At the very least, this author should actually know something about his subject matter before writing about it.

  84. This article has so many holes in it… If i had a home invader at a late hour, I will be reaching for my AR or shotgun… Frangible ammunition, to curve over penetration… And at 03:00 your motor skills are shit, especially when you add in adrenaline, so proper sight alignment is gonna be pretty hard out of a pistol. Where as my rifle, I have three to four points of contact with the firearm, and more if i lean against a wall. Then add the ability for quicker followups, and if need be, more time between reloads. All in all, this article is more of an opinion akin to the .45 vs 9mm or the AR vs AK, than an factual article.

  85. This is one of the stupidest articles I’ve ever read…. It’s time for TTAG to shut it down if this is the kind of crap they’re going to keep posting….

    And by the way, what the hell does the last sentence even mean? When you get a suppressor, because silencers only exist in Hollywood, you’ll change you mind about a rifle for home defense? What a fucktard!

    • “…if this is the kind of crap they’re going to keep posting…”

      You realize you’re commenting on a post that’s over two years old, right? You’re well beyond fashionably late at this point.

      • Old article or not, the guy’s got a point. While I haven’t seen anything this bad lately, they still publish articles regularly that are seriously lacking in the credibility department.

      • Thank Bob Owens over at Bearing arms for dredging this up. I rarely agree with Bob and hate that he doesn’t proof read his articles before posting them but on this one, I have to agree.

  86. Very poor and misinformative article. This kind of Tom foolery will destroy TTAG’s credibility. More importantly it’s irresponsible spreading this in the community to neophytes and novices that will not know better.

  87. I don’t think the extra maneuverability of a pistol is going to make you safer. A good short carbine with a full capacity magazine full of soft tip rounds is going to work best. Ideally, I’d want a SBR, suppressed in 300 blackout or similar.I’m not gonna pony up the cash and deal with the headaches to go all NFA though, especially if it’s going to wind up in an evidence locker. A good old AR is just fine for me thanks.

    A tube full of OO or even #1 buck would be great against soft targets at close range too, but you lack the ability to reload quickly and you don’t have as many rounds to start with.

  88. You are a moron, Nick Leghorn. Stop pretending like you know anything about anything. First the obvious problem that you’re using in your situation: you’re upstairs facing the door, which is downstairs meaning you are outside of the 25feet that makes pistols and shotguns deadly, and easy to hit. #2 since you are upstairs, you are shooting downwards and in the event you miss or it goes through your target it’ll quickly hit the ground. #3 the typical shotgun has 3+1, 4+1, or 5+1 rounds, while a pistol is going to have 5-9 rounds, but an “assault rifle” has 20-100 (with a drum mag), making it the best for mid-long rang defense. #4 ask any member of the military that has had to break into a house what they want to carry in, tried and true the ar style rifles are very light (under 17lbs with a fully loaded mag), relatively small, relatively reliable, accurate, and make a wonderful sounds when you release that charging handle that is just as distinctive.

  89. Long guns are easier to hit with, particularly under stress, and are much better for beating people. Rifles kill stuff on a scale of effectiveness many orders of magnitude greater than pistols. A rifle is a primary weapon in CQB for a century. There is a reason. A pistol is what you use to fight your way to your rifle. Anybody who would want it any other way has never faced something that can kill him back.

  90. This is the most ridiculous article I have read. First of all, all of your experience is based on shit you read online or shit you made up in your NON-EXPERIENCED head. Get some real world experience before putting stuff out there you have no clue about. I wouldn’t get on here babbling about how to fix the engine on my truck cause I have no experience in it. A pistol is only good enough to get you to your rifle. A 9mm will travel further through walls than the 55 gr ball ammo 5.56mm. Get a shotgun and don’t rack a shotgun to scare someone. Rack it because you already fired your first round and you are pumping the 2nd round in there for a follow up or ready for the next. Why the shit would you try to tuck your handgun into your whitey tighty’s after being in a gun fight or in your scenario running away from a gunfight. Keep that shit out and ready to go. Your family is depending on you and your tucking their only defense in your fruit of the looms to only fall out or down to the floor as you take two hurried steps. Pistol is on the list but is the last choice. Rifle or shotgun with a sling and a flashlight then pistol with a flashlight. I choose all 3 and all have lights and e rifles have slings. Go write about gardening if you just want to write articles. At least you can copy and paste whatever shit you find online.

  91. This is what happens when you have someone who has only shot at paper / steel targets write a paper on tactics. Enough said.

  92. My Uncle, who retired as a detective in robbery/homicide told me this; most intruders who are shot by the residents using a pistol, run away. They may be found later in the road, in a car or in the nearest Emergency Room, but they usually run away.
    Most intruders shot by residents using a long gun, rifle or shotgun, are found where they were shot, usually dead.
    I personally have a Remington 870 12g with OO Buck in easy reach…food for thought.

  93. Step 1. Buy a .357 that has enough weight that it doesn’t kick so much when you fire 38 special rounds through it.

    Step 2. At range, practice shooting tagets from a sitting position.

    Step 3. When the door is kicked down, you’re ready to go. As ready as anyone should be that isn’t facing terrorists on a regular basis. Make sure it isn’t your spouse or kids… Fire a couple shots as practiced and then roll off the bed.

    Step 4. If the attacker is still up and firing you have a great vantage point of his lower body and can bring him or her to your level.

  94. First of all the thing that hit me first about this article is that the writer gives his opinion but in no way shape or form gives his back ground in firearms or in firearms training if any ! It’s just his ”opinion” Which by the way for those of you outside the gun community his ”opinion” is pretty far off the mark ! If used CORRECTLY with the right type of ammo a modern semi auto rifle is one of the BEST choices for home defense, second is a 12GA pump action shotgun firing 00 buck shot, fallowed in the third place by a pistol. The man in the article says pistols are the best and that’s it’s even ok to run through your house with one stuck in your underwear…. I would NOT advise trying that ! Most pistol caliber ammo will BLOW through your house the same as rifle ammo. A friend of mine put a 40 caliber bullet through his bedroom wall, the living room wall, a oak door, and then finally the windshield of his jeep and out the back window of the jeep. 99% of modern ”self defense” ammo is just as powerful as military grade ammo, it will zip through your house, a car, windows, solid wood doors, sheet metal, and human flesh like it was paper ! In MY PROFESSIONAL OPINION ” US MARINE, FIREARMS INSTRUCTOR, ARMED GUARD” Firing any gun in an closed space (indoors) will hurt your hearing, you must know where you family members are sleeping in relation to where your shooting, you should be using correct ammo ”light weight frangible hollow points”, and have taken MULTIPLE classes on home and self defense ! there’s a pistol under the seat of my jeep, one on my hip when I’m out in public, same for my wife, one in the night stand, one above the freezer, a shotgun in the closet, and a suppressed SBR (you will need paper work from FBI and ATF for both items) in the hollow head board of my bed. My self and wife are both X military and very at home using firearms in self defense, but have both chosen to get more education in the form of tactical classes for home and self defense, if you’re going to use a firearm to protect your home and family then take the steps to do it the right way !!!!!

  95. Nick, I disagree with your categorical statement: “self defense rifles are the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of. ” It’s foolish to make such statements, especially when based upon ballistics of the round and SPL of the blast. There are so many variables you’ve just left out with that statement. First, you’ve excluded subsonic rounds. The 300 BLK shooting subsonic rounds has roughly the same terminal ballistics as a 45 ACP, which you seem to favor over rifle rounds for home defense. Second, you completely overlook silencers. I personally use a Short Barreld (8.5″) suppressed 300 BLK running subsonic rounds with a Vortex Sparc red dot for my home defense.

    I have no problem with you saying “I personally think owning a silencer is too expensive so I wouldn’t use one for home defense” or “I like shotguns or pistols better for my personal situation,” but to categorically claim that rifles are the ‘dumbest idea’ you’ve ever heard of for home defense is simply ignorant.

  96. My dedicated home defense weapon is a Kel-Tec PLR-16. It is loaded with 31 rounds of 30 Gr. Barnes Varmint Grenades. look them up on Youtube. They should cause pretty catastrophic damage, and probably won’t penetrate walls, although I haven’t yet seen a test of them in that manner. They are also a lot less expensive than the Glasers and Magsafes.

    With the single point sling, I can just drop it to my side if I need both hands.

  97. Based on the majority of home invasion confrontations I have read; the perps usually take off once one or more of them is hit by a bullet(s) of some type. Personally, I keep a 410 and 20 pump bedside as well as a handgun of some flavor; depends what I am carrying for the seasonal dress code. Oh yeah, the shotguns are of the pistol grip 18.5″ barrel variety; not too large, 26.5″ overall, easy to hold in one hand, especially the 410.

  98. Holy crap is this article completely devoid of fact. In fact it is loaded with false information. I personally have put a .40 S&W through a 4×4 wood post, guess what, it kept going, pretty far too. Use what you are comfortable with. Don’t help the anti gun lobby by posting up crap like this heavily opinionated crap.

  99. Sorry, I have to wholeheartedly disagree. Racking a shotgun is a bad idea. The only noise a home invader should ever hear is the gunshot that ends them, maybe the safety being switched off if they’re a good listener. Rifles are best for home defense, 5.56 M193 FMJs or 5.45 rounds tend to tumble and shatter when they hit things, people or walls, and they do a hell of a lot more damage than any 9mm or .45 will. With double to triple the magazine capacity.

    Accuracy isn’t a problem, put your sight(s) on the center of mass and start squeezing. At across the room distances (or bottom of the stair) your dispersion isn’t going to be so much that you’re going do much missing unless your are making absolutely no efforts to aim. That same ease of use isn’t so with a handgun. They are harder to shoot well, less ammo, and less lethality.

    Shotguns are a good idea for home defense, but they need more practice as the increased recoil will reduce split times and follow up shots. As well as if you have a malfunction, it will be much harder to clear under stress than a rifle or handgun.

    As far as being able to maneuver effectively, well first off, never put your weapon down. Buy a sling if you choose a long gun (seriously, they’re like, $20) and sling your weapon if you need to pick up and move small children. Secondly, I have never had trouble maneuvering inside of a house or space the size of an average hallway or room with one exception, if you are going through a door and your adversary is literally waiting on the other side for you. In that case you either fire point blank or it becomes a fight for the gun (Then again, why are you clearing rooms, you should be in a fortified position protecting your family, not off hunting an unknown number of bad guys). That’s true even with a pistol. One advantage a rifle has over a shotgun is you can get rifles with barrels 2″ shorter than a non-NFA shotgun because our laws are idiotic, so a rifle is even more maneuverable than a shotgun unless you’re willing to go the NFA route.

    EDIT: Why are you comparing what a .45 ACP and a .300 BLK do to an aluminum mug to what they will do to drywall? I’ll give you a hint, both will go through an entire house’s worth of drywall, so aim carefully.

  100. I cant imagine how you came to this conclusion. Especially not if you bothered to ask the opinion of just about every professional trainier with a actual background in this type of shooting.

    How you came to the conclusion that the tool that almost every professional fighter uses for indoor use being less useful than a handgun is truly lost to me. This is why so many real shooters stay away from random internet columns.

    Please dont spread bad information on a whim. There are many reasons a handgun may be more convenient for people but convenience isnt what we are talking about. There is a reason that people who fight for a living always have a long gun.

  101. if you ever been through boot camp, the DS, instructor or whatever the hell it is will tell you that a carbine, rifle or anything like that is not for direct killing, the round we use in most of the rifles in us is 5.56, which is designed to injure, but not killing the enemy in order to fish out the casualty’s friendly thus creating more casualty by shooting the enemy recovering force. it takes about 10 rifle rounds to kill an adrenalin pumped average male. unless you use hollow point rounds, riles and carbines are indeed the dumbest self defense idea ever created by no-combat experience civilians who wants to burn money and have something looks “cool”

    • 1) The military uses ball ammo, rather than expanding self defense ammo. The wounding problem of ball ammo is the same reason that it is generally illegal to hunt with it.

      2) That same DI will tell you that the only use of a pistol is to use it to fight to a real weapon like a rifle.

    • Bullet selection is key. The military is stuck with full metal jacket ammo which, by the way, I still wouldn’t want to be shot with. We civilians, however, have hollow points and frangible bullets to choose from ranging anywhere from 25 to 95 grains. The 5.56/.223 can be effectively used for anything from home defense to hunting medium sized game. You just have to used the right type and weight bullet to accomplish the task at hand.

  102. It’s obvious, Mr. Leghorn, that you have no combat experience or even any type of practical training. Had you any amount of worthwhile instruction or worldly experience, you would not have recommended a handgun as a primary weapon. Also, you would know that 14.5″ or 16″ barreled AR variants and AK variants and AR or AK pistols are very easily wielded and maneuvered. After all, it’s not like you’re in the Middle East where many of the walkways are only about two feet wide. Even then, guys there still don’t switch to an inferior pistol! The handgun is only used to fight your way TO A RIFLE! Your rifle is your primary weapon!

    With a sling, AR or AK rifles and pistols can simply lay at the ready across the chest when the hands are needed for another task. An AR variant chambered in 5.56 x 45 mm (NOT in .223!) is much more effective than a pistol chambered in .380, 9 mm, .40, .45, &c. Terminal ballistics of the 5.56 greatly exceed that of your average handgun. An AK variant in 7.62 x 39 mm or 5.45 x 39 mm would also be an excellent choice over a handgun. And, “evil looking AK-47?” Really? Really? They are actually some fine looking rifles. And they certainly function much more reliably than any other rifle ever made where inclement weather and adverse conditions are concerned.

    Now, you’d leave your wife and children sleeping while you go to your safe and then go back to investigate the sounds of someone breaking in to your home? I’m not sure you’re as wise as you may think are after making that decision. Your wife should be on the phone with the authorities while you secure your home. And your wife should also be the one shepherding your children into your room or she into theirs. I mean, come on! You don’t have this shit planned out with your family?! You don’t practice emergency drills with your family?! How are the rest of your family going to know what to do in any type of emergency? You may barely be more intelligent than those that don’t believe having a firearm and being proficient in its use could save them from a violent attack.

    Why do you not have a firearm in your bedroom? You should at least have a pistol in a small safe (if you feel you need a safe) that you can use just in case you are unable to get to your main safe. A large, high quality safe to store the firearms you’re not using is a no-brainer. However, I did raise three children, recently giving the youngest the boot, and always kept a pistol and rifle loaded next to the bed while AI slept. But then, I raised my children as I had been raised. They are quite proficient with firearms and well aware of the dangers of negligent handling. Several generations of my family have been raised safely with firearms in the house, my generation being only the 2nd to use safes.

    Now, about shotguns, do you really think racking a shotgun is going to scare someone staring at you while they’re holding an AK-47? That is an arrogant statement. It may scare someone who’s not an experienced criminal, but that dangerous felon who’s likely high on crystal meth isn’t going to flinch. So, in your scenario he’s already got the drop on you. You did say the man had kicked the door in and you had “an immediate threat to your life staring you straight in the face,” did you not? Even an 18″ 12 ga. is going to have a small pattern, no matter which shot you use. If this guy really is armed with an AK-47, you are outgunned if you’re using a pistol or shotgun. Unless, maybe, the shotgun is semi-automatic, then you can get rounds on target fast enough to hopefully drop the felon before he can be much a threat. Just remember that some shotguns have enough recoil that it can take slightly longer to get back on target than if you were using a semi-auto rifle. You’ll definitely want a stock to make quicker shots. If you choose to use a shotgun, you should have it loaded with 2¾” 00 and have 2¾” slugs in a stock saddle if you’re using it for defensive purposes. Don’t use 3″ as they can rob you of an extra round, depending on tube length. Also, you need to shoulder the shotgun and get that front bead on their chest. You definitely don’t want to be firing from the hip. That bull**** only works in Hollywood.

    What if there are multiple hostiles breaking into your home? This is a very likely scenario and should be something that is also planned for rather than planning for only one intruder. This is where the increased ammo capacity and terminal ballistics of the 5.56 comes into play. You don’t want to be confronted by multiple attackers and only have between six and seventeen rounds when you could have 30. You never mentioned grabbing extra mags. In all actuality, your magazine should be shy one or two cartridges due to some firearms experiencing mag insertion and cartridge feed malfunctions when the magazine is at full capacity. We were always trained to load one or two shy of full to prevent these malfunctions.

    What if even one hostile is wearing body armor? There’s a chance, however slight, that one may be wearing Type IIIA body armor as it is very available. You’d have no choice but to hope for a shot to the melon to flip his off-switch, because no average handgun or shotgun cartridge is getting through IIIA. And, as many violent felons use crystal meth, it may require multiple rounds to get him to get him to go down and stay down.

    My advice for a better theft deterrent? Dogs! Dogs are by far the best security system you can find. Small dogs are great for detecting intrusions and medium to large dogs can be intimidating to thieves.

  103. Obviously this discussion on rifles for home defense has gone on a long time, but I’d like to add some practical legal considerations that were only briefly mentioned. I am no firearms self-defense expert. However the following points were all covered in the last good practical shooting class that I had – taught by an expert LEO instructor with 30 years of experience, including testifying in court in self-defense shootings.

    First, I want to say that I do trust the boxotruth dot com wall penetration tests; you can see just what they did in all the photos. Take a look.

    Second, for most people, we are talking about home defense in a city or town. If you live on a farm or ranch or are engaging criminals at 50 yards or more (say behind outbuildings away from the house, or if you are caught out in the fields away from the house), a rifle is a fine choice for self defense. A shotgun with buckshot is O.K. also, but shotgun recoil with buckshot is significant, even with an all-steel 20 gauge. (Most gun writers under report shotgun recoil for some reason.)

    However, be aware when choosing a rifle that ARs, AK variants, Mini-14 Tacticals, etc., are very scary looking to many non-gun owning prosecutors, grand jurors, and judges. The blacker and more rails, accessories, night sights, the more scary to a non-gun owner who may decide your fate. A wood or coyote brown stock [or even pink for the ladies] is less scary than black. For example, if you have a wood-stocked Mini-14, or even better, a nice engraved 20 gauge shotgun, it will MUCH easier for you to be seen as the “gentleman good guy” or lady defending the homestead. John Wayne and not Rambo. Liberal jurors, prosecutors, and judges don’t like Rambo. Everybody likes John Wayne.

    Even if you are ex-military, don’t scoff at all this. Your battle experience won’t matter in court, and may even count against you. Sadly, a gun’s appearance may make the difference between an indictment for manslaughter and being exempted from prosecution due to self-defense. And if you kill a criminal in a blue state, even in clear self defense, it is likely to go to a grand jury for a prosecution decision.

    Now if you are in a city and town, and you MISS in a home defense situation with a high-velocity rifle round and it doesn’t impact a wall, but instead goes out a window screen, out an open door, etc.; or if you are outside, that round is going to land a long, long way off. If it wounds or kills someone, you may very well be sued for millions in civil court for negligence. (Get an umbrella liability policy from your insurance agent – NOW.) Or you could even be prosecuted in criminal court for negligent discharge of a weapon. In civil court, it won’t matter that you were trying to defend yourself. The civil attorney is going to hold up your AR, AK, or tricked out Mini-14 in front of the jury and blast you for using a “military assault weapon” (sic) for home defense, when Joe Biden said you should get a shotgun. If you live in a “blue” or even a “purple” state, there will be non-gun owners on the jury who will buy this. Again don’t scoff, it has happened.

    Because of these considerations, a better choice may be a pistol caliber carbine. Unfortunately, many of them now look like space guns, which again is not juror friendly. The Ruger PC series (9mm & 40S&W), made from 1996-2006, are a good alternative. They use the older Ruger semi-auto pistol magazines, which are still available. PC stands for “police carbine;” and it doesn’t look very scary, which are both juror friendly points. Marlin also used to make a similar “camp carbine” that takes certain S&W pistol magazines. These guns are both available used. Many of the PC9s and PC40s are police surplus. These are short and handy, have low recoil, lower muzzle blast, and less noise than a high-velocity rifle. Unobstructed missed shots aren’t going into the next county. I wish there conventional-looking carbines like this still made, particularly if they accepted widely available Glock magazines.

    Yes, most peace officers and departments have mostly moved on to AR variants (though some retain shotguns). But they have a partial legal exemption from liability, are given much more latitude by prosecutors/jurors/judges and may have to engage criminals at 50 yards or more. The legal considerations are important. There are many people in blue & purple states serving time (or paying big civil judgments) for what would have been considered self-defense in the dwindling number of conservative states.

    So the conclusions I come to for long-gun home defense are:

    1. For those who are less familiar with guns, only want one gun, only have limited safe storage area, and want something easy to transport when moving, have a handgun and not a long gun. It is the easiest to bring to bear quickly if you are awakened. Revolvers (most juror friendly handgun) or double-action-only semi-autos are obviously the easiest to use, especially if you are surprised or awakened by a criminal. 38 Special (or +P) and 9mm are fairly effective, and practical for most adult family members to all handle. Practice ammunition is inexpensive. If you choose to also have a long gun, a handgun can allow you to get to that gun.

    2. A pistol-caliber carbine is best for long-gun home defense in a city or town. A short-barreled (22″ or less), 20 gauge shotgun is a second choice if family members can handle the recoil. In a rural area, either a rifle or a shotgun is a good choice. If buying just one long gun, the determining factor in the choice may be what else you want to use the gun for – e.g. bird hunting, deer hunting, etc. In many states, a shotgun is the most practical, because it can also be used for all types of hunting, and barrel changes easy with many models.

    3. BE AWARE that the appearance of your firearm may be very important in the criminal and civil legal systems if you have to use it in self defense. Prosecuting attorneys, grand jurors, and judges may not be gun owners and they come to conclusions about gun owners from the appearance of their guns.


    “The writer, Nick Leghorn, wrote an op-ed on The Truth About Guns (TTAG) in which he says the use of rifles for self-defense is the “dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of.” He goes on to describe the difficulties of maneuvering through a house with a rifle, brings up the badly inaccurate ‘rifles shoot through walls’ argument and suggests a pistol provides additional advantages in the form of leaving one hand free.
    “Moving through the hallway to get back to your family and protect them won’t be a problem because the handgun is small and light and fits nicely in the waistband of your Fruit of the Looms if need be (it’s a bad idea, but in a pinch it could work)…Even when doing other tasks such as herding your family into your bedroom and out of harm’s way or barricading the door, the pistol is small enough that you don’t need to put it down to lift things or move stuff.”
    I disagree on every level with Judge Blake but I take even greater issue with the writer. She is misinformed and uneducated—he should not have that excuse. I have to wonder if he, a staunch Second Amendment proponent with a ready wit (who, so we’re clear, has written some good articles on TTAG), realizes he is reinforcing anti-Second Amendment ideas among the credulous with his inaccuracies.”

    • The author of the linked article is apparently critical of this opinion piece on the most appropriate gun for home defense because he thinks it gives support to a leftist judge’s opinion. The leftist judges on the Supreme Court dissented in the recent favorable Second Amendment majority opinions, saying you didn’t have ANY right to ANY gun. Leftist judges don’t search for articles on the Net to justify their totalitarian socialist views. They will think up anything. Or they can just point to the authority of our Vice President that a shotgun is “obviously” better than a rifle for home defense. It is silly to say we shouldn’t debate what a good home defense gun is for most people because an anti-Second Amendment judge might cite the article to support her opinion.

      Notice the photos of all the firearms trainers quoted in the linked article. These are all relatively young, strong guys, probably most with military or peace officer experience. Obviously very familiar with their tactical rifles shown in the photos. For them it would be the best choice because they are highly trained with these guns. But this is their business. And so they are not seeing the big picture.

      The big picture is the 90% of gun-owning home owners that just need a practical, simple weapon to stop a criminal. Even a Mini-14 or a lever-action carbine is probably too complicated for a single mother or retired 60 year-old in a big city who needs to stop a thug. After their first gun safety class they will be lucky if they can find a range within reasonable driving distance and practice twice a year. For this level of ability (which is the vast majority of the gun owning public) a 38 Special revolver, a 9mm double-action only semi-auto pistol, or a .410 pump shotgun are going to be the best weapons for home defense.

      The NRA understands this. That’s why their personal protection classes don’t recommend semi-auto rifles as the first choice for home defense, except for those who can practice frequently with them or live in rural areas (and might have a need for long-range self defense).

      The other comments about the legal considerations of using “juror friendly” guns in blue states apply. This was not considered by most of the quoted gun writers. If you are going to live in one of these states, then you’d better consider your choice of a home defense gun carefully, because it WILL make a difference to the liberal “authorities” who will likely take your gun for evidence examination following any home defense shooting. Ignore this if you want, but it is reality if you live in one of these places (which unfortunately is now the majority of the country).

      • Notice the photos of all the firearms trainers quoted in the linked article. These are all relatively young, strong guys, probably most with military or peace officer experience. Obviously very familiar with their tactical rifles shown in the photos. For them it would be the best choice because they are highly trained with these guns. But this is their business. And so they are not seeing the big picture.”

        The point of the article was not in reference to carbines being the only suitable weapon for home defense; it was making a clear point that carbines are a lot more effective than a pistol.
        Most of the writers in that article alao mentioned hit on what I just said, but again, the point of the article wasn’t geared towards “what’s best for old ladies and single moms”; it was geared toward debunking a stupid myth and calling out TTAG on the carpet for misinformation. Most of the co-writers in this article are ex-SF anyway.
        Travis Haley even cites what his wife carries and why she carries it. Again, the article was defending the use of a carbine as a primary home defense weapon; it was not stating what is best for old ladies and single moms (as we know, those aren’t the only people who need to defend a home).

  105. The problem with this debate is that one group (represented by the tactical instructors in the critical article) is arguing effectiveness, and other is arguing practicality and safety for the majority of the gun-owning population – most of whom will never touch an AR-15 carbine, much less want to buy one. And yes, there is a reason why the NRA Personal Protection classes don’t emphasize using AR-15 carbines. (BTW, I don’t think the instructors pictured are teaching those types of classes.) Most people just aren’t up to the level of skill, training, practice, and maintenance that is needed for their effective operation. And that is not just “old ladies.” Perhaps it is not “tactically correct” to say so, but it is true.

  106. Are you kidding me, i have the barrel on my AK sawed of so far that my gun is as small as a hand gun. (I registered with the ATF as a title 2 weapon). And even if it was full sized why wouldn’t i pull one out from under my bed? it seem’s pretty intimidating.

  107. Please comment and reply if you disagree.But If ever in a situation where the bad guy is in your home potentially with a firearm, I would be more focused on the immediate threat than trying to complete my 911 call. My family and I still have to survive the 5-15 min until the cops arrive. Getting out of harms way or eliminating the threat takes priority over the 911 call after I tell them my name address and the situation they cant do anything to stop the bad guy until thy get there. And because I’ve heard so many stories from cops about guys on drugs or just adrenaline that keep coming after a 9mm shot or other pistol caliber. Or military guys telling me they were shot by an assault rifle but didnt even notice until after the fire fight due to adrenaline. Drugs or no drugs no one can keep coming at you with a hole in there chest! Very few legal guns you can run around with can even come close to the stopping power of a 12 gauge. And with the various buck shot and slug sizes you can chose from; you can make your own personal compromise on the over penetration issue. Smaller people women and children often feel more comfortable shooting guns with a butt stock.With the right rounds( larger buck shot and slugs) they can shoot through brick walls and cars or with a different rounds(smaller buck even bird rounds) you would have limited risk of penetrating through dry wall.

  108. Massad Ayoob, the unquestioned world’s authority on the use of firearms for defensive purposes, says that you use your handgun to get to your shotgun. No, I wouldn’t use an AR/AK for home defense, either, unless it was a suppressed pistol or SBR.

    But, let’s clear one thing up about 12 gauge shotguns filled only with “00” buck. A 20 gauge shotgun is a better choice for home defense than a 12 gauge. The 20 is (a) lighter, (b) more maneuverable, (c) has much less recoil, and (d) …well, I’ll let Ayoob tell you:

    “Delivering roughly the ballistic force of two .44 Magnum rounds at once,” comments the knowledgeable Ayoob, the 20 “delivers 75% of the lead for only 50-60% of the recoil”. Many police departments have found their officers shoot much more accurately in realistic training exercises with the lighter-kicking but still potent 20 gauge.”

    If I had $650 to spend on a self-defense weapon, I can choose from any number of 15-to-17 round 9mm , 12 to 15 round .40SW, or 8 to 11 round .45ACP semi-auto handguns and still have enough money left over to buy a Mossberg Persuader in 12 or 20 gauge.

    • From what I recall, Mas says that for most people the handgun should be the primary self defense weapon for home defense simply because it can be right there when you are jolted out of a sound sleep by the noise of an intruder or an alarm. As I recall, he wrote that he just keeps his pistol under an open magazine next to the bed.

      I agree that the 20 gauge is the best back up SHTF home defense weapon when you have time to get to it – along with some loop-type earplugs or other hearing protection (if you want to preserve your hearing). The 12 gauge has the recoil of a high-powered hunting rifle, and shooting it several times is like getting punched repeatedly in the shoulder. That’s why trap shooters I see at the range wear shoulder pads, have cushy recoil pads on their stocks, and sometimes also add mercury weights inside their stocks (to go up to ~8 pounds).

      That said, the 20 gauge is no picnic either in a light shotgun. Many of the 20 gauge pump shotguns with aluminum receivers are too light at around six pounds to reduce the recoil impulse to a pleasant level, with the recoil only slightly less than the heavier 12 gauge in the same gun. For the 20 gauge pump to be managable with buckshot loads, you need a 7+ pound all-steel shotgun like a Browning BPS or Remington Wingmaster. However, you have to be fairly strong to hold a 7+ pound gun at the shoulder for any length of time in a defense situation. It wouldn’t be appropriate for smaller or weaker people than the average. So I would not recommend a light aluminum receiver 20 gauge pump shotgun to most people. I am a fit man of what the stats say is average size – 5′ 9″ and 160 lb, and a BPS is fine for me. But the aveage-sized women who have shot my BPS find it too heavy. So for most women, any pump 20 gauge is too much for home defense, and I’d recommend instead that they stay with a simple DAO pistol, revolver, or a simple pistol caliber carbine (like the old Ruger PC rifles – as was said, still available used).

      If a smaller person really wants a shotgun, A 6.5-pound 20 gauge semi-auto shotgun is also an option, because the recoil impulse is spread out over a slighly longer time, and feels more like a shove than a punch. Most women I see shooting trap at the range use a 20 gauge semi-auto.

  109. Why don’t you invest in a nice sling so you can have your rifle one handed supported by the sling comfortably and level enough to shoot, heck you can even open a door and be ready to blast whatever is there with your sling across you!

  110. Coming to this after spotting the link at bottom of newer article, just want to say thanks again, Nick, for the writing, and to RF with patience on posters. There is a evolution of knowing whag you know and then what you dont know, when it comes to guns, for anyone. I am very grateful to the street LEOs who have real world experience with the BG’s, and to the operators with same. And the trainers with real world experience, who train them, which is an even smaller number. One thing I picked up from one is this: training is perishable. And its not cheap in time and money to go practice in a mockup of something like your home, with real world like ammo, or conditions. So, it sems to me you better be really good on the basics, like automatic muscle memory good, because even when trained, the pucker factor goes up, the vision narrows, and fine muscle control goes down, and you have to force yourself to think. So you dont shoot your neighbors drunk teenager who snuck in the wrong house by mistake, or is boosting your kids xbox for his next hit of oxy. But you do need to think about how not to blunder into the hot prowl armed burglar because that guy has thought it thru, is not going back to jail, and is more awake than you.

    So, that makes some of the which weapon is best fanaticism a bit irrelevant, even stoopid…and stoopid looking when coming from so called experts. The expeets I know, and from real life experience in usmil, and family in leo world, and some classes, in gunfu, to go with long ago martial arts, are distinguished all by one trait…humility.

    And they all focus much less on platforms, than practice. In other words, theres many ways to approach the problem, but first practice enough to find what works, in your situation…likely threat, living arrangements, your own physical limits, and then thd gun part starts to be optimized after lots moer practice. And by how much continuing practice can and will you do, on your moves…wake up, listen, one calls 911, while the other gets the inside and outside lights if not already motion activated on, gets kids, turns loose the dog(s)….

    Hunker down in a good corner while racking the 870, gotten to after the G23, in bedside gun safe, and surefire on nightstand haned off to wife with kids in the ricoshet safe corner…

    And…anyone still left in house after the GSD did his job, and me announcing loudly armed, cops on the way, called 911 is gonna be SWAT or someone elsevwho shot my dog. Or my own drunk teen, so I want to give myself time distance, and cover to decide after a pause to be sure…

    But those are my variables, and YMMV. Oh, and thats a LOT of dry fire/malf drills, walking kids and wife thru it, time on range, etc etc, practice first, to be able to do that, without all the chest thumping, and weapon caliber minutiae on best this or that, IMHO…and humility.

  111. Just for grins, I measured the distance from the top of the stairs to my front door. It’s 15 feet. What if I miss??? If someone can’t hit a man-sized target at 5 yards then weapon type is the least of their problems. Just sayin…

  112. I would use anything I can get my hands on when defending my castle, rifle use included! Sure wish I could afford an AR! The way things are nowadays…. ha! I’d probably use it! Reason, accuracy. No problem getting around in the house even with a rifle carbine like an AR. Can do!

  113. What kind of walls do you have? Unless they’re wood all the way through, you’ll actually be more likely to penetrate with buckshot or a pistol round than with a 5.56mm round. Drywall and brick are pretty abrasive, and a bullet going over a couple thousand feet per second will get deformed into a less effective penetrator more easily than a bullet going 1200 feet per second. And the extra wiggle room for accuracy with a shotgun at indoor ranges might turn a miss into a flesh wound, but they won’t turn a miss into an incapacitating shot. You’re talking about maybe two inches if you have about 20 feet to work with.

  114. Ok so its probably futile at this point to address the many fallacies in this article, as many people have already addressed them in one comment or another. However, seeing as how speech is still free, I will offer my humble reply. First, I am not sure what kind of self defense background Nick Leghorn comes from but I can tell you from my own personal training and experience, a rifle is an excellent choice for home defense. Lets go ahead and address the “cumbersome” nature of any long gun for HD…a sling…done. With a good sling, one would be able to perform any task that may require one or both hands. Also, the author mentions using a handgun with one hand at no cost to accuracy, which is completely false. Shoot your best group with two hands standing and then transition to one hand and compare your groups afterwards. I think we all know the outcome will be less accurate with one handed shooting. Finally, to address the common misinformation that rifle rounds (specifically .223/5.56) will over penetrate and end up miles away, after having pierced several of your neighbor’s homes. This has been proven to be false through multiple studies conducted by the FBI, a leader at the forefront of ballistics research. So now the advantages, a shoulder fired weapon is a lot more accurate. It is also easier to shoot and manage recoil. Rifle rounds have the capability to pierce certain classifications of body armor, should the need arise. Also, modern rifles tend to be very ergonomic and easy to accessorize (AR15). Lastly, theres the obvious advantage of superior ammunition capacity (if you live in a “free” state). My personal setup is a spikes tactical multi-cal AR pistol (7.5 inch barrel) with red dot optic, flashlight, sig sbx pistol brace, and single point sling loaded with a mixture of Hornady .223 V-MAX (55gr) and American Eagle XM193 (the original “meat ax”). I have an assortment of firearms that are all capable of home defense but I prefer the AR pistol w/ brace as my home defense weapon of choice. Feel free to doubt every word I have typed and do your own research…something the author of this article should have done in the first place.

  115. Wow! Really you assaume to much and if your out in the country a rifle may be your best bet. Why not cover other basic things first like have you rienforced your door jambs and put good solid security doors on all entry ways to your house? Why not talk about security glass/hurricane windows, security window film and security bars and or roll down steel shutters all different and you decide what you can afford ? Why not talk about security cameras and recording systems for them. security lights etc etc. That gun in a home invasion is you last line of defense so make the criminal work for what they want and once your forced to shot them make sure that grand jury lets you walk in 5 minutes of deciding you shot that idiot in self defense. You should retreat from a home invaderputting as many doors as possible between your family and the criminal. Make them work for their chnace to take you down and a rifle is great if your on your own land in the country as a high powered rifle will go through the attackers cover. A famers/ranchers live stock and equipement can be worth a quarter of a million per each piece so whyw ould they come and steal your coffee tabel diollies? Teh best gun fro home defense is the oen you have but if its a home invasion a handgun on you is a must but arm the entire dam family if you have to becuase these days criminals rape male and females from 1 day old to 107 years old. They will kill you regardless if yor work with them of not so if they take a hostage do not put that gun down. Todays crimals is over 86% of teh time jacke dup on a mix of alcohol an drugs so will not go down easy. I know my uncle shot a guy in the heart twice and point blank range only to have the drugged dip unload an entire mag into him. In the end a loved family died next to a low life that ahd no one to claim his body and why? Why becuase our justice system plea baragins rapists,murderes et in simple assualt then criminals that do rarely get convicted serve less then 1/10 of their actual sentence. My advice if a criminal lives and you go to court invest in a good tatical rifle, shotgun et then get you polcie report and start digging everything youc na on this yahoo and work with teh DAs office to make sure he doesn’t walk because its liberal judge day when he has his trial. Go out and prove he is harrassing you and his friends/family even attorny will go out of their ay to do so while they all get police protection. The kicker the police will treat you like a criminal every time youc all them calling you a liar even if you ahve film of them atatcking you and yours.

  116. Pardon me for not taking this opinion very seriously. I have information that states your justifications are founded in faulty cognitive and possibly legal tactics (legal depending on your state).

    Seeking out an intruder gives up the element of surprise and depending on the situation could lead to you being the legal aggressor, or could open you up to litigation if you are the one who discovers and subsequently engages in deadly force. Regardless of whether or not you make a good shoot, there will be legal wrangling necessary and a lawyer might be needed. Not all self defense shootings are clean.

    Long guns are markedly easier to hit a target, especially for new shooters. Handguns are a compromise of concealment/portability and power. Certain rifle calibers actually penetrate fewer interior walls than a 9mm FMJ. I can find several real world demonstrations for .223 Rem (or even 5.56×45 M193) performance with fewer penetrated interior walls. Performance aside, if people want to even consider hunting down an intruder in an unknown location they need more training than an eight hour course. In a home defense situation long guns are best deployed from a barricaded defensive position behind cover, preferably in a corner of the room. Handguns permit use of a phone and ushering children to a commonly designated safe room which houses the long gun. If your phone has a speaker phone option, utilize that to call dispatch and deploy your long gun of choice while waiting for police to respond.

    NRA certified Basic Pistol/Personal Protection in the Home

  117. I vote for stun grenades. They are extremely effective in close quarters and will neutralize the perp with 99% probability. For the remaining 1% cases, they should buy you enough time to roll out that M60 or AGS-17 and load the belt.

  118. Just an FYI for everyone here on over penetration. I personally witnessed the after effects of 5.56 out of a 16″ AR on an exterior wall (I did the repairs). It went through 5/8″ sheetrock, through the 1/2″ OSB, through the 7/16″ hardi plank, then through a 2×6″ deck into dirt.

  119. This site puts out more absolute la-la land BS as fact than anyone can believe. If you have to shoot someone in your house SHOOT FIRST then call the cops. Otherwise you will likely die with a phone in your hand. Here is a little tid bit. DON’T DO STUPID CRAP IN A FIRE FIGHT. You increase your chance of DYING. Another tid bit DYING IS PERMANENT. You do not learn from the the mistake… If someone is in your house SHOOT till the mag runs out or he stops moving. Having a 30 round lets me be SURE to neutralize the threat or even several of them.
    Now I DID have a friend shoot a guy while on the phone with the Sheriff (office 1/2 block from his back door) but he was on the phone BEFORE the guy got into the house and he might have dropped it while shooting. Never asked him. One does not pry into such matters uninvited.
    Someone comes in my house? If I can access the AR in time I will use that I will try to get to it. Otherwise its my 1911. I won’t be on the phone until the shooting stops. Honestly I watch some of the self-defense sh!t I see on TV, Outdoor Channel etc, and I wonder how many people are going to die if they conduct themselves in this manner when the shooting starts.

    • THANK YOU! I really couldn’t believe the logic behind this article. I really don’t know of any situation that I would be in, clutching a rifle, and thinking that I wish I had a pistol. I will take magazine capacity, bullet energy, and accuracy over the ability to dial 911. Calling it the “dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of” is really ignorant.

  120. Buy an alarm system that automatically alerts LEO of a break in(potentionally getting you killed by them)or put your phone on voice and have it auto dial the police.Or take care of buss then secure home and family then call the Police.Or have your Spouse call the police.None of these require the removal of hands from weapon of choice.Besides if someone kicked in my door a 2am the last thing on my mind would be calling the police att.Never turn your back on an attacker either,if you must back up do it facing the threat covered w/ your firearm.

  121. Ah, foolish grasshopper. You don’t kick someone in the groin, aka the family jewels, regardless of gender, if your intention is to in capacitate your attacker.

    You kick or knee them – REPEATEDLY – in the bladder which sits in the opening of the pelvic cavity, and unlike the genitals, does not have a public bone behind it. This is Krav Maga 101. Once you get inside between the gun and the body, you pound and pound and pound some more until your perp is writhing on the floor in excrutiating pain.

    The great thing about knee kicks to the bladder is that (a) the pelvic triangle is hard to miss, and (b) you have both hands free to do damage elsewhere – let’s say a thrust to the thorax with a sickle shot – you make the “C” sign with your forefinger and thumb but held tightly in place so that there’s a rock-solid center in that “C” coming in contact with a similarly-rounded throat right around the Adam’s apple.

    In one of the last episodes of “Lost,” when the Evil John Locke appears out of the Isis Statue, as everyone is staring at the dead body of the Good John Locke that just rolled out of his airline casket, Richard the Immortal Leader of the OPthers, appears from the brush to greet his old friend and former leader, John, only to get a super-sized C-shot to his throat that puts him out of action for the rest of the hour.

    Putting your hand out straight like an arrow head also works wonders in giving the same throat shot but this time with the edge of a hand spear instead of the middle of a hand sickle.

    You’ll find it a lot easier to remove whatever weapon the peop was carrying when the sucker can’t breathe or stand-up straight.

    A handgun is still the best weapon for home defense unless you live in a 6,000 sq. ft mansion. Since most of us live in under 2,000sq ft homes or amaprtments with many roms and also a few extra floors, maneuverability can’t be done with anything else but a handgun – whether it’s a revolver, semioauto handgun, or even an 8.5″ barrel AR pistol that can be fired one-handed – but the noise and flash won’t help you see or hear what lies ahead.

    This business about the so-called effect of hearing “the racking of a shotgun,” is a well-worn canard and oft-repeated anecdote. It is far better to NOT let your attacker know where you are by racking your shotgun loud enough to give away your position.

    Also, you’re assuming that the perp is not high or strung out on God-knows-what to where they can’t hear the rack or don’t give a darn.

    I would keep a shotgun as a backup, but not my primary weapon in a sudden encounter. The old saw about husing your handgun to make your way to your shotgun does make sense if your home has multiple homne invaders as is the current trend.

    If getting hit by a fusillade of handgun rounds is not enough to send them booking, then you reach for the Mossy, aim center mass, and blast away. I have no intention of firing a shotgun filled with buck from more than 10 feet away – unless it’s a combo shell and not a nine or ten pellet 3″ 00 that puts me at risk of sending a few flyers flying through my neighbor’s wall.

    Heck, at typical defensive distances, you don’t need 00 buck to begin with. Even a tight pattern of 27 .25 caliber pellets, of #4 buck, will not be bouncing off of denim or leather travelling at 1300fps. Sure, I heard the anecdote allegedly about this 230lb dude who got shot in the pecs with #4 buck from 6′ away and walked to the ambulance. Sure, it’s possible considering that the pectoralis major is the toughest muscle in a football player’s body (or in a weight lifter/body builder) who pumps up his chest to the circumference of a California Redwood.

    One of the reasons I aim for soft tissue. Even if the guy has 2% body fat, an ounce of lead shot just below his sternum is going to give him one hell of a stomach ache.

    In a Zombie Apocalype, it would be necessary to have a stand-off weapon to keep as much distance between you and the Z’s. So, you will need to have a long range weapon – whether it’s a cheap Mosin-Nagant, a low-cost AR, a high end SBR, or even a true 5.56 pistol like the Extar EXP. Whatever gets the job done and keep you out of trouble is what you need to keep on hand or put away for a rainy day.

    The best home protection weapon is that you havbe the hgome field advantage. You know where to hide. Youknow where to put as much barriers between you and your threats. And, you know from where you can shoot first before you ever get shot yourself.

  122. Are you serious author? In the scenario you just described, the rifle in the number one choice, followed by shotgun, then pistol. Every weapon is a tool. A dedicated home defense AR will have a forward grip with a TAC light, with a squeeze activator taped to the forward grip. So your point about the pistol and flashlight is null. So let’s analyze your scenario. The attacker bursts through the front door with an AK. If you have a pistol you are severely outgunned. If you have a shotgun, you are good to go, but you may damage your own home. If you have a rifle with a zeroed EOTech or other dot type optic, you’re good to go. You’re in an elevated position and probably in the dark. He doesn’t know you’re waiting for him as he comes through the door. You should already have your rifle at the ready, even with a phone in one hand. He bursts in and is silhouetted by the door, you have the drop on him, you drop the phone and put a controlled pair of Hornady personal defense ammo into him, mission complete. If your rounds exit his body they go out the door and blast into pieces when they hit the front porch. Id not worry about a ricochet shooting downwards. Its going to be a hard angle from your elevated shot and the bullet will break apart.

  123. IMHO: a full sized frame 45 with two fully loaded magazines of PD ammo sound about right. Throw a surefire in the rail and you’re good to go.

  124. In all the discussion here no one has ever thought of keeping some electronic muffs near your HD weapon? I have an AR under the bed along with a pair of electronic muffs. I can hear better with them on and dialed all the way up and if I ever have to use the AR I won’t have blood coming out of my ears.

  125. 1) My rifle is silenced
    2) My rifle is a bullpup
    3) A home invader equipped well enough to have an AK could also easily be wearing a ballistic vest against which my 45 is only slightly better than harsh language
    4) My rifle holds 30 rounds of 308 which is very lethal and definitely going through kevlar

    if I have it available I will always choose my rifle to fight with

  126. Sorry but i completely disagree with you… you said the perp had an ak47? And you want to face him with your glock? I have an ak47 not in a safe but trigger locked by my bed most people dont keep their gun safe in their bedroom well atleast anyone with more than one gun doesnt.

    My choice in weapons you mentioned would be #1 AR15 30 round magazine it could be an SBR it weighs 6-7 pounds you could have taken him out at the door much better accuracy than a hand gun . But the hand gun would be my #2 .. shotgun would be my #3 choice …. you mentioned 2am , you will not have time to get ear protection or warn your family or have a conversation with the police . Have you ever fired a 12 gauge in a house ? It aint the movies . That thing is so loud that you will no only scare the shit out of your intire family and have their ears ringing but you as well will lose your hearing for a moment it might even frighten you because of how loud it will be and like you said if you miss you better hope you didnt shoot a neighbor .. plus shotguns are not bit metal pipes .. have you not seen the newer shotguns .. as for rifles they could be SBR , bullpups, even carbine rifles , 30 rounds at your disposal as fast as you could pull the trigger and with the help of a stock so you could get a more accurate second shot .. i think its the way to go …

    You must have some big b@lls to fight glock or 1911 or beretta vs ak47

  127. One last thing me personally like in your scenerio a guy is kicking my door down #1 take action that guarantees my family’s safety then i would call the cops … they always show up after a crime is commited anyways so that is some valuable 3 minutes you could have used to prepare.

    My ultimate home defence is my AR15 with a 37mm attached to it so that could handle 1 attacker or 2 or 3 i could pretty much take out the entire front door with 1 shot and its legal because its for “flares”

  128. I didn’t read all of these comments. Those I did read were filled with so much self-defense nerd bullshit, it made me wanna vomit. For most civilian residences, (ie: homes, condos, apartments) a handgun is the weapon of choice. In the Sandbox, I made my unit use their sidearms when clearing these types of buildings. Why?
    Noise is a factor. A rifle makes a deafening amount of noise. Do you really want to hose down an intruder & then not be able to hear your spouse yell from the bedroom or first responders identify themselves?
    Flash. Even when using aftermarket flash suppressors, the 5.56 round out of a 14.5″ barrel makes a disturbing amount of flash in darkened interior rooms. And don’t give me that BS about that $250 piece of crap you screwed on the end of your rifle – I have a S&W AR-22 that I put a vortex on. You can still see a tiny amount of flash at night, from a .22lr! Go out at night and shoot yours to see. BTW, flash doesn’t always show up on youtube videos because it’s duration slips in between frames.
    Concussion. A cartridge developing 55,000psi of chamber pressure has a massive amount of concussion that, when fired in a 3ft wide hall will disorient the shooter and others.
    Multi-tasking: While maintaining positive control of the weapon, a handgun allows you to open doors, control detainees, pull wounded team members out of danger, etc. A rifle would be either slung or not pointed towards the threat under these circumstances.
    Situational Awareness. Peep style iron sights & magnifying scopes are useless indoors. Tubular red dot sights cause tunnel vision, especially the tiny ones. They are too close to your face & obstruct your field of vision. The sights on a handgun are out in front of you: they can hover in your field of vision, out of focus until instantly needed. Open red dots & AK style iron sights are the exception.
    Maneuverability: A rifle (even a bullpup, which by law, must be 26 inches long), sticks out when negotiating obstacles & rounding corners. It requires a much larger pie to slice. A handgun has over 180 degrees of fire when standing in one spot. Plus, it moves quickly through it’s range, meaning if you’re facing to the left and the threat is coming from the far right, you can engage immediately without shuffling your feet.
    Over Penetration. Unless you are using varmint bullets that are designed to blow up prairie dogs, ALL rifles are extreme penetrators. If your are using M855 (the kind that “yaws”), it is designed to penetrate 3mm of steel plate at 600m. What the fuck do you think it will do to your drywall? Hog hunting rounds will go through 2ft of hide, gristle & fat of a hog, so no better there. Can’t you imagine the public outcry and lawsuits when you accidentally kill 8 other people in your apartment building? So you’re gonna use those varmint bullets? They might reach the vital organs on that intruder, or they might not.
    Shotguns, preferably those loaded with a low-recoil, mid size (#4 – #1) buckshot, are better, but are still long & clumsy. Pumps, while they may intimidate when racking that first round in, can only be used with both hands & as such, are out of the question for a self-defense tool.
    Grenades were not on the menu in confined spaces. They’re indiscriminate, concussive & can damage the structure, endangering the operators. So if you’re a fucking moron who plans on launching 37mm flares at an intruder, while indoors, please do the rest of us a favor & let the intruder shoot you.
    Let’s talk about being disarmed. A rifle (or a shotgun) is a long, smooth object with no sharp edges. It is only dangerous in one direction, & only in a path that’s less than a 1/4″ diameter. You might not be disarmed totally, but even an inexperienced person can grab the barrel & pull you off your feet. So you have sling? Now this person has you on the end of a rope, so to speak. He can start kicking you in the face or ribs. Maybe he’ll try to strangle you with your own sling. You could draw your handgun & shoot the guy… oh, wait, you just grabbed the rifle. Your only hope is to fire the rifle enough & hope the barrel gets too hot for him to keep holding. When clearing residential buildings, we still carried our M4’s, slung tight and muzzle down. You will be alone & not have a team member ready to assist you.
    So it’s obvious I prefer a handgun. This comes from real world experience, not from what that guy on youtube said. But I wouldn’t recommend just any handgun. A .357 revolver or a .50 Desert Eagle has most of the drawbacks that using a rifle does. A .45 semi-auto pistol is my weapon of choice for CQB. The round is an effective stopper. Providing you’re not using 185 gr bullets at +P velocities, it’s subsonic & low pressure, so it’s not abusive to shoot in confined spaces. While shooting outside wearing your earmuffs, you may not be able to tell the difference between the .45 & a 9mm, there is a big difference indoors with no hearing protection. Handguns can be carried close to the body, don’t have nearly as much real estate to grab & can’t be used as levers to control your body. Handguns let you utilize cover more efficiently & they don’t have slings that snag on doorknobs. Also, if you have to check outside, you can easily conceal the handgun so as not to alert neighbors & passerby’s.
    Some say you’re at a gross disadvantage engaging a rifle armed intruder with a handgun. Not always. Having a firefight at 200m with a sniper using your sidearm, yes. This hypothetical situation? Not so much. Remember, the aforementioned disadvantages of CQB with a rifle also apply the intruder. I live an upper middle class house & there are no sight lines over 35′. At this range, it’s all about making the first upper torso hit as fast as possible, & the handgun will win this race every time. Even if the intruder is wearing body armor, the range is still short enough to make quick head shots. 99% of the time the intruder will be an overconfident young thug with no training or experience in firearms/tactics. You, as a diligent home defender, should be trained, proficient, & practice regularly. You also know your surroundings. And if you heard him first & didn’t wake up to him looking down at you, you have the element of surprise. You have every advantage.
    Now I’m not saying don’t have a rifle! Everyone NEEDS a good rifle! And a shotgun. And maybe even a pistol caliber carbine. I do. Rifles have a range & capacity advantage that no handgun can match. If you live near wilderness & that intruder might be a bear, grab a rifle. If you live on a ranch or farm & you notice people on your land, grab a rifle. If that one AK47 armed intruder turns out to be just the first of many, retreat and grab the rifle. If you live in very large home where a 50+yd shot is a real possibility, grab the rifle. If the thought of engaging a home invader with your tacticool rifle just gives you a boner, sell it and find a good therapist.

    • I just read this after posting my drivel.
      Thoughtful piece that is obviously based upon real world experience.
      “F**king ‘A’ well said!” as a one movie character stated.
      The complexities of combat for the amateur are daunting; the veterans among us distill the hard learned lessons, and we profit from their wisdom.
      Above all. Rounds down range stop somewhere.
      If you pick up a light saber; don’t cut through the bulkheads.
      (And because I’m posting under complete anonymity; I will reveal the Ultimate Home Defense Device The Fiendish Device from The Wolves Of Hell: the Dog. And the 3 guns.)

    • Harold’s real world combat advice is right on. And the people who are attacking the author of the original article have probably never fired an AR carbine INSIDE A ROOM – which is WTF we are talking about here. My sources: The two former SWAT instructors I’ve had teaching advanced classes said that they entered houses engaging criminals with pistols and very short pistol-caliber carbines – for exactly the reasons that Harold cited. (Some carrying ballistic shields on the weak arm.) They did NOT use 5.56mm carbines inside apartment buildings, homes, and businesses, unless that was all that was available (as in an officer having that as the back up weapon in the patrol car, rather than a shotgun).

      The severe pressure impulse of multiple 5.56mm carbine rounds in a 20’x20′ room will cause permanent hearing damage to you and your family if every one doesn’t have time to put on ear plugs or muffs. If you’ve ever been down range of a high explosive detonation, you get the idea. That’s what it seems like. Sound pressure is significantly amplified by the pressure wave reflections in a small room – like 10 times the effect of cranking up a guitar amp inside (which is awful). Even if you have a supressor, as was mentioned previously, if any 5.56mm round misses the target and goes through a wall, window, screen door, etc. it is going to go A LOT farther and faster than a pistol round – any maybe kill or injure a neighbor.

      Needing a high velocity rifle round to defeat body armor is not a good argument for home defense. The odds of the average thug home invaders wearing body armor are probably less than 1%. And even in that case shooting them with a 45 if wearing a ballistic vest is like shooting them with a 12-gauge bean bag round – or smacking them with a baseball bat. Obviously if the vest is not under clothing, you can aim for the pelvis or head and neck. Not to many thugs wearing level IV groin guards.

      Unfortunately “AR mania” (probably started years ago by movies like “Heat”) has gripped young U.S. shooters by the throat and it just won’t let go. The AR and similar rifles are battle rifles to protect our freedom if that need ever arises again in our lifetimes in the U.S. Or if you live on a farm or ranch and might have to engage criminals at 50 yards or more. Or if you might expect an L.A. riot situation in your area and you are going to have to shoot attacking criminal thugs outside on the street. (If so, why do you still live there?) But it is not a weapon for self defense for inside an apartment or small urban home. For the average person in that situation a pistol, revolver, pistol caliber-carbine (or even lever action revolver-caliber carbine) is the practical choice.

  129. The best gun is the gun you have when you need it.
    If you want a “gun”- your really saying you want three guns. (handgun for last ditch in close, shotgun for house work, and a rifle for the yard.
    The first work of the defense is security. Get a dog. (Or a least a tape recording of a big dog.)
    And at the end of the day, what happens happens. But the more time you have, the better the outcome.
    And always as Napoleon said, “L’audace, L’audace, Toujours, L’audace.”
    A half-assed plan executed violently today is worth a perfect plan tomorrow.

  130. Dogs Are great for sentry and defense. I have an M134 Minigun capable of handling all human agressors as well as a lawyer on permanent retainer.

  131. This is the stupidest article I have ever read on the internet. Guy with an AK-47 is standing in your living room and you dont want to use the most effective tool available to deal with him. You’d rather use a pistol. Just another uninformed idiot spouting nonsense on the internet.

  132. Any gun is fine. You will find that, as a civilized, caring human being, your most difficultf obstacle will be your conscience. Deciding to pull the trigger will be a life changing experience. Most of the danger you will face will come from letting the assailant get too close and giving him time to react. In this scenario, once the home invader kicks in the door, you are authborized to neutralize the threat (ex MA maybe). Do it. Don’t hesitate.

  133. My question is, why are you using a shotgun with an empty chamber for self defense? Waste of perfectly good capacity, really; if your shotgun holds 5+1, why are you only carrying 5 rounds in the gun?

    Racking the slide should only occur AFTER you fired the first shot, not before. Anyone that gets scared off by the racking sound will get just as scared when the muzzle is pointed in their face.

  134. I vehemently disagree with every word in this article.

    Point 1, you are an idiot if you think you can be more accurate with a pistol than a rifle in any scenario. Pistols are only superior in very tight quarter scenarios where corners are a big factor.

    Point 2, how could you possibly miss a guy with a rifle from the top of your stairs. Retreating is not that damn hard either.

    Point 3. Yes it’s louder, to him. His ears are bleeding into his baclava

  135. One caveat. Yes, I agree that trying to manipulate an AR or AK 1 handed in that situation SUCKS…I know, I’ve practiced it, HOWEVER, try it with a well balanced bullpup like a tavor some time…especially with a red dot.
    And it will do 1 thing that most handguns won’t…if the guy is well prepared enough to pack an AK, he might be wearing armor…soft armor has a failure at abut 1500 FPS with some handgun calibers, and plates …well, you might as well be hitting him in the chest with a bat for all the good it will do unless you hit him around it [easier if you have a fancy red dot on your pistol]. However, a bullpup like the FS2000, Tavor, etc is balanced for one handed shooting [easy to hold to the shoulder] AND even if hes wearing level 4 plates, hes going to know its time to vacate, assuming you don’t hit a soft spot…in addition you have 30 rounds to keep shooting so conserving ammo probably won’t be an issue.

    Just a few points. And yes, I keep a Tavor with a dot sight next to my bed. I can even walk the dog and still shoulder the weapon without letting go of the leash with the other hand

  136. Are people seriously still saying pistols are better for defense? Pistols are secondary weapons. The stats don’t lie. Rifles are superior. So keep your uninformed opinions to yourself before you cost someone their lives. If you want to stop a threat, stop a threat. Don’t pretend that an inferior device will suffice when there are superior ones that we know work better.

  137. How can you tell someone weather a rifle or a pistol will be better for them? Being in the Army i’m proficient with a rifle way more than I am with a pistol. Pistols are secondary to me and if an intruder breaks into my house, i’m grabbing my rifle. I can be evasive and manuever with my rifle like someone who is proficient with their pistol would be able to.

  138. “So which gun is best for the job of protecting yourself, your wife, and your two point five small children?”
    A shotgun, naturally! As the door bursts open you pull the trigger and rack, continue until the threat is neutralized.
    What if you miss? That’s what the hundreds of pellets in birdshot loads, and followup shots are for.

  139. I think the author is indirectly saying using a rifle which is an offensive weapon makes all us gun owners look bad and that he might not get to keep his little collection of black rifles if you yahoos make us gun owners look bad.

    The real answer is you use the gun you have. If you need a rifle grab one.

  140. Curious I read Harold’s post and the funny thing is the guys I know who came back from overseas and live in rural areas or on farms keep a rifle, shotgun and pistol(s) for defense.

    I think WHERE the danger is determines what gun they grab. In suburbia the shotgun and pistol rule but in the country, especially when you have over 200 foot driveways, rifles are comforting when the next home is far enough away they can’t hear a scream.

  141. Here are my .02 sense, if this intruder broke into my house and i watched and had the all clear at no point would I turn and run to gather my family, I would take my rifle and lay the intruder out b4 he sprays rounds throughout my house and puts my family in harms way, your reaction to the situation is not tacticaly smart in any way. Say you with your hand gun turned wile the intruder is firing at you with an ak47 and you where somehow not hit but then gathered your family in one room, NOW WHAT you are now out gunned and gave your position away to your attacker. Say the intruder did not see you, If he intends to shoot the first thing he hears he’s going to shoot so wile your waking up children he’s listening. So because you can’t ask his intention why would you not assume the first sound he hears he will fire at. Since we dont know his intentions on harming you and your family and he didnt mind making alot of noise kicking your door down then you should have shot him the moment you had the all clear to fire and if he has A ak or shotgun I much rather surprise him with a slug, buck shot or 7.62 to his chest, and because he just entered your home and is at the front door you don’t have to worrie about gun control and where your round will end up not to mention a 7.62 FMJ at 10 yards or less will do pretty serious damage even if your using tula ammo. Hints why our soldiers clear buildings huts and houses with there rifles not side arms. Now try to convince me my side arm is more effective, keep in mind I have a single point sling for my rifle. My pistol does sleep next to my bed incase I don’t wake up till someone has made it into my bedroom.

  142. Rifles and shotguns incapacitate more quickly than a handgun. When someone is jacked up on drugs or just pure rage, the fear of being shot isn’t enough. As far as putting a long gun down to do anything? Its called a sling. It’s not some mystical tacticool accessory it actualy has a huge advantage. Main one being it is more secure than jamming a loaded handgun in your undies and hoping the cheap chinese elastic can hold it against your body while you’re running through the house. If you do not have a sling attached to your defensive long gun you’re wrong. Yes rifles are difficult to shoot one handed but why are you even putting it down anyway? You have a spouse or possibly older child, have them carry the young children and call 911. Not only does this free you up but giving them something to do keeps them from panicking. Your main focus is keeping your family safe from the threat. That means keeping watch on whatever doorway or hallway that is between them and the threat. murphys law dictates the moment you turn your back or look away is when the threat decides to turn the corner.

  143. This is exactly the one time I would have an SBR, and then ONLY if I also had a 12in can for it. A 12in barrel with 12in can running MK262 or equivalent. Or maybe Lehigh Controlled Chaos solids. Very ammo-specific setup. So that’s a collapsible stock, 12in tube plus 12in can, cheap red dot, and a light WITH settings like “bright”, “VERY bright” and “OH GOD MY EYES! MY EYES!” The can will suppress the fireball and and keep your ears from ringing.

    This is the single thing a 5.56/5.45 SBR is useful for. Room clearing with can. A lot of guys would say .300blk, but the point of using a 5.56/5.45 is very specifically to try to REDUCE penetration after the bullet exits.

  144. My weapon of choice is my Dad’s hand me down HK41 stamped “SantaFe.” 20 rounds…easy to fire one handed with unexpectedly delightful recoil.

  145. This site is so silly. In many cases its should be “lets stir the pot about guns by posting things that are not supported by the facts.” 1st. I ain’t calling 911 till all the shooting is over the cops are not going get here before this anyway. 2nd I have an AR AND a handgun by the bed. Shotguns are for people that don’t know any better, kick too hard grossly over penetrate with buckshot and have NO advantage over the rifle other than the weight of lead which is impressive. But the AR with something like Hornady TAP 75 gr is pretty effective according to reports I have read of its use “overseas”. An AR carbine is shorter than most shotguns, its lighter and it CAN be shot one handed pretty well if the owner bothers to learn how to use the thing. Except in VERY limited situations the handgun is never superior to the rifle. One would be that its hard to carry a rifle concealed. Not a worry in my house.

  146. Sorry as I am ‘late to the party’ on this quite pertinent article (considering most of us happily or not live within a stone’s throw of other humans). That said, I installed a top folding stock on my shotgun which really cuts it down when maneuvering and obviously allows for quick deployment of shoulder stock if needed. I have same config on my Yugo N-PAP M70 which is an awesome versatile AK. Added to my personal HD considerations would be a Kel-Tec Sub2K with a Glock OEM 33 round magazine (this would be the ideal choice for me in 9mm but the 16″ barrel really adds velocity and, therefore, added possibility of collateral damage as the author points out (yes, unfortunately I am a very Unhappy/Reluctant urban dweller until such time that I bug-out to “Normal America.”)

  147. Lol, I’m a gun magazine junkie and this rates as one of the worst articles I have read. I think maybe the writer was just trying to get the hornets nest stirred up.
    If your going to make such an outrageous claim, you need to back it up with a lot of evidence because i know most people who shoot pistols and rifles both will not agree with you.

  148. My AR is loaded with 2 co-joined 30 round magazines and a 10 rounder in the butt stock.

    I’m ex-military infantry. I know the persuasive effects of suppressing fire. If the alarm goes off and the German Shepherd goes off I’ll just point the rifle at that area of the house and open up.

    More mags are within reach.

    Go ahead, break into my house. If you’re no superman you’re going to leave empty handed, or, you may stay a while.


  149. In the end, since your and your family’s live are the priority, isn’t it safer to unleash hell in the direction of the attacker and get it over with?

  150. I’m confused at the part of the situation where he busts in the door, he has an AK, you take a shot and miss, now what? Ummm….Why did you only take one shot? Is there a reason you don’t keep pulling the trigger until the threat is down? Especially since this is the one time you have him in your sights before he can react to you. Why are we even giving him a chance to react, aim, and shoot? By the time he sees you, you should already have 3 rounds downrange and more coming. He doesn’t get a chance to line up a shot. Life and death. You want accuracy under stress, high rate of fire, and a high round magazine. AR all the way. Nothing else would be even close in that situation. Also you don’t go searching a house or around corners unless you are getting your children. It isn’t call of Duty. You get in as good of a position to defend, as you can and wait for them. Also, if you have multiple intruders, all with guns, all who are willing to engage in a firefight with someone with an AR in close quarters instead of run away… Odds are you are on the wrong end of a SWAT team bust more then anything.

  151. You lost me in the first sentence. Anyone dumb enough to take a firearm and creep around their house at night without alerting the others doesn’t need a firearm of any type.

  152. Almost everything in this blog post is really wrong, and some it shows the OP’s ignorance about firearms. Leave the home defense tips to people with credibility in that area before misleading people who genuinely read this for the sake of home defense.

  153. If you find it hard to shoot and move things with hand and rifle, try using methods to achieve it. Right hand uses trigger and pulls stock into shoulder, gangsta style sideways, while cradled with other arm, and holding phone in left hand to right ear.

    the so called ‘gangta style’ is no different shooting than shooting from the hip or from underarm position: you must learn point and shoot behavior using your body as the calibration for hits on something close at proper height. But then you have a free hand for a phone.

  154. Need two hands to operate the phone and herd the kids? There’s a pretty simple solution to that dilemma: it’s called a sling. With that argument out of the way, what’s the rifle/pistol/shotgun calculus? My personal answer for home defense is a pistol-caliber carbine. Accurate shot placement is easier than with a pistol, but you lose the disorienting (for civilians at least), stun-grenade effect that comes with firing a high-powered rifle or shotgun in a confined space. Whatever weapon you choose, it must have a light. I’m not going to shoot anyone in my house — or anywhere else — without positive Identification.

  155. This has to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read. Does a swat team or military enter a house with pistols drawn? NO! because more fire power is always better.
    Ak-47s and AR-15s a very compact and designed to be used in close quarters fighting.

  156. this was the most idiotic article on weapons/self defense I have ever read. And that goes back 63 years. This why you ignore the vast majority of inter-net crap.


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