What makes a bad self-defense gun? Unreliability? Poor ergonomics? Ineffective caliber? When you sit down and think about it, there are dozens of factors that would make a gun a poor home defense gun choice. We’ve gathered five of the worst self-defense guns out there for a fun little gripe session.
Rules were implemented to make this list. First, the gun has to be advertised as a self-defense firearm. The Remington 700 is a poor self-defense gun because it’s not meant to be one. Next, the gun has to be relatively modern. A percussion revolver would be a poor choice these days, but at one point, it was the best option available. Finally, it doesn’t have to be a bad gun per se. It can be reliable, accurate, etc., and still be a poor choice for self-defense.
Heizer Defense Pocket AR/AK – The Overall Worst Self Defense Guns
The Heizer Defense Pocket AR/AK series of pistols are small, single-shot handguns with barrel lengths equivalent to most pocket pistols, but they are chambered in rifle calibers. The Pocket AR is in 5.56, and the Pocket AK is in 7.62×39. They advertise these guns as having “the ultimate stopping power.”
Shooting rifle calibers through short barrels produce subpar performance when the barrels are in the 7-inch range. Imagine what their performance is like from a 3.75-inch barrel. Not only that, but the noise, concussion, recoil, and muzzle flash would be absolutely brutal. These are easily the worst self-defense guns on this list.
Raven MP 25
One of my first handguns was a $60 Raven MP 25, and I got ripped off. The Raven MP 25 is a direct blowback semi-automatic pistol chambered in .25 ACP. The Raven is made from pot metal and what appears to be the cheapest chrome finish ever applied. Semi-automatic is a technical term here (just don’t rely on it regularly loading the next round).
In fact, everything about this pistol is technical. Technically it has sights. Technically it has a safety. Technically it has a finish. Technically it’s not the worst self-defense gun, but it’s definitely up there.
The gun seemed to jam every other round or so. The 25 ACP round is anemic, but guns like the Beretta tip provide you an ultra-small option with minimal recoil and centerfire reliability. In the Raven, you get an overly chunky and heavy pistol thicker and seemingly larger than the Ruger LCP. The sights suck, the safety is far from that, and the gun isn’t drop safe, so be careful.
Full Conceal GLOCK
Do you want a GLOCK that folds like a Sub-2000? No? Well, I get it. I like weird stuff, and the Full Conceal is (was) weird, but as a self-defense, concealed carry firearm, I just don’t get it. It’s still GLOCK-sized, and you just go from trying to conceal a gun to trying to conceal a brick. Deploying the Full Conceal is slower than just drawing a GLOCK from a holster.
Can you deploy it with one hand? Can you ensure everything is locked up and ready when a bad guy is on top of you? I don’t see it.
There seem to be a lot of failure points and a certain degree of fragility. If the gun is dropped or bumped hard, it might not fold correctly. I appreciate the effort they invested in making this thing work. However, the cost and overall design made it a fun oddity and a poor self-defense weapon. There are worse self-defense guns out there, but the Full Conceal is up there.
I reviewed the Lifecard. I like the Lifecard, but in my review, I liked it as an oddity, and the quality Trailblazer built into the Lifecard. It’s well made, durable, and reliable. However, it’s still a single shot 22 LR that the company advised that you not carry with a round in the chamber. That makes it a poor self-defense firearm.
.22 LR is an anemic personal defense choice, but the real issue is the rimfire primer failing to ignite because rimfire just does that. The Lifecard is somewhat slow to reload, has a trench sight, and still requires two hands to operate. If I was James Bond sneaky through security, I might consider it, but I’m just Travis going to Taco Bell.
Any Gun that Fires a Shotgun Shell That Isn’t a Shotgun
When I was compiling this list, I nearly filled it with guns like the Taurus Judge, the Heizer Defense Pocket Shotgun, the Smith & Wesson Governor, the Mossberg Shockwave, the TAC-14, and so on, I just gave them this catch-all category.
Let’s start with pistol that shoot shotgun shells, like the .410 Bond Arms Derringers, the Judge, the Governor, the Pocket Shotgun, and the like. First, .410 from a rifled barrel sucks. It throws a wide pattern that’s unpredictable with no real way to adjust it.
What about Winchester PDX 410? Good question, but since impossible to find, that doesn’t matter. Next, the recoil can be rather stiff with some, and with others, the guns have to be obnoxiously large. Why carry a Taurus Judge with five shots when you can carry a SIG P365 that’s half the size with ten? Revolvers shooting .410 compete heavily with the Pocket AR/AK for the worst self-defense guns made.
Next, we get to the firearm category that encompasses the Mossberg Shockwave and Remington TAC 14. I own both, love both, and have lots of fun shooting them. They are fun firearms, but they are some of the worst self-defense guns. They’re hard to handle, hard to shoot accurately, hard to aim, and so on and so forth. If you want a 12 gauge for home defense, a stocked shotgun is better in nearly every way possible.
The Worst Self Defense Guns
I’m sure this list could easily be expanded. The gun industry is full of madmen with weird designs, cheaply produced paperweights, and more. These are the five I’ve handled, shot, and in some cases, even owned. I’m curious to know what TTAG readers think are the worst self-defense guns out there. Let us know below.