Best choice for Home Defense?


March 2, 2003, 05:44 PM
I have a friend who is thinking about buying a firearm for home protection for he and his wife. He has some experience with firearms, but doesn't currently have any right now.

His first thought seems to be to purchase a handgun (Walther P99, Glock 17/19, XD, 92FS), although myself and another friend are advising that a long gun of some sort might be a better choice. We both seem to hold the view that a pistol is used to fight your way to your rifle. For the record, both the other friend and myself each have atleast one pistol, one rifle, and one shotgun.

So what is your opinion? Do you think that it would be better to have a handgun (one of the models listed above), a shotgun (Winchester 1300, Mossy 500, Rem. 870) or a rifle/carbine (Bushy, Mini-14, M-1 Carbine, Marlin Lever action)? Also, why do you prefer the choice that you made?

Thanks again.


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March 2, 2003, 06:06 PM
I vote handgun. Sometimes it isn't handy to have a 3-4' rifle or shotgun.

How are you going to anwser the door with a AK-47?:scrutiny: The fact is, you won't and you will be unarmed. There will be more cases where you will grab the pistol and at least be armed than leaving you long gun in the closet.

BTW, if you answer the door with a AK-47, then I don't think you need to worry about answering the door too much. Who is going to visit a nut case?:D

March 2, 2003, 06:09 PM
Just one?

I say you need a handgun to keep on/near you, a shotgun for serious clearing work, and a rifle to pull an AT&T (reach out and touch someone.)

March 2, 2003, 06:26 PM
I'm the odd man out here... but personally, If I had it... I'd go for a short-barreled AR variant. Use a single point sling and you are ready to go... Short enough to maneuver around the house fairly easy, more accurate than a handgun if need be. Plus there are various studies that indicate that a JHP .223 will not overpentetrate as much as many shotgun loads will.

Just my .02 YMMV

March 2, 2003, 06:29 PM
If both homeowners actually practice with the firearm, I'd go with a handgun. If it's just going to sit in the closet until needed, something like a Mossberg 500 or Remington 870.

March 2, 2003, 06:32 PM
Its kind of hard to stick a shotgun or rifle in your bath robe pocket.

At household ranges, there will be no accuracy advantage with a long arm.

It is easier to navigate a house with a handgun.

March 2, 2003, 06:46 PM
Probably a 12GA shotty with a 12" barrel. It's only a $200 tax and some paperwork.


Or a decent hicap handgun. Just got the new catalog. They have FM hipowers w/a 17rnd mag for $270. This is a great gun for the money. It ain't as nice as an old Belgian mfg Hipower but it's plenty good. Plus you can buy 17rnders all day long for $20.


March 2, 2003, 06:55 PM
12 gauge shotgun. More powerful than a handgun, more flexibility than a rifle (inside a house). Just my opinion.

March 2, 2003, 06:56 PM
At household ranges, there will be no accuracy advantage with a long arm.

But it is easier to use a long arm in stressful situations and easier for untrained/novice shooters in self-defense incidents.

March 2, 2003, 07:21 PM
Bedside is a handgun, but I'm only a few steps from a pump shotgun. Nothing like hearing that action in the dark to know someone means bitness :D

March 2, 2003, 07:22 PM
For home defense only - I voted a shotgun. More lethal than handgun, less penetration than rifle, tons of applications with different loads, easy to operate, useful for hunting and CHEAP! Best all-around choice. Especially if there is a specific threat - tell him to take $250, go to Wal-Mart and get one yesterday.

However, although everyone says you should practice often with your weapon, I just can't see doing a lot of practice with a home defense shotgun. An 18" Mossberg Persuader is great for defense, but how often are you really going to go out and blast away some watermelons? (unless you'r R. Lee Ermey, but then again he also has access to a real BAR :D) .

If your friend really wants to stick to one gun only, a .357, 9mm or .45 pistol affords easier safe storage, more shooting time with easier access to indoor ranges, cheaper ammo and tons O' fun.

If I could only have one weapon, it would be a high-powered rifle, a really good rifle.

March 2, 2003, 07:39 PM
Either carry a CCW or not: no excuses 'cause if you knew trouble was going to happen you wouldn't have gone.

That said, handgun at the hip, if trouble comes I want a loaded long gun in hand, and, if it's indoors, that'd be the SG.

CCW, no CCW, .357 MAG, .40 S&W, 45 ACP, .50 MAG, whatever, the shotgun is, was, and will always be the short range weapon of choice.

Since when is there any serious discussion on this issue?

March 2, 2003, 07:53 PM
Like Hkmp5sd said, for somebody who is going to prop the gun in a closet and let it get dusty until it's needed, a shotgun is hard to beat. It's easier for the untrained to use, and the same untrained folks are less likely to point the thing at themselves. I think most non/seldom shooters underestimate how easy it is to miss with a handgun, even at across the room distances.

March 2, 2003, 08:27 PM
Shotgun proponents:

Please explain how to handle this situation...

Its 10 pm. You are watching TV. Knock comes at the front door. You look thru the peep hole in see a man. Not a particularly malicious looking person, just an average guy.

How do you answer the door with your shotgun?

March 2, 2003, 08:28 PM
You forgot Revolver in your choices. You only mentioned autos. Isn't a revolver tactical enough?
For this familiy, with little firearms experience, I suggest a 4" to 6" Medium or large frame revolver in .357mag (Taurus Tracker holds 7 rounds) and a complilmentary barricade weapon (12 or 20 guage pump with full stock and 18-20" bbl).

I agree with firestar. I always answer the door with my .357...never with a longgun....

March 2, 2003, 08:36 PM
Rem 870 with 00B for me. IMO Home Defense is best done from a stationary "blind" (situation dependent upon children and home layout) waiting for the perp to come to you while talking to the nice 911 operator -- or listening to the music while on hold. Handguns in a large caliber are good as back-up. The idea is to end the fight quickly and IMO a 12ga loaded with buckshot is an awesome weapon.Its 10 pm. You are watching TV. Knock comes at the front door. You look thru the peep hole in see a man. Not a particularly malicious looking person, just an average guy.

How do you answer the door with your shotgun? Ans. I don't open the door to anyone I don't know at 10PM, but a .44 Mag revolver or a .45 auto are good alternatives if you must open the door. How do you intend to carry?

March 2, 2003, 08:44 PM
Like my 1917 45 acp qnd a well trained giant dog with a shotgun for backup.

March 2, 2003, 08:46 PM
//You're missing out here. Actually, the best choice for home defense- would be throwing knives- here are some advantages
1. No ear protection- the BG may screan real loud, but you'll be able to handle that just fine. There might be a slight problem if you accidentally hit your dog or cat or wife though.
2. Cheap- You can simply reuse throwing knives. Can't reuse ammo- It's much more efficient and we know the the economy is at an all time low anyway.
3. Coolness factor: "So, I caught a bad guy with a throwing knife today" "Just like James bond!" "Yeah!" Chicks will dig it.
4. No need to travel outside to practice. Just set up a wooden board in your room and you're good to go.
5. the No Jam or NJ factor. Knives can't jam on you.

Here are tactical tips to consider.

-It is recommended that you wrap the handle with dark electric tape, for maximum grip. It also looks cool.
-You might also want to drill some holes in the blade to reduce weight as it travels.
-Keep an apple in your pocket. You can be the coolest guy ever by pulling out an apple and peeling it with your knife, right after you let the BG have it. (See Last Man Standing).
-You may want to invest in a good knife safe. Also invest in a good knife holster. Be sure to educate your children about the dangers of throwing knives.
-May want to invest in some kevlar type armor. for the children to wear whenever you're practicing.


March 2, 2003, 08:50 PM

Ok, lets change the time to 6:00 pm. Its daylight even.

How do you answer the door with a shotgun?

March 2, 2003, 08:57 PM
The shotgun is the best home defense weapon for anybody that doesn't regularly shoot firearms. But even then he should pattern it at an indoor range once in a while to know where the hell the shot is going. Because I think we're all aware that if you think buying a shotgun for home defense is the best choice because you simply can't miss inside a home with one, you're sadly mistaken. A person proficient with handguns has a much better chance of stopping an intruder with one shot than somebody with a shotgun that "just hasn't had the time to take it to the range."

If you're serious about home defense, it's the same as with a CCW: Practice, practice, practice!

For me, it'll always be the handgun. A .45 ACP loaded with 230 gr Hydra-shoks, if you please. I hit anything I aim at with this.

And maybe also because I'm about useless with a shotgun.

March 2, 2003, 08:59 PM
Handgun - You can take it with you to answer door. You can operate it with one hand, allowing you to grab a child, turn a knob dial 911 etc with the other hand. It is easier to secure when you leave the house. Easier to navigate house with (only do this if you MUST) It is easier to retain and use if the bad guy gets to you. It is easier to transport to the range to PRACTICE with (nosey neighbors won't notice).

I'd also get a good dog.


Standing Wolf
March 2, 2003, 09:53 PM
It's amazing I still don't own a shotgun. Even if I did own one, I'd probably still grab a revolver first in a pinch.

Double Naught Spy
March 2, 2003, 10:30 PM
You know, a vague poll such as this may be about as relevant as helping pick out underwear for your buddy via such a poll. No doubt you will get some answers and maybe even a consensus (but probably not), but that does not mean the results will fit your friend's situation.

Me, I like the Rem 870 (18" barrel) solution with an extended mag tube and loaded with 00 buck. For me, I live in the city on a fairly good-sized lot with the greatest shooting distance fro.m my home to the property line being 30 yards. Even with the shotgun, it is not what I have with me most of the time, however. It remains as a staged gun. That means it has limited HD potential if I am not near it. Thus, much of the time I have my regular carry gun with me.

If I had a smaller lot or lived in a trailer or apartment, I might opt to go with #4 shot or even a heavy dove load if I have a lot of concern about over penetration to the neighbors.

If I lived in the country with many acres, I might be more inclined to go with a rifle like a .308 since I would be less likely to have a problem of errant rounds hitting neighbors and because engagement distance might be greater.

For most folks, you can't really beat the destructive force of a 12 ga. shotgun inside 25 yards. However, it is important that you pattern your particular home defense load at various distances such that you know how much spread you are going to get with your load. People seem surprised to learn that they can miss with a shotgun or just how small the pattern may be for a shotgun with a barrel as short as 18". Out of mine and using Federal 00 Buck Tactical load, I get about 3" of spread for every 5 yards of distance (checked at 5, 10, and 15 yards. Inside 5 yards, there is just going to be a very nasty large hole. At 15 yards and shooting COM, the perps chest should be peppered with a smaller dinner plate pattern. If you only get a chance with one shot, you get a lot of bang for your buck (shot, buckshot that is) with a shotgun. While it is a short barreled long gun, even at 15 yards, the gun still has to be sighted correctly to assure a proper hit.

If you go with something like a heavy dove load, the pattern should open up more quickly than 00 buckshot. I did pattern birdshot at one time, but seemed to have misplaced those results.

Another neat factor to consider is that if you don't have a choked gun, your shotgun can be used as a shotgun or as a slug gun. A 1.0 or 1.125 oz 12 ga. slug traveling 1200-1500 fps will produce a significant wound and can be used at greater ranges than bird or buckshot. As with patterning of shot, you need to take the time to sight in the slug rounds to be sure you know where they will go relative to the shotgun's sights. At 50 yards, mine shoots 5" low and and about 1" left (not trigger jerk as verified by other shooters) from point of aim.

Something else to keep in mind for a home defense gun is that both your friend and his wife need to be familiar with the operation with the weapon, practiced, and have no problems with handling it. The gun may not be much good if one partner is too afraid of the gun to use it. If the 12 ga. is a little too much, then you might consider a 20 ga.

As for the query as to how you answer the door with a shotgun, the correct answer is, "Any darned way you want to!" The point of the query is a good one, however. No one gun will work optimally for all home defense situations. It would appear that you can get around better with a handgun and the handgun may be more convenient for at home carry, but it doesn't have near the stopping power of a rifle or shotgun.

March 2, 2003, 10:32 PM
The shotgun is the ultimate firearm for a HD weapon.

However, for quick access and concealability the hungun has it's place! A single friend of mine with no kids, keeps a hundgun by the front and back door in draws of furnature that are close to each. But, he'll be first to go for the shotgun if he has the opportunity. Most of the time when something goes "boo" in the night, you have plenty of time to reach under your bed or get in your closet for your shotgun anyway.

March 2, 2003, 10:37 PM
I voted handgun, but I don't think you had the best choices there. I use a S&W K-38 & a Ruger Blackhawk .357 at the bedside backed up by a 1911 (hammer down on loaded chamber) in the nearby closet. (I also have a SxS coach gun in the closet, but that's for a "safe room" scenario).

Revolvers are much better for HD than autos. No springs to compress, adequate capacity (esp. if you have a 7 or 8-shot), and simplicity of use (esp. when just waking up).

But that's just me. YYMV...:D

March 3, 2003, 12:24 AM
Thanks for all the tips guys.

I know that no single gun is capable of taking care of all the needs that you could possibly have (thats why i have a 12ga, an SKS, a revolver ((blackhawk .357)) and a CCW), but this one friend has said that he is looking for one firearm for his house, and i just wanted to see what peoples opinions where when it comes what firearm is best.

For me, i have always been best with a shotgun, so that is what i prefer as my home defense firearm, although, my CCW is always on my hip as well.

Whatever he ends up picking up, he will be spending some time with me and another friend at the range, practicing with whatever he gets.


March 3, 2003, 12:27 AM

March 3, 2003, 12:51 AM
Ok, lets change the time to 6:00 pm. Its daylight even.

How do you answer the door with a shotgun? I don't answer the door with a shotgun, but is that the only criteria you use for selecting your PRIMARY HD weapon? I have other weapons available (if I suddenly get a paranoid feeling about the UPS delivery guy :rolleyes: ) but my primary weapon remains that 12 ga shotgun. YMMV, it really is a personal choice, but don't use folks knocking at your door as a reason to deselect a weapon. Personally, I don't take any weapon with me when I answer the door, I'm just not concerned about that threat as you apparently seem to be.

3 gun
March 3, 2003, 12:59 AM
If I could just have one it's a shotgun. Not the perfect tool but hard to fault. Easy to use, effective, flexible ammo choices and inexpensive. A 357mag revolver would be a close second choice for many of the same reasons.

March 3, 2003, 01:05 AM
I personally like a handgun for the ease of navigating through the house, plus with 15 Hydra-Shoks I feel safe :) .

March 3, 2003, 01:25 AM
Win.1300 12ga.

March 3, 2003, 02:32 AM
Moss 500 12ga. 18" when you feel the need to send the very best. :cool:

Kahr carrier
March 3, 2003, 06:14 AM
My primary Home defense gun is a Glock 21 you can wrap it in a newspaper to go answer the door it is very discreet. But my backup is an 870 Mariner with an 18 inch barrel Surefire forend and a factory top folding stock. It is short enough to manipulate around the house.:)

March 3, 2003, 06:27 AM
OK, who are the three that said rifle is the best? :neener:

March 3, 2003, 06:58 AM
Rem. 870.

March 3, 2003, 08:35 AM
Make that four for the rifle. :neener: AR for me thanks. White light, low recoil, high psychological intimidation factor, 12 more rounds than my Glock.

March 3, 2003, 08:39 AM
From the description given, I assumed the homeowner was not that familiar with guns and probably would not take the time to become very familiar. Given that, I didn’t think it would occur to him to answer the door in broad daylight with ANY gun, no matter the type. I viewed the selection as a sort of last ditch gun. That’s why I picked the shotgun. It’s effective and easier to use than a handgun.

As far as the handgun being easier to use for house clearing, sure it is. But do you really think somebody who does pistol practice once a year will be more formidable, and safe, with a handgun when he has to see if the cat or an intruder made the noise? As far as answering the door, you know you don’t really have to open it. If the guy knocking on your door can’t answer a simple "who is it" question to your satisfaction, tell him to go away.

March 3, 2003, 02:28 PM

Shorty Mossberg. Who cares about discreet? If it's just the neighbor looking for his cat, he will be sure to spread the word....

March 3, 2003, 08:26 PM
As far as the handgun being easier to use for house clearing, sure it is. But do you really think somebody who does pistol practice once a year will be more formidable, and safe, with a handgun when he has to see if the cat or an intruder made the noise? Yes I do, every bit as much as the guy who does shotgun practice once a year. Probably even more so, because the handgun is easier to wield than a shotgun without bumping it into things...........

However, as I stated in my above post: Practice, practice, practice. HD with a firearm is not something to be taken lightly. If you are not willing to spend more time on practice than once a year, you should probably rely on a big dog. Leave firearms to those that are serious. Too many gun accidents happen to those that are not.

March 3, 2003, 09:11 PM
Who cares about discreet? If it's just the neighbor looking for his cat, he will be sure to spread the word....
Who do you think the neighbor will call first in 'spreading the word'???
"All cars, please respond to armed barricaded suspect, 666 Anystreet." :neener:
Prepare to meet the local SWAT boys, up close and personal!
Try not to scare the sheeple, would you?!?

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