Which is best for home defense?


April 23, 2005, 09:24 PM
My home defense gun is a handgun. I don't even own a rifle or shotgun anymore. I got to thinking about something, and that is: If one grabs a gun for protection, then logically a shotgun or rifle is the best choice.

I chose a handgun because I can secure it from robbers and grandchildren in the same manner--a small safe that is quick to open.

After you vote, suggest a specific long gun and caliber/guage. (I also welcome how you secure a long gun in a way that you can still arm yourself quickly.)

My "edit" is to let everyone know that I mean which long gun is best for home defense and which do you use.

If you enjoyed reading about "Which is best for home defense?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Texian Pistolero
April 23, 2005, 09:30 PM
Low-end Rem 870 pump with 18 1/2 inch open cylinder barrel & 4 round tubular mag, appearing DAILY at your local discount sporting goods store (Academy or Oshmann's), for under $240 U.S. Dollars, even LESS if on sale.

Next question?

(Oh, and ANY buckshot load accessorizes this ensemble.)

As to security,

in the evening,

break it out,

put it together,

and go hot.

in the morning (if you gotta go to work)

you can unload,

engage integral trigger lock,

or attach standard Master trigger lock,

or separate barrel from other working parts and hide.

or any COMBO of all of the above.

There are no perfect answers,

but you can work on it,

and find something you can live with.

Next question?

April 23, 2005, 09:34 PM
There's more to selecting a home defense weapon than terminal ballistics performance.

And, no matter what you pick, there will be trade-offs. Instead of treating terminal ballistics as the only or primary consideration, you need to weigh all your requirements and decide what best meets your needs.

Statistics show that the terminal performance of a defense weapon is only very rarely an issue. Most successful defensive gun uses do not require that the attacker even be shot. Furthermore, even when the attacker is shot, it's only rarely that the shot needs to physically disable the attacker--merely being shot is sufficient to rearrange their priorities.

Now, I'm not trying to say that you should IGNORE the terminal performance, just that you need to balance that into the equation in a reasonable manner based on the other requirements that you have.

April 23, 2005, 09:51 PM
Well, I see two different questions in your thread. The poll asks, "Which is your primary home defense gun?" and your post is titled, "Which is best for home defense gun?"

I answered semi-auto rifle (in my case an AR carbine) to the poll, as that is the primary long gun I will grab if faced with a home defense situation. I also have a shotgun (11-87 Police model) handy, but will only grab that if my wife decides she wants to have a long gun, which means I give up the AR to her. I doubt that'll ever happen, so I expect I'll have the rifle.

What is best for home defense is difficult to answer, as what works best for me may be totally unsuitable for someone else. Do you live in an apt., a house, is it brick, concrete, wood/drywall, are you in the city, suburbs, or country, are there children/family present, etc. Any of those factors could easily sway the decision about what's best one way or the other. That said, I suggest something like a Ruger Mini-14, or an AR carbine would be a better choice (though again this is quite subjective). In general, the semi-auto carbine can hold more ammo, is easier to reload, and has less felt recoil; all logical benefits.

Texian Pistolero brought up a good choice with the economically priced 870 package. I'm sure the 870 would be plenty useful in a home defense scenario (unless the army of mutant zombies has arrived, then the limited ammo capacity will hurt you ;) ).

April 23, 2005, 10:07 PM
I voted Other because there are so many things to take into consideration when choosing a HD firearm(s).

For me, I have a handgun in the nightstand 365 nights a year. On occasion, it has been accompanied by a 12 ga pump, a lever action .44 Mag, and recently an evil AK47 with drum mag!

But, I live alone in a brick house so I can get a bit weird with my choices.

In a general sense I recommend a good shotgun and a good handgun for HD, along with a cell phone and a bright flashlight with an extra set of batteries.

April 23, 2005, 10:54 PM
Double barrel coach gun. Looks about 10 feet wide when aimed at you.

April 23, 2005, 10:59 PM
Everyone goes on and on about the perfection of a shotgun of some sort as a home defense weapon.

This could be sound advice, but the downside is training.

A shotgun still has to be aimed, jams cleared, etc. In other words, practice.

Sporting Clays is not a substitute for practicing for self defense. When was the last time you saw a range that allowed practice with 3" magnum 00 Buck shotshells?

You need to find a weapon that you can train and practice with. Shotguns do not lend themselves well to that category unless you are in a rural area where you can shoot whatever you want.

My choice is a small AR with a dedicated weapon light. All the talk about terminal ballistics and over penetration doesn't mean much if in the middle of the night in the dark you can't hit whoever is coming through the door intending to do you harm.

Commissar Gribb
April 23, 2005, 11:08 PM
AKMS 7.62 with surp JHPs or JSPs

16" bbl is accurate enough for most home applications, .30 caliber is a good stopper, 30 round mags mean you wont be running out soon and the folder means it's short enough to fit under your pillow in case you dont have time to reach in the closet.

April 23, 2005, 11:11 PM
When was the last time you saw a range that allowed practice with 3" magnum 00 Buck shotshells?

Both of my outdoor ranges would have no problem with this and my indoor range doesn't mind it occassionaly if the blast doesn't bother any other shooters.

April 23, 2005, 11:14 PM
why would you use Magnum loads in a house?

Practice with what you intend to use. Standard loads are fine, thank you.

April 23, 2005, 11:15 PM
Well said, Texas!

In my case I prefer a .45 ACP, either my Kimber Ultra CDP, or my H&K USPC fitted with Beamshot. Both are practiced with rigorously, and I have no problems hitting what I aim at at distances longer than anywhere in my house. I find I generally do much better with pistol than rifle or shotgun, therefore it will always be my weapon of choice for HD.

I suppose if it had to be a long gun of sorts it would have to be my AR-15. Being a carbine, it is handier than most rifles and besides, I don't have a decent shotgun. :D

April 23, 2005, 11:17 PM
Being in a fairly rural part of N Texas, but in a residential neighborhood, the question has multipal layers. First "bump in the night weapon" is a Surfire and my G17. But, if I have time, then it is upstairs for either the AR15 Carbine with tactical light, the 20" AR scoped with a tactical, or the 1100 or Benelli M1 Super 90 Tactical (I shoot 3 gun matches a lot). The choice of weapon is determined by the event.

I can confidently use the G17 with 2-17 round mags and the XS 24/7 sites to "fight" my way to the long arms room.

If I am going to try room clearing, then the Benelli gets the nod (only if the sheriff takes more than the normal 15 minutes to respond. I leave this type of thing for the professionals). If I have to chase ferrul dogs in the neighborhood, then the scoped AR15 or the Ruger 10-22 are preferred. If the Taliban come marching to the neighborhood, then there is always the L1A1 .308 with the 30 round mags!

I carry a Bersa Thunder CHL here in Texas. Not the best choice for home defence maybe, but the wife has the same for carry too, and it is always closest. Can hand to her and grab the Glock 17 in about 3 seconds.

My situation is going to be totally diifferent than anyone else. No little ones in the house, all long arms secured in locked reinforced closet/safes, home security system, and I practice tactical shooting techniques. Lord help me that I naver have to use my skills for real. But, you gotta stay ready. :D

April 23, 2005, 11:27 PM
I didn't vote. I say the best weapon and ammunition are determined by what is to be defended. If you live on a farm with possible longer fields of fire , a rifle may be best. In a brick home where overpenetration is less of an issue, a 12 ga. and buck shot might be the best solution. In a micro-machine sized apartment like mine, a handgun is probably the best answer. For me, that means a .45 USP compact because I'm comfortable with it and it makes sense given the dimensions of the place I would be defending.

Commissar Gribb
April 23, 2005, 11:30 PM
ok let me rephrase my choices

strange noise: browning HP with JHPs hanging from the holster over my bed.

banging/crash noise from inside the house: AKM with 30 round mag

Taliban invading?: reinforce the walls with sandbags, invite friends and family over and disperse firearms. 13 or 14 firearms work much more effectively when you have help :D

April 23, 2005, 11:34 PM
I bought myself a Mossberg 500 12 ga and "tricked it out" for home defense -- 18 1/2 barrel, flashlight mount, Speedfeed IV tactical stock, ghost ring sights...the works. After about 40 rounds at the range, I realized that my wife would never be able to shoot the thing (I had bruises for 2 weeks!). So I sold it after 4 months (and financed a new hand gun!)

I use my pistols for home defense. They're small, easy to maneuver, easy to secure from kids and easy to fire for just about everyone in my family. My wife has her own Ruger KP93 that she's gotten very proficient with. She has enough confidence that she could use the gun at close ranges if her (or the kids') lives depended on it. So can my teenage sons.

I have one magazine for each gun in the safe, loaded with Federal 124 gr +p Expanding Full Metal Jacket rounds. No matter which gun you grab, you've got what ought to be sufficient self-defense capability. We're in a relatively "safe" area...so the odds of needing more than those initial 15-17 rounds is pretty slim. But with 7 9 mm handguns ready to go, I think we've got things covered.


April 24, 2005, 12:03 AM
I keep two HK .45's with dedicated lumination in a finger key pad safe by the bed. Mrs. Azimuth and I can be armed in less than 10 seconds if awake and 20 seconds if asleep. We know this from experience. We have a plan that one of us goes directly to the little Azimuths room and waits between them and the door with access to the window, while the other clears the house.

We've had to do this three times over the years. Once, the intruder was the cat. The second time the noise was snow falling from the roof to the deck. The third time, it was a teenager Azimuth coming home past his curfew and trying to break-in....

Someday, I'd like to get NV so I can clear the house in stealth mode.

April 24, 2005, 12:12 AM
I voted semiautomatic rifle (namely something in .223) for power and capacity, as long as it isn't so powerful that it can shoot through your house and hit your neighbor's cat Fluffie. ;)

April 24, 2005, 12:20 AM
I voted semi-auto rifle,I have 4 #1 is old trusty my model 60 #2 is my Hi-point 9mm carbine#3is my Remington7400 (30'06 baby) and #4 is my Remington 597.

April 24, 2005, 01:18 AM
Voted for semi-auto rifle. IMO the shotgun would be a good HD weapon IF you had the proper amount of training and could handle the firearm well. Again, IMO, it is easier to train more and thus increase your skills with an AR-type platform. Sure, you can deliver a bunch of .38 cal balls on target with a single pull of the trigger, but you're also dealing with a lot of recoil and probably some additional manipulation of the weapon which you may or may not remember to do in the heat of the moment.

To me the AR has a few advantages such as light weight and recoil (easier to control for those who are recoil sensitive as well as faster follow up shots or transition from one target to the next), easy to reload (but even more so, if 30 rounds isn't getting your HD job done, you're really in over your head), easily adjustable for the conditions with a collapsable stock, lots of options for configuring it to suit you and and entirely adequate round, especially at typical HD ranges.

Regarding the options part, I think a lot of people put way too much empahsis on making a cool gun and not making it a functional gun. Hard temptation to resist sometimes, but if you're not going to use it you don't need it on a defensive gun as far as I'm concerned.

Having said all that, what works for you is what works for you. I wouldn't go out and buy a new gun because so-and-so on THR, ARFCOM or any other professional internet slinger said it was the best.

April 24, 2005, 01:37 AM
Ya know, I voted for the 12G pump (Rem. 870 in my case), but my Bushmaster would probably fulfill the mission better.
I think the difference between the two is, after firing both indoors, the 12G is much easier on the ears.
A flimsy reason for picking one weapon over another maybe, but valid to me.

April 24, 2005, 01:44 AM
Pump shotgun. I own 4 of 'em. The "house gun" is a Maverick 88 12 ga, 20" cyl bore bbl, full length magazine, shell capacity 7 + 1, Silver "MarineKote" finish, black synthetic stock & forend, a real attention getter in dim light. :what: I usually keep 2 or 3 shells of 2 3/4" 00 buck in the magazine, with 5 more on an elastic buttstock band.

Why a pump? Because I grew up shooting pump shotguns & Dad's pump .22, for squirrels, rabbits, deer, & birds, & they're second nature to me. Just put the safety on the trigger guard, front or rear, & I'm happy.

Tricked out? nope, the Maverick is just like the factory made it. The only things I want to add to it someday: I have a "green-glow/high viz" front sight that's supposed to screw right in for the old brass bead. I also want to install sling studs, & then get one of those long "bandoleer" slings that go from ~2" forward of the toe, all the way to the end of the magazine! :D One of those, full of brass shells, on a silver shotgun, should make one heckuva visual impact. ;)

April 24, 2005, 01:49 AM
I voted for the pump shotgun. I used to be recoil shy and read alot on the internet about the recoil of a 12ga, and thought about a nice handy lever action in a pistol calibre would be better. But then I had some hands on time with a Winchester 1300 and it changed my mind, now I own one 1300 and 1200, I totally have faith in the pump.

April 24, 2005, 01:56 AM
You're going to get as many answers here as you get posters.
For myself, it's a Stevens 311 SXS with 19" tubes. Occasionally someone gives me some kind of grief over this, always someone who knows nothing of my ability, or my situation. The wife prefers her Mossy pump.
I think the biggest mistake people make is worrying so much on the what, without giving a thought to how. Training at the range is fine, but how many of you train in your home? From my bedroom door, with the help of several carefully placed mirrors, there isn't a blind spot big enough for an adult to hide in my house. The wife and I have spent hours training and planning what to do.
In the end the best gun for home defense is the one you have complete trust in and are completely comfortable with.

Zach S
April 24, 2005, 05:51 AM
Primary HD long gun is a 20" Mossberg 590, loaded with low recoil 00 buck and a few slugs, with a few of each on the sidesiddle.

April 24, 2005, 06:24 AM
laser grips
oh & a glock thats always loaded too.
that should do until I get a shotgun

April 24, 2005, 07:12 AM
870 Express - Youth cut in 20 Ga.

20" barrel, light, easy to swing and Mama can handle the recoil of a 20 better than a 12. I prefer #4 shot myself.


April 24, 2005, 08:08 AM
I really like semi's shotguns better than pump. I have never had a jam in thousands of rounds of 12g out of my Beretta. Granted I am limited to 3 shots - I don't have all the after market extenders for my Beretta. But to be honest, you'll most likely find my little Russian 20g OU in the bedroom closet with a McAllister Game game of shells. Either one would be loaded with 7 1/2's. It's what I have and at under 15yards no real diff.

PS: a 1911 and 38snubby are also in the bedroom.


Sergeant Sabre
April 24, 2005, 12:23 PM
My Mossberg 500 12ga with 18.5" cylinder barrel has been doing home security work around here for quite some time.

I like Mossberg. Most people, it seems, will tell you they like Remington better. I don't think there is enough difference to worry about.

April 24, 2005, 12:29 PM
Ideal: 16" AR-15 w/ a light, and perhaps a red-dot optic if you're into that.

My setup: 12 gauge 870P, Surefire light, wood stock, no extension. 5rd. buttcuff to balance out the Surefire.

AR15s are illeagal in CA. For a time, the Mini-14 was kept handy, but it lacked a light, so I sold it and switched to the 870.

Brian Dale
April 24, 2005, 03:55 PM
Mine's a Rem 11-48 semiauto shotgun, loaded with standard Rem. 2 3/4 inch 00 Buck. I'm about to get some #1 Buck loads since reading some info here at THR and at BrobeeBiter's site, but 00 will work.

One day I'll get an 870 for HD, but right now all of my shotguns are Rem autos.

Why is a shotgun my hands-down first choice? There are other valid reasons, but my reason is that it's the type of weapon that I have put more ammo through, by far, that any other. Familiarity is good.

english kanigit
April 24, 2005, 04:18 PM
My Tippmann 98 paintball gun with a bayonet on it! :D

(Semi-)Seriously, I don't need guns. That's what the claymore at the front door's for! :evil:

April 24, 2005, 04:24 PM
In or around the house I'll grab a Win94 Trapper Carbine .45C or Kimber Pro Carry .45ACP. Out a ways, on the river, down the lane or out in the woods I'll grab a FAL.

Or if I'm defending the cat's food from possum or racoon a Ruger .22/45 will dispatch the intruder handily :)

April 24, 2005, 04:27 PM
I've got a couple handguns in various places, and a rifle and a shotgun close at hand. Handguns would be primary, shotgun secondary, and rifles take a little longer to get to.

If you enjoyed reading about "Which is best for home defense?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!