The best home defense weapon is the one you feel comfortable with, can shoot safely, and shoot accurately. Whether that is a shotgun or a handgun is a matter of personal choice. The need for taking action to ensure your own personal home defense is increasing. It seems that home break ins and home invasions are on the rise, or the ones that have been happening are getting more news coverage. Because of this, it is a matter of your personal safety and the safety of your family to be prepared should the need arise. A major part of home defense is having a dependable weapon.
There are 3 main choices of weapons for home defense.
The added complication to home defense situations is that you need to protect yourself and family, but you also need to insure the safety of others around and near the scene. Any bullets you shoot that leave your home defense scene and hit another home, car, or family member in an adjacent room is a safety factor that needs to be considered and prevented.
The rifle has the most penetrating power of all. High powered rifles such as the 30-06, .308, 762×39, and 7.56×45 all have high penetration capability. A high powered rifle is probably not the best choice for home defense because of the over penetration factor. I have all of the calibers listed but I use the shotgun, .45 Cal, and 9mm as my home defense weapons of choice.
Next to consider are home defense handguns. Handguns, depending on caliber, are next in line for over penetration, especially the larger caliber handguns. The .44 Magnum, .357 Magnum, and .10 mm. These caliber handguns have the ability to easily go through walls and car doors. For the most part, handguns, except for the ones listed are less of a problem for over penetration than a rifle. Accuracy is more of an issue with a handgun. I own a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum, a Glock 21SF .45ACP. I also own a Glock 17, that holds 17 rounds of 9mm Ammo, a Glock 21SF which is a .45 Cal that holds 13 rounds, and a Glock 30 that holds 10 rounds of .45 ACP. I love my Glocks and feel that they are a great choice as home defense and personal protection handguns.
Next is my favorite, the shotgun. Shotguns for home defense have the least range of any of the home defense firearms but I believe it is the most versatile, and has the best close range knock down power. The only problem with a shotgun is that it is a long gun and not as convenient to handle in close quarters as a handgun. The large gauge shotguns can have quite a recoil.
All in all, after weighing the pros and cons of all the types of guns on the list, the shotgun is in my opinion an excellent choice as a home defense weapon. That’s why I selected the Remington 870 tactical pump shotgun in 12 gauge. The 20 gauge also makes an excellent choice and has less recoil.
I don’t include pepper spray as a home defense weapon because it is not a lethal deterrent. Pepper spray not only affects the attacker, but in a closed room situation inside your home, the pepper spray is going to affect you too. Then there are the real bad guys who can keep attacking even with pepper spray on them, and there are the ones who are doped up and don’t really feel the pepper spray. So eliminate pepper spray from the list of home defense weapons.
I don’t include a knife on the list because a knife is a close encounters weapon. I want to keep the maximum distance between me and the assailant. I have no intention of engaging in hand to hand combat with an assailant who is most likely younger, and stronger than me. Plus even a professional skilled in the use of a knife can get cut in combat. So eliminate a knife from the list of home defense weapons.
I don’t include a baseball bat or club as a weapon for home defense. The bat or club requires a hand to hand combat situation and I want the threat eliminated before it gets that close. So eliminate the baseball bat from the list of weapons for personal defense.
The best home defense firearm is the one you feel comfortable with, can use safely, and shoot accurately.
After researching shotguns for home defense on the Internet it came down to 3 choices for me. The Mossberg 590, the Benelli M4, and the Remington 870. The Mossberg, Remington, and Benelli are each used by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Benelli M4 is semi automatic. The Mossberg 590 and Remington 870 are pump action shotguns. I ruled out the semi automatic because it is semi auto and more prone to jamming, however the service record of the Benelli M4 in combat is so good that you could just about eliminate that as a problem. The second point against the Benelli is that it costs $1,600.00 and then I would need to add an extended magazine at an additional $250.00. So the Benelli M4 Super 90 shotgun would cost me over $2,000.00 to get the gun configured as I wanted.
The Mossberg 590 and Remington 870 are both used by the military and by law enforcement. I looked at the Mossberg and the Remington at my local Scheels gun shop. The Mossberg I thought just didn’t feel good to me. The action bars rattled and the gun felt loose and cheap. The Mossberg does have an excellent reputation so this was just my first impression of the shotgun. I don’t own a Mossberg but there are many Mossberg owners who swear by them.
The Remington 870 felt good to me. It didn’t rattle, the slide felt positive, and the gun felt light weight to me. My first home defense shotgun cost me $330.00 new. It was a plain Jane Remington 870 with bead front sight. I shot it a few times and after more research decided I wanted the Ghost Ring sight. Back to Scheels to trade the plain Jane for a Remington 870 Tactical with ghost ring sights. Now I am a happy camper. I have my first Home Defense Weapon and I love it!
I wrote this first article a year ago now and since I have purchased the Benelli M4 Tactical Shotgun. I still rate the Remington 870 tactical shotgun as a must have home defense gun but the Benelli M4 is a formidable weapon that can hold 9 rounds of 2 3/4 inch annunition. I have also purchased many handguns that I enjoy shooting. What I have learned so far is that for basic home defense I recommend the Remington 870 and the Glock, The Glock 19 is the best all around handgun for size, magazine capacity, and versatility. If you want more handgun power then a Glock 21 in .45 caliber is an excellent choice. Best idea is to try the weapons and see how they fit you and how they feel to you.