Choosing the best gun for home defense is a complex task, as there are many factors that go into the decision. For example, there is the obvious choice between a handgun, shotgun, and a rifle. But that’s just one consideration… I promise you, the Gun Giveaways team dives into every conceivable consideration in detail below, but here are our quick picks for best home defense gun 2023:
If it’s home self defense you’re interested in, you need to know if the gun you’re buying will save your life. So, how you choose the best home defense gun is up to you…but you should at least consider the following factors:
- Size. Size is critical when it comes to choosing the best home defense gun. A gun that is too heavy can make it hard to aim and fire, and a gun that’s too small can be too difficult to handle.
- Make. There are many gun manufacturers, and each has its own distinctive features and quality. The most commonly used gun is the revolver, but there are many other types available.
So stick around (or jump around using the table of contents), because this is a life or death decision.
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Are Guns Effective for Home Defense?
The debate surrounding the right to own a gun in the United States and elsewhere is one that is under attack every. single. day.
For most people, it boils down to whether owning a gun will be effective for home defense.
The question on the efficacy of guns for home defense is pretty straightforward. Our best bet is to look at gun ownership statistics vs. how many people use it for self-defense before concluding.
Can Guns Make You Safer?
As expected, there has been quite a number of research on this topic, with a 2018 pill by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News showing that 58% of Americans agree that gun ownership does more to the safety of law-abiding citizens by allowing them to protect themselves. In another survey conducted by Pee Research Center, 71% of women and 65% of men gun owners agreed that they primarily carry arms for protection. However, despite public opinions suggesting that gun ownership makes people feel safer, some aspects of science have something different to say.
Before we talk about the statistics from science, it is vital that we point out that it is only recently that we started having unbiased science-based research about gun ownership and how it influences violence. Until recently, many privately funded studies on whether guns are effective for self-defense were either sponsored by organizations dedicated to gun control or, conversely, the National Rifle Association.
However, today, we now have a growing body of well-established research pointing towards one conclusion. Whether we own guns for sports hunting or for self-defense, guns in homes can help us effectively defend our homes.
Benefits of Owning Guns for Home Defense
While discussing the efficacy of guns for self-defense, it’s also crucial that we discuss the benefits of guns for people buying them for self-defense. Both topics go hand in hand because they are significant motivations for most gun owners. Here let’s review some of the benefits.
1. Saves Your Life
With more studies showing that guns are more commonly used for self-defense than for committing crimes, it has become evident that the biggest motivation for owning a firearm for self-defense is to defend your life in tight situations. Furthermore, during a survey by the Department of Justice’s firearm violence reports covering between 1993 and 2011, it was found that about 1% of the people that survived violent crimes without fatal injuries used a gun to threaten their attackers. Therefore, we can conclude that possessing a firearm might protect your life when you are faced with imminent danger.
2. Protect Your Family Members
In addition to being able to protect yourself from attacks, you can also use guns to protect your family members and others. Naturally, owning a firearm makes you responsible for the safety of friends, family members, colleagues, and even strangers. Furthermore, merely owning a concealed weapon motivates you always to be aware of your environment. This awareness can come in handy in protecting your surroundings and the people in it from danger. Moreover, studies show the average police response time to be between 11 and 13 minutes, which may still be too long to save you or anyone from a life-or-death situation.
3. Can Serve as A Deterrent
However you choose to look at it, the truth remains that most criminals dread meeting armed victims. In fact, a study by James Wright and Peter Rossi on felons in prison showed that many criminals fear meeting armed victims than they fear meeting the police. This fear is probably based on the idea that civilians wielding firearms may be shot at, wounded, or captured. Therefore, you won’t be wrong to say that carrying guns can deter criminals from targeting crimes at you or anybody around you.
4. Prevents Armed Robbery
It’s a no-brainer that the risk of armed robbery would be naturally lower in areas with more gun ownership because robbers fear that gun owners might attack them during an operation.
Whatever the situation, we are clear on one thing, owning a gun will help for home defense. The next section of this article will focus on explaining the best guns for self-defense.
Best Home Defense Gun Types
Guns are not everyday commodities that we see in the market, so it can be a task to select the best guns, especially if you do not have sufficient knowledge in weapon purchase. The best guns are guns that would suit your needs. If you are buying a gun for self-defense, you would want to be sure that it’s something you can pull out and use at any time. Therefore, ease of usage is a critical factor. Fortunately, there are so many types of guns available today for different purposes. If you are confused about the best type of gun to buy for self-defense, this article puts you through. Let’s dive in.
1. Shotguns for Home Defense
If you guessed that shotguns would be number one on our list, you guessed right. Well, predictably so, shotguns are the most popular choices for self-defense. Their size and ease of usage make them a go-to option for shooters that do not have any military training. When it comes to shotguns, there are a number of subtypes with different shapes and sizes. However, the pump-action shotgun ranks high as the most popular subtype of shotgun. The popularity of pump-action shotguns is mostly because of their easy operation. Their design means that users would manually manipulate the feeding mechanism to activate the next shot.
They are also typically affordable, and their affordability won’t affect their reliability.
Perhaps, it’s also worth mentioning that this type of shotgun would send down the most amount of lead downrange depending on your ammo choice.
Do You Need To Aim?
If you’ve paid attention to the discussions in gun forums, you’ll probably hear people mention that you won’t need to aim a shotgun before shooting. Before we continue, let’s dispel this myth. Like most other guns, you won’t hit your target with a shotgun if you don’t aim at all.
The 00 buckshot, which is none .38 caliber ball of lead, is the most popular load for home defense.
With the above armor, you’ll easily hit a fist-sized group at 10 yards. You’ll also hit a human torso-sized group from 20 yards. However, you’ll still need to aim, especially if you are shooting from house hallway distances unless you intend to scare an unarmed target away with your shots.
Shotgun Pros for Home Defense
- One of the most significant advantages of using a shotgun for self-defense is their ability to send so much lead downrange (as long as you aim well)
- Shotguns are typically affordable and reliable. You’d find an average working pump-action anywhere around $300.
- Although often debated, many shotgun enthusiasts believe that the familiar sound a pump-action shotgun produces when the shot can scare any intruder out of your house.
- Shotguns are typically heavy and long-ish. An excellent example of a shotgun that shows the longness of shotguns is the Mossberg which is sized at about 40-inches long and weighs about 8-pounds
- This site can be disadvantageous for people that live in homes with several tight corners.
- Small-framed shooters may find the gun’s recoil system somewhat harsh. This is something to consider if other people might need to use the gun.
- Limited capacity: Most stock versions of popular pump shotguns are designed to hold five rounds in the tube and one in the chambers. This gives you a total of six, which is very small compared to guns like the AR-15, which can give you up to 30 rounds.
- Its reloading process is relatively complicated compared to magazine-fed guns: Many users complain of how difficult reloading can be. Unless you train a lot with your gun, the reloading difficulty might put you at a disadvantage when you are in a shootout with an intruder.
- The 00 Buck feature may over penetrate walls: This is especially an issue for people living in a condo or an apartment with thin walls. Before using shotguns, you want to consider the probability of over-penetration since you’ll be responsible for any damage done by your gun’s projectile.
Before shooting at a house, you want to consider whether family members are sleeping in the house and where they are sleeping.
Best Shotguns for Self Defense
Though we’ve listed quite a number of shortcomings, a shotgun can still be an incredible weapon for defending your home. However, like most other tools, you’ll have to get the right one for the job. With that logic, it is easy to see that a shotgun designed for self-defense will do better than others designed for other purposes. The gun’s long barrel makes it a bad choice for concealed carry, but it is very deadly at close range, so it passes as an excellent self-defense gun. Some of the best shotguns for self-defense include:
- Mossberg 590A1 SPX
- Beretta 1301 Tactical
- Benelli M3
- Remington 870 Express Tactical.
2. Handguns for Home Defense
Another popular choice for home defense is a handgun. Handguns generally refer to any firearm that’s small enough to be held in one hand when operating. It usually fires a single bullet or projectile. However, additional ammunition is available for some that feature a revolving mechanism or magazine. Many gun experts recommend handguns for home defense because of their sizes. This size means that they can be easily concealed when the need arises. They are also known as pistols and are the best options for people that are inexperienced in gun operation.
When you begin your quest for the best handgun for home defense, you’ll find so many choices. Often, these options are so many that it can be overwhelming to choose. Where do you begin? Most people start by educating themselves on the different types of handguns. If you are like most people, an excellent place to start would be from understanding the difference between semi-automatic pistols and revolvers.
Semi-Automatic Pistol or Revolver for Home Defense?
Here, let’s review some helpful information about both guns to make your search less complicated and more targeted.
The name revolver comes from the revolving cylinder present in the center of the firearm, which features several chambers to hold ammunition. During this research, we found that most revolvers are designed to feature double action. This means that a single pull on the trigger will cock the hammer and fire the round. The double-action mechanism featured by this type of handgun means that the triggers are usually longer and heavier.
However, you can also find a few revolvers with external hammers. This mechanism means that you can cock the gun manually, and the trigger pull will usually feel like a single action.
The most significant advantage of revolvers is their ease of operation. They do not have any slide to the rack, neither do they hand magazines that will need filling and insertion. However, it’s important to note that revolvers are not designed to hold many rounds compared to semi-automatic weapons. There are claims that revolvers are less likely to experience jams or malfunctions, but they still happen. Additionally, recovery from revolvers would usually take longer than semi-automatic pistols.
This type of handgun is more popular for self-defense. They get their name from their operation mechanism. A trigger pull will fire around while setting up the handgun to fire each subsequent round until the next magazine change.
This operation mechanism means you’ll only need to rack the slide up when you want to load the first round into the chamber and not before every shot. You’ll find semi-automatic pistols available in different weights, calibers, and sizes. Semi-automatics are designed to hold at least six rounds in a magazine. Holding the rounds in the magazine makes reloading easier as long as there are extra-filled magazines available.
Despite the availability of more moving parts in a semi-automatic pistol, it is still easy to operate. Realistically speaking, the semi-automatic and the revolver are not too far apart in terms of shooting and operation ease. Although, you’ll still find people arguing about how one is better than the other. The discussion is quite complicated, but we hope that this information would help you make the right decision for your personal needs.
Handgun Pros for Home Defense
- They are typically smaller: the small nature of handguns makes maneuverability easier. So even when you are in tight spaces, you’ll be able to take turns and twists required to aim correctly. The small size also means that they are easily concealable.
- Higher capacity and reload speed: the Glock 19 ranks high among popular handguns. The regular magazine of the Glock 19 contains about 15 rounds, which is enough to last through sessions of shooting.
- You can easily add accessories: modern handguns typically feature a customizable rail where you can add accessories like light.
- Several different ammos available: you can choose your ammo based on your particular need. People buying for home defense can opt for the expanding hollow point ammo because of their great stopping power and their ability to limit over-penetration through walls.
- Available to suit different budgets: irrespective of how small or big your budget is, you’ll likely get a good deal on a shotgun.
- It leaves one of your hands free to do other things: shotguns would be the best option if you have to make an emergency call while wielding a gun.
- Their small size can be a disadvantage: Yes, the small size can come back to haunt you sometimes. For instance, your sight radius would be smaller, making it difficult to aim and be accurate.
- Reliability issues: This point may depend on the gun, but we’ve heard more complaints from handgun users compared to shotgun users.
Best Handguns for Home Defense
The popularity of handguns means that several gun brands are entering the market. Unfortunately, this can mean more headaches for buyers. There’s always so much information to sort through. To help you make a choice, we’ve done the research and selected some of the best handguns for home defense. Take a look at them.
- Glock 19
- Mossberg 500
- Sig Sauer P365
- Auto 9mm 1A
3. Rifles for Home Defense
Rifles may not be as popular as shotguns and handguns for self-defense, but people still use them, notwithstanding. Thankfully, there are plenty of powerful rifles today with nifty features, but you’ll probably wonder what makes one uniquely suitable for supporting survival. We’ll go over a few features to look out for when picking a rifle for home defense.
- Accuracy: This one is a no-brainer. If your rifle can’t hit anything, it’s safe to say that it’s useless. Therefore, we recommend checking out a rifle’s accuracy level before buying.
- Lightweight: The weight of a rifle is another factor to consider if you are buying a gun for home defense. It’s common knowledge that every ounce counts. If a rifle is too heavy, you may not be able to carry it into some situations where needed.
- Durability: A home defense rifle should be durable. While on the move, you’ll get into positions where your rifle may be hit. Remember that you won’t always have access to replacement parts. So, the more durable your weapon is, the better for you.
Before buying a rifle for home defense, not that rifles typically fire projectiles at high velocities. Of course, the velocity means that the project will carry so much kinetic energy. While this can be a bonus when shooting big games in open fields, it can create major penetration issues inside your home.
During our research, we found the AR-15 to be one of the best options for home defense. That doesn’t mean other options are not viable for home defense. While the bolt action .308 may not be so practical, you’ll find a ton of modern rifles that will suit your needs. However, we’ve chosen the AR-15, which is America’s sweetheart rifle, because of personal bias.
Yes, we’ve talked about how an average home’s tight confines and sharp corners can limit maneuverability. However, the carbine length of the AR-15 was built to overcome this. The AR-15 is also relatively lightweight and easy to shoot.
Perhaps, you’ll also be impressed by its magazine capacity that puts the typical shotgun to shame. A standard AR magazine can hold up to thirty rounds, far more than the average shotgun can hold.
Rifle Pros for Home Defense
- Better mag capacity: With rifles, you can get as much magazine capacity as you want. However, we recommend that you do not go too high as that may mean giving up some reliability. A 30-rounder is an excellent option for home defense.
- Impressive shooting ease: Rifles are designed to allow for more contact points to your body. Of course, more contact points mean easier and more efficient control. Additionally, the long sight radius featured in rifles and the relative ease of adding target features like the red dot sight make precision easier.
- Upgradeability: Most rifles feature a rail system which makes upgrading easier. You can add features like lasers and lights for improved shots.
- An increased amount of ammunition: We’ve talked about this point already. The availability of so many ammunition loads means that you’ll have something for each situation. For example, if you’ve got concerns about overpenetration, you can change to more suitable ammo. How about if you want cheap rounds for plinking, training, and long-range? You’ll find several ammo for that too.
- Quite Expensive: Different rifles are sold for different prices. But if you want a reliable rifle with lots of great features for home defense, you must be ready to spend quite a lot on it.
- Longer length: You are buying a rifle, so you expect it to be quite lengthy. Of course, you can’t use very long rifles in homes with tight corners.
Best Rifles For Home Defense
As expected, there are so many options to choose from. However, it all boils down to your needs. There’s often so much information about different guns to read through before making your choice. We understand how overwhelming the process can be, so we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. So, if you opt for a rifle for home defense, you can just choose any of the options below. Bear in mind that we chose the options after reaching out to dozens of firearm instructors and gun enthusiasts across the country. From the data we gathered, the best rifles for home defense are
- Bushmaster XM-15 Standard
- DPMS Sportical AR-15
- HK SP5
- Ruger 10/20 Takedown
- H&K MR556.
Apart from sorting through tons of information, buying a gun for self-defense can also involve many other things. You want to be sure that you are legally allowed to carry a particular weapon. You also need to store your weapon out of the reach of people that are not authorized to carry it. There are so many other information searches to do. Well, here are some areas you’d probably need to consider before settling for a type of gun.
Gun safes are safes designed for storing firearms and ammunition. Different gun safes come in different sizes and designs. Some would only store one firearm, while others will store multiple firearms and ammunition. Gun safes are primarily designed to help gun owners prevent access to their guns. If you live with a family, a gun safe is something you’d strongly consider because it’ll help prevent unauthorized access to your weapon. It also helps to protect your gun from burglary theft. Some advanced gun safes would protect your gun from flood, fire, and other natural disasters. The law in many countries requires access restrictions before anybody can own a gun. If you live in such areas, a gun safe will prove more than a valuable purchase for you.
Whether you are buying a gun for home protection, hunting, or target practice, you’ll be exposed to loud noise every time you shoot. This noise level can cause a loss of hearing ability and tinnitus. The problem is that many people do not understand the repercussions of loud shooting sounds on the ear.
Thankfully, suppressors are designed today to reduce the sound of gunshots by an average of 20 – 35 dB, which is roughly the same as what an earmuff or earplug can do. Since suppressors can reduce the overall sound signature of guns, they are often recommended to preserve gun owners’ hearing ability. Suppressors have become so popular that several different brands are already producing them. However, not all of them can do the work. Therefore, it’s vital to opt for suppressors from trustworthy brands. If you are not sure about the best suppressors to buy, you can check gun forums for recommendations from other gun users.
If you do not want to carry a firearm or you find yourself in a place where firearms are prohibited, you may want to try pepper sprays.
Pepper spray is a self-defense tool that is fast gaining popularity around the world. The active ingredient in pepper spray is called oleoresin capsicum, often abbreviated as “OC.” As its name denotes, pepper sprays feature hot pepper ground down into a powder. The oleoresin capsicum is then extracted and converted into water or paste form and packaged in a bottle-like container. The content would severely irritate the eyes, skin, and throat when sprayed directly at an intruder.
In fact, direct contact with the eyes can cause temporary blindness that can last up to 45 minutes. You can find several different brands of pepper spray in online stores. Again, we recommend brands with the best online reviews from previous clients.
Gun owners’ liability insurance, also known as firearm liability, concealed carry, or CCW, offers gun owners legal protection to use a registered firearm in a self-defense scenario.
Depending on the type of policy you choose, your insurance will provide you all or some of the following: legal defense, attorney retainer, defense cost, damage pays, and more. It’s essential to consider getting insurance for your gun because you never can tell how long a court case will turn out.
So, What is the Best Gun for Home Defense?
There’s so much to digest when discussing the best types of guns…and we often hear people ask different questions about different home defense situations.
Throughout this article, we’ve reviewed the best types of guns. We found that despite being a popular choice for home defense, shotguns still have their cons, such as capacity, recoil, and length. Add those to the need to aim, and you can see how difficult it can be.
On the other hand, handguns are a great option for people that have the proper training and would prefer smaller firearms.
Rifles only started becoming an option for home defense recently, and the AR-15s are making them even more popular. With an AR-15, you won’t need to worry too much about length again.
In the end, the best gun for home defense depends on your situation. If you have a specific concern, you can discuss it in gun forums to get recommendations from other gun users.