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Choosing a Home-Defense Gun


Among gun supporters, the big topic of debate isn’t if guns should be banned (of course not) it is what gun makes the best home defense weapon.  The topic is so often debated because there is no right answer.  No single gun is able to meet all your home defense needs, and you will need to make difficult choices about what to compromise in favor of the benefits of each option. Ultimately, you will need to make smart decisions about what gun is best for your capabilities and your unique situation.


There are a number of reasons people own guns including target shooting, hunting, concealed carry, and others.  If you are looking at a gun for these purposes, then this article will not be of much help to you.  The focus of this article is to discuss the capabilities of various guns in a home defense setting only. 


The first thing to consider when shopping for a home defense gun is stopping power.  Let’s face it, if some breaks into your home and threatens you and your family, you want to have firepower that you know can take the down and eliminate the threat.  But we don’t recommend going out and buying the most powerful gun you can find.  It won’t be practical for the close range shooting and quick added needed in a home defense situation.  You want a gun that strikes the balance between overpowered and underpowered.  On one hand, you want to stop the intruder.  On the other, you do not want to deal with excessive recoil, loud noise, or muzzle flash.  You also want to make sure it is a gun you can operate safely, easily, and quickly.  For this reason, we recommend looking for a gun that is powerful enough to stop your intruder flat, but not powerful enough to stop you flat. A good place to look for home defense weapon options is into options used for law enforcement.  Police officers have goals similar to your goals in home defense. 


If you are interested in a shotgun for home defense, the most important factor is the barrel length.  Combat shotguns or riot shotguns typically have the shorter barrel between 18.5 and 20 inches that are ideal.  You want to avoid shotguns purpose made for hunting with long barrels.  Semi-automatic models are the best for home defense sense they will allow the fastest shooting, but be aware that they are also the most expensive.  If they are out of your budget, a pump-action or break-action will also work, just less efficiently. The best shotgun is a 12-gauge.  The combination of buckshot and birdshot are devastating upon impact.  Be advised this is not an easy gun or ammunition to shoot. This is a good option for a large framed, advanced shooter.  You can reduce the recoil by using low-recoil ammunition of 20-gauge instead. 


A downside of shotguns is that they usually hold limited ammunition when compared to rifles and semi-automatic handguns. Their heavy weight and long length can also make them tough to maneuver in tight spaces. 


If you are interested in a personal home defense weapon, a shotgun may be the right option for you.


Story by American Rifleman