When looking at purchasing a weapon for home defense there are a few factors that you should look at a bit more closely such as over-penetration, ammunition type, and even weapon accessibility.
Choosing the best home defense weapon for you largely comes down to personal preference with whichever weapon you feel most comfortable handling. It’s important to understand that there is no right or wrong decision as if you were to use a weapon you weren’t comfortable with, it could do more harm than good. The most influencing reason behind a home defense weapon is to allow for protection of the homeowner and their family.
We’re hoping to shine some light on the most influential aspects of home defense weapons purchasing.
Things To Consider
Do You Already Have Firearms Experience?
For those with existing firearms experience whether a handgun, shotgun or rifle this will most likely have a direct impact on your home defense weapon choice. As you’ll notice us highlight throughout the article, the best firearm for you is the one you feel most comfortable handling.
Your Home Layout
Most of us will typically live in a similarly styled house filled with closed off rooms and hallways to navigate, this is when a handgun can prove more practical. Handguns allow the shooter to easily enter and exit doorways or hallways without over-exposing themselves to any potential invaders. This provides the shooter with greater safety when securing their home. Rifles and shotguns can be quite cumbersome and prove more difficult to manoeuver in a home environment especially if someone of a smaller frame is required to use the weapon.
Weapon & Ammunition Types
Handguns are a greatly versatile personal defense weapon. Handgun magazines typically range between 10-15 rounds, are lightweight, and are small enough that they can be stored in most clothing types. These features allow for a quick succession of shots to be fired with little interruption due to the quick nature of reloads. Handguns can also be more conveniently stored or hidden around your home providing greater accessibility when they are needed.
Recommended Handgun: Glock 19 – It’s lightweight, easy to use, and extremely accurate for its size.
Recommended Ammo: Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel +P 124-grain – It provides perfect expansion at lower velocities, reducing the risk of over-penetration
Shotguns are tried and tested home defense weapons that are also great for less confident shooters as rather than firing a single projectile, shotgun rounds can release hundreds of pellets covering a wider spread. Shotguns also have a slower fire rate than handguns and rifles but the goal is to use as few well-placed shots as possible over a volley of rounds. In regards to ammunition types, shotguns typically fire birdshot, buckshot or slugs. For home defense purposes we’d recommend buckshot offering multiple, heavier projectiles opposed the slugs singular round or bird shots lighter, but greater in number, pellets. The buckshot will provide adequate stopping power whilst also providing a greater shot spread lessening the importance of shot placement.
Recommended Shotgun: Winchester SXP Defender – It’s relatively lightweight and has a smooth and fast pump-action.
Recommended Ammo: Federal Premium Low Recoil #00 Buckshot
Rifles offer both a higher magazine capacity and a greater variety of ammunition types available offering the shooter a greater choice in a projectile. Rifles also benefit from a stock and handguard allowing for a greater number of shots can be fired faster with little impact recoil. The main disadvantage to using a rifle as a home defense weapon is that navigating your home may prove to be more difficult and less practical.
Recommend Rifle: AR-15 – Easy to use, versatile, easily customizable.
Recommended Ammo: .223 Federal LE Tactical TRU 55gr. SP
Both handguns and rifles offer 2 main types of ammunition, FMJ, and hollow-point. FMJ’s provide greater penetrative power and would therefore easily reach vital organs whereas hollow-points may not penetrate as far but expand upon impact causing a higher level of damage to the impact point. For home defense hollow-points are a good choice as less penetrative power will prevent the round from potentially leaving the assailant and passing through other objects such as doors or walls. This is extremely important if others are in your home. You may also want to consider a lower caliber round to help prevent this. We’re firm believers that it’s not the size of the bullet but the placement that most successfully dispatches with a target.
When firing a weapon in your home you don’t want it to travel further than necessary, ideally, it won’t penetrate all the way through an invader. This is a more common feature in larger caliber FMJ rounds. Again, this can be prevented by using hollow-point rounds and reduced further with a lower caliber round. This is well worth considering for those with children in your home that you wish to protect as in the instance of a home invasion your primary focus will be on stopping the perpetrator not where potential projectiles may land.
For those not looking to potentially endangers other in their home or cause significant harm to the invader, less-than-lethal rounds are a truly viable option.
Bean-bag rounds are most commonly associated with less-than-lethal ammunition and are a great choice for home defense. Bean-bags do still carry the risk of potential bodily harm to the target but the risk of fatality or penetrating doors or walls is drastically decreased.
Handguns and rifles can also shoot rubber-tipped bullets for a less-than-lethal effect, again there still is a risk of bodily harm to the target but the risk to both them and others is significantly reduced.
The entire point of purchasing a weapon for home defense is to protect yourself and your family so it’s important to consider as many variables as possible when making the correct purchase. Using a weapon that you’re not comfortable with alongside an excessive caliber or bullet type could pose a risk to your family in itself. When handling firearms, especially around others, it’s important that you’ve received substantial training and are proficient with the weapon, not taking the steps to ensure you know how to correctly use a firearm could endanger more lives than it saves.