If a firearm is your weapon of choice, make sure it’s one that will work well if you need to use it at home. If you want our recommendation without reading this entire article, we suggest the short barreled AR-15 rifle in 300 AAC Blackout, 7.5in barrel. Additionally, we recommend getting a tactical light and laser for it, along with a sling and a 30 round magazine.
Variables to Consider Before Buying a Gun
When choosing a home defense weapon you need to remember a few variables.
- Bullet penetration
- Stopping power
Cost is simple – budget your firearm purchases and training. Typically, $500 will buy entry level firearms, while $3,000 will buy high end match weapons. Start low, and you can always sell your firearms to upgrade down the line.
Maneuverability depends on the size of your weapon. Pistols are great for small spaces, while rifles or shotguns are better for open spaces. Keep that in mind as you look to buy a home defense gun.
Bullet penetration and stopping power would seem to be equal, while they are instead nearly always inverted. 5.56 tumbles in drywall, while 9mm flies through. Yet rifle calibers tend to have much higher stopping power.
When not using you gun (which is likely more often than not), be sure you have a protective place to store it. Whether you decide to secure a gun in a gun case or dedicate space for a gun cabinet, evaluate the best location in your home to store it. If an intruder comes in the house, you want to be able to quickly access your weapon.
The Best Guns for Home Defense
Below are our top 5 guns that work well for home defense.
The AR-15 has a storied past. Developed in the 1950s, initially sold as a civilian hunting rifle under the Armalite corporation. Smaller calibers proved to be highly effective for short range rifles. The high velocity .22 caliber intermediate round excels in under 200 yards.
The AR-15 has excelled in short range, low weight, low recoil, however modern advancements in the AR’s design allows for plenty of rail space for accessories such as lights or lasers. The completely modular design allows AR-15s to be created in most calibers including shotgun shells, and pistol calibers.
Home Defense Carbine
The AR-15 can be configured to do nearly anything you want a firearm to do, making it a great option for home defense. Need a long range match rifle? Just swap the upper. Want a short range defensive carbine? Change the upper.
The other advantage of the AR-15 is the stopping power of a rifle cartridge. The 5.56x45mm or several other calibers that can be used with the AR-15, are massively more effective at first shot stops then a 9mm or even Buckshot.
The 5.56x45mm will tumble once it hits drywall, slowing the round and preventing overpenetration. If you have another preferred caliber, there is likely an AR that can shoot it.
Combine that feature with the ability to add a short barrel, ample room for accessories, and the inline recoil of the system, and you have one of, if not, the best home defense weapon.
The Case for the AR-15
The AR-15 is the Modern American Musket. Hunters and sportsman, as well as self defense instructors are advocating the AR-15 because of the ease of use and great features of the rifle. Until the US Army develops a new rifle for its service rifle, it will likely be the most common rifle sought out by soldiers in their civilian lives.
The P90 is a highly specialized Personal Defense Weapon. It is a pistol caliber with high magazine capacity. The P90 was created by FN Herstal to NATO specifications as a replacement for 9x19mm MP5s. The PDW needed to weigh under 6 lbs, carry a 20 round magazine, and have a caliber with greater stopping power than the 9mm.
The P90 excels as a personal defense weapon. Breaking down into 6 parts, it is easy to clean. The short barrel length (NFA) and bullpup design makes it very maneuverable in homes, along with vehicles. The 5.7x28mm round is offers great stopping power, high accuracy, and low recoil.
The P90 and the PS90 are highly effective PDWs, with plenty of space for accessories, ergonomic ambidextrous fire controls, and a 50 round standard magazine. It is all in a package designed to weigh less than a AR-15.
If you need more proof the P90 is effective, remember what gun used to guard the president.
9mm pistols are the most common handgun in the United States. They are cheap, effective, and light. In a home defense situation, pistol rounds are effective. Pistols are small, so they are easily concealed, stored, and maneuvered. Handguns require more training than a rifle to use effectively, but they can be used one handed which may be useful.
As with the guns mentioned above, it’s important that you learn how to properly use a pistol before needing it in a potentially threatening situation. And, when not using it, always be sure to have a safe gun storagesolution.
Their small sizes allows greater maneuverability and makes them simple to keep in an apartment or home. A proper home defense pistol will be kept with a tactical light, with magazines loaded and ready in an easy to access location.
Finding the right pistol is difficult. It is like finding a good pair of boots – you need to see how it feels before you buy, because every type is different. Below are some great brands you should look at first.
The Austrian pistol maker uses a polymer design and a striker fired chamber for reliability. There are several models of glocks appropriate for home defense. Glock 17, 19, and 26 are great defense pistols that are an affordable cost.
The starting glock for anyone should be a 9mm, Glock 19. The Glock 19 has a strong reputation for reliability. A Glock as great features including a picatinny rail on the bottom of the slide for a light/laser combo. Glocks are easy to clean and feature unique iron sights. The aftermarket accessories for Glocks is another huge advantage. Finding Holsters, lasers, lights or suppressors is as simple as heading down to the local gun store.
Glocks are famed for their ruggedness. Special forces, law enforcement, and even hundreds of rappers trust their lives to Glocks. No matter the caliber, no matter the use, Glock makes premier handguns.
4. Colt 1911
For the majority of people the 1911 is not a viable concealed carry weapon. It is a full sized pistol, shooting 7 shots of heart stopping, jaw dropping .45. The Colt 45 has been the gun of choice for Americans for nearly a century. The 1911 has been the answer for stopping power since World War I.
A Colt 1911 or any other 1911 has pros and cons. The 1911 is one of the most comfortable firearms to use, especially for personal use. The heavy bullet recoils comfortably in your hand. 1911s with picatinny rails and even red dot rails are not uncommon. The 1911 from Springfield Armory, Colt, Wilson Combat are all great handguns.
The hundred year old design is may not be cutting edge, but it has remained basically unchanged from its inception. This provides a massive amount of parts and options for your 1911.
Shotguns have been used for hunting, combat, and home defense. Shotguns were petitioned by the Germans in World War I for being so effective as to be cruel and against the Geneva Convention, when used in the trenches of Europe.
Shotguns differ from pistols and rifles. The biggest differences are smooth bore barrels used with shells, and most shotguns use tube fed magazines. Shotguns are slower to reload, and most only hold 5-8 rounds. Shotguns are usually manually operated.
5. Remington 870
The most common shotgun is the US is the Remington 870. The 870 can be anything from Elmer Fudd’s shotgun to highly tactical shotguns used for breaching maneuvers. The 870 is capable of using a large amount of ammunition. From 3 ½ inch buck shot to salt rounds. Home-made defensive rounds should be used with caution, as they can be illegal in many jurisdiction.
Remington 870s fulfill the requirements for room for accessories with their strong after market. Lights, lasers, red-dots and even suppressors are made to be easily attached to the Remington 870.
Shotguns main drawbacks are their legally required length. Maneuvering a shotgun in a smaller home is difficult. Their lack of box magazines for quick reloads. The high recoil and noise in a enclosed area is deafening.
The drawbacks are often countered with the ease of aim, thanks to a large cone of fire. Unfortunately, people that fire a shotgun can attest to the lack of said cone within the confines of a house. It is usually better to equip with a rifle or pistol, but a shotgun is still better than nothing.
The Best Gun for you
The best gun for you may be an AR-15 or one of the pistols. You need to understand your plan and your training for your home defense, and then pick a gun that fits your reality.
No matter what firearm you choose, you must train with your weapon until you are confident in your ability to safely defend yourself and your home. Remember, buying a gun is only the first step.