The Best Kind of Firearm for Home Defense

Meta: Many people wonder what kind of gun they should use to defend their home, and today, we’re going to answer that question by looking at the various options.


If you have a gun, it’s likely that you’re serious about the matter of self-defense, so today, we’re going to explore the best ways to defend yourself and your property. We’re going to look at four different kinds of guns and compare them to each other in home defense situations. In the end, we’ll go over our top picks.

Semi-Automatic Handgun

The first option (and the most common one) is the semi-automatic pistol, which combines the aspects of convenience and high-capacity, both of which are crucial when defending yourself. More bullets in the magazine means more opportunities to stop potential intruders without having to reload.

Since most semi-auto pistols will feature a double-stack magazine, you can often get 12 or more shots out of one of them, which should be more than enough to neutralize intruders. Another advantage to pistols is that they can fit in more affordable gun safes and they are easier to get to in the event of a home invasion.

Another good thing about a semi-auto handgun is that it can fire off several shots in quick succession, which is something that may come in essential during a gunfight. Pistols are unfortunately less accurate than other kinds of weapons, but their relative lack of penetration lessens the risk of collateral damage.

Finding ammunition for pistols is also usually easier, though reloading them under duress is nearly impossible unless you have a second magazine that is already loaded. One point of contention with semi-auto pistols is that they tend to jam more often than other kinds of weapons, though that’s entirely dependent on the model.


The second kind of handgun that you would consider for home defense is the revolver, which trades reloading speed for ease of use, reliability, and the lack of a need for a magazine. While you never want to get caught reloading in a gunfight, it’s easier to keep a couple of speed loaders in your pocket instead of a whole other magazine.

While the gun community will argue about it to no end, jams and misfires in revolvers tend to be far less common in revolvers. Even though failures are often catastrophic when they happen with revolvers, they are also extremely rare, meaning that you can rely on a revolver to fire when you pull the trigger.

One thing to keep in mind is that a revolver will be far louder than a semi-auto pistol because of how much more open they are. If you’re defending yourself, it’s unlikely that you’ll have time to put on ear protection, so you’ll have a lot of noise to deal with, particularly in an enclosed space.

However, if you’re prepared, and you have a few magazines loaded for a semi-automatic handgun, then the advantages of a revolver start to melt away. As time goes by, revolvers will become less and less common as weapons for self-defense, and it’s mainly due to their lack of capacity.


Another favorite for home defense is the shotgun, which features much more stopping power than a pistol, though it will also be more unwieldy. One of the most significant advantages to using a shotgun for home defense is that it is much less likely to cause collateral damage.

Shotgun pellets have poor penetration, particularly at longer ranges, which means that they’ll be far less likely to go through a wall and potentially injure someone else. Keep in mind that a shotgun is also a lot more intimidating than a handgun, especially when you consider its lethality.

Shotguns are also a lot more versatile for home defense, as you can load them with a wide range of ammunition types. The most common option for home defense is buckshot, as it will feature the stopping power that’s needed to subdue an intruder, and it’s relatively common.

As we mentioned earlier, shotguns are usually too large to be convenient for home defense unless you have relatively wide halls in your home. Reloading a shotgun is also time consuming, but you at least won’t need to have loaded magazines ready if yours is tube-fed.


The final type of gun that we’ll go over for home defense is the rifle, which isn’t typically used in this role. There are a few reasons why a rifle is less than optimal for defending your home, and one of them is that their ammunition usually penetrates walls too easily, potentially injuring someone else.

Remember that you are responsible for every bullet that you fire in a home defense scenario, so you’ll want to minimize the chances of your weapon causing collateral damage. No matter your accuracy or trigger discipline, misses happen in gunfights, so you’ll want to diminish the harm that they can do.

Another issue with rifles is that they are usually even more unwieldy than shotguns in close-quarters unless you have a carbine with a shortened barrel. With that being said, a rifle is better than nothing, and often, this is the only weapon that’s on hand for home defense.

One of the main benefits to rifles is that they feature substantially more stopping power than pistols, though they often require a better aim than a shotgun. If you have a large property, you may find that the range and accuracy or a rifle is necessary to ensure that your family is safe.


In the end, the best weapon for home defense depends on where you live, whether or not you have neighbors to worry about, and how big your home is. If you plan on defending a smaller house, then the maneuverability of a semi-automatic pistol will be crucial for you.

On the other hand, if you have no neighbors and you have a huge property to defend from not only intruders but also wild animals, a rifle may be a better choice. We hope that we’ve been able to help you select the best kind of gun to defend your home.

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