When it comes to home defense weapons, there’s no special home-defense or carry gun that is any better for clearing a corner than another. The primary requirement for a home-defense firearm is one that is 100-percent reliable.

The next requirement is that it be available.

And finally, it needs to be a firearm you’re intimately familiar with, one you can manage and run reliably in the dark.

The biggest question often debated is if it should be a handgun, shotgun or rifle.

Home Defense Weapons: Handguns

Some swear a shotgun is the premier home-defense firearm. I tend to favor the handgun because it can be easily managed with one hand, and you may need the other for a flashlight, to call 911 or to move a loved one to safety.

For a dedicated home-defense handgun, I prefer one that’s outfitted with a light and laser. The light allows you to see and confirm a threat clearly, and the laser permits target focus, meaning you’ll not have to be looking for the sights, while focusing on the bad guy.

Home Defense Weapons: Shotguns

Effective shotgun manipulation requires both hands. It’s also an instrument that’s hard to retain if the fight becomes hand-to-hand.

Let a 250-pound attacker get both of his hands on your shotgun. If that happens, you might not be able to hold on.

On the other hand, a shotgun at home-defense distances is much more effective at stopping a fight. And, this applies to any shotgun loaded with just about any ammunition.

As with the handgun, you can install a light on the shotgun and even a laser.

Home Defense Weapons: Carbines

Semi-auto carbines have become very popular for home defense, but they share some of the same cons as the shotgun. They are also more effective at stopping bad guys than handguns.

For what it’s worth, an AR fired inside a room is unbelievably loud and will generate a marvelous muzzle flash. Both may or may not be a bad thing, but it’s something to think about.

Regardless, it’s a mistake to think the only rifle suitable for home defense is a semi-auto; lever-action carbines are compact and those chambered for revolver cartridges are more lethal than handguns, with more manageable recoil. At the same time, AR carbines are more suitable to the mounting of a light and laser, like the excellent Crimson Trace LiNQ system.

This story is from the spring 2018 issue of Ballistic Magazine. Grab your copy at Or get your digital only subscription on Amazon!

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