Selecting Firearms For Home Defense

When it comes to defending your home, you need to ensure you have a plan that is not only effective in the defense of you and your family, but that is realistic and tailored towards your home, neighbors, and which gives you as much tactical advantage as you can get.


When selecting something to defend your home, the number one equalizer is a firearm, hands down. A firearm allows you to defend your family and property from a distance. Distance allows you to effectively neutralize a threat without being engaged in hand to hand combat. It also adds the benefit of lethality and enables the home owner to shoot and move to and from concealment or cover. These aspects can change the outcome of a defensive situation.


When selecting a firearm to defend your home, you must take a few critical things into consideration. You need to know your house, and the best way to utilize its design features.

Although having a firearm is better than not having one, you must choose one that fits your environment. What that means is if you have tight corners and doorways, utilizing a rifle or shotgun with a long barrel, let’s say a shotgun with a 28″ bird barrel, that is going to be difficult to maneuver and ineffective in a lot of scenarios. You need a firearm that can be manipulated with ease within the tight confines of your hallways and entry ways. Pick a rifle or pistol that will allow you to move freely and put shots on target without having to hit the walls or fumble through tight areas.

1b. Rifle, shotgun, or pistol


There is no doubt an advantage to having a good semiautomatic rifle for combative situations. They offer superior accuracy, greater round capacity, stability while shooting, and better firepower. I would recommend a rifle 9-10 times when defending yourself if this was possible. Things to take into consideration with a rifle are the over-penetration and ability to carry in public (which will be covered in another post).

When using a rifle in a home, it is not known hoe far that round is going to travel. Projectiles moving at greater than 3000 feet per second will make light work of sheetrock and 2×4’s. This being said, you need to know what is beyond your target. This doesn’t only apply to possible collateral damage outside your own home, but other people within your home. You need to have a plan for your family so that


if you do have to engage in self defense within your home, they are able to stay out of harms way as best they can if rounds start flying.

Pistols are a great option for home defense. They are easily affixed with a light and red dot sight for speed. The capacity, although less than a rifle magazine, are still very good when looking at modern pistols available to the everyday consumer. A full size pistol will offer not only greater control in most cases, but larger capacity, typically 15-21 rounds. The largest challenge woth a pistol however, is hands down the skill it takes to fire them accurately. I’ve heard many people say they could shoot a pistol well. That may be so at 1 yard on a silhouette target. But when that target is 10 yards out and charging you, your adrenaline and composure, along with your lack of


fundamentals are going to really open your eyes to your capability woth that pistol. When shooting a pistol at a static target, it’s easy to make lethal hits. You don’t need to focus so much on fundamentals and you can pretty much ensure that paper target isn’t going to shoot back. But when a person is trying to end your life, the outside factors need to be taken into consideration. Training is a key aspect in pistol shooting, more so than rifle shooting In my opinion. This is because the short barrel and limited stability compared to a rifle (for inexperienced shooters) are both critical in maintaining accuracy, especially under stress.

The threat of over generation with a pistol is still a valid concern. Although a 9MM is a larger caliber and traveling about 1/3 the speed of a .223, it will still over penetrate. Always know your backstop and what’s





Shotguns allow a variety of advantages to the home owner. Utility, versatility, accuracy, and effectiveness. There are many shotguns on the market today that would make outstanding home defense weapons. This is because the availability if short, semiautomatic and tactical pump shotguns is growing more and more each year.

Using a shotgun has always been a debate. A couple things are for certain however. 1. Racking the pump will not scare off the intruder, and 2. Birdshot may not be as effective as buckshot or a slug, but it’s not useless.

The old timers saying about racking a pump action shotgun to scare off the perpetrator very effective in a


perfect world. However, we don’t live in a perfect world and that “tactic” is, for lack of a better term, stupid and irresponsible. One of the greatest advantages you have in your home is the element of surprise. YOU know the layout of your home. YOU have the tactical advantage. Don’t ruin that but immediately alerting the intruder to your location. Racking the shotgun through a closed door may work in certain situations as well. However, it may just be an invitation for the perp to use greater violence now that they know you are armed. Don’t be stupid, think before you try movie style “fud” tactics in a real world scenario.

Another common argument is which shells to use for home defense. They make outstanding home defense loads for shotgun. Which one is right, is up to your personal preference. Although birdshot


may not be lethal in some cases, if it’s what you have, use it. I’m sure getting shot in the face with #8 shot is horrible. And if you don’t have something more lethal, use what you have. 00 buck is a obviously a great choice, however the over penetration factor comes back into play with this. This being said, I’d still recommend 00 bucks over many other types of ammo. Dragons breath, please don’t use this indoors unless you want to burn your house down.

Slugs are another option. Slugs pack a massive punch of kinetic energy because of their huge mass. Firing a slug will more than mortally wound the intruder, but you also might decrease your chances of hitting them. Specialty defense rounds are available and some offer a rifles slug with 00 buck on top. These are an outstanding option as they are designed to do one job. Stop the threat. Overall, the choice is


yours. You need to consider the variables before making an informed decision. Do not be afraid to seek advice on types of firearms and ammunition for home defense. It is your life and the lives of your family depending on it. You must try to be as effective and lethal as possible when defending your family.


I almost forgot, another “fud” tactic I’ve heard repeatedly is the use of a strobe to disorient the intruder. All I’m saying, is if you are going to use a strobe to disorient them, make sure it’s attached to a firearm. This again is going to give away your position. If it’s dark, you can flood them with light and take a shot, however unless you intend to use that light to put shots on target, I would advise against trying to blind anyone with a flashlight. If I were the intruder, I’d be putting rounds in the


direction if the light immediately. So please, have some common sense when protecting whats yours.


Lastly, and most importantly, always remember that human life is the most valuable thing we have. Not only for us, but others lives as well. Always know what you’re about to engage. Taking a life by mistake is an error you won’t want to live with, and that can damage many lives beyond your own. Use digression and seek training to avoid the possible tragedy of taking a life that was not meant to be taken.


Get trained, be effective, and have a plan.