Gun World - - Contents -

You will often hear that “your home is your cas­tle”; un­for­tu­nately, it is not de­fended as a cas­tle. Chances are, if you at­tempted to dig a moat, your home­own­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion might have some is­sues.

When look­ing to de­fend the home, there are many op­tions peo­ple will turn to. You might get a large dog, bars on the win­dows and doors, and maybe an alarm sys­tem. These are all good steps.

Many peo­ple take the ex­tra step and get a gun to de­fend their home and fam­ily. Choos­ing a practical firearm for home-de­fense re­quires some de­ci­sions. How much train­ing you have, where you live, if you have chil­dren, as well as a host of other as­pects, should be con­sid­ered be­fore you go out and get that gun. Then, choose your home-de­fense gun wisely.


Most peo­ple who want to have a gun in the house for de­fense will turn to a hand­gun. It’s a good choice in most sit­u­a­tions and can pro­vide pro­tec­tion from the av­er­age home in­vader. The ad­van­tage of a hand­gun is that it is likely the same gun you might carry ev­ery day. You can take it to most shoot­ing ranges— ei­ther in­door or out­door, get train­ing on it and then keep it close to you in the house with­out much ex­tra con­sid­er­a­tion.

If you don’t keep it with you, and you have chil­dren in the home, ad­di­tional safety pre­cau­tions should be taken (such as locks or a safe).


An­other choice for a home-de­fense weapon is the AR plat­form. It comes in a num­ber of dif­fer­ent calibers, is easy to op­er­ate, can be fit­ted with ac­ces­sories to as­sist the user and, in 5.56mm, has rel­a­tively low re­coil. On the down side, mov­ing through your house with an AR can be a bit dif­fi­cult. Train­ing can help negate that dis­ad­van­tage.

It is not likely you will be clear­ing your home in SWAT fash­ion. In­stead, you should be mov­ing to a strong point in your home and wait­ing for ei­ther the as­sailant to get to you—in which case, you have the ad­van­tage—or for law en­force­ment to show up.

Of con­cern with the AR as a home-de­fense weapon is the pos­si­bil­ity of pen­e­tra­tion of the outer walls of your home and into the home of a neigh­bor or passerby. That should def­i­nitely be on your list of things to con­sider.


The third choice in home-de­fense weaponry is the shot­gun. While there are nu­mer­ous types, my sug­ges­tion is a pump ac­tion with an ex­tended mag­a­zine, short bar­rel (18 inches) and a col­lapsi­ble stock sim­i­lar to the AR plat­form style. This makes the shot­gun eas­ier to store and re­trieve, as well as bring to a fir­ing po­si­tion in your home.

.33-cal­iber pro­jec­tiles ev­ery time you pull the trig­ger on a 12 gauge. This is not much less than if you were us­ing a .380 pis­tol; how­ever, there are far more pro­jec­tiles. The lower ve­loc­ity also lessens the chance of over­pen­e­tra­tion of your ex­te­rior walls. Like the AR, a shot­gun can be more dif­fi­cult to ma­nip­u­late through your home, but it is still a very good choice for home-de­fense.


Stor­age can be more dif­fi­cult for both the AR and shot­gun, be­cause they re­quire a larger safe (if that’s how they will be stored when not in use). It is un­likely you will be us­ing ei­ther the AR or the shot­gun for ev­ery­day use, as you might with a hand­gun that is dou­bling as your con­cealed-carry weapon.


The most com­mon ac­ces­sory you might choose for your home­de­fense gun is a flash­light. Whether at­tached to the gun or sep­a­rate, it can as­sist you greatly in the event of a break-in at night. You may not want to turn on the lights in your house if there is an as­sailant or bur­glar to main­tain an ad­van­tage: You know your house; the in­truder does not. Turn­ing the lights on takes your home-court ad­van­tage away. Get to know the squeaks and creaks in your house. It will help you iden­tify where in the house some­one is. You should test it out dur­ing your home-de­fense plan.

In ad­di­tion to a flash­light, a laser is also help­ful. The main ad­van­tage is that it al­lows you to point and shoot (af­ter it’s ze­roed) and have a rea­son­able chance of hit­ting what you aim at. If you have never shot in low- or no-light con­di­tions, I rec­om­mend you try it. You will be sur­prised by the dif­fer­ence a lack of day­light makes to your shot group. The laser will help you with your con­fi­dence and cre­ate an in­tim­i­da­tion fac­tor for an as­sailant when the laser is placed on them.


Re­gard­less of the gun you de­cide to use for home-de­fense, you should also have a plan for how you in­tend to de­fend your­self in your home. Your plan should in­clude where you will move to se­cure your­self un­til help ar­rives.

A com­mu­ni­ca­tion plan that in­cludes backup comms is cru­cial. A few points to con­sider: If your land­line is cut, is your cell phone avail­able and charged?

If there are other fam­ily mem­bers in the house, are you mov­ing to them, or are they mov­ing to you? This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant if bed­rooms are spread through­out dif­fer­ent ar­eas in the home or on dif­fer­ent floors. If you have mul­ti­ple floors to your house, what are your ceil­ings and walls made of, and do they of­fer any pro­tec­tion?


There are a lot of con­sid­er­a­tions when it comes to home-de­fense, and firearms are just one part. As with all things re­lated to guns, train­ing is im­per­a­tive. Just hav­ing a gun, no mat­ter how pow­er­ful or in­tim­i­dat­ing, does you very lit­tle good if you aren’t trained to use it.

In your train­ing, make sure to cre­ate sce­nar­ios in which you might ac­tu­ally find your­self—sit­ting in your re­cliner, sleep­ing in bed, work­ing in the garage, etc. Keep in mind that dur­ing a home break-in, you are re­act­ing. Noth­ing will go as you planned it.

The best ad­vice is to have mul­ti­ple op­tions, find a strong point in your house, and wait for ei­ther the po­lice or the in­truder to come to you. You then bring things closer to your terms.

You need to also pre­pare your­self men­tally to de­fend your­self. If you aren’t pre­pared to take a life in de­fense of your own or your loved ones, you might have al­ready lost the bat­tle.

In ad­di­tion to get­ting the right gun for home-de­fense, you need to pre­pare your home to be de­fended. Next month, I will cover how to get your house in or­der, dis­cuss plan­ning con­sid­er­a­tions and what you should look for to have a bet­ter-pre­pared home. GW



A se­lec­tion of firearms for home-de­fense. From top to bot­tom: Rem­ing­ton 870 Ex­press with ex­tended mag­a­zine, six-po­si­tion col­lapsi­ble stock and 18-inch bar­rel. Next, Rock River Arms CAR-15 Elite, Sure­fire M900V Ver­ti­cal Fore­grip Weapon Light and Aim­point CompM2. Be­low that, Kim­ber Pro Carry II with LG-301 laser grips. Bot­tom, Glock 30S with iProtec RM 190 rail light.


From left to right: ex­am­ples of what types of shot pat­terns you might ex­pect from your gun.

Left top: a 12 gauge, 00 buck­shot, 5 rounds. Left bot­tom: five rounds of 12 gauge, #8 shot. Cen­ter: 30 rounds of 5.56mm. Fi­nally, on the right: eight rounds of .45 ACP. Shots were taken from 21 feet, be­cause that is the likely dis­tance of an en­gage­ment in the home. Bear in mind, how­ever, that the 5.56 holes are smaller, but they’re mov­ing at a much faster ve­loc­ity.

Shown are pro­jec­tiles from each of the guns used for this ar­ti­cle. From left to right: 5.56mm,

.45 ACP, 12-gauge 00 Buck­shot, 12-gauge #8 shot. The ad­di­tion of a rail­mounted flash­light on your firearm helps free up a hand to open doors or guide oth­ers to safety. It also al­lows a bet­ter grip on the gun, com­pared to a hand­held light.

Ac­cord­ing to the Bureau of Jus­tice Statis­tics, most break-ins hap­pen be­tween 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Thus, hav­ing your gun where you can get to it quickly is crit­i­cal.

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