Choosing a Home-Defense Gun | An Official Journal Of The NRA

Perhaps the only issue that engages more arguments than politics is the endless discussion of what is considered the “best” home defense weapon. The truth is, no single recording solution meets the needs of every individual or household. Every firearm is an exercise in compromise. Every platform has limitations that must be carefully considered when choosing.

Many firearms can be useful for a variety of uses, such as: B. Target shooting, hunting and concealed carry, as well as protecting your family. However, the following discussion will focus on firearms in the main role of home defense. The general advantages and disadvantages of each type of gun should be considered, given that most homes and residential areas limit the defender’s mobility. Remember that practical defensive shots are fired from a very short range, i.e. contact distance, over space-spanning ranges of 5 to 10 meters.

Gun buyers should look for a combination of firearm and ammunition that offers optimal stopping power. Overpowering weapons create excessive amounts of recoil, noise and muzzle flash that can point the home defender deaf, blind and in the wrong direction. More importantly, hot cartridges are more likely to penetrate the intended target, pass through thin-walled or window materials, and inadvertently cause damage to others. At the other end of the spectrum, poorly performing weapons will not be effective in stopping the threat.

Dealing with concerns about over-penetration or under-defensive defense options is one of the reasons civilians are often encouraged to scrutinize law enforcement practices. A police officer and a home defender have the same goal in mind, which is to stop a threat quickly without causing unintentional collateral damage. So don’t be too surprised if some of the weapon options listed here look like they came from a district inventory.

Many affordable rifles and handguns are available in .22 long rifle. However, they should be avoided for home defense. The .22 cartridge generates a low braking force, so that an attacker can continue to cause damage long after he has been hit by the bullet. Rimfire rifles like the .22 are more likely to be blocked or not fire due to faulty primers than centerfire shotguns, rifle or handgun cartridges. The .22s are great for planking, small game hunting, and practice, but they don’t have room in a home defense setup.

Shotguns
The main difference between shotguns for outdoor sports and those for self-defense is barrel length. Combat shotguns – sometimes referred to as rifle rifles – are typically equipped with short barrels between 18.5 and 20 inches in length. Some combat models offer expanded magazine capacity or a special sighting system, but in other respects they are usually the same as sport shotguns.

Common types of combat shotguns include pump actions, semi-automatic actions, and the occasional break action. Pump action, or slide action, requires the shooter to pull the forearm back towards the receiver and then push it forward again to fire a new cartridge from the magazine. Pumps are plentiful, relatively inexpensive, and mechanically reliable. The semi-automatic fires a new cartridge with each trigger until the magazine is empty. Semi-automatic ones can fire shots faster and more accurately, but are more expensive to buy. Break-Actions are hinged so that the base of the single or double barrel of the weapon can pivot away from the receiver to remove used grenades and manually reload new ones. Break-Actions are reliable and easy to use, but only offer one or two shot capacity.

The 12-gauge combat shotgun is said to be the most effective anti-personnel firearm that was invented. The satiating effect of meal and close-up bird meal is simply devastating to soft tissues. The result is a high level of braking power. However, the felt recoil of the 12 caliber is intense, often too intense for shooters with a small frame. The shotgun’s shoulder-bouncing effects can be reduced by switching to low-recoil ammunition or by using a 20-gauge instead.

Shotguns have a small ammo capacity compared to most tactical rifles and semi-automatic handguns, usually 4 + 1 in the chamber. They are relatively slow to reload, so that the cartridges have to be inserted one at a time into the chamber or magazine. Because of their length and weight, they can be difficult to maneuver even in tight spaces.

It’s important to take a moment here to dispel some of the Hollywood mythology that surrounds these powerful firearms. A shotgun hit will not allow an attacker to fly across the room. Shotguns are not wands that fire destructive balls the size of a beach ball. Holding a shotgun at waist height and spraying lead in the general direction of a threat is a bad idea for two important reasons. First, the pattern of fire at home defense distances remains small. This means that untimed shots are just as likely to miss the threat as those fired by any other defensive weapon. Second, while an accumulation of shotgun pellets is unlikely to penetrate the human body too much, this accumulation can penetrate walls with a great deal of energy to cause damage beyond its intended target.

Movies and TV shows only have pistol grip shotguns. None of the professional instructors I’ve worked with recommend this configuration for home protection. Removing the buttstock makes a shotgun shorter and easier to move, but they aren’t practical tools of defense as it is almost impossible to aim properly. Just leave the pistol-grip shotguns to the SWAT teams to lock doors and install a traditional or six-step stock on yours.

Rifles
While bolt-action hunting rifles are ideal for hunting big game, they are poor choices for home defense. These rifles are slow to load, slow to fire, and the heavy duty cartridges they fire create excessive muzzle flash, noise, recoil, and are very likely to penetrate the target too deeply. When looking for a home defense rifle, consider a tactical semi-automatic or pistol-shaped carbine.

In recent years the popularity of tactical rifles, also called modern sport rifles, has skyrocketed. The most popular seem to be those based on the AR-15 design. Other examples of this breed are the AK-47, M1 Carbine, and Ruger Mini-14. These rifles are light, easy to fire, have low recoil, and offer plenty of ammunition.

Rifles are powerful defensive weapons, with some models offering braking power similar to a shotgun, but without as much recoil. For home defenders living in rural areas, rifles can provide the extra range and accuracy required to control pests of the four-legged variety. As with the shotgun, the length of a rifle can make it difficult to maneuver in tight spaces. The other disadvantage of tactical rifles is their high price. In some cases, you can buy two or three defensive shotguns for the price of one tactical rifle.

Another great choice for home defense is a pistol-caliber carbine. Compact lever rifles with a chamber for revolver cartridges such as .357 Mag. And .45 Colt have been protecting people’s interests for some time. Lever pistols usually hold multiple cartridges in their magazines, but new cartridges must be loaded one at a time, much like a shotgun. Some manufacturers offer semi-automatic carbines that accept handgun magazines in popular defensive pistol calibers. These rifles provide ammo and magazine compatibility with a handgun you already own, and the longer barrels increase the speed of the charge.

Handguns
Handguns remain some of the most commonly purchased home defense firearms for a number of reasons. Easy to maneuver in tight spaces, they can be held and fired with one hand, leaving the other hand free to operate a flashlight, open doors, etc. They can be held close to your body to prevent them be grabbed or pushed away by an intruder. The compact size of a handgun allows it to be stored in a small space, like a strong box in a chest of drawers. The market is currently crammed with excellent defensive handgun options.

The two most common types of defensive handguns are double-action revolvers and semi-automatic pistols. Double-action revolvers have a cylinder that swings out to one side for loading and unloading and typically have a capacity of five to six rounds. Revolvers are easy to learn and very reliable. They have no buttons, levers, or switches. Just pull the trigger and the gun fires. Defensive revolvers are most commonly found in .38 Spl. and .357 Mag. Loading a revolver with .38 Spl. + P ammunition can increase the stopping power of the revolver without the flash and recoil associated with .357 Mag. Charges. A 3 to 4 inch barrel is usually recommended for home use.

Semi-automatic pistols use a box magazine to load the ammunition. These pistols can be more complicated to use, but they have a lighter trigger, hold more ammunition, and can be reloaded faster than a revolver. The most common semi-automatic pistol cartridges available for defense include the 9mm Luger, .45 ACP, and .40 S&W. Full-size pistols, also known as duty-size, offer larger magazine capacities and longer handles for more convenient practice than the compact and sub-compact pistols preferred for legal concealed carry.

Although handguns are useful for home defense, they are poor stoppers overall when compared to rifles and shotguns. The rule of thumb when choosing a defensive handgun is to choose the most powerful cartridge that you can comfortably handle. The exceptions to this rule are the high-performance hunting rifles calibers .44 Mag., .454 Casull and .500 S&W, which should be avoided. Just like a hunting rifle, the lightning and shot of these cartridges will deaf and blind home defenders when they need their senses most, and the bullet will very likely penetrate the target too deeply.

Choose wisely
Choosing a firearm for home defense is a process that should involve careful research and foresight. Do your homework. Go to the shooting range and test the weapons you are interested in before buying them. Trust your instincts in finding the gun that works best for your needs, even if the gun freak behind the counter disagrees.

In our turnkey solution society, we sometimes look to our devices to solve our problems and do the hard work for us. No amount of money invested in flashy guns and quality ammunition will ever make up for failure to invest in your understanding of defensive shooting. The budget for a home rifle should include funds for shooting range training, textbooks and videos, and live training with a professional instructor. The self-defense tools that you have between your ears will always be more important than what weapon you have in your hands.

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