Top 5 Worst Self-Defense Guns

Top 5 worst self-defense weapons

USA – – ( – When you buy essential oils on the bottom rungs of the quality ladder, the worst that can happen is you lose a few dollars and feel a little slimy. Oh, and your friends will think you’re weird if you invest in magic oil at all. If you buy a self-defense weapon that is not above the midpoint of Gunsumer Reports’ annual ballistics issue, it could cost your life. And to make such an important decision cheaper, your friends could have Cardi B lip-sync the Baby Shark song at your funeral.

I had to think about guns that we saw in the past few years when they were on the list of worst self-defense weapons. To be fair, some of these have perfectly good use for other things; I just wouldn’t want to bet my life on it when better choices are available.

Taurus model 85 view

Minutes of engineering have been invested in this tiny .38 Special Revolver to make it as light and concealable as possible. Unfortunately, the resulting product looked very similar to a Who Framed Roger Rabbit weapon. The proportions were … cartoonish.

The cylinder could only get so small that it has to hold five rounds of .38 Special. The engineers achieved the volume reduction through an operation to remove the trunk on the handle and amputation of the barrel. Seriously, the handle is roughly the size of two .38 cartridges taped together with tape. I am not exaggerating much. The overall result looked like a 55 gallon oil drum with a handle on one end. Sounds extreme? So this atrocity shot.

Taurus model 85Taurus model 85

And therein lies the real reason the bull view is on the list of worst self-defense weapons. It’s almost impossible to shoot. And I mean that in every way. Recoil? Painful. Shot control? No Practical Accuracy Under Stress? About at eye level with the throwing of tequila salt over the left shoulder 19 shots in a raging Cinco de Mayo party. If anyone out there can hit the broadside of a barn with one, I’d love to give them my Justin Bieber Challenge Coin.

Just one thing. The side plate was made of clear plastic for no apparent reason other than for reasons other than clear so you could see the trigger work. Law.

.410 revolver

I always try to be a nice guy and I rarely, if ever, troll the internet for fun. And I’m really not trolling here. Even so, I suspect there are many people who disagree with me that these revolvers are named after government officials who are useful in self-defense.

I don’t think they’re the absolute worst self-defense option. I just don’t understand the appeal. At all. Yes, you can shoot .45 Colt and other traditional cartridges through them since they have rifle barrels, but they’re not very good at it. Not nearly as effective as a custom-made Centerfire cartridge revolver.

.410 Revolver: This is a lot of fun, just not my choice for self defense..410 Revolver: This is a lot of fun, just not my choice for self defense.

The marketing appeal is that both .410 cartridges and standard cartridges can be shot. You can even load them into the same cylinder. That sounds kind of neat on paper. For me it just doesn’t go together for self-defense.

While I don’t volunteer to be shot by a .410 load of birds, buck, or slugs, they are not known to be deep penetrators of sufficient mass to stop a large mammal target like a mad human or a yeti. Will it make a mess? Yes. Is it fatal? I am sure it is. Will it stop a determined attacker as effectively as a high quality hollow point centerfire offering? May be. Maybe not. If you would get me to bet I would be on the side of the data supporting the performance of revolver cartridges like .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .44 Special and the like.

Would I, in fairness, want one? I actually had one at one point, but I sold it. It seemed to have potential as a field or snake rifle, but other than that, the tradeoffs just didn’t do it for me as a self-defense option. When I tried to be everything I just found that none of them did it particularly well.

Bull curve

I think a few years ago Taurus did a fear and loathing on the shooting range with Hunter S. Thompson. It was clear that the excursion contained plenty of LSD. Don’t get me wrong, we love the Taurus brand, but yeah they make the list all over again with the curve.

At first glance, you might be mistaking the curve for Kimber Pepper Blaster’s spicy Goo Launcher. It’s a spherical design with a marketing twist or curve that redefines the term “pointless gimmick”. The frame was curved – the idea was that the handle area would wrap better around your body and hide more effectively. If you were right-handed this could theoretically work. Left-handed people benefited from additional pressure and weapon exposure.

Bull curveTaurus Curve: I apologize in advance for hurting your eyes.

The company stuck to its minimalist design aesthetic and dropped the sights – overall. In fairness, they painted crossed lines on the back of the slide and included a built-in laser.

When I saw the release of this film, I bleached my eyeballs and retired from the shooting industry for six months. It didn’t do anything better than a million other pistols other than being bent.

Pocket .22 revolver

One of the handgun shops I used to frequent was more of a storage unit. It was legal and duly approved and cleared by the BATFE, but it was located in an industrial park mostly filled with rows of rental space that was home to auto body shops, countertop makers, and the like. You know, working businesses, not retail stores or places with showrooms.

Anyway, this place was a Class III dealer stocked with some of the most interesting surplus rifles, pistols, ammunition, and automatic battlefield pickups you can imagine. The interior in no way resembled a shop. No counters. No glass showcases. No counters. No cash register. Few shelves now that I think about it. Just a few things piled up on the floor and hung on the walls. It looked more like a neglected self-storage unit before the auction. Yes, it was lovely. There had to be a few hundred firearms and ammunition at all times.

Pocket .22 revolverPocket .22 Revolver: I actually like this one and really appreciate its usefulness, just not as a primary hidden carry weapon.

The owner was a great guy. Although he was tall and no longer as mobile, he had this tough biker gang look that most people didn’t want to mess with him. He was exceedingly friendly and one day while I was chatting about the new shipment of 7.62x54R hollow projectile training ammunition, I asked how he was protecting himself and his business. I assumed he was hiding a beefy pistol or machine gun that I hadn’t noticed. With a big smile, he pulled one of those microscopic .22LR revolvers out of his shirt pocket and said, “This.”

I was a little stunned, to say the least. Here’s a guy who sits in an invisible spot in the city’s largest gangland heist, day after day, protecting the premises with a 5-round mini-revolver with a whopping 1-inch barrel. The strategy seemed to equate to popping orange tic-tacs for birth control, but what do I know?

Do not get me wrong; I love these tiny wheel guns. They are well made, infinitely concealable and great fun. I just can’t imagine using one for primary self defense. Backup? For sure. You are perfect for this role.

As far as I know, his measly revolver never let him down. On the other hand, he was never exposed to an attempted armed robbery.

Flat derringer

If after surviving a self-defense encounter you have leftover ammunition that bothers you, a two-shot pistol solution might make sense. If you’re willing to take the risk of getting stuck with unused ammo, there are many better options.

These flat derringers caused a sensation a few years ago, both for their brick-like design, thin profile, and for the litigation that the concept was about. The pistols were available in different calibers. As far as I remember, you could even get a 7.62 x 39mm chamber. Yes, the standard AK-47 round.

There is nothing inherently disturbed about these derringers. They work. You will fire two shots with ease. Depending on the model, a few spare bullets are stowed in the base of the handle. When you are in the middle of a battle for your life it is doubtful that you will have the opportunity to unload, access, and reload this. At least you can leave those leftover rounds to your kids in case your first two rounds don’t prevent your death.

I think my problem with these is that they are based on the very dangerous false sense of security. “Hey, I have one shot to stop a threat and one to replace if there are two attackers!” That’s optimistic at best and doesn’t take into account misses, first-shot mistakes, and a ton of other potential outcomes that are far more likely.

Fun and games

I may have had a bit of fun taking pokes at some of the more unusual defensive weapons, but the reasons behind it are legitimate. When relying on a firearm to save your life in a worst-case scenario encounter, don’t fall for gimmicks. It’s not worth the risk. Think of things like simply taking in under stress. Ability of the specified weapon caliber to quickly inflict Combat Stop damage.

Last but not least, have enough ammo with you to get the job done.


Tom McHale is the author of the Practical Guides book series, which guides new and experienced shooters in fun, approachable, and practical ways. His books are available in print and e-book format on Amazon. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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