- Fighting Handguns
- Backup Handguns
- Battle/Marksman rifles
Saturday, December 22, 2012
The Best Home Defense Gun?
Several years ago when I started training more seriously, I would ask all the instructors I encountered what the best firearm was for home defense (HD). The answers I usually got were often very weak, and came down to - “the best gun for home defense is the one you have, or the one you've trained with”. Given that the different categories of guns have very different capabilities, I knew this was a bullshit answer. What I failed to realize was that most instructors (and just about everyone else) didn't understand that -
What is the best gun for HD?
What gun should I use for HD?
are two very different questions that can have very different answers.
It really is the case that the gun any specific person should use for HD is the one with which they are most familiar and skilled. In contrast, what I wanted to know was which gun had the best capabilities for HD, and then I would spend whatever time and energy necessary to learn to run that gun to its capability. This is a very important distinction that even the most seasoned instructors I encounter usually miss.
In an earlier post I described five different categories of guns:
It should be fairly self-evident that backup handguns are not the best choice for HD. Their main utility is in their compact size such that they can be easily concealed, often in non-traditional ways. They are often not very powerful (.380ACP) and are more difficult to shoot effectively than full sized “fighting” handguns.
Likewise, it should be self-evident that battle/marksman rifles are less than ideal. Such rifles are usually quite powerful (7.62x51), but they tend to be large, heavy, and have optics that make quick shooting at close range very difficult.
This leaves the categories of Fighting Handguns, Carbines, and Shotguns. If you ask a bunch of semi-knowledgeable people what their favorite HD gun is, you'll likely get a mix of answers across all three of these categories.
In my next few articles I will analyze the pros and cons of each of these firearm categories with respect to HD, including what I believe is clearly the “best gun for HD”.