View Full Version : Home defense: Rifle or shotgun in addition to pistol?

March 21, 2008, 06:52 PM
As some of the gun writers will write in the gun mags, I have a
pretty low risk lifestyle.

Just a working guy. Don't go looking for trouble.
Decent neighborhood, but on very rare occaisions (like once) something
went down with another neighbor being robbed during the day.

Is a good .45 all you really need?

Or... is there any point in having a AR-15/AK-47 style rifle or shotgun,
just in case?

I think I read here once that your handgun just buys time until you can fight your way back to your rifle/shotgun?

Overkill or practical?

March 21, 2008, 07:04 PM
There are pros and cons to each.

Rifle Pros: Excellent stopping power potential; long range capability if needed; potentially high capacity and rate of fire (AR, AK, etc); ability to penetrate body armor

Rifle Cons: Overpenetration concerns; legal issues if engaging in long range SD shooting (this is kind of secondary); difficulty in moving around a house (opening / closing doors, etc with rifle in hand); easier for BG to grab from around a corner or behind cover

Shotgun Pros: With slug, same as rifle, though shorter range and potentially less armor penetration. With shot, add the ability to tailor loads to reduce or eliminate overpenetration.

Shotgun Cons: Same as rifle (although selection of shot can reduce or eliminate overpenetration).

Handgun Pros: Concealability; portability; ease of use; ability to open and close doors, make phone calls, etc with weapon in hand; ability to answer door with weapon out of sight (can't do this with rifle or shotgun); reduced risk of overpenetration relative to a rifle bullet or deer slug; potential high capacity and rate of fire. Relatively harder for BG to grab than a rifle or shotgun.

Handgun Cons: Relative lack of stopping power compared to rifle or shotgun; relative lack of penetrating power compared to rifle or shotgun slug; lack of ability to effectively engage at longer ranges if necessary.

I'm sure I've missed a few things, but there's a quick list for you.



March 21, 2008, 07:16 PM
IMHO, a short barrel pump shotgun is, or should be, the #1 home defense weapon. In a city environment, I personally think AR15/AK47/SKS weapons are overkill for home defense. Not so in the country, though. Handguns are concealable and easier to carry. Any LEO or soldier who is going into a true combat situation always wants a long gun and regards a hand gun as a backup or secondary weapon. I feel the same about home defense.

March 21, 2008, 07:37 PM
Buy and practice with a 20ga short barreled pump shotgun. Load it with standard OO buckshot and your good to go. Anyone, male or female can handle it and you don't need magnum loads for HD /PD. After awhile, if you want to move up to a 12ga or an AR you'll have a good base to work from.

Good luck and good shooting.

March 21, 2008, 09:56 PM
The short answer is that a .45 should be "enough." A shotgun is more powerful but will probably be harder to access. As Saber9 mentioned, a rifle will often over penetrate in an urban environment but is also going to be harder to access. With a low risk lifestyle, I wouldn't worry about bad guys wearing body armor. I know it's possible, but it's also possible they could bring a tank.

Deaf Smith
March 21, 2008, 10:52 PM
I like the M1 carbine for inside the house (besides the pistol.)

1. Plenty of power inside 100 yards (and who can say any house has 100 yard rooms!) And holds pleny of ammo to! And rounds like the DPX carbine by Cor-Bon makes it really effective. And fast reloads. Plus M1 Carbine military pouches are still out there for grabs.

2. Blast is no where near as bad is the 5.56 or 7.62x39 rounds. Now those two, fired indoors, are pretty horrid. Easy to disorentate you. And the flash from a 16 inch AR is much more than a M1 Carbine.

3. It's so easy for the women folk and kids to handle. If they have used a Ruger 10/22, then they pretty much know how to use a M1 Carbine. This is very important if they are part of the plan to defend the home.

4. Easy kicking. No more than a AR, and less than a AK.

5. Excellent sights.

6. Very short and easy to manuver between rooms.

March 21, 2008, 10:56 PM
In addition to my Glock, I keep a Mossberg 500 and a AK47 in my closet as backup. After the Glock I'd head for the shotgun.

Bill DeShivs
March 22, 2008, 01:18 AM
Since you won't be going into "combat," your .45 (if you can shoot it well) should be all you need.
If you WANT a long gun, it certainly can be used for HD. The 20 ga. is a great little gun with #3 buck (they don't load 00 to my knowledge.)

March 22, 2008, 03:18 AM
Home defense: 450 Nitro Express double...
Pistol: 475 Linebaugh, or. 500 max...
Bears moose, are in the mix..

March 22, 2008, 05:46 AM
If there is a problem in my house...I'm passing over ALL of my pistols and grabbing my shotgun. I'm just more comfortable with 8 rounds of 00 buck.

March 22, 2008, 06:40 AM
+1 on the shotgun. There's (arguably) less 'aiming' involved in hitting your target and if selecting a pump-action shotgun (which is what I'd recommend)...it will possess the universal sound-effect when racking a round into the chamber that nearly every perpetrator can understand. It basically says "leave the premises or you will likely die by a gigantic hole in your body".

Remember...if given the choice...you really want the threat to leave WITHOUT you having to resort to firing rounds and killing someone.

March 22, 2008, 06:52 AM
I think a pistol or a shotgun should be all you really need. There is certainly no reason not to have both however. If picking one or the other, a shotgun loaded with buckshot would be my first choice.

There are too many cons for me to consider a rifle a practical HD gun. This post sums it up nicely.

Rifle Cons: Overpenetration concerns; legal issues if engaging in long range SD shooting (this is kind of secondary); difficulty in moving around a house (opening / closing doors, etc with rifle in hand); easier for BG to grab from around a corner or behind cover

March 22, 2008, 07:48 AM
IMHO don`t think there`s a better home defense weapon than shotgun. as you stated in-house, pistol gets me safely to shotgun. for manuverability in-house there are many after-market do-dads you can purchase to really dress up a shotgun. don`t see the need for rifle for in-house s/d. don`t need long range weapon with single bullet. not trying to show b/g my markmanship(usually after dark) just want threat to go away. for me buckshot does just fine.

Officer's Match
March 22, 2008, 08:48 AM
One other consideration outside of the tactical realm is your jurisdiction, ie the nature of the political climate in your area and the likelihood the Prosecuting Attorney in your area is of the "gun grabber" crowd. In that case, I'd want any shotgun to "look like a hunting weapon".

March 22, 2008, 09:07 AM
do any one know where i can get a fireinpin for 380
if you know where can you please give me the number
or if i can get it cusmized it in if you know some prices please let me know.
this is the modle p-380 cal-380 auto so let me know

March 22, 2008, 09:21 AM
I am also in your shoes, owning pistols but contemplating long guns. I would have gotten a 20 gauge shotgun first and then thought about a pistol. However, the main reason I did not is that I live in a city and it's 60 miles to the nearest range where I can shoot a shotgun, whereas it's only 6 miles from an indoor pistol range.

You might want to think about how much you can practice with a long gun. Long guns have major advantages, but in practice, I would end up training ten times more often with a pistol.

One exception to this: consider a .45 carbine like the HiPoint or Marlin Camp Carbine, or a conversion kit like the Mec-tech if you have a 1911 or Glock.

Otherwise, I heartily agree with the shotgun suggestions.

- Sriracha

March 22, 2008, 10:12 AM
Good, well thought out replies. Thank you. :p

Can anyone else confirm this statement "The 20 ga. is a great little gun with #3 buck (they don't load 00 to my knowledge.)"?

BTW, would you say that a 20ga shotgun has more "stopping power" than a .45 at similar distances?

I am also faced with the issue where I would need to travel to the next county to find a shotgun range.

One local indoor range has some rifle lanes, but as cool as they look, I am
not convinced the AK/AR style rifles are appropriate for a suburban setting.

There used to be a shotgun range in my county but it's now homes PLUS
they found out the soil was contaminated with lead and whatever else from
years of shooting.

I had considered trying a 20 gauge shotgun 1st and then, once I build my skills, moving up to a 12ga.

My local indoor range only allows you to shoot low recoil slugs, no shot.
Do you think that a transition from low recoil slugs to having shot loaded for home defense
would be pretty seamless?

In the meantime, like some of the posters suggest, there are certain distinct
advantages to a handgun, like the ability to open the door with the
gun concealed (as I have done on occasion).

March 22, 2008, 10:30 AM
In your case, it might be worth traveling to get the training opportunity. Do you have a USPSA or bowling pin league nearby?

You can design your own dry fire home-training skill builders. I shot local Action Shooting matches for years, and practiced weekly, but I spent quite a bit of time on dry-fire exercises, and they really helped. A training partner and I were comparing notes back when we were both about six months into the game, and it was like the light coming on over our heads that that the from-the-leather, frontsight, press drill was really starting to pay off.

At typical home-defense ranges, you need to focus on fast, accurate hits. I found shooting things like pepper-poppers, or falling plates really reinforces the discipline you need to do the task under pressue, i.e. real life. Any break in concentration shows up.

I don't think you would go wrong if you kept a pistol close by, and your long gun probably in your sleeping area. Under pressure, a long gun is way easier to hit with- THAT matters more than what youre hitting the bad guy with. The handgun has it's own advantages of concealability and portability.

March 22, 2008, 10:41 AM
Check out the following link on a shotgun. The video on TV showed size 1 buckshot (16 pellets) going into sheetrock & an exit hole the size of a basketball on the other side. Good story but he missed.


FRISCO, Texas -- A bullet grazed a Frisco man during a shootout in his condo on Thursday.

Frisco police said Steve Geddie was lucky to have escaped alive after the shooting, which happened at his home on Hickory Creek on Thursday evening.

Geddie said he was in the bathroom when he heard an intruder breaking into his condo through the back door.

"So I'm sitting on the toilet (and) I hear this banging," he said.

Geddie said he crept through his bathroom, into his bedroom.

"(I) reached underneath my mattress, pulled up the shotgun (and) loaded up the chamber -- size one buckshot," he said.

Geddie then walked toward his living room, where he confronted the intruder, he said.

He said the man's gun was "literally right in my chest."

"My first instinct is to move to the side," Geddie said. "He grazed my shoulder on the first shot."

The man got two shots off, he said.

Geddie said he dropped the shotgun and then dove to the ground to pick it back up. Geddie said he pulled the shotgun up as the intruder headed out the door. He took a shot at the man, but missed just to the left of him, he said.

"I grabbed the shotgun up, pulled it up as he was heading out the door, and just missed to the left of him,"

"Otherwise, he would have had size-1 buckshot all through his thighs and butt," Geddie said.

Geddie's shotgun blasted 16 pellets and an 8-inch hole through his wall.

His wife, Kathryn, worked out late on Thursday. If she hadn't, she would have confronted the suspect alone, she said.

"Had it been me home, it could have been a completely different story that you're covering today," she said.

Steve Geddie, an Alaskan-born gun enthusiast, said homeowners should be prepared for incidents like he faced.

"I believe that every homeowner should be able to be prepared for self-preservation in the event that something like this happens," he said.

Geddie said his brain was the most powerful weapon he used during the incident. He was able to think his way through everything, he said.

BTW - I keep my 12 gague loaded in the closet but a 20 should be all you need.

March 22, 2008, 10:41 AM
Actually Bill is right about no 00 buckshot for a .20ga. It does begin at 000. My experience is with a 12ga. only as I'm looking at getting a .20ga for my wife.

A slug in low recoil makes for a great practice round to get the feel for a new shooter. If the range will allow you to shoot it indoors at 25 yards or less this will give you the experience and ability to develop your aiming and manual of arms. #3 or 4 shot will not change the shotguns operation in a HD /PD situation from the slug, just less penetration and very slightly larger aim / hit point.

Good luck and good shooting with your choice.

March 22, 2008, 01:19 PM
I live in a pretty good middle class neighborhood but stuff happens. I believe in a layerd defense so I have motion sensor and dusk to dawn lights, locked gates on a 6' fence, and an alarm system. I also keep a 45 w/CT grip next to my bed along with 4 reloads. While I'm home a 12ga is next to my bed (no kids here). The 12ga has two low penetration #4 up first (I like my neighbors), followed by five full boat 00 buck in case the bad guy does not take the hint and I need additional penetration. Finally there are five 1600fps Hydra-Shok slugs in a stock cuff should I need them. Maximum flexibility to handle any situation.

March 22, 2008, 01:36 PM
First, a lot of posters comment about how you don't need to aim so much. Unless they've sawed off their barrels to less than the legal limit, or are using a grandfathered horse pistol, that's just not true at in-house ranges.

The spread from my 20" slug barrel, using 00 buck, is only a few inches at 10 yards, if it's more than 2 inches. Yes, that's a greater hit area than my .45 would yield, but it's still not going to hit without being aimed. It's easier to quickly sight down the rib of a 20" barrel than down a 4 or 5 inch slide, but you still have to aim - unless you are so practiced with your weapon that you instinctively know where it will hit, in which case you will be one of those people who will automatically select that weapon for home defense anyway.

Second, while they pose some challenges for moving around a house, they are absolutely wonderful for staying put in a semi-barricaded position, while you call 911 and yell that you are armed and the cops are on the way. The racking sound of the slide on a pump gun does make a strong impression, as previously noted by other posters, though I do know of a case where a convenience store clerk made the same noise, under the counter, using an old credit card machine. (The brain is still the best weapon)

Last, my little cousin couldn't understand why my friend and I were telling him that we'd prefer a 12 gauge for a short range encounter, over, say, a tommy gun or a S&W .500. So, to make the point, we were destroying some half shot clay pigeons that had come to rest in some mud and clay on a riverbank, where I couldn't get to them for retrieval without risk of losing a boot. I leveled my 870, loaded with #7 1/2, and blasted a clay pigeon into virtual non-existence, in the process blowing a hole in the mud and clay that was about 4 inches in diameter and 8 to 10 inches deep. My cousin's eyes just about popped out of his head.

I pointed out to him that a buckshot load would have blasted in a bit deeper.

He decided we were probably right about the 12 gauges.



March 22, 2008, 02:22 PM
If you live in town, its best not to shoot a rifle, on account that MACH3 bullet will go through too many walls, and endanger all the neighbors. A shotgun is almost as bad, on account it throws a lot of projectiles. The Brits liked a big, 200 grain plus, bullet moving at not much more than 600 fps. A lot of impact without a lot of penetration. Always try to know where that bullet is going to end up, is my advice.

March 22, 2008, 02:52 PM
Check out the following link on a shotgun. The video on TV showed size 1 buckshot (16 pellets) going into sheetrock & an exit hole the size of a basketball on the other side. Good story but he missed.
That story raises a good point about the portability of a handgun. He had to go to his room to retrieve the shotgun (and was very lucky that he made it unseen). He could have already had the handgun on him.

I always carry a small revolver in my pocket when I'm home. Some might call me paranoid, but if I was this in guy shoes, paranoid would have just been prepared. I've read too many of these stories, some right nearby in small town USA.

That said, I have both carbines and shotguns in the ready rack. The chances of me needing those are less than remote, but IMO it's better to not need and have, than need and not have.

March 24, 2008, 09:57 AM
Shotgun. Knocvkdown power and versitile

March 24, 2008, 10:38 AM
I feel good about having my old Mossberg 500 next to the bed at night... in addition to several handguns.....:)

March 24, 2008, 10:59 AM
I truly believe, that for home defense, you really do need both. I keep a S/S double barreled 12 ga. shotgun (both 20" barrels open choked), loaded with low base 00 buck (12 pellets in each round) by my bedside. I also have an Ruger 2" bbl. SP101 .357 loaded with 125 grn. Speer Gold Dot's as my back up. Shooting at the range with the scattergun at approx. 10 yards, I get about a 12" - 15" grouping of twelve .30 cal. pellets from each barrel. With the Ruger, I can consistently put 5 rounds into COM area, shooting DA, at 7 yards. BTW, this takes a LOT of practice! In a home invasion confrontation, firing two rounds (literally twenty four .30 cal. bullets) at an intruder, should either discourage them, or kill them. If not, I'd use the snubby to keep things under control, until police arrived.

45Marlin carbine
March 24, 2008, 11:33 AM
in addition to the Makarov velcroed by the holster onto my bedrail I keep a SXS 12ga Mag propped in near corner and my Marlin .45 Camp hanging on wall hook.

March 24, 2008, 01:12 PM
I'm a fan of the semi-automatic pistol caliber carbine for home defense. Without going the NFA route, it can generally be more compact and easier to handle in tight spaces than a shotgun. Unlike a traditional rifle, the pistol caliber carbine is relatively tame when fired indoors with a mild muzzle blast, and low recoil for fast follow up shots.

I personally have a Colt 6450, but I imagine that something like the Beretta CX4 would be ideal. There's also the Kel-Tec Sub 2000, the Hi-Point montrousity, and the discontinued but readily available carbines from Marlin and Ruger... oh and of course the other oddities like the Uzi carbines, semi-auto Thompsons and HK 94 style weapons.

March 24, 2008, 05:26 PM
Most likely, your .45 is all you will ever need. Indeed, there is not much chance you will ever even need that.
Still, I like to hedge my bets, so my primary HD weapon is a shorty Bushmaster AR. I load with Winchester 45 grain HP.

March 24, 2008, 06:52 PM
When something goes bump in the night.... I'm a pretty big fan of a 12ga in my hands. While it's true that you can't just sound shoot, if you have a narrow hallway or other place, point and shoot may be effective. otherwise aim ;)

Doc TH
March 24, 2008, 08:05 PM
00 buckshot is not commercially loaded in 20 guage - Bill D. is right.
However, the smaller buck is quite suitable; see the Box O' Truth website on 20 ga. #3 buck penetration.
Shooting a low recoil 20 ga slug should give you the practice you need to get used to shooting buckshot.

March 28, 2008, 04:48 PM
My HD setup consists of a Beretta 92FS Vertec with an Insight Technologies M6 mounted on it and a Mossberg 590 A1 with a M4 style stock, side saddle, and a Pelican light mounted on it.
I think that if you live in a rural area, a HD rifle makes sense as you would possibly be engaging targets at extended ranges. I live in an urban area, so I chose a shotgun. I would be shooting at short distances and would not want rifle bullets going through walls and into other nearby houses.

March 28, 2008, 05:20 PM

Long gun or pistol in the home?

I read several gun related forums at various times to keep an ear out for product news what people are talking about. One topic constantly amazes me; the discussion of what type of firearm to use for home defense. The fascinating aspect is that, by far, most people talk about using a shotgun or a rifle and downplay the use a handgun. What AR should I use? Is buckshot OK inside? Is birdshot a better choice?

For me, I much prefer a handgun for most aspects of defending the inside of my home. I certainly acknowledge that long guns offer far better stopping power compared to a handgun, but the reason I prefer a handgun is because it is more practical.

Working within the confines of a typical home, the reality of dealing with light switches, doors, and family members often requires that one hand be available for extraneous use while the other operates the firearm. When the subject comes up in my tactical handgun classes, I have each participant in the class handle a shotgun while opening doors, activating light switches in the classroom and guiding family members to the a “safe room”. Inevitably, each student is forced to hold the shotgun with just one hand, usually for an extended time. Each time, often within ten seconds, the person quickly realizes how heavy and awkward it is to handle a shotgun with just one hand.

Let’s look at it from a naysayer’s point of view. “Light switches can be activated by shoulders and elbows while maintaining two hands on the long gun.” That may be true, but under extreme stress that method probably won’t be easy, plus, the instinctive method is to use your hands, and under extreme stress most people revert to what is instinctive. “It only takes a second to use a door knob”. Ok, I agree, that is true.

Some may say that “family members should be trained on what to do in a crisis and should not need to be directed.” Well, let’s be practical. How many of us have actually trained with our family members? Of those who have, do you drill often enough so that every member of the family is completely sure of what to do by instinct and won’t panic if an attack comes? Will your family know how to react if the event occurs differently than planned? Will anyone panic regardless of their training? What do you do if you have small children? In many, if not most cases, a leader must take charge, direct the family members, and ward off the attack.

Let’s say that you have trained yourself to open and close doors quickly, turn lights on and off with extraneous body parts, and you have no one else living with you. Is a handgun still the best choice? In my opinion, again, yes.

In order to not give your position away and to prevent a gun grab when negotiating travelways through the home, a gun should not protrude beyond a corner or through a doorway. To survey around a corner or pass through a doorway, a long gun must be lowered or raised to keep it from view. Due to its length and weight, that’s not easy to do, especially so with just one hand. Additionally, if you are limited to one hand, it’s not easy to get a long gun back on target in a hurry from a raised or lowered position. Whether you have one hand or two on your weapon, it is far easier to negotiate doorways with a handgun.

While a short-barreled rifle or shotgun is most often the weapon of choice for law enforcement entry teams, there is quite a difference between an entry team and a typical homeowner. First off, police are highly trained and practiced. Secondly, they are a team. One officer can operate the doors and deal with innocents while other members make entry and take care of business.

A long gun does have a presence in my home defense plan. In case of a home invasion, my plan consists of getting my handgun, gathering my family and directing them and myself to a “safe room.” This room is the one furthest the from anticipated entry location, one that is the easiest to get to and to defend, and one that has a cell phone and long guns. I plan to use my handgun to get my family safe, then defend my safe room with a long gun.

In reality, there is a lot more to planning a home defense than what is written here and the principles presented have been greatly simplified, but you can see that a handgun, does indeed, have plenty to offer in protecting your family and yourself.

Posted by David Kenik - Armed Response

El Paso Joe
March 28, 2008, 11:04 PM
In a home defense scenario there is little difference between a rifle and a shotgun. The pellets are all pretty tight until you get out beyond 30 or more yards - and most houses are not that big. Or if it is - either you won't get that long a shot or you can afford security (I for one am not that well off...).

I have a short barrel pump in 12ga loaded with #4 buck. It will not penetrate the way 00 buck will, there are more pellets, and at indoor ranges it will penetrate and ventilate "well enough."

Usually, anyone who needs to be shot will be less than willing to get shot. They usually leave when they think they might get shot. Foxworthy has a few lines in one of his routines where he talks about potential perpetrators of crime avoiding a "redneck house" because "a gun lives there." Probably a lot to that. But in my (not so) humble opinion - what ever you use, practice with it, know what it will do, and be proficient.

March 29, 2008, 08:37 PM
Skill and training are equal to equipment. No weapon is going to give you any level of skill to use it. There is no magic bullet or weapon. Knowledge and skill are the key to survival.

Rifleman 173
March 30, 2008, 11:15 AM
You need to train for the scenario that you will probably one day face. Realistic training works to prepare you for what you will need to do under stress. Under stress you respond exactly how you trained. All three of the previous sentences are things that I've heard time and again as a firearms instructor. They all come down to the same thing: Train yourself and train often. How many police departments train their people to shoot from behind squad cars? Not many do that kind of training but that is one piece of equipment that officers frequently hide behind for protection at most tactical scenes. You often see them on t.v. crouched down next to their police cars nervously trying to peek around or over them to see what's going on. Want to know why so many officers get killed? The top answer has always been a lack of good tactical training for them. Followed by poor decisions made by the officer when under attack. One interesting thing that also surfaced is how the officer was treated by his superiors in the days before the shooting event happened. It is believed that at least one officer died because he had gotten chewed out a couple of days before he died for being "too aggressive" for "drawing his gun too soon" on a previous man-with-a-gun call and took the verbal beating too seriously. So a lot of things come together as far as training is concerned. The main thing is train hard and train often.

March 30, 2008, 11:24 AM
i prefer having a shotgun as a back up weapon only because i live in a very small apartment. it is far easier for me to reach over to a table and grab the pistol. by the time someone has started a forced entry into my apartment, i've only got time to grab something, thus i reach for a handgun.

I don't have time to run into the bedroom or some other hiding place to retrieve and ready a shotgun.

I also have a large dog which is an underrated defense tool. it throws a monkey wrench into any home invasion plan and buys you a minimum of a few extra seconds and totally distracts the BG. with this set up I could rely on a shotgun as my primary weapon and i just might start doing that.

March 30, 2008, 11:49 AM
For HD, shotgun (primary), and handgun in a belt rig as secondary.

And have layers of security that will alert you with enough lead time to deploy at least one of them effectively, at all times of the day/night... e.g. outdoor alarmed perimeter detection, locked doors and windows, dog(s), interior door/window alarms, interior motion detection.

March 30, 2008, 02:13 PM
At short range, with the probability of being ambushed, I'm from the camp that a handgun always kept with you that is already loaded is the best solution. Manuverabliilty with a long gun can be partly addressed with the selection of a short stock and barrel, but is essentially a two handed solution, and is more difficult to operate in tight quarters unless well trained. The handgun would be used until I had access to my SG. Too many people have their SG quite farther away than arms reach, often not chambered, which is less than ideal when seconds count.

In our house, first most likely to be in direct contact would use a HG, the second family member, if time allows, would use the SG with a HG as backup. Needing to engage beyond the 50 feet would be highly unusal for self defense, but if living in a rural areas where real estate and response times are bigger, I'd transition to a rifle. Different tools for different situations.

HG always, long guns as the situation allows. Ammunition choices can reduce the risk of over penetration. Training routinely is probably more critical than the weapon selection.

March 30, 2008, 02:21 PM
All 3 are nearby for me. Whichever one I can grab fastest I will.

March 30, 2008, 02:40 PM
I'm assuming that by home defense you mean defending inside your home? Unless you live in an unuasually large house, the longest range you'll likely ever face inside your home is about 10 yards, with a more realistic distance being 3-5 yards. Handgun or shotgun will work best at that range. A rifle will be diffult to manuver, and will be far more likely to over penetrate and injure somone innocent.

A rifle would be best for outdoors, but thats more SHTF and less home defence.

March 30, 2008, 03:22 PM
For HD, consider your circumstances and the longest shot that you might have to take. Shotguns excel at close range fights with multiple, moving, lightly armored bg's. Someone said a shotgun is what you take to dominate a pistol fight.

Handguns are only valuable because they are easily portable. You can carry one out into the world or you can carry it to back up a longgun. One should not make a handgun the first layer of HD.

If you think you might take a shot more than 25 yds or so, you should consider a rifle. A compact rifle like an AR or AK will do everything a shotgun will do but at up to 100 yds. The best thing about an AR or AK is that it scares the sheep and the gun-grabbers don't want you have one. If you don't have one - preferably several - now, you may never be able to get one.

On the issue of overpenetration...I'd like to see the documentation of one case of SD where a round overpenetrated and struck an innocent. I hear it all the time when someone talks about rifles for HD, but I think this is more an imagined problem.

March 30, 2008, 03:35 PM
over penetration must be a large concern unless you live in the country alone the thought hurting a family member or neighbor is not a pretty picture, given that I tried a few rounds at some demolished home material [a section of wall with sheetrock on both sides] after a few roundsI settled on a 20 ga with 7 1/2 shoot given the distance inside the home the effect is total penetration of one wall ,when a second wall was set up behind none of the pellets made it through the second wall , I know it wouldn't penetrate body armor I can't imagine the impact at 10 to 20 ft.

March 30, 2008, 04:49 PM
Birdshot is not sufficient for killing bad guys. It might produce a grisly wound, but not quick incapacitation.

March 30, 2008, 05:13 PM
Has anyone seen a coyote shot with #2 BIRDSHOT at 10 yds? good enough to kill a 'yote at 10 yds, plenty good enough to stop a BG in his tracks at 10. Just my 2 cents

March 30, 2008, 05:33 PM
I think it depends on what you are comfortable with, and everyone is different. My home defense gun is a 20 gauge shotgun loaded with buckshot kept under my bedroom. I have practiced walking around the house with it and pretending to shoot at intruders. This is a gun made for hunting and I go hunting with it a LOT. I know my house well enough that I can easily walk around in the dark if I have to. I am intimately familiar with this gun and am accustomed to using it around obstacles such as trees and brush, so I see no advantage for me to use a short barreled shotgun for home defense. For me this is a good choice, but for others it might not be.

March 30, 2008, 06:20 PM
I hear it all the time when someone talks about rifles for HD, but I think this is more an imagined problem.

The three most common recomended HD rifle calibers i see reccomended are .223, .308, and 7.62x39. Do you think that they will not penetrate any interior and most exterior walls of a home? There are tests that show a 7.62x39 penetrating over 10inches of pine lumber. Not the sort of thing I'd want to be shooting in my house when there's a chance it could hit the nighbors kids. Stick to handguns and small-ish buckshot.

Rifleman 173
March 31, 2008, 09:08 AM
I think of firearms as tools. Obviously, if you don't have the right tool for the right job... To me every American should own a number of different firearms and practice with them. I would say an American needs a minimum of at least 3 guns.

The first gun should be a decent handgun of medium or big bore diameter for close range personal protection. Such handguns should be used as a second line of defense for when the other (shoulder-mounted) guns fail to work.

For home defense a good shotgun should be the primary firearm for use. Such shotguns should be in 12, 16 or 20 guage. These firearms deliver a massive amount of power on a target at close range which is why they're so effective. Imagine getting hit with 9 or 11 .32 caliber bullets at one time which is what some of these shotguns do. Devestation has a name and it is "shotgun."

There may be a time when a shotgun is not the answer for a special shooting need. This is when you may need to deliver a single projectile on to a target with accuracy. Such shooting requires a good rifle. A rifle lets you shoot something at short distances with accuracy or, if need be, shoot further out with accuracy. So with a rifle you can cover from zero to hundreds of yards with well placed fire which is not something a shotgun or handgun can do.

So each firearm, to me, fills a different niche or covers a different area that I may need to fill. One other thing... I also think that different sights are something that need to be covered by a decent shooter. Not all sight systems are right for everybody. For close range work I think metal sights are probably the quickest and easiest to use. For shooting over 50 yards I like a low power (1 X 4 variable power) scope system mounted on my rifles. For speed shooting I like red dots or red donut systems. I have no intention of shooting out over 100 yards unless I go to war so I practice my shooting scenarios for being realistic and under 100 yards or less. So decent firearms, decent sighting systems and realistic practice are all things that we should have available to us along with the right type and number of firearms.

March 31, 2008, 11:47 AM
I carry a handgun or two because I don't belive I'm going to get in a gunfight.

If I know I'm going to need a gun I will take either a rifle or shotgun. Rifles, with good ammo selection, can be used in the urban environment, but I prefer and recommend the shotgun for the urban environment. In fact it's my bedroom defense weapon. The myth about not needing to aim with a shotgun is false. All guns need to be aimed.

If we could carry long guns in public I would, but that's not an option in most communities. I'd love to carry a shotgun on a "Tac Sling" as I walk around the grocery store doing my shopping. :D


April 6, 2008, 06:48 AM
if it's for home defense a good coach gun with external hammer, it's compact, plenty of ability to stop a BG, it's cheap easy to handle, if it say "click" you still have the other triger and no need to manipulate in a hurry while adrenaline is pumping AND in front of a jury it won't look like a "evil tactical riffle". Remember that survive the fight is one thing, after that you'll have to survive the court!
Try to explain to people who doesn't know sh**t about guns that you needed a AK to defend your home! They look at it as military evil weapon, a coach gun look more like "grand dad hunting tool".
Jeff Cooper who knew a great deal concerning gun fight said a fight involving shotgun almost never exceded 2 rounds, and if you should discharge your coach gun, then you have the 45 to back it up.

April 8, 2008, 11:30 AM
Some good points have already been posted so I'll just add my $.02 worth. Handguns are very portable and easy to keep at hand (no pun intended) for when things first go bump in the night. However, handguns are far more difficult to shoot accurately under stress than a longarm and aren't as effective as, say, a 12ga w/a well-chosen load. Yes, longarms are more difficult to manuever indoors but if your strategy is to wait in place while covering the doorway after calling the cops then that point is moot. My own HD plans include an FN FiveseveN w/TLR-1 taclight doing nightstand duty with an inexpensive but reliable pump shotgun nearby (also w/taclight, I'm a big believer in ID'ing the target).
Why a inexpensive shotgun? Two primary reasons: 1) Expect it to be confiscated by the cops after a shoot, you may or may not get it back, and 2) The shotgun can shred an intruder yet that is far more acceptable to the media & public than using an "evil" EBR for SD.

Para Bellum
April 20, 2008, 04:23 AM
A rifle, preferably a bullpub-design in .223 like a Steyr AUG or a FAMAS:



With adequate ammo a .223 has a much LOWER risk of overpenetration than even a 9x19mm or a shotgun with buckshot (or certainly slugs).

Here is a lot of very good information on .223 ammo an penetration:
1: http://www.ammo-oracle.com/
2: http://www.le.atk.com/Images/CatalogThumbs/223RifleDataBook.jpg

Anyway: A good coachgun is pretty good as well...
Heres the cheap and reliable Baikal IZH-43KH:


Bottom Line: The rifle is more accurate, has more capacity and precision, is more versatile 1yd - 200yds no problem, and offers as much "stopping power" as a shotgun

April 21, 2008, 03:36 AM
I think a pistol or a shotgun should be all you really need. There is certainly no reason not to have both however. If picking one or the other, a shotgun loaded with buckshot would be my first choice.

There are too many cons for me to consider a rifle a practical HD gun. This post sums it up nicely.

Rifle Cons: Overpenetration concerns; legal issues if engaging in long range SD shooting (this is kind of secondary); difficulty in moving around a house (opening / closing doors, etc with rifle in hand); easier for BG to grab from around a corner or behind cover

Never mind that two of the four listed cons exist equally with the shotgun, another is simply an issue of ammunition selection, and the other is a non-issue in most situations. A rifle carbine is no more difficult to maneuver around the house and no more likely to be snatched away from the user than a shotgun, over penetration is grossly exaggerated as a concern, namely because it can be largely eliminated with a little foresight given to ammunition selection, and rifles are good because they can engage at long distances if it is needed.

The point is that the rifle has the capability, which the others do not. In fact, the rifle has a lot of capabilities that the others do not--capacity, fire rate, the versatility afforded by changing penetrative capabilities with a simple mag swap, and lower recoil, to name a few.

Handguns are more compact and easier to maneuver. If I am just checking out a noise on the porch or a random sound in the driveway, I am probably just grabbing a handgun. But if I hear my door get bashed in or I hear strange voices in the living room, I am grabbing a rifle--probably my AK with a reflex sight. And truth be told, maneuvering with a carbine really isn't all that difficult, and neither is weapon retention. There is a position, which as I learned it is referred to as "Under Arm Assault," in which the butt of the rifle is pinched between the side and the elbow of the firing hand, with the axis of the bore parallel to the deck. In this position, the muzzle is naturally squared to the hips, which are squared on the target. The rifle can be held in this position almost indefinitely with little strain, and because the stock is tucked back, it serves to make the package shorter. In this position, one can use their support hand to open doors, turn on lights, operate a phone, handle a dog, guide a family member, grapple with an assailant, or whatever. Weapon retention is relatively simple as well, esp if the attacker is untrained and simply grabs the muzzle. A good sling doesn't hurt either. With the rifle slung, you can literally just let go of the rifle completely and let them play with the muzzle while you eye gouge them or punch them in the throat. It's a simple matter of training and common sense.

Of the handgun, the shotgun, and the rifle, the shotgun is the least useful and the most specialized. Compared to the capabilities offered by the other choices, its absence would be easiest to absorb. While both the shotgun and the rifle can handle the simple home break in scenarios, in a situation such as Katrina, the rifle's advantage in range, accuracy, capacity, and penetration could prove vital. Say a natural disaster strikes, power is out, and general lack of law and order ensues when authorities fail to bring basic services online fast enough. You have food, pure water, medical supplies, and batteries to keep you and yours safe, provided you can stay put and wait it out. It doesn't take all that much of a stretch of the imagination to have someone taking pot shots through your windows with a rifle from a couple hundred yards away. As noted, a rifle can easily penetrate several walls, and go most of the way through an entire house, if so loaded. With a shotgun, you are left no option other than to grab what you can carry and displace until the threat moves on of his own accord. With a rifle, you can at least return fire. If you're bugging out and someone engages you with a rifle, you can easily find yourself out gunned if you have only a shotgun or handgun. Not only in range, but in availability of cover. Neither the handgun nor the shotgun affords the ability to defeat barriers, if so loaded, to the degree of a rifle. And while these may not be concerns for the vast majority of home defense scenarios, in terms of usefulness and practicality, if only one can be chosen, the rifle wins, hands down.

Y'all are looking at it the wrong way. Rifles are not just long range affairs and when your life is on the line, there is no such things as "overkill." Rather, shotguns are simply close range affairs lacking the range, accuracy, and versatility of the rifle.

April 22, 2008, 02:23 AM
I always carry a small revolver in my pocket when I'm home. Some might call me paranoid, but if I was this in guy shoes, paranoid would have just been prepared..

I conceal carry and I used to come home, get in my safe-at-home mode, and put my weapon away. Don't know why I changed, but I have been keeping my CCW weapon on me the last couple of months while at home. Could be that I too am paranoid, but just as well, I might be prepared one day when I need to be. Plus, if the weapon is on me, then I consider it secured.

Para Bellum
April 22, 2008, 02:26 PM
I conceal carry and I used to come home, get in my safe-at-home mode, and put my weapon away. Don't know why I changed, but I have been keeping my CCW weapon on me the last couple of months while at home. Could be that I too am paranoid, but just as well, I might be prepared one day when I need to be. Plus, if the weapon is on me, then I consider it secured.
Perfectly right. I carry 24/7. When I sleep, the gun ist holstered in a holster mounted to my right (strong hand) bed side. Where I live we have a lot of home-burgler-robberies taking place when the patrons are present. Makes it easier for the BGs to open the safes etc...

April 22, 2008, 04:45 PM
Good reads from everyone!
Personally I like my Benelli M190 loaded up for the house. I, like many others, see no real practicality of a rifle. Even my shorty AR has too many drawbacks when compared to my shotgun or pistol in my opinion.

And I don't know if there is anything scarier than hearing a 12 gauge shell being shucked into the chamber in a dark house. :eek:

Here in MS, they now do not have to be IN your house to be considered a threat and ok to fire upon. Even with that said..... if the perp is outside I don't see me needing an AR to get to him. ;)

May 5, 2008, 06:22 AM
I am a certified weapons and special tactics instructor. What is and what should always be the first line in home defense is the reliable 12 gauge pump action. OO buck is a very good place to start. I should mention that where I live you realy dont have to worry about neighbors.
We usualy do not have to worry about home invasions here although as of late the crime is starting to move north towards us.
We actualy had our first home invasion in town last saturday night. 2 people broke into a house where they thought no one was home. Boy were they surprised when the lone male was home.
12 gauge to the rescue one intruder will probably lose his leg and the other they are still saying is in critical condition.
The home owner shot them right threw the wall of the entry way. He figured they got past his dog so anyone comeing in his house was dangerous.
No charges have or will be filed by the local police against the home owner.
Anytime you can take down a threat without exposing yourself to danger it is a good thing and a pistol in this instance just would not have done the job